Questions regarding the day line and the Sabbath




Ellen G. White

MR No. 839 – Keeping the Sabbath on a Round World


We took Brother and Sister Haskell with our team to the station at Dora Creek. On the way Brother Haskell read an article on the day line, written to meet the fallacies that are coming in to make everything uncertain in regard to when the seventh day comes.


It would be very strange if the Lord God of heaven should set apart a day for people to observe, and bless and sanctify that day, and give it to man and enjoin upon man that it be kept holy unto the Lord as a memorial that He made the world in six days and rested upon the seventh day and blessed the Sabbath day, and yet that day become so uncertain the world cannot tell definitely when the seventh day comes to us.


Here is a day given, and the Lord declares it shall be observe throughout your generations “for a perpetual covenant” (Ex. 31:16), as a sign of obedience and loyalty to God, and yet it is so obscured no one can tell when it comes! Oh, what fallacies men will resort to in order to carry out false theories. The Lord pronounced His blessing upon all who keep holy the Sabbath day. His commandments are given to a thousand generations, and when that period is ended the redeemed host shall be in the city of God and observed the Sabbath there, and especially come up to worship God from Sabbath to Sabbath and from one new moon to another. (Isa. 66:23.)– Ms. 173, 1897, pp. 4, 5. (Diary, June, 1897.){10MR 342.1}


What were the fallacies connected with the date line that were coming in?


“Advocates are agitating for the Eden day-line. They claim to be able to locate approximately the spot where the garden of Eden was situated on the earth. This spot, they say, is in Armenia, about 8,000 miles to the east of the present day-line. Here they locate the initial day-line, because they claim the first day started out from that particular spot on its circuit around the earth. (by A.T. Whittle; Signs of the Times, Warburton, Victoria, Nov 26, 1906)


“The theory is that where Eden was, that marks the place of the true day-line. Every new day should begin there; westward from this point the reckoning should be twenty-four hours in advance of that immediately eastward. In other words, if one of Adam’s sons had taken up his home one mile west of Eden, and another taken his up one mile east, they would needed to have reckoned themselves as living in different days, though living only about two miles apart….


The Eden day-line theory, therefore, is as wide of the mark as it possibly can be. It has neither Bible, common-sense, nor historic facts to support it. It is only one more of the many other like modern delusions and winds of doctrines brought in to evade the cross of keeping the true seventh day Sabbath, to confuse the minds of the simple, and to nullify God’s message for this time. It bears no stamp of truth or divinity about it. It teaches that in all the countries east of Palestine over to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the people are wrong in their reckoning of the days of the week; that they are one day ahead of time; that what they call Sunday is in reality the seventh day Sabbath, and that therefore the people in India, China, Siberia, the East Indies, Japan, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and many of the islands of the Pacific should keep Sunday as the true seventh day! The people of all these countries constitute about one half the population of the globe. The Sabbath of the Lord, according to the Bible, is the seal of God; the false Sabbath is the mark of apostasy. If, however, what is called Sunday in these countries is the true Sabbath and seal of God, what, pray tell, is the mark of apostasy? Any doctrine which nullifies to half of the world the very pith and point of the last message God has for the entire world, cannot be of God. It deserves to be consigned to the silent shades of oblivion, as unworthy the serious consideration of any sane, thinking man. (by W. A. COLCORD; The Bible Echo, January 28, 1901)


God rested on the seventh day, and set it apart for man to observe in honor of His creation of the heavens and the earth in six literal days. He blessed and sanctified and made holy the day of rest. When men are so careful to search and dig to see in regard to the precise period of time, we are to say, God made His Sabbath for a round world; and when the seventh day comes to us in that round world, controlled by the sun that rules the day, it is the time in all countries and lands to observe the Sabbath. (Letter 167, 1900, pp. 1-3. (To Brother Irwin, March 23, 1900.) {3MR 253.2}


Sister Harlow has been speaking of you to me. She says that you are in some confusion in regard to the day line. Now, my dear sister, this talk about the day line is only a something that Satan has devised as a snare. He seeks to bewitch the senses, as he does in saying, “Lo, here is Christ,” or “there is Christ.” There will be every fiction and devising of Satan to lead persons astray, but the word is, “Believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers, believe it not.” Matt. 24:23-26. {3MR 253.3}


We have the positive word of God in regard to the Sabbath. “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily, my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: Every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed. And He gave unto Moses, when He had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Ex. 31:12-18. {3MR 254.1}


Is it possible that so much importance can be clustered about those who observe the Sabbath, and yet no one can tell when the Sabbath comes? Then where is the people who bear the badge or the sign of God? What is the sign?


The Seventh-day Sabbath, which the Lord blessed and sanctified, and pronounced holy, with great penalties for its violation. {3MR 254.2}


The seventh-day Sabbath is in no uncertainty. It is God’s memorial of His work of Creation. It is set up as a Heaven-given memorial, to be observed as a sign of obedience. God wrote the whole law with His finger on two tables of stone. {3MR 255.1}


Now, my sister, although I am at present sick, I write sitting up in bed to tell you that we are not to give the least credence to the day-line theory. It is a snare of Satan brought in by his own agents to confuse minds. You see how utterly impossible for this thing to be, that the world is all right observing Sunday, and God’s remnant people are all wrong. This theory of the day line would make all our history for the past fifty-five years a complete fallacy. But we know where we stand. {3MR 255.2}


My sister, let not your faith fail. We are to stand fast by our colors, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. All those who hold the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end will keep the seventh-day Sabbath, which comes to us as marked by the sun. The fallacy of the day line is a trap of Satan to discourage. I know what I am speaking about. Have faith in God. Shine where you are, as a living stone in God’s building. {3MR 255.3}


NOTE her statement from the quote above:

“You see how utterly impossible for this thing to be, that the world is all right observing Sunday, and God’s remnant people are all wrong.”


