The Angel Gabriel and William Miller, by Charles Lawson

 Angel Gabriel and William Miller

by Charles Lawson

One of the claims heard many times from people who have been persuaded that the 2520 time prophecy must be held on to despite evidence to the contrary is that no less personage than the Angel Gabriel gave William Miller the 2520 prophecy. Here is the statement by Ellen White that is used to come to this conclusion:

“God sent His angel to move upon the heart of a farmer who had not believed the Bible, to lead him to search the prophecies. Angels of God repeatedly visited that chosen one, to guide his mind and open to his understanding prophecies which had ever been dark to God's people. The commencement of the chain of truth was given to him, and he was led on to search for link after link, until he looked with wonder and admiration upon the Word of God. He saw there a perfect chain of truth.” {Early Writings Pg 229}

Here is a statement from Jeff Pippenger commenting on EW 229:

Now who was “His angel” that God sent to William Miller?

“The words of the angel, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God," show that he holds a position of high honor in the heavenly courts. When he came with a message to Daniel, he said, "There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael [Christ] your Prince."

Daniel 10:21. Of Gabriel the Saviour speaks in the Revelation, saying that "He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John." Revelation 1:1.” {Desire of Ages Pg 99} According to the Spirit of Prophecy God sent Gabriel to William Miller just as he sent him to give light and understanding to Daniel and John on the visions they received. What was the commencement of the chain of truth that Gabriel gave to him?”

Jeff Pippenger runs several texts together and then concludes Ellen White says Gabriel came to William Miller! First, he quotes Luke 1:19 where Gabriel is talking to Zacharias the priest announcing the birth of John. Then he quotes Daniel 10:21 where Gabriel says he is the highest angel next to Christ. Then he takes an unwarranted leap to say that the angel who came to John was Gabriel. He then concludes, “According to the Spirit of Prophecy, God sent Gabriel to William Miller just as he sent Gabriel to Daniel and John.”

Of course, the whole purpose of trying to establish it was Gabriel that God sent to give William Miller the 2520 prophecy is to prove it is a valid time prophecy. Is the comment by Ellen White in Early Writings P 229, “God sent His angel to move upon the heart of a farmer…” unquestionably talking about Gabriel? No, for three reasons: 1) Gabriel’s name is not mentioned in the quote, 2) the expression, “God sent His Angel” is used in other places by Ellen White in her comments on the Bible where they do not specify Gabriel as the angel 3) In the next sentence in the EW quote above, the evidence shows that “Angels of God (plural) repeatedly visited that chosen one.” And what were these “Angels” doing for William Miller? Ellen White says, “to guide his mind and open to his understanding prophecies which had ever been dark to God’s people.” It is important to note that Ellen White does not say which prophecies the Angels were opening up to William Miller. In the quote at the end of this article, it is clear that the angel Gabriel made the 2300 day prophecy clear to Daniel.

The textual evidence shows that all the angels sent from God were there to help open William Miller's mind to the understanding of prophecies. One wonders how Jeff can take the position he does and say it was Gabriel? From the statements below it appears that the use of the phrase, "God sent His angel" implies what manner of communication He is using, whether its a dream, a voice from heaven or one of the angels sent to the person.

Here are a sample of quotes from Ellen White where she uses the expression, God sent His Angel:

To Be Like Jesus, p 264

God works through heavenly instrumentalities (angels) that those who know the truth may be brought in connection with souls who need light and knowledge. Read the tenth chapter of Acts. The God of heaven beheld the devotion and piety of Cornelius. He witnessed his prayers and his almsgiving, and marked the power of his influence. He desired to give him light in regard to Christ’s mission and to connect him with His work. {BLJ 264.2}

The Lord sent His angel to signify this to Cornelius, and to place him in connection with the apostle Peter. The angel told Cornelius just where Peter lived, and assured him, “He shall tell thee what you ought to do.” Then an angel was sent to Peter to remove his doubt as to the propriety of working for the Gentiles. “What God has cleansed, that call not thou common.” 3MR 96

Was the angel mentioned in the above statement unquestionably the angel Gabriel? The first part of the quote says that God works through heavenly instrumentalities (indicating angels by the rest of the quote). One angel goes to Cornelius, the other is sent to Peter. She says, “Then an angel was sent to Peter.” If she were speaking of Gabriel, in either case, she would have mentioned his name. But the Bible doesn’t give his name, neither does Ellen White speculate that it was Gabriel.

