Historical Timeline of the Development of the 1863 Chart, by Charles Lawson

 

Chronology of the Development of the 1863 chart

by Charles Lawson

 

The historical facts in the development of the 1863 prophecy chart are important to understand because they show that the founding pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist church rejected the 2520 time prophecy. The development of the chart sprung from a desire by the delegates at the session to form the General Conference to have a chart that more closely reflected the message our church was to carry to the world.

May 20, 1863

20 delegates from all of the conferences met to officially form the Seventh Day Adventist church. Some of the members present: James White, J.N. Loughborough, Joseph Bates, Waggoner, John Byington, Uriah Smith, G. W. Amadon and others.

James White was the unanimous decision of all the men representing the decision makers for the formation of the church to be the General Conference President. He declined due to his responsibility with the publishing work so John Byington was elected.

One of the top items of business at this meeting was the development of 2 new charts. 

Note this statement in the Review commenting on the meeting:

“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} 

James White was selected to create the new chart which better reflected the teachings of the SDA church. Note James White’s comment:

“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.

The statement by James White that the new prophetic chart would be much improved from the one in use is particularly significant. The one in use was the 1850 chart. And what was the history of its development? A new chart, known as the “1850 Chart” was being worked on by James White. By the fall of that year (1850) Ellen White wrote a letter to a “Brother and Sister Loveland” regarding it:

“God showed me the necessity of getting out a chart. I saw it was needed and that the truth made plain upon tables would affect much and would cause souls to come to the knowledge of the truth. – Letter 26, Nov. 1, 1850, p. 1.

“A chronological chart of the visions of Daniel and John, calculated to illustrate clearly the present truth, is now being lithographed under the care of Brother Otis Nichols, of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Those who teach the present truth will be greatly aided by it. Further notice of the chart will be given hereafter.” – Arthur L. White quoting Ellen G. White – the Early Years, vol. 1, p. 185.

In these quotes, we see that James White created the 1850 chart in response to Ellen White's vision that a chronological chart be made of the visions of Daniel and John. At that time, you still see the 2520 time prophecy on the chart. The 1850 chart was not a "Millerite" chart as some claim, it was developed by that small group of Advent pioneers who continued to search the scriptures to understand the truth. In the bottom corner of the chart are some figures simply outlining the prophetic timelines. Included is a reference to the 2520 (however brief and sketchy). Note also that the 1260, 1290, 1335 of Daniel 12 are not on the chart. The early Advent pioneers simply didn't not fully understand these prophecies, so they were not included on the chart.

In 1850, James White must have still thought the 2520 had merit, because he included the date on the 1850 chart. That is why the statement by him, that the "new" prophetic chart will be much improved over the 1850 chart, is so significant. By 1863 it is clear that he, along with the pioneers who formed the Seventh-day Adventist church in 1863, no longer believed in the 2520 prophecy. James White left it off the new, much improved chart. God must have led in the advanced understanding that the widely believed time prophecy in Leviticus 26 did not hold up under closer study. This also explains why James White published the article in the January 1863 Review and Herald refuting it. 

Question, was there any debate or division among the Adventist Pioneers who called for the new chart at this session?

Joseph Bates:

“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…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}

On May 21, the following day, The Seventh-day Adventist church as born.

James White was commissioned to create the 1863 chart that reflected the position of the SDA church. The brethren counseled James White, that in order to accomplish the task, he needed to move to the Boston area. He and Ellen White discussed his assignment and the need to move east while the new charts were created. So, in August 1863, he and Ellen White went back to Maine to live with a family for a year.

August 1863

“We design leaving for the east this week, accompanied by Mrs. W. and our three sons. The objects of this tour are (1) to improve the health of self and family, (2) to publish the Prophetic, and Law of God Charts, and (3) to hold meetings as we may have time, strength, and opportunity. Mrs. W. will wish to spend much time in writing. August 11, 1863 JWe, ARSH 88.10

 Their move to go work on the charts was published in the Review and Herald”

October 21 Charts are finished

“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.

“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.

Who is the “we” in this quote? Ellen White.

3 Months later: January 24, 1864

Just eight months after the Seventh-day Adventist church was formed, and the decision by the leaders to create two new charts, James White publishes an article in the Review and Herald stating the position of the church that there is no validity from the Bