Joseph Bates


Joseph Bates was a co-founder of the original doctrine Seventh-day Adventist movement along with James and Ellen White. 

The founders of Seventh-day Adventism would not be able to join the church today if they had to subscribe to the denomination’s Fundamental Beliefs. More specifically, most would not be able to agree to belief number 2, which deals with the doctrine of the Trinity.…” (Famous author and retired Andrews University seminary professor, George Knight, Ministry Magazine, October, 1993, page 10) 


“The history of the early experiences (historical SDA doctrines 1841-1846) in the message will be a power to withstand the masterly ingenuity of Satan's deceptions.” EGW, Letter 99, 1905.

Learn more about why the founders of the Adventist movement would not be able to JOIN the changed religion of the modern 501c3 General Conference of Seventh day Adventist's today here.

Perhaps there was no more unlikely Seventh-day Adventist preacher than Joseph Bates. When he was young his family moved from Rochester, Massachusetts, to the port city of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, where he became fascinated with the sea. He set out from Fairhaven at the age of 15 as a cabin boy. He experienced shipwreck, capture, and forced service in the British Navy, and for two-and-a-half years was a prisoner of war in England, being released in 1815. Bates eventually served as captain of his own ship, beginning in 1820. In 1821 he gave up smoking and chewing tobacco as well as the use of profane language. He later quit using tea and coffee and in 1843 became a vegetarian.

Bates retired from the sea in 1827 with $11,000, a small fortune for the time. Converted during his years at sea, after his retirement at age 35 Bates became associated with several reforms, including temperance and antislavery. In 1839 he accepted the second advent preaching of William Miller and became an active, successful Millerite preacher. He eventually invested all of his money in the advent movement.

Bates experienced the 1844 disappointment without losing his faith. In 1845 he read a tract by T. M. Preble on the Sabbath, published near Washington, New Hampshire. Bates traveled there to study for himself. On returning to Fairhaven, he met a friend, Captain Hall, at the old bridge approach. Hall asked him, “What’s the news, Captain Bates?” He replied, “The news is that the seventh day is the Sabbath.” Hall became a convert to the Sabbath as well.

The next year, 1846, Bates wrote a tract of his own (The Seventh Day Sabbath, a Perpetual Sign 1847) about the Bible Sabbath. 

Get it on Kindle here.

This tract came to the attention of James and Ellen White around the time of their marriage in August of that year. They accepted the seventh-day Sabbath from studying the Bible evidence for it.

In the tract Bates argued for beginning the Sabbath at 6 p.m. Friday, and many Sabbath keepers, including the Whites, did so for nearly ten years. Other Adventists kept it from sunrise, sunset, or midnight. In 1855 James White asked J. N. Andrews to make a study of the Bible on the subject. At a meeting in Battle Creek in November he presented his paper, which supported sunset. After the meeting, Ellen White had a vision confirming the result of his Bible study, and unity on the subject was gained.

Joseph Bates often chaired the “Sabbath conferences” of 1848-1850. He became more closely associated with the Whites at that time. He traveled to many places, including Battle Creek, winning the first convert there. In his last year of life he preached at least 100 times. He died at the age of 80 at the Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek and is buried at Monterey, Michigan.

Joseph Bates (July 8, 1792 – March 19, 1872) was an American seaman and revivalist minister. He was the founder and developer of Sabbatarian Adventism, a strain of religious thinking that evolved into the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Joseph Bates was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church along with James and Ellen White. Perhaps there was no more unlikely Seventh-day Adventist preacher than Joseph Bates.

Joseph Bates was the oldest of the three founders of the Seventh- day Adventist denomination. He was born on July 8, 1792 at Rochester, Massachusetts. 

As with these other creation truths, the Sabbath shines brightly if but briefly in the Genesis account, but is developed at length elsewhere in Scripture. The picture painted is that of the Creator pausing on the seventh day to enjoy His completed creation. He then embodies in that time an unending sign of Who He is and what He had done. In His wisdom He requests the creatures made in His image to take this first fruit of their time, their first full day, and give it back to Him as their acknowledgment of Him. Thus “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).

