On The Sunday Law

ecently the CSDA website received an email consisting of a single line:

Hi. When will the Sunday Law be enforced?

In response to this email, I produced the following letter, which may have some use for readers in understanding fully the Creation Seventh Day Adventist position on what Adventists in general consider to be the coming “Mark of The Beast.” For non-Adventist readers, much of this information may seem new, but if there are any questions, as I indicated in the letter itself, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Here, then, is the letter in its entirety:

Dear sir/madam,

I hope you will excuse my delay in replying to your email. I have finally gotten a chance to respond, however, and I will do so now. This matter is quite a sensitive one, because as one woman with whom I am corresponding put it, “we have been indoctrinated from the beginning to believe that there would be a Sunday law.” As a result of this, I intend to answer as carefully and precisely as I can, that there be no mistaking my response.

There is good reason for Adventists to believe that there will be a Sunday Law. Ellen G. White, whom SDAs rightly consider to be a messenger of God, said that sooner or later, the U.S. Government would enforce a Sunday Law on behalf of an apostate protestant Church. To this, Creation Seventh Day Adventists have not subtracted anything, but instead we have built on the knowledge of her prophecy, and have attempted to explain to Christians in general, and Adventists in particular, that ANY Union of a Church and state that results in religious persecution forms an “image to the beast” [Great Controversy, p. 443] and fulfills what Ellen White foresaw as the Sunday Law.

In particular, the law she saw as fulfilling the Mark of The Beast had three main characteristics:
1) It would be the made at the request of a Church that was once faithful, but has gone apostate. [Great Controversy, p. 443-444]
2) It would be formed in conjunction with United States government, and from THIS country, it would spread out to other countries of the world to become a global event. [Christian Service, page 160]
3) It would constitute a great test for commandment-keepers, particularly regarding the 4th commandment that deals with the Sabbath. [Last Day Events, page 225]

Before we look at these three criteria, there are two things to consider that many Adventists do not generally know, or that they miss. First, the original version of The Great Controversy, released in 1858, did not even contain the word “Sunday,” much less a reference to the specific law that would constitute the Mark of the Beast. Second, in even the later versions of The Great Controversy which deals specifically with last day events, a key quote reads, “the enforcement of Sundaykeeping in the United States would be an enforcement of the worship of the beast and his image.” [Great Controversy, p. 449, emphasis mine]

Examining the first of these two issues, we find that Ellen White later incorporated references to the Sunday Law in response to the events going on around her. In the late 1800s the Blair Sunday Rest bill appeared to be an imminent threat to the religious liberty of Sabbathkeeping Christians, and it was believed by all reasonable Adventists that this was indeed the great test to come. One of the works from which many of Mrs. White’s writings on the Sunday Law are drawn is entitled, “Lessons From Meeting the Sunday Law Crisis of the Late 1880’s..” in Selected Messages Book 3.

It is vital that Christians understand how “prophecy” works, and much more so now in these very last days. The most commonly used example (though there are a great many) to demonstrate this point is found in the book of Jonah. Jonah, a true prophet of the Lord, made the sure and often-repeated prediction, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” (Jon 3:4) The messenger gave no conditions for this prophecy, yet as we see from the events recorded in his book the prophecy was indeed conditional. When the hearts of the people affected by the prophecy changed, so did the fulfillment of the events.

Now, at Jonah’s teaching Nineveh WAS overthrown! But the overthrow was a spiritual one, not physical. The Scripture tells us, and History records a time in the past, that the citizens of Nineveh suddenly gave up their polytheism, and began to worship a single god. Later, this god of theirs became the Ba’al of the Scriptures, and this led to their final destruction in the time of Nahum, yet we see that at the time the prophecy was given the message had served its purpose and accomplished a spiritual revival.

The basic principle when discussing conditional prophecy is this one: If the spiritual condition of the people affected BY the prophecy changes, so does the fulfillment of the prophecy itself. There are only TWO examples in Scripture for which this was not true, and both deal with judgment. The first was the prophecy given in Daniel of the time of the Messiah’s appearing. This was tied to the judgment of the world (John 5:22) and so depended on no course of human actions. The other example is the Flood in Genesis, and this is used as a pattern for the final judgment, (Mat 24:37) so it would appear that imminent global judgments are the only exceptions to the conditional prophecy rule. The Sunday Law, while it was to have been the herald of the events leading up to a final judgment, is not the judgment itself; and it was tied intimately to a people, (faithful Sabbathkeepers) therefore would be inherently conditional.

