The Truth About Seventh-day Adventists


by William H. Branson


THE great issues involved in this discussion are altogether too vital to be lightly considered. The truth of God is more precious than gold, and we are bidden to search for it as for rubies. We believe we have clearly shown that in renouncing Seventh-day Adventism, Mr. Canright also renounced many of the great fundamental principles of the gospel, and in reality, placed himself on the side of the opposers of the truth. Every argument that he has advanced against the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventists breaks down upon examination, and those who are misled by them are surely building their spiritual houses upon the sand.

The Word of God is the only safe and secure foundation on which one can build his hope of eternal life. Be a doctrine ever so popular, if it is not established on that Word, it is unworthy of acceptance. Nor does the unpopularity of a doctrine prove it to be false. Truth has never been popular. She has always had to plead her cause, and has suffered much ridicule at the hands of so-called wise men.

In the sixteenth century, as light broke over the world that led away from and out of the night of papal supremacy, the Reformers were sorely persecuted and everywhere denounced by the recognized religious leaders of their day. Their enemies pounced upon them like dogs of war. Yet the messages of these Reformers were Heaven sent, and finally came to be recognized as light from above. But those early Reformers did not receive a full and complete revelation of all the truths which had been lost sight of during the Dark Ages, when the church was in apostasy. A fine statement of this fact is found in the notable farewell address of Rev. John Robinson, pastor of the English Puritans, to the many members of his congregation who turned from Holland to seek homes in the New World. On this memorable occasion he said:

Brethren, we are now ere long to part asunder, and the Lord knows whether I shall live ever to see your faces more. But whether the Lord bath appointed it or not, I charge you before God and His blessed angels to follow me no farther than I have followed Christ. If God should reveal anything to you by any other instrument of His, he as ready to receive it as ever you were to receive any truth of my ministry; for I am very confident the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth out of His holy word....

Remember your church covenant, in which you have agreed to walk in all the ways of the Lord, made or to be made known unto you. Remember your promise and covenant with God and with one another, to receive whatever light and truth shall be made known to you from His written word; but withal, take heed, I beseech you, what you receive for truth, and compare it and weigh it with other scriptures of truth before you accept it; for it is not possible the Christian world should come so lately out of such thick anti-Christian darkness, and that full perfection of knowledge should break forth at once. W. C. MARTYN, History of the English Puritans, vol. 5, pp. 70, 71.

For my part, I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed churches, who are come to a period in religion, and will go at present no farther than the instruments of their reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw; . . . and the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by that great man of God, who yet saw not all things. This is a misery much to be lamented; for though they were burning and shining lights in their time, yet they penetrated not into the whole counsel of God, but were they now living, would be as willing to embrace further light as that which they first received. D. NEAL, History of the Puritans (Two Vol. ed., 1848), vol. 1, p. 269.

In these remarks Mr. Robinson was right. The uncovering and unfolding of the truths of the gospel in the last days is a matter of prophecy, and it is progressive. The path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day. Proverbs 4:18. The fact that a doctrine appears new is no argument against it. The fact that Seventh-day Adventism dates back only a generation is no evidence that it does not constitute a message from God to the world. Quite to the contrary: God has told us of the rise and spread of just such a message, and the only proper ground for questioning would be found in its failure to come.

Thus we read in Malachi 3:1, 2:

Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom you seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom you delight in: behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? And who shall stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap.

Also the prophet Joel tells of this preparatory message in the following graphic language:  

'Slow you the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord comes, for it is nigh at hand. Joel 2:1.

To John on lonely Patmos the rise and work of this message was also revealed, and he said:

I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. Revelation 14:6-10.

Here is a special message from God which sweeps through the whole earth. It takes in all people and tongues. It announces that the hour of His [God's] judgment is come. It warns against the beast (the papal power which changed God's law and Sabbath), and against the reception of his mark. In verse 12 we learn that the result of this message will be the gathering out of a people from the nations of the earth who will obey all God's commandments. Of them it is said, Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. Immediately after this, John says:

I looked, and behold. a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle and another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in Thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for Thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on he earth; and the earth was reaped. Revelation 14:14-16.