    New Bedford was a whaling town back in the days when the great sea mammals furnished most of the illuminating oil, the lubricating oil, and even some of the edible oil that the world knew. Not only whalers but merchantmen sailed from New Bedford to ports in Europe, South America (east and west coasts), China, Australia, and even Japan.

    But New Bedford, with its junior sister Fairhaven across the AcushnetRiver, carries a more intimate interest to us, because here was the home of Joseph Bates, the oldest of the three founders of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.

    Here, in 1793, came to live the boy Joseph Bates when less than a year old. His father, also named Joseph, made his residence on the “Meadow Farm,” the house still standing.

    The elder Joseph Bates was one of fourteen men who, in 1798, banded together to build the Fairhaven Academy, which opened in 1800 and continued into the 1840's. Joseph Bates, the younger, doubtless attended this academy, which still stands under the care of a historical society. Here, with little doubt, the boy, Joseph, attended school from his eight to his fifteenth years.

    But “in my schoolboy days,” he says, “my most ardent desire was to become a sailor.” Accordingly, in 1807, Joseph Bates, in his fifteenth year sailed on his maiden voyage to England. On the way he had a spill into the sea where, on the other side of the ship, swam serene and unknowingly the shark that had followed them for days. And from here, on his second voyage, two years later, he became a prisoner of Danish privateers, tools of Napoleon Bonaparte in his fight against all merchandising with Britain. And through escaping from this capture, he reached England, he was not to see home; for before ever he returned he had spent five years of servitude on King George’s fighting ships and as prisoner of war when America and England were fighting in the War of 1812.

    From hence, also, after his return in full manhood, he sailed as second mate, first mate, and finally master of ships, first to Europe, then in successful adventurous voyages to South America, coming at last to be captain and part owner of vessels, whereby he made his modest fortune, twelve thousand dollars, and retired. Converted in solitude aboard his ship, reformed from evil habits of drinking, smoking, swearing, he became a model of health reform and spiritual power for a people and a cause as yet he did not know.

    It was 1828 when Joseph Bates, home from a voyage to South America, left the sea, twenty-one years from the time when he first sailed as cabin boy. Six weeks before his return his noble, devoted father had died, in his will bidding his son Joseph to help his mother settle the estate. Within a year his mother died also, leaving him the Meadow Farm, where he dwelt for three years.

    Joseph Bates had a faithful and devoted wife, who as a girl was Prudence Nye. Prudence he had known while still a youth; and when in 1818 they were married, it was to walk the road of life together for fifty-two years. For the first ten of these years she was the typical sea captain’s wife, waiting through long voyages in hope, happily in her case never disappointed, of seeing him again. She planted a Bible in his sea chest, and other books of devotion that really brought him to his Saviour. And while he doubted his acceptance, she hailed the evidence of his letters and his diaries as proof of his conversion, and she encouraged him to know that he was accepted of Christ. So when he came to land before his last voyage, he joined her church, the Christian Connection.

    Now, when in 1831, he sold his first residence to his brother, Franklin Bates, he joined with three others members of his church to build a Christian meetinghouse on Washington Street, in which he kept an interest until a change of views in 1839 induced him to dispose of it. That church building, on the corner of Washington and Walnut Streets, is now used as a recreation center. In March of 1844 William Miller preached in this church and thirty-three persons left the church to form a Second Advent Company.

     We do not know where he was living when on that memorable morning in 1846 he sat down to write his first tract on the Sabbath. Nor also where he was living in the fall of 1847 when he decided to write another Sabbath tract with a single York shilling, the remnant of his fortune, in his pocket, and rose to spend his shilling for four pounds (1.8 kilograms) of flour.

    “Joseph,” said his wife, coming in from the kitchen, “I haven’t enough flour to finish my baking.”   “That so?” commented her husband. “How much flour do you lack?” “Oh, about four pounds (1.8 kilograms),” she said.  “All right.” And shortly he rose and went out, and buying four pounds (1.8 kilograms) of flour, came in and left it on the kitchen table while she was temporarily out. But immediately she was at his door again, I fancy with a suspicion which she hoped he might disprove.

            “Joseph, where did this flour come from?”

