Standing on the Platform of Truth, by Charles Lawson

Standing on the Platform of Truth

by Charles Lawson

November 18, 2011

In this article

1)   The Bible doctrines retained from the 1842-1844 movement by the pioneers who later formed the Seventh-day Adventist church.

2)   What is the platform that was built by the Adventist pioneers that we need to stand on today.

3)   The accurate historical record of why our pioneers rejected the 2520 and created a new chart in 1863.

When citing statements from historical accounts by Ellen White we only included the core idea for sake of brevity.

 

The fundamental truths of the 1844 movement

By carefully reading the historical account by Ellen White of the Advent movement leading up to 1844, one can clearly see what Bible teachings were retained by those Advent pioneers after the great disappointment. This is important because we can determine from Ellen White just what she believed were the important Bible truths that God wants His people to accept and believe from the Word today. Interestingly enough, she doesn't even mention the 2520 time prophecy at the top of the Millierite charts. Here are the Bible teachings that she explains were important in the 1844 movement and are critical for God’s people today.

1) The first Angels Message

Quote: To William Miller and his co-laborers it was given to preach the warning in America. This country became the center of the great Advent movement. It was here that the prophecy of the first angel's message had its most direct fulfillment…Far and wide spread the message of the everlasting gospel, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his Judgment is come.” GC88 368

2) The second Angels Message

Quote: The second angel's message of Revelation 14, was first preached in the summer of 1844, and it then had a more direct application to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the Judgment had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches had been most rapid. But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844.

This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. GC88 390

The first and second angels’ messages were given at the right time, and accomplished the work which God designed to accomplish by them. GC88 405.2

3 ) Salvation through Jesus Christ and His Righteousness

Quote: “all felt the need of internal evidence that they were prepared to meet the Saviour; their white robes were purity of soul, characters cleansed from sin by the atoning blood of Christ.

4) The nearness of the soon coming of Jesus

Quote: “A Great religious awakening under the proclamation of Christ's soon coming, is foretold in the prophecy of the first angel's message of Revelation 14. GC88 355.1

The testimony of the prophecies which seemed to point to the coming of Christ in the spring of 1844 took deep hold of the minds of the people. As the message went from State to State, there was everywhere awakened widespread interest. Many were convicted that the arguments from the prophetic periods were correct, and, sacrificing their pride of opinion, they joyfully received the truth.

5) The idea of a judgment hour message to warn people of their lost condition.

Quote: Adventists believed that in like manner God had led them to give the warning of the Judgment. “It has,” they declared, “tested the hearts of all who heard it, and awakened a love for the Lord's appearing; or it has called forth a hatred, more or less perceivable, but known to God, of his coming…God thus, as we believe, has tested his people, has tried their faith, has proved them, and seen whether they would shrink, in the hour of trial, from the position in which he might see fit to place them; and whether they would relinquish this world and rely with implicit confidence in the work [word] of God.”  {GC88 406.1}

6) The 2300-day time prophecy (although she explains they had the wrong view of what constituted the cleansing of the sanctuary).

Quote: The scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and central pillar of the Advent faith was the declaration, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” [Daniel 8:14.] These had been familiar words to all believers in the Lord's soon coming. By the lips of thousands was this prophecy repeated as the watchword of their faith. All felt that upon the events therein foretold depended their brightest expectations and most cherished hopes. These prophetic days had been shown to terminate in the autumn of 1844.

The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation—a work of judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem his people; for when he comes, his reward is with him to give to every man according to his works. [Revelation 22:12.]  GC88 421.3

The following statement can then be better understood in light of those Bible teachings she carefully explains in the Great Controversy:

“God bids us give our time and strength to the work of preaching to the people the messages that stirred men and women in 1843 and 1844. . . .”  UL 199

The teachings listed above are what stirred the men and women in 1843 and 1844, according to the Great Controversy and in her other published works on this time period.