Questions regarding the day line and the Sabbath

J.N. Andrews


Can a definite day be observed by all the inhabitants of the earth? This, of course, depends upon the proper answer to another question; viz., Is there such a thing as a definite day of the week, or month, or year, to the whole human family? If there is, all can observe it; if there is not, then chronology itself is thrown into confusion by the indefiniteness of dates which necessarily ensues. On what ground, then, is it asserted that the reckoning of a definite day by the whole family of man is an impossibility?




Our world is a vast globe which makes a complete revolution upon its axis once every twenty-four hours. In consequence of this, it is night to a portion of its inhabitants while it is day to the other portion. The day is therefore twelve hours earlier on one side of the globe than it is upon the other. And unless we can fix some line, or point, or place, from which to begin the reckoning of the day, we are thrown into confusion as to the definite day. Moreover, those who circumnavigate the globe in one direction gain a day by the operation; while those who sail around it in the opposite direction lose a day. We cannot, indeed, actually gain a day, nor is it possible for us really to lose one. It would therefore be more correct for us to speak of adding a day to our reckoning, or of dropping a day from it, than to speak of a day as actually lost or gained. We drop a day in circumnavigating the globe from east to west. This is done by going with the sun, and thus prolonging the time that it remains above the horizon. By this means we make each of our days a fraction more than twenty-four hours long. And in the complete circuit of our globe, we thus use up one entire period of twenty-four hours. And we add a day to our reckoning by going round the world from west to east. For as we thus travel in a direction opposite to the sun, we make the period of sunlight each day a fraction less to ourselves than it would have been had we remained stationary. And so also of the night, which we shorten in the same manner. As we thus take a fraction from each period between the successive sunsets, we do, in the complete circuit of the globe, thus save one day as the sum total of these fractions, though we have had no more real time than those who remained at home, whose reckoning is one day less than ours.


Or to state it in another form: If we travel in the same direction with the motion of the earth, we gain one revolution of the sun by going ourselves one time more around the earth’s axis than do those who, during the same time, remain in their own land. And, again, if we travel in the direction opposite to the motion of the earth, i.e., if we go as the sun appears to go, from east to west, we actually make one revolution around the earth’s axis less than do those who remain at home. For as we travel against the motion of the earth, our circuit of the globe offsets one of the revolutions which the earth has made on its axis during this time. As a consequence, those who go round the world eastward are, when they arrive at their starting point, one day in advance of the reckoning of those who live in the country from which they started. And those who go around it in a westerly direction come out one day behind the reckoning of their own country.


The number of those who actually accomplish the circuit of the globe is, comparatively speaking, very small. But these are not the only ones whose case presents a problem for solution. The people of Eastern Asia are one day in advance of the people of California. Also, the people of Alaska, recently transferred from the government of Russia to that of the United States, have a reckoning of time which is one day in advance of ours. And such was the case with the inhabitants of Pitcairn’s Island in the South Pacific, lying in the longitude of the west side of British America. These people brought their reckoning eastward from the coast of Asia, and thus, when visited by sailors who came westward from England, their time was one day in advance of the reckoning of those sailors. And, finally, the island of Australia, which lies south of the continent of Asia, gives occasion for a consideration of this question of the proper reckoning of the week. For if it conform in its reckoning of the week to that of the people of Eastern Asia, who are directly to the north of it, its time will be one day in advance of those who go to it across the Pacific Ocean from the west coast of America.



These considerations are supposed to prove that the observance of the definite seventh day is impossible, and that the fourth commandment requires, not the seventh day, but the seventh part of time. But before adopting a conclusion which compels us to deny some of the plainest statements of the Bible, let us see whether any such necessity exists.



To make this examination, let us now see how many definite points we can fix by indisputable facts.


  1. A day of twenty-four hours is made up of an evening and a morning; i.e., of darkness and light, or of night and day.


  1. The sun, by God’s appointment, rules the day. Gen.1:16.


  1. Each day begins with sunset. Gen.1:5; Lev.23:32; Deut.16:6; Mark1:32.


  1. The setting and the rising of the sun are caused by the revolution of the earth upon its axis once in twenty-four hours.


  1. The earth turns from west to east, causing the sun to make the apparent circuit of the globe from east to west.


  1. Thus, by divine arrangement, the course of day around our globe is from the east to the west; for it is thus that darkness and light follow each other around the world. For as the day begins with sunset, it cannot begin all around the world at once. And again, as the commencement of day must follow in the track of sunset around the world, it does certainly always go westward, and never eastward.


  1. The day must therefore begin in the east. But where on our round earth is the east? The Old World, Europe, Asia, and Africa, is no more east of the New World, North and South America, than is the New World east of the Old.


  1. But we must give to the Old World the precedence, and accept it as the Eastern Continent. For it is a matter of fact that each day begins as Far East as the eastern coast of Asia, and comes thence westward to America, and that it does not begin in America and go thence to Asia. And it is certain that this order is right; for mankind originated in Asia, and from thence the New World was peopled. The first sunset in creation week was at that point farthest east at which the light of the sun could be first seen. This is certainly true, and it is of special interest in this case. For if the course of the sun in its westward journey is to rule the day, that rule should begin from the most eastern point at which its light could be seen. That point presented it to the most eastern observer, had men then existed, as just disappearing in the west. And at that very point, the fourth day of creation commenced. And sunset, which has ever since marked the beginning of the twenty-four-hour day, has followed on from that point in a never-ceasing circuit, divided into separate periods by passing that point from which it first started, which thus marks the commencement of the course of each day.


