By Norman McNulty, MD
Download whole article here: An Analysis of Jeff Pippenger’s Principles of Prophetic Interpretation
Introduction and Review of the Seven Trumpets
As we near the end of all things, we must carefully grasp the prophecies of Scripture as well as the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. We must be prepared for the crisis that is soon to shake the world. Already, the judgments of God can be seen in the land. Consider the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan as well as the terrible outbreak of tornadoes in the United States this year. It is therefore very important to rightly divide the writings of Inspiration.
One of the common mistakes made by Seventh-day Adventists is our dullness to the clear signs of the times around us. An equally significant, but perhaps less common mistake is for those who are rightfully eager to see Jesus come in the clouds to look to every current event as a specific fulfillment of a specific prophecy either in Scripture or the Spirit of Prophecy. The credibility of the Adventist prophetic message is thus damaged by misplaced zeal. Recent examples include those who predicted that a National Sunday Law would be precipitated by the Y2K crisis. Also, around April 2008, individuals circulated a report that a National Sunday Law would precede an imminent economic collapse by the fall of 2008.
Another significant claim is that the loud cry of Revelation 18 began on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center was destroyed. In addition, this same source teaches that Seventh-day Adventists must accept the idea that a restraint has been placed on Islam since September 11, 2001 and that a 2520 year prophecy from the 1843 and 1850 charts is a legitimate time prophecy. They claim that acceptance of their understanding of these matters (Islam and the 2520) leads to receiving the latter rain and the seal of God. Jeff Pippenger is the leading teacher of these ideas although others have taken them up. A DVD, entitled “Final Warning Message to Seventh-day Adventists,” was recently circulated having several hours of material in which Pippenger articulates these ideas along with others.
Those circulating the DVD, including Pippenger, claim that this represents the final warning message to Seventh-day Adventists. Pippenger challenges those listening to go back and test what he is saying. The remainder of this series of articles will do this by evaluating the prophetic principles forming the basis for his claims regarding the loud cry of Revelation 18 as related to the events of September 11, 2001 as well as Islam and the 2520. We will endeavor to fairly and comprehensively evaluate these ideas in a Christian spirit.
Those who teach that the loud cry began on September 11, 2001 use a quotation from the Spirit of Prophecy about Revelation 18:1-3 as evidence to support this claim along with a number of other principles. Among these are Pippenger’s “triple application of Bible prophecy” and the repetition of the history of the Millerite movement from the parable of the Bridegroom from Matthew 25 that will occur at the end of the world. He holds that an understanding of Islam’s role on September 11, 2001 is crucial to receiving the latter rain and the seal of God.
Before analyzing the Ellen White quotation and these principles, it will be helpful to consider the long-standing Adventist historicist understanding of the seven trumpets and three woes because the way that Pippenger interprets the seven trumpets and the three woes is important to his prophetic understanding of the relationship of Revelation 18 to September 11, 2001. We undertake this in this first article in this series, laying a foundation and reference point for the critique of Pippenger’ views in the articles that follow.
The Seven Trumpets
First, this paper will examine and uphold the long-standing historicist understanding of the seven trumpets and three woes of Revelation 8, 9, and 11 and compare this to the belief that the trumpets and woes lead to an understanding that the loud cry began on September 11, 2001.
The first four trumpets are found in Revelation 8, beginning in verse 6. The trumpets denote a judgment that is taking place. In the messages of the seven seals, we find the persecution that Rome used against God’s people. The fifth seal, in Revelation 6:9-11, reveals the symbolic cry of the blood of the saints who were persecuted by Rome, asking when their blood will be avenged. The seven trumpets follow the seven seals. These trumpets are a judgment on Rome for its persecution of God’s people.
The first four trumpets represent the judgment on Catholic western Rome, the fifth and sixth trumpets are the judgment on Catholic eastern Rome, and the seventh trumpet denotes the judgment of the three-fold union of the dragon (spiritualism), beast (papal Rome), and the false prophet (apostate Protestantism) culminating with the outpouring of the seven last plagues in Revelation 16.
Western Rome is judged by the first four trumpets in Revelation 8:6-13. In these verses, we find four barbaric tribes that attacked western Rome culminating with the fall of the western Roman empire in 476 A.D. The dates for these attacks are:
- First trumpet: the Gothic invasion led by Alaric from 395 – 410 A.D.
- Second trumpet: the invasion by the Vandals, led by Genseric, from 428 – 468 A.D.
- Third trumpet: the invasion of the Huns, led by Attila, from 429 – 453 A.D.
- Fourth trumpet: invasion of the Heruli, led by Odoacer from 476 – 493 A.D.
For more detail on this history, the reader is referred to Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 475-491, by Uriah Smith.
Now that the western Roman empire has fallen, we note in Revelation 8:13 that three woes remain after the first four trumpets. These three woes parallel the last three trumpets. Therefore, the fifth trumpet parallels the first woe, the sixth trumpet parallels the second woe, and the seventh trumpet parallels the third woe. These woes occur during the time of the corresponding trumpet.
Revelation 9 reveals the sounding of the fifth and sixth trumpets, and therefore the corresponding first and second woes. The fifth and sixth trumpets represent judgments on the eastern Roman empire. The western Roman empire was brought down by barbaric tribes. The eastern Roman empire was attacked by the Ottoman empire of Turkey which was an Islamic nation. Thus we find the Muslim world in Bible prophecy in Revelation 9.
In Revelation 9:5, we find a time prophecy of 5 months. There are 30 days in a Biblical month, and following the day-for-year principle, this prophecy is 150 literal years. According to Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, on July 27, 1299, the Ottoman Turks first attacked the eastern Roman empire. From this point, 150 literal years takes us to 1449. In 1449, the eastern Roman emperor died, and the new emperor, Deacozes, refused to take the throne unless he received the permission of the Ottoman Turks. (Of note, the same way the Ottomans rose to power at the beginning of this prophecy is how they fell at the end of it). This represented a new phase in the struggle between the Ottomans and the eastern Roman empire as it can now be seen that that Ottomans were firmly in control and had brought the eastern Roman empire into submission.
In Revelation 9:12, we read, “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.” After the end of the 150 years of the first woe (5th trumpet), we see that two more woes remain. The key word in this verse is “hereafter.” The word denotes a direct continuation of the coming woes from the point in which the first woe ended. This means that there is no break between the first and the second woes (or the fifth and sixth trumpets). This is crucial to understand because the sixth trumpet, or second woe, is connected with another time prophecy of one hour, one day, one month, and one year. Each of the time components is added as follows keeping in mind the day-for-year principle:
- One prophetic hour = 1/24 day; = 1/24 literal year; 360 days/24 = 15 literal days
- One prophetic day = one literal year
- One prophetic month = 30 literal days = 30 literal years
- One prophetic year = 360 literal days = 360 literal years
- Added together: 360 years + 30 years + 1 year + 15 days = 391 years and 15 days.
We noted that the first woe with the five prophetic months (150 literal years) began on July 27, 1299. One hundred and fifty years later brings us to 1449. Here we find a direct continuation into the second woe, or sixth trumpet, without pause. Thus, we add 391 years and 15 literal days, using July 27, 1299 as the starting point and continuing with the addition of the new time prophecy in 1449. At the end of the 391 years and 15 days, we come to August 11, 1840. Josiah Litch used the day-for-year principle to accurately predict the fall of the Ottoman empire a few weeks before it happened.
Litch took the 1449 date as the beginning of the 391 years, 15 days which would end on August 11, 1840. He figured that the loss of power would be demonstrated in a way similar to how the assumption of it had been shown at the beginning of that long period of time. So what happened? During the previous year, the pshaw of Egypt, who was theoretically a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, resumed his fight for independence and soundly defeated the Turkish sultan taking practically his whole fleet of ships home with him! The pshaw was preparing to become the next owner of Constantinople. Several significant Christian nations of Europe (England, Austria, Prussia, and Russia) were watching and did not want to see Egypt gain that much power. On July 15, 1840 they held a council and got Turkey to agree to abide by the decision they would make. On August 11 the treaty was signed restricting the pshaw to Syria and Egypt and making him give back the ships. The Turks became a protectorate of the coalition. Control was now in the hands of the Christian nations, and time of the Ottoman power was past. Its significant political relationship to Christianity had lasted exactly 391 years and 15 days!
In case there is any doubt to the veracity of this prophecy, notice what Ellen White says inThe Great Controversy, pp. 334, 335.
In the year 1840 another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy excited widespread interest. Two years before, Josiah Litch, one of the leading ministers preaching the second advent, published an exposition of Revelation 9, predicting the fall of the Ottoman Empire. According to his calculations, this power was to be overthrown ‘in A.D. 1840, sometime in the month of August;’ and only a few days previous to its accomplishment he wrote: ‘Allowing the first period, 150 years, to have been exactly fulfilled before Deacozes ascended the throne by permission of the Turks, and that the 391 years, fifteen days, commenced at the close of the first period, it will end on the 11th of August, 1840, when the Ottoman power in Constantinople may be expected to be broken. And this, I believe, will be found to be the case.’ Josiah Litch, in Signs of the Times, and Expositor of Prophecy, Aug. 1, 1840. At the very time specified, Turkey, through her ambassadors, accepted the protection of the allied powers of Europe, and thus placed herself under the control of Christian nations. The event exactly fulfilled the prediction. When it became known, multitudes were convinced of the correctness of the principles of prophetic interpretation adopted by Miller and his associates, and a wonderful impetus was given to the advent movement. Men of learning and position united with Miller, both in preaching and in publishing his views, and from 1840 to 1844 the work rapidly extended [emphasis supplied].
Notice that Ellen White says the event was “a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy,” and that it “exactly fulfilled the prediction.
The Seventh Trumpet (Third Woe)
The fulfillment of the 391 years and 15 days brings us to the end of the sixth trumpet and the second woe. The timing for the beginning of the seventh trumpet and third woe is made clear in Revelation 11:14-19. In Revelation 11:14, we read, “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” The second woe, or the sixth trumpet, ended on August 11, 1840. The beginning of the third woe is tied to the seventh trumpet, and comes “quickly” after August 11, 1840. Notice the contrast of the timing compared to Revelation 9:12 in which the second woe continues “hereafter” from the first. While the second woe was a direct continuation of the first woe after the 150 years ended, Revelation 11:14 helps us to understand that there is a brief interlude between the second and the third woes and indicates this by using the word “quickly.”
It is not a long break. Sometime “quickly” after August 11, 1840, the third woe will begin, or the seventh trumpet will begin to sound. The timing of the beginning of the seventh trumpet, or the third woe, is clearly seen immediately following Revelation 11:14. Revelation 11:15 announces that the seventh trumpet begins to sound. Revelation 11:19 shows us that when the seventh trumpet began to sound, the most holy place was opened in the sanctuary in heaven. It says,
And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
As Seventh-day Adventists we know from Inspiration and history that the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary was opened on October 22, 1844. This is when the seventh trumpet began to sound, and when the third woe began in history. Notice the following statement from Ellen White in The Great Controversy, p. 433:
The ark of God’s testament is in the holy of holies, the second apartment of the sanctuary. . . Therefore the announcement that the temple of God was opened in heaven and the ark of His testament was seen points to the opening of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary in 1844 as Christ entered there to perform the work of the atonement.
We can decisively state this conclusion on the following observations. Notice that the timing of the third woe is “quickly” after August 11, 1840. The interval between August 11, 1840, and October 22, 1844 is four years, two months, and eleven days. Prophetically speaking that is “quickly.”
Furthermore, the first and second woes were parallel and concurrent with the fifth and sixth trumpets. Therefore, the third woe must be parallel and concurrent with the seventh trumpet. The commencement of the sounding of the seventh trumpet (and beginning of the third woe) is announcing the beginning of the judgment in heaven, and of the process of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.
As the first four trumpets were a judgment on Catholic western Rome, and the fifth and sixth trumpets were judgments on Catholic eastern Rome, the seventh trumpet is the beginning of the judgment on papal Rome (which also includes all of spiritual Babylon known as the three-fold union of the dragon, beast, and false prophet in Revelation 16). In addition, the seventh trumpet announces the beginning of the investigative judgment.
In order to properly understand all that takes place in the seventh trumpet, or third woe, it is important to read the language of this in Revelation 11:15-19. Based on these verses, in the third woe, we see the angering of the nations, the wrath of God, the time to judge the dead, the time when the kingdoms of this earth will become the kingdoms of Christ, and the opening of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary.