One can’t help but be struck with the question, “Why, if Ellen White firmly believed and held to the 2520 time prophecy, found on the Millerite charts of 1843 and 1850, she did not utter a word about it in her most important work, The Great Controversy or in any of the nearly 110,000 pages she wrote? This supposed time prophecy was not included in what she believed was part of that body of truth received during the 1844 movement, nor was it to be part of the body of truth to be included in our faith after the passing of time. It seems confusing at first however, when one reads the following statement:

“I saw that the truth should be made plain upon tables, that the earth and the fullness thereof is the Lord's, and that necessary means should not be spared to make it plain. I saw that the old chart was directed by the Lord, and that not a figure of it should be altered except by inspiration. I saw that the figures of the chart were as God would have them, and that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none should see it till His hand was removed.”  {SpM 1.3}

This quote definitely sounds like she endorses everything that was on the chart, and clearly, the 2520 is on the 1843 and 1850 charts.

First of all, notice what the statement does say:

1)    “His hand hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none should see it till His hand was removed.”

Notice that the word “figures” is plural not singular. We all know that they had the wrong date for the ending of the 2300 days. But what were the other figures that were in error?

2)  “Not a figure of it (the chart) should be altered except by inspiration.”

This statement clearly allows for an exception for changing the figures on the chart and that exception was by “inspiration.”

Follow this logic. God ordained the chart as prepared by the Millerite group. He ordained that certain mistakes were on the chart. He would remove His hand so that the errors (plural) would be seen. That does not mean God would continue to support the errors on the chart once the chart did it's intended work. The errors were left there (not corrected by God through inspiration) so the world would be tested on whether or not they really loved Him and would accept the judgment hour message to prepare for His second coming. It is both logical and reasonable to say, in light of the other facts regarding the 2520, that it was one of the errors in the figures on the chart. God later revealed the error of reckoning of the 2520 prophecy to those who formed the SDA church. Historically, that is exactly what happened and the reason why Ellen White never mentions the time 2520 time prophecy on the chart nor gives support for it directly as she did with all of the other Bible teachings given during the 1844 movement.

We suggest that the 2520 was one of the figures on the chart that were in error and that God did eventually remove His hand so the Seventh-day Adventist church would see the error of the prophetic dates and drop the time prophecy on the chart.

The other issue is the exception noted in the quote, that the only way the chart could be altered, was by inspiration. The argument used by Pippenger and followers is that only Ellen White was qualified to change the charts, because only she was in a position to do such a thing. One can see from the historical record and even in her comments that the hand of the Lord used others besides herself in discovering, identifying and forming the pillars of our faith and God did inspire many key men and women in shaping the foundational pillars of our church. One of the most prominent key pioneers was her husband, James White.

The Pippenger movement claims that Seventh-day Adventists are not standing on the true platform of our church. Those who reject the 2520 prophecy, in particular, are encouraged to accept this prophecy and join them in standing on the platform of our SDA faith.

What is the platform we are to stand on as Seventh-day Adventists? The obvious implication, if one accepts their claim, is that our church has been “off the platform” since 1863/1864, when our church created a new chart omitting the 2520 and publishing an article refuting the 2520 prophecy in 1864). Pippenger followers often repeat the mantra that our “church” has rejected this sacred light and needs to accept this "present truth" message. The historical record shows that our pioneers and those who formed our church, under God’s direction, were in harmony on dropping the 2520 from the chart. How else do you reconcile the historical facts that show this to be true?

Here are several statements by Ellen White that demonstrate that the 2520 was not part of the pillars of our faith or part of the platform of truth of the Seventh-day Adventist church:

"What influence is it that would lead men at this stage of our history to work in an underhanded, powerful way to tear down the foundation of our faith,– the foundation that was laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the word and by revelation? Upon this foundation we have been building for the past fifty years. Do you wonder that when I see the beginning of a work that would remove some of the pillars of our faith, I have something to say? I must obey the command, "Meet it!"  SpTB02 58 (1904)  

This statement shows clearly that when anyone tried to tear down the foundation of our faith "we" have been building upon (notice she does not say, "I" have been building upon, so evidently God worked through the other Advent Pioneers as well) she would have something to say. "I must obey the command, "meet it!" What command is she referring to here? It is in quotes, so we can assume it was an angel of the Lord who commanded her to meet any message that sought to tear down the foundations of the Adventist church.

