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The Landmarks or Pillars

A body of distinctive doctrines was being evolved through Bible study. The Sabbath, championed by Joseph Bates, was accepted by the Whites in the fall of1846, shortly after their marriage. Sparked by an early message from Hiram Edson, to whom a shaft of heavenly light had come, the truth of the service of Christ, our High Priest, in the sanctuary in heaven was studied out, explaining the reason for the disappointment and opening new vistas of faith and courage. The application of the messages of the three angels of (Revelation 14) to the second advent experience, dating from the’44 period on to the end, became clear. The doctrine of immortality only through Christ—the state of the dead, and the judgment—had been their common heritage from pre-disappointment days. More and more as they studied together, the body of their common faith began to take form, and they lived and prayed and rejoiced and suffered and triumphed together in the light of God. TSAL 36.1

There is no doctrine upon which it is more necessary that we be firmly settled than that of the State of the dead. {SITI June 12, 1884 361.10}

… I think I can say I have some of the spirit of the third angel’s message but I want a deeper work of grace in my heart that I may have on the whole armor and be doing the will of God at all times. I feel determined brethren and sisters to go with you clear “through” to the kingdom. With you I want to keep all the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus. I want to have that “holiness” without which no man shall see the Lord. I am glad that I ever embraced the glorious doctrine of the second coming of Christ, and the unconscious state of the dead… {ARSH February 2, 1860 p. 878}

1. The cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.

2. The three angels' messages

3. The law of God

4. The seventh-day Sabbath

5. The non-immortality of the soul

· This entire chapter, titled, "The Foundations, Pillars, and Landmarks," deserves to be read carefully by all

The passing of the time in 1844 was a period of great events, opening to our astonished eyes the cleansing of the sanctuary (2300 days/years) transpiring in heaven, and having decided relation to God's people upon the earth, [also] the first and second angels’ messages and the third, unfurling the banner on which was inscribed, “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” One of the landmarks under this message was the temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God. The light of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment flashed its strong rays in the pathway of the transgressors of God's law. The nonimmortality of the wicked (the state of the dead) is an old landmark. I can call to mind nothing more that can come under the head of the old landmarks. All this cry about changing the old landmarks is all imaginary. CW 30.2

(CW 28-32).

· The 28 Fundamental Beliefs, by contrast, is a larger summary of what Scripture teaches on a wider range of topics.

· The above pillars, or landmarks, represent our more distinctive teachings which set us apart from other Christians.

Now that we have established the pillars, or landmarks of our faith, that represents our more distinctive teachings, which set us apart from other Christians, let us examine each one of them in a different way:

1. The Cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary.

a. Are we still teaching about and preaching on this pillar of our faith?

i. Yes or No? _________________

b. Can it be found amongst our 28 Fundamental Beliefs?

i. The answer is “yes” to this as it appears under Fundamental Belief #24 which says:

24. Christ's Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary:

There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension.

In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry.

It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus.

The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection.

It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for

translation into His everlasting kingdom.

This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent.

(Heb. 8:1-5; 4:14-16; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; 1:3; 2:16, 17; Dan. 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6; Lev. 16; Rev. 14:6, 7; 20:12; 14:12; 22:12.)

2. The Law of God

a. Are we still teaching about and preaching on this pillar of our faith?

i. Yes or No? _________________

b. Can it be found amongst our 28 Fundamental Beliefs?

i. The answer is “yes” to this as it appears under Fundamental Belief #19 which says:

19. Law of God:

The great principles of God's law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ.

They express God's love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age.

These precepts are the basis of God's covenant with His people and the standard in God's judgment.

Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour.

Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness.

(Ex. 20:1-17; Ps. 40:7, 8; Matt. 22:36-40; Deut. 28:1-14; Matt. 5:17-20; Heb. 8:8-10; John 15:7-10; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 John 5:3; Rom. 8:3, 4; Ps. 19:7-14.)

3. The Seventh-day Sabbath

a. Are we still teaching about and preaching on this pillar of our faith?

i. Yes or No? _________________

b. Can it be found amongst our 28 Fundamental Beliefs?

i. The answer is “yes” to this as it appears under Fundamental Belief #20 which says:

20. Sabbath:

The beneficent Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation.