We will now look at each verse from Revelation 11:15-19 to understand the seventh trumpet, or third woe. In verse 15, we read,
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
This scene parallels Daniel 7:13, 14 in which Christ comes in the clouds of heaven to the Father at the beginning of the judgment in verse 13. Daniel 7:14 then shows the end result of the judgment in which the kingdom is given to Christ and His dominion is announced as everlasting. Ellen White makes it clear in Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pp. 414, 415 that the kingdoms becoming Christ’s are yet future:
The kingdoms of this world have not yet become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. Do not deceive yourselves; be wide awake and move rapidly, for the night cometh in which no man can work.
Between the beginning and end of the judgment, Rome makes an attempt to come back from its deadly wound before it is finally destroyed (see Daniel 11:40-45, Revelation 13; 17). In Revelation 11:15, we see the end result of the judgment in which the kingdoms of this world are destroyed and God sets up His everlasting kingdom.
Thus, when the judgment sits at the beginning of the seventh trumpet, the end result is announced at the beginning. The fact that these kingdoms must face God in the judgment means that the verdict of the final outcome is already certain. God cannot be fooled. His verdict will be just and the kingdoms of this world will be destroyed. We also see the promise that Christ will reign for ever and ever, just as Daniel 7:14 says that his dominion is everlasting.
In Revelation 11:16, 17, the 24 elders give thanks to God that He has taken His great power and reigns. In verse 17, they speak of how He is, was, and is to come. Thus, the verse suggests that at this point, His second coming is still future and so the sounding of the seventh trumpet is an announcement of the beginning of the judgment, not of the second coming, which is still future.
In Revelation 11:18, we find more helpful information that describes the events of the seventh trumpet, or the third woe. Notice the first half of verse 18. “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged. . .” Fortunately, Ellen White has several statements regarding these components in the first half of verse 18, so we are not left guessing as to the timing or sequence. First of all, we know that each of these components occur beginning no sooner than 1844 or at some point later in time. Here is a statement from Ellen White in Early Writings, p. 36.
I saw that Jesus would not leave the most holy place until every case was decided either for salvation or destruction, and that the wrath of God could not come until Jesus had finished His work in the most holy place, laid off His priestly attire, and clothed Himself with the garments of vengeance. Then Jesus will step out from between the Father and man, and God will keep silence no longer, but pour out His wrath on those who have rejected His truth. I saw thatthe anger of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead were separate and distinct, one following the other, also that Michael had not stood up, and that the time of trouble, such as never was, had not yet commenced. The nations are now getting angry, but when our High priest has finished His work in the sanctuary, He will stand up, put on the garments of vengeance, and then the seven last plagues will be poured out [emphasis supplied].
This statement is from a vision received on January 5, 1849. This statement shows that the angering of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead are chronological. Ellen White says that “the nations are now getting angry,” showing that part was beginning to be fulfilled as early as 1849. Furthermore, we see that “the angering of the nations,” “the wrath of God,” and “the judging of the dead” are distinct and separate in the order in which they occur. While we understand from The Great Controversy, p. 480, that the judgment of the righteous dead began in 1844, she also says that the “judgment of the wicked is a distinct and separate work, and takes place at a later period.”
What is clear from the statement on p. 36 of Early Writings, is that the wrath of God occurs once probation closes. We will evaluate further statements in the following section so we can have a clearer understanding of the angering of the nations and the time to judge the dead.
The Angering of the Nations
Ellen White gives helpful information about the timing and nature of the angering of the nations. On page 33 of Early Writings, she states that at the commencement of the time of trouble, God’s Sabbath-keepers will receive the latter rain power and will proclaim the Sabbath more fully. She then goes on to clarify this on pp. 85, 86 as follows:
The commencement of that time of trouble, here mentioned, does not refer to the time when the plagues begin to be poured out, but to a short time period just before they are poured out, while Christ is in the sanctuary. At that time, while the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel. At that time the ‘latter rain,’ or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, will come, to give power to the loud voice of the third angel, and prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out.
When the latter rain is poured out on God’s people, simultaneously the nations will be angry, which is in fulfillment of the angering of the nations in Revelation 11:18. This shows that the angering of the nations begins before probation closes and the time of Jacob’s trouble. However, further statements from Ellen White make it clear that the angering of the nations has already begun. The first statement is from Review and Herald, January 28, 1909:
Everything in our world is in agitation. There are wars and rumors of wars. The nations are angry, and great preparations for war are being made. Nation is plotting against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. The great day of God is hasting greatly. But although the nations are mustering their forces for war and bloodshed, the command to the angels is still in force, that they hold the four winds until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads [emphasis supplied].
The next statement is found in Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, p. 14:
Everything in our world is in agitation. There are wars and rumors of wars. The nations are angry, and the time of the dead has come, that they should be judged. Events are changing to bring about the day of God which hasteth greatly. Only a moment of time, as it were, yet remains [emphasis supplied].
Both quotes are very similar and indisputably are referencing Revelation 11:18. They show that the nations are already angry. The first quote listed was written in 1909. The second quote comes from Volume 6 of Testimonies which was written between 1891-1900. Therefore, we can safely say that by at least 1900, the angering of the nations had begun.
Based on the initial quote from Early Writings, the angering of the nations begins first, and the wrath of God follows, and then the judgment of the dead is the last in the sequence of events.
In connection with the above statements about the nations being angry, Ellen White links “preparations for war” with this concept. Some of the greatest wars the world has seen have occurred since the seventh trumpet began sounding in 1844 and since this statement that Ellen White wrote in 1909. World War I and World War II are among the worst. These reasonably fit the description of “great preparations for war” that were fulfilled shortly after Ellen White wrote of such preparations.
The final fulfillment of the angering of the nations culminates around the time of the latter rain based on what Ellen White says in Early Writings, pp. 85, 86.
Turning back to Early Writings, pp. 85, 86, the time of trouble that Ellen White refers to (which is during the latter rain) is known as the “little time of trouble,” which is distinct from Jacob’s time of trouble. Notice on p. 85 as well that one of the key elements of the latter rain message is a more complete proclamation of the Sabbath message (as opposed to Islam and the so-called 2520 prophecy). Ellen White shows in The Desire of Ages, p. 283, why the Sabbath will be proclaimed more fully under the latter rain.
No other institution which was committed to the Jews tended so fully to distinguish them from surrounding nations as did the Sabbath. God designed that its observance should designate them as His worshipers. It was to be a token of their separation from idolatry, and their connection with the true God. But in order to keep the Sabbath holy, men must themselves be holy. Through faith they must become partakers of the righteousness of Christ.
The Sabbath is a demonstration of holiness and the righteousness of Christ. Thus, a message of righteousness and holiness will be proclaimed with great power as the latter rain is poured out. The emphasis will be on righteousness and holiness—not on Islam or the 2520, and the Sabbath will be at the heart of this message.
Another point of instruction regarding the angering of the nations can be found from My Life Today, p. 308.
Four mighty angels are still holding the four winds of the earth. Terrible destruction is forbidden to come in full. The accidents by land and by sea; the loss of life, steadily increasing, by storm, by tempest, by railroad disaster, by conflagration; the terrible floods, the earthquakes, and the winds will be the stirring up of the nations to one deadly combat, while the angels hold the four winds, forbidding the terrible power of Satan to be exercised in its fury until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.
Angels are holding the four winds, which are represented as an angry horse seeking to break loose and rush over the face of the whole earth, bearing destruction and death in its path.
A terrible conflict is before us. We are nearing the battle of the great day of God Almighty. That which has been held in control is to be let loose. The angel of mercy is folding her wings, preparing to step down from the throne and leave the world to the control of Satan. The principalities and powers of earth are in bitter revolt against the God of heaven. They are filled with hatred against those who serve Him, and soon, very soon, will be fought the last great battle between good and evil. The earth is to be the battlefield—the scene of the final contest and the final victory.
The nations that are angry, based on Ellen White’s statements, are all the secular nations of the earth. We can see this based on World War I and World War II. This strife among the secular nations of the world will only worsen to the very close of time.
To summarize, Ellen White makes it clear that when the four winds of strife seen in Revelation 7 are released, the final fulfillment of the angering of the nations will be seen. This correlates with the understanding that the four winds will be released when God’s servants are sealed. As they are sealed, the latter rain message will go forth and the four winds will be released simultaneously leading to the final angering of the nations and the persecution of the saints.
The Wrath of God
The timing of the wrath of God is again seen in the quote from Early Writings, p. 36.
I saw that Jesus would not leave the most holy place until every case was decided either for salvation or destruction, and that the wrath of God could not come until Jesus had finished His work in the most holy place, laid off His priestly attire, and clothed Himself with the garments of vengeance. Then Jesus will step out from between the Father and man, and God will keep silence no longer, but pour out His wrath on those who have rejected His truth.
It is clear that the wrath of God occurs when probation closes. Revelation 16:1, and the entire chapter for that matter, shows that the wrath of God is poured out in the seven last plagues.
The Time to Judge the Dead
The judgment of the righteous dead began in 1844, according to The Great Controversy, p. 486.
At the time appointed for the judgment—the close of the 2300 days, in 1844—began the work of investigation and blotting out of sins. . . Both the living and the dead are to be judged ‘out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.’
However, based on Early Writings, pp. 85, 86, the time to judge the dead is a separate event from the judgment that began in 1844 because it must begin after the wrath of God is poured out. The executive judgment occurs at the end of the millennium when all the wicked who have ever lived are called to life in the second resurrection. Ellen White describes this scene in The Great Controversy, p. 666:
In the presence of the assembled inhabitants of earth and heaven the final coronation of the Son of God takes place. And now, invested with supreme majesty and power, the King of kings pronounces sentence upon the rebels against His government and executes justice upon those who have transgressed His law and oppressed His people. Says the prophet of God: ‘I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.’ Revelation 20:11, 12. As soon as the books of record are opened, and the eye of Jesus looks upon the wicked, they are conscious of every sin which they have ever committed. They see just where their feet diverged from the path of purity and holiness, just how far pride and rebellion have carried them in the violation of the law of God. The seductive temptations which they encouraged by indulgence in sin, the blessings perverted, the messengers of God despised, the warnings rejected, the waves of mercy beaten back by the stubborn, unrepentant heart—all appear as if written in letters of fire.
We can see from this quote that the executive judgment at the end of the millennium fits the chronology of Ellen White’s statement from Early Writings, p. 36 for the timing of the judgment of the dead. It is after the thousand years that the final execution of the judgment of the dead will take place.
The following helps to summarize the sequence of events during the seventh trumpet, or third woe.
- Seventh trumpet sounds (third woe begins) on October 22, 1844 as Revelation 11:19 shows that the most holy place was opened.
- Christ enters the most holy place to receive the kingdom (Revelation 11:15).
- The judgment of the righteous dead commences in 1844 (The Great Controversy, pp. 480, 486; Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 14). Some point in the future beyond 1844, the judgment of the living among God’s professed people begins (The Great Controversy, p. 490). This is a separate judgment from the the one in Revelation 11:18.
- Sometime between 1844 and 1900, the angering of the nations began (Review and Herald, January 28, 1909; Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 14) and certainly has already been fulfilled through World War I and World War II among other wars.
- As the latter rain is poured out and God’s people are sealed, the four winds of strife are released, which leads to the final angering of the nations and the persecution of the saints (Early Writings, pp. 36; 85, 86,My Life Today, p. 308, Revelation 11:18, Daniel 11:44, Revelation 12:17, and Revelation 13).
- The nations that are angry in its final phase are represented by the secular kings of the earth (Revelation 17).
- The wrath of papal Rome against the sealing message leads to the death decree which precipitates the close of probation (Daniel 11:44, 45; 12:1, Revelation 12:17, and Revelation 13).
- The close of probation ushers in the wrath of God which is manifested by the outpouring of the seven last plagues (Early Writings, p. 36, Revelation 16).
- After the close of probation, the second coming, and the millennium, Christ returns with the saints to the earth the third time for the executive judgment. At this point, the the final judgment of the dead takes place (Revelation 11:18, Revelation 20:11, 12, The Great Controversy, p. 666).
Now that we have established the sequence from Revelation 11:18 of “the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead that they should be judged. . .” we can evaluate the remaining components of the seventh trumpet.
