Captain Joseph Bates (1792-1872)

Ellen White writes of her husbandElder Joseph BatesFather Pierce, and Elder Edson and "MANY OTHERS" :

[Older brethren among the pioneers are here thus reminiscently referred to. "Father Pierce" was Stephen Pierce, who served in ministerial and administrative work in the early days.]

"My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder Edson, a man who was keen, noble, and true, and many others whose names I cannot now recall were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for truth. At our important meetings, these men would meet together and search for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly; for we felt that we must learn God’s truth. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the word. As we fasted and prayed, great power come upon usMs 135, 1903 (November 4, 1903) par. 1.

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The record of the experience through which the people of God passed in the early history of our work must be republished. (Letter 105, 1903)The experience of William Miller and his associates, of Captain Joseph Bates, and of other pioneers in the advent message, should be kept before our people. (Letter 105, 1903).

The standard-bearers who have fallen in death, are to speak through the reprinting of their writings to bear their testimony as to what constitutes truth for this time. (CWE32)

Let those who are dead speak by reprinting their articles. (MS62, 1905)

Rehearse the experience of the men who acted a part in the establishment of our work in the beginning. (MS129, 1905)

The history of the early experiences in the message will be a power to withstand the masterly ingenuity of Satan’s deceptions. (Letter 99, 1905)

Repeat the words of the pioneers in our work, who knew what it cost to search for the truth as for hidden treasure, and who labored to lay the foundation of our work. (RH 5/25/05)

"The history of the early experiences in the message will be a power to withstand the masterly ingenuity of Satan’s deceptions" Ellen White, Letter 99, 1905.

Video about Joseph Bates here:

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PDF Resources Two-page Summary of Joseph Bates’s Life (pdf) (used in above video/audio)

Lest We Forget Periodical Issue (Vol. 1, No. 3) featuring Joseph Bates.

Joseph Bates, the sea captain, wrote a tract of his own about the Bible Sabbath entitled: "The Seventh Day Sabbath, a Perpetual Sign".

 James and Ellen White took their stand purely from the scriptural evidence to which their minds had been directed in the Bates tract. Then on the first Sabbath in April, 1847, seven months after they began to keep and teach the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord gave a vision to Mrs. White at Topsham, Maine, in which the importance of the Sabbath was stressed. She saw the tables of the law in the ark in the heavenly sanctuary, and a halo of light about the fourth commandment. See Early Writings pages 32-35 for the account of this vision. The position previously taken from the study of the Word of God was confirmed. The vision also helped to broaden the believer's concept of Sabbath observance. In this revelation, Mrs. White was carried down to the close of time and saw the Sabbath as the great testing truth on which men decide whether to serve God or to serve an apostate power. Looking back in 1874 to this experience, she wrote:


"I believed the truth upon the Sabbath question before I had seen anything in vision in reference to the Sabbath. It was months after I had commenced keeping the Sabbath before I was shown its importance and its place in the third angel's message"--E. G. White Letter 2, 1874.

Article written by James S. White about Joseph Bates: 

More articles witten by Joseph Bates:

Joseph Bates (1792-1872) Laodicean article here

1868 “Respecting the trinity, I concluded that it was an impossibility for me to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, was also the Almighty God, the Father, one and the same being.  I said to my father, ‘If you can convince me that we are one in this sense, that you are my father, and I your son; and also that I am your father, and you my son, then I can believe in the trinity.’” (Joseph Bates, 1868, The Autobiography Of Elder Joseph Bates, p.204.)

To Go Back to learn more of what other SDA pioneers taught Click here

Learn more about which day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God:
  1. Read a tract written in 1845 by Benjamin Clark. He preferred to publish it under the pseudonym Elihu, a reference to Elihu in the book of Job, the man who had the answers. See "Elihu on the Sabbath" here.
  2. Read a tract written in 1845 by T. M. Preble on the Sabbath here.
  3. Read three tracts written in 1846 by Joesph Bates on the Sabbath here.
The small dark cloud in the east represents the 7th day Sabbath message that started in Dorchester Ma at the home of the man who made the 1850 third angel's chart...and the hand of James White - half the size of a man's hand, means blended with divine hand of God...James White writing the Present Truth article about the Sabbath message

"I saw that a paper was needed and that all should be interested in it. I saw that the burden of the paper was laid on James, and that it is as important to publish the truth as to preach it. I saw that James should not be discouraged if all did not feel the interest in the paper that he did. I saw that Bro. Bates had not the interest in the paper that he should have, and that his lack of interest had discouraged James. I saw that James should set his face as a flint, and go forward. I saw the flock looking for the paper, and were ready like hungry children to eat the truth published in it" Ms15-1850 (October 23, 1850) par. 3.

Oh, what battles we have had to fight with the enemy since we commenced to get out the paper. We have had to pray, pray, pray, and have faith, faith, faith and that is all the way we have been enabled to live.... 8MR 222.1

Here's a link to the first edition of the paper James White started publishing about the Third Angel's Message found in Revelation 14:9-12 here.

"Satan meant to hinder the work of the paper by causing sickness and distress in our company, but we laid hold of the sure promises of God. We anointed with oil in the name of the Lord and prayed over the sick and they were healed". 8MR 221.5.

