Arguments Against Seventh-day Adventism

Russell Earl Kelly, PH.D.

October 30, 2023


Since any of the following biblical arguments would destroy the necessity for Seventh-day Adventists to exist, a detailed answer to each one of the points below is hereby requested.


The very most important doctrine of Seventh-day Adventism is that priests and Jesus Christ carried sins into the sanctuary and defiled it. If “bare the iniquity” does not mean “carry sins into the sanctuary,” there is no reason for the SDA church to exist.

There are two extremely different meanings for “bear the iniquity” in God’s Word. By far the most common meaning of “bearing the iniquity,” refers to unatoned and unforgiven sins. The guilty “bear” the punishment, or penalty, of their own sins and iniquities and they pay the price for their own sins. In their effort to prove that priests bear sins into the sanctuary to defile it, Seventh-day Adventists ignore this definition.

In Exodus 28:43 and Numbers 18:32, “bare iniquity” cannot possibly mean “carry sins into the sanctuary.” The penalty for sin was death for ministering priests.

Num 18:32 [eating the most holy heave offering] And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.

Numbers 18:32 specifically teaches that priests who correctly eat the heave offering as God directed “bear no sin by reason of it.” Priests who deviated from God’s specific instructions were to “die” for “polluting the holy things.” Yet SDAs teach that priests defile the sanctuary every time they minister the forgiveness of sins and carry sins into the sanctuary.

The following is a partial listing of biblical texts illustrating “bear the iniquity” in its primary usage. This list includes both presumptuous willful sins handled by the judges and sins of omission, ignorance or accident which were ministered by the priests in the sanctuary. (Lev 5:1, 17; 7:18; 17:16; 19:8; 19:20; 20:17; 22:8, 9; 24:15; Num 5:31; 9:13; 14:33-35; 15:30-31; 30:14-15; Eze 18:20; 23:49; Mic 7:9).

Jesus fell into this category. Jesus died vicariously (for others) as a sinner and not as a priest. Jesus died once for all time for all sins (Heb 9:24). Jesus was THE literal sin-bearer (2 Cor 5:21). And those who want redemption must come to Him.

Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

2 Cor 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. Also 1 Cor 5:3; 11:27-30; Gal 1:4; Heb 12:8; 1 Jn 2:2; 3:5; 4:10; Rev 1:5.

Jesus died as a sinner and non-priestly sin-bearer. He washed away  our sins at the foot of the cross. He did not carry sins into the Most Holy Place of the universe to defile it.


In all of Seventh-day Adventist theology, its single most-damning doctrine is that priests and Jesus Himself, literally “bear iniquity” inside of the sanctuary and defile it. Seventh-day Adventism stands or falls upon its ability to prove this doctrine from the Word of God.

This second, far less common, biblical definition of “bearing the iniquity” only refers to priests. For priests “bearing iniquity” means bearing the responsibility of ensuring that sin is properly atoned through their sacrificial ministry.

Ex 28:38 And it [HOLINESS TO THE LORD] shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.

Contrast Exodus 28:38 with 28:43: “And they [britches] shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons … that they bear not iniquity, and die …”

It is obvious that Exodus 28:38 and 28:43 reflect the two very different definitions for “bearing iniquity.” This fact must be taken into consideration by Seventh-day Adventists.

Lev 10:17 Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD?

Num 18:1 Thou and thy sons and thy father’s house with thee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

Num 18:2 … but thou and thy sons with thee shall minister before the tabernacle of witness.

Commenting on Numbers 18, the Matthew Henry Commentary says, “That both the priests and Levites should bear the iniquity of the sanctuary; that is, if the sanctuary were profaned by the intrusion of strangers, or persons in their uncleanness, the blame should lie upon the Levites and priests, who ought to have kept them off. Though the sinner that thrust in presumptuously should die in his iniquity, yet his blood should be required at the hands of the watchmen.”