In the last half of Revelation 11:18 we read, “and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” The reward that is given clearly speaks to the reward (or gift) of everlasting life to God’s faithful people as a result of the investigative judgment that began in 1844. This includes those who have already died whose names are reviewed in the judgment as well as those that are living during the time of the judgment. The faithful are the “servants the prophets,” “the saints,” and “them that fear thy name.”
Those who “fear thy name” clearly connects to Revelation 14:7 and the call to fear God in the time of the judgment. The final phrase shows that God will destroy those who destroy, or corrupt (per margin), the earth. Thus, during the seventh trumpet, at the end of the executive judgment God destroys those who corrupt the earth by pouring out His wrath in sending fire down from heaven to destroy them (see Revelation 20:9). Thus, the seventh trumpet culminates at the end of the millennium.
The description of the seventh trumpet closes in Revelation 11:19 with the opening of the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary. Our understanding of Daniel 8:14, as well as the timing of the end of the sixth trumpet, or second woe, on August 11, 1840 helps us to understand that Jesus entered the most holy place on October 22, 1844, “quickly” after the end of the second woe (see again The Great Controversy, p. 433).
This announces the beginning of the judgment on papal Rome (and spiritual Babylon) and of the investigative judgment on all of God’s professed people, starting with those who are dead. At the end we see the phrase, “and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” It is interesting that in the seventh plague of the seven last plagues, in Revelation 16:21, we see great hail falling on the wicked. Thus, we see a clear connection with the seventh trumpet (hail in Revelation 11:19) and the seven last plagues.
This brings up a crucial point about the third woe and the seventh trumpet. As we saw in the sequence in the nine points on pages 10 and 11, point 8 shows that the wrath of God is poured out in the seven last plagues as part of the seventh trumpet. This shows that the seventh trumpet, or third woe, which began in history on October 22, 1844 continues with the wrath of God in the outpouring of the seven last plagues after the judgment has ended, or after probation has closed. This makes the third woe far worse than the first and second woes. It also shows the end result of the judgment on papal Rome.
The Interlude of Revelation 10 and 11
At this point, one may wonder why Revelation 10 and Revelation 11:1-13 are between the sixth and the seventh trumpets. Looking first at Revelation 11, we see that it describes the French Revolution.
The three and-a-half years of the French Revolution mentioned in Revelation 11:9, in which atheism was introduced, occurred from the autumn of 1793 to the spring of 1797. This also marks the end of the 1260 years, which is described as the times of the Gentiles in Revelation 11:2. It was during this time that the two witnesses, the Old and New Testament, were clothed in sackcloth due to their suppression by papal Rome.
France was where a union of church and state was formed in 508, beginning the 1290 year prophecy of Daniel 12:11. France consistently rejected the Protestant Reformation and participated in killing the Huguenots in St. Bartholomew’s massacre in 1572. Thus, the principles of the papacy of the union of church and state began in France and reached full maturity over the 1260 and 1290 years.
Revelation 13:2 reminds us that the dragon, or Satan, gave his power, seat, and authority to papal Rome. The papacy’s principles of Satan’s government were developed by papal Rome especially in the country of France.
At the end of the 1260 years, Satan’s principles of government came to full maturity as seen in the French Revolution. Papal Rome received its deadly wound in 1798 and 46 years later the judgment began in 1844. Papal Rome had persecuted the saints during the 1260 years showing what Satan does to God’s true believers. The French Revolution revealed that the end-result of the principles of Satan’s government is complete anarchy and a godless society full of licentiousness and debauchery.
Once Satan’s principles were fully revealed through papal Rome after the 1260 years, God could be justified, or vindicated, to begin his judgment on papal Rome as denoted by the sounding of the seventh trumpet, culminating with the wrath of God in the outpouring of the seven last plagues. Revelation 11 is thus in between the description of the sixth and seventh trumpets because it shows one reason why God was vindicated to judge Rome during the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
Revelation 10 describes the rise of the Second Advent movement. Revelation 10:2 shows the unsealing of the understanding of the 2300 day prophecy from Daniel 8:14 and shows us that there is no more prophetic time after 1844 (Revelation 10:6). The great disappointment of the Millerite movement is shown in Revelation 10:9, 10 and the commission to prophesy again through the proclamation of the three angels’ messages is seen in Revelation 10:11.
The key issue with respect to the seventh trumpet is found in Revelation 10:7. We read, “But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” This verse tells us that the purpose for the Second Advent movement is for the mystery of God to be finished during the sounding of the seventh trumpet. Several verses (Ephesians 6:19; Ephesians 3:3, 6; Colossians 4:3) show that the mystery of God is the gospel.
Thus, one element of the finishing of the mystery of God is the completion of the gospel commission as seen in Matthew 24:14. Colossians 1:27 also tells us that the mystery of God is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Thus, the mystery of God represents the indwelling Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, living out His life through His last-day people in the Second Advent movement (see also Ephesians 3:16-21). Specifically, Christ’s life, or His righteousness, will be completed, or finished, in His believers. Therefore, the principles of God’s government will be fully demonstrated through the Second Advent movement just as Satan’s principles have been demonstrated through the papacy after 1260 years.
The concept of the mystery of God being finished is echoed in what Ellen White says inChrist’s Object Lessons, p. 69.
Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.
When the mystery of God is finished, Christ’s character will be perfectly reproduced in His people and He will return. Before He returns, there must be the final sequence of events known as the latter rain, loud cry, close of probation, and Jacob’s time of trouble which parallels the seven last plagues. Then we will see the second coming. Ellen White clearly connects the concept of the mystery of God being finished with the outpouring of the latter rain and the loud cry message. Notice this statement from Review and Herald, April 21, 1891:
The latter rain is to fall upon the people of God. A mighty angel is to come down from heaven, and the whole earth is to be lighted with his glory. Are we ready to take part in the glorious work of the third angel? Are our vessels ready to receive the heavenly dew? Have we defilement and sin in the heart? If so, let us cleanse the soul temple, and prepare for the showers of the latter rain. The refreshing from the presence of the Lord will never come to hearts filled with impurity. May God help us to die to self, that Christ, the hope of glory, may be formed within!
Notice the last sentence in which Ellen White speaks about Christ, the hope of glory, being formed within. This is the mystery of God. It is also crucial to notice the conditions for the outpouring of the latter rain and the beginning of the loud cry. In this passage Ellen White specifically mentions:
- Cleansing of the soul temple (corresponds with cleansing of heavenly sanctuary)
- Dying to self
- Christ being formed within, the hope of glory (mystery of God) (Colossians 1:27)
What is fascinating about this concept is that as the mystery of God is finished, the seventh trumpet can finish its work. We noted in our study of the sequence of events regarding the seventh trumpet that the angering of the nations culminates when the latter rain is poured out and the loud cry is given.
Papal Rome, Protestant America, and the kings of the earth will be enraged by the loud cry and seek to suppress this last warning message to the world. The finishing of the mystery of God will allow the latter rain to be poured out, and the nations will be angry. The angering of the nations culminates with the death decree in Daniel 11:45 causing Michael to stand up in Daniel 12:1 and probation to close. When probation closes, the seventh trumpet continues to sound as the wrath of God is poured out in the seven last plagues (Revelation. 11:18 and Revelation 16).
The experience of God’s people during Jacob’s time of trouble will offer evidence that the mystery of God has been finished. During this time, the 144,000 will pass through the most intense trials and temptations and will remain faithful. This will occur while the seventh trumpet is still sounding as the seven last plagues are being poured out. Satan will be allowed to try God’s people in the most severe way possible, and their faithfulness will demonstrate the full maturity of the principles of God’s government here on this earth.
When the mystery of God is finished, God’s people will be sealed, and probation will close. God will be vindicated in closing probation when the mystery is finished because His principles of government will be fully developed, just as He was vindicated in starting the judgment when the French Revolution revealed the principles of Satan’s government. However, the full demonstration of the mystery of God being finished comes during Jacob’s time of trouble. God has raised up the Second Advent movement to receive His righteousness within so that we can be sealed and represent His character to the world. That time cannot be far distant, and now more than ever we need to be surrendering our lives each day so that God can cleanse us of all sin.
Pippenger’s Variant View of the Trumpets, Woes, and Islam
Now that we have established a brief understanding of the historicist viewpoint of the trumpets and woes, we will take a look at a more recently developed understanding of the trumpets and woes. This second viewpoint is identical, or nearly identical, to the historicist understanding of the first four trumpets with respect to the four barbaric tribes bringing down the Catholic western Roman empire which culminated in 476 A.D.
There is also agreement that the Ottoman empire represents the Islamic world in Bible prophecy, that it attacked the Catholic eastern Roman empire as represented by the fifth and sixth trumpets and the parallel first and second woes, and there is agreement to the timing of the prophecy of the five months (150 years) seen in Revelation 9:5 and 9:10, and the prophecy of the one hour, one day, one month, and one year (391 years and 15 days) seen in Revelation 9:15.
It is at the understanding of the third woe that the newer viewpoint varies from the historicist interpretation. The conclusion of the newer viewpoint is the belief that the third woe began in history on September 11, 2001. Those who promote this viewpoint base it partly on their teaching of a so-called “triple application” of Bible prophecy.
For example, there are three Elijahs. Elijah, John the Baptist, and the last-day Elijah. The characteristics of the first two Elijahs will be combined into the third Elijah. The first Elijah was translated without seeing death. The second Elijah, as John the Baptist, was beheaded. Thus, in the third Elijah, some will be translated as the 144,000 without seeing death and others will be martyrs for the faith.
Proponents of this view believe that the three woes follow this triple application of Bible prophecy. In the first two woes, Islam struck Rome in their words “quickly, unexpectedly, with explosives.” Therefore, the third woe must also involve modern Islam striking modern Rome “quickly, unexpectedly, with explosives.” The United States of America is seen to be modern Rome.
If we accept the premise that Islam must be part of the third woe and that America is modern Rome, then the next step appears obvious. Then modern Islam attacked modern America “quickly, unexpectedly, with explosives” on September 11, 2001. Thus, this viewpoint holds that the third woe began in history on this date.
There are some significant issues with this understanding. While I believe that those who promote these views are honest and sincere, we must apply careful, biblical scrutiny to see whether these teachings are sound. First of all, the use of the “triple application of Bible prophecy” to show that Islam is part of the third woe is not the best argument from the passage describing the third woe. Clearly, we can see Islam in the fifth and sixth trumpets (or first and second woes) of Revelation 9. However, when we take a detailed look at the third woe, or seventh trumpet, in Revelation 11:14-19, as we did in the section above, there is no clear evidence of modern Islam playing a key role.
We saw from Ellen White in The Great Controversy, p. 334, that the second woe, or sixth trumpet, ended on August 11, 1840. Revelation 11:14 shows that the third woe comes “quickly” after August 11, 1840. In Revelation 8 and 9, the woes and the trumpets were parallel and concurrent. Revelation 11:19 shows that the seventh trumpet began sounding on October 22, 1844, and therefore, the third woe clearly began in history on October 22, 1844 as it runs parallel and concurrent with the seventh trumpet just as the first and second woes ran concurrent and parallel with the fifth and sixth trumpets. Therefore, the third woe definitely did not begin on September 11, 2001, and the claim that it did begin on September 11, 2001 is a false teaching.
As noted in the discussion of the seven trumpets above, the seventh trumpet (or third woe) is a judgment on papal Rome and all of spiritual Babylon. The culmination of this judgment comes with the outpouring of His wrath in the seven last plagues and the executive judgment at the end of the millennium. The idea that the third woe began in history on September 11, 2001 is a flawed concept, and the truth is that it began in history on October 22, 1844 when the seventh trumpet began sounding and the judgment began.
The third woe has already started, of which the angering of the nations forms a part, and will steadily build as the four winds of strife are released. It will culminate in God pouring out the seven last plagues on Rome before His Second Coming and executing judgment against the wicked at the end of the millennium.
To add to the idea of the third woe beginning on September 11, 2001, the same group believes that the phrase “the nations were angry” found in Revelation 11:18 refers to Islam.Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 174 is quoted:
Abraham’s early teachings had not been without effect upon Ishmael, but the influence of his wives resulted in establishing idolatry in his family. Separated from his father, and embittered by the strife and contention of a home destitute of the love and fear of God, Ishmael was driven to choose the wild, marauding life of the desert chief, ‘his hand against every man, and every man’s hand against him.’ Genesis 16:12. In his latter days he repented of his evil ways and returned to his father’s God, but the stamp of character given to his posterity remained. The powerful nation descended from him were a turbulent, heathen people, who were ever an annoyance and affliction to the descendants of Isaac.
