The Catholic Defender: My Discussion with Seventh Day Adventist friends
I recently have had discussions with Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) friends who've been promoting videos concerning their doctrines regarding the Catholic Church.
The SDA was founded corporately in 1863 as a result of the "Great Day of Disappointment" when many followed Baptist Minister William Miller on Mount Kelloggs on October 22, 1844. The largest group coming down from the Mountains was the Seventh Day Adventist who developed new doctrines through James and Ellen White.
Much of the SDA doctrine focuses on their false misconceptions of the Catholic Faith. The SDA have produced a number of Anti-Catholic videos that makes claims against the Catholic Church packaging their arguments with colorful, yet highly inaccurate messages.
It is easy to see how people are misinformed by these false presentations. From the SDA belief that Sunday Worship is a sign of the "Anti-Christ" to identifying the Eucharist as a "Babylonian" idol, there are basically 9 identifiers they claim point to the Catholic Faith as the "Whore of Babylon".
Lets take a look at these identifiers and show some objectivity.
The SDA first identifier: The Catholic Church began in 538 A.D. marking the beginning of the 1260 year reign prophesied by Daniel the Prophet. To give them their 1260 years, they attach the year 1798. The SDA claim that the Catholic Church rose taking out three kingdoms uprooting the Heruli, the Ostrogoths, and the Vandals. Response: The SDA is using the 538 date because they want you to believe this was the beginning of Papal authority.
Pope Vigilius (537-555) was the first of the so-called Byzantine Popes because the Papacy between 537 -752 were approved by the Roman Emperor.
These Popes were duly elevated according to canon law, but the Roman Emperor basically gave his stamp of approval to the appointment. This in no way made the Emperor and the Pope in unison with humble recognition. They feuded over issues.
The 1798 date is connected to the "Babylonian Captivity" when Napoleon hijacked the Papacy and took the Pope to France.
Concerning the Heruli (who were polytheistic known to practice human sacrifices and who many later converted to the Arian Heresy), widows were expected to hang themselves when they lost their husbands.
the Ostrogoths were entrenched in the Arian heresy that denied the belief in the Trinity, that Jesus Christ is true God and true man. The Arian originated with the Alexandrian priest Arius ( c. 250– c. 336). Arianism maintained that the Son of God was created by the Father and was therefore neither co-eternal with the Father, nor consubstantial.
and the Vandals (The Vandals followed a type of Christianity known as "Arianism," which the Romans considered to be heretical. "Arianism" was the teaching of the priest Arius (250-336), who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, in the early fourth century. His main belief was that the Son, Jesus, had been created by his father, God).
These were the make up known as the "Vandal Kingdom" who captured Rome and pillaged the city in 455 A.D. Belisarius, a Byzantine General who served under the Roman Emperor Justinian, finally over threw this Vandal Kingdom. It was not the power of the Pope or the Church that won the day, it was the civil authority. The defeat of the Barbarians were an answer to prayer as the Vandals and their partners were cruel and ruthless. Pope Vigilius was the 58th successor of St. Peter. The Catholic Faith was founded by Jesus Christ. The SDA second identifier: "It would have a man at its head who speaks for it". Response: So do most of the organizations and nations on the face of the earth. I think most people might assume the anti-Christ might be a male, but this hardly proves that this is the Catholic Faith. Jesus Placed St. Peter as His first Pope. Jesus clearly leaves His authority with His Apostles and their successors. To truly understand the Papacy, you would have to have an understanding of Judaism.
Of the Household of David, the Lord placed a "Royal Stewart" giving him the keys of authority:
"I will place the key* of the House of David on his shoulder;
what he opens, no one will shut,
what he shuts, no one will open."
Jesus, being the Messiah, has the power to transfer the Keys from the Household of David to St. Peter:
"And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,* and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. l I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.* Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
The 266 successors of St. Peter have all been men.
The SDA third identifier: "It would pluck up or uproot three kingdoms". Response: The three kingdoms the SDA claim the Catholic Church uprooted were the Vandals, Heruli, and the Ostrogoths. These were warring groups that made war on Rome. They actually ramsacked Rome.