Matthew Henry continues, Or, it may be taken more generally: “If any of the duties or offices of the sanctuary be neglected, if any service be not done in its season or not according to the law, if anything be lost or misplaced in the removal of the sanctuary, you shall be accountable for it, and answer it at your peril.” … “That the priests should themselves bear the iniquity of the priesthood; that is, if they either neglected any part of their work or permitted any other persons to invade their office, and take their work out of their hands, they should bear the blame of it.” “That both priests and Levites must carefully watch against the profanation of sacred things.” Nothing is said about literally carrying sin into the sanctuary to defile it.

Seventh-day Adventists justify their very existence by their one-of-a-kind interpretation that priests literally “bear sins” into the sanctuary and defile it with atoned sins of believers (placed there by Jesus Himself).

Again, whenever the phrase, “bear the iniquity” refers to priests, the correct lesser interpretation of “sin bearer” is “one who has the responsibility, or ministry, of taking away sin via blood sacrifices.” The sacrifice itself is the real “sin bearer” of the first definition, not the priests (Heb 9:24; 2 Cor 5:21). It is the priests’ responsibility to ensure that the sacrifice was ministered correctly!


In the Old Testament

In Exodus 12:13, God taught Israel that the blood of an innocent sacrifice would cause Him to “pass over sin.” In Leviticus the priests’ daily ministry insured that the sacrificial ritual procedure was followed exactly as God had instructed. At the moment a sacrifice for a minor sin of ignorance, omission or accidental sin died at the entrance of the sanctuary — “the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven.”

Total forgiveness was granted the moment the sacrifice died. This same formula is found in Leviticus 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7; 19:22 and Num 15:25, 28. In Lev 8:15 sacrificial blood had three functions: it purified and sanctified the altar and made reconciliation upon it.

In the New Testament

The following New Testament texts include many other functions performed by the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ. There is no hint that the same blood also transferred atoned sins of the forgiven beyond the foot of the cross into God’s Most Holy Place (as Seventh-day Adventism teaches).

  1. Acts 20:28 Christ has “purchased” believers with “His own blood.”
  2. Rom 3:25 “through faith in the blood to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past”
  3. Rom 5:9 “being now justified by his blood.”
  4. 1 Cor 6:11 “And such were some of you: but ye are           washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
  5. 1 Cor 11:25 “the new testament in my blood”
  6. Eph 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
  7. Col 1:14 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
  8. Heb 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
  9. Heb 9:22 “without shedding of blood is no remission.
  10. 1 Peter 1:18 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.”
  11. 1 Peter 1:19 “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
  12. Rev 1:5 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”

Beyond all of the good things sacrificial blood accomplishes, there is no biblical text which teaches that Christ’s blood also defiles the heavenly sanctuary. In view of the preceding texts (and many others), the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine that Jesus’ blood defiled (and is still defiling) the heavenly sanctuary with the atoned sins of believers is horrendous.


By teaching that the earthly and, especially, the heavenly sanctuaries were defiled, Seventh-day Adventists make a mockery of the very holiness of God.

In Exodus 28:38, with HOLINESS TO THE LORD on his forehead, Aaron was to “bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts. In 28:41, the priests were anointed, consecrated and sanctified to minister to God. Again, In Exodus 29:1 God said the priests were “hallowed to minister unto me” “at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” The priests primarily ministered in all of their holiness “to God, to me” and not to the people. They were reconciling the sinful people to God — not defiling God’s Most Holy Place. And they were not dong so with blood which defiled the sanctuary.

In Exodus 29:37, after 7 days of ritual to purify and sanctify the altar, God said the altar “shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy.” Lev 6:18 and 6:26 repeat this. This is the very opposite of SDA theology which teaches that the atoned sins of believers defile the sanctuary.

In Exodus 29:42-44 God said “at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: I will meet you, to speak there unto thee. And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory. And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest’s office.”

Since God’s Most Holy Place, is WHERE HE IS, the doorway of the tabernacle where the sacrifice died, is equally Most Holy — it is not a place where defilement begins.

All offerings unto God became most holy and could only be offered by most holy priests. See Lev 6:25; 10:17 and Num 18:8-9.