  1. But no argument from the commonly-supposed location of Eden within the bounds of the present Turkish Empire can be admitted as sufficient to establish the beginning of the course of day to be in the western part of Asia. For it is certain that the geography of the antediluvian world cannot be identified with that of the world since the flood. The four rivers which were parted from one near the site of paradise cannot embrace in their number the Euphrates of the present earth, though one of those rivers did bear that name. Indeed, it is of no consequence to this argument whether paradise was in Western Asia or further east; for there is a manifest unfitness in locating this line through the Garden of Eden. We have, therefore, nothing to do with the establishment of an imaginary line from north to south through the heart of the Eastern Continent, on the west side of which the day should begin, and twenty-four hours later come round the world to those just across it on the eastern side. The wisdom of God has not involved the human family in such confusion as would be inevitable were this the case.


  1. It is certain, as we have seen, that each day travels westward round the world, and also that it comes to us from Asia. But there must be some line, or barrier, or natural division, whence the course of day begins; for if there be not, all reckoning of time is thrown into confusion. Were there no starting point to the course of day, we should only need to journey east in order to ascertain that day begins in China twelve hours earlier than with us; and to journey thence eastward to our own country to prove that we are twelve hours in advance of the time in China. Such confusion and contradiction, however, does not exist; a sufficient proof in itself that the course of day does actually have a commencement and termination of its circuit of our globe.


  1. There is a point from which each day of the seven sets out on its circuit of the globe. Each of these days makes one circuit, and but one, during each weekly cycle. Each day is made up of sunset, twilight, evening, midnight, cock-crowing, daybreak, sunrise, morning, forenoon, midday, afternoon, and sun’s decline. It takes just twenty-four hours for each day, thus constituted, to pass any point in its circuit of the earth. And hence it is evident that the commencement of each day completes the compass of our earth twenty-four hours before the end of that same day of the week accomplishes the same journey.


  1. Moreover, when sunset, which is the commencement of each day, has come round to the point where the circuit of the day is accomplished, it does not tarry for the other parts of the day to come up that they may all cross the line together; but without one moment’s delay it passes the line which divides between the commencement and the end of that circuit, and beginning a new day it leaves the other divisions one by one to do their part in filling out the old day east of the line, which stands in the count of days one day behind the day which commences on the west of that line. And as these different divisions of the day fill out their time, they severally pass that line, and by that very act become corresponding parts of a new day in the cycle of the week.


  1. The reckoning of time at the commencement of the course of day must therefore be twenty-four hours in advance of its computation where that course ends. Those, therefore, who cross this line from east to west, or from west to east, have to recognize this fact by dropping one day from their computation, or by adding one day to it.


  1. It is a remarkable fact that this line of transition or division between the beginning and the termination of the course of day is found in crossing the Pacific Ocean. For we may start from California and proceed eastward to the eastern coast of Asia, and we shall at every meridian we cross be in perfect harmony, as to our count of the days, with all the people living upon that meridian; and when we reach China we shall have exactly the same count of days that they have in China. Again, if we start from China and reverse this journey, making our way westward to San Francisco, our days will correspond exactly to those of the countries we cross; and when we reach that city we shall have the same day that the people of that place have. This journey takes us fully two-thirds around the world, yet does not change our count of the days of the week. But take notice: If we cross the Pacific Ocean, either westward to China, or eastward from China to California, we find in the one case that we are one day behind the people of China; and in the other case that we are one day in advance of the people of California. And this is because of the well-known fact that the west shore of the Pacific Ocean is one day in advance of the time on the east shore of that ocean.


  1. The dividing line between the commencement and the end of the course of day in its circuit round the world is, therefore, somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Now let us put together several facts.


(a) The day comes westward from Asia.


(b) It may be traced back eastward from America to the farthest verge of Asia on the west side of Behring’s Straits, and no change takes place in the count of the day.


(c) It is manifestly impracticable to establish upon the land a line west of which the day is twenty-four hours in advance of that upon the east side of that line. And, therefore, as the day comes to the American continent westward from Asia, we must in our count follow the course of day westward to the confines of America at the east side of Behring’s Straits.


(d) And so of Asia: We must trace back the commencement of the course of day to the eastern verge of Asia, on the west of Behring’s Straits.


(e) And now observe, the commencement and the termination of the course of day are brought near together. And observe further this remarkable fact, that a line drawn from north to south through Behring’s Straits touches no body of land unless possibly some very minute islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And it is worthy of special notice that no such line can be drawn through any other body of water upon the globe.


  1. It is true that the people of Alaska, having come to that country eastward from Asia, across Behring’s Straits, have brought with them the numbering of the days which they had in Asia, making it correspond exactly to that on the other side of the Pacific, and causing, so far as their action can do it, that the day should commence the circuit of the globe from the west side of America. This is a manifest error; for the day comes in the divine order with the sun from Asia, and the American continent receiving the day in this manner, its extreme western verge should mark the end of the circuit of day, and not the beginning of that circuit.


