Steve Wolhberg Responds to Jeff Pippenger

 

Jeff Pippenger Explains His Views (Dec. 2008)
Observations by Steve Wohlberg (Aug. 2011)

Because Jeff Pippenger's teachings on prophecy are being discussed in my home church, I have taken an interest in them. In August of 2011 someone suggested that I read words straight “from the horse’s mouth,” so he sent me a copy of “16 Questions and Answers” posed to Mr. Pippenger in December of 2008. That entire interview, and Jeff’s answers, can be read here:

http://www.future-is now.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=15&Itemid=24&lang=en

After reading the Q & A interview, I decided to make some comments below. Before I do, let me clarify a few things: 1) I have never met Mr. Pippenger or had any personal dialog with him, 2) Because the 16 Q  & A interview has been publicly posted on the Internet, I think it is appropriate for me to offer a few comments publicly too, 3) In this document I will only quote select statements made by JP, and then respond with some thoughts, 4) I agree with many things JP says, but not with everything, 5) Some areas of disagreement are serious, and I think they should be taken seriously, especially because JP (and many others) now consider some of his ideas to be “new light” that belongs to the “Latter Rain” and “Present Truth” that every Seventh-day Adventist must understand and accept at the risk of losing their souls, 6) I am writing this document with the hope that it will be valuable to those now pondering this controversy. With this background, here are my comments on some of Jeff’s answers:

[Jeff] Also in Great Controversy, page 594, sister White says: "The events connected with the close of probation and the work of preparation for the time of trouble, are clearly presented. But multitudes have no more understanding of these important truths than if they had never been revealed…

I certainly agree with GC 594. But notice carefully (and this is A BIG ISSUE) how JP applies that quote:

[Jeff] So, Inspiration tells us, the events that lead to the close of probation had been clearly revealed. And the clearest revelation of the close of probation is Daniel 12:1…So, the last six verses of Daniel 11, according to inspiration, have been clearly revealed…Now when she is commenting on those that don't understand these verses, these events, she does not say "but few" do not understand these verses. She says "multitudes". So, the majority of Adventism doesn't understand these verses. And it is salvational.these verses are the message for this generation, and like every other time in sacred history, when a special testing message comes to God's people, the majority of God's people find any excuse that's convenient to not understand that message. That's how I understand it.

First, I agree that Daniel 12:1 is about the close of probation and that the previous verses describe events leading up to it, but it seems quite a stretch for JP to apply GC 594 almost exclusively to Daniel 11:40-45 and to “the majority of Adventism,” especially when the GC 594 quote itself says nothing about either one. Furthermore, the very next paragraph in GC 594 refers to the Three Angel’s Messages (not Daniel 11:40-45 or SDAs particularly) and “the masses of the people” that refuse to hear them. But JP then goes further, not only by applying GC 594 to Daniel 11:40-45 and SDAs particularly, but also to “a special testing message” that “comes to God’s people.” This particular application has become a key component of JP’s message to SDAs. But again, the context of GC 594 doesn’t support this. Additionally, neither does Daniel 11:40-45 itself give any indication that it contains “a special testing message” designed primarily for Three Angel’s Message believers (SDAs). It’s just not there.  

[Jeff]sweeping away the King of the South, the Soviet Union…was fulfilled in 1989. And that‘s the history of verse 40 of Daniel 11. And the next verse identifies the Sunday Law in the United States.

Personally, I think Jeff’s view is possible, but I hesitate to be so certain that the exact year 1989 definitely “fulfilled” and “swept away” the King of the South. On the other side, atheism didn’t die in 1989, and there are a lot of atheists still in Russia (and other places). And then to say “the next verse [41] identifies the Sunday Law in the United States,” to me, the text itself is just not so clear. Maybe the application is correct, or maybe not. But I do know that Rev. 13:11-17 is much clearer about “the Sunday Law.”

[Jeff] The Millerite understanding of the "daily" is that it represented paganism, and that it was the work of Pagan Rome to place the papacy upon the throne of the earth in 538.

