More than a century and a half ago on October 1, 1860, in Battle Creek, Michigan, a group of individuals looking for the soon return of Jesus chose the name "Seventh-day Adventist" for themselves. Approximately 3,000 strong at the time, early Adventists were almost forced by circumstances to choose a name. First, there was the matter of the church not being able to own property because it was not legally incorporated. Second, what to answer when asked the denomination one belonged to? Also, numerous Adventist churches had already chosen different names for their congregations.
And so it was that 25 delegates met on an autumn day in a thriving Michigan town to address the issue of adopting a name. After a couple of days of discussion—having left other denominations the delegates were hesitant to form another body—the name Seventh-day Adventist was suggested by a man named David Hewitt, known to be the "most honest man" in Battle Creek. A lengthy discussion ensued, but the name was favorably voted 24-1.
The name Seventh-day Adventist reflects the beliefs of the church in three words. "Seventh-day" refers to the biblical Sabbath of rest which was graciously given by God to humankind at creation and observed by Jesus during His incarnation. "Adventist" indicates the assurance of the soon return (advent) of Jesus to this earth. Together the name speaks of the gospel which is salvation in Jesus Christ.