The people of Alaska stand one day ahead in their count, holding the same relation to our count of the days that the people of China do to that of those who go thither westward from America. The day which we carry to Alaska as the seventh, the Alaskans call the first day of the week. Let them change the numbering of the days, as they manifestly should, and let them observe as the Sabbath of the Lord the day they now keep; for it is really such.


  1. The case of the inhabitants of Pitcairn’s Island, a small body of land some six miles in length by three in breadth, has long been used as proof that the definite seventh day cannot be kept in all the world. It is the same thing in principle as the case of the Alaskans. This island is situated in the South Pacific Ocean, and lies east of the eastern meridian of Alaska. It was settled by sailors who came east to it. When, therefore, they were discovered and visited by English sailors who went west to them, the same discrepancy was manifested as is now seen between ourselves and the Alaskans. The reckoning of the two parties brought the beginning of the course of day, and the end of that course, to one spot, and they were found to be, as they really are, twenty-four hours apart. Now the decision of this is not hard. As Pitcairn’s Island lies farther east than Alaska, it should certainly be governed by the same principles as that country. It should conform to the reckoning of day as it comes westward around the world.


  1. Australia presents no real difficulty. It lies south of the continent of Asia, and does not extend as far to the east as the eastern extremity of Asia, by about 40 degrees of longitude, or more than 2000 miles. It is, moreover, closely connected with the continent of Asia by many islands. Its reckoning of time corresponds with that of Asia; and this is as it should be. Our day will be found to correspond exactly with that of Australia, if we trace back the track of the sun by going eastward to it. If, however, we journey to it westward across the Pacific Ocean, we pass from the termination of the circuit of day to that part of the globe where that circuit commences; and we must, in order to have the correct reckoning of the week, set our count ahead just one day.


  1. But what about the gain or loss of a day in circumnavigating the globe? The day begins earlier or later according as we journey east or west. This loss or gain of time day by day, as indicated by our watches, is simply because we are tracing back the track of day toward its source, or following forward on that track toward its termination. And this constant change keeps us in exact accord with the progress of day in its course around the world. And when we cross the day line and step forward or backward from one day to another, by that act we change our count that we may conform to the course of day. This change actually takes place only in the act of crossing the Pacific. If we go westward to China, we pass from the end of the circuit of day to its beginning. If we turn from China, eastward to America, we pass at once from the beginning of the course of day to the termination of that course. In order, therefore, that we may preserve the proper computation of the week, we must, in one case, add a day to our reckoning, and in the other case we must set that reckoning back one day. And this is both reasonable and just. For there must be a point where the first day of each week and month and year commences. To deny it, is to throw all dates into confusion; to admit it, is to acknowledge that the existence of definite weeks is possible. And the existence of this line in the Pacific alone is further evinced by the fact that if one man sets out eastward from the east shore of the Pacific, and another sets out westward from the west shore of that ocean, when they meet, they will be in exact harmony in their count of the days; and if they pass each other, each to that point from which the other set out, each will have the same count of the days with the people of the place at which he has arrived; for neither has crossed the line which divides between the commencement and termination of the course of day.


  1. The wisdom of God has given to our earth a globular form, and has caused it to revolve upon its axis. So far is this from presenting any real difficulty in the way of those who keep the definite seventh day, it is actually that without which such observance would be impossible. For if our earth stood still, one side would have perpetual day, and the other side unending night. There could be in that case no succession of day and night, and no such thing as a seventh day. But by the divine arrangement of a revolving globular world, the definite seventh day comes to all the inhabitants of the earth, and they can observe it, if they have a heart to obey God. Even the dwellers within the polar circles, where for a season it is all night, and for another season all day, can readily determine the revolution of the earth upon its axis, and can, if they are so disposed, observe the Sabbath of the Lord.


  1. When God was laying the foundations of the earth in the establishment of the original order of its existence, and the enactment of those laws which govern its operations, he said (Gen.1:9, 10), “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear; and it was so. And God called the dry land earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas; and God SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD.” Were there not this great natural barrier, extending from pole to pole, the reckoning of definite days would be quite impossible. The next day after God had formed the sea, he caused the sun to become the ruler of the day, and the dispenser of light. It is evident that as each of the days of creation began with evening, and as each evening since the creation of the sun is marked by sunset, the fourth day began with the sun’s light just disappearing from that part of the earth from which day begins its course. There has never been a moment since then that the sun has not been in the act of setting as seen from some part of our globe. This does not make the reckoning of time indefinite and uncertain. For when sunset made its first journey around the globe, it carried with it the commencement of the fourth day to each meridian which it passed. And when it had passed the established division between the commencement and the termination of the circuit of day, and began its second journey from the west side of that line, it was the commencement of the fifth day of the week which the course of sunset thus carried around the world. And this great fact, which no candid man of any sect or party will deny, really explains why in crossing this line to the east we step back one day in our reckoning, and crossing it to the west we add a day to that reckoning. It is because the days of the week are really definite and tangible, and not as our opponents represent them, indefinite and uncertain, that this change takes place. Indeed, we point to it as a conclusive evidence to all thoughtful, candid persons that the definite seventh day does come to all the dwellers upon our globe.


  1. These facts have a decisive bearing upon the question whether it is a seventh part of our time, or the definite seventh day, which God requires us to observe. They are appealed to by first-day people to prove, in opposition to the express letters of the moral law, that God cannot mean the seventh day, but must simply intend that we observe a seventh part of our time as sacred to him. Now it is remarkable that these very things do prove just the reverse; viz., that the seventh part of time cannot be intended, and that the true seventh day is the very thing which the fourth commandment requires us to hallow. Those who have to make the change of one day in their reckoning as they pass from the close of the circuit of day to its beginning, or from the beginning of the circuit of day back to its close, do not and cannot observe the seventh part of time. Were that the plain teaching of the commandment, it would forbid their making this change of one day in their count, and would require them to continue to work six days and then to rest one day; whereas the change in the count of the days is made in order to conform to the fact that in passing the line in question, we step forward or backward, as the case may be, from one definite day of the week to another.


