SDA Administrator/Soloist Performed at Royal Wedding. Should SDAs Hold and/or Attend Weddings on Sabbath?



Since the rise of the Third Angels’ Message in the late 1840’s Seventh-day Adventists have proclaimed the passing of the National Sunday Law in fulfillment of Revelation 13:15-17 (i.e. the enforcement of the Mark of the Beast). In 2018, there is clear, unmistakable evidence that that time is not at all far distant wherein Sabbath-keepers will be forced to renounce God’s seventh-day Sabbath and honor Sunday or incur the severest penalties.  If Sabbath-keepers are not faithfully honoring God’s Sabbath now as He has meticulously laid out in His word, they will not stand for it under the most severe pressure.


One issue surrounding the Sabbath question that many Seventh-day Adventists are confronted with is wedding attendance on the Sabbath. While some SDAs may view this matter as a gray area, the Bible is clear that weddings should neither be conducted on Sabbath nor attended on God’s holy day.  A look at the purpose of the Sabbath confirms that Sabbath weddings detract from the sanctity of God’s holy day and turn the attention away from God to the couple and the ceremony.



Speaking of Seventh-day Adventists and Sabbath weddings, many Adventists are aware that Seventh-day Adventists took part in the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Merkel. While some were elated by the news, others were appalled, and many (probably on both sides of the discussion) I’m sad to say, watched the live ceremony. “1.9 billion people who watched the royal wedding around the world on 19 May, would have seen in the midst of the usual pomp and circumstance associated with these events a rather significant spiritual tone... Seventh-day Adventist presence and input was significant through the work of Mark De Lisser, who arranged the song sang by The Kingdom Gospel Choir, entitled 'Stand by Me'... Mark rearranged the original version.”[1] The critics at this point are probably saying, this does not mean that he was actually there.  We will not here address the egregious nature of a Seventh-day Adventist arranging secular music, much less singing and/or listening to it. However, at the royal wedding, a Seventh-day Adventist, an administrative leader in the South England Conference, took the lead in that song, not to mention the fact that the choir was an ecumenical choir composed of individuals from various denominational backgrounds, singing secular/sensual music.



“Paul Lee, Assistant to the South England Conference (SEC) President, singing the lead role in the song, was a recognisable face on the television amongst the Adventist population. With the numerous TV and radio interviews that followed he shared with BUC News, how he had sung with The Kingdom Gospel Choir, several years ago and was asked to assist with the choir for this performance. The lead role was reserved for a well-known singer, however when a contingent of the choir which included Paul met with Harry and Meghan, a practise performance in which Paul temporarily stepped in to the lead role led to the couple being very happy with the performance and requested that Paul sing the lead on the day.”[2] 


In scripture, God has called Seventh-day Adventists, not to perform worldly music for royal weddings on God’s holy Sabbath day, but rather they were called to be a royal, priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people (1Peter 2:9) that are to let nothing else absorb their attention but the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages, which entails teaching the Sabbath more fully to those who do not know about its beauty, especially since the issue of the Sabbath is the center of the final contest that will face the inhabitants of the earth.


The seventh-day Sabbath was blessed and sanctified after God finished His work of creation on the sixth day (Genesis 2:2 and 3). As such, the Sabbath to God’s people should be a reminder of God’s creative work.  One may interject the thought at this point that God created man and woman and the marriage institution at creation, so the Sabbath is a reminder of the creation of marriage, hence Sabbath weddings should be sanctioned. While marriage is beautiful and ordained of God, if God sanctioned weddings on the Sabbath, why did he not wait one day and conduct the marriage ceremony of Adam and Eve on the Sabbath?  On the Sabbath, man’s attention should be upon God, and nothing should detract from worshipping God and giving Him and His service our full attention.  We should abstain from speaking our words and indulging in our own pleasures. “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words” Isaiah 58:13. This is another reason as to why Sabbath weddings are not permissible in God’s word.  Of all the instances where “wedding or marriage” are mentioned in scripture, it is never in conjunction with the Sabbath, and neither is it in the Spirit of Prophecy.