The Church went into hiding during this time. They hid the relics of St. Peter and other Saints from the invasion of the Barbarians so they would not be destroyed.
The Catholic Church faced martyrdom and persecution from these Barbarians. It was the Civil Government who ultimately defeated and pushed back the Vandals.
The SDA want you to believe that it was the Catholic Church who killed hundreds of millions of people when in fact, the Church was forced underground itself. General Belisarius was a liberator of the people of Rome against these Barbarians. The SDA fourth identifier: "It would be diverse or different from the other kingdoms". Response: The SDA want to describe the Vatican as "diverse" because our Kingdom really is not of this world.
The Vatican truly would be Jesus royal embassy and the earth it's mission field. This should not be confused with the deception of the Anti-Christ and his world conquest. The Anti-Christ will appear to be a man of peace; however, his kingdom will be exposed through New Age teaching.
Renouncing the 10 Commandments will be a sign to watch. The rejection of traditional values, traditional families. The Whore of Babylon will result of the apostasy of those who abandon the Catholic Faith. In the Old Testament, God accused Israel of adultery when His people worshiped false gods. The SDA 5th identifier: "It would emerge from the fourth kingdom of the iron-the Pagan Roman Empire".
Response: This is why the SDA seeks to connect the Papacy with the Roman Emperor? They want you to think that Pope Francis would be a successor to the Emperor Nero. People have believed that Simon the Sorcerer was the first Pope, rejecting St. Peter. This is also why they bitterly challenge that St. Peter was never in Rome.
A side note is that the SDA have no problem recognizing Rome as "Babylon" yet, when St. Peter reveals that he was in "Babylon" (1 Peter 5:13), the SDA response is that had to be Iraq?
It is interesting that they would give credit to Constantine in finding the Catholic Church but find a way to attribute Pope Vigilius as the first Pope. Constantine was about 2 centuries earlier.
The SDA refereed to Constantine as "Pontifex Maximus" trying to make him a Pope. The current Pope at this time was St. Sylvester I. It was through Constantine that the Catholic Church was given freedom through his famous "Edict of Milan".
The SDA sixth point: "God's people would be given into his hand for a time and times and the dividing of time".
This is based on the SDA claim that the Catholic faith began in 538 A.D. and died in 1798 when Napoleon of France hijacked the Pope to France. They are converting the 1260 days of Daniels prophecy to 1260 years. 1798 would be the death of the Papacy.
Today, some believe that the European Union might be this last "Revised Roman Empire", this remains to be seen.
The Papacy has not died. The early SDA developed an answer to 1260 days from using a day per year ratio. Satan is good about developing ideas that will take people away from the truth.
Jesus established his Church in 33 A.D. You can't point to 312 A.D. or 538 A.D. to fit in a time that the Catholic Church begins.
Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church, that he would remain with it until the end of the age, that the Holy Spirit would be given to the Church to keep it straight to Jesus teachings.
As far as the time, "forty-two months: The duration of the vicious persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV (Dn 7:25; 12:7); this persecution of three and a half years (half of seven, counted as 1260 days in Revelation 11:3 and 12:6 which becomes the prototype of periods of trial for God's people.
The SDA and anyone else can point out 1260 years throughout Catholic history as we have about 2,000 years of history. The SDA seventh point: "The rule of the papacy began in 538 A.D." See how much the SDA are stressing this point. Yet in their own history since 1863, this has shifted three different times.
At one time they thought the Church began in 312. They couldn't grasp anything to reach 1260 years so they counted backwards 1260 years and from there, they recognize Pope Vigilius as the first Pope. Unfortunately for the SDA, Pope Vigilius was the 59th successor to Peter.
This is why the SDA attempts to refute St. Peter ever being in Rome and that he was commissioned by Christ to be the first Pope.
In 755 A.D. the Popes were given lands called Papal States that measured about the size of new Hampshire.
In 1860 these Papal States became subject to Victor Emmanuel II, King of Italy. Then an independent Papal State was created in 1929 called "Vatican City".
If you wanted to use a date that the Pope was given land, this was 755, not 538! The Papal rule continues this very day. A spiritual rule that governs more than a billion people. One out of six living persons today profess the faith of the Apostles.