  1. The change of one day in the count is that we may conform to the actual course of the days of the week in their circuit of the globe. The seventh day of the week, the very day of the Creator’s rest, is thus secured by this very act which most people suppose renders its observance impossible. As the letter of the fourth commandment expressly enjoins the observance of that day on which God did rest from all his works, the seventh day is not any seventh day after six days of labor; but it is the seventh day of the week as established at creation. So the fourth commandment gives permission to labor on six days of the week, but forbids this on the seventh day of that cycle. Those do not therefore violate this precept when, at the transition from one day to another, they change the count of the days in order that they may actually keep the week as God gave it. They do thereby secure the very day hallowed in paradise, and their action with reference to a prior six days of labor is no more an exception than was that of Adam in his first observance of the Sabbath.


  1. Here are two passages of Scripture which we commend to the careful attention of the reader:—


(a) “The Sabbath was made for man.” Mark2:27.


(b) “God that MADE THE WORLD and all things therein . . . hath made of one blood all nations of men for TO DWELL ON ALL THE FACE OF THE EARTH.” Acts17:24-26.


  1. God, who made our world, made it of a globular form, and made man to dwell on all the face of it. And that the creation of the world might be commemorated, he set apart the seventh day of the week, because he rested upon it from that work, to be observed by the human family as the Sabbath of the Lord. And we have seen from a careful survey of the whole subject, that wherever in the providence of God men are placed, the definite seventh day is to be found, and can be kept by those who are so minded. The observers of the first day of the week have attempted to show, in the things above examined, that the observance of a definite day in impossible, because the days of the week are indefinite and uncertain. The real intent of their action is to excuse themselves for not observing the day enjoined in the commandment. We have shown that the excuse is without foundation in truth; and we close by calling attention to the remarkable fact, that, whereas Sunday-keepers, who have a definite day to celebrate in their “first day of the week,” have much to say concerning the impossibility of keeping a definite day the world over, no observer of the seventh day, wherever situated, whether Hebrew or Christian, ever found any difficulty of this kind in keeping the definite rest-day of the great Creator.


Dr. Merritt G. Kellogg (brother of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and W. K. Kellogg) still had questions. So J.N. Andrews wrote another article for the Review and Herald.


The Seventh Day on the Round World
Review and Herald, March 7, 1871


THE recent article on this subject was called out by the fact that Dr. M. G. Kellogg of California had become troubled with the idea that definite day is not possible to all the inhabitants of the earth. Not that any practical difficulty exists in California in the way of observing the Sabbath as it comes in the westward course of the sun from that land where we know that the Almighty proclaimed it in giving his law, but this brother became perplexed over the supposed difficulty in the case of the Alaskans, and of those who sail around the globe. Dr. K., in the height of his perplexity, wrote an article on this subject for the World’s Crisis, which its Editor told him he meant to issue in tract form. He also sent the substance of that article to me, requesting a reply, which was given in the REVIEW for Feb. 14. After reading this reply, Dr. K. writes requesting further notice of his difficulty.


The argument showing the existence of a line dividing between the commencement and the termination of the course of day, gives occasion to a statement of several objections. He does not take his stand to deny such a line; for to do this is really to deny the actual existence of the definite first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh days of the week; for there must be a line from which each day begins the circuit of the globe. In other words, as the day does not begin “all round the world at once,” there must be some point at which its course begins, and with which it terminates that course. It is manifest that each day of the seven begins earlier as we go eastward. But we can keep going eastward till we complete the circuit of our globe, and thus reach the very point from which we set out. But every one- can see from this fact that the act of tracing the day backward and finding that it begins one hour earlier for each fifteen degrees that we go east, can be continued only for a certain distance ; for there is another side to that matter. We can circumnavigate the globe in a westerly direction also. And if we do it, we shall find that each day begins later by one hour for each fifteen degrees that we go westward.


But this also can be continued only for a certain distance; for as the day grows earlier and yet earlier as we follow it back eastward toward its source, or starting point, so does it grow later and yet later when we follow it forward toward the west, to the point where that course terminates. And when we reach this point, we shall find that one side of the line is necessarily twenty-four hours distant in time from the other. For if you stand on the west side of that line, you stand at the commencement of the course of day; if you stand on the east of that line, you stand at the termination of that course.


If any deny this, they must virtually assert that as day begins earlier and still earlier in going east and as you can go east till you arrive at the very point whence you set out, the day begins earliest of all at the very point from which you set out, which is a palpable untruth. Again a the day begins later and still later as you go west and as you can go westward round the world till you reach the very point whence you started, you do, from these premises, prove that the day begins here latest of all, which is also a manifest falsehood. As two opposite and palpable falsehoods can thus be proved from the premises of those who deny the fact that each day of the week has a commencement and a termination to its course, those premises are manifestly untruthful and false. There must be, therefore, a line whence the course of day begins, and candor requires an acknowledgement of this fact from all men who have their attention called to the evidence in the case.


But Dr. K. inquires, “Is the existence of such a line calculated to produce harmony in the settlements through which it may pass, and is it in harmony with the wisdom and justice of God a manifested in all other of his works?”


