Part 1 Analysis of Jeff Pippenger’s Principles of Prophetic Interpretation, by Norman McNulty, MD

 

An Analysis of Jeff Pippenger’s Principles of Prophetic Interpretation With Respect to September 11, 2001, the Seven Trumpets and Three Woes of Revelation, Islam, the 2520, and the Loud Cry Message

By Norman McNulty, MD

PART ONE (of 5): Introduction and Review of the Seven Trumpets

URL: http://www.greatcontroversy.org/gco/rar/mcnn-pippengerpt1.php

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.

  1. Seventh trumpet sounds (third woe begins) on October 22, 1844 as Revelation 11:19 shows that the most holy place was opened.
  2. Christ enters the most holy place to receive the kingdom (Revelation 11:15).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. The nations that are angry in its final phase are represented by the secular kings of the earth (Revelation 17).
  7. 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).
  8. 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).
  9. 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:

  1. Cleansing of the soul temple (corresponds with cleansing of heavenly sanctuary)
  2. Dying to self
  3. 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.

March 01 2012 08:18 am | Jeff Pippenger

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