Thus we see that the message which prepares the way for the coming of the divine harvester (Jesus) is the judgment-hour message which leads men to the keeping of the Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. There is no conflict between these two. The faith (the teachings or doctrines) of Jesus, is not contrary to the commandments of God, and those who truly follow Jesus and who make proper preparation for His coming will horror and obey His law. There was nothing in the life, death, or resurrection of Christ that in any way lessened the authority of the moral code.

No more God - dishonoring doctrine could be preached than that the atonement of Christ has freed men from the obligation to obey God's moral law. To make it possible for man to obey was its highest and holiest object. Is it reasonable that Christ should die to save men from the guilt of transgression, give them a free pardon for the past, and then say to them, Now you are free; go steal, lie, commit adultery, kill, desecrate the Sabbath of God, etc.? No! A thousand time no! Saved men are not free to break the law of God. True, they are set free from its condemnation for sins of the past which they themselves were powerless to undo, but license has not been given them to presume upon God's goodness by continuing in transgression.

A man can be forgiven and justified before God who has never kept the law, but he can not remain in this justified state without keeping it. He does not keep the law in order to become a Christian, but, being a Christian, he must keep it in a manner that becomes one.

Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

Not every one that says unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Matthew 7:21.

Be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22. Thus God calls men back to the keeping of His holy law. This includes the seventh-day Sabbath and all. Of the heralds of this message it is said:

They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shall be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.  

If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shall thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord bath spoken it. Isaiah 58:12-14.

This, then, is a message of Sabbath reform. It constitutes a turning back to the old paths of God's Word, the paths spoken of by David when he said, Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Psalms 119:35.

This we believe is the Elijah message promised in Malachi's prophecy where he said: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Malachi 4:5. Now the outstanding event in Elijah's experience was the mighty reformation he brought about in Israel on the point of regard for the law of God. After the three and one-half years of drought, during which time Elijah was in hiding, he was bidden of God to go acid appear before Ahab the king. And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou lie that troubleth Israel? He was thus charged with responsibility for the awful drought that had caused so much suffering in Israel. But Elijah answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou has followed Baalim. 1 Kings 18:17-19.

When the people were gathered together, fire was sent down from heaven to prove that Elijah's message was true and that he was God's servant, and the outcome of it all was a mighty reformation in Israel. Now just such a message is to be given again before the Second Advent of Christ. God's promise is,

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

Just as in the days of Elijah, many of the professed people of God have forsaken His commandments, and are following the doctrines of a false god. In the keeping of Sunday they are obeying the mandates of the papal church, whose head has exalted himself to the position of another god on earth.

He is spoken of as Lord. God the Pope. The church of which he is head has given us a new Sabbath and a changed law. It has cast the truth to the ground. Daniel 8:12. But just as the world is about to meet its God over His broken law; just as men are about to be summoned before the great judgment seat of Christ to be weighed in the balances of the Lord, the Elijah message is sent forth, calling the nations back again into full harmony with the law of their God. Once again the words of Elijah are pertinent:

Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt you between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. 1 Kings 18:21. Said the great evangelist Moody:

The law that was given at Sinai has lost none of its solemnity. Time cannot wear out its authority or the fact of its authorship. . . .

Now men may cavil as much as they like about other parts of the Bible, but I have never met an honest \man that found fault with the Ten Commandments. Infidels may mock the Lawgiver, and reject Him who has delivered us from the curse of the law, but they can't help admitting that the commandments are right. Renan said that they are for all nations, and will remain the commandments of God during all the centuries.

If God created this world, He must make some laws to govern it. In order to make life safe we must have good laws; there is not a country the sun shines upon that does not possess laws. Now this is God's law. It has come from on high, and infidels and skeptics have to admit that it is pure.

'The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is pure, making wise the simple: the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.'

Now the question for you and me is, Are we keeping thesecommandments? Have we fulfilled all the requirements of the law? If God made us, as we know He did, He had a right to make that law; and if we don't use it aright, it would have been better for us if we had never had it, for it will condemn us. We shall he found wanting. The law is all right, but are we right? -Weighed and Wanting, pp. 11, 12.

Some people seem to think we have got beyond the commandments. What did Christ say? 'Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.' The commandments of God given to Moses in the mount at Horeb are as binding today as ever they have been since the time when they were proclaimed in the hearing of the people. The Jews said the law was not given in Palestine (which belonged to Israel), but in the wilderness, because the law was for ill nations.