But in this question he overlooks the argument which has been adduced to prove that this line is found in the Pacific Ocean. For it is a fact that the west coast of the Pacific is just one day in advance of the time on its east coast, a plain proof that the line dividing the commencement of the course of day from its termination is found in the Pacific. And it is such a fact, that a line from north to south may be drawn through the Pacific, through the midst of Behring’s Straits and touch no body of land unless, perhaps, some very small islands. Such a line cannot be drawn through the Atlantic. And thus in the providence of God, the line exists in the only place where it is possible that such a line could be established. And the supposed difficulty in its maintenance through the heart of the inhabited continent is entirely obviated.


Again Dr. K. inquires, “If God intended that the Sabbath should be observed with reference to such a line, would he not in his revealed word and most emphatically in his Sabbath law, have informed men that such a line existed, and have given them directions how to keep the Sabbath in those countries through, which said line might pass?”


To this we answer that God has made no revelation in the Bible of the fact that the world is round, or that it revolves on its axis, instead of standing still and having the sun go around it.


In due time, men could ascertain these facts for themselves. He did in his Sabbath law give men permission to labor on the six days of the week which he had used in the work of creation, and lie did command them to hallow the day on which be rested. Now each of these days must begin and end at some point. And the providence of God which causes each day to go round the world in the apparent path of the sun from east to west, has also caused the course of empire to compass the earth in this same direction. And thus the course of civilized man has been with the sun from Asia westward across the face of the globe to the western coast of America. And so that providence of God which first made the waters a barrier, has plainly indicated where that line should be, or to speak more accurately, has actually established that line as a matter of fact. And as it passes through no countries, but leaves them all either on one side or the other, there is no such necessity for specific directions as Bro. K. supposes.


He inquires further, “Would not God have established some natural barrier or way mark in the earth extending from pole to pole, that should plainly indicate that the Sabbath begins its journey from thence around the world westward?”


We think he did do this on the third day when he gathered together the waters unto one place, And when he saw that it was good. Gen. 1. And it is a fact that this barrier does now exist, and that, in the course of God’s providence, day begins twenty-four hours earlier on the west side of that ocean than on the east side of it.


Bro. K. wishes to know how we can carry the beginning of God’s rest from the meridian of Eden to that of Behring’s Straits. But in the first place we answer that the site of Eden cannot be determined, and is not therefore entitled to any particular weight as an objection. The standpoint of the Holy Spirit in describing the events of the creation week, or rather in marking the time in that chapter, must be where twilight existed on that morning when light was first created; and where it also existed on the evening of the fourth day when the sun began its rule, which points, by the way, must be identical, as we may show in a future article. The providence of God has established the line of transition from one day to another to be in the Pacific, and even were this some distance to the east of Eden, it would constitute no real difficulty in the way of the definite seventh day in Eden.


Dr. K. adduces the case of the American Indians. He says that as they came eastward to America from Asia by the way of Behring’s Straits, it is important that we should be able to show how they could preserve the correct reckoning of the week, and yet cross the line of transition from the beginning of the course of day to the termination of that course. But we have this to say of the Indians that they are the descendants of those that did not like to retain God in their knowledge. Rom. 1. They preserved no knowledge of the Scriptures, and retained only the vaguest idea of the divine Being. The most civilized portion of the native Americans, viz., the inhabitants of Mexico, were at the time of their conquest by the Spaniards, observers of human sacrifices! The American Indians retained neither the Sabbath nor even the division of time into weeks, and so the question of difficulty in the way of their preserving a correct reckoning of the week is of no consequence at all. It is proper to add, however, that it is not absolutely certain that they did come to America by way of Behring’s Straits. But it is certain that civilized man retaining the Bible, the gospel, and the reckoning of the week, has compassed the globe westward with the sun. The providence of God has done for mankind everything that has been necessary, both in preserving to them the knowledge of the true seventh day from creation, and in definitely marking the course of each day around the world.


Bro. K. inquires whether if civilization had compassed the world eastward from Asia instead of westward, the day line would not be found in the Atlantic instead of in the Pacific.


Unquestionably had the providence of God been instead the reverse of what it has been, the result would have been the opposite of what it is. But the westward course of day, of civilization, and of the gospel, plainly bears the mark of God’s power. And as it is certain that time began to be reckoned in Asia, and that the day goes westward around the world and not eastward it is really impossible for us to conceive of the dividing line being found in the Atlantic instead of the Pacific.


The meridian of 180 degrees east or west from the observatory of Greenwich, England, has only an accidental connection with the fact that the day line actually exists in the Pacific Ocean. It is true that this meridian is but a few degrees to the west of Behring’s Straits. But the fact that day on the west coast of the Pacific is twenty-four hours in advance of day on its east coast, is wholly independent of any attempt to reckon longitude by geographers or astronomers.


Bro. K. seems to think that Moses must have intended to identify the names of rivers and countries before the flood with those after that event. Now nothing is more natural than that the sons of Noah, on taking possession of the earth after the flood, should give to the rivers and countries of the New World, names with which they were familiar in the world before the flood.


But a little consideration must show that antediluvian geography cannot be identified with the geography of the world that now is. Take the case of the river Gihon (Gen 2:13) which compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. Now Ethiopia or Cush is either the southern part of Arabia, or it is a country of Africa south of Egypt. No river compasseth Arabia, and none of any size flow through it. If it be said that the Ethiopia intended is in Africa, and that the Nile is the river Gihon, we answer, first, the Nile does not compass this Ethiopia, and second, instead of flowing from the supposed site of the garden to compass this land, it flows in the opposite direction. Of the antediluvian world, Peter says: “The world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” 2 Pet. 3. And we think the probabilities very strong that the greater part of the antediluvian world is now beneath the waters of the ocean.