The fourth commandment of God's unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath.

The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another.

It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God's kingdom.

The Sabbath is God's perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people.

Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God's creative and redemptive acts.

(Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11; Luke 4:16; Isa. 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Matt. 12:1-12; Ex. 31:13-17; Eze. 20:12, 20; Deut. 5:12-15; Heb. 4:1-11; Lev. 23:32; Mark 1:32.)

4. The Non-Immortality of the Soul

a. Are we still teaching about and preaching on this pillar of our faith?

i. Yes or No? _________________

b. Can it be found amongst our 28 Fundamental Beliefs?

i. The answer is “yes” to this as it appears under Fundamental Belief #26 which says:

26. Death and Resurrection:

The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed.

Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people.

When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord.

The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later.

(Rom. 6:23; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Eccl. 9:5, 6; Ps. 146:3, 4; John 11:11-14; Col. 3:4; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:1-10.)

5. The Three Angels’ Messages

a. Are we still teaching about and preaching on this pillar of our faith?

i. Yes or No? _________________

b. Can it be found amongst our 28 Fundamental Beliefs?

i. The answer is “yes” to this as it appears under Fundamental Belief #13 which says:

13. Remnant and Its Mission:

The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

This remnant announces:

1. the arrival of the judgment hour,

2. proclaims salvation through Christ, and

3. heralds the approach of His second advent.

This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth.

Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness.

(Rev. 12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4; 2 Cor. 5:10; Jude 3, 14; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Rev. 21:1-14.)

Here is a comparison summary of the Pillars of our Faith with the corresponding Fundamental Beliefs:

1. The cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary = Fundamental Belief #24.

2. The three angels' messages = Fundamental Belief #13.

3. The law of God = Fundamental Belief #19.

4. The seventh-day Sabbath = Fundamental Belief #20.

5. The nonimmortality of the soul = Fundamental Belief #26.

Now why did I present this type of a message today?

To show whether or not we are still officially holding to the pillars of our faith in the SDA Church that makes us distinct from the other Christian churches.

a. I have shown that we are officially doing that.

I also did an EGW word search using the words “pillars of our faith” and came up with the following other interesting quotes:

· Teach Sound Doctrine.--Those who have seen the truth and felt its importance, and have had an experience in the things of God, are to teach sound doctrine to their children. They should make them acquainted with the great pillars of our faith, the reasons why we are Seventh-day Adventists--why we are called, as were the children of Israel, to be a peculiar people, a holy nation, separate and distinct from all other people on the face of the earth. These things should be explained to the children in simple language, easy to be understood; and as they grow in years, the lessons imparted should be suited to their increasing capacity, until the foundations of truth have been laid broad and deep.

Let the truths that are the foundation of our faith be kept before the people. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. They talk science, and the enemy comes in and gives them an abundance of science; but it is not the science of salvation. It is not the science of humility, of consecration, or of the sanctification of the Spirit. We are now to understand what the pillars of our faith are,--the truths that have made us as a people what we are, leading us on step by step.-- Review and Herald, May 25, 1905.

The Firm Foundation of Our Faith

Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce,


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. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, "We can do nothing more," the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. A line of truth extending from that time to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was made plain to me, and I gave to others the instruction that the Lord had given me. {1SM 206.4}

During this whole time I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend the meaning of the scriptures we were studying. This was one of the greatest sorrows of my life. I was in this condition of mind until all the principal points of our faith were made clear to our minds, in harmony with the Word of God. The brethren knew that when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted as light direct from heaven the revelations given.