They show, on the basis of this quote, that Ishmael, the father of Islam, became embittered and fought “against every man, and every man against him,” and that this stamp of his embittered character was passed along to his posterity. Thus, they equate Islam with “the angry horse” represented by the four winds in the quote from My Life Today, p. 308, and with the “angry nations” of Revelation 11:18. Therefore, they believe the Islamic terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 is the beginning of the “restraint” of the four winds, the beginning of the angering of the nations, and the beginning of the third woe in history.
While it is true that many modern terrorists are equated with Islamic extremists, we must make sure that Islamic extremism fits the characteristics of the angering of the nations in Revelation 11:18. As we demonstrated in our discussion of Revelation 11:18, Ellen White indicates in Review and Herald, January 28, 1909 and Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 14 that the angering of the nations has already begun. Furthermore, we have seen that World War I and World War II perfectly fit the descriptions she made of “preparations for war.” It would not be unreasonable to say that what happened on September 11, 2001 fits within the overall picture of the angering of the nations, but it certainly is not the beginning nor the culmination of this concept but rather, at best, a small part of it.
In addition to advocating that the third woe began in history on September 11, 2001 and that Islam represents the angering of the nations, Pippenger also teaches that Islam is part of the “tidings out of the east and north“ of Daniel 11:44. While he also holds to the view that these “tidings” represents the loud cry message, he bases his belief that the east also represents Islam on passages such as Ezekiel 37:9 which speaks of the four winds that bring life to the dead bones of Israel and Isaiah 27:8 speaks of the rough wind, or the “east” wind. He also uses the following quote from Ellen White found in Manuscript Releases, Volume 20, p. 217:
Angels are holding the four winds, represented as an angry horse seeking to break loose and rush over the face of the whole earth, bearing destruction and death in its path.
Shall we sleep on the very verge of the eternal world? Shall we be dull and cold and dead? Oh, that we might have in our churches the Spirit and breath of God breathed into His people, that they might stand upon their feet and live. We need to see that the way is narrow, and the gate strait. But as we pass through the strait gate, its wideness is without limit.
This quote is very similar to the one seen in My Life Today, p. 308. We again see Ellen White referring to the four winds as an “angry horse.” When she says “Oh, that we might have in our churches the Spirit and breath of God breathed into His people,” she is making a direct reference to Ezekiel 37:9. On the basis of this quote, Pippenger believes that Islam, is represented by the angry horse of the four winds (and specifically that Islam is the east wind of the four winds). Furthermore, he believes that Islam is being restrained, and that God’s people are beginning to receive the outpouring of the Latter Rain as God breathes His Spirit into the churches and that the Latter Rain will be poured out without measure once the Sunday Law begins. He believes that Islam, as the angry horse, has been in restraint since September 11, 2001 and that the early sprinklings of the Latter Rain have been falling since then.
First of all, it has already been made clear that the angering of the nations had already begun by at least 1900. Thus, it is incorrect and arbitrary to limit the angering of the nations to Islam beginning in 2001 with the terrorist attacks. This could be a small part of the angering of the nations, but it is certainly not the key that unlocks the understanding of this concept, nor the beginning of the third woe in history considering that the third woe began on October 22, 1844. The quotes from Ellen White and the passages from Genesis and Ezekiel do not prove that just because Ishmael was “embittered,” his descendants (Islam) must necessarily be the “angry horse” of the four winds, or the angry nations of Revelation 11:18.
Furthermore, whether or not Islam really can be described as “children of the east,” it is quite unusual to believe that the “tidings of the east” of Daniel 11:44 can be both the loud cry empowered by the Latter Rain and Islam at the same time. Ironically, Pippenger takes a decided view that the “daily” of Daniel is paganism and uses strong language of criticism for those who believe that the “daily” is the heavenly ministry of Christ. It is inconsistent to criticize people for believing, in his words, a “Satanic power,” or the daily, is wrongly believed to be the ministry of Christ, while at the same time he claims that “tidings from the east” can actually represent both the loud cry of the third angel’s message and Islam.
Jeff Pippenger makes prominent use of Isaiah 27:5-10 (quoted below) to give weight to the assertion that Islam is the east wind and that the Latter Rain has been falling in measure since 9/11.
5. Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. 6. He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. 7. Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him? or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? 8. In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. 9. By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up. 10. Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof.
Notice how Jeff Pippenger explains this passage in his own words. All Bible passages, Spirit of Prophecy quotes, and italicized statements are directly from Pippenger in his explanation of Isaiah 27:5-10:
Verse 5 is the Laodicean message, for God is willing to make peace to any who will receive that message. But that message is the last call for Adventism. Either we make peace or we are spewed out of His mouth.
Verse 6 is a promise that He will then cause those Adventists who receive His peace (the Laodicean message) to bud and thereafter fill the world with fruit. That which causes the trees to bud out in the Scriptures is the latter rain (the spring time) and the fruit is developed in the harvest (the summer). The budding out is the sprinkling of the latter rain that precedes the full outpouring of His Spirit at the Sunday law. This two step outpouring has been specifically identified within Inspiration.
‘The act of Christ in breathing upon His disciples the Holy Ghost, and in imparting His peace to them, was as a few drops before the plentiful shower to be given on the day of Pentecost.’ The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, p. 244.
On 9/11, when the angry horse, or the four winds or the angry nations were restrained the latter rain began to sprinkle.
‘Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.’ Testimonies to Ministers, p. 507.
On 9/11 the latter rain was poured out with measure (paralleling Christ’s act of breathing upon the disciples), but at the Sunday law (paralleling Pentecost) it is poured out without measure. Measure represents the outpouring of the Spirit.
‘For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.’ John 3:34, 35.
Verse four is the Laodicean message, verse five the promise of the latter rain, both the sprinkling and full outpouring, the bud and the fruit. Verse six is referencing judgment, which here is identifying the judgment of the living and then in verse seven and eight it states:
‘In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind. By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.’
When the Spirit is poured out in measure (causing the budding or shooting forth), when He stayeth (restrains) His rough wind (the four winds of strife) in the day (9/11) of the east (Islam, i.e. third woe) wind the debate of the latter rain will begin within Adventism. That debate has been prefigured by the Pharisees in the time of Christ and the history of 1888. By this very debate over the restraining of the east wind and the concept of the sprinkling of the latter rain shall the iniquity of God’s people be purged. This is the debate that brings the judgment of the living within Adventism to a conclusion, just prior to the Sunday law.
This is a very questionable interpretation of Isaiah 27. In fact, if there was ever a private interpretation of Scripture, Pippenger’s interpretation of Isaiah 27 certainly is just that. To use “the day of the east wind” in verse 8 as Islam of the east attacking America on 9/11 and to say the “debate” in verse 8 is the debate over Islam that is current among some Seventh-day Adventists, is actually a very irresponsible interpretation of the passage.
With respect to the passage from Isaiah 27, there could be some elements that have an end-time fulfillment in the Seventh-day Adventist Church (i.e. the promise of Israel blossoming and filling the face of the world with fruit as seen in verse 6 could possibly describe Revelation 18:1 where it is prophesied that the earth will be lightened with the glory of God or the ripening of the harvest in Revelation 14:15; also the iniquity of Judah being purged in verse 9 could represent the blotting out of sins in the judgment). However, the east wind and the debate most certainly have a different meaning than Pippenger ascribes to them.
Notice what the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 207 says on verse 8 regarding the meaning of the phrase “he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind.”
Literally, ‘he expelled [her, that is, Judah] with his vehement breath,’ or ‘he expelled his stern breath.’ The meaning is not altogether clear. The east wind was a hot dry, suffocating wind, blowing in from the desert, a fit symbol of death and destruction . . . Figuratively, this wind represents judgments God permits to come upon His people. The ‘east wind’ is said to be the ‘breath’ of God. Punishment appeared to come from natural causes, though in reality it was ordained, or permitted, by God.
Here it can be seen that this phrase “stayeth his rough wind” can mean that Judah is expelled by God’s breath or that God is expelling His own breath on Judah. Furthermore, the east wind is seen to be a judgment on God’s people. Pippenger claims that the “day” of the east wind is 9/11. However, 9/11 was an attack on America, not a judgment on Seventh-day Adventists. While the exact meaning of some elements in the passage may not be known with exact certainty, surely it can be seen that 9/11 and Islam have nothing to with this passage. The fact that Pippenger goes so far off on his interpretation of this passage shows that he is an unreliable interpreter of Scripture. It will be demonstrated that he uses similar questionable methods in interpreting the writings of Ellen White.
Furthermore, it can clearly be seen that Pippenger believes the judgment of the living within Adventism began on 9/11. In his presentations, he teaches that when the National Sunday Law is passed, the judgment of the living in Adventism will be complete. We have seen that Pippenger uses illogical and irrational methods of Scripture interpretation in Isaiah 27 to reach the conclusion that the judgment of the living has begun. This is strong evidence that his claims about 9/11 are also a deception.
Millerite Heritage, Restraint of Islam, and Repetition of History
Jeff Pippenger teaches that the attack of Islam on America on 9/11 placed a “restraint” on Islam by the rest of the world since that time and that this ushered in a holding of the four winds of Revelation 7:1-3 while Seventh-day Adventists are being sealed. He believes that this is a repetition of the Millerite history and compares this event to the fall of the Ottoman (Islamic) empire on August 11, 1840.
We have already noted the historical validity of August 11, 1840 as seen in The Great Controversy, pp. 334, 335. The idea of the repetition of history from the Millerite era is found especially in the following two quotes from Ellen White:
“The parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25 also illustrates the experience of the Adventist people” (The Great Controversy, p. 393).
When the third angel’s message is preached as it should be, power attends its proclamation, and it becomes an abiding influence. It must be attended with divine power, or it will accomplish nothing. I am often referred to the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and five foolish. This parable has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter, for it has a special application to this time, and, like the third angel’s message, has been fulfilled and will continue to be present truth till the close of time. Review and Herald, August 19, 1890 [emphasis supplied].
It is very clear that the parable of the ten virgins from Matthew 25 was fulfilled to the very letter in the Millerite history, and it will also be fulfilled to the very letter among Seventh-day Adventists just before Jesus comes.
Jeff Pippenger correctly teaches that when the Ottoman Empire fell on August 11, 1840 at the end of the second woe, the Millerite movement was given extra power. As seen in The Great Controversy, pp. 334, 335, this fulfillment of prophecy confirmed the principles of prophetic interpretation used by the Millerites and thus gave extra power to the movement. From 1840 – 1844, the movement had its greatest power. Pippenger uses the fall of the Ottoman Empire as his starting point for the repetition of Millerite history at the end of the world. He teaches that the first angel began to be proclaimed with power in 1840 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and he teaches that the second angel’s message began to be proclaimed in 1842, and then the midnight cry began in the summer of 1844, which gave extra force to the first and second angel’s messages.
Pippenger uses the quote from Review and Herald, Aug. 19, 1890 about the parable of the ten virgins being fulfilled again to the very letter as his template for the end of the world. He believes that just as a restraint was placed on Islam after the fall of the Ottomans on August 11, 1840, a restraint was placed on Islam after it struck America on 9/11 and that this coincides with the holding of the four winds of Revelation 7:1-3. He teaches that 9/11 ushers in the final prophetic history for Adventism based on the repetition of the history of the Millerite movement and the restraint of Islam.
He teaches that the attack of Islam on America on 9/11 gives force to the foundations of Adventism as found on the two charts of 1843 and 1850 in the same way that the fall of the Ottoman empire gave force to the year-day principle for the Millerites. On this basis, he believes that the final warning message for Adventists as seen in Revelation 18:1 has been sounding since 9/11 and that the judgment of the living is taking place among Seventh-day Adventists until the Sunday Law takes place. When the Sunday Law is passed, he believes that probation closes for Adventists.
What is confusing about the parallel Pippenger draws between the Millerite history and 9/11 is that he begins the loud cry of Revelation 18:1 with the attack of Islam, rather than placing the loud cry of Revelation 18 as a parallel to the midnight cry from the summer of 1844. He teaches that Revelation 18:1-5 comes in two stages in which verses 1-3 began on 9/11, and the events of verses 4 and 5 begin when “another voice” is heard and the National Sunday Law is passed. Thus, he teaches that we are in the fulfillment of Revelation 18:1-3 at this point in time and that verses 4 and 5 are in the near future.