The Lord does not leave in darkness those who follow all the light given them, but sends His angels to communicate with them. Cornelius was living in accordance with the instruction given in the Old Testament Scriptures, and the Lord sent a messenger to tell him what to do. This Day With God, p. 342

In 3MR p. 96 Ellen White uses the expression, The Lord send His angel, the same expression used of referring to William Miller. But, in This Day With God, in the quote above she says of the same angel, The Lord sent a messenger! The word angel simply means messenger. Would we be justified in saying the angel that was sent to Cornelius was Gabriel? If the answer is no, the same would apply to her statement concerning William Miller. When Gabriel shows up in the affairs of men, he is identified as such.

O.K. so it seems like we are nit-picking here. But the issue is this: Jeff Pippenger uses the claim that the angel was Gabriel to make an iron clad case that the 2520 is a valid time prophecy.

There is a quote by Ellen White speaking of the apostle John. She uses the same expression as used in the quote about William Miller:

“I was carried back to the days of the disciples, and was shown the beloved John, that God had a special work for him to accomplish. Satan was determined to hinder this work, and he led on his servants to destroy John. But God sent his angel and wonderfully preserved him. All who witnessed the great power of God manifested in the deliverance of John, were astonished, and many were convinced that God was with him, and that the testimony which he bore concerning Jesus was correct.” SG1 p 130

Again we see the expression, God sent His angel and does not mention Gabriel’s name. It is speculation to say it WAS Gabriel.

Can one say that whenever the expression is used by Ellen White, “God sent His Angel,” it always and unquestionably refers to Gabriel? Doesn’t seem so.

There are only four times in the Bible when the Angel Gabriel is specifically mentioned by name. In each case, we can unquestionably say it was the Angel Gabriel:

Daniel 8:16

And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.

Daniel 9:21

Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.

Luke 1:19

And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

Luke 1:26,27

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name [was] Mary.

Note: In three of verses where Gabriel’s name is mentioned, it was made know to Daniel and Mary who it was.

According to the Bible record, Gabriel shows up for two very important occasions in history. One where he worked with Daniel to explain the prophecies concerning the 2300 days and cleansing of the sanctuary and the other was explain the Messiah’s coming birth.

Was Gabriel one of the angels mentioned in the Bible in other passages? We cannot say for the simple reason that he is not mentioned by name. But evidently, when God wanted us to know when Gabriel did show up, he is mentioned by name.

We need to be careful to not speculate when it is not warranted. This habit of speculating about what God has not made plain has gotten many souls into troubled waters.

Why is this important to nail down? Because of the way that Jeff strings several statements together to prove his point, when there is no justification in doings so. He makes a very strong statement trying to prove the 2520 time prophecy. Listen to his reasoning:

“To say that she doesn’t endorse the 2520 is to oppose her prophetic gift, but also you must reject the light that Gabriel revealed to Miller. Where did Gabriel get his understanding of prophecy from? Jesus Christ and God the Father! So now we must call into question the Father and the Son’s knowledge of prophecy. If Miller was wrong about the 2520, then Sister White is a false prophet, Gabriel is an angel from the bottomless pit, and God the Father and God the Son are false gods!”

We have just shown that there is no justification for claiming it was Gabriel who came to William Miller.

There are several wrong conclusions in the above statement by Jeff Pippenger. If the sun comes out and it starts to rain, we don’t say, “Look the sun caused the rain.” Neither can we say that just because the expression, God sent His angel, is used it is referring to the angel Gabriel. Other documents on We Believe SDA show historically that all of the early SDA pioneers rejected the 2520 time prophecy. They created their own chart, after they formed the SDA church in 1863, that reflected what our church wanted to share as THE message for the world.