            “I bought it. Isn’t that what you wanted?”

            “Yes, but have you, Captain Joseph Bates, a man who has sailed with cargoes worth thousands of dollars, gone out and bought just four pounds (1.8 kilograms) of flour?”

            “Wife, for those four pounds (1.8 kilograms) of flour I spent the last money I have on earth.”

    It was true, then! Prudence Bates was a devoted wife. She had approved of her husband’s spending his money in the cause of the coming of Christ, for she held with him in that. But she left finances in his hands; and as their fortunes dwindled, she pressed back the fear and the question of how much he had left. Now she knew. Moreover, she was not with him in this new Sabbath truth, nor would she be for another couple or more years. During that time he used to drive with her to her Christian church on Sunday, go home, and come back to get her after service, for he would not keep the pope’s sabbath; he kept the Lord’s Sabbath. In 1850 she followed him into the third angel’s message with its Sabbath truth, and for twenty years, until her death, she was a devoted and beautiful Sabbathkeeping Christian worker. But now!

    Her apron flew to her eyes, as the tears flowed, and with sobbing voice she cried, “what are we going to do?”

    Joseph Bates rose to his full height. “I am going to write a book on the Sabbath, and distribute it everywhere, to carry the truth to the people,” he said.

            “Yes, but what are we going to live on?”

            “Oh, the Lord will provide.”

            “Yes! ‘The Lord will provide’! That’s what you always say.” Exit, with sobs and tears.

    Well, Joseph Bates couldn’t do anything about it, that he knew. So he turned from his husbandly duties to his apostleship duties, and began to write. Within half an hour he was impressed that he should go to the post office, for a letter with money in it. He went, and found the letter, which contained a ten dollar bill, from a man who said he felt impressed that Elder Bates needed money. With this he purchased ample supplies, sending them ahead to a surprised wife. When he arrived at home, she excitedly demanded to know where they came from.

            “Oh,” said, he, “The Lord sent them.”

            “What do you mean, ‘The Lord sent them’?”

            “Prudy,” said he, “read this letter, and you will know how the Lord provides.”

    Prudence Bates read it; and then she went in and had another good cry, but for a different reason.

    And the message of the Sabbath went over the land. Today more than six million believers throughout the world are the result. Somewhere in Fairhaven Joseph Bates paid his lone York Shilling as an act of faith that he was the servant of Jehovah-jirah, the Lord who would provide. And he believed not in vain.


            —Adapted from A. W. Spalding, Footprints, pp. 40-48.

Mrs. Bates – A Prudent Wife

As a childhood friend of Joseph Bates in the town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Prudence Nye very much looked forward to his returning from his trips at sea. One year younger than Joseph, she had lost her father when she was three years of age, and her mother had raised her and her sister, Sylvia. On his return from a sea voyage in January, 1818, Joseph proposed to her. Loving him and having waited for him, she was concerned about family life and what the future would bring. She asked him, “Do you expect to spend all of your life on the sea?” He too had thought about this, and assured her that he would seek some other line of employment when he had made his fortune on the sea and would be able to keep the family from poverty the rest of their lives. But Prudence was true to her name and pursued the conversation further, asking him, “Just how much do you expect to get before you call it a fortune?” He had thought this through also, and answered her, “I would like to have around $10,000.” This satisfied her, and they were married February 15, 1818. Six weeks later, he was back at sea. (He retired from the sea ten years later, having achieved what he had purposed).

Prudy, as her husband and friends called her, was a very patient and faithful wife, and a godly influence on her family. When Joseph left on another voyage in 1824, without his knowledge she placed a pocket New Testament on the top of the novels and romance books he had planned to read. On opening his trunk to find an interesting book, he took up this Testament and found a poem in the opening page which arrested his attention, and his novel and romance reading ceased from that hour. Bible reading and religion then became of special interest to him.

Prudy’s widowed mother lived with Joseph and Prudy for some time, easing the long, lonely periods when Joseph was away at sea. Prudy gave birth to their first child, Anson Augustus, November 15, 1819, who died before he was two years of age. Helen, their second child, was born in 1822, and she was 16 months old before Joseph even saw her. Joseph and Prudy had 3 other children, Eliza, Joseph, and Mary. Their only surviving son, Joseph, became a whaler and was lost at sea at the age of 35. Mary and her son Willie lived with Joseph and Prudy during the last few years of their lives.