"The past fifty years have not dimmed one jot or principle of our faith as "we" received the great and wonderful evidences that were made certain to us in 1844, after the passing of the time . . . Not a word is changed or denied. That which the Holy Spirit testified to as truth after the passing of the time, in our great disappointment, is the solid foundation of truth. [The] pillars of truth were revealed, and we accepted the foundation principles that have made us what we are–Seventh-day Adventists, keeping the commandments of God and having the faith of Jesus."  Letter 326, Dec. 4, 1905, to W. C. White

Here, Ellen White points out something very important as it relates to the discussion at hand: She says not one jot or principle of our faith, as we received it, has dimmed in its luster. Not a word is changed or DENIED. That means, of those who followed on to study the truth after 1844,  including the pioneer leaders who formed the SDA church, had not "denied" one jot or principle given to them. This quote was written in 1905 and is looking back fifty years over the history of the Seventh-Day Adventist movement. This time period includes the formation of the church and the subsequent dropping of the 2520 time prophecy from the charts. This is a remarkable statement when considering the claim by Pippinger and his followers that the Seventh-day Adventist church has apostatized and stepped off the platform of truth and removed a key pillar in our faith, namely the 2520 time prophecy. She confesses that "we" have not denied or changed a word that formed the foundation our faith. I imagine that in the "we" she is including her husband. Yet, in 1864 he published an article in the Review and Sabbath Herald refuting the 2520 time prophecy! This statement would also include other pioneers who formed the Adventist church and who were working to build it up the last 50 years. 

When the official delegation from each of the conferences met to form the SDA church, at the top of the agenda was creating a new chart that reflected the position of the current thought of the leaders at that time. And who did the delegates choose as the most able person to head up the new church? James White. He declined due to his heavy load in the publishing work. Who then did these illustrious Advent pioneers then choose to handle the very important work of creating the new chart? James White again. It is sad to see that those involved in the Pippenger movement have resorted to demonizing James White, because he so clearly refuted the 2520 in the Review and Herald. 

It is clear, by 1863, that all of the leaders of the newly formed church had come to understand that the 2520 time prophecy on the Millerite charts was not in harmony with the Bible. What facts prove this? First, the new chart was dropped the 2520 time prophecy. They put the 2300 days at the top where the 1843 chart had previously had the 2520, and second, James White, who created the chart, published an article in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald refuting the 2520 as a time prophecy. In that same issue of the Review, James White placed an ad to sell the new charts without the 2520 time prophecy. One must remember that the Review and Herald was the official voice of the newly formed SDA church. An article of such grave importance to the early Advent pioneers could not have been published as the official position of our church if all of the pioneers still supported the 1843 and 1850 charts, which in turn supported the 2520 time prophecy! 

In this next quote, Ellen White spells out exactly what those pillars were and are that form the foundation of our faith:

The Landmarks Defined—"In Minneapolis God gave precious gems of truth to His people in new settings. This light from heaven by some was rejected with all the stubbornness the Jews manifested in rejecting Christ, and there was much talk about standing by the old landmarks. But there was evidence they knew not what the old landmarks were. There was evidence and there was reasoning from the word that commended itself to the conscience; but the minds of men were fixed, sealed against the entrance of light, because they had decided it was a dangerous error removing the “old landmarks” when it was not moving a peg of the old landmarks, but they had perverted ideas of what constituted the old landmarks.                                                              
  
'The passing of the time in 1844 was a period of great events, opening to our astonished eyes the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having decided relation to God’s people upon the earth, [also] the first and second angels’ messages and the third, unfurling the banner on which was inscribed, “The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” One of the landmarks under this message was the temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God. The light of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment flashed its strong rays in the pathway of the transgressors of God’s law. The nonimmortality of the wicked is an old landmark. I can call to mind nothing more that can come under the head of the old landmarks. All this cry about changing the old landmarks is all imaginary."

