For Such a Time as This (Part 1)
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Can we find the picture of our religious ancestors’ birth in Scripture?  Our Adventist pioneers, those intrepid spiritual ancestors who set a pretty high bar in terms of mission, priorities, and love for their Savior, saw themselves in Revelation 10.

So I’d like us to take a historical approach to Revelation 10. Oh, the inroads of higher criticism may have beckoned some to different exegetical interpretations of Revelation 10.  But our pioneers, including Ellen White, were historicists.  And dare I say it, Adventists are still historicists.  Not preterists, not futurists. Our roots are with the historicists. 1

So let’s take a look at Revelation 10 and paint a picture that our pioneers saw when they looked at John’s apocalyptic vision.  Most of us today agree with our pioneers that Revelation 10 seems to be a parenthetical insert between the 6th and 7th trumpet.  For our pioneers, Revelation 10 provides the answer to the question, What is the task of the Church in these troublous times?

Then I saw.

Who’s the “I?”  John, an old man, banished by the Emperor Domitian for John’s refusal to compromise.  Setting?   A rocky island in the middle of the Aegean Sea.  Several years ago my daughter and I spent several days exploring Patmos.  Hot and dry and lots of volcanic rock—not unlike parts of Eastern Washington State, actually.  We hiked up to the grotto where John was said to have received his visions, sat on the stone wall in the garden, and looked down on the little fishing village of Skala, which probably doesn’t look too different than it did 2000 years ago, motorbikes notwithstanding. It was a precious, sacred experience.

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, surrounded by a cloud, and with a rainbow over his head.  He face shone like the sun, and his feet were like pillars of fire.

Who is described as surrounded by clouds in Acts 1:9?

Who is described as having a rainbow over his head in Ezekiel 1:16-28?

Whose face shines like the sun in Revelation 1:16?

Whose feet are like pillars of fire in Revelation 1:15?

Our pioneers saw Jesus in this angel. Oh, maybe Uriah Smith saw Jesus as a created being. But Ellen White saw Jesus as the eternal God, in whom is life, original, unborrowed, underived.  (Desire of Ages, p. 530)  So our pioneers saw this as no ordinary angel, if there be such. This is Christ Himself, with an important message to us, upon whom the ends of the earth have come.  Though physically aged, John’s spirit must have been infused with energy and hope as Jesus brought extraordinary graphics into John’s mind. I can imagine his loneliness dissipating as his Savior stood beside him and encouraged his heart.

And in his hand was a small scroll, which he had unrolled.

The only book said to be closed in Scriptures was Daniel, and according to Daniel 12:4, it would be opened, to our understanding?, at the time of the end.  Our pioneers saw the gospel being opened in a new and living way through the 2300 day/year prophecy of Daniel 8:14. They looked at Daniel 11: 33,35, identified  the papacy as the persecuting power of verse 30, and thus determined that the 1260 day/years referred to the strongest period of papal persecution, beginning in 538 AD and extending to the pope’s exile in 1798. Interestingly, an understanding of the 2300 year prophecy and the imminence of the second coming came just before or just after the turn of the 19th century to Manuel Lacunza in South America, German theologian Johann Bengel, Joseph Wolff who, well, you name the country, he probably traveled and preached there, among other heralds of the second advent. But it would be an upstate New York farmer, self-educated, formerly dyed-in-the-wool deist, who turned the northeast upside down with his exposition of Daniel 8:14. William Miller’s declaration that the sanctuary was the earth, to be cleansed by the fires of the judgment at Jesus’ second coming around 1843 or 1844 prompted a revival and reformation of thousands of persons who were eager to find peace in their souls. Miller preached freedom from guilt, forgiveness of sin, and eternal security in Christ alone. Scores of congregations responded to this new emphasis on the gospel.

He stood with his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. 

Just as the old Steps to Christ cover of Jesus knocking on the door of the United Nations building symbolized Christ’s willingness to knock on every heart’s door, so this word picture seems to infer a global message, not just for New England, but for every continent, every island of the sea.

And he gave a great shout like the roar of a lion.    

Who is the lion of the tribe of Judah?  Amos 3:8 says, “A lion has roared!  Who will not fear?  The Lord God has spoken!  Who can but prophesy?”

And when he shouted, the seven thunders answered.  

Can you think of times in Scripture when the very voice of God was audible to some, but only thunder to others?  Consider Saul on the way to Damascus, Christ’s baptism, Calvary.  In his commentary on Revelation, Ranko Stefanovic notes that in the Old Testament, when God speaks and acts in power, it is often portrayed as the sound of thunder. When Jesus predicted his death in John 12, the voice of God speaking to Jesus was perceived by the attending crowd as the sound of thunder.  This passage is followed by a reference to judgment of the world.  In Revelation, thunder often functions as the revelatory forewarning of divine activities in judgment, forewarning the breaking of the seals, the trumpet plagues, the warfare between the dragon and the woman and the conclusion of earth’s history leading to the executive phase of judgment.

When the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write. But a voice from heaven called to me, Keep secret what the seven thunders said.  Do not right it down. 

WhyBecause Daniel 12:4 said the events would be opened at the time of the end, which our pioneers determined would begin around 1798.  Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, Don’t expect the coming of the Lord anytime soon!  The man of sin must first be revealed. (II Thess. 2:2-4) Martin Luther put the judgment 300 years out from his time.  Stefanovic writes, “This prohibition seems strange, for elsewhere in the book John is always instructed to write down what he sees and hears and not to seal the words of the prophecy of this book  So, this prohibition must be very unusual and significant.”

Then the mighty angel standing on the sea and on the land lifted his right hand to heaven.

After she passed the bar exam, we attended our daughter’s swearing-in ceremony at the courthouse in her city.  What an exciting day!  Each of those young soon-to-be practicing attorneys lifted their right hands and took an oath that they would never reject, from any consideration personal to oneself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed, or delay unjustly the cause of any person.  In antiquity, raising your right hand also signified a solemn oath.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK

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For Such a Time as This (Part 1) — 11 Comments

  1. I can't wait for part two. As a student of the book of Revelation I enjoyed partaking in your 'fresh analysis' ('present truth'). The God of Revelation has always been and will be there for and with His people;'Continous historicism'.

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  2. I enjoyed your post and agree with most of it. I believe its important to review our place in prophetic history and get a renewed perception of our place and work in these closing days. I will certainly read with interest the parts to follow.

    You write that most of us today agree with our pioneers that Revelation 10 (and Rev 11:1-13 as well as Rev 7:1-17) are parenthetical insertions. I have searched on an off for many years to find good reason for this assertion. It seems to be one of those ideas that someone way back when wrote and then it gained “validity” in proportion to the number of times it was quoted. It's an easy way to explain a couple of lengthy passages that don't quite seem to belong in the sixth seal or, as in this passage, the sixth trumpet. And yet they both are very necessary to the vitally important message God is giving concerning His people and the final message He is giving them to take to the world before the return of Jesus.

    Please notice that the fifth, sixth and the seventh trumpets are identified as three woes (see Rev 8:13). Then each trumpet woe is said to be past, as the next two are to come (Rev 9:12). Then Rev 11:14 announces the end of the second woe/trumpet and the coming of the third. Notice that the whole alleged parenthetical statement is quite deliberately included in the second trumpet /woe. Why is this?

    The literary vehicle of the Revelation (which appears in the form of a drama) demands that there is a view of the wicked and a view of the righteous or vice-versa in each sixth scene of each of the seven acts that make up the body of the Revelation. The purpose is to show how they, the wicked and the righteous, relate to the action of the particular act.

    The two views in each sixth scene of each act is shown below:
    Sixth church - view of the wicked Rev 3:9 and view of the righteous Rev 3:10
    Sixth seal - view of the wicked Rev 6:12-17. view of the righteous Rev 7:1-17
    Sixth trumpet - view of the wicked Rev 9:13-21, view of the righteous Rev 10:1-11 to Rev 11:13.
    Great Controversy scene 6 - righteous Rev 14:14-16, wicked Rev 14:17-Rev 15:1
    Sixth Plague – view of wicked Rev 16:12-14 view of righteous Rev 16:15
    Judgment of Babylon - scene six- the wicked Rev 20:1-3, righteous Rev 20:4-6
    God recreates - scene 6- righteous Rev 21:24-26. The wicked Rev 21:27.

    As I see it, there are no parenthetical insertions in the Revelation. Indeed the two alleged ones are vital to the message of the drama and the integrity of the literary structure.

    Interestingly an E.G.W. Statement is in harmony with this conclusion. In speaking of Rev 6:12-Rev 7:17 she writes, “In these scriptures two parties are brought to view...” 9T pages 267-268. One should read both pages to get her gist.

    The other item that could stand a little more examination is the seven thunders. An E.G.W. statement gives more insight into the meaning of the seven thunders.

    7 BC p. 971 gives the E.G.W. comments on Rev.10, paragraph 3-4 reads,

    “...John heard the mysteries which the thunders uttered, but he was commanded not to write them.

    The special light given to John which was expressed in the seven thunders was a delineation of events which would transpire under the the first and the second angels messages. It was not best for the people to know these things, for their faith must be tested. In the order of God most wonderful and advanced truths would be proclaimed. The first and the 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.”

    Thus the seven thunders deal specifically with the Advent Movement up until the great disappointment, Oct.22, 1844. Their faith was surely tested. Only a few stood the test.

    After Oct. 22, 1844, God entrusted to them the further light, the Third Angel's Message, the sanctuary truth, the Sabbath and so much more – on which you will probably expand in your next post.