Yes, the Millerites saw “the daily” as paganism, and I am not ready to say they were wrong. But it seems inaccurate to state categorically that it was “the work of pagan Rome” to place the papacy on the throne. Yes, Constantine honored the Roman Church above other churches, but it wasn’t until Pagan Rome was forcibly “taken out of the way” and the imperial government collapsed, that the papacy could fully rise into power.

[Jeff] And paganism, or Pagan Rome, is a type of the United States.

To me, this is a small issue, but the problem is that JP makes it a big one. Yes, there are some parallels between Pagan Rome and the USA, but to say that Pagan Rome is a “type” of America seems to be another “stretch.” In the Bible, there are many “types” (like sacrificial lambs) that pointed forward to Jesus. When Christ died, “type met antitype.” But Pagan Rome a “type” of the USA? So far, I’m not convinced. The US Constitution and Bill of Rights are based on Reformation Protestant principles that support religious freedom. Pagan Rome knew nothing of this. At the end the USA sets up an “image” of the Roman Church, a professedly “Christian” power, not of Pagan Rome.

[Jeff] Pagan Rome places the papacy on the throne of the earth at the beginning, and the United States places the Papacy on the throne of the earth at the end…

Again, such parallelism isn’t really accurate. Historically, Pagan Rome didn’t do this. Yes, its doctrines continued through Roman Catholicism, but its imperial government headquartered in the city of Rome completely collapsed due to physical invasions from barbarian hordes, which made room for papal progress. This will not happen to the USA.

[Jeff] So, if you misunderstand what the "daily" is, you destroy your ability to identify the work that the United States is doing in the world today in terms of placing the Papacy on the throne of the earth.

Such logic seems woefully flawed. The book The Great Controversy makes plain “the work of the United States” in exalting the papacy without even mentioning the “daily.” Thus how can misunderstanding the “daily” destroy one’s ability to comprehend Revelation 13? Can’t we “identify the work” of America and the papacy simply by reading The Great Controversy? According to JP, apparently not. To me, JP is elevating a correct understanding of the “daily” far above the evidence of its importance.

[Jeff] Then there was introduced a "new view" of the "daily" introduced by a leader in Germany, Louis Conradi, one of the famous apostates in Adventist history. He introduced the Old-Protestant view, that is, he re-introduced it into Adventism, the Old-Protestant view, that the "daily" represented Christ's Sanctuary ministry.

From what I understand, the current SDA view on the “daily” is that Clovis, by lending support to papal Rome, thus contributed to “setting up” a counterfeit priesthood on earth which inevitably “took away” the knowledge of the “daily,” or “tamid,” or Holy Place ministry of Jesus Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary” from the minds of men. But this attack would be countered after October 22, 1844, by Jesus Christ entering the Most Holy Place and shedding light on papal falsehoods through the preaching of the Three Angel’s Messages. Whether this current SDA view is correct or not, I find it hard to believe that such a view is an “Old-Protestant view” simply because no one prior to 1844 was capable of understanding Daniel 8:12-14 and the sanctuary ministry of Jesus because it was sealed “to the time of the end” (see Daniel 8:17 and 12:4).

[Jeff] And sister White commented on that understanding of the "daily". She said it came "from angels that were expelled from heaven".

At best, this is a sincere misuse of Ellen White’s words (I hope so).  Notice exactly what Ellen White wrote:

Brother Daniells, whose mind the enemy was working… and Elder Prescott's mind were being worked by the angels that were expelled from heaven. Satan's work was to divert your minds that jots and tittles should be brought in which the Lord did not inspire you to bring in. They were not essential. But this meant much to the cause of truth…To correct little things in the books written, you suppose would be doing a great work. But I am charged, Silence is eloquence. Manuscript Releases, Vol. 20, p. 17

 

It has been presented to me that this [the daily] is not a subject of vital importance. I am instructed that our brethren are making a mistake in magnifying the importance of the difference in the views that are held…The true meaning of "the daily" is not to be made a test question…I have had no instruction on the point under discussion, and I see no need for the controversy…The enemy of our work is pleased when A SUBJECT OF MINOR IMPORTANCE can be used to divert the minds of our brethren from the great questions that should be the burden of our message. As this is not a test question, I entreat of my brethren that they shall not allow the enemy to triumph by having it treated as such. 1 Selected Messages, 164.