As I reviewed Ellen White's comments in her foundational work, The Great Controversy, (where she covers the time period spanning from William Miller up through the great disappointment, and the experiences that led the small group to continue on searching for Bible truth "after the passing of time" in 1844,) she establishes those foundational truths as articulated in the statement above. Notice she says, after listing the landmarks of our faith, "I can call to mind nothing more to that can come under the head of the old landmarks." There you have it, no other waymarks, or pillars can come under the head of the old landmarks! Those who now claim that our church has rejected a key waymark or pillar of our faith, by not accepting the 2520 time prophecy, have created, according to Ellen White, their own imaginary landmark. 

"Do you wonder that I have something to say, when I see the pillars of our faith beginning to be moved? Seductive theories are being taught in such a way that we shall not recognize them unless we have clear spiritual discernment.–Manuscript 46, May 18, 1904"

The many fanatical movements, now sweeping through our church, from the Jubilee cycles, Feast Days, Lunar Sabbaths, 2520 time prophecy and the Millerite charts, are all seductive theories. Ellen White warns that we shall not recognize them as such unless we have clear spiritual discernment. Question: If the 2520 time prophecy was indeed one of those pillars of our faith, and it had been rejected by Joseph Bates, James White, Uriah Smith and the top pioneers of our faith, do you think Ellen White would have said something about it based on her own testimony? She was told by the angel of the Lord to meet any attempt by men to remove the pillars of our faith? Her silence on this subject proves that the 2520 is not a pillar of our faith. Ellen White's lack of comment about a "supposed" rejection of the 2520 time prophecy, and her failure to mention the time prophecy once in all her works proves the claim untrue! Further, and this is so elementary, if Ellen White really believed in the 2520, she would have had much to say about it as she did about the 2300 day prophecy. How can any one claim Ellen White believed the 2520 time prophecy if it was as important as the Pippenger movement claims it to be. If you don't know, or haven't heard, they teach that the 2520 is a necessary "second witness" to validate the 2300 day prophecy. They claim that without the 2520 time prophecy the 2300 days cannot be proven true. Why then didn't Ellen White, who was guided by Angels from Heaven, not present the necessary second witness? Her silence, then, according to the Pippenger logic means she failed to provide the necessary Biblically based time prophecy that is needed for the 2300 days to be validated. Worse yet, in her work, The Great Controversy, she fails to mention the 2520 at all!

What is the foundation we are to stand on?

Ellen White: “The correct understanding of the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary is the foundation of our faith.”  {RY 78.2}

“The correct understanding of the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary is the foundation of our faith.”–Letter 208, 1906.  {Ev 221.2}

“Ministers who have been believers in the foundation truths that have made us what we are–Seventh-day Adventists; ministers who went to Battle Creek to teach and strengthen the truths of the Bible, are now, when old and grey-headed, turning from the grand truths of the Bible, and accepting infidel sentiments. This means that the next step will be a denial of a personal God, pulling down the bulwarks of the faith that is plainly revealed in the Scriptures. The sanctuary question is the foundation of our faith.”  {20MR 66.3}

She includes the Three Angels messages with the sanctuary message:

"We are God's commandment-keeping people. For the past fifty years every phase of heresy has been brought to bear upon us, to becloud our minds regarding the teaching of the Word–especially concerning the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and the message of Heaven for these last days, as given by the angels of the fourteenth chapter of Revelation."

Note: Had the church really rejected a point of doctrine believed to be sacred, such as the sanctuary message, Ellen White would have made note of this in her comments above, but she doesn’t even mention the rejection of the 2520.

“The subject of the sanctuary was the key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious, showing that God's hand had directed the great advent movement, and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of His people.–The Great Controversy, p. 423, (1888)  {Ev 222.2}

Christ the foundation of our faith

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Isaiah declares: "Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place." Christ has been crucified for us. He is the propitiation for our sins. He is the atoning sacrifice, the true, immovable foundation. He has gathered the believers in church capacity, that they may labor unitedly, strengthening and building up one another in the faith.”  {RH, December 11, 1900 par. 15}

After the passing of time in 1844, what distinguished those who later formed the Seventh-day Adventist church and those Advent believers who were a part of the Millerite movement? Those who continued seeking for truth held on to the truths given during the 1844 movement explained earlier. But to that foundation they added the remaining doctrines found in the Bible that formed the Seventh-day Adventist church that we see expounded upon by Ellen White in her writings.