Prudence with her husband looked forward to the second coming of Christ in 1844. With the others, they were disappointed. But when Joseph accepted the Sabbath truth in March, 1845, she thought it would be against her Christianity to observe the “Jewish Sabbath.” It was over 5 years before she saw the importance of the Sabbath; but when she became fully convinced in her own mind that it was important for God’s people, she fully accepted it and joined Joseph in the third angel’s message. Some time later she wrote to the Review and Herald:

“I feel an increasing desire to be filled with all the fullness of God…I love the Holy Sabbath better and better, and pray that it may be sanctified to all the dear children who are trying to keep it. I want to be sanctified by obedience to the truth, to be more holy, have a pure heart and clean hands.” (RH Dec. 23, 1851, p. 72; Written Dec. 12, 1851)

After 52 years of marriage on August 27, 1870, two years before her husband’s death, Prudy passed to her rest to await her Lifegiver. FF

Cabin Boy to Advent Crusader by Virgil Robinson, 1960
Outrider of the Apocalypse by Godfrey T. Anderson, 1972
Experience and Labors, Autobiography by Joseph Bates
, edited by James White, 1878

Reflections on the Sabbath and Temperance

Two Foundation Practices Discovered and Shared by Captain Joseph Bates

“The uncompromising advocate for present truth, which feeds and nourishes the little flock in whatever country or place, is the restorer of all things; one man like John the Baptist, cannot discharge this duty to every kindred, nation, tongue and people, and still remain in one place. The truth is what we want.” (Joseph Bates, Preface to Sabbath Booklets.)

This “love of the truth” (2 Thes. 2:10) enabled the Lord to use “the little flock” in assisting Him in the end-time “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21). What needs restoring? The core question of sin concerns the character of God. On earth this issue centers on the image of God in man. This image is the cornerstone of the Genesis 1 and 2 foundations of the human race. That same character, the image of God, in which man was created, needs to be completely restored. Restoration also involves all the other creation realities of God’s original intent for the race.

As with these other creation truths, the Sabbath shines brightly if but briefly in the Genesis account, but is developed at length elsewhere in Scripture. The picture painted is that of the Creator pausing on the seventh day to enjoy His completed creation. He then embodies in that time an unending sign of Who He is and what He had done. In His wisdom He requests the creatures made in His image to take this first fruit of their time, their first full day, and give it back to Him as their acknowledgment of Him. Thus “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).

After sin, He kept the Sabbath as His sign, now not only of His Creatorship, but also of His Redeemership. He both made and saved man. In the time since the close of the sacred canon, the church generally lost this sign. Revelation describes the recovery of this truth in the end time, when the mark of the creature-beast will be arrayed against the seal of the Creator-God, with all the world identified by one sign of worship or the other (Rev. 7:3; 13:16; cf. Rom. 1:25).

Joseph Bates discovered the foundation of the Sabbath rest and expounded it at length, as evidenced by the booklets he wrote (The Seventh Day Sabbath, a Perpetual Sign, 1846 & 1847; A Vindication of the Seventh Day Sabbath and the Commandments of God, 1848). His commitment to sharing this truth was instrumental in assisting the advent remnant to restore this missing pillar to mankind.

Another foundation concept rediscovered by Captain Bates, and built step by step into his personal and business life, was temperance. This truth also finds its first description in the provisions made by the Creator for His new order of beings. The avoidance of health damaging practices, such as the use of “ardent spirits,” and of wine, tobacco, tea, and coffee, which Joseph Bates outlined in his autobiography, was a part of his growing experience. And this is the experience of all who are committed to what God gave mankind in Eden. The simplicity of what was described in Bates’ autobiography shows the uncomplicated way in which health can be understood and realized.

With sin came all the imbalance and inappropriateness of action that comprise intemperance, and that further destroy the image of God in man. These roots of sin God also planned to remove in these last days. “The little flock” gradually rediscovered and adopted the biblical concepts of health. Captain Bates was their health forerunner.