While it is agreed that Ellen White’s statement says the parable of the ten virgins has been fulfilled to the very letter through the Millerites and again in the future through the Seventh-day Adventist church, we do not agree with the parallels and reference points Pippenger uses for the second fulfillment of the parable. First of all, the comparison between the fall of the Ottoman empire of 1840 with Islam’s attack of America on 9/11 is flawed. The Ottomans fell in 1840, but 9/11 represented a resurgence of Islam in the world. The events are opposite in nature, so that seems to be a weak comparison at best.
Furthermore, we agree that the fall of the Ottoman empire gave force to the first angel’s message in 1840, but it was the midnight cry, in fulfillment of the parable of the bridegroom, that gave force to the second angel’s message beginning in August of 1844 in what became known as the seventh month movement once the date of October 22, 1844 was set at the Exeter, NH campmeeting of August 12-17, 1844 in the message delivered by Samuel S. Snow.
It is a flawed argument to compare the events of 9/11 and the role of Islam as fulfilling the repetition of history from the Millerite movement and the parable of the bridegroom. As the parable of the ten virgins is fulfilled in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the first and second angel’s messages have been sounding with greater clarity since October 22, 1844 with the addition of the third angel’s message.
The understanding of what Christ is doing as our high priest in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary has given extra understanding to the first, second, and third angel’s messages. Just as the Millerites sounded the first and second angel’s messages from 1840 – 1844, and just as the midnight cry gave extra force to the messages of the first and second angel, so Seventh-day Adventists have been sounding the three angels’ messages since 1844 as a fulfillment of the parable of the ten virgins. The loud cry, as described in Revelation 18:1-5, will be what gives extra force to the three angels’ messages in parallel with what the midnight cry did for the Millerite movement in fulfillment of the parable of the bridegroom.
Pippenger’s attempt to divide Revelation 18:1-5 into two stages (verses 1-3, then verses 4 and 5) is simply wrong. Ellen White makes it very clear that Revelation 18:1-5 occurs together. Take for example her chapter “The Final Warning” in The Great Controversy. In the opening paragraph on p. 603, she includes verses 1, 2, and 4 of Revelation 18 together as a singular event. Furthermore, Ellen White equates Revelation 18:1-5 and the beginning of the loud cry with the passing of the National Sunday Law. In Last Day Events, p. 198, Ellen White says:
When do her sins reach unto heaven [Rev. 18:2-5]? When the law of God is finally made void by legislation. (From Signs of the Times, June 12, 1893, emphasis supplied).
Notice that Ellen White includes verses 2-5 in this quote as a singular unit. Revelation 18:2-5 clearly overlaps Revelation 18:1-3 and both describe the loud cry message. Here Ellen White shows that the loud cry, which denounces Babylon as being fallen, and in which her sins are described as having reached to heaven, will not commence until legislation makes void the law of God. This refers to the National Sunday Law, and that event (as of this writing in December 2011) is still in the future. Pippenger’s division of Revelation 18:1-5 into two parts has caused unnecessary confusion.
Ellen White also connects the issue of Sunday legislation with the power of the loud cry in the chapter “The Final Warning” in The Great Controversy. Notice what she says in pp. 605, 606:
Heretofore those who presented the truths of the third angel’s message have often been regarded as mere alarmists. Their predictions that religious intolerance would gain control in the United States, that church and state would unite to persecute those who keep the commandments of God, have been pronounced groundless and absurd. It has been confidently declared that this land could never become other than what it has been—the defender of religious freedom. But as the question of enforcing Sunday observance is widely agitated, the event so long doubted and disbelieved is seen to be approaching, and the third message will produce an effect which it could not have had before[emphasis supplied].
It is not an understanding of Islam but rather the agitation of Sunday legislation that gives force to the loud cry. Ellen White reveals how powerful the loud cry message will be in the closing paragraphs of the same chapter, “The Final Warning.” Notice what she says in The Great Controversy, pp. 611, 612:
The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are ‘the times of refreshing’ to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said: ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus.’ Acts 3:19, 20. Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. Satan also works, with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.
When reading those statements about the loud cry and the relationship to how the agitation of the National Sunday Law will give force to the loud cry, it cannot be said that there has been any significant agitation of Sunday legislation over the past ten years (2001 – 2011) unless it has been behind the scenes. However, Ellen White’s statements make it clear that all will be aware of the agitation of Sunday legislation.
Therefore, the third angel’s message has not yet produced the effect it will have when that takes place. The persecution of the saints has not been seen to any measurable extent at this point. Also, she speaks of “thousands of voices, all over the earth” who are giving the warning, which we have yet to see in full measure.
One other point that is important to discuss is the restraining of the four winds of Revelation 7:1-3. From listening to Pippenger and reading his material, it seems that he is teaching that the holding of the four winds began on 9/11 with the “restraint of Islam.” As discussed in part two of this series, Pippenger uses Ezekiel 37 and Isaiah 27:5-10 as support for this idea. However, Seventh-day Adventists have always understood that the four winds of Revelation have been held by the sealing angel since 1844. Ellen White makes it clear inEarly Writings, p. 38, that the four winds have been held for a long time and were about to be released many years ago.
I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, ‘My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!’ Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, ‘Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold!’ until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.
I asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He said to me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on the earth; that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads.
See also again her statements from Review and Herald, Jan. 28, 1909, and My Life Today, p. 308 elsewhere in this article series which obviously show that the four winds were being held in Ellen White’s day, long before 9/11. It is also clear that the restraint of these four winds is directly related to the readiness of the remnant, or Seventh-day Adventists. The restraint of the four winds has nothing to do with Islam but rather whether God’s people are ready to be sealed.
Do Ellen White’s Writings Support the Loud Cry Starting on September 11, 2001?
The quote alluded to from Ellen White at the beginning of our article series which Jeff Pippenger uses in an attempt to support his view of Islam and 9/11, is found in Review and Herald, July 5, 1906. Here she says:
Not many years ago, a brother laboring in New York City published some very startling notices regarding the destruction of that city. I wrote immediately to the ones in charge of the work there, saying that it was not wise to publish such notices; that thus an excitement might be aroused which would result in a fanatical movement, hurting the cause of God. It is enough to present the truth of the Word of God to the people. Startling notices are detrimental to the progress of the work. Under date of Aug. 9, 1903, I further wrote regarding this sensational report:
Now comes the word that I have declared that New York is to be swept away by a tidal wave? This I have never said. I have said, as I looked at the great buildings going up there, story after story, ‘What terrible scenes will take place when the Lord shall arise to shake terribly the earth! Then the words of Rev. 18:1-3 will be fulfilled.’ The whole of the eighteenth chapter of Revelation is a warning of what is coming on the earth. But I have no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York, only that I know that one day the great buildings there will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God’s power. From the light given me, I know that destruction is in the world. One word from the Lord, one touch of his mighty power, and these massive structures will fall. Scenes will take place the fearfulness of which we can not imagine.’
One can unpack much from this. Ellen White makes it very clear in this statement that the great buildings will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God’s power when the Lord arises to shake the earth at which time Revelation 18:1-3 will be fulfilled. The two key fulfillments in this passage are the “Lord arising to shake terribly the earth,” and the fulfillment of Revelation 18:1-3. If you then accept the premise that the great buildings of New York are limited to the three towers that came down on September 11 (both twin towers and World Trade Center building #7), and if you believe that God worked through the Islamic terrorists who flew the planes into the buildings to represent Him rising to terribly shake the earth through the turning and overturning of His power, then it is plausible to claim that the mighty angel of Revelation 18:1-3 descended from heaven on September 11, 2001 and that it was this date in history that the Lord arose to terribly shake the earth. If this is true, then we are living in the most momentous time of earth’s history considering it has been a decade since September 11, 2001. If true, for the past decade, the loud cry of Revelation 18 under the power of the latter rain has been going forward and the earth has been lightened with the glory of God.
Before we take a look to see if the events of the loud cry have been occurring over the past decade, let us analyze this statement from Ellen White carefully to see if September 11, 2001 fits the description given in Review and Herald, July 5, 1906. First of all, in the portion of the article that we have quoted, Ellen White begins by cautioning an Adventist brother for making sensational claims about the destruction of New York. It also appears that he was misquoting what she had said about New York’s destruction.
Ellen White refuted his claim that it would be destroyed by a tidal wave. She said that she had never said that. She further stated that what was being said by this brother would cause excitement that would lead to a fanatical movement. She then implored the workers to preach the truths of God’s Word and said that “startling notices are detrimental to the cause of God.” After urging caution, she then sets the record straight as to what she really had put into writing. Ironically, it seems that her statement about the destruction of New York is now being misused by Pippenger, and others to support the kind of fanaticism she warned against a century ago.
First, Ellen White refers back to her written statement from August 9, 1903 in which she talks about looking upon the great buildings of New York that rise story after story. These were buildings she saw in 1903 in the city at that time. These were described by her as “great buildings.” Then she says, “What terrible scenes will take place when the Lord shall arise to shake terribly the earth!” Clearly, the great buildings of New York will be involved when the Lord arises to shake terribly the earth. After she says that the Lord will arise to shake terribly the earth she then says, “Then the words of Revelation 18:1-3 will be fulfilled.”
Let us now take a closer look. First, when Ellen White talks about the Lord arising to shake terribly the earth she refers to “What terrible scenes. . .” There will be more than one “terrible scene.” There will be “terrible scenes.” Also, the earth will be terribly shaken, not just New York. Furthermore, it is difficult to claim that the great buildings of New York were limited to the Twin Towers. New York still has one of the most impressive skylines in the world, albeit less so without the Twin Towers. The Empire State building still qualifies as one of the great buildings of the world, and there are numerous buildings that still rise “story after story.”
More importantly though, don&rsuo; the buildings that Ellen White saw over 100 years qualify as “great buildings”? The World Trade Center was not completed till the early 1970s. The picture she is painting suggests a complete destruction of New York that will come. While the events of September 11, 2001 were shocking and terrible, the destruction was limited to three buildings and the terrible and untimely deaths of about 3,000 people.
Finally, Ellen White offers indisputable evidence that the Lord arising to terribly shake the earth, occurs with the passing of the National Sunday Law. Notice her statement inTestimonies, vol. 7, p. 141:
The wickedness of the inhabitants of the world has almost filled up the measure of their iniquity. This earth has almost reached the place where God will permit the destroyer to work his will upon it. The substitution of the laws of men for the law of God, the exaltation, by merely human authority, of Sunday in place of the Bible Sabbath, is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal Himself. He will arise in His majesty to shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity, and the earth shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain [emphasis supplied].
It is clear from this statement that God will not rise to shake the earth until the National Sunday Law is passed. The quote from Review and Herald, July 5, 1906, about the buildings of New York being overturned by God’s power and Revelation 18:1-3 being fulfilled when God rises terribly to shake the earth is obviously referring to when the National Sunday Law is passed. That time is indisputably yet future.
By failing to compare all the quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy about the time that the Lord arises to shake the earth, Pippenger and others have incorrectly portrayed 9/11 as meeting the specifications of Revelation 18:1 when in reality that is not the case. What Ellen White is describing in Review and Herald, July 5, 1906, occurs when the National Sunday Law is passed. Unfortunately, a false excitement is being generated by the misuse of this quote.
Notice also how Ellen White describes the destruction of the cities at the end in Last Day Events, p. 111.
The end is near and every city is to be turned upside down every way. There will be confusion in every city. Everything that can be shaken is to be shaken and we do not know what will come next. The judgments will be according to the wickedness of the people and the light of the truth that they have had. (From Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, p. 248, written in 1902).
In Evangelism, p. 29, she says:
“The time is near when large cities will be swept away, and all should be warned of these coming judgments.”
Notice from these two quotes that large cities will be swept away, and that every city is to be turned upside down every way. By comparing these statements to the one in Review and Herald, July 5, 1906, it seems that when the Lord arises to shake terribly the earth, New York and its buildings will be thrown down, and also every city will be turned upside down.
Looking at these statements, September 11, 2001 falls short of meeting these qualifications. While it is true that Washington, D.C. was also unfortunately affected that day, it was fairly limited, and cannot compare to the scenes painted in the writings of Ellen White used by Pippenger. It is fair to say though, that what happened that day is a small foretaste of what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise when God arises to shake terribly the earth.