The 2520 was dropped from the chart and the 2300 days prominently displayed at the top where the 2520 had been on the Millerite chart. That was done by inspiration from God. Otherwise, what we are really saying is that all of the SDA Pioneers and church leaders who formed our church made a mistake. What? Without the messenger of the Lord even saying a word about it. The absence of conflict over the change of the charts proves that the Pioneers who formed our church were all in agreement, including Ellen White. And further, what stellar pioneer was designated to create the new chart without the 2520 time prophecy—Ellen White’s Husband! (For a more detailed account of how that happened, read, Standing on the Platform of Truth on this site.)

This article is only dealing with the false assertion that it was Gabriel who gave the information to William Miller. The force of Jeff’s comment above hangs on the assertion that Gabriel was the one who showed William Miller the 2520 time prophecy.

According to Jeff’s statement above, if you don’t accept the 2520 you are saying Ellen White is a false prophet, Gabriel is an angel from the bottomless pit, and God the Father and God the Son are false gods, how absurd a conclusion! This type of reasoning sounds a lot like mind control or the type of mental force people use when trying to forge a cult following.

If the historical record showed that when we formed the SDA church in 1863 we kept the 2520 time prophecy, and if Ellen White had made any comments supporting the prophecy in her writings (not one comment in more than 110,000 pages she wrote) we would all be sharing the 2520 time prophecy as Adventists! But the facts show that God led the small remnant after 1844, who later formed the remnant church, to reject William Miller’s position that Leviticus 26 is a time prophecy of 2520 years.

There is one quote where William Miller and the Angel Gabriel are mentioned in the same context. Notice the flow of the quote below:

“With a new and deeper earnestness, Miller continued the examination of the prophecies, whole nights as well as days being devoted to the study of what now appeared of such stupendous importance and all-absorbing interest. In the eighth chapter of Daniel he could find no clue to the starting-point of the 2300 days; the angel Gabriel, though commanded to make Daniel understand the vision, gave him only a partial explanation. As the terrible persecution to befall the church was unfolded to the prophet's vision, physical strength gave way. He could endure no more, and the angel left him for the time. Daniel “fainted, and was sick certain days.” “And I was astonished at the vision,” he says, “but none understood it.”  

     Yet God had bidden his messenger, “Make this man to understand the vision.” That commission must be fulfilled. In obedience to it, the angel, some time afterward, returned to Daniel, saying, “I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding;” “therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” [Daniel 9:22, 23, 25-27.] There was only one point in the vision of chapter eight which had been left unexplained, namely, that relating to time,—the period of the 2300 days; therefore, the angel, in resuming his explanation, dwells exclusively upon the subject of time:—  

     “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city. . . . Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself. . . . And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.”

     The angel had been sent to Daniel for the express purpose of explaining to him the point which he had failed to understand in the vision of the eighth chapter, the statement relative to time,—“Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” After bidding Daniel “understand the matter, and consider the vision,” the very first words of the angel are, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.” The word here translated “determined,” literally signifies “cut off.” Seventy weeks, representing 490 years, are declared by the angel to be cut off, as specially pertaining to the Jews. But from what were they cut off? As the 2300 days was the only period of time mentioned in chapter eight, it must be the period from which the seventy weeks were cut off; the seventy weeks must therefore be a part of the 2300 days, and the two periods must begin together. The seventy weeks were declared by the angel to date from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem. If the date of this commandment could be found, then the starting-point for the great period of the 2300 days would be ascertained.  {GC88 326.1}”

What do we get from this quote? It doesn’t say Gabriel came to William Miller to give him understanding of the 2300 days. It says, Gabriel gave Daniel the information. Second, and most obvious, is that William Miller was studying the prophecies of Daniel, specifically the 2300 days, not Leviticus 26! Where in the above quote is the 2520 time prophecy discussed or eluded to? It simply is not.  It is interesting that Gabriel never says a word about the 2520! One is struck with the grand importance of the prophecy in Daniel of the 2300 days. God sent His highest official in the universe to make it plain to Daniel.