In Leviticus 16:13 the High Priest on the Day of Atonement would die if the incense did not obscure the mercy seat. In Isaiah 6:3-5, while in the temple, the prophet, Isaiah, was greatly shaken while seeing the smoke of God’s Presence. And, in Second Thessalonians 2:8 the wicked will be destroyed “with the brightness of [Christ’s] coming.”

Such is the awesome holiness of God! Yet, in their attempt to prove that the sanctuary can be defiled by atoned sin, Seventh-day Adventists totally ignore the extreme holiness of the sanctuary. When the sacrifice died as a sin offering at the entrance of the sanctuary, the payment for the confessed sin was complete and the sin itself was exterminated. The ministering “most holy” priest collected the “most holy” blood of the now “most holy” sin offering and either placed it on the “most holy” altar or ate portions of the “most holy” sacrifice.

No Christian should teach that the blood of Christ defiles! It is pure blasphemy to blame Christ’s blood for defiling God’s throne.


Seventh-day Adventists teach that the same blood of Jesus which daily washes away sin also daily defiles the Most Holy Place of the universe (G421).

Throughout the year ordinary believers, Levites and priests confessed their revealed sins of omission, ignorance and accidental sins before the ministering priests at the door of the sanctuary. On the Day of Atonement, at the end of the religious year, residual (remaining) unconfessed sins of omission of the entire congregation were all confessed at one time as a nation.

Both rituals were identical!!! Yet SDAs teach that the daily sacrifices defiled the sanctuary while the yearly sacrifices cleansed it. This is contrary to common sense.


Ps 89:14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

SDAs say very little about Israel’s judges and judicial system which ministered the vast majority of Israel’s sins — presumptuous willful sins. Since priests only ministered minor sins of omission, ignorance or accidental sins, only those sins would be atoned and recorded in God’s books. See Leviticus 4:2, 13, 22, 27; 5:15, 18 and Num 15:27-29 for sins of ignorance, omission and accident.

Deliberate sins were expiated, eliminated or paid for by punishment and required no priestly atonement. They were very much the majority of sins. Yet there is no great discussion of these in SDA theology. See Exodus 21:24; 22:18, 20; 30:21; 31:14; Leviticus 7:21, 25-27; 10 all; 18 all; 20 all; 24:16, 20 and Deut 19:21. The guilty persons “bore their own iniquity. Also, see Numbers 5:31; 30:15; Ezekiel 18:20.

There never has been sacrifices which man can provide for willful sin. The judicial system punished willful sin.

Heb 10:26 “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.”

The presumptuous sinner was, and still is, at the mercy of God, the judge to punish that sin.

Heb 10:28 “But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

Hebrews who confessed their presumptuous sins to the judges were not prescribed sacrifices; instead, they were punished as the judges determined. Punished sins do not require the double payment of a sacrifice.

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Heb 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.


Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.

God does not require hundreds of years to read books in heaven. God is perfect in knowledge (Job 37:16). His understanding is infinite (Ps 139:6; 147:5; Isa 55:8-9; Rom 11:39). God “knows all things” (John 21:17; 1 John 3:20).

When discussing Christ’s need to read books in heaven, Seventh-day Adventists simply ignore the above texts. These texts destroy the SDA teaching that Jesus cannot return until He completes reading books in heaven to determine whom to save. Otherwise, SDAs teach that God is Omniscient. While elaborating on prophecy in great detail, this one fact makes the SDA doctrine of Christ reading books in heaven totally unnecessary.


Although Ellen G. White and SDAs avoid interpreting Daniel 8:9-14 as a unit, they do make the following clear:

  1. Daniel 8:9-10 WHO: pagan Rome is the little horn Antichrist. HOW: pagan Rome defiled the earthly sanctuary in A.D. 70 by destroying it.
  2. Daniel 8:11-12 WHO: papal Rome is the little horn Antichrist. HOW: papal Rome defiled the sanctuary by replacing it with the confessional. For further information on pagan and papal Rome, see The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, “little horn” and “abomination,” 1960.
  3. Daniel 8:13-14 WHO: Seventh-day Adventists depict Jesus Christ as the great hero. HOW: Jesus began cleansing the heavenly sanctuary in 1844.
  4. Daniel 8:13-14 WHO: Jesus Himself is the worst little horn Antichrist. HOW: Jesus has been (and is still continually) defiling the sanctuary in heaven by placing the atoned sins of the saints there. Therefore, Jesus is the worst of the three little horn powers seen in Daniel 8:9-14.