A careful study of Scripture will confirm this for any who wish to dig deeper; and I can give another dramatic example. Compare the prophecies in Ezekiel 37 and 38 with the description of the last judgment given in Revelation. Ezekiel foresaw a time when Jerusalem would be faithful to God, and so when its enemies came up against its people (the enemies being called Gog and Magog) then fire would come down from Heaven to consume them. Now, it is apparent to every believer in the New Testament that the nation of Israel never became faithful to Yahweh to the degree that Ezekiel foresaw. Indeed, it grew worse and worse, “Until Yahweh removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.” (2 Kings 17:23)

We see then that the principle works both ways. In Jonah’s case the prophecy’s fulfillment was changed because the hearts of the people went from bad to good. In Ezekiel’s case, the prophecy’s fulfillment was altered because the hearts of the people went from good to bad. In both cases, the prophecy was fulfilled spiritually (see Revelation’s statements regarding “Gog and Magog” for example), and NOT physically.

This is what has happened with the Sunday Law. As in the example of Jonah, or perhaps more applicably the example of Ezekiel, the hearts of the people changed. Adventism began to incorporate some grievous errors after the death of Ellen White, and some began to come in even before her passing regarding both the nature of God:
Pioneers vs. Trinitarianism
and the victory over sin. Here is an example of what the SDA Church once taught regarding the matter of salvation:
Creation vs. Evolution

Now, this caused a problem, to be sure, but it was not an image to the beast simply because the church had begun to fall away. It is only a church/state union that results in an image to the beast, and THIS, Ellen White says, is the test of God’s people. [Maranatha, page 164]

For the second issue, that of the Sunday Law being “an” Enforcement.... Uriah Smith confirms this in his book Daniel and The Revelation. He writes, “An ecclesiastical organization composed of different sects in the land, in coalition with Roman Catholicism, by the promulgation and enforcement of a civil Sunday-Sabbath law, would fulfill what the prophecy sets forth in reference to the image and the mark of the beast. These movements, or their exact equivalent, are called for by the prophecy.” [D & R, page 617] Creation Seventh Day Adventists point out that the SDA General Conference Trademark law, which was created by a union of the Seventh Day Adventist General Conference and the United States Government, is an exact equivalent, having fulfilled every detail of that statement. In seeking civil aid against their imagined “enemies,” SDAs of the Conference have followed in the path of “different sects in the land” who in the 1800s attempted to preserve the safety and peace of this “Christian nation” by making a day of rest enforceable by the state. They have done this “in coalition with Roman Catholicism,” for it is an established fact that religious corporations, by which this law was made possible in the courts, is a child of the papacy. The pope, in mirroring the organizational structure of pagan Rome, gave birth to the concept of a religious corporation. And finally, what the Adventist church has done is an enforcement of a Sabbath law as surely as if the Sunday was being used to replace the true Sabbath. I will explain this third point in a moment.

For now, if we understand the principles of conditional prophecy and what it is that makes an “image to the beast” we can easily see that after Adventism became corrupt, a Sunday Law would no longer be able to test who true Christians were. Those who crucified Christ were Sabbathkeepers after the letter; where they failed to be faithful was the spirit of the law. Let’s look at the spirit of the Sabbath law, and how this relates to the mark of the beast, now that the nature of the Sunday Law prophecy has changed.

Here are the three criteria again for what composes the “beast and his image” that will enforce the mark:
1) It would be the made at the request of a Church that was once faithful, but has gone apostate. [Great Controversy, p. 443-444]
2) It would be formed in conjunction with United States government, and from THIS country, it would spread out to other countries of the world to become a global event. [Christian Service, page 160]
3) It would constitute a great test for commandment-keepers, particularly regarding the 4th commandment that deals with the Sabbath. [Last Day Events, page 225]

1) There is little question that the doctrines and practices of the SDA Church have become corrupt. Even the pastors and historians (I can provide you with their names and quotes if you like, but my intent here is more general) will say things like, “We know there are major problems within Adventism, but we believe that God has not abandoned us. The church will go through, just stay within the Church and ignore the corruption.”

This is both unsafe and unScriptural. The Bible tells faithful servants of God, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1) The question may be asked, “Can we stay within the Church and be a force for good? Can we try to reform it from the inside?”

Before the church/state union that I will describe to you in a moment, this was possible. Before the leaders of Adventism declared, for all intents and purposes, “We have no king but Caesar,” it is what God would have wanted for His flickering candle. But if you read Ellen White’s comments regarding the point at which the Jewish Nation fell, and after which people began to be called OUT so they could point out her sins, you notice something significant: “They [the Hebrew religious leaders] cried out for the crucifixion of Christ and, as representatives of the Jewish nation, placed themselves under the Roman jurisdiction, which they despised, by saying, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’ When they said this, they unchurched themselves.” [Manuscript Releases Volume Twelve, page 388, paragraph 1]

