We Affirm SDA We Affirm SDA
Menu
Search
Part 3, An 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 THREE (of 5): Millerite Heritage, Restraint of Islam, and Repetition of History

Jeff Pippenger teaches that the attack of Islam on America on 9/11 placed a “restraint” on Islam by the rest of the world since that time and that this ushered in a holding of the four winds of Revelation 7:1-3 while Seventh-day Adventists are being sealed. He believes that this is a repetition of the Millerite history and compares this event to the fall of the Ottoman (Islamic) empire on August 11, 1840.

We have already noted the historical validity of August 11, 1840 as seen in The Great Controversy, pp. 334, 335. The idea of the repetition of history from the Millerite era is found especially in the following two quotes from Ellen White:

“The parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25 also illustrates the experience of the Adventist people” (The Great Controversy, p. 393).

When the third angel’s message is preached as it should be, power attends its proclamation, and it becomes an abiding influence. It must be attended with divine power, or it will accomplish nothing. I am often referred to the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and five foolish. This parable has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter, for it has a special application to this time, and, like the third angel’s message, has been fulfilled and will continue to be present truth till the close of time. Review and Herald, August 19, 1890 [emphasis supplied].

It is very clear that the parable of the ten virgins from Matthew 25 was fulfilled to the very letter in the Millerite history, and it will also be fulfilled to the very letter among Seventh-day Adventists just before Jesus comes.

Jeff Pippenger correctly teaches that when the Ottoman Empire fell on August 11, 1840 at the end of the second woe, the Millerite movement was given extra power. As seen in The Great Controversy, pp. 334, 335, this fulfillment of prophecy confirmed the principles of prophetic interpretation used by the Millerites and thus gave extra power to the movement. From 1840 – 1844, the movement had its greatest power. Pippenger uses the fall of the Ottoman Empire as his starting point for the repetition of Millerite history at the end of the world. He teaches that the first angel began to be proclaimed with power in 1840 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and he teaches that the second angel’s message began to be proclaimed in 1842, and then the midnight cry began in the summer of 1844, which gave extra force to the first and second angel’s messages.

Pippenger uses the quote from Review and Herald, Aug. 19, 1890 about the parable of the ten virgins being fulfilled again to the very letter as his template for the end of the world. He believes that just as a restraint was placed on Islam after the fall of the Ottomans on August 11, 1840, a restraint was placed on Islam after it struck America on 9/11 and that this coincides with the holding of the four winds of Revelation 7:1-3. He teaches that 9/11 ushers in the final prophetic history for Adventism based on the repetition of the history of the Millerite movement and the restraint of Islam.

He teaches that the attack of Islam on America on 9/11 gives force to the foundations of Adventism as found on the two charts of 1843 and 1850 in the same way that the fall of the Ottoman empire gave force to the year-day principle for the Millerites. On this basis, he believes that the final warning message for Adventists as seen in Revelation 18:1 has been sounding since 9/11 and that the judgment of the living is taking place among Seventh-day Adventists until the Sunday Law takes place. When the Sunday Law is passed, he believes that probation closes for Adventists.

What is confusing about the parallel Pippenger draws between the Millerite history and 9/11 is that he begins the loud cry of Revelation 18:1 with the attack of Islam, rather than placing the loud cry of Revelation 18 as a parallel to the midnight cry from the summer of 1844. He teaches that Revelation 18:1-5 comes in two stages in which verses 1-3 began on 9/11, and the events of verses 4 and 5 begin when “another voice” is heard and the National Sunday Law is passed. Thus, he teaches that we are in the fulfillment of Revelation 18:1-3 at this point in time and that verses 4 and 5 are in the near future.

While it is agreed that Ellen White’s statement says the parable of the ten virgins has been fulfilled to the very letter through the Millerites and again in the future through the Seventh-day Adventist church, we do not agree with the parallels and reference points Pippenger uses for the second fulfillment of the parable. First of all, the comparison between the fall of the Ottoman empire of 1840 with Islam’s attack of America on 9/11 is flawed. The Ottomans fell in 1840, but 9/11 represented a resurgence of Islam in the world. The events are opposite in nature, so that seems to be a weak comparison at best.