The question that must be asked is this, “Did the Millerites and early Advent believers have all the truth during the early years leading up to 1844, that would form our church?” Certainly not. They did share important Bible truths and God did lead in a powerful way in the movement to test the world with a last day message.  Notice that it was after the passing of 1844 that God used Ellen White and the early Advent brethren to discover those doctrines that are the pillars of our faith. They combined the truths revealed in the pre-1844 Advent movement with those discovered after. The record is clear for anyone who wants to know what was important to that small body of believers God used to form our church.

Most of our doctrines discovered after 1844

All of the following statements indicate that our foundation was laid after the passing of time in 1844. Those doctrines that were revealed, by the miracle working power of God, are the pillars of our faith. These truths were given to those who came out of the great disappointment in 1844, but continued to search the Bible for truth.

“My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder Edson, a man who was keen, noble, and true, and many others whose names I cannot now recall, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844 [October 22], searched for truth. (If all the truth was on the charts, they wouldn’t have needed to search for it) At our important meetings these men would meet together and search for the truth as for hidden treasure.” {TDG 317.2} 

“I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly, for we felt that we must learn God's truth. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light, and studying the Word. As we fasted and prayed, great power came upon us. But I could not understand the reasoning of the brethren. My mind was locked, as it were, and I could not comprehend what we were studying. Then the Spirit of God would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to the position we were to take regarding truth and duty.

A line of truth extending from that time (the time she is relating here after the great disappointment in 1844) to the time when we shall enter the city of God, was plainly marked out before me, and I gave my brethren and sisters the instruction that the Lord had given me. They knew that, when not in vision, I could not understand these matters, and they accepted as light direct from Heaven the revelations given me. The leading points of our faith as we hold them today were firmly established. Point after point was clearly defined, and all the brethren came into harmony.

The whole company of believers were united in the truth. There were those who came in with strange doctrines, but we were never afraid to meet them. Our experience was wonderfully established by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. . . .

It was some time after my second son was born [1849] that we were in great perplexity regarding certain points of doctrine. I was asking the Lord to unlock my mind, that I might understand His Word. Suddenly I seemed to be enshrouded in clear, beautiful light, and ever since, the Scriptures have been an open book to me–Manuscript 135, Nov. 4, 1903, "Establishing the Foundation of Our Faith."  {TDG 317.6} 

We are God's commandment-keeping people. For the past fifty years every phase of heresy has been brought to bear upon us, to becloud our minds regarding the teaching of the Word–especially concerning the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and the message of Heaven for these last days, as given by the angels of the fourteenth chapter of Revelation. Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh-day Adventists, to take the place of the truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayerful study, and testified to by the miracle-working power of the Lord. But the waymarks which have made us what we are, are to be preserved, and they will be preserved, as God has signified through His Word and the testimony of His Spirit. He calls upon us to hold firmly, with the grip of faith, to the fundamental principles that are based upon unquestionable authority." {1SM 207}

"Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith,–the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work, by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for more than fifty years. Men may suppose that they have found a new way, that they can lay a stronger foundation than that which has been laid; but this is a great deception. "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid." [1 Corinthians 3:11.] {GW 307.1}

“The foundations laid at the beginning of our work” here refers to the other statements above where it was after 1844 that the Advent pioneers studied and laid the foundation of our church.

The Bible is our foundation

“We must rely upon the power of God. We must stand upon His platform of eternal truth. His Word, the Bible, is the foundation of our faith. Unless we plant our feet upon this foundation, unless we substantiate our faith "By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," we shall be deceived by Satan when he comes in glory, claiming to be Christ.” –Ms 169, 1902.

We would at once embrace the supposed 2520 time prophecy in Leviticus 26 if it could be supported from the Bible alone. One is not on safe ground to try to support a position on Bible doctrine that needs Ellen White’s indirect support, for no one has been able to come up with a statement by her where she says the 2520 is still a valid time prophecy that should be accepted.  