 

 

JP says above that it was Daniell’s view of the daily itself that came “from angels that were expelled from heaven,” but this is not what Ellen White wrote. A careful reading of her words shows that Daniell’s/Prescott’s minds were being worked by Satan to take “a subject of minor importance” that was “not essential” and “not a test question” and to satanically transform it into a test question which would cause diversion, distraction, and division away from the united preaching of the Three Angel’s Messages.

[Jeff] So, the pioneer understanding, that the "daily" was paganism, Sister White says, that's the correct view.

This is not exactly what she said. If Ellen White had clearly stated, “the daily is paganism,” then there would be much less conflict about it. But she didn’t. Her exact words were:

Then I saw in relation to the "daily" (Daniel 8:12) that the word "sacrifice" was supplied by man's wisdom, and does not belong to the text, and that the Lord gave the correct view of it to those [our early Adventist pioneers] who gave the judgment hour cry. When union existed, before 1844, nearly all were united on the correct view of the "daily"; but in the confusion since 1844, other views have been embraced, and darkness and confusion have followed. Early Writings, p. 74

The issue is: Did the pioneers have “the correct view” of the “daily” itself, or did they merely have “the correct view of the daily” that “the word sacrifice” did “not belong to the text”? Honestly, I really don’t know. But, I do know that later on EGW wrote,

It has been presented to me that this is not a subject of vital importance. I am instructed that our brethren are making a mistake in magnifying the importance of the difference in the views that are held…The true meaning of "the daily" is not to be made a test question…I have had no instruction on the point under discussion, and I see no need for the controversy…1 Selected Messages, 164.

[Jeff] And then the view that came from Conradi, that it is Christ's Sanctuary ministry, sister White says, it came from angels that were expelled from heaven. So, the "daily" is not only important because it has a prophetic importance, but it also places a question concerning the "Spirit of Prophecy" into the play of things.

Again, EGW did not say that this later view itself came from “angels that were expelled from heaven,” and when one reads the “Spirit of Prophecy” it is clear that “this is not a subject of vital importance.” In making it such a key component of “Present Truth,” it seems to me that JP (and many others) are acting directly contrary to the SOP itself and to her statements that “the true meaning of ‘the daily’ is not to be made a test question.”

[Jeff] we mentioned earlier that the false understanding of the "daily" gives you a false view of the work of the United States. Paganism as the "daily" is a type of the United States. But the misunderstanding of the "daily" impacts many different aspects of Prophecy… October 22, 1844. That's the foundation of Adventism. If you destroy that answer, you destroy Adventism!

Here JP says that if you don’t have the correct view of the “daily” itself then you destroy October 22, 1844, and “you destroy Adventism!” If this is correct, then the true meaning of “the daily” is one of the most important topics on earth! But EGW wrote differently:

It has been presented to me that this is not a subject of vital importance. I am instructed that our brethren are making a mistake in magnifying the importance of the difference in the views that are held…The true meaning of "the daily" is not to be made a test question…1 Selected Messages, 164.

Notice that EGW said this “has been presented to me.” Who “presented” this to her? Obviously, it was the Lord. Thus JP’s view is not the same as the Lord’s is this matter. 

[Jeff] If you believe the "daily" is Christ's sanctuary ministry you destroy 1844!

This amazes me, especially when The Great Controversy clearly affirms the 2300-day prophecy, 1844, and Jesus Christ’s heavenly sanctuary ministry, without ever mentioning “the daily” even once. Clearly, as EGW stated, “this is not a subject of vital importance.”