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  3. @ Lloyd - Yes, present truth is what we need. EW 63.1

    @Andy,

    Yes, the seven thunders deal with the great Advent movement, but more importantly the last reformatory movement - us at the end of the world (RH March 9, 1905). They give insight to the question "…what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30; Rev 6:17)

    John represents the faithful ones of God, and that history "…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. …" (RH, August 19, 1890 par. 3; Matt 25) Thus John is told, there "cannot be a third without the first and second" (CTr 338.3), so he "must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings." (Rev 10:11)

    " After these seven thunders uttered their voices, the injunction comes to John as to Daniel in regard to the little book: "Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered." These relate to future events which will be disclosed in their order. Daniel shall stand in his lot at the end of the days. John sees the little book unsealed. Then Daniel's prophecies have their proper place in the first, second, and third angels' messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time. The books of Daniel and the Revelation are one. One is a prophecy, the other a revelation; one a book sealed, the other a book opened. John heard the mysteries which the thunders uttered, but he was commanded not to write them. (7BC 971.4/5)

    Consider these principles from the statements above:

    1. The third message which we are to give embraces and repeats to the "very letter" the two previous messages, without which we cannot proclaim the third, which is illustrated by this allegory; 'You can't build a roof without first laying the foundation and the walls'.
    2. Thus, the thunders relate not only to historical, but also to future events disclosed in their order - present truth.
    3. Daniel & Revelation are one, so they must be studied together, meaning that whatever Revelation reveals we should be find proclaimed in Daniel.
    4. Daniels prophecies have their proper place in the 1, 2 & 3 angels' messages. In Revelation these messages are in 14:6-12, but where do we find them in Daniel? In Daniel 11:40-45, these testify of Jesus, search them because in them is eternal life.

    Shorter version / Concluding
    Revelation10 is the true Advent Movement, so is Daniel 11:40-45 as it is the exact same history. The door into the most Holy place was shut in 1844, the door out of the most Holy place will shut in Daniel 12:1 (please study 13MR 394 to verify these points). What "must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30) Well Jesus took the Jews to Daniel 9:24-27 to find salvation, the Millerites He took to Daniel 8:14. All things are established upon two witness (2 Cor 13:1), so Jesus takes us to no other place than to Daniel, this time in 11:40-45 located just before close of human probation. Here we can find the gold, the raiment and the eye salve to banish our Laodecean condition.

    Looking forward to your next article.

    Ps. You are welcome to visit our website for more studies (newsletters), we do expositions on the churches, seals & trumpets based on the foundation of of Adventism (Pioneers & Ellen White)

    God bless & blessed Sabbath!
    Kisa

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    • In response to Kisa's broader application of the seven thunders to a/the last reform movement I point us to the basic text of the E.G.W. Quotation we both referred to. SDABC vol. 7, page 971. While Kisa added other bible text and references, I will only use the one quotation, consisting of six paragraphs, with short summary remarks. The intent is to let Ellen Whites words speak for themselves.

      The issue is what does E.G.W. tell us regarding the meaning and time of application of the seven thunders.

      “The mighty angel who instructed John was no less a personage than Jesus Christ. Setting His right foot on the sea, and the left foot upon the dry land, shows the part which He is acting in the closing scenes of the great controversy with Satan. This position denotes His supreme power and authority over the whole earth. The controversy has waxed stronger and more determined from age to age, and will continue to do so, to the concluding scenes when the masterly working of the powers of darkness shall reach their height. Satan, united with evil men, will deceive the whole world and the churches who receive not the love of the truth. But the mighty angel demands attention. He cries with a loud voice. He is to show the power and authority of His voice to those who have united with Satan to oppose the truth.”

      “After these thunders uttered their voices, the injunction comes to John as to Daniel in regard to the little book, 'seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered.' These relate to future events which will be disclosed in their order. Daniel shall stand in his lot at the end of the days. John sees the little book unsealed. Then Daniel's prophecies have their proper place in the first, second, and the third angel's messages to be given to the world. The unsealing of the little book was the message in relation to time.

      Notice that Daniel's book was sealed some twenty-five hundred years ago while John's seven thunders were sealed about nineteen hundred years ago, so of course their opening in the eighteen hundreds meant their messages when first given were for the future, we shall see that Daniel's applied to all three angels' messages. John's seven thunders only apply to the first and second messages.

      “ The books of Daniel and the Revelation are one. One is a prophecy, the other a revelation: one a book sealed, the other a book opened. John heard the mysteries which the thunders uttered, but he was commanded not to write them.”

      Apparently God wanted the readers to know there were seven thunders, but they were not to know what they meant – at least not yet. He could have had John just erase them from the record, but He did not instruct John to do so.

      “The special light given to John which was expressed in the seven thunders was a delineation of events which would transpire under the first and second angels' messages. It was not best for the people to know these things for their faith must necessarily be tested. In the order of God most wonderful and advanced truths would be proclaimed. The first and second angel's 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 the angel standing with one foot on the sea, proclaiming with a most solemn oath that time should be no longer.

      "The seven thunders consist of wonderful and advanced light given in the proclamation of the first and second angels messages. No other new light was to come until the people had been tested on this light. And this light is represented by the Angel's message, “There shall be time 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.

      “The angel's position position, with one foot on the sea, the other on the land, signifies the wide extent of the proclamation of the message. It will cross the broad waters and be proclaimed in other countries, even to all the world. The comprehension of the truth, the glad reception of the message, is represented in the eating of the little book. The truth in regard to the time of the advent of our Lord was a precious message to our souls.” MS 59, 1900.