New Testament Seventh Day Sabbath
by Joseph Bates

Second Advent Review, and Sabbath Herald,
Vol. 1, No. 4, January 1851, Paris, ME.

Those who are keeping the seventh day Sabbath, in the third angel’s message, are opposed by a certain class of believers that were recently their teachers and fellow laborers while passing through the first and second angel’s messages, as recorded in Rev. 14: 6-8.

The main points of their objections are these.

  1. That Jesus never taught, neither did he ever enforce the Sabbath. Many say that he “RELAXED” it.
  2. That it was nailed to the cross, and never taught by the apostles: hence, we are not bound to keep it since the crucifixion of Jesus. It was all right, say they, for the Jews, to whom it was given under the Old Testament law; but not for the Gentiles under the New.

We dissent from this, and will now attempt to show,

  1. That Jesus did teach, and keep the seventh day Sabbath.
  2. That it was not nailed to the cross, and that all four of the evangelists speak of it in the same light after, as they did before the crucifixion. That the disciples kept it after their Lord was nailed to the cross, hence it is as binding on the Gentiles, as on the Jews, and never was abolished by being nailed to the cross.

Our opponents say that Jesus never taught us in the New Testament that we should keep the Sabbath. I answer, neither did he ever show us that it ought not to be kept. The seventh day Sabbath is brought to view more than fifty times in the New Testament; seventeen times by Jesus himself, and twelve times, after his crucifixion by his disciples. The Sabbath is taught eleven times also, by and through the commandments, six times certainly after the crucifixion of the Saviour, and thrice in the Revelation: in all nearly seventy. A great portion of these our opponents say there is no Sabbath, yet they call the first day of the week the Sabbath, and profess to rest on that day. See their appointments for preaching on that day in the “Advent Herald,” and the “Advent Harbinger.”

Jesus taught that he was the Lord of the Sabbath. In the Old Testament? No, he taught it in the New. Did he keep it under the gospel, in the New Testament? Yes he did. See John 15:10. “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” Is it possible for a living man to prove that he did in any way relax, or break the fourth commandment of the ten? The Sabbath that he was Lord of? Certainly not. He is no Saviour to those who doubt his plain simple words.

Mark says that “when the Sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue.” John 6:2. See also Luke 4:31, and 16. It was his custom to read and teach on that day. All Christendom, as it were, do the same; but not on the Lord’s Sabbath day. A part of his reply to his disciples respecting his coming and the end of the world was, “Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.” There was but two points of time for this flight referred to: first, the destruction of Jerusalem, then 39 years in the future, and second, “the great and terrible day of the Lord,” the “time of trouble such as never was.” I ask if THE Sabbath, the one Jesus was the Lord of, was not clearly recognized 39, if not 1820 years beyond his crucifixion. Call it the Jewish Sabbath, or any other name that suits you best; and then prove why they were not to flee on the Sabbath, and then you have not disproved the perpetuity of THE SEVENTH DAY SABBATH, of which Jesus is Lord. It is clear also that this title, given him by his Father, was not nailed to the cross, nor can it be abolished while he has a follower to keep the Sabbath. For “the Sabbath was made for man.”

By showing the commandments of God to be the foundation of all the law, and the prophets, and the keeping of them the road to eternal life, and being highly esteemed in the reign of heaven, [Matt.22: 35-40, Luke 10: 25-28, Matt. 5: 19] he proves, that the Sabbath is perpetual, and was not nailed to the cross; because the whole ten were included in the above teaching. If the reader objects because the Sabbath is not separately quoted by Jesus, then by the same rule he may object to the firstsecond and tenth commandments; for Jesus has not quoted them, only as in the above, in the New Testament. Who for a moment supposes that we may with impunity, have other gods, or bow down to graven images, or covet our neighbor’s wife, house, or lands, because he did not quote them separately? – No one. If these three commandments are binding here, it is clear that the Sabbath is also binding.

