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Tuesday: The Angel With an Open Book — 24 Comments

  1. The interpretation of time prophecies is part of the core of Seventh-day Adventist belief. I have lost count of how many times I have heard the mathematics explained and justified. And therein lies a danger. Has the interpretation of the prophecy become more important than the message? Could it be that we are so intent on justifying our own existence as a church that we have forgotten what the message was all about?

    In our study for the next few days, we should perhaps review the focus we give to these prophecies.

    Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. I Cor 13:8-10

    I am aware that some will say that I am pushing the "love Gospel" at the expense of the meat of the Gospel. I am not trying to deny the time prophecies, rather giving them the focus that we need. The bitter/sweet experience that is in tomorrows discussion may add something to our understanding of the passage.

    • Could it be that we are so intent on justifying our own existence as a church that we have forgotten what the message was all about?

      This is a REALLY important and valid point you have raised Maurice. As humans, we live according to the identity we hold. This is a phenomena of our subconscious and therefore we can’t not do it.

      So, it is worth considering what is the identity that our church is based upon?

      And it is also worth considering what my Christian identity is based upon?

      Whether I consciously consider these questions or not, my Christian walk and daily life are a reflection of my answers. They can’t not be.

    • Maurice, the message is so immense that I believe that God impresses different aspects on different people to share with the group to help all to get the big picture. So please continue to share what the Lord lays on your heart, it is important that we don't forget it is the revelation of Jesus Christ through and in the context of prophecy.

  2. Learning only by experience.

    Rev 10:1-4.

    - After the fulfilment of the prophesy of the downfall of the Muslim Empire on 11 August 1840,many Bible students were interested in the prophecies of Daniel and revelation.

    - People discovered the amazing truth that they were living in the" time of the end " and that the coming of Jesus was near.

    -Many came to the conclusion that the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 would end in the 1840s, thinking that the cleansing of the sanctuary referred to the cleansing of the earth by fire at the second coming of Christ, they concluded that Jesus would return then.

    - This brought the proclamation of a great message to the world based on the book of Daniel " the little book" which was now open not closed or sealed.

    - The message was proclaimed on "land and sea " with a "loud voice " as when a lion "roareth"

    - People in the world listened in amazement to the message that Jesus was soon coming.

    - 1831, when William Miller began to preach, the message went forth with unusual power. But he was not the only one preaching and it wasn't just in American or Europe but the message was circling the globe.

    -Men sold their farms and houses to obtain money to print tracks and books to circulate the message.

    -But there was something mysterious, something they were not to understand completely at that time, something the church was to learn only through experience, something that John was told not to write, " what the seven thunders uttered."

    • There is an issue with the 11, August, 1840 date. If you do an Internet search on the date related to the Ottoman Empire, you will retrieve a number of articles related to Josiah Litch and Seventh-day Adventists and very little else. In search practice, this raises alarm bells regarding credibility. In fact, secular sources regarding the date are difficult to find. Apparently, the event that occurred on that date was the signing of an extension to an already existing protectorate agreement. The Ottoman Empire had been in decline for some time but its final dissolution did not come until after World War I.

      It is my understanding that Josiah Litch changed his mind several times on the issue. and that the 1840 date was not the last idea he had about it.

      I have no doubt that the interpretation in its day had a considerable effect and people were turned to Christ. God has a way of using situations to save people. But we should be careful about using this now-a-days as an example of fulfilled prophecy.

      • The 1844 was a great disappointment, and there are several other disappointments in the Christian history as Christ always changes His ministration. This is caused by MISUNDERSTANDING of Christ's MOVEMENTS in His sanctuary services. There is one disappointment, however, we MUST not experience - the close of probation.

        1. When Christ came to the 'camp' at His birth in a manger, the Jews were expecting a literal King, not a babe born in a manger.

        2. When He died on the cross, the disciples were disappointed, because they thought He would take over the reigns from the Romans.

        3. A 'remnant' had caught up with His movements at Pentecost, but the vast majority were not aware of His new ministry as Priest in the heavenly temple in the Holy place, and the Jews continued their meaningless round of ceremonies in the outer court, not catching up to Christ in the new dispensation of ministering in the Holy place.

        4. 1844, He shifts to the Most Holy place, and the disappointment is clear to all. Yet a small remnant were keen to restudy and 'CATCH UP' with Jesus.

        Now, there are two other movements of Christ.

        5. Judgment of the dead - which began in 1844. Any who had believed a lie of post -dead 'purgatorial' reconciliation will be disappointed, as their cases are already closed.