      Thus we find that the seven thunders were specific to the period 1833 – 1844. There is no basis stated or implied for seeing a secondary or dual application where they can be interpreted for a future application. Yes, they were vital in preparing the advent people for their test of faith that came on Oct. 22, 1844. Today they are valuable in helping us to understand that God was in the Great Advent movement, the great disappointment was to be expected.

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  4. In response to Andy,

    I see the point you have conveyed, however I believe it contradicts the prophets including Sr White elsewhere. (Isa 28:9-13)

    All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, it is recorded as an ensample (type) for us at the end of the world for our admonition, instruction & hope in all perfect works, that all who died in faith might receive the promise. Every prophet & apostle spoke more of this time than theirs, and they are not negligent in putting all these things in our remembrance - their labours are in force for us that we might be established in the present truth. (1 Cor 10:11; Rom 15:4; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:12; Heb 11:39-40)

    Note, an ensample is a "type" or mock; just as the lamb, the altar, the manna or even the city of refuge - all are types. A type must have an antitype, at the cross all these types meat their antitype - Jesus!

    Likewise all reform movements are types of the remnant movement, which Abraham, Moses & Isaiah saw and there were all glad. Note, even the apostate Balaam wished to be on the sea of glass, but his sin of covetousness, as for many of us, was stronger than the love for Christ.

    There is no repetition of exact events - rather the characteristics & how God deals with man - which is ever the same. John came in the spirit of Elijah, thus he did the same work as him but in different time period. This is how Sr White relates to all generations of the Bible.

    So when she tells us, in one place that the thunders are 'delineation of events in the first & second angel's messages', she is dealing with the Advent movement; but when she tells us in another place 'these relate to future events' and then adds "Daniel shall stand in his lot at the end of the days. John sees the little book unsealed. Then Daniel’s prophecies have their proper place in the first, second, and the third angel’s messages to be given to the world", she is dealing with the concluding scenes of the Advent movement, SDA - us, as we are to proclaim the third.

    My point in short -

    The seven thunders, like any other Bible truth, is not merely to give us understanding, but that we can certainly be intellectually & spiritually established in the present truth and be sealed with our Father's name in our foreheads. They reveal the final movements of the man of sin as portrayed in Rev 13,17,18 but can only be delineated in the events of Daniel 11:40-45. These are vital for our salvation, as they include the close of probation for SDA and finally the close of human probation in Daniel 12:1. Only at that point can Daniel "stand in his lot! (13 MR 394)

    Sabbath blessings,
    Kisa

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    • In my previous post I brought in no extraneous materials to color what Ellen White wrote about the 7 thunders. Thus the post reflects what Ellen White intended to say in those six paragraphs, rather than what I said.

      Now I would like to address some of your criticism of the quotation.

      I believe that when she said, “The special light given to John which was expressed in the seven thunders was a delineation of events which would transpire under the first and the second angels' messages,” she meant what she said. Remember that she and her fellow pioneers commonly referred to the pre - Oct. 22, 1844 preaching of the Advent movement as the first and second angels' messages, even defining the dates for each of the messages. After that date, which brought the Great Disappointment, the Advent people who became the pioneers of the Seventh-Day Adventist church began to preach the third angel's message from the platform of the first and second angels' messages, which is the foundation of our message. This was our pioneers' thinking and their parlance. And it is the Seventh-day Adventist way of thinking and speaking of the three angels' messages today.

      You stated that by applying the principle of Bible interpretation found in Isaiah 28:10-13 we would come to a better understanding of what Ellen White meant. But Ellen White's writings are not the Bible. Unlike the Bible she writes in plain, fairly up-to-date English. We do not need help in translation and help in interpreting what she says unless we want her to say something other than what she is saying. She generally deals pretty thoroughly with each subject as she writes on it.

      It is not good use of Ellen White's writings to make her say something other than what she said by bringing in extraneous materials, whether it be Bible text or other passages of her own writings.

      I would ask the reader or student of the Revelation of Jesus to find in it a clearly defined statement revealing what the 7 thunders really uttered.

      Daniel's messages were written out. They were included in the scrolls, became a part of the Hebrew Scriptures and were translated into the Septuagint. Yet in those 2500 or so years they were more or less forgotten, neglected, sealed up. When it came time for Christ to call His people's attention to Daniel's prophecies there was a little book for them to “eat,” to read and to study. This is not true of the 7 thunders. John was forbidden to write them down. They cannot be unsealed as the book of Daniel was, because there is nothing recorded to unseal. They cannot be opened for there is nothing to open.

      Only God could give a new Revelation of what those seven thunders uttered. He has not done so! Thus there is no basis either in the Revelation or in Ellen White's writings for using the 7 thunders to introduce "new light."