GC421 “As anciently the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering and through its blood transferred in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred in fact to the heavenly sanctuary.

Shocking, but absolutely true, when SDAs teach that Jesus carried (and is still carrying) atoned sins into the heavenly sanctuary, they inadvertently make Jesus the Anti-Christ of Daniel 8.


Seventh-day Adventist doctrine ignores the extreme holiness of the earthly sanctuary and, especially, the heavenly sanctuary. While the following examples were forbidden and carried severe punishments, they faintly compare to teaching that priests literally carried sin into the sanctuary to defile it. 

  1. Eating leaven during Passover resulted in death (Ex 12:19; 34:25; Lev 10:12). If eating leaven was punished by death, how much worse would be the punishment of carrying sin into the sanctuary to defile it?
  2. Leaven, a symbol of sin, was not to enter the sanctuary (Lev 2:11). How can actual sin enter the sanctuary while a symbol of sin cannot?
  3. Non-Levites who entered the holy areas of the sanctuary were put to death (Lev 22:3).
  4. Unclean priests were put to death (Lev 23:17; Ex 28:43; Num 18:32). This makes no sense if priests routinely carried sin into the sanctuary through sacrificial blood.
  5. All of the sacrifices and offerings were “most holy” (Lev 6:17, 25; 7:1; Num 18:7-10). Offerings could not be “most holy” if they were carrying sins.

These facts all contradict the SDA interpretation of atoned sin defiling the sanctuary.


QUESTION: How was the sanctuary defiled?

ANSWER: God does not allow His heavenly sanctuary to be defiled. The earthly sanctuary was defiled by unatoned sins and by merely being located “in the midst” of a sinful people.

Lev 15:31, those who remain unclean die “when they defile my tabernacle that is among them.”

Lev 16:16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

Lev 16:29 And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:

Lev 16:30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.

Num 5:2 Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead:

Num 5:3 Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.

Num 19:13 Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD …

Num 35:34 Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.

The Day of Atonement was a yearly residual cleansing of unatoned sins. These were the left-over accidental, unintentional sins of omission which had not been confessed and atoned through the daily sacrifices of the year. They did not include the great majority of presumptive sins nor previously confessed and atoned sins.

Commenting on Numbers 18:1-5, The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says, “Since there was always the possibility of the sanctuary’s being defiled by someone unwittingly, the holy place itself and the altar had to be cleansed (Ex 29:36-37; Lev 16:20).”

Seventh-day Adventists stand alone on the reason they give for the yearly cleansing of the sanctuary — to remove the previously atoned sins of the saints which had defiled it.

From my book, Exposing Seventh-day Adventism, page 64: Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Day of Atonement, says, “Even with the most scrupulous observance of the prescribed ordinances, many sins and defilements would still remain unacknowledged and, therefore, without expiation. This want was met by a yearly, general and perfect expiation of all the sins and uncleanness that had remained un-atoned for and uncleaned in the course of the year (Lev 16:33).”

  1. The earthly sanctuary was defiled merely by its location “in the midst” of an unclean people (Lev 16:16).
  2. Israel was to “afflict your souls” for residual unintentional and accidental sin which had not been confessed already (Lev 16:29, 31; 23:27, 32).
  3. Lev 20:3, those who give their children to Molech defile God’s sanctuary and holy name.
  4. In Num 19:20 the man that shall be unclean and not purify himself shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD.
  5. In Numbers 35:34, shedding innocent blood defiles God’s land.
  6. Referring to the Christian’s body, 1 Cor 3:17 says the believer’s body is the temple of God and God will destroy any man who defiles it.

As long as Seventh-day Adventists do not accept this truth, they cannot understand how and why the sanctuary was defiled.


GC421 “For eighteen centuries the work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary.”