From the Vandal to , those who were cruel towards Christians, who used barbaric tactics towards the Church the SDA would say the Church suppressed. Napoleon
Napoleon wasn't the first Emperor who tried to steal God's authority by force. Emperors and Rulers tried to control or influence the Papacy to further their own ambitions. In some cases, they appointed anti-popes to support them.
An anti-pope is a man who has been improperly elected as Pope. He sets himself up in opposition to the true Pope who has been regularly chosen in accordance with Canon Law.
The SDA eight point: "The Papacy further undermines Jesus by setting up a system of confession to an earthly priest, thus bypassing Jesus". The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a stumbling block to most Non-Catholics. St. Paul writes, "We have the Ministry of Reconciliation".
The first anti-Pope was Hippolytus in 217 A.D. The last anti-Pope was Felix V from 1440-1449. In all there have been 27 anti-Popes none of which are listed in the history of the Popes. Hippolytus would be received back into the Faith with his repentance.
This is the heart of the New Covenant that the Church preaches repentance throughout the whole world. When we go to Confession, we do so in obedience to the will of Jesus.
St. John states, "On the evening of that first day of the week (Sunday), even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews... Jesus came and stood before them, Peace be with you, He said. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. At the sight of the Lord the Disciples rejoiced. Peace be with you, he said again. As the Father has sent me so I send you. Then he breathed on them and said. Receive the Holy Spirit, if you forgive men's sins, they are forgiven, if you hold them bound, they are held bound".
Through this great Sacrament, Jesus gives his Apostles the Ministry of Reconciliation. This authority should not be confused with the moral obligation to forgive "seventy times seven".
St. James writes 5:13, "Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the priest of the Church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven".
St. James further states, "Therefore, confess Your Sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed".
In this great Sacrament, Jesus chooses to forgive in the action of his ministers. This is an authority commanded by Christ! It's Jesus who forgives in the action (obedience) of his ministers.
The question is, Do you believe in Jesus, and does he have the power to forgive sins? Yes he does! Can he use his Church, yes he Can! He has commanded it. The SDA have issues with the title "Father", they have issues with the Commandments and statues, but their biggest problem is the Sabbath. Changing the feast days and the laws Jesus broke bread on Sunday, that first Easter, and the Church has been doing it ever since. We are living in the New Covenant and Christ established the Church to guide us until the Lord returns.
We are not left without the presence of the Lord or the Holy Spirit. St. Lukes writes that the Church "gathered on the first day of the week when we gathered for the breaking of bread".
This was the day of the early Church long before Constantine. This is attested from the earliest Fathers of the Church, the Successors of the Apostles.
It's interesting that the Sabbath is refereed to 8 times in the book of Acts and it was related to reaching out to the Jews. It wasn't a call to guide the Gentiles into the Synagogue. In fact the Gentiles were not permitted to go into the Synagogue as they were "unclean".
If I thought about it, I could create 9 identifiers that could point to the SDA as the anti-Christ. This is how people become confused with what the truth is.
The Catholic Faith is the only sure foundation who does have Jesus Christ as the founder. There can be no greater foundation. I couldn't develop 1260 years for the SDA since they have been around for about 148 years.
Maybe I can use the 1260 days to indicate the fact that the SDA believe that Jesus is the incarnation of St. Michael the Archangel. The SDA are who the Jehovah's Witnesses took this doctrine from!
Compare Isaiah 1:13-14 "Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings; your incense is loathsome to me. New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies, octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear. Your moons and festivals I detest; they weigh me down, I tire of the Load". With Colossians 2:16-17, "Let no one, then, pass judgment on you in matters of food and drink or with regard to a festival or new moon or sabbath. These are shadows of things to come; the reality belongs to Christ".
Jesus broke bread on Easter Sunday, the Church has continued this ever since. The SDA continues some of the food restrictions of the Old Testament as well. That to is addressed in this passage. Don't worry about the food and drink!
For every attack levied against the Catholic Faith, it can take a book to explain the many SDA misconceptions. Unfortunately, people are being hoodwinked to accepting another "new gospel" founded by men which is another counterfeit. Unless we correct these false assumptions, some will believe what they think to be true.