      Ellen White said that if John had written the utterings of the 7 thunders out, they would have removed the test of faith that God deemed necessary. This indicates that what enlightenment they contained had to do with their immediate situation. This conclusion is verified by Ellen's own words in the article: “In the order of God most wonderful and advanced truths would be proclaimed. 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.” (SDABC, Vol 7, p. 971)

      In other words the utterings of the 7 thunders spoke of "most wonderful and advanced truths proclaimed in the first and second angels' messages" and had to do with the oath, “Time shall be no longer.”

      I'm satisfied that is what God wants me to know.

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  5. @Kisa- Amen sister!

    One important principle to understand in Revelation 10 too is that John becomes part of the prophecy himself. At the end of his experience he is told, "And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings."-Rev. 10:11. We know this is referring to the mission and message of the Millerites after October 22, 1844 when the third angel comes into history. The principle that when a prophet becomes part of the prophecy they illustrate the experience of the church in the time of Laodicea when all the histories of the past repeat on every level of human experience. A couple examples of this in the Old Testament are Isaiah 6, and Ezekiel 3.

    Although John was representing the Millerites from 1840-1844, he was more fully representing the 144,000, who taste the sweetness of the little book but also have a foreknowledge of the bitter experience they will have to endure, John is told "...Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey."-Rev. 10:9., in the "little" time of trouble after the Sunday law when those who remain faithful will be tested severely, the most bitter part will be loved ones becoming like Judas and betraying the remnant into the enemy's hands,"...Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbath-keepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them. {GC88 608.1} Don't trust to any man's theories! for “Men of talent and pleasing address” will become apostates, we must trust only THUS SAITH THE LORD.

    The first and second angel’s messages are repeating to the very letter now! This is the experience of the wise and foolish virgins,

    “The parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25, also illustrates the experience of the Adventist people.”{GC88 393.1}

    “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…”{RH, August 19, 1890 par. 3}

    The angel of Revelation 18 is a repetition of the first and second angel’s messages. –

    “God has given the messages of Revelation 14 their place in the line of prophecy, and their work is not to cease till the close of this earth's history. The first and second angel's messages are still truth for this time, and are to run parallel with this which follows. The third angel proclaims his warning with a loud voice. "After these things," said John, "I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory." In this illumination, the light of all the three messages is combined.” {1888 804.3}

    Please understand that Revelation 18 are progressive events leading to the close of probation for Seventh-day Adventists first at the Sunday law (Revelation 18:4), then all men when Michael stands up. The loud cry is progressive, it swells. The latter rain (as was the early rain) is progressive, it's given in measure then without measure. The judgement is progressive, beginning with the dead proceeding to the living, when it comes to the living in our time it begins with SDAs (with the ancients i.e. leadership, see Eze. 8-9:6; Jer. 25:18 "kings, princes"; 25:13-29) and ends with those in Babylon. "God is a God of order. Everything connected with heaven is in perfect order..." {ChS 73.1}

    "All the messages given from 1840-1844 are to be made forcible now, for there are many people who have lost their bearings. The messages are to go to all the churches.(1906)" {21MR 437.1}

    What messages were given from 1840-1844?

    "The warning has come: Nothing is to be allowed to come in that will disturb the foundation of the faith upon which we have been building ever since the message came in 1842, 1843, and 1844. I was in this message, and ever since I have been standing before the world, true to the light that God has given us. We do not propose to take our feet off the platform on which they were placed as day by day we sought the Lord with earnest prayer, seeking for light. Do you think that I could give up the light that God has given me? It is to be as the Rock of Ages. It has been guiding me ever since it was given." {GCB, April 6, 1903 par. 35}

    The messages being given now are sweet like honey, like thunders--powerful, in glory-- ten time more glorious than the messages of 1840-1844. Like Jesus the dirt brush man said to William Miller (Early Writings, 83), come and see.

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    • Matthew, there is much that you say that I can agree with but to me you seem to carry things too far at times and in some areas I feel that you tend to misuse Scripture and Ellen White. Because of this, I will have to explain myself in detail which is going to cause me to break this comment up and post it in several sections. There are two main areas of concern that I have that I will be addressing:
      1. Using the Bible and Ellen White’s writings to say much more than they are saying.
      2. Applying almost all prophesies to the end of time and specifically to the church of Laodicea.

      Let’s start with what you say in the first paragraph. “One important principle to understand in Revelation 10 too is that John becomes part of the prophecy himself.” Well he certainly does appear to have a very active role in his visions including dialog (Rev 5:4-5; Rev 7:13-14; Rev 10:8-11; Rev 11:1-2; Rev 13:1; Rev 14:13; Rev 17:1-3; Rev 19:9-10; Rev 21:9-10; Rev 22:9-10). What happens to him also happened with other prophets while in vision, including Ellen White while having visions of Heaven.