        6. Closing of the sanctuary services with Judgment of the living - Starting with those abiding in the most holy place, coming out to holy place and finishing with the court.

        We MUST CATCH UP to Jesus, be in tandem with His movements TODAY in the heavenly sanctuary, for we cannot afford the previous disappointments that characterized the previous generations as He shifted His various services.

    • The Adventist movement grew amid and out of a context where prophecy was being used to try and identify a particular timeline. This culminated in 'The Great Disappointment' of many people when the anticipated timeline didn't eventuate on Oct 22, 1844.

      If we look back over a much longer history, it appears that the role of prophecy is much less about telling precisely WHEN something is going to happen and much more about letting us know WHAT is about to happen - with varying degrees of detail too - and/or WHY something is about to happen.

      The desire to know the 'when' of the future is no new phenomenon. The first part of 2 Pet 3:9 is responding to this issue that was around back in the mid 1st century - and apparently resulted in people thinking that God's timetable was taking longer than it should. In response, Peter refocussed attention away from 'when' to 'what' and ‘why’.

      Could it be that God does not infact have a pre-set timeframe and that, instead, He interacts with the goings on of humanity - not because God is not powerful enough, but because that's how the intersection of (a) the reality that God inhabits and (b) the reality of our sin-infected planet, operates?

      Could it be that in order to be, absolutely, in control, God cannot absolutely control?

      Could God be an orchestrator of/with reality rather than a controller of it?

      Could this be the kind of Sovereignty that God possess - a kind of Sovereignty that is "higher" (Isa 55:9) than the one we are familiar with?

      Is an interpretation of the PROCESS of the 7 trumpets compatible or incompatible with this suggestion?

      (PS: If anyone is concerned that I may be using too much reasoning in what I have suggested, please first consider Isa 1:18 and Acts 17:2.)

      • Phil, the second half of your comment is very interesting. One of the conclusions of last week's discussion of the first four seals...that God uses developing events for His purposes...would seem to support the premise that God orchestrates events that are created from the consequences of humanities collective choices, thereby preserving humanities freedom of choice, and providing humanity with further instruction of the value of His available salvation...?

      • First, the anticipated timeline(1844) DID occur, they had misunderstood the specific event. The 2300 days have a precise beginning date, and thus a precise date of occurrence. The people in Peter's day didn't have a time prophecy to point to for Jesus return, neither do we. Perhaps their trials made the promised return of Jesus more desirable to them than our relatively easier existence, which leaves too many of us content with this present world.

        My question for you Phil is; why so many time prophecies? 1260 years, 2300 years, 490 years, 1290, and 1335 "days". There is also the 5 months of the 5th Trumpet and " an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year" of the 6th Trumpet. By these last two Josiah Litch accurately foretold the fall of the Ottoman empire on a specific day, which everyone thought was utterly foolish, until it happened. This led many infidels to accept Jesus as their savior.

        For One who sees the end from the beginning, He can be precise, and gives us precise prophesies. I agree the events and their meaning to us is the vital part, and the time seems important in directing our attention to these events, and doesn't this precision speak to the infinite wisdom, knowledge, divinity, and sovereignty of our God?

        As for God's true Sovereignty, what we are capable of comprehending and thus responding to is the only meaningful part in this present life. The rest will unfold through eternity, and for now, could only be speculative. Only what God has revealed "is for us and our children".

        • What is the issue(s) and period (according to Daniel 7,8) that the 2300 evenings mornings cover? In Dan 7 Daniel had an interest in the fourth beast, none of the others, and the horn with eyes of a man (Dan 7:19-22). He was alarmed by that fourth beast and horn. He then details the *issue* in Dan 8: Tension between the Prince of the Host and the Horn. The Horn magnified itself up to the Prince (Christ); it exalted the Daily away from the Prince perverting the purpose of the sanctuary; it’s a transgression bringing desolation (Dan 8:9-12).
          The question: “How long the vision the Daily, the transgression of desolation, to give the holy and the host to be trampled.” Dan 8:13
          Answer: “For 2300 evenings mornings; then the holy will be justified/vindicated/properly restored.” Dan 8:14
          How does this go back to 538 BC?

          • 457 BC, not 538. Doing the math accurately brings the 2300 years to 1844.

            457 is the date of the 3rd decree, given by Artaxerxes to "restore and rebuild" Jerusalem, being the only decree to fit the description given. It was also the beginning point of the 490 years "cut off" for Judah to "finish the transgression" (literally: rebellion against the covenant). They finished it by crucifying Jesus and then stoning Stephen.

            This is a very clear understanding though many do not accept it. Their lack of acceptance changes nothing.