In part four, we consider Jeff Pippenger’s teachings concerning the so-called “2520 prophecy,” or seven times of Leviticus 26.
The so-called 2520 Prophecy, or Seven Times of Leviticus 26
This article continues our look at certain teachings advocated by Jeff Pippenger. Recent times have seen him and others teaching the so-called 2520 prophecy, or seven times, of Leviticus 26. This proposed time prophecy was used on both the 1843 and 1850 charts by Millerites and early Adventists. However, Seventh-day Adventists as a body have never taught it. Only a few at the margin of the church in recent time have made such proclamation
With fresh promotion by Jeff Pippenger and others, some now claim that the acceptance and proclamation of this teaching is part of receiving the Latter Rain and seal of God. How is this claim made, and is this an authentic time prophecy?
William Miller taught that the “seven times” of Leviticus 26 are actually a prophecy in which God tells the Israelites that He will pass over them seven times if they are disobedient to His covenant. This is declared four times to Israel in Leviticus 26. Miller believed that the seven times represented seven prophetic years, and that these years should be converted into 360 days, and that 7 x 360 = 2520 days, which stands symbolically for a time period of 2520 actual years. He dated the beginning of this period from 677 B.C. when Manasseh, king of Judah, was taken captive.
Miller made the same mistake in the end date for this calculation as he did with the 2300 day prophecy. On the 1843 chart, both the 2300 days and the 2520 days end in 1843. While it is true that the 2520 prophecy is present on the 1843 chart, it was the understanding of the type/anti-type of the cleansing of the sanctuary and day of atonement in the 2300 day prophecy that led at last to the October 22, 1844 date. Thus, by the time the seventh month movement was ushered in August, 1844, the focal point of prophetic understanding for the Millerites was the 2300 days.
After the disappointment, early Adventist believers retained their belief in the validity of October 22, 1844 while developing their understanding of the core doctrines that would become foundational for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This includes the sabbath, sanctuary, Second Coming, state of the dead, and Spirit of Prophecy.
One of the early pioneers in the Millerite movement was Hiram Edson. He was asked to engage in a further study of the 2520 prophecy question. The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 3, 1856, publishd his findings. He differed with the dates that William Miller used for the 2520 prophecy. Rather than beginning the period in 677 B.C. with the captivity of Manassah, Edson placed the beginning in 723 B.C. when the 10 northern tribes of Israel were taken into captivity. Twenty-five-hundred-twenty years from 723 B.C. ends in 1798.
Edson was not dogmatic about this position. In this article he states:
As I have not time at present to mature the subject, I send you a portion of the broken, unmatured ideas as they are. I do not ask that they now go out as adopted or sanctioned by the Review, but merely for the examination and inspection of the brethren; and if the subject by them be judged to be of service to the church and worthy of further investigation, then it may hereafter be revised, improved, and carried out in its further bearing and extent.
Eugene Prewitt, in his book Deeper, p. 141, shows that Hiram Edson advanced a number of unusual prophetic positions in his document. Some clearly contradict many of the plainest ideas today held by Seventh-day Adventists. For example, Edson suggested the coming of the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 was a judgment on Rome in 1798 rather than the judgment that began in 1844 (the reader is referred to the above-mentioned book for the remaining ideas). To Edson’s credit, he never mentioned these positions, including the 2520, in writing again, nor were they continued by the Adventist pioneers.
Eight years after Hiram Edson’s ideas were presented to the brethren for consideration, James White addressed the 2520 question in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 26, 1864.
The prophetic period of Lev. xxvi, or what has been supposed to be such, has been no small object of study among prophetical expositors. It has been supposed that the expression, ‘seven times,’ in verses 18, 21, 24, 28, denoted a prophetic period of 2520 years, and that this period covered the time during which the throne of Israel should be and remain subverted and trodden down by oppressing powers. To rightly fix the commencement and termination of this period, became therefore a matter of consequence. Where does it commence? and where does it end? have been questions of much study, and perhaps some perplexity.
These are not the questions, however, that we propose here to discuss; for there is a question lying back of these, which demands to be answered first; namely, Is there any prophetic period brought to view at all in Lev. xxvi? We claim that there is not, and will offer a few of what are to us very conclusive reasons for this position:
1. A series of judgments is threatened against Israel, in case they hearkened not unto God to do his commandments, before the expression, seven times, is introduced. Verses 14-17. In these judgments is included being slain before their enemies, being reigned over by those that hated them, and fleeing when none pursued them. Now if the seven times were meant to cover the period of God’s special judgments against Israel, especially of their captivity by foreign powers, these seven times should have been mentioned in connection with the first threatening of judgments of this kind. But this, as we have seen, is not the case.
2. After the threatening of these judgments, God says, verse 18, ‘And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.’ Then follows an enumeration of the judgments to come upon them in fulfillment of this, different from the items of the first threatening, and increasing in severity.
3. If they would not for this hearken, seven times more plagues were threatened against them, ‘according to their sins.’ Verse 21. Then again follows an enumeration of judgments to correspond, more severe still than any preceding.
4. If they would not be reformed by these things, God threatened to punish them seven times more for their sins. Verse 24. And in like manner with the foregoing, an enumeration of the judgments to be inflicted in fulfillment, immediately follows, more fearful still.
5. And if they would not hearken to God for all these things, he makes a final threat that would walk contrary to them in fury, and chastise them seven times for their sins. Verse 28. And an enumeration of the judgments to be inflicted, again immediately follows, outdoing all before, in their terrible severity. Included among them were the eating of the flesh of their sons and daughters, making waste their cities, bringing the land into such desolation that their enemies should be astonished at it, scattering them among all nations, and drawing out a sword after them in all the lands of their dispersion. With fearful minuteness all this has been fulfilled, even to the eating the flesh of their own children, as in the terrible sieges that preceded the downfall of Jerusalem.
Thus we have, first, a series of judgments threatened against Israel, without the expression, seven times, and then the declaration four times made, that God would punish them seven times for their sins, each one on condition that the former did not lead to repentance, and each one containing its own specific enumeration of judgments, distinct from those that preceded, and regularly increasing in the severity of the denunciations. Now what is meant by this repeated expression of seven times? We reply, It denotes, not the duration of the punishment, but its intensity and severity. It is well expressed in the language of verse 21, thus: ‘I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.’ The number seven denoting perfection, we are undoubtedly to understand by this expression, the fullness of their punishment; that the measure of their national sins, would in every case be fully equaled by the measure of their national calamities.
And this position is fully sustained by the original, as a brief criticism will show.
In references to the Hebrew, we learn from the Hebrew Concordance that the expression, seven times, in Lev. xxvi, comes from sheh-vag; and this word is expressly set down by Gesenius, in those texts, as an adverb, also in Ps. cxix, 164; Prov. xxiv, 16. In Dan. iv, 16, 25, the expression, seven times, twice occurs, where beyond question it means duration. Nebuchadnezzar was to be driven from men, and make his dwelling with the beasts of the field, until seven times should pass over him. There can be no mistaking that here the expression means a certain space of time; but here we find, not the adverb as in Lev. xxvi, but the noun, gid-dahn, defined by Gesenius, ‘Time, in prophetic language, for a year.’ In Dan. vii, 25, where a prophetic period is brought to view in the expression, ‘a time and times and the dividing of time,’ the same word is used. In Dan. xii, 7, where the same period is again brought to view, and in about the same language, we have another word, moh-gehd, defined by Gesenius, ‘Appointment of time. Spoken of a space of time, appointed and definite. In the prophetic style for a year.’ It will be seen by this definition, that this word is synonymous with the one used in Dan. vii, 25, as above referred to. Now if a period of time is meant by the expression, seven times, in Lev. xxvi, one of these words should and would most assuredly have been used. And the fact that neither of these words is there used, but another word, and that an adverb, places it beyond question that no such period is there intended.
The Greek is equally definite. The Septuagint has in Lev. xxvi, heptakis, which is an adverb, signifying seven times. In Dan. iv, 16, 25, for Nebuchadnezzar’s seven times we have not heptakis, the adverb, but heptakairoi, a noun and its adjective. And in all cases where the word time occurs, denoting a prophetic period, as in Dan. vii, 25; xii, 7; Rev. xii, 14, it is from the noun kairos. Such a thing as a prophetic period based on an adverb is not to be found.
So then, there is no prophetic period in Lev. xxvi; and those who imagine that such a thing exists, and are puzzling themselves over the adjustment of its several dates, are simply beating the air. To ignore, or treat with neglect, a prophetic period where one is plainly given, is censurable in the extreme. It is an equally futile, though not so heinous, a course, to endeavor to create one where none exists [emphasis supplied].
From this article we can clearly see, that from the biblical perspective, James White finds no merit in teaching the seven times of Leviticus 26 to be a time prophecy. Ellen White, messenger to the remnant, wife of James White, never condemned his position concerning the 2520. This is important, since some are now teaching that the acceptance of the so-called 2520 prophecy is necessary to receive the seal of God.
Another key pioneer, Uriah Smith, addressed this question in his book Daniel and the Revelation, pp. 784, 785 in the original edition in the Appendix. Notice what he says:
Almost every scheme of the ‘Plan of the Ages,’ ‘Age-to-come,’ etc., makes use of a supposed prophetic period called the ‘Seven Times;’ and the attempt is made to figure out a remarkable fulfilment by events in Jewish and Gentile history. All such speculators might as well spare their pains; for there is no such prophetic period in the Bible.
The term is taken from Leviticus 26, where the Lord denounces judgments against the Jews, if they shall forsake him. After mentioning a long list of calamities down to verse 17, the Lord says: ‘And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.’ Verse 18. Verses 19 and 20 enumerate the additional judgments, then it is added in verse 21: ‘And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me: I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.’ More judgments are enumerated, and then in verses 23 and 24 the threatening is repeated: ‘And if ye will not be reformed by me these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.’ In verse 28 it is repeated again.
Thus the expression occurs four times, and each succeeding mention brings to view severer punishments, because the preceding ones were not heeded. Now, if ‘seven times’ denotes a prophetic period (2520 years), then we would have four of them, amounting in all to 10,080 years, which would be rather a long time to keep a nation under chastisement.
But we need borrow no trouble on this score; for the expression ‘seven times’ does not denote a period of duration, but is simply an adverb expressing degree, and setting forth the severity of the judgments to be brought upon Israel.
If it denoted a period of time, a noun and its adjective would be used, as in Dan. 4:16: ‘Let seven times pass over him.’ Here we have the noun (times) and adjective (seven): thus, shibah iddan; but in the passages quoted above from Leviticus 26, the words ‘seven times’ are simply the adverb (sheba), which means ‘sevenfold.’ The Septuagint makes the same distinction, using in Dan. 4:16, etc., but in Leviticus simply the adverb. [The original edition of Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith has the original Hebrew inserted after the word “adverb” but we have not done this here because of fonts and browser display issues]
The expression in Dan. 4:16 is not prophetic, for it is used in plain, literal narration. (See verse 25.)
Following these clear explanations from key pioneers such as James White and Uriah Smith, the issue of the 2520 prophecy was seldom discussed among Seventh-day Adventists until recently. Ellen White never makes reference to this “prophecy.”
Pippenger and a few others have resurrected this so-called prophecy in the last few years. Due to the authority they grant to the 1843 and 1850 charts, they believe that the prophecies that were there taught will again be taught by God’s last-day people. Clearly, many of the prophecies will be. But, in addition, they are also teaching what they believe is an advanced understanding of the 2520 prophecy. And, rather than choosing between Miller or Edson’s viewpoints, they hold both as correct. They believe that there are two 2520 periods.
The first extends from 723 B.C. to 1798 and begins with the captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel. The second extends from 677 B.C. to 1844 and begins with the captivity of Manasseh, king of Judah. They teach that the first period represents the “scattering” of God’s people and that the second represents the “gathering.” God passed over Israel and Judah “seven times” because they broke His covenant. Proponents believe that at the end of the second 2520 prophecy (which they believe ended in 1844), God entered into covenant with spiritual Israel, the Second Advent movement. Thus, proponents assert that we are to enter into covenant and receive the seal of the living God, we must accept this teaching.
Some go so far as to teach that any time you find “seven times” mentioned in Scripture, it has a “spiritual” application to the 2520 prophecy. For example, the seven years of plenty in Egypt represented the “gathering,” and the seven lean years represented the “scattering.” They also point to the “seven times” or years that Nebuchadnezzar was judged in Daniel 4. In addition, they teach that “mene, mene, tekel, upharsin” from Daniel 5 and the fall of ancient Babylon, when added up in “gerah,” is 2520. They believe this handwriting on the wall, adding up to 2520 and describing the fall of ancient Babylon, is symbolic of the loud cry message. It announces the fall of end-time Babylon, because those who give the loud cry will understand the 2520 prophecy.