      Then you say, “The principle that when a prophet becomes part of the prophecy they illustrate the experience of the church in the time of Laodicea.” I would like to now point you to one of John’s experiences in his vision, Rev 11:1-2. The SDA commentary interprets that scripture as, “On the basis of Zechariah’s symbol of the man with a measuring line who measured Jerusalem as an assurance that the city would be rebuilt (see on Zech. 2:2), it may be suggested that the measuring of the temple and worshipers here is also a promise of restoration and preservation” ( 7 BC 800). Even though the judgment actually justifies the righteous and therefore provides a promise, Ellen White looked at it a bit differently:

      “Now the Lord says, Measure the temple and the worshipers thereof. Remember when you are walking the streets about your business, God is measuring you; when you are attending your household duties, when you engage in conversation, God is measuring you. Remember that your words and actions are being daguerreotyped [photographed] in the books of heaven, as the face is reproduced by the artist on the polished plate. . . .
      Here is the work going on, measuring the temple and its worshipers to see who will stand in the last day” (2 SAT 53.2,5).

      If we go with Ellen White’s interpretation then the scene is one of judgment but using your “principle” would mean that the end time church also is in the business of judging the righteous. Is that what we are told to do as a church? There seems to me to be a great inconsistency here. Furthermore while I have trouble with your understanding I also realize that the command to prophesy again was initiated shortly after the great disappointment and has been active ever since and will be so right up until the close of probation.

      You then go on to say, “when all the histories of the past repeat on every level of human experience. A couple examples of this in the Old Testament are Isaiah 6, and Ezekiel 3.” While much in these prophesies can be applied to the end time they are somewhat general and can be equally applied to any period in history. But notice what is important to Ellen White in both Isa 6 and Eze 3:

      Let God's workmen study the sixth chapter of Isaiah, and the first and second chapters of Ezekiel.
      To the prophet the wheel within a wheel, the appearances of living creatures connected with them, all seemed intricate and unexplainable. But the hand of Infinite Wisdom is seen among the wheels, and perfect order is the result of its work. Every wheel works in perfect harmony with every other.
      I have been shown that human instrumentalities seek after too much power and try to control the work themselves. They leave the Lord God, the Mighty Worker, too much out of their methods and plans, and do not trust everything to Him in regard to the advancement of the work. No one should fancy that he is able to manage these things which belong to the great I AM. God in His providence is preparing a way so that the work may be done by human agents. Then let every man stand at his post of duty, to act his part for this time, and know that God is his instructor.
      In the taking of Jericho the Lord God of hosts was the general of the army. He made the plan for the battle and united heavenly and human agencies to act a part in the work, but no human hand touched the walls of Jericho. God so arranged the plan that man could take no credit to himself for achieving the victory. God alone is to be glorified. So it shall be in the work in which we are engaged. The glory is not to be given to human agencies; the Lord alone is to be magnified. Please read carefully the third chapter of Ezekiel. We must learn to put our entire dependence upon God, and yet we must ever bear in mind that the Lord God has need of every agency that holds the truth in righteousness. As workers for Christ we are to stand in view of the cross of Calvary, proclaiming to the world, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." We are to proclaim the third angel's message with our human voices, and it is to go to the world with power and glory. {TM 213.2-214.1}

      According to Ellen White what Ezekiel 3 says also has to do with our responsibility to the world around us which has never changed, even with ancient Israel. That is one thing about which Mrs. White had a lot to say. Actually I don’t know of anywhere that Ellen White specifically applies these prophesies to the Laodicean church. If she does perhaps you can supply the reference.

      This will be continued in the next comment.

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    • In my last comment I left off with Paragraph 1 so we will continue with paragraph 2. You wrote,

      “Although John was representing the Millerites from 1840-1844, he was more fully representing the 144,000, who taste the sweetness of the little book but also have a foreknowledge of the bitter experience they will have to endure, John is told '…Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.'-Rev. 10:9., in the ‘little’ time of trouble after the Sunday law when those who remain faithful will be tested severely, the most bitter part will be loved ones becoming like Judas and betraying the remnant into the enemy’s hands”

      I can certainly agree that those who are alive just before the Second Advent will have to endure persecution from those who they have trusted, and that there is stress because of delay. But we need to understand that the environment that produces the experience of those at the end of time and the Millerites are entirely different. The Millerites had interpreted the prophecies in Daniel in a way that was not to come true. Because of that they were greatly disappointed when Christ didn’t come back again (the bitter stomach). The faithful that are alive at the end of time, on the other hand, are not disappointed because of a misunderstanding of prophecy. They have the same spiritual experience that Christ had on the cross in which they are assaulted with severe temptation and have doubts and feelings of insecurity, yet hold to faith. They are in no way ignorant of what is going on – they just have a battle of faith concerning their own standing before God. Therefore, the prophecy of the little book in Rev 10 cannot be properly applied here. It was a prophecy specific to the Millerite movement.

      In Paragraphs 3-5 you said:

      “The first and second angel’s messages are repeating to the very letter now! This is the experience of the wise and foolish virgins,”
      “The parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25, also illustrates the experience of the Adventist people.”{GC88 393.1}
      “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…”{RH, August 19, 1890 par. 3}

      If by these statements you mean the stress caused by the delay of Christ’s return I can agree with you, except that the experience is not just repeating – it is continuing. The parable of the ten virgins is a parable about the condition of the church in the end time, not the persecution it endures, or the message the church is to give. As it was in the days of Jesus, so it will be until the end. The wheat and the tares are to grow together, and there will be those in the church that have never accepted the wedding garment or the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The messages themselves are not the experience; they are the witness the church has to the world. Under the proclamation of the messages there is delay, and those who have little oil lose faith and become detached.