For the couple, obviously a Sabbath wedding would be totally self-centered and not at all Christ-centered. A bride would want to make sure that she looks radiant and every strand of hair is in place and that she has not forgotten anything; hence, she would probably have her hair done during Sabbath hours. What would her conversation be leading up to the ceremony--mostly chatter about the wedding.  What would her thoughts be? Would she have time for prayer and searching the scripture any time during that day; or it could be asked would she make the time. I can think back to the day of my wedding and just how hectic, stressful and emotionally draining it was. While I cannot speak for the  the groom, I am certain that he would be so anxious to see his bride and he would also want to make sure that he had everything in place regarding his appearance and the ceremony as well. Additionally, the couple would be thinking about each other and the lifelong commitment that they are about to make and perhaps even their wedding night. We are not even here considering the reception. Certainly the thoughts and words would not be in line with Sabbath-keeping and neither would the actions.



What about the coordinators, wedding planners, photographer, videographer and those who are to perform certain roles in the ceremony; would they be keeping the Sabbath holy while they run here and there to make sure that everything runs smoothly? Not at all! How could they!  On the Sabbath, no work is to be done, not even the strangers within our gates are to be at work for us--this is a commandment of God, the only commandment that man is told to “remember.” “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” Exodus 20:8-11.


For those who are in attendance, can they keep the Sabbath at a wedding ceremony, irregardless of whether or not the couple are professed Sabbath-keepers and how spiritual/holy the ceremony may be?  Again, where is the focus of the attendees? Is it on Christ, or on the bride and groom and the beauty of the ceremony. Everyone is typically awaiting the entrance of the bride when she marches down the aisle.  The Sabbath is a day when our attention should be on the coming of the Bridegroom, especially on the Sabbath. I have heard many say that a wedding is just like a church service, to which I would say that is very far from the truth. There is so much involved in wedding ceremonies, music (a lot of the times, music that is anything but heavenly), the signing of marriage certificates, exchanging of vows, cute flower girls, etc. And even if an attendee purposes in his/her heart to “silently” keep the Sabbath and focus his/her mind on Christ, it would be almost impossible given the environment and what is happening around them. Furthermore, such a person’s attendance at the ceremony is their consent to the wedding being held on the Sabbath.


The Bible calls the day before the Sabbath the preparation day.  On the preparation day, all of our work is to be done; and we are not only to make physical preparations (i.e. food, clothing, cleaning etc) but also spiritual preparations (i.e. confession of sins and putting aside of differences) to meet the Sabbath.  If a wedding were held on the Sabbath day, the preparations made the day before, would not be to meet the Sabbath, but would rather be preparations for the wedding.  God cannot be pleased when His children use a day that He has set aside as holy to carry out their own activities and transactions that can be conducted on any other working day, while He is virtually forgotten, when He is to be remembered. Let us ever remember, “Before the Sabbath begins, the mind as well as the body should be withdrawn from worldly business. God has set His Sabbath at the end of the six working days, that men may stop and consider what they have gained during the week in preparation for the pure kingdom which admits no transgressor. We should each Sabbath reckon with our souls to see whether the week that has ended has brought spiritual gain or loss. It means eternal salvation to keep the Sabbath holy unto the Lord. God says: ‘Them that honor Me I will honor.’ 1 Samuel 2:30.”[3]  Additionally, after having spent the Sabbath, we should reckon whether God was honored on that day or self gratified; whether or not we kept the day holy as God intended it or whether we spent it in idleness, self-pleasure or work.


Sadly, we have come to a time in Adventist history that it is easy to see how The Great Controversy page 608 will be fulfilled. “As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel's message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position, and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side.”[4]  It is because of conformity to worldly customs while despising and rejecting the straight testimony that Seventh-day Adventists today, once known as people of the Book, so lightly regard the Sabbath and other standards clearly laid out for us. Just as the article opened so it will close. If individuals are not honoring God’s seventh-day Sabbath now, and voluntarily so, when there is no pressure bearing upon them, they will not honor it when their lives are at stake during the Mark of the Beast crisis.  God requires faithfulness in every particular.  Those who have made a habit of rationalizing away God’s Word and situationally decide to break God’s commandment swill find a plausible reason why they should receive the Mark of the Beast so as to not suffer privations and incur reproach and persecution. “Those who would not receive the mark of the beast and his image when the decree goes forth, must have decision now to say, Nay, we will not regard the institution of the beast.”[5]



[1] http://adventist.org.uk/news/2018/buc/paul-lee-sings-at-royal-wedding

[2] Ibid

[3] White, Ellen.  Testimonies for the Church, Volume 6, page 356.4

[4] White, Ellen.  The Great Controversy (1911), page 608

[5] White, Ellen. Early Writings (1882), page 67

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