It is when the Jewish Church united with Rome that the system fell and people were called out. The same thing happened with Catholicism and Rome, with Sundaykeeping Protestantism and the U.S. Government in the 1800s, and with nominal Adventism today. It is no longer possible to reform the SDA Church from the INSIDE, but now the commandment becomes applicable: “Thus shalt thou separate the Levites [the faithful intercessors] from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.” (Deuteronomy 18:4) More to the point, if one can agree that the doctrines of Adventism have indeed become corrupt, and that they have crossed a “point of no return” when they joined with the State in 1981 as I shall shortly describe, then an individual who truly wishes to serve God rather than men must... “‘come out from among them, and be ye separate,’ saith the Lord, ‘and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.’” (2 Cor 6:17)

2) In 1981, the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists, on behalf of its every member, trademarked the name “Seventh Day Adventist” and several variations thereof, and since that time have brought lawsuit after lawsuit in violation of Scripture, Spirit of Prophecy Writings, the spirit of charity, the humility of Christ, and plan old common sense, in order to protect their “good name,” and their tithe base.

Yes, their finances are part of the reason they do this, for hear what SDA legal counsel Walter Carson said in defense of their ungodly policy: “... there is a moral – and even monetary – value to the name of the church, as suits like this one [against a church in Brooklyn] show. [...] A name, particularly the name of a faith community, identifies it and its value system as distinct from all others.” [What’s in a Name, an interview by Bill Knott, associate editor of the Adventist Review] Notice that they admit this to be a RELIGIOUS matter, and not merely one of legality, for “the name of a FAITH community identifies it and its VALUE SYSTEM” in a unique way. CSDAs heartily agree with this clear teaching from early Adventist writings.

Now some, in trying to back-pedal and say the Trademark lawsuits do not constitute religious persecution for those who believe it is part of their faith to call themselves Adventists, as Ellen White said it was [The Early Years Volume 1, p.438] will actually contradict the intention of their legal advisors with words such as this, “The trademark litigation has nothing to do with enforcing a doctrine. It has to do with defining the identity of the church.” [May 7th, 1997, Letter to pastor Walter “Chick” McGill from Alan J. Reinach, Esq. Director, Public Affairs & Religious Liberty from the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventists]

Marvin G. Lowman, Executive Secretary of the Kentucky-Tennessee conference writes, in a letter to the same individual in July 1998 that the trademark lawsuits are an attempt of “the leaders” of the church “to protect the good name and reputation of their church and to preserve its distinctive doctrinal platform.” It is indeed a matter of doctrine. A pastor of the SDA Church of Cohutta, GA calls the distribution of literature that points out these fearsome issues “unforgivable,” and likens those who speak these words of warning to Lucifer, saying, “[God] kicked him and his followers out of Heaven and won’t ever let them back in.” [Letter, March 28 1998] Such is the spirit of those being informed that they are violating the law of God for their own worldly motives. These are not Christian men if the words and teachings of Christ define a “Christian.”

We submit to you that taking the name God gives to His people is clearly a matter of religious freedom, a matter of great doctrinal importance; and to restrict someone from practicing his/her beliefs in the manner he or she believes is the express command of God is an attempt to control conscience and religious observances. This is exactly the language found in the Trademark agreement – the document gives the General Conference control over “religious observances.” This disagreement between the leaders and lawyers of the fallen SDA Church is a confusion of tongues, but they must do this, because if they ever admit openly that they are truly participating in religious persecution, while waiting to BE persecuted by the US government for a Sunday Law their hypocrisy will be laid bare, and the faithful would quickly depart.

For over 20 years the leaders of the mainstream Adventist church HAVE, in conjunction with the United States government which they despise, acknowledging it to be the second Beast of Revelation, led a campaign to crush the religious freedom of those who cannot in good conscience submit to their evil policies, yet who MUST, because of their beliefs, continue to call themselves “Seventh Day Adventists.” There have been jailings, confiscation of land and property, and worse... all in the name of Christ. Indeed, faithful, commandment-keeping, SOP believing Adventists who have found they could not remain under the leadership of evil men, have found that they could not buy or sell anything regarding the Adventist gospel without violating the law of the 2nd beast, the US Government! The Trademark is indeed a trade (buy/sell) mark. To submit to this law, either by agreement or by going along with it, is to reject the idea that Christ will defend His people. “During the course of His trial Jesus said, ‘If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.’ It is only when Christians mistakenly come to believe that Christ’s kingdom is of this world that they resort to force in defending what they take to be its interests.” [SDA Bible Commentary, Vol.5, p. 527]

