Did you recently meet an Adventist? Maybe you saw an ad for an event at a local Adventist church, or drove by one of the denomination’s schools or hospitals. You may have just heard the word “Adventist” somewhere and want to find more about what it means. 

Seventh-day Adventists are a global family of Christians who hold the Bible as the ultimate authority. There are, however, a few distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from many other Christian denominations. 

Let’s look at a few core components of their collective identity, which can give you an idea of what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist. 


A foundational belief for Adventists is also shared by the majority of Christians around the world. Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of humanity, is “the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to Father except by [Him]” (John 14:6, NKJV). 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16, 17, NKJV, emphasis added)   

It all started soon after the creation of our world. Adam and Eve were tempted and sinned.1 Then we became a sin-infected race, bent toward temptation and selfishness. 

If our final outcomes were left to our own devices, we’d be doomed—for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a, ESV)

But there’s more to that last verse. Yes, the wages of sin is death… “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (vs. 23b, ESV)

In the New Testament, Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8, ESV).

That’s right, salvation is a gift. 

Available by way of God’s grace.

We’ve all sinned, so none of us can do anything by our own efforts to become worthy of salvation. 

However, God doesn’t want us lost forever. He loves us so much He sent His Son Jesus, as our substitute, to live a perfect life on earth as our example. Then Jesus bore the consequences of all humanity’s sins by dying on the cross and being raised from the dead 3 days later2—all so we could have the chance merely to choose to follow God. He died even for those who might not make that choice. 

Jesus’ death and resurrection make up the cornerstone for Seventh-day Adventists’ faith. Their drive to both study God’s Word and to incorporate that Word into their lives is in response to God’s ultimate love, as demonstrated on the Cross—anyone of us can be saved by grace just by accepting this Gift and following Him.

Laying the Groundwork for Adventism: The “Millerites” and the Second Coming

In the 1830s, a farmer, military veteran and devout Baptist named William Miller continued the fervor of the spiritual “awakening” and sought to deepen his Bible study. Especially after returning from war and being frequently reminded of the fragility of life and the mystery of beyond, he focused on studying prophecy in Daniel and Revelation. 

He eventually concluded Christ’s Second Coming would be a literal event rather than a figurative or spiritual event, which had been the popular reasoning at the time. 

As he continued to study the “2300-day prophecy” in Daniel 8 and 9, he became convinced this predicted exactly when the Second Coming would be. Based on the events described in these passages, he believed the 23002 days began in 457 BC with the call to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, and concluded at some point between 1843-1844. 

As Daniel 8:14 says,

“And he said to me, ‘For 2,300 evenings and mornings. Then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state” (ESV).

There’s more! Learn about how the Adventist Church became what it is today.

Read this article to see the Adventist Church history timeline that explains how each event shaped and refined the focus on important biblical truths