While it is clearly true that the story of the fall of Babylon in Daniel 5 has many applications to the fall of spiritual Babylon, this is but one of many examples of their trying to find significance in the number 2520, or seven times, where there is none.
With respect to “scattering” and the “gathering,” this is a teaching seen in Scripture. However, it seems strange to suggest that the first 2520 time period represents the scattering while the second represents the gathering. Both the northern and southern kingdoms would have been scattered for the great majority of the time supposedly encompassed by these prophecies. Let’s take a closer look at these arguments.
The Jews, for whom the second 2520 prophecy is applied, were “scattered” during the 70 years of captivity beginning in 605 B.C., not 677 B.C. Then, they returned again to Jerusalem within a period falling well short of 2520 years. By 457 B.C., the decree had been given by Artaxerxes to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Thus it could be argued that the southern kingdom was being gathered again and given 490 probationary years. Ultimately, the Jews were scattered in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Another argument used to support the 2520 prophecy is the use of the term “times of the Gentiles” found in Luke 21:24. It says:
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
It is argued that there are two 1260 year periods comprising the 2520 and the plural use of “times” in the “times of the Gentiles” refers to these two periods. It is argued that Luke 21:24 shows that literal Jerusalem was destroyed during this first 1260 year period by the Gentiles by pagan Rome in 70 A.D. Then, Revelation 11:1-3 is quoted, as seen below, which describes the second phase of the “times of the Gentiles,” which was fulfilled by papal Rome from 538 – 1798.
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
Thus, it is argued that the “times of the Gentiles” includes the destruction of Jerusalem by pagan Rome, as well as the 1260 years of persecution of God’s people, spiritual Jerusalem on earth, by papal Rome.
However, there are some holes in this point. First of all, a careful reading of Luke 21:24 suggests that the destruction of literal Jerusalem is not what Jesus is referring to when He talks about Jerusalem being trodden down of the Gentiles. Notice that Jerusalem would be “trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” If we accept the premise that pagan Rome represented the Gentiles who destroyed literal Jerusalem, then we should have seen literal Jerusalem trodden down until the fall of the pagan Roman empire in 476 A.D.
However, the destruction of literal Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was the end of its prophetic significance and it did not continue to be trodden down. Pagan Rome continued till 476 A.D. Furthermore, in the very next verse, Luke 21:25, Jesus describes the signs in the heavens that would occur toward the end of the 1260 years and which correspond with the events of the sixth seal in Revelation 6. Therefore, it can bed seen that Jesus has transitioned, when speaking of the “times of the Gentiles,” from literal Jerusalem, to the persecution of spiritual Jerusalem, or the Christian church, in the last half of Luke 21:24.
With respect to the 1260 years and the “times of the Gentiles,” it can clearly be seen how spiritual Jerusalem was “trodden down” by the Gentiles of papal Rome until papal Rome received its deadly wound in 1798 at the end of the 1260 years. Furthermore, the plural use of “times” in the “times of the Gentiles” is simply referring to the “times, times, and half a time” or the 1260 years; it is not referring to two separate 1260 year periods. Therefore, the “times of the Gentiles” is only represented by the 1260 years, and comes to its end in 1798 according to Revelation 11:2.
There is another significant hole in the argument that the destruction of literal Jerusalem is part of the “times of the Gentiles” as the first part of two 1260 year periods. If we accept the premise that paganism represents the Gentiles in the first half of the 2520 prophecy and that papal Rome represents the Gentiles in the second half of the 2520 prophecy, that means we must use 723 B.C. as our starting point for the “times of the Gentiles,” as 2520 years after 723 B.C. ends in 1798. However, according to those who believe in this idea, the 2520 prophecy that began in 723 B.C. is supposed to represent the scattering of the northern kingdom of Israel. Obviously, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. by pagan Rome represents God’s punishment on the southern kingdom of Judah.
According to those who teach that there are two 2520 periods, the 2520 years for the southern kingdom of Judah began in 677 B.C. This means that the first 1260 years for this second 2520 prophecy relating to the southern kingdom would end in 584 A.D. and the second 1260 years would take you to 1844. However, Revelation 11 makes it clear that that “times of the Gentiles” with respect to papal Rome was from 538 – 1798.
By trying to fit Luke 21:24 into a fulfillment of the 2520 year prophecy, these teachers have unwittingly created an inconsistency. The 2520 prophecy relating to the “times of the Gentiles” necessarily must have begun in 723 B.C. to end in 1798. However, that obviously would have related to the northern kingdom, and the destruction of Jerusalem as a fulfillment of the “times of the Gentiles” related to the southern kingdom. If you claim that the destruction of Jerusalem was a fulfillment of the 2520 year prophecy in its first half, you would have to believe that the “times of Gentiles” ends in 1844. But that clearly cannot be the case based on Revelation 11:2. Therefore, we can only clearly accept that there were 1260 years of prophecy relating to the “times of the Gentiles” with respect to papal Rome from 538 – 1798, but there is no clear time prophecy with respect to the work of pagan Rome in its destruction of literal Jerusalem.
Furthermore, the “scattering” of spiritual Jerusalem during the 1260 years was not due to the disobedience of God’s people. God prepared the wilderness (see Revelation 12:6) to protect His faithful followers during that time. It was simply a period where God allowed Satan to have pre-eminence over the world through papal Rome so that the principles of Satan’s government would be fully developed. This time period obviously had nothing to do with the disobedience of northern Israel or of Judah as they both had long since passed off the scene and probation had closed for the Jews as a nation in 34 A.D.
Daniel 12:7 also shows that the scattering ends after the 1260 years in 1798.
And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.
Here we find that the scattering is “accomplished” after the 1260 years, which ended in 1798 and coincides with the end of the “times of the Gentiles.” This shows that God began to gather His people in 1798, which prophetically is the beginning of the time of the end. This also represents the time when the sealed portions of the book of Daniel would be unsealed.
Therefore, God began gathering His people through the rise of the Second Advent movement, and this movement was raised up through understanding the unsealed prophecies of Daniel. The gathering did not begin in 1844. It had actually already begun at the end of the 1260 years and continues at the present time until Jesus returns.
It appears interesting that the two 2520 time periods end in 1798 and 1844 respectively. Both of those dates obviously have prophetic significance due to the 1260 and 1290 prophecies that lead to 1798, and the 2300 day prophecy that leads to 1844. Despite this superficial attraction, we have already seen the refutation of the two 2520 “prophecies” by Uriah Smith and James White. Furthermore, the beginning date of 677 B.C. for the “second” 2520 prophecy when Manasseh was taken captive, is questionable at best.
First of all, Manasseh was released from his captivity. Judah was not taken into captivity until 605 B.C. as a fulfillment for their disobedience, and Jeremiah prophesied in chapters 25 and 29 of his book that this captivity would last for 70 years. Daniel took this prophecy to heart in his prayer found in Daniel 9. Daniel seemed to be concerned that the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8 foretold an extension of the Jewish captivity in fulfillment of the curses foretold in Deuteronomy 28.
The bottom line is that even if the 2520 prophecy were actual, the beginning date of 677 B.C. can not be a legitimate starting date because the captivity of the Jews did not begin until 605 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem. It seems that some have arbitrarily tried to find a starting point that would end in 1843/1844 to make the 2520 prophecy work. In contrast, the starting and ending points are very clear when we look at the 2300 day/year prophecy.
One further argument used to support the 2520 prophecy is that it is on the 1843 chart, and the 1843 chart was endorsed by Ellen White in Early Writings, p. 74.
I have seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered; that the figures were as He wanted them; that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until His hand was removed.
This statement is used to suggest that the 2520 should not be altered from the message of the Millerite movement and that the Lord wanted the figure of the 2520 on the chart. However, Ellen White gives a helpful, clarifying statement about the chart in Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 1 which is very similar to her statement in Early Writings.
I saw that the truth should be made plain upon tables, that the earth and the fullness thereof is the Lord’s, and that necessary means should not be spared to make it plain. I saw that the old chart was directed by the Lord, and that not a figure of it should be altered except by inspiration. I saw that the figures of the chart were as God would have them, and that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none should see it till His hand was removed [emphasis supplied].
Notice, that if there is something on the chart that contradicts inspiration, it should be altered, in addition to the mistake that many of the prophecies end in 1843, instead of 1844.
The question then is, do we have a statement from inspiration that shows that the 2520 is not an actual time prophecy? The answer is yes!
Ellen White makes some very clear statements, showing what is the longest and last prophetic time period. The first is from The Great Controversy, pp. 351, 352.
The experience of the disciples who preached the ‘gospel of the kingdom’ at the first advent of Christ, had its counterpart in the experience of those who proclaimed the message of His second advent. As the disciples went out preaching, ‘The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand,’ so Miller and his associates proclaimed that the longest and last prophetic period brought to view in the Bible was about to expire, that the judgment was at hand, and the everlasting kingdom was to be ushered in. The preaching of the disciples in regard to time was based on the seventy weeks of Daniel 9. The message given by Miller and his associates announced the termination of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, of which the seventy weeks form a part. The preaching of each was based upon the fulfillment of a different portion of the same great prophetic period.
Like the first disciples, William Miller and his associates did not, themselves, fully comprehend the import of the message which they bore. Errors that had been long established in the church prevented them from arriving at a correct interpretation of an important point in the prophecy. Therefore, though they proclaimed the message which God had committed to them to be given to the world, yet through a misapprehension of its meaning they suffered disappointment.
In explaining Daniel 8:14, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,’ Miller, as has been stated, adopted the generally received view that the earth is the sanctuary, and he believed that the cleansing of the sanctuary represented the purification of the earth by fire at the coming of the Lord. When, therefore, he found that the close of the 2300 days was definitely foretold, he concluded that this revealed the time of the second advent. His error resulted from accepting the popular view as to what constitutes the sanctuary [emphasis supplied].
We find a second statement pertaining to this in Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 971.
The first and second angels’ messages were to be proclaimed, but no further light was to be revealed before these messages had done their specific work. This is represented by the angel standing with one foot on the sea, proclaiming with a most solemn oath that time should be no longer.
This time, which the angel declares with a solemn oath, is not the end of this world’s history, neither of probationary time, but of prophetic time, which should precede the advent of our Lord. That is, the people will not have another message upon definite time. After this period of time, reaching from 1842 to 1844, there can be no definite tracing of the prophetic time. The longest reckoning reaches to the autumn of 1844 [emphasis supplied].
Ellen White then explicitly states that the 2300 days points to the autumn of 1844 in The Great Controversy, pp. 328, 329.
“Miller and his associates at first believed that the 2300 days would terminate in the spring of 1844, whereas the prophecy points to the autumn of that year” [emphasis in original].
We have heard some argue that the quote from The Great Controversy, pp. 351, 352 is actually including the 70 weeks and the 2300 days as part of the 2520 “prophecy.” However, careful evaluation of that passage shows that Sister White only talks about the 70 weeks and the 2300 days. Never does she talk about the 2520 “prophecy” in any of her writings, let alone in The Great Controversy, pp. 351, 352. To believe that she is implying its existence as the longest and last prophecy, without her ever specifically stating so, is reading something into the passage that is not there.
Furthermore, the passage in Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 971 is obviously talking about Revelation 10. We have always known that Revelation 10:6 refers to no more prophetic time after the ending of the 2300 days. Sister White corroborates that in this statement. The little book open in Revelation 10 points specifically to the unsealed prophecy of Daniel 8:14. To try to read 2520 days/years into the seven years of Nebuchadnezzar or mene, mene, tekel, upharsin as 2520 gerah into the unsealed prophecy of Daniel as shown in Revelation 10, is going beyond the clear prophecies of Daniel.
Only the 1260, 1290, 1335, and 2300 days were specifically taught from the book of Daniel during the time period of 1840 – 1844. Those were the prophetic periods that were unsealed from the little book of Daniel that was open in Revelation 10. Thus, the longest prophetic period Ellen White is referring to is obviously the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14. Also, it is through the understanding of the 2300 days in type/antitype, day of atonement/fall festivals, as well as the decree of Artaxerxes in the autumn of 457 B.C. that we reach the autumn of 1844, specifically, October 22. You cannot do so through the 2520.