Furthermore, we agree that the fall of the Ottoman empire gave force to the first angel’s message in 1840, but it was the midnight cry, in fulfillment of the parable of the bridegroom, that gave force to the second angel’s message beginning in August of 1844 in what became known as the seventh month movement once the date of October 22, 1844 was set at the Exeter, NH campmeeting of August 12-17, 1844 in the message delivered by Samuel S. Snow.

It is a flawed argument to compare the events of 9/11 and the role of Islam as fulfilling the repetition of history from the Millerite movement and the parable of the bridegroom. As the parable of the ten virgins is fulfilled in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the first and second angel’s messages have been sounding with greater clarity since October 22, 1844 with the addition of the third angel’s message.

The understanding of what Christ is doing as our high priest in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary has given extra understanding to the first, second, and third angel’s messages. Just as the Millerites sounded the first and second angel’s messages from 1840 – 1844, and just as the midnight cry gave extra force to the messages of the first and second angel, so Seventh-day Adventists have been sounding the three angels’ messages since 1844 as a fulfillment of the parable of the ten virgins. The loud cry, as described in Revelation 18:1-5, will be what gives extra force to the three angels’ messages in parallel with what the midnight cry did for the Millerite movement in fulfillment of the parable of the bridegroom.

Pippenger’s attempt to divide Revelation 18:1-5 into two stages (verses 1-3, then verses 4 and 5) is simply wrong. Ellen White makes it very clear that Revelation 18:1-5 occurs together. Take for example her chapter “The Final Warning” in The Great Controversy. In the opening paragraph on p. 603, she includes verses 1, 2, and 4 of Revelation 18 together as a singular event. Furthermore, Ellen White equates Revelation 18:1-5 and the beginning of the loud cry with the passing of the National Sunday Law. In Last Day Events, p. 198, Ellen White says:

When do her sins reach unto heaven [Rev. 18:2-5]? When the law of God is finally made void by legislation. (From Signs of the Times, June 12, 1893, emphasis supplied).

Notice that Ellen White includes verses 2-5 in this quote as a singular unit. Revelation 18:2-5 clearly overlaps Revelation 18:1-3 and both describe the loud cry message. Here Ellen White shows that the loud cry, which denounces Babylon as being fallen, and in which her sins are described as having reached to heaven, will not commence until legislation makes void the law of God. This refers to the National Sunday Law, and that event (as of this writing in December 2011) is still in the future. Pippenger’s division of Revelation 18:1-5 into two parts has caused unnecessary confusion.

Ellen White also connects the issue of Sunday legislation with the power of the loud cry in the chapter “The Final Warning” in The Great Controversy. Notice what she says in pp. 605, 606:

Heretofore those who presented the truths of the third angel’s message have often been regarded as mere alarmists. Their predictions that religious intolerance would gain control in the United States, that church and state would unite to persecute those who keep the commandments of God, have been pronounced groundless and absurd. It has been confidently declared that this land could never become other than what it has been—the defender of religious freedom. But as the question of enforcing Sunday observance is widely agitated, the event so long doubted and disbelieved is seen to be approaching, and the third message will produce an effect which it could not have had before[emphasis supplied].

It is not an understanding of Islam but rather the agitation of Sunday legislation that gives force to the loud cry. Ellen White reveals how powerful the loud cry message will be in the closing paragraphs of the same chapter, “The Final Warning.” Notice what she says in The Great Controversy, pp. 611, 612:

The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are ‘the times of refreshing’ to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said: ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus.’ Acts 3:19, 20. Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. Satan also works, with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Revelation 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.

When reading those statements about the loud cry and the relationship to how the agitation of the National Sunday Law will give force to the loud cry, it cannot be said that there has been any significant agitation of Sunday legislation over the past ten years (2001 – 2011) unless it has been behind the scenes. However, Ellen White's statements make it clear that all will be aware of the agitation of Sunday legislation.

Therefore, the third angel’s message has not yet produced the effect it will have when that takes place. The persecution of the saints has not been seen to any measurable extent at this point. Also, she speaks of “thousands of voices, all over the earth” who are giving the warning, which we have yet to see in full measure.