      The two quotes you provided are interesting, and you should have probably included them with more of the context as I have done here.

      The coming of Christ, as announced by the first angel's message, was understood to be represented by the coming of the bridegroom. The widespread reformation under the proclamation of his soon coming, answered to the going forth of the virgins. In this parable, as in that of Matthew 24, two classes are represented. All had taken their lamps, the Bible, and by its light had gone forth to meet the Bridegroom. But while “they that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them,” “the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” The latter class had received the grace of God, the regenerating, enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, which renders his Word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. In the fear of God they had studied the Scriptures to learn the truth, and had earnestly sought for purity of heart and life. These had a personal experience, a faith in God and in his Word, which could not be overthrown by disappointment and delay. Others “took their lamps, and took no oil with them.” They had moved from impulse. Their fears had been excited by the solemn message, but they had depended upon the faith of their brethren, satisfied with the flickering light of good emotions, without a thorough understanding of the truth, or a genuine work of grace in the heart. These had gone forth to meet the Lord, full of hope in the prospect of immediate reward; but they were not prepared for delay and disappointment. When trials came, their faith failed, and their lights burned dim. {GC88 393.3}

      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. In the parable, the ten virgins had lamps, but only five of them had the saving oil with which to keep their lamps burning. This represents the condition of the Church. The wise and the foolish have their Bibles, and are provided with all the means of grace; but many do not appreciate the fact that they must have the heavenly unction. They do not heed the invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." {RH, August 19, 1890 par. 3}

      Notice in these quotes Ellen White’s emphasis on the need of the Holy Spirit in proclaiming the angel’s messages which points out the problem of the Laodicean church -- it thinks it has everything when it has nothing. It is this problem of the oil that the parable of the ten virgins relates to and it demonstrates what a lack of the Holy Spirit ultimately does. It really has nothing to do with a disappointment or the angel’s messages as such. For these reasons I believe the quotations are out of context with your argument.

      The rest of your comment will have to be handled in the last segment of my reply.

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    • This is a continuation of the last comment I had as a reply to your comment. We left off with paragraph 5.

      In paragraph 6 you said,

      “The angel of Revelation 18 is a repetition of the first and second angel’s messages.”

      Yes it is, and it includes the third also but it is more -- it fleshes out the brief messages of the three angels and explains what happens to Babylon and why it is judged. The book of Revelation is in many respects constructed like Daniel, where each cycle adds detail to what was already presented.

      In paragraphs 7-9 essentially what you say is that things continue and expand with greater force until the end. In paragraph 10 you ask the question, “What messages were given from 1840-1844” which you answer in the next paragraph. The problem here is that you have apparently taken a quote completely out of context and applied it to say what you wanted it to say.

      The context is, “April 6, 1903 Our Duty to Leave Battle Creek Talk by Mrs. E. G. White, Friday Morning, April 3” which has to do with the placement of our institutions outside of the cities including where the people in the church should live. The quote you use is the bulk of the concluding paragraph of that talk. It has nothing to do with the angels' messages but rather is a defense of Ellen White’s ministry in such matters much like Paul’s defense of his ministry found in Galatians 1-2! Here I quote the two previous paragraphs to the one you quoted so that everyone can see the context of the talk:

      Our restaurants must be in the cities; for otherwise the workers in these restaurants could not reach the people and teach them the principles of right living. And for the present we shall have to occupy meeting-houses in the cities. But erelong there will be such strife and confusion in the cities that those who wish to leave them will not be able. We must be preparing for these issues. This is the light that is given me.
      May God help you to receive the words that I have spoken. Let those who stand as God's watchmen on the walls of Zion be men who can see the dangers before the people,--men who can distinguish between truth and error, righteousness and unrighteousness. {GCB, April 6, 1903 par. 33-34}

      So I have concluded that in your zeal to prove a point, you have overlooked some very important things that should not have been passed by, and that you also, in haste, have used things out of context and distorted the original intent of the message. In spite of these things I do believe there is a significant amount of what you say that is correct – just not all of it. So to me what we should always be aware of is to keep everything within the context and intend of the writer as much as we are able to.

      As far as your main thesis is concerned I do not believe you can apply a blanket, general procedure to all prophesies that places them at the end of time. Many of the prophesies in the Bible are conditional and others are very local to time and place.

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      • Tyler thank you for the studious replies, there is much we can agree on I think, and I pray we can be in perfect unity on these truths and be able to see eye to eye as fellow watchmen.

        You have given a lot of thoughts to respond to but I will only touch on a few for now, I hope you can take the time to study the truth for this time and be able to grasp some of these themes that have been lost sight of in this fourth generation of Laodicea.