The statements from The Great Controversy, p. 351, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 971, and The Great Controversy, pp. 328, 329 make it clear that the 2300 days is the longest and last time prophecy. And because inspiration makes clear, under Inspiration, that the 2300 day prophecy is the longest and the last, to us falls the duty of removing the 2520 prophecy from the 1843 and 1850 charts just as Ellen White said we should, in the Spaulding and Magan Collection.
On the basis of the statements from James White and Uriah Smith, and more importantly, Ellen White, it is clear that the 2520 prophecy is not an actual time prophecy nor part of the loud cry/sealing message for Adventists. Those who teach this are simply propagating another deception that is leading to much confusion among God’s people at the end of time.
In our next article we shall conclude this series. We have demonstrated what the “loud cry” is not; in our final article, we will answer in the positive, showing what the “loud cry” message is.
The Loud Cry Message and Conclusion
Jeff Pippenger believes he is giving the loud cry message on the basis of his understanding of the 2520 “prophecy,” the role of Islam, and his belief that the third woe and the Latter Rain began on September 11, 2001. He rightly points out that A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner were aware that the message that they began to give in 1888 was the loud cry. In the same manner, he believes that he is presently giving the loud cry message, more complete in its totality than the past message. However, one key difference is that Sunday legislation was being advocated in 1888 through the Blair Bill. Thus, the key elements were in place for the loud cry to be given in 1888.
In order to evaluate if the loud cry message is being given today, we should take a brief look at the message that Ellen White said constituted the loud cry.
Notice how Ellen White characterizes the loud cry message that came to our church in 1888.
The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 91).
This message, understood in its true character, and proclaimed in the Spirit, will lighten the earth with its glory (Manuscript 15, 1888).
That is certainly the language of the loud cry of the third angel’s message. Continuing on inTestimonies to Ministers, pp. 91, 92, Ellen White says,
This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.
There will be no difference in the substance of the message of the loud cry that began in 1888 from what will be given when the Latter Rain is poured out. The statement from Manuscript 15, 1888, is still an unfulfilled prophecy. Consider a few snapshots about this message:
In all of our Christian experience we have left little loopholes along here and there for sin. We have never dared to come to that place where we would believe that the Christian life should be a sinless life. We have not dared to believe it or preach it. But in that case we cannot preach the law of God fully. Why not? Because we do not understand the power of justification by faith (E. J. Waggoner, General Conference Bulletin, 1891, pp. 156, 159).
Christ is to be in us, just as God was in Him, and His character is to be in us, just as God was in Him. . . It is the cooperation of the divine and the human—the mystery of God in you and me—. . . that is the third angel’s message (A.T. Jones, General Conference Bulletin, 1893, p. 207).
In Jesus Christ as He was in sinful flesh, God has demonstrated before the universe that He can so take possession of sinful flesh as to manifest His own presence, His power, and His glory, instead of sin manifesting itself. . . Then God will so take us, and so use us, that our sinful selves shall not appear to influence or affect anybody; but God will manifest His righteous self, His glory, before men, in spite of all ourselves and our sinfulness. . . And that is the mystery of God, ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory,’—God manifest in sinful flesh (A.T. Jones, General Conference Bulletin, 1895, p. 303).
Perfection, perfection of character, is the Christian goal—perfection attained in human flesh in this world. Christ attained it in human flesh in this world, and thus made and consecrated a way by which, in Him, every believer can attain it (A.T. Jones, The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, p. 84).
But before probation ends, there will be a people so complete in Him that in spite of their sinful flesh, they will live sinless lives. They will live sinless lives in mortal flesh, because He who has demonstrated that He has power over all flesh lives in them—lived a sinless life in sinful flesh (E.J. Waggoner, General Conference Bulletin, 1901, p. 146).
First, we must ask ourselves how prevalent this message is today. The above quotes from Jones and Waggoner form a brief outline of this message that Ellen White endorsed as the loud cry. In recent decades, it has been denounced in some circles of Adventism as perfectionism, legalism, or even the theology that led to the alpha crisis of pantheism, and it is claimed that the acceptance of this theology will lead to the “Omega of apostasy” today. Yet this received divine support through Ellen White as being the loud cry message. Its emphasis was clearly on righteousness by faith and the power of the indwelling Christ. This message is identical to the concept discussed in part two of this series, regarding the interlude between the sixth and seventh trumpets. In part two we quoted from Review and Herald, April 21, 1891. We offer this again to show the connection between the loud cry message that Jones and Waggoner began to give in 1888, and Ellen White’ statement in 1891.
The latter rain is to fall upon the people of God. A mighty angel is to come down from heaven, and the whole earth is to be lighted with his glory. Are we ready to take part in the glorious work of the third angel? Are our vessels ready to receive the heavenly dew? Have we defilement and sin in the heart? If so, let us cleanse the soul temple, and prepare for the showers of the latter rain. The refreshing from the presence of the Lord will never come to hearts filled with impurity. May God help us to die to self, that Christ, the hope of glory, may be formed within!
Again, the emphasis in what Ellen White defines as the Latter Rain/loud cry message, is the concept of Christ being formed within so that His character can be reproduced in the lives of His people. This is the message that will lighten the earth with God’s glory—not an intellectual theory concerning Islam. It will be an extremely powerful message. Ellen White speaks of its power:
As the third angel’s message swells into a loud cry, great power and glory will attend its proclamation. The faces of God’s people will shine with the light of heaven (Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 17).
The power which stirred the people so mightily in the 1844 movement will again be revealed. The third angel’s message will go forth, not in whispered tones, but with a loud voice (Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 252).
I saw that this message will close with power and strength far exceeding the midnight cry (Early Writings, p. 278).
At this point in this article series, it should be clear that the loud cry did not begin on September 11, 2001, and that the loud cry was not initiated by Islam striking America “quickly, unexpectedly, with explosives,” followed by a “restraint” placed on the “east wind of Islam.” It is equally clear that the so-called 2520 prophecy has nothing to do with the loud cry.
The loud cry message will be precipitated by the finishing of the mystery of God in the lives of the remnant church through a living demonstration of the gospel proclaimed with great power. When Christ is fully formed within, the servants of God will be sealed. They will receive Latter Rain power to give the loud cry that will lighten the earth with the glory of God’s character through the proclamation of the righteousness of Christ.
This will be paralleled by legislation to enact Sunday laws, beginning in America and then round the world. At this time the Lord will arise to terribly shake the earth. We will then see terrible scenes in the cities of the world, including New York. The persecution of God’s people who are giving the last message of warning and mercy during this time will increase until it climaxes with the death decree and close of probation for the world. Then Jacob’s time of trouble will begin, coinciding with the seven last plagues. At the end of the seven last plagues, Jesus will return in the clouds.
We all long for the outpouring of the Latter Rain and for the Second Coming of Christ. However, we must be careful to not bring the end-time truths into disrepute by claiming that a crucial event has begun, when in reality it has not. Those who are making this claim we expect are honest and sincere. However, we should urge them to consider the Bible passages and Spirit of Prophecy statements presented in this series, and reconsider their position.
False excitement and a fanatical movement is detrimental to the work of God, has been developing from the idea that the loud cry began on September 11, 2001, and that the 2520 is a legitimate prophecy. This is what Ellen White warned about in Review and Herald, July 5, 1903. Notice also this key statement by Ellen White in Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, p. 27 (from Letter 20, 1884):
God is raising up a class to give the loud cry of the third angel’s message. ‘Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them’ (Acts 20:30). It is Satan’s object now to get up new theories to divert the mind from the true work and genuine message for this time. He stirs up minds to give false interpretation of Scripture, a spurious loud cry, that the real message may not have its effect when it does come. This is one of the greatest evidences that the loud cry will soon be heard and the earth will be lightened with the glory of God [emphasis supplied].
This clear statement from the pen of Inspiration should awaken us to the fact that we are on the verge of the loud cry being given again. As we see a false theory regarding the loud cry, its relationship to September 11, 2001, and the 2520 “prophecy” going out among a certain class of Seventh-day Adventists, we see a fulfillment to Ellen White’s statement from 1884. This suggests that we are on the verge of the authentic loud cry, that began to be given in 1888, being given again with great power. Unfortunately, those who are looking for the Latter Rain and loud cry in Islam and the 2520, are preparing themselves to be deceived about the true message when it does come!
Notice also what Ellen White says in Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 13:
The ministers should not feel that they have some wonderful advanced ideas, and unless all receive these, they will be shaken out, and a people will arise to go forward and upward to the victory. Satan’s object is accomplished just as surely when men run ahead of Christ and do the work he has never entrusted to their hands, as when they remain in the Laodicean state, lukewarm, feeling rich and increased with goods, and in need of nothing. The two classes are equally stumbling blocks.
It is never right to run ahead of Christ. It is true that the Laodicean condition is the most prevalent problem among Seventh-day Adventists. However, Satan is pleased when he can persuade well-meaning Adventists to fall into the other ditch, running ahead of God with a work that He has not entrusted us to do. Unfortunately, this appears to be the case with those who are advocating that the loud cry began on September 11, 2001, and their advocating the necessity of accepting their ideas about Islam and the 2520 “prophecy,” in order to receive the seal of God.
While their error may stem from a sincere desire to promote the last-day truths from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, this does not negate the fact that their teachings are false and are leading to confusion, fanaticism, and unnecessary division among some Seventh-day Adventists.
Some of their more recent claims are tending toward an understanding contrary to the most basic teachings of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy with respect to when the loud cry begins—in itself, one of the most striking evidences that the authentic loud cry is about to be given. Their work has also led to unnecessary divisions within churches which is the last thing that should be happening among Seventh-day Adventists preparing for the coming of Jesus.
This analysis of their position is intended to come in sincerity and Christian love, so that a clearer understanding of our message for the last days will be seen. We also hope that an understanding of what the loud cry message really is, will lead to a revival and reformation in the lives of God’s people. They must be ready to proclaim the message when it is ready to be given. It is the cleansing from sin in the lives of God’s people, through the acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and through the surrender of our lives each day to Him, allowing Christ to be “formed within,” that will lead to the outpouring of the Latter Rain.
Series Summary and Conclusion
In part one we looked at a general overview of the seven trumpets so that we could see where Pippenger and others have gone off track.
In part two we concluded that the third woe, as described in Revelation 11:15-19, did not begin on September 11, but rather on October 22, 1844. We also saw that Islam is not the fulfillment of the angering of the nations, and we saw that Pippenger uses illogical methods of Scripture interpretation to try to make Islam important prophetically.
In part three we concluded that Pippenger uses a flawed model in describing the repetition of Millerite history at the end of the world. While it is true that the parable of the bridegroom was fulfilled in the Millerite movement, and will be fulfilled again in the future, Pippenger’s attempt to use Islam’s attack on 9/11 as the starting point for the repetition of history does not add up. For example, he parallels 9/11 with the fall of the Ottomans in 1840. Those events were opposite in nature with respect to Islam, so that makes no sense. Furthermore, he places the beginning of Revelation 18:1 at 9/11, and says the judgment of the living began on 9/11. This makes no sense, as the loud cry of Revelation 18:1 will parallel the midnight cry which occurred in 1844, toward the end of the Millerite movement, not at the beginning. We also saw that Pippenger misuses Ellen White’s quote from Review and Herald, July 5, 1906 about the destruction of the great buildings of New York, and how the loud cry will begin at that time. We saw that this statement will reach its fulfillment when the National Sunday Law is passed.
In part four we concluded that the so-called 2520 prophecy is not an actual time prophecy at all. It is a deception to believe that you must accept this teaching, or the idea that a restraint has been placed on Islam in order to be eligible to receive the seal of God.
In part five, we concluded that the real message of the loud cry will receive power as the question of the National Sunday Law is agitated, and we saw that this message has to do with the righteousness of Christ—not Islam or the 2520 “prophecy.” We also saw that false loud cry messages are one of the great evidences that the real loud cry message is about to sound, and thus Pippenger has unwittingly become a fulfillment of prophecy. It is time for Seventh-day Adventists to focus on the message that will usher in the final moments of earth’s history.
May Seventh-day Adventists learn to rightly divide the Word of truth, and surrender our lives to God every day. We eanestly hope that the mystery of God will be finished in our lives while the seventh trumpet is sounding, so that it can be said of us that the character of Christ has been perfectly reproduced in us.