Reading Acts 2, reading Isaiah 9:16, we read that every least member is guilty for what their spiritual leaders do on their behalf. It is written, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,” (Hosea 4:6) and so we say to those who remain under the General Conference, waiting to be persecuted even while they persecute others, “Beware the log in your own eye. Flee the wrath to come.” Many take pride and security in the words of Ellen White’s predictions, little realizing that those promises are for a faithful church, which they no longer are, and still less realizing that had the Jews not relied on the words of their conditional prophecies at the expense of the spirit of the prediction, they would not have rejected Christ and His apostles, and they would have been saved. Do not mistake my meaning; the hearts of Creation SDAs are heavy for the fate of our former brethren. We would have them saved, and call no individual damned; but the system is fallen, and will never be repaired; the only hope for those who wish to be saved is to repent, come out, and be baptized anew into the Church of Christ. (Acts 2:38 – 42)

Many Catholics will not leave Catholicism, because they are confident in the absolute unconditionality of promise given by Christ, that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” the church. They take this to mean that no matter WHAT happened, the organization that began with Peter and the apostles would go through. The men of Israel shouted, “The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD,” when Jeremiah predicted that Jerusalem would fall. What became of them? “Trust ye not in lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these.’” (Jer 7:4) Do not trust in conditional prophecies regarding the SDA Church when the conditions outlined IN the prophecies were never met! God is not mocked, and He will, and does, have a faithful people on the earth. Ellen White was a true prophet, and the conditions she gave for those promises being fulfilled were accurate. [Manuscript Releases Volume Twenty-one, page 380]

If you wish to know more about the ability of the current government to enforce a Sunday Law, you may find this link useful, though it is by no means our “proof” that the Trademark has replaced it in the altered fulfillment of prophecy: News: Sunday Law Deregulation and Sabbath Accomodation on the Rise

3) What proves it is an examination of the third principle for defining the Mark of the Beast. What Christians of all types must come to realize is that for every commandment there is both a Spirit and a Letter, and that the letter without the spirit kills (2 Cor 3:6), for breaking the spirit of the Law results in guilt at least as great as violating the precise wording of the Decalogue.

For example, we are taught that unlawful lust is as the sin of adultery. (Mat 5:28) Hatred of one’s brother is as murder. (1 John 3:15) Covetousness and envy are the same as stealing. (Rom 7:7) And the Sabbath also has a spirit. It is eloquently described in the book of Hebrews. We are told, “There remaineth therefore a rest [lit. a “Sabbathkeeping”] to the people of God; for he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Hebrews 4:9 – 11)

We see that the spirit of the Sabbath is rest. If we keep the seventh day pure from work, and from trade, but we are not at rest in Christ, what profit is it to us? We are convicted as Sabbathbreakers, for we have never learned the rest to which Christ has been trying to lead us. If we do not see the Messiah as our hope and shield, as our defender against our enemies and the trials of this world, we will never see the inside of the Holy City. Yet men who claim to be God’s servants take human weapons and use them to crush their opposition, as if there were not a God in Heaven. God says to such men, “Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that thou sendest to enquire of Ba’alzebub the god of Ekron? Therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.” (2 Kings 1:6) The bed on which the General Conference is laying is a bed of both sickness and fornication, for they have sought the kings of this world to protect them, divorcing Christ and going after other lovers.

Early Adventists knew that civil lawsuits could not be started by anyone who called himself a Sabbathkeeper. In their own words, published in a General Conference Bulletin in the year 1895, we find this written, “I need not undertake to give a definition in detail of what the image of the beast is; we all know well that it is the church power using the government, the civil power, for church purposes . . . And of all Christians, SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS cannot do it. The very KEEPING of the Sabbath forbids it.” [emphasis mine] Ellen White said, when referring to the Sunday Law, “A union of church and state means a recognition of a spurious Sabbath, and a failure to respect the conscientious observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.” [Manuscript Releases Volume Twelve, page 218] Anyone with spiritual eyesight can perceive how the union of church and state enacted between the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists and the United States government “means a recognition of a spurious Sabbath,” as surely as if they had rejected the 7th day; for the spirit makes them guilty of the letter as well.

It is therefore established that the Trademark Law fulfils every shade of detail given regarding the Sunday Law and the Mark of the Beast. Indeed, the two laws are one and the same, if the Scriptural teachings regarding the conditional nature of prophecy are even lightly understood. To those who persecute others, therefore, while waiting to be persecuted themselves we would say, “A day will not save you from judgment, if your heart is evil.” The true Sabbath is the 7th day of the week, but it is more than this, it is the state of rest and perfect trust in Christ that would forbid ANY true Christian from taking the sword of Caesar, and holding it to the throat of one whom he believes (even if correctly) has wronged him. Those who are waiting for a Sunday Law, while being a part of a system that persecutes others on religious grounds will find that the way of the Lord is not uneven; and many will fail to even recognize the great test of God’s people, now that it has come upon them.

I pray this answers your question most thoroughly, though there are other details I have not included for lack of space and time. If you have any questions on any of these specifics, please do let me know.

Your servant in Christ,

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