"Then I saw that God had not given to Brother Bates the gift of discernment; but his gift was to talk the Word. None had a gift like his. He could talk to a small company when there were no more than two present, as well as to a large company. This gift is greatly needed in the church. I saw that he had prepared the way in many places for the Lord to speak through visions. The angel then pointed to Brother Bates and said, Be careful how thou treadest, lest the flock be torn. Draw near to God. Thou hast been in danger. Can ye not see it? That must be healed every whit. This people must be humble" 12MR 250.2.

I begged of Jesus to forbid that there should be any discord among the shepherds, for then the flock would be scattered as sheep without a shepherd. I prayed Jesus to encircle them now in His lovely arms. I saw that the disunion between the shepherds had affected the flock. Then I saw that in the scattering time when paper after paper was dying, Brother Bates wrote for them until the last, and now in the gathering time when precious souls that have been hid beneath the rubbish and have not had the privilege of hearing the truth, need light from different ones, his testimony has been withheld. I saw that if ever the saints could be benefited by comforting words and the truth made clear in the paper, it is now in the gathering. God wanted the papers to cease in the scattering time, but now the truth should be sung, preached, prayed, and published. Then I saw we must drink deep, deep from the water of the fountain. Said the angel, Ye must reflect the lovely image of Jesus more and more. I saw that we were almost home, to rest in the city 1,000 years. Said the angel, “Ye must love one another as Jesus hath loved you.” 12MR 250.3

I saw that Brother Bates's heart must be open, ready to yield up a dear point when the clear light shines. I saw that we must be more like Jesus. Everything in heaven is in perfect order, and the events of the judgment will come in perfect order. Then I saw James and Brother Bates. Said the angel, “Press together, press together, press together, press together, ye shepherds, lest the sheep be scattered. Love one another as I have loved you. Swim, swim, swim, plunge deep, deep, deep in the ocean of God's love. Come into a nearness with God.” I saw that we must overcome perfectly and get the victory over the powers of darkness. 12MR 251.1

I saw that Brother Bates with the other shepherds should consult those in whom they have reason to have confidence, and who have been in all the messages, and are firm in all the present truth, and have not wavered upon it, before they receive and advocate any new point of importance which they think the Bible sustains. Then I saw that all the shepherds would be perfectly united and the church would feel that union and the shepherds would be strong; and each one would know just what work the other was doing, and thereby they could hold up each other's hands, and the church would be benefited, and then there would be but little danger of any of the shepherds receiving dangerous error with which to divide the precious flock.—Manuscript 14, 1850. (Copied from Hiram Edson's manuscript. Original copy in Advent Source Collection. Compares with Present Truth, 86-87. See Early Writings, 52-54.) 12MR 251.212MR 251.2.

"I saw that Brother Bates erred again in praying for the sick before unbelievers. I saw if any among us were sick and called for the elders of the church to pray over them, we should follow the example of Jesus. He went into an inner chamber, and we should go into a room by ourselves separate entirely from unbelievers, and then the atmosphere would not be polluted by them. By faith we could take hold on God and draw down the blessing. I saw that God's cause was dishonored and reproached in western New York at the general conference by praying for the sick in the midst of unbelievers. I also saw that Brother Bates erred in attending the washing of saints’ feet and the communion among unbelievers. It only caused reproach to come on the cause of God. I saw that the example of Jesus should be followed. He took His disciples away alone, separate from the wicked, and first washed their feet, and then gave them to eat of the broken bread to represent His broken body and gave them to drink of the juice of the vine to represent His spilled blood" 12MR 247.1.

"I saw that Brother Bates and all the shepherds should be careful in these things, and move understandingly, and follow the example of Jesus in these things. I saw that a Judas might be among us from time to time, that would appear to be with us, but they would eat and drink to their own damnation, but God would make them manifest quickly, and they would be purged out from among Israel. I saw that the above named errors of Brother Bates and 
others more dangerous brought confusion and had destroyed James's confidence in Brother Bates; I saw that James at first had godly jealousy for the truth, then other jealousy crept in until he was jealous of most every move Brother Bates would make. These wrongs I saw must be taken out of the way. 12MR 247.2

Then I saw Brother Bates. Said the angel, Be not quick to receive error, nor too slow to receive the truth. I saw that the women of Revelation 18:4 meant the churches and that we were bid to “come out of her” that we be not defiled, partake of her sins, and receive of her plagues. I saw that Brother Bates had not applied Revelation 18:4 correctly, and his error had caused confusion. 12MR 248.1

Then I saw that after Jesus leaves the sanctuary the plagues will be poured out. Said the angel, It is the wrath of God and the Lamb that causes the destruction or death of the wicked. I saw that at the voice of God the saints will be mighty and terrible as an army with banners, but they will not then execute the judgment written. But after they are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye [1 Corinthians 15:52], and are caught up with the sleeping saints [1 Thessalonians 4:17], and receive their harps, crowns, etc., and enter the city, Jesus and the saints sit in judgment, the books are opened, the book of life and the book of death. 12MR 248.2

The book of life contains the good deeds of the saints, and the book of death contains the evil deeds of the wicked. These books were compared with the statute book—the Bible—and according to that they were judged. The saints in unison with Jesus passed their judgment upon the wicked dead. “Behold ye,” said the angel, “the saints sit in unison with Jesus and mete out to each of the wicked according to the deeds done in the body [2 Corinthians 5:10. 12MR 248.3.

"And in their mouth was found no guile (no false doctrines aka "marks" of the beast or doctrines of the beast): for they are without fault (speak the truth) before the throne of God" Revelation 14:5 (KJV).