One other point that is important to discuss is the restraining of the four winds of Revelation 7:1-3. From listening to Pippenger and reading his material, it seems that he is teaching that the holding of the four winds began on 9/11 with the “restraint of Islam.” As discussed in part two of this series, Pippenger uses Ezekiel 37 and Isaiah 27:5-10 as support for this idea. However, Seventh-day Adventists have always understood that the four winds of Revelation have been held by the sealing angel since 1844. Ellen White makes it clear inEarly Writings, p. 38, that the four winds have been held for a long time and were about to be released many years ago.

I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, ‘My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!’ Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, ‘Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold!’ until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.

I asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He said to me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on the earth; that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads.

See also again her statements from Review and Herald, Jan. 28, 1909, and My Life Today, p. 308 elsewhere in this article series which obviously show that the four winds were being held in Ellen White’s day, long before 9/11. It is also clear that the restraint of these four winds is directly related to the readiness of the remnant, or Seventh-day Adventists. The restraint of the four winds has nothing to do with Islam but rather whether God's people are ready to be sealed.

Do Ellen White’s Writings Support the Loud Cry Starting on September 11, 2001?

The quote alluded to from Ellen White at the beginning of our article series which Jeff Pippenger uses in an attempt to support his view of Islam and 9/11, is found in Review and Herald, July 5, 1906. Here she says:

Not many years ago, a brother laboring in New York City published some very startling notices regarding the destruction of that city. I wrote immediately to the ones in charge of the work there, saying that it was not wise to publish such notices; that thus an excitement might be aroused which would result in a fanatical movement, hurting the cause of God. It is enough to present the truth of the Word of God to the people. Startling notices are detrimental to the progress of the work. Under date of Aug. 9, 1903, I further wrote regarding this sensational report:

Now comes the word that I have declared that New York is to be swept away by a tidal wave? This I have never said. I have said, as I looked at the great buildings going up there, story after story, ‘What terrible scenes will take place when the Lord shall arise to shake terribly the earth! Then the words of Rev. 18:1-3 will be fulfilled.’ The whole of the eighteenth chapter of Revelation is a warning of what is coming on the earth. But I have no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York, only that I know that one day the great buildings there will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God’s power. From the light given me, I know that destruction is in the world. One word from the Lord, one touch of his mighty power, and these massive structures will fall. Scenes will take place the fearfulness of which we can not imagine.’

One can unpack much from this. Ellen White makes it very clear in this statement that the great buildings will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God’s power when the Lord arises to shake the earth at which time Revelation 18:1-3 will be fulfilled. The two key fulfillments in this passage are the “Lord arising to shake terribly the earth,” and the fulfillment of Revelation 18:1-3. If you then accept the premise that the great buildings of New York are limited to the three towers that came down on September 11 (both twin towers and World Trade Center building #7), and if you believe that God worked through the Islamic terrorists who flew the planes into the buildings to represent Him rising to terribly shake the earth through the turning and overturning of His power, then it is plausible to claim that the mighty angel of Revelation 18:1-3 descended from heaven on September 11, 2001 and that it was this date in history that the Lord arose to terribly shake the earth. If this is true, then we are living in the most momentous time of earth’s history considering it has been a decade since September 11, 2001. If true, for the past decade, the loud cry of Revelation 18 under the power of the latter rain has been going forward and the earth has been lightened with the glory of God.

Before we take a look to see if the events of the loud cry have been occurring over the past decade, let us analyze this statement from Ellen White carefully to see if September 11, 2001 fits the description given in Review and Herald, July 5, 1906. First of all, in the portion of the article that we have quoted, Ellen White begins by cautioning an Adventist brother for making sensational claims about the destruction of New York. It also appears that he was misquoting what she had said about New York’s destruction.

Ellen White refuted his claim that it would be destroyed by a tidal wave. She said that she had never said that. She further stated that what was being said by this brother would cause excitement that would lead to a fanatical movement. She then implored the workers to preach the truths of God’s Word and said that “startling notices are detrimental to the cause of God.” After urging caution, she then sets the record straight as to what she really had put into writing. Ironically, it seems that her statement about the destruction of New York is now being misused by Pippenger, and others to support the kind of fanaticism she warned against a century ago.