As to the day line in the Pacific Ocean, we accept that providence which has given us this line in the only part of the world where it can possibly exist. And we have shown that there is no proof whatever to indicate that the original day line was located through Western Asia. Certainly no one can show that there is an essential difference between the existing day line and that which was originally established by the Creator.


Bro. Kellogg concludes his letter in the following words:

“I most sincerely regret my rashness in sending anything to the Crisis. May God forgive me” We are satisfied that when the facts are fully appreciated, instead of furnishing an argument as they have long been supposed to do, that the seventh part of time is the real intent of the fourth commandment, they will be found to present an unanswerable argument in vindication of the definite seventh day.


Dr. Merritt Kellogg sends this reply:
Review and Herald May 2, 1871
Communication from Bro. M. G. Kellogg



I wish to express to you the gratitude of heart which I feel to God for the light he has permitted me to receive through the pen of Bro. Andrews. I have been stumbling in the dark over that which it appeared to me, might prove a fatal objection to our view of truth; but, thank the good Lord! Light has come, and I once more rejoice in the liberty of faith. I feel free once more. I have learned by experience that doubts bring fears, and fear brings bondage that may end in despair.


As stated by Bro. Andrews in REVIEW, No. 12, I have been stumbling over the idea that it was impossible for all men (even if they desired so to do,) to know just when to keep the Sabbath, if a stated day was to be observed, and that from sunset to sunset; for I could not see how they were to find the exact spot where God had located the line of transition from the beginning to the ending of the course of day. I have been in the dark by brooding over this matter, until I am satisfied that God’s Spirit has been grieved, and I was left to take another step into darkness by writing out my objections and placing them in the hands of men who were not friendly to the cause of present truth. I pray that my Heavenly Father may forgive me.


The two articles from the pen of Bro. Andrews, and published in the REVIEW for Feb. 14 and March 7, have fully satisfied me that God intended that his children should in due time find the line of transition from the ending to the beginning of the course of day; and that, in the practice of Sabbath-keeping, his providence has lead them westward from Eden around the world, and I am satisfied the line has really been found just where God located it, viz., in the Pacific Ocean on the meridian of Behring’s Straits. There is not an objection that I can bring against this being its location; and once more I find myself on rock bottom. Before I was like a ship at sea without a rudder. Surely my feet had well-nigh slipped.


I shall endeavor to walk more humbly hereafter and shall try to the extent of my power to redeem the past, and take wrongs out of the way. Pray for me that I may have grace.




The Day Line
A Bible Study
VOL. 17, No. 12
March 17, 1902.
By N. A. D.


This world is, as everybody knows an oblate spheroid, that is, a globe slightly flattened at each pole. Around these poles the earth revolves once every twenty-four hours; and as the surface of the globe is divided by geographers into 360 sections by lines from pole to pole, each of which is called a degree, it follows that fifteen of these degrees (the 24th part of 360) passes a given point every hour.


The phenomena of day and night are caused by the fact that the earth is constantly turning, from west to east, while the sun is stationary, and consequently appears to move the opposite way—from east to west; and as the part of the earth we live on turns to the sun in the morning, and away from it in the evening, so the sun seems to come up and go down—to rise and to set. These appearances serve to mark off our days.


The legal and common method of marking the beginning and ending of our days is to count from midnight to midnight, so that the first half of every night belongs to the preceding day, and the last half to the next one.


This is a very modern arrangement, and is obviously quite artificial and unnatural. At one time-the ancient Romans counted their days from sunrise to sunrise. But the most ancient method is that prescribed in the Bible by the express direction of the Creator, from sunset to sunset— the night preceding the day to which it belongs. See Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 ; Lev. 23 : 32 ; Mark 1 : 32.


As the day is marked by the disappearance and reappearance of the sun, it will be readily understood that the day is carried with the sun around the earth, so that if there were a definite place from which the sun started, there, on the east side of it, each day would start, and there, on the west side of it, each day would end, and from it the day would be carried forward. And it would follow that, as the day would come first to the farther eastern countries, and last to the western, so the eastern countries would be as many hours ahead in their count of the day as they were, divisions of fifteen degrees nearer the starting point of the sun’s course.


For the same reason (as it takes twenty-four full hours for the earth to revolve), when Wednesday was fully past, and Thursday begun at the starting point, Wednesday would just be beginning the other side of that point, and the people living there would be a whole day behind in their count of the days. And still further, if one could step across from the ending point, just as Wednesday was beginning there, to the starting point, he would find Thursday just commencing at the other end, and so have to drop Wednesday out of his count, and have a week without a Wednesday in it, or in more exact terms, a Wednesday of but a few minutes duration. If he reversed, his steps, and at the end of Wednesday, at the starting point of Thursday, went over to the opposite side of the dividing line, he would there find Wednesday just coming round to him, and, meeting it again, have Wednesday twice in one week ; or, to be more precise, have a Wednesday forty-eight hours long. A similar experience would be observed on any day, and relatively at any time of the day on which such a move was made.

This may seem somewhat puzzling at first, but a little careful thought will make the fact and the reason for it very plain. The question that arises from this is, has the earth any end? Is there any such beginning and ending point to the day?


VOL. 17, No. 13
March 24, 1902.