If the Sabbath was to be perpetuated, says one, why did not Jesus teach it clearly and distinctly. He has done it by enforcing all ten of the commandments. It was not necessary for him to re-enact a law that even his enemies were so tenacious in observing. They even threatened him with his life there several times for breaking the Sabbath law, as they said, when all that they could prove against him was that he had allowed some of his disciples to eat some raw wheat to satisfy hunger, and healed three men of their infirmities. He also said, “The Sabbath was made for man.” What sort of men? Paul will answer. “Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also.” Rom.3: 29. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after death the judgment.” The Jews? Yes, the Gentiles also.

It would be strange teaching indeed, for Jesus to say the Sabbath was made for man, and yet men were to live and multiply for more than 1800 years after that law was blotted out. If the Sabbath was made for the Jews only, then as Jesus has said, “for man,” the Sabbath must be perpetuated while the Jews as men exist. There is proof enough that they are not dead yet.

Health Reforming Sea Captain Becomes Sabbath Reforming Adventist

(Adventist means looking forward and believing in the Second ADVENT of Christ's coming INTO our bodies which represents/symbolizes the clouds of Heaven, the church triumphant, the church in Heaven per John 14:20. We are to be IN Christ's body, Christ IN us, and Christ IN His Father's body = The Father of Christ is the Most Holy Place in Heaven = His Mind/His Thoughts, His Feelings are PERFECT like His Law. The Law of God is a transcript of His own MIND! The Son of God is the THOUGHTS of GOD MADE AUDIBLE TO FALLEN MANKIND, Christ is the law of God = truth = perfection that is to DWELL in us, to be written to the two lobes of our mind, our thoughts and our feelings through the indwelling Spirit of the Son of God.)

Three hundred years after Columbus gained fame sailing the oceans of the world, another sea captain was born. His name was Joseph Bates. He was destined to give up sailing finding greater riches in spiritual truths and in eternal life in Christ. Joseph was born July 8, 1792, in Rochester, Plymouth County, into a respected family that had lived in Massachusetts for many generations. His father, also named Joseph Bates, wanted his son to be a businessman. Young Joseph wanted to be a sailor. In an effort to dissuade the boy, his father arranged for him to accompany his uncle on a voyage from New Bedford to Boston, a passage known to be stormy and dangerous. Instead of curing Joseph of his love for the sea, the voyage only strengthened it. His parents then conceded defeat and Joseph, age 15, set sail as a cabin boy, on a vessel bound for Europe in June 1807.

Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, Joseph, during his 21 years on the high seas, progressively gave up liquor, tobacco, tea and coffee. His clean and temperate life style was in sharp contrast to the kind of life that was common for sailors in the 1800’s. His stand against the dissolute customs of his day, took much courage and showed a strength of character that was preparing him to endure the 1844 disappointment. When Bates had accumulated the agreed fortune, he kept the promise of love made to his bride-to-be (see front page story) and retired from his life as a sea-captain.

Bates became a farmer and a home missionary. He worked the family farm inherited from his parents. He co-founded the “Seaman’s Friend Society”, edited a pamphlet called The Missionary Herald, and was actively involved with temperance reforms and the abolition of slavery. In 1832, Bates and four others, built their church building.

The falling of the stars, November 13, 1833, had a profound effect on Joseph. Later, he heard the advent message and studied William Miller’s lectures on the second coming of Jesus. Bates was impressed with what he read and determined to meet Miller. In Boston, Bates found a preacher named Joshua Himes who knew Miller. Pastor Himes told him about the paper he edited called The Signs of the Times. Bates subscribed to the paper and gave generously to its support. From that time forward, Bates put all he had into the work of spreading the news of the soon return of Jesus.

The first General Conference on the coming of Jesus Christ held in Boston, October 14, 1840, was attended by Bates. Prudence was not sure that the world would end in three years as Joseph believed, but she knew that Joseph was a good man, and would provide for his family. Joseph, now known as “Elder Bates” traveled to neighboring towns and villages, speaking to all who would listen to the “blessed hope,” the news of the soon coming of Jesus Christ. These meetings were held in schoolhouses, and churches, but mostly in farmhouses, with a few families gathered together to hear about the second coming of Jesus in three years.