Jesus never condemned the law and the prophets, but He did condemn those who. did not obey them. Because He gave new commandments, it does not follow that He abolished the old. Christ's explanation of them made them all the more searching. - Ibid., pp. 14, 15.

The conviction deepens in me with the years, that the old truths of the Bible must be stated and restated in the plainest possible 1anguage. -Ibid., p. 15.

The people must be made to understand that the Ten Commandments are still binding, and that there is a penalty attached to their violation. We do not want a gospel of mere sentiment. The sermon on the mount did not blot out the Ten Commandments.

When Christ came, He condensed the statement of the law into this form: 'Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.' Paul said: 'Love is the fulfilling of the law.' But does this mean that the detailed precepts of the Ten Commandments are superseded, and have become back numbers? Does a father cease to give children rules to obey because they love him? Does a nation burn its statute books because the people have become patriotic? Not at all. And yet people speak as if the commandments do not hold for Christians because they have come to love God. Paul said: 'Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid. Yea, we establish the law.' It still holds good. The commandments are necessary. So long as we obey, they do not rest heavy upon us; but as soon as we try to break away, we find they are like fences to keep us within bounds. Horses need bridles even after they have been properly broken in. . . .

Now face these Ten Commandments honestly and prayerfully. See if your life is right and if you are treating God fairly. God's statutes are just, are they not? If they are right, let us see if we are right. Let us pray that the Holy Ghost may search each one of us. Let us get alone with God and read His law-read it carefully and prayerfully, and ask Him to show us our sins and what He would have us to do. -Ibid., pp. 16, 17.

If in perusing this volume the reader has been convinced that he has been living in violation of some command of God, we earnestly beseech him to turn this day from such transgression, and yield obedience to God's requirements. We are soon to be weighed in the balances. Shall we risk heaven by continuing in disobedience? We cannot shut our eyes to light and truth, and still be found just before God. The Lord declares, He that turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Proverbs 28:9.'

How pitiful is the case of one who, through the rejection of light, has come to the place where his prayers are unanswered and his petitions remain ungranted. But let none undertake to keep God's holy law in human weakness. It is only by the grace of God and the indwelling of Christ Jesus in the heart that man can do anything good. Our weakness must take hold upon His unfailing strength if we would succeed in our efforts to attain to the righteousness of the law. He is able to work in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. He can strengthen you with might by His Spirit in the inner man. Ephesians 3:16. If Christ, who knocks at the heart's door, is permitted to come in, He will ascend the heart's throne, and will exercise His kingly power in subduing the life and causing it to conform to His will as revealed in His holy law. He is able to save to the uttermost. He can do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, and with Paul we can say, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Philippians 4:13.

Thus we see the Christ of the atonement, by whose blood we are cleansed from past sins, coming to dwell and work in us even to the point of making us perfect in every good work. This, then, is the crowning work of the world's Redeemer. Not only does He pardon repenting sinners, but He fully restores His image in them by bringing them back into harmony with God's holy law through the power of His own indwelling presence.

Dear reader, have you often mourned that you found it hard to be good and obey God's requirements? Of course you have. You might well go further, and say that it is humanly impossible, for so it is. There is none that does good, no not one. Romans 3:12. But the indwelling Christ makes all the difference between success and failure. He has all power in heaven and in earth, and He offers to bring that power to bear upon the weak tendencies of your nature, and make you mighty through God to do His will; and with God, nothing is impossible. .

This is what David meant when he said, I will run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou shall enlarge` my heart. Psalms 119:32. 1 cried unto Thee: Save me, and I shall keep [margin, that I may keep] Thy testimonies. Psalms 119:146. Those, therefore, who have the sweet, abiding presence of Jesus in their hearts will be led to declare with David, 0 how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.

Psalms 119:97. And if Jesus is allowed full and complete control, they will have the great joy of seeing the power of sin subdued in their lives and every thought brought into captivity to the will of Christ. Will you, then, dear reader, open wide the, heart's door and let Prince Emmanuel in? Will you tell Him that you are willing that He should live His life of perfect obedience to the moral law of God in your flesh? Will you do this, not only today, but every day? If so, then you will daily know the joy of wearing the robe of His righteousness, and in the day of God you will stand before Him unashamed.