[Jeff] William Miller understood that the abomination of desolation was the Papacy. So, he understood that whatever this "daily" was, it had to be taken away, in order for the Papacy, to be set up. And in verse 31 in Daniel 11 it says: "… and shall take away the daily (sacrifice), and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate", it was the same story. He knew, whatever this "daily" was, it had some relationship to the setting up of the Papacy, and that it had to be taken away [first]….What was this thing that had to be taken away for the Papacy to be placed on the throne of the earth?… He realized that paganism or pagan Rome was doing two things: It was restraining the Papacy from taking control of the earth, but also, when paganism was removed, then the Papacy would take control of the earth – both those things.

This lines up more accurately with historical facts than JP’s previous statements. Pagan Rome had to be “taken away” in order for the papacy to be fully established. In 476 AD, Pagan Rome’s imperial government collapsed. In 508 AD, Clovis lent his support to the papacy. Both of these key events contributed to the political rise of the Roman Church.

[Jeff] Those Seventh-day Adventists that receive the mark of the beast at the Sunday law testing time are going to receive strong delusion…they don't have the love for the truth….the primary truth that is identified here isn't a love for truth in general, it's a love for the truth about the relationship between paganism and the Papacy.

I disagree totally. From what I read in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-14, “the primary truth” rejected by those who receive “strong delusion” is “the truth that they might be saved” by the “gospel” (verse 14). Who saves? Jesus Christ alone. The papacy itself is “a falling away” and leads to a “falling away” from the Savior. How can JP say that “the primary truth identified here” concerns “paganism and the Papacy,” rather than Jesus Christ and His gospel, especially when Paul himself doesn’t specifically mention Pagan Rome in 2 Thessalonians 2 at all? Yes, Pagan Rome was “restraining” the papacy, and yes, it does have a role in its rise, but again, the primary issue is deception that leads away from Jesus Christ and His Righteousness, not Pagan Rome and Papal Rome alone. And it seems to me that whether one sees Pagan Rome as the “daily” or not, it is still very easy to understand that when Pagan Rome went down, the Papacy sprang up. One can also understand 1844, the Law, and the Sabbath, the role of USA, and the mark of the beast, all without understanding “the daily.” If this weren’t true, then EGW would have clearly identified the importance of the “daily” in The Great Controversy. But she didn’t.

[Jeff] In 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2, the truth that brings strong delusion to those Adventists that receive the mark of the beastis the foundational truth of Adventism, which includes the "daily."

To me, such teaching itself qualifies as being a “strong delusion,” especially when EGW clearly says that “the daily” itself is “not a subject of vital importance” and “not a test question.” Remember, our prophet also stated that our great “enemy” (Satan) would “triumph by having it treated as such.” 1 Selected Messages, 164. Adventists, beware!

[Jeff] And as the Latter Rain is poured out on God's people, starting on September, 11th, 2001…On September 11th the "great buildings" of New York City came down. Sister White plainly says, when that takes place "Revelation 18, verses 1 to 3 is fulfilled".

Once again, this is not exactly what EGW “plainly says.” JP bases his conclusion on one primary SOP passage:

…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 Revelation 18:1-3 will be fulfilled.' … But I have no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York, only I know that one day the great buildings there will be thrown down by the turning and overturning of God's power….Review and Herald, July 5, 1906; Life Sketches, 411.

Yes, EGW saw “great buildings going up” in New York. She also saw “the earth” shaken terribly, and that “Then the words of Revelation 18:1-3 will be fulfilled.” But in the same breath she also states that she has “no light in particular in regard to what is coming on New York.” Based on this, it seems highly speculative be so particular about 9-11 and to say that it was the beginning of the Latter Rain. 

[Jeff] sister White says: "When the great buildings of New York City are thrown down, then the word of Revelation 18, verses 1-3 will be fulfilled."

Read EGW’s words above again carefully. This is NOT what “sister White says.”

[Jeff] When the Twin Towers came down on September 11th, 2001, the mighty angel of Revelation 18 descended, and the "Latter Rain" began to sprinkle upon the "wheat and tares" of Adventism.

Again, EGW does NOT say this.