“The theme of greatest importance is the third angel's message, embracing the messages of the first and second angels. All should understand the truths contained in these messages and demonstrate them in daily life, for this is essential to salvation.”–Letter 97, 1902.  {Ev 196.1}

The foundation message of 1844

“The past fifty years have not dimmed one jot or principle of our faith as we received the great and wonderful evidences that were made certain to us in 1844, after the passing of the time. The languishing souls are to be confirmed and quickened according to His Word. . . . Not a word is changed or denied. That which the Holy Spirit testified to as truth after the passing of the time, in our great disappointment, is the solid foundation of truth. [The] pillars of truth were revealed, and we accepted the foundation principles that have made us what we are–Seventh-day Adventists, keeping the commandments of God and having the faith of Jesus.” {UL 352.4}

“If we are the Lord's appointed messengers, we shall not spring up with new ideas and theories to contradict the message that God has given through His servants since 1844. At that time many sought the Lord with heart and soul and voice. The men whom God raised up were diligent searchers of the Scriptures. And those who today claim to have light, and who contradict the teaching of God's ordained messengers who were working under the Holy Spirit's guidance, those who get up new theories which remove the pillars of our faith, are not doing the will of God, but are bringing in fallacies of their own invention, which, if received, will cut the church away from the anchorage of truth and set them drifting, drifting, to where they will receive any sophistries that may arise.” {MR760 14.2}

“In the early days of the message, when our numbers were few, we studied diligently to understand the meaning of many scriptures. At times it seemed as if no explanation could be given. My mind seemed to be locked to an understanding of the Word; but when our brethren who had assembled for study, came to a point where they could go no farther, and had recourse to earnest prayer, the Spirit of God would rest upon me, and I would be taken off in vision, and be instructed in regard to the relation of scripture to scripture. These experiences were repeated over and over and over again. Thus many truths of the third angel's message were established, point by point.” {RH, June 14, 1906 par. 19}

The history behind the 1863 chart

After 1844, a few followers went on to study the Bible to find out what happened in October 22, 1844, and to continue searching for Bible truth. It was discovered that the prophetic ending date of the 2300 days was correct, but the understanding of what happened was wrong. As Ellen White and others discovered the ministration of Jesus in the holy place in heaven, they saw the Ark of the Covenant with the Ten Commandments inside. This led them to see that all Ten Commandments were sacred and should be obeyed. Joseph Bates introduced Ellen White to the Sabbath and initially and she saw no reason to keep the seventh day holy, but as they continued studying, it became clear the Sabbath, of the fourth commandment, was sacred and holy.

It was at this juncture that most of the early Advent believers left the small group who began teaching the Sabbath truth. We have the great awakening through the Millerite teachings, the great disappointment, a small group discovers the Sanctuary message and Sabbath, and the majority of Millerites and Advent believers fall away. Only a small group continue to follow Bible truth.

In 1850 Ellen White has a vision and tells James White he is to start a paper to get the Advent message out to the people. In November 1850 the first issue was printed. She said, “From this small beginning it was shown to me to be like streams of light that went clear round the world."  {LS 125.2}

James White wrote in the first issue, “OUR DESIGN IN THIS REVIEW IS TO CHEER AND REFRESH THE TRUE BELIEVER, BY SHOWING THE FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY IN THE PAST WONDERFUL WORK OF GOD, IN CALLING OUT, AND SEPARATING FROM THE WORLD AND NOMINAL CHURCH, A PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR THE SECOND ADVENT OF OUR DEAR SAVIOUR.”]  {LS 136.1}

Note the emphasis on the fulfillment of prophecy in the past. This was one of the key parts of the Review and Sabbath Herald.

For 11 years James White was pretty much the sole agent in writing, editing and producing the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. It was commissioned by a vision from Ellen White, and he was the man chosen by God to carry it out. One could say that the paper was definitely created by Divine inspiration.

Note Ellen White’s comment where she explains who were commissioned to work with James White on the Review and who had “oversight” of the paper, “Then I saw that the paper [Review and Herald] would go and that it would be the means of bringing souls to a knowledge of the truth. I saw that James had not borne the burden alone but that the angels of God had assisted and had oversight of the paper."  {13MR 299.1}  (Written December 25, 1850, at Paris, Maine.)