The biblical truth is that, if one part of the sanctuary became defiled, all of it would be defiled. For example, desecration of the great altar by Antiochus Epiphanes IV in 168 B. C. required the entire sanctuary to be cleansed in 165 B. C.

Lev 16:18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.

Lev 16:20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat.

Lev 16:33 “And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.”

Except for a brief reference in The Great Controversy, pages 418-419, SDAs totally ignore the biblical fact that defiling the Most Holy Place with the atoned sins of believers would also defile the entire sanctuary — including the Holy Place where Jesus supposedly ministered for 1800+ years. Seventh-day Adventists place Jesus’ ministry inside a defiled Holy Place before entering the even-more defiled Most Holy Place. It is wrong to stress the necessary cleansing of the Most Holy Place and ignore the remainder of the sanctuary.


1 John 1:9 “If we confess our [known] sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our [known] sins, and to cleanse us from all [other] unrighteousness.”

Almost nobody dies immediately after confessing sins. Instead, most die with unconfessed sins. Roman Catholics explain minor sins after using the confessional with Purgatory.

However, God knows the future and our hearts. In First John 1:9, God has promised believers that He will go beyond forgiving known sins and “cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Most Seventh-day Adventists do not realize that Ellen G. White taught that only believers who have died with every sin confessed will be saved. In The Great Controversy, Facing Life’s Record, details this requirement. The horrific quotations below are softened among many great-sounding statements of hope. However, the obvious conclusion is that she believes very few will be saved — not even Seventh-day Adventists.

GC483: “Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated. Names are accepted, names rejected. When any have sins remaining upon the books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their names will be blotted out of the book of life, and the record of their good deeds will be erased from the book of God’s remembrance.”

GC484: “Jesus does not excuse their sins, but shows their penitence and faith.”

GC486: “Sins that have not been repented of and forsaken will not be pardoned and blotted out of the books of record, but will stand to witness against the sinner in the day of God.”

GC487: … “Words once spoken, deeds once done, can never be recalled. … Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn.”

One cannot imagine the impact the above words will have upon the average Seventh-day Adventist who reads them for the first time.


Yet Ellen G. White taught that Satan is alongside Jesus in the Most Holy Place accusing believers while Jesus is examining the books of heaven. Satan is not omni-present like God.

Gc484 “While Jesus is pleading for the subjects of His grace, Satan accuses them before God as transgressors.”


Miller taught that Daniel 8:14 predicted:

  1. Jesus would return between 1843-1844.
  2. The 2300 days were 2300 years ending in 1844.
  3. The sanctuary was earth.
  4. Earth would be destroyed by fire in 1843 or 1844.
  5. Churches which disagreed with him (Babylon) fell in the summer of 1844.

Seventh-day Adventists teach that William Miller (1) was a true prophet, (2) his “judgment” message from Revelation 14:7 referred to their explanation of the investigative judgment and (3) that God guided William Miller supernaturally in his doctrine. Ellen G. White devoted five chapters to Miller in The Great Controversy in defense of him and his prophecies (chapters 18-22).

Because of their refusal to reject Miller and return to their former churches (as Miller did), their resulting SDA theology is among the very worst among Christianity. A total rejection of both William Miller and Ellen G. White would be required for Seventh-day Adventism to be accepted as a legitimate Christian denomination.


This author (Russell E Kelly) has catalogued and commented on hundreds of EGW quotes from her most important book, The Great Controversy. Although the first 316 of 694 pages contain many quotations from historians, she claims “Through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, the scenes of the long-continued conflict between good and evil have been opened to the writer of these pages” (x). “I have been bidden to make known to others that which has been revealed” (xi). Copies of the hundreds of EGW errors from GC will be sent free via email upon request.

At least until the final disappointment of October 22, 1844, Ellen G. White was a devote disciple of the famous false prophet, William Miller. Living through Miller’s height of popularity, she taught the same false signs of the soon second coming of Christ to earth in 1844.

Ellen G. White was wrong on almost every doctrine she endorsed. By accepting her writings as inspired, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is locked into a false theology and cannot extricate itself without denying its acceptance of Ellen G. White as a prophetess.