        • "...the anticipated timeline(1844) DID occur..."

          We actually have no evidence of anything specific occurring in 1844. I am not saying that nothing happened around that time, it may well have - and I do believe something in general was started around that time on earth in terms of a revival within Christianity. But we don't have any specific evidence of precisely what happened and when.

          "Why so many time prophecies?"

          There is no single answer to this question. We assume that time meant the same to the Old and New Testament audience as it does to us. It didn't. To the Hebrew, a number had meaning in terms of the symbolism conveyed by the number rather than its numerical quantity. Additionally, much of the time, prophetic time periods were conveying qualities and the notion that God would intervene to limit the magnitude of impact as opposed to allowing it to go on indefinitely (as per Ex 34:7).

          The concept of the 1 day = 1 year applying to all prophecy time periods is also not the 'water-tight' principle that has come to be assumed.

          What you refer to as "speculation", I see as falling under the domain of 'reasoning' which we are invited to do in order to understand how things make sense (Isa 1:18): meaning to think about and nut things out under submission to the Holy Spirit who has been sent to guide us into all truth (Acts 16:13).

          • Phil, good to know exactly where you stand. Sometimes it's difficult to tell until one makes a clear declaration on a matter.

        • Robert, I can only repeat that the August 11, 1840 date was a relatively minor event, passed over with barely a mention in secular history. The Ottoman Empire had been in decline since the war with the Hapsburgs in 1683. The final dissolution of the empire occurred in the wash-up after World War 1. The only reference I can find to Aug 11, 1840 in secular history is the signing of a protectorate agreement with some European powers. In fact it appears to be an extension of an existing agreement. It may have raised a note in the news of the day, but it is hard to magnify it into a turning point in history.

  3. All that we are studying now take us to the point we are right now. We are at the end of earth's history. The message is to repent, give glory and get ready, with our "clothes, washed in Jesus blood". We all have things to do and busy lives, but let's no lose sight of the time we are living. It is time to get this real experience with our loving Father, through the relationship with His Son! This message has to touch us deep enough so we can be open to change! Mysteriously, Jesus can do the work within us that to us may seem impossible, and improbable! Thank God for His unconditional love! May we change while we are touched and amazed by it!

  4. Ray, I would suggest that the fact that it is noted that John heard the 7 thunders and was told not to write them down in Rev 10:4 tells us that we don't know everything yet. There is still some mystery, but it is interesting that in Rev 10:7 we are told "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" so we might find out what they said quite soon.

    Maybe there is a clue in the 7 thunders/voices of God in Ps 29 they are to give the LORD glory.

    Psa 29:1 Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. 
    Psa 29:2  Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
    Psa 29:3  The voice of the LORD is upon the waters:the God of glory thundereth: 
    Psa 29:4  The voice of the LORD is powerful;
    the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. 
    Psa 29:5  The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars;
    Psa 29:7  The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire. 
    Psa 29:8  The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness;
    Psa 29:9  The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests:
    and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory. 

  5. The Angel that raises his hand to heaven is Jesus as we later learn. Jesus is very powerful and authoritative in addition to being kind, compassionate and true. Praise Him!

  6. SDA Commentary col.7 pg. 971
    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 first and second angels’ messages. It was not best for the people to know these things, for their faith must necessarily be tested.

  7. Regarding the seven thunders, is it possible that these announcements are final and for the righteous only? ...and may have something to do with the arrival of the Lion of Judah and the heavenly hosts?
    Perhaps God will be reintroducing audible communication with humanity?

  8. 1. “There are things in the future that God did not reveal to John.” I believe, we by extrapolating(inferred, based on the veribles in the Bible, and the and observations) we can conclude that these things were revealed to Ellen G. White. God speaks through His prophets. 2. We are not to set a time of His return, which was stated over 120 years ago. It is apropos(appropriate, pertinent, relevant) of today’s lesson that Mark Finley in 2018, instructed us by use of the Bible, and EGW writings, that it is wrong to set a date/time, of Christ return. A current example of the fallacy of setting a time, was prognosticators saying, the world will end in January 1, 2013. I am satisfied with Christ words, “I will come again and receive you unto Myself, I come as a thief in the night, be ready.” 3. Tomorrows lesson Maurice will point out share your faith.

  9. That’s correct Robert, 457/458 BC. Daniel wants events related to the fourth beast explained. The first path seventy sevens brings us to Christ’s death. The second path, 7 sevens and 62 sevens, brings us to Christ’s baptism. The middle of the 70th week, covenant week, marks his death. Daniel desired to know only the events concerning the 4th beast and especially the Horn with eyes of a man.


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