The earth being a globe, it is evident that it cannot have any ends where the existence of its surface could cease, such a term when applied to the north and south poles being quite incorrect. This expression when it occurs in our Bible does not therefore refer to the poles, indeed it would not be probable that it should, since their existence was unknown to its writers, and though a book written for all people and times, terms were always used that conveyed a definite meaning to the people then living. There is no word used in either Hebrew or Greek that conveys the exact sense of the idea we often give the words “earth” and “world”—the proper names of a planet. When the words so translated occur they sometimes mean the people living on the globe, but more frequently the “habitable land.” This latter is, in fact, the specific and literal significance of several of these Hebrew words themselves, and was vulgarly applied to the continent upon which men then lived, and where the book was written. The “ends” of this “habitable land” are referred to in the following Scriptures : Zech. 9 : 10 ; Ps. 19 : 4 ; Isa. 40 : 28 ; Prov. 30 : 4 ; Ps. 59 : 13 ; Job 37:3 ; Deut. 33 : 17; Job 38 : 4-13 ; Ps. 65 : 5-8 ; the two latter being particularly worthy of study in this connection. In these we are told where the day begins.


A moment’s thought will make it clear to everybody that now when travelers are continually passing round the globe there must be such a place known, otherwise all our days and all our dates would soon be in utter confusion. For if we travel far enough towards the sunrise we must at last reach the place where each day begins its course, and if we go the other way we must come to the place where it ends; and if we cross thence; we must either call the day by a different name to that which the people there call it, or change our own reckoning to get it right as explained before. If this place were not known and no such change made, then every time the globe were circumnavigated the travelers would find their reckoning of days and dates at variance with the rest of the world.


Fig. 1. Day-line at end of “habitable land”


As the shadow moves west a new day begins in the part west of the day-line. It is, say, Thursday on the west side; then it is Wednesday on the east side.


God made the earth, and as He is not the author of confusion we may reasonably expect that He has made ample provision for this contingency.


And it will be seen by reference to the Scriptures last quoted that He, as a matter of fact, has done so. He has not defined or surveyed any line from north to south and called it “degree number this or that.” God does not work that way. In commanding the Sabbath He leaves many details as to what may or may not be done on that day open questions to be settled by the individual conscience. This is indeed true of every precept. God states the principle. The reasoning power, which He has bestowed upon each person, must supply the rest.


Nevertheless the location of the day-line has been quite explicitly stated. As He told Job, God, and not man, has commanded the morning and caused the day-spring, or beginning, to know its place that it might take hold of, or be at the ends of the earth (Hebrew “habitable land”). In passing it is worthy of remark that the punctuation of the English Bible is not found in the original. The correct punctuation here would probably place the interrogation point after “earth.” The last clause of this verse obviously belongs to the next. Job 38:12-13.


In the 65th Psalm a precise statement is made concerning this matter. In the fifth verse we are told, in the parallelism of Hebrew poetry, that God is the confidence of all the ends of the earth (“habitable land,” that is, .the ends of the continent David lived on and referred to), of them that are afar upon the sea. The Hebrew word here translated end is defined by the best authorities as meaning “limit., end, edge, uttermost part,” and comes from a root that means “brink, brim, edge,” all of which is consistent with the facts as we will presently show.


In the 8th verse we learn that the people living at this place are afraid at God’s tokens. There God makes the outgoings, or beginnings, of morning and evening to rejoice. Now let us take a globe or a map and apply this Scripture. Here in Palestine is where David lived. Let us go towards the dayspring or sunrising, or east to find the uttermost part of the habitable land. At last we reach the ocean. We follow the indentations of the coast-line back and forth until we have reached its most eastern point. Here it is, in the extremity of Asia, the tip of Siberia. There the day begins.


For convenience sake, scientists have, without any reference to God’s Book, put the day-line very near to this point; in fact, within about half an hour, or more correctly, seven -degrees of it. In practice the peoples living along these meridians, however, and all navigators reckon their time not as scientists would have it, but in accordance with the Book, as nearly as though it had been purposely agreed to do so. There we may safely leave it.


Among the many fanatical delusions of these latter days some have arisen who would run the day-line right through the densely populated areas of Russia, Armenia and Arabia, because they think that the Garden of Eden was somewhere about that degree, the 43rd east of Greenwich, and that God must have rested on the first part of the world’s “first seventh day where it started. To this it is quite, sufficient to reply that it is immaterial whether Adam’s rest or the Lord’s was in Siberia or Spain. It was on the first seventh day as it came to Adam, and that is enough to establish the sanctity of the day for Adam’s race.


Fig. 2. The 43rd meridian. Goes through Arabia, Armenia, Kussia. Unsuitable for day-line.


God Himself has settled the locality of the dayline, not as in Eden or in the centre of habitable land where it could only produce confusion, but in harmony with His wise and holy character, at the end of the habitable land, at the uttermost part of the brink or edge of the continent David lived on, by the ocean, whence the sunrise and the dayspring come.


From that point proceed eternally, first the six working days, and then ” the Sabbath of the Lord thy God ” fraught with blessings for mankind and hallowed with the memory of the Creator’s rest and rejoicing when He looked upon the sinless earth and pronounced it ” very good.”


Note: The “edge of the earth” according to this study is at the tip of Siberia which would be at the 170 W. longitude, not the 180th.


CONCLUSION: Any “dateline theory” that advocates that the keeping of Sunday is right, while those keeping the day the whole world recognizes as the seventh-day “Saturday”, are wrong, is a “dateline fallacy.


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