Angels of God assisting James White and they had oversight of the paper!

Desperately poor and over worked; James and Ellen White asked the brethren to help with the expense of the paper and in its publication. The other Advent leaders didn’t respond until 1861, when the conference of twenty ministers were assembled in Battle Creek Michigan to present their credentials.

At this meeting they began organizing the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Note who was elected at that time to serve in the first General Conference of what would be the Seventh Day Adventist church: “John Byington as president; Uriah Smith, secretary; and E. S. Walker, treasurer. James White was first unanimously elected to the presidency, but he thought it best to let another carry that responsibility. Byington would be joined by J. N. Andrews and G. W. Amadon, making an executive committee of three. The main thrust of the conference related to organization in both the State conferences and the General Conference.” 2BIO 31.7

James White was a man of such stature and influence that he was the obvious and first choice to head up the Presidency of the world church organization.

“The wording was brief, but the results were far-reaching. Actions were taken relating to the publication of charts for use in public proclamation of the message: a new prophetic chart, and one on the Ten Commandments.” (RH, May 26, 1863). {2BIO 32.1} Note the article “the” message. The new chart was prepared to share THE message of the Adventist church.

“Taking a general view of this meeting as a religious gathering, we hardly know what feature of the joyful occasion to notice first. We can say to the readers of the Review, Think of everything good that has been written of every previous meeting, and apply it to this. All this would be true, and more than this.   

Perhaps no previous meeting that we have ever enjoyed was characterized by such unity of feeling and harmony of sentiment. In all the important steps taken at this conference, in the organization of a General Conference, and the further perfecting of State conferences, defining the authority of each, and the important duties belonging to their various officers, there was not a dissenting voice, and we may reasonably doubt if there was even a dissenting thought. Such union, on such points, affords the strongest grounds of hope for the immediate advancement of the cause, and its future glorious prosperity and triumph.”—RH, May 26, 1863. {2BIO 33.5}

One of the first articles of business on the table for the General Conference was to create two new charts. One chart was for the church to use in their meetings to share our messages and the other chart to present the Ten Commandments.

James White was given the responsibility of creating those new charts, and it took him about four months to accomplish. He and Ellen White took a break and went east to Maine while working on the charts.

Below are some of the accounts recorded on the development of those charts:

“For the next three months Adelia and the children were at the Howland home. While James and Ellen White considered this their headquarters while in the East, their time was divided, Ellen with her writing and James working on the charts, with weekends at the churches.

The charts are both in the hands of the artist, and the work on them is progressing as fast as possible. We shall probably have some of them ready by the middle of October.” {2BIO 63.6}

“The prophetic chart will be much improved in arrangement from the one in use. [What chart was currently in use? The 1850 chart] the sanctuary and angels will be larger and bolder, so that all the figures upon the chart can be seen equally plain. From what we have already seen of the work, we judge that it will be a beautifully executed thing.” Ibid., Oct. 6, 1863. {2BIO 63.7}

“As October wore on, James made appointments for the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth at Newport, New Hampshire, and October 31 and November 1 at West Enosburg, Vermont. This would be followed by attendance at the New York State annual conference at Adams Center November 7 and 8. The announcement stated that Ellen White would be with him.” {2BIO 66.5}

“We shall have at all these meetings the new charts, and a good assortment of our publications. The brethren in Vermont and New York had better send for the charts, Sabbath Readings, and other books by the delegates. . . . We shall have every subscriber's account for Review and Instructor with us, and hope to receive on old accounts, and payment in advance, from very many.” James White.—Ibid., Oct. 13, 1863. 2BIO 66.6

“Having obtained a large trunk full of finished charts,” wrote James White, “we left Maine, October 21, for the Newport, New Hampshire, meeting by way of Boston.—Ibid., Nov. 10, 1863.

