How The Sabbath Was Introduced to the Adventist People.

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    • #928

      A Little Church History.

      (How the Sabbath was introduced to the Adventist people.)

      One Sunday (late in 1844), a communion service was being held in Washington, New Hampshire, USA, and an Adventist minister by the name of Frederick Wheeler was ‘officiating’.

      During the service, Wheeler had said to the congregation — “All who confess communion with Christ in such a service as this should be ready to obey God and keep His commandments in all things”.

      A lady by the name of Rachel Oakes was present on that occasion, and she was then a Seventh Day Baptist. (She was attending the Sunday service that day because she had recently come to live with her daughter, who had been frequenting the Adventist fellowship.) But when Mrs. Oakes heard the minister speaking about keeping God’s commandments, her soul was stirred.

      Later, Mr. Wheeler visited the Oakes family. Rachel Oakes (a rather direct lady,) said to him, “You remember, elder Wheeler, that you said everyone that confesses Christ should obey all the commandments of God?”

      Wheeler answered, “Yes.”

      Rachel replied, “I came near getting up in the meeting right then, and saying something”.
      He said, “I thought so. What did you have in mind to say?”

      And she responded, “I wanted to tell you that you had better set that communion table back [against the wall] and put the cloth over it, until you begin to keep the commandments of God.”

      Elder Wheeler sat back somewhat astonished. He felt, a little weakly, that he was grateful this direct speaking person had had the Christian grace to wait until they could speak in private. She then spoke with him about the Sabbath commandment.

      This [briefly stated,] was the event that introduced the Sabbath to the Advent people. Frederick Wheeler was convicted as a result. Through him, other Advent ministers (Preble, and Bates, etc.) also took up the Sabbath, and began writing and speaking about it, until step by step the Sabbath became a central part of the Adventist church.

      This incident is a significant event in our history.

      (Sources, “Captains of the Host”; Spalding, p.107-108. “Light Bearers to the Remnant”; Schwarz, p.58. “Prophetic Faith of our Fathers”; Froom, vol.4 p.948-949.)

    • #933
      Tammy Roesch

      Wow!  I never heard that story, Stewart!  I love reading these history posts of yours!  Thank you for sharing…

      Here was a woman, who had a mind of her own…and she was not afraid to speak the TRUTH.

    • #935

      There is some confusion as to when the event actually took place. Some believe it happened before the end of the 2300 days, some believe it happened after.

      But I am confident that it happened AFTER the October 22, 1844 date.

      Here is a comment from “The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers”, vol.4 p.949

      “…And that this little Washington group began the observance of the Sabbath AFTER, not before, the Disappointment of October 22, 1844, is further attested by Stephen N. Haskell, who preached Mrs.Preston[-Oakes] funeral sermon [in 1868], and by the express statement of the obituary itself, which says, “In 1844, after the passing of the time she introduced the Sabbath among the Adventists.””

      There is no doubt in my mind that it happened in November or December of 1844… right on the “heels” of the great Disappointment.


    • #936

      Here, I think, is another important step regarding the Sabbath issue (from 1Testimonies p.75-76). Ellen White is explaining —

      “In the autumn of 1846 we [i.e., she and James White] began to observe the Bible Sabbath, and to teach and defend it. My attention was first called to the Sabbath while I was on a visit to New Bedford, Massachusetts, earlier in the same year. I there became acquainted with Elder Joseph Bates, who had early embraced the advent faith, and was an active laborer in the cause.

      Elder B. was keeping the Sabbath, and urged its importance. I DID NOT feel its importance, and thought that Elder B. ERRED in dwelling upon the fourth commandment more than upon the other nine. But the Lord gave me a view of the heavenly sanctuary. The temple of God was opened in heaven, and I was shown the ark of God covered with the mercy seat.


      Two angels stood, one at each end of the ark, with their wings spread over the mercy seat, and their faces turned toward it. My accompanying angel informed me that these represented all the heavenly host looking with reverential awe toward the holy law which had been written by the finger of God. Jesus raised the cover of the ark, and I beheld the tables of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written. I was amazed as I saw the fourth commandment in the very center of the ten precepts, with a soft halo of light encircling it. Said the angel: “It is the only one of the ten which defines the living God who created the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein. When the foundations of the earth were laid, then was laid the foundation of the Sabbath also.”

    • #941
      Tammy Roesch

      Yes, I do remember reading where Elder Bates was keeping the Sabbath before Ellen White, and that at that time, she didn’t think it was necessary.  I think this is a good example that shows that if we are truly sincere, God will lead us into TRUTH.  Had she been content where she was…we most likely would never have known who Ellen White was.

      • #945

        I agree with those points Tammy… especially the last one. The lag-time between the Sabbath truth being brought to the Advent people, and its reception by Ellen White (or Harmon.. I’m not 100% sure that she had married James White at that time), shows that Ellen White was not the one who always introduced or “prescribed” doctrinal positions. Our enemies speak of her as if she was the leader, and the people followed as her puppets. But of course that is a false representation of her character and role. The fact that she did not introduce the Sabbath to the Adventists is significant to me… and the same can be said about the “State of the Dead” doctrine.

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