        First of all, all the prophets’ visions and the way in which they were given are significant, God does nothing for no good reason, therefore when John clearly becomes part of the prophecy itself in Revelation 10 he is becoming a similitude (Hosea 12:10) of God’s people “ …Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us. "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples (types; margin) : and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Corinthians 10:11). "Not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into" (1 Peter 1:12).” {3SM 338.1} “…the effect of every vision” -Ezekiel 12:23 will come to pass in these last days.

        You said this regarding Ezekiel 3:
        According to Ellen White what Ezekiel 3 says also has to do with our responsibility to the world around us which has never changed, even with ancient Israel. That is one thing about which Mrs. White had a lot to say. Actually I don’t know of anywhere that Ellen White specifically applies these prophesies to the Laodicean church.

        If we only look on the surface of the word of God or E.G. White’s writings many important truths will be passed by, but in the very quote you cited contradicted what you said, “…Please read carefully the third chapter of Ezekiel. We must learn to put our entire dependence upon God, and yet we must ever bear in mind that the Lord God has need of every agency that holds the truth in righteousness. As workers for Christ we are to stand in view of the cross of Calvary, proclaiming to the world, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." We are to proclaim the third angel's message with our human voices, and it is to go to the world with power and glory. {TM 214.1} The time this was written was well into the church of Laodicea and according to the principle that “ Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us.” Ezekiel’s message about impending judgment upon God’s people and the world to be inflicted by the king of the north is more applicable to our time than his own. The local application of a prophecy is symbolizing the future worldwide application. There are many other truths in Ezekiel 3 that expand on the truths given in Revelation 10 and verily is being lived out in the experience of the last church, Laodicea, where two classes are developing either for the seal of God or the mark of the beast.

        Your comment:
        Notice in these quotes Ellen White’s emphasis on the need of the Holy Spirit in proclaiming the angel’s messages which points out the problem of the Laodicean church -- it thinks it has everything when it has nothing. It is this problem of the oil that the parable of the ten virgins relates to and it demonstrates what a lack of the Holy Spirit ultimately does. It really has nothing to do with a disappointment or the angel’s messages as such. For these reasons I believe the quotations are out of context with your argument.

        Your analysis of GC 393,394 is spot on, but like most SDAs, when speaking about the oil in the parable of the ten virgins, most believe it represents the Holy Spirit which is true, but it represents more than that. It also represents the oil of grace, the character of Christ, the righteousness of Christ which is synonymous with his character, and the prophet also likens the oil to the messages that God gives his people to lighten the world. “The anointed ones standing by the Lord of the whole earth, have the position once given to Satan as covering cherub. By the holy beings surrounding his throne, the Lord keeps up a constant communication with the inhabitants of the earth. The golden oil represents the grace with which God keeps the lamps of believers supplied, that they shall not flicker and go out. Were it not that this holy oil is poured from heaven in the messages of God's Spirit, the agencies of evil would have entire control over men.” {RH, July 20, 1897 par. 6}

        Therefore I believe you are missing some deeper realities of this parable brother, it’s the experience of the Adventist people, the Millerites, under Sardis and Philadelphia, the fifth and sixth seals, and who went through the history of the first and second angel’s messages, did not the messages produce the experience? Therefore when this parable is repeated in Laodicea we can expect similar events to transpire; increase of knowledge, first message formalized, then empowered, second message proclaimed, then empowered at the “loud cry” instead of the “midnight cry”, then a shut door. And there is much much more to expand on this that has come to light within the last decade.

        The last thing I’d like to comment on in your third post is the quote you said I took out of context.
        “The warning has come: Nothing is to be allowed to come in that will disturb the foundation of the faith upon which we have been building ever since the message came in 1842, 1843, and 1844. I was in this message, and ever since I have been standing before the world, true to the light that God has given us. We do not propose to take our feet off the platform on which they were placed as day by day we sought the Lord with earnest prayer, seeking for light. Do you think that I could give up the light that God has given me? It is to be as the Rock of Ages. It has been guiding me ever since it was given. Brethren and sisters, God lives and reigns and works today. His hand is on the wheel, and in His providence He is turning the wheel in accordance with His own will. Let not men fasten themselves to documents, saying what they will do and what they will not do. Let them fasten themselves to the Lord God of heaven. Then the light of heaven will shine into the soul-temple, and we shall see the salvation of God.” {GCB, April 6, 1903 par. 35}

        When asking the question what messages were given from 1840-1844, I didn’t mean that the above quote answered my question completely but more so to get the reader to think, I didn’t make that clear enough.

        I understand what you are saying about context to a degree but in this paragraph, the prophet E.G. White is speaking under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and clearly identifies a warning that nothing should be allowed to come in to disturb the foundation of the faith. Therefore the Holy Spirit is making plain to a simple minded person like myself what the foundation of the faith is for the purpose of being unified and building upon that foundation. The foundation is also synonymous with “the platform”, “the light”, as “the Rock of Ages” and the message that “came in 1842, 1843, and 1844”. So regardless of the specific context in which this quote is given these are plainly stated facts given by the Spirit to help keep us from being among the group that “find fault with the foundation” –Early Writings, 259.

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