[Jeff] Bible prophecy is crystal clear, that at the Sunday Law probation closes for Seventh-day Adventists. Sister White plainly says that, and the different lines of prophecy illustrate it.

This amazes me. I have been studying “Bible prophecy” and the SOP for 32 years and I have never read this. It is certainly not “crystal clear.” And JP’s statement that “Sister White plainly says that” is “plainly” not true. We do know from studying Bible prophecy and from reading The Great Controversy that those who take the mark will receive the wrath of God, and that “when the third angel’s message closes” and “mercy no longer pleads for the guilty inhabitants of the earth,” that then Revelation 22:11 will be fulfilled (GC 613). “Every case” will then have been officially “decided for life or death.” Then probation closes. Do a search in the EGW CD Rom. If you do, you will never find “Sister White plainly say[ing]” that at the Sunday Law probation closes for Seventh-day Adventists. Obviously JP believes this. But that fact is, “Sister White” doesn’t say it.

[Jeff] Daniel 11:40 identifies the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, and in the next verse, verse 41, the Sunday Law in the United States is identified, at which point probation closes for Seventh-day Adventists in the United States.

That’s a lot to read into Daniel 11:40, 41! JP says that in verse 41, “the Sunday Law is identified,” but this is not exactly true. Daniel 11:41 may apply to a Sunday Law, or it may not. But then to further conclude that it is at this “point” that “probation closes for Seventh-day Adventists in the United States” is, again, a huge leap that is really not in the text. I surely wouldn’t make this teaching a “test” question.

[Jeff] Every reform movement is the same. It begins with the message of reform – a reform message. Daniel 11: 40-41 is that reform message. It's speaking to we Laodiceans. It's saying to us, the next thing that happens is that our probation closes…This is God's design to bring a revival to the Seventh-day Adventist church.

Here JP reveals what he believes about his particular teachings. To him, they are part of “a reform movement” with “a reform message” that is “saying to us, the next thing that happens is that our probation closes.” And, as we saw at the beginning of this paper, he bases much of his “movement” on his interpretation of GC 594 where he applies “the events leading up to the close of probation” to Daniel 11:40-45 and “the majority of Adventism.” But again, one problem is GC 594 makes no reference to Daniel 11:40-45 at all, and also that the context shows that “the multitudes” EGW is referring to specifically apply instead to “the masses of the people” who refuse to listen to the basic truths of the Three Angel’s Messages.

[Jeff] Satan has placed a lot of strange ideas in Adventism in order to destroy the truth, that at the Sunday Law our probation closes.

Satan surely has “placed a lot of strange ideas in Adventism,” and my conscience tells me that this applies to some of JP’s teachings. JP says that these “strange ideas” are designed “to destroy the truth, that at the Sunday Law our probation closes.” JP’s “truth” about this point is not “truth” at all, but speculation.

[Jeff] Because I might think, that verse 40 was fulfilled with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, and I might believe that the next verse, verse 41, is identifying the Sunday Law in the United States. But if I don't understand that my probation closes at that point in time, then all it is, is an interesting passage in prophecy, and there is no urgency, there is no conviction.

I’m all for urgency, but real “urgency” and “conviction” must be based on solid biblical facts, not speculation. I’ll close with these sober warnings:

We are to pray for divine enlightenment, but at the same time we should be careful how we receive everything termed new light. We must beware lest, under cover of searching for new truth, Satan shall divert our minds from Christ and the special truths for this time. I have been shown that it is the device of the enemy to lead minds to dwell upon some obscure or unimportant point, something that is not fully revealed or is not essential to our salvation. This is made the absorbing theme, the "present truth," when all their investigations and suppositions only serve to make matters more obscure than before, and to confuse the minds of some who ought to be seeking for oneness through sanctification of the truth.–Letter 7, 1891. 1 Selected Messages, 159 

There is danger now of our losing sight of the important truths applicable for this period of time, and seeking for those things that are new and strange and entrancing. Testimonies to Ministers, 407-408

October 21 2011 07:59 pm | Jeff Pippenger

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