Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovahs Witnesses both originate from the Advent Movement of the 1800s that was based on the time
prophecies of Miller. The teachings originate from many of the same sources and so align closely in most areas.
www.adventist.org/beliefs/church_manual/index.html (November 10th 2006) states the following about Seventh-day Adventist history;
In fulfillment of the divine plan, the Advent Movement began its prophetic journey toward the kingdom in the year 1844. Few in number, often with unhappy memories of having been cast out of their churches because they had accepted the Advent doctrine, the Movement's pioneers walked uncertainly at first. They were sure of the doctrines they held, but unsure as to the form of organization, if any, that they should adopt. Indeed, most of them so sharply remembered how strong, well-organized church bodies had used that strength to oppose the Advent truth, that they instinctively feared any centralized order and government. Nevertheless, certain pioneer leaders saw with increasing clarity that some kind of government was imperative if good order was to prevail and the Movement grow strong. Their conviction was greatly strengthened by messages coming from the pen of Ellen G. White. The result was that in 1860 a church name, Seventh-day Adventist, was chosen and a legal body created to hold church property.
The majority of primary teachings are the same as held to by the Watchtower, the key difference being Seventh Day Adventists generally adhere to the Sabbath and Trinity, whereas Jehovah's Witnesses do not. Seventh-day Adventists are renowned for their high moral standards and positive impact on society, such are through operating schools, hospitals and charities. The refuse to go to war, but will do non-combatant service, as did members of the Watchtower Society during World War One.
Taken from www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html (10 Nov 2006)
The Holy Scriptures: The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will
The Great Controversy: All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe
The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ: In Christ's life of perfect obedience to God's will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator
The Remnant and Its Mission: 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.
Unity in the Body of Christ: The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us.
Baptism: By baptism we confess our faith
Christian Behavior: Our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty.
Time prophecies: In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry.
The Second Coming of Christ: The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times.
Death: Until the resurrection death is an unconscious state for all people.
Major Differences with Jehovah's Witnesses. Seventh Day Adventists believe:
The Trinity: There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. (Certain Seventh-day Adventist groups do not hold to the Trinity)
The 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.)
The Sabbath is a classic example of how religious groups arrive at conflicting doctrine by placing emphasis on different Scriptures. Adherents of the Sabbath use Genesis 2:3 as support;
"And God proceeded to bless the seventh day and make it sacred, because on it he has been resting from all his work that God has created for the purpose of making.
This is used to show that the Sabbath principle was one that preceded the Mosaic Law and so was to be retained even after the Mosaic Law ended with Jesus' death. Witnesses dismiss this concept. For example, Reasoning from the Scriptures page 346 states:
"Jehovah God proceeded to rest as to his works of material, earthly creation after preparing the earth for human habitation. This is stated at Genesis 2:1-3. But nothing in the Bible record says that God directed Adam to keep the seventh day of each week as a Sabbath."
Though regarded by some as a high control group, this generally applies to traditional Adventists. Evangelical Seventh-day Adventists have eased up on their control. Whilst Adventists used to disfellowship, they did not advocate shunning as practiced by Jehovah's Witnesses, and since around the year 2000 they stopped disfellowshipping members and simply 'Drop Membership' for followers that choose to leave.
Seventh-Day Adventists are known for their clean lifestyles, strict morals, educational system, hospitals and Humanitarian aid through the ADRA.
Can it be said that Seventh-day Adventists are more deserving of destruction than Jehovah's Witnesses because of their different application of this Scripture? Few Witnesses have any idea why Adventists hold to the Sabbath, so how could they possibly pass judgement on this teaching? Can a Witness condemn an Adventist to death when they are as sincere and loving a group of people? They would be doing so on the basis of a handful of doctrine, yet if sincere scholars cannot decide on the doctrine, what hope do the followers have of knowing which one is correct?
For official information on Seventh-day Adventists see www.adventist.org.