First, Ellen White refers back to her written statement from August 9, 1903 in which she talks about looking upon the great buildings of New York that rise story after story. These were buildings she saw in 1903 in the city at that time. These were described by her as “great buildings.” Then she says, “What terrible scenes will take place when the Lord shall arise to shake terribly the earth!” Clearly, the great buildings of New York will be involved when the Lord arises to shake terribly the earth. After she says that the Lord will arise to shake terribly the earth she then says, “Then the words of Revelation 18:1-3 will be fulfilled.”

Let us now take a closer look. First, when Ellen White talks about the Lord arising to shake terribly the earth she refers to “What terrible scenes. . .” There will be more than one “terrible scene.” There will be “terrible scenes.” Also, the earth will be terribly shaken, not just New York. Furthermore, it is difficult to claim that the great buildings of New York were limited to the Twin Towers. New York still has one of the most impressive skylines in the world, albeit less so without the Twin Towers. The Empire State building still qualifies as one of the great buildings of the world, and there are numerous buildings that still rise “story after story.”

More importantly though, don&rsuo; the buildings that Ellen White saw over 100 years qualify as “great buildings”? The World Trade Center was not completed till the early 1970s. The picture she is painting suggests a complete destruction of New York that will come. While the events of September 11, 2001 were shocking and terrible, the destruction was limited to three buildings and the terrible and untimely deaths of about 3,000 people.

Finally, Ellen White offers indisputable evidence that the Lord arising to terribly shake the earth, occurs with the passing of the National Sunday Law. Notice her statement inTestimonies, vol. 7, p. 141:

The wickedness of the inhabitants of the world has almost filled up the measure of their iniquity. This earth has almost reached the place where God will permit the destroyer to work his will upon it. The substitution of the laws of men for the law of God, the exaltation, by merely human authority, of Sunday in place of the Bible Sabbath, is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal Himself. He will arise in His majesty to shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity, and the earth shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain [emphasis supplied].

It is clear from this statement that God will not rise to shake the earth until the National Sunday Law is passed. The quote from Review and Herald, July 5, 1906, about the buildings of New York being overturned by God’s power and Revelation 18:1-3 being fulfilled when God rises terribly to shake the earth is obviously referring to when the National Sunday Law is passed. That time is indisputably yet future.

By failing to compare all the quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy about the time that the Lord arises to shake the earth, Pippenger and others have incorrectly portrayed 9/11 as meeting the specifications of Revelation 18:1 when in reality that is not the case. What Ellen White is describing in Review and Herald, July 5, 1906, occurs when the National Sunday Law is passed. Unfortunately, a false excitement is being generated by the misuse of this quote.

Notice also how Ellen White describes the destruction of the cities at the end in Last Day Events, p. 111.

The end is near and every city is to be turned upside down every way. There will be confusion in every city. Everything that can be shaken is to be shaken and we do not know what will come next. The judgments will be according to the wickedness of the people and the light of the truth that they have had. (From Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, p. 248, written in 1902).

In Evangelism, p. 29, she says:

“The time is near when large cities will be swept away, and all should be warned of these coming judgments.”

Notice from these two quotes that large cities will be swept away, and that every city is to be turned upside down every way. By comparing these statements to the one in Review and Herald, July 5, 1906, it seems that when the Lord arises to shake terribly the earth, New York and its buildings will be thrown down, and also every city will be turned upside down.

Looking at these statements, September 11, 2001 falls short of meeting these qualifications. While it is true that Washington, D.C. was also unfortunately affected that day, it was fairly limited, and cannot compare to the scenes painted in the writings of Ellen White used by Pippenger. It is fair to say though, that what happened that day is a small foretaste of what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise when God arises to shake terribly the earth.

In part four, we consider Jeff Pippenger’s teachings concerning the so-called “2520 prophecy,” or seven times of Leviticus 26

Comments are closed.