{1SM 207.1}

For two or three years my mind continued to be locked to an understanding of the Scriptures. In the course of our labors, my husband and I visited Father Andrews, who was suffering intensely with inflammatory rheumatism. We prayed for him. I laid my hands on his head, and said, "Father Andrews, the Lord Jesus maketh thee whole." He was healed instantly. He got up, and walked about the room, praising God, and saying, "I never saw it on this wise before. Angels of God are in this room." The glory of the Lord was revealed. Light seemed to shine all through the house, and an angel's hand was laid upon my head. From that time to this I have been able to understand the Word of God. {1SM 207.2}

What influence is it would lead men at this stage of our history to work in an underhand, powerful way to tear down the foundation of our faith--the foundation that was laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation? Upon this foundation we have been building for the past fifty years. Do you wonder that when I see the beginning of a work that would remove some of the pillars of our faith, I have something to say? I must obey the command, "Meet it!" . . . {1SM 207.3}

I must bear the messages of warning that God gives me to bear, and then leave with the Lord the results. I must now present the matter in all its bearings; for the people of God must not be despoiled. {1SM 208.1}

We are God's commandment-keeping people. For the past fifty years every phase of heresy has been brought to bear upon us, to becloud our minds regarding the teaching of the Word--especially concerning the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and the message of Heaven for these last days, as given by the angels of the fourteenth chapter of Revelation. Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh-day Adventists, to take the place of the truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayerful study, and testified to by the miracle-working power of the Lord. But the waymarks which have made us what we are, are to be preserved, and they will be preserved, as God has signified through His Word and the testimony of His Spirit. He calls upon us to hold firmly, with the grip of faith, to the fundamental principles that are based upon unquestionable authority. {1SM 208.2}

is the nature/personality of God or of Christ part of the Pillars?

".....Those who seek to remove the old landmarks are not holding fast; they are not remembering how they have received and heard. Those who try to bring in theories that would remove the pillars of our faith concerning the sanctuary or concerning the personality of God or of Christ, are working as blind men. They are seeking to bring in uncertainties and to set the people of God adrift without an anchor." {MR760 9.5}


The "pillars" are just the beliefs which, taken together, came to distinguish us from the other denominations. Therefore, the nature/personality of God (like other beliefs we hold) is not mentioned among the "pillars."

Additional quotations about the Pillars of the Faith

There are the main pillars of our faith, subjects which are of vital interest, the Sabbath, the keeping of the commandments of God. Speculative ideas should not be agitated, for there are peculiar minds that love to get some point that others do not accept, and argue and attract everything to that one point, arguing that point, magnifying that point, when it is really a matter which is not of vital importance and will be understood differently. Twice I have been shown that everything of a character to cause our brethren to be diverted from the very points now essential for this time should be kept in the background. Lt37-1887.9

They must feel for the pillars of our faith, plant their feet upon the platform of truth, see and understand the third angel’s message… Lt18 – 1862.24

progress of the work of God, the three messages, and what was accomplished by them. These remarks were of a character to impress minds with the …importance of clinging to the pillars of our faith, keeping the feet in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. Lt19d – 1874.7

We must let the principles of the third angel's message stand out clear and distinct. The great pillars of our faith will hold all the weight that can be placed upon them.—Manuscript 82, 1894 (The Review and Herald, November 4, 1965). CTr 363.3

For more than half a century [i.e., since 1844] the different points of present truth have been questioned and opposed. New theories have been advanced as truth, which were not truth, and the Spirit of God revealed their error. As the great pillars of our faith have been presented, the Holy Spirit has borne witness to them, and especially is this so regarding the truths of the sanctuary question. Over and over again the Holy Spirit has in a marked manner endorsed the preaching of this doctrine. But today, as in the past, some will be led to form new theories and to deny the truths upon which the Spirit of God has placed His approval. OFC 271.4

The past fifty years have not dimmed one jot or principle of our faith as we received the great and wonderful evidences that were made certain to us in 1844, after the passing of the time. The languishing souls are to be confirmed and quickened according to His Word.... Not a word is changed or denied. That which the Holy Spirit testified to as truth after the passing of the time, in our great disappointment, is the solid foundation of truth. [The] pillars of truth were revealed, and we accepted the foundation principles that have made us what we are—Seventh-day Adventists, keeping the commandments of God and having the faith of Jesus. UL 352.4

Those who seek to remove the old landmarks are not holding fast; they are not remembering how they have received and heard. Those who try to bring in theories that would remove the pillars of our faith concerning the sanctuary or concerning the personality of God or of Christ are working as blind men. They are seeking to bring in uncertainties and to set the people of God adrift without an anchor.