Bates sold his home, settled his accounts, and joined the army of preachers proclaiming the soon coming of Jesus. But they were disappointed when March 21, 1844, passed and Christ had not come. Soon after this disappointment the arguments for the date of October 22, 1844, were published in the paper, The Midnight Cry, which reported the consensus from the meeting in Exeter, August 12, 1844. Thus began a movement of intense preaching of the second coming between August and October, 1844. This became known as the “midnight cry” or the “seventh month movement.” This movement was attended by the marked movings of the Holy Spirit. All who were involved knew that the Holy Spirit was leading the movement. Ellen Harmon was told that this movement was the bright light that was to lighten the path to the City of God (see box). The “eating the book” of Daniel was sweet to Joseph. The bitterness of the disappointment when the time passed was very hard indeed. Joseph was one of those who did not give up his faith in God. He was strengthened by this bitter test and advanced in the knowledge and love of the truth going from strength to strength. In 1845 Bates first became aware of the 7th-day Sabbath from reading a tract written by T. M. Preble. For 28 years Bates continued to search out and visit Adventists and all who would listen, preaching the 7th-day Sabbath, the sanctuary message, and witnessing to the benefits of living without liquor, tobacco, tea or coffee.

From Life of Bates, an autobiography edited by James White



“They had a bright light set up behind them at the beginning of the path, which an angel told me was the midnight cry.  This light shone all along the path and gave light for their feet so that they might not stumble. If they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the city, they were safe.” Early Writings p. 14


The Seventh Day Sabbath Not Nailed to the Cross

Our opponents say that the Sabbath was nailed to the cross, when Jesus was crucified. They quote Col.2: 14,16, for proof. “Blotting out the hand writing of ordinances, . . . . Nailing it to his cross.” “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath-days.” The version here is incorrect. It should be “Sabbaths.” Days are supplied. See Whiting and Macknight. Verse 17th shows that the new moons, meats, drinks, and sabbaths, as were required to be observed yearly, are shadows. But the weekly Sabbath, that never was given for a feast day as the above were, is not a shadow, neither can it be unless all of God’s commandments are shadows. If they are shadows, then of course they are blotted out, and there can be no sin. “For sin is the transgression of the law.” “Where no law is, there is no transgression.” This settles the question forever. For Col. 2: 16, 17, is the only scripture in the New Testament, that they can find to fix on the time for the abolition of the Sabbath. This fails them, for Paul says that they are shadows.

Colossians 2:16-17 (KJV) 16 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."

See original Review and Herald article in Vol. 1, No. 4, January 1851 for continuation (1 page more)

Pioneers Ellen White identified:

William Miller, Josiah Litch, Joshua Himes, Charles Fitch, Joseph Bates:

“The record of the experience through which the people of God passed in the early history of our work must be republished. Many of those who have since come into the truth are ignorant of the way in which the Lord wrought. The experience of William Miller and his associates, of Captain Joseph Bates, and of other pioneers in the advent message, should be kept before our people. Elder Loughborough’s book should receive attention. Our leading men should see what can be done for the circulation of this book.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 145

“God directed the mind of William Miller to the prophecies and gave him great light upon the book of Revelation.”

Early Writings, p. 231.

“In the year 1840, another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy excited widespread interest. Two years before, Josiah Litch, one of the leading ministers preaching the second advent, published an exposition of Revelation 9, predicting the fall of the Ottoman Empire. According to his calculations, this power was to be overthrown ‘in A.D. 1840, sometime in the month of August;’ and only a few days previous to its accomplishment he wrote: ‘Allowing the first period, 150 years, to have been exactly fulfilled before Deacozes ascended the throne by permission of the Turks, and that the 391 years, fifteen days, commenced at the close of the first period, it will end on the 11th of August, 1840.’” Great Controversy, p. 334.

James White, Stephen Pierce, Hiram Edson

“Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce [1], Elder {Hiram} Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word.” Selected Messages, Book 1, p. 206.

(“Seekers of His Glory” to be concluded next issue.) RF

[1] “Father Pierce” was Stephen Pierce, who served in ministerial and administrative work in the early days. – Compilers of the Ellen White Estate materials.