Our church was formed on March of 1863. By October 21 James White said “we left Maine with a large trunk full of charts.” By “we” his is referring to Ellen White. Clearly, she was in support of the decision by the newly formed church to create a new chart (implicating there was a reason to abandon the 1850 chart and update it with the Seventh-day Adventist focus on prophecy).

The 1863 chart came out just seven months after our church formed. Was Ellen White involved in the general discussions of forming the new charts? I think so. It seems inconceivable that she traveled with James White to Maine for 3-4 months while his main job was to create the new chart and she never saw the initial concepts for the artist to draw and was unaware of what was on it, or more importantly, what was left off. 

Earlier we included several statements from Ellen White that the foundational message of our church is the Sanctuary message and the 2300-day prophecy. No wonder then, that on the 1863 chart, right at the top was the 2300 days. In fact, on the earlier Millerite charts they put the 2520 time prophecy at the top. This was a dramatic departure in concept and presentation.

Then in January 26, 1864 just three months after James White had the new charts finished, he publishes a amazing article in the Review and Herald stating that there is no Biblical support for a 2520 time prophecy in Leviticus 26. Evidently, in William Millers efforts to find pertinent prophecies relating to the end times, he made a mistake on applying a day for a year in Leviticus 26. Could this be some of the “errors in certain figures” on the chart? Seems that it was.

In this article, James says, “The prophetic period of Lev. xxvi, or what has been supposed to be such, has been no small object of study among prophetical expositors. It has been supposed that the expression, "seven times," in verses 18, 21, 24, 28, denoted a prophetic period of 2520 years, and that this period covered the time during which the throne of Israel should be and remain subverted and trodden down by oppressing powers.”

He openly admits that the 2520 has been an object of great study by those who are expositors of prophecy. He said that it has been “supposed” that the expression, “seven times” in verses 18,21,24,28 denote a prophetic time period of 2520.

James well knows that William Miller and others had the 2520 on the charts in use by over 300 Millerite followers. He is implying that Miller “supposed” (and everyone else who taught the 2520) this to be true. But then James says, “These are not the questions, however, that we propose here to discuss; for there is a question lying back of these, which demands to be answered first; namely, Is there any prophetic period brought to view at all in Lev. xxvi? We claim that there is not, and will offer a few of what are to us very conclusive reasons for this position…” {January 26, 1864 JWe, ARSH 68.2}

In this Review and Herald issue is an advertisement for the new charts for people to purchase in the use of presenting the Seventh-day Adventist prophetic messages for this time.

Numerous followers of Pippenger and the 2520 state that we must accept the 2520 time prophecy so that we stand of the “Platform” of truth for this time. The implication is this: only those who accept the 2520 time prophecy found on the Millerite charts are standing on the platform of truth given to our church. If our church developed the new chart and dropped the Millerite charts the year we became a church, our church has never been on that platform. What Adventist would accept such a claim? Especially when the stellar couple, the premier pioneers of our church were commissioned to change the chart and drop the 2520 were James and Ellen White? The first order of business at the planning meeting to form our church structure was that new charts needed to be created, thus abandoning the 1850 chart used by the early Advent pioneers.

When Pippenger and others claim our church has rejected the 2520 prophecy, they are absolutely correct. But it was the foremost pioneers who rejected it, the core group, the inside leadership team who created our church!

Clearly, the historical record shows that the early pioneers came to understand, upon closer investigation, that there is no Biblical support for the 2520 time prophecy.

Remember the Angels who were sent by God and who had oversight of the Review and Herald? They had oversight of this paper and the position our church took. When Ellen White said that not a figure of the chart was to be altered except by inspiration, we believe that the necessary guidance of the Holy Spirit and God’s leading caused our early pioneers to see the error of the 2520 time prophecy and not embrace it. It is a good thing because using the Bible and the Bible alone one cannot come up with the 2520 in Leviticus 26.

This all leads to an important observation. Are those who cling to the statement by Ellen White regarding the 1843 and 1850 charts warranted, in light of the historical facts, in causing a division in our church over this teaching? Are they justified in saying that in order to stand on the solid platform of faith given to our church we have to embrace the 2520? You be the judge.

 

November 18 2011 09:23 pm | The 2520 Time Prophecy

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