Ellen White said, “With a new and deeper earnestness, Miller continued the examination of the prophecies." Then she goes on to explain what those prophecies were by immediately taking us back to Daniel where the angel Gabriel is helping him understand the vision on the 2300 day prophecy. That is the only safe assumption to make. If by prophecies Ellen White had the 2520 in mind, and this is part of what the angels shared with William Miller, she would have elaborated on it that in this part of her recounting of the early Millerite movement. No where is the 2520 mentioned in relation to the prophecies shared with William Miller. We say, it is speculation to say so.

Perhaps more revealing is this quote where William Miller himself says that he got the starting dates for the beginning of the 2520 from the best chronologers of his day, not the angel Gabriel:

“From a farther study of the Scriptures, I concluded that the seven times of Gentile supremacy must commence when the Jews ceased to be an independent nation at the captivity of Manasseh, which the best chronologers assigned to B. C. 677; that the 2300 days commenced with the seventy weeks, which the best chronologers dated from B. C. 457; and that the 1335 days commencing with the taking away of the daily, and the setting up of the abomination that maketh desolate, [Dan.xii,11,] were to be dated from the setting up of the Papal supremacy, after the taking away of Pagan abominations, and which, according to the best historians I could consult, should be dated from about A. D. 508. Reckoning all these prophetic periods from the several dates assigned by the best chronologers for the events from which they should evidently be reckoned, they all would terminate together, about A. D. 1843. I was thus brought, in 1818, at the close of my two years study of the Scriptures, to the solemn conclusion, that in about twenty-five years from that time all the affairs of our present state would be wound up” {Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 18, 1854 Pg 98}

Here William Miller says that he got the dates for his study on the gentile supremacy and 2300 days from the chronologers of the time. "Reckoning all these prophetic periods from the several dates assigned by the best chronologers for the events from which they should evidently be reckoned, they all would terminate together, about A. D. 1843. This point is critical because he says he got the dates from historians not the angel Gabriel! This kicks to support out from under the idea that the dates for the the 2520 came from an angel at all! Yes, the angels guided William Miller in his study of the prophecies, but it is not correct to say that since the angel Gabriel gave William Miller the 2520 prophecy we must accept it today.

The reason why this is important to understand are the conclusions that are made regarding the 2520 and the unnecessary division it is causing in God’s church today. The position of many of those who support the 2520 is that if we reject this “present truth” we have apostatized from the SDA church. There is only one direction this movement can go and that is apart from the Seventh-day Adventist church. Why do we say this with confidence?

For the simple reason that the official Seventh-Day Adventist church, raised up by God, will never embrace this message, and for good reason. Those working to reform the church with the 2520 time prophecy and the “Daily” as salvation points will be forced to separate from the “apostate” believers who reject their message.

It is certain that if Leviticus 26 is not a time prophecy, no angel would have instructed William Miller about it. Well, James White and other pioneers go into great detail to show that the 2520 is not valid the very year we formed our God ordained church.

Question, does Ellen White support the idea that a new, more holy, doctrinally pure church will develop in these last days? Nothing could be farther from the truth. Those who refuse to accept the plain historical facts are chaining themselves to a movement that will force them to separate from their brethren. Worse yet, the very core nature of the message will cause confusion, division and separation at a time when we should be coming together in unity.

Sentiments have already been expressed that our church has apostatized and some don't feel the can attend our church. We end with this warning from Ellen White:

"You will take passages in the Testimonies that speak of the close of probation, of the shaking among God's people, and you will talk of a coming out from this people of a purer, holier people that will arise. Now all this pleases the enemy. . . . Should many accept the views you advance, and talk and act upon them, we would see one of the greatest fanatical excitements that has ever been witnessed among Seventh-day Adventists. This is what Satan wants."–1SM 179 (1890).

 

December 05 2011 07:56 pm | The 2520 Time Prophecy

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