Do you like celebrating birthdays? I do. It’s fun to celebrate with family and friends. Some people evenremember to celebrate their pet’s birthday by giving them a special treat! Did you know that schools and churches also have birthdays, except often it is called an “anniversary.”
May 21 is a special day for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. On that day we will celebrate our one hundred-fiftieth birthday!
On May 21, 1863, Adventists (known as delegates) from many states gathered in Battle Creek, Michigan, and voted to become an official church (also known as a denomination).
Nineteen years earlier the Adventists were excited because they thought Jesus was coming on October 22, 1844. When He didn’t come, they were very disappointed.
But they didn’t give up. As they searched their Bibles and prayed, God helped them to understand many things, including the three angels’ messages found in Revelation 14:6-11. As they studied, God used the gift of prophecy, through Ellen Harmon (known later as Ellen White), who was just 16 years old in 1844, to confirm what they were learning in the Bible.
The three angels’ messages tell us what is going to happen just before Jesus comes and how we can beready to meet Him. The messages include things such as preaching the “everlasting gospel” to the whole world, announcing that the time of judgment is going on in heaven right now, and that it is important to confess our sins to Jesus, ask for His forgiveness, and accept Him as our Savior. The messages in Revelation 14 also remind us to worship God as our Creator on His special day, the seventh-day Sabbath, and that no matter what happens, with His strength we can be faithful to Him.
When the Adventists realized how important it was to take these messages to the whole world, they wanted to unite. At that time the United States was right in the middle of the civil war. But the Adventists did not want to fight; they wanted to unite! They could see that it would be easier to fulfill their mission better as one big, worldwide church family, rather than just several little churches scattered around.
Now, 150 years later, our church has grown from 3,500 members to about 17 million members worshipping in 209 countries. Instead of just 125 Seventh-day Adventist churches, there are now 73,526 Adventist churches around the world. We also have 7,883 schools with 1,668,754 students!
Although we are happy that God has blessed our church, we know there are still many people who need to learn about God’s love and the special messages He has for them in the Bible. Jesus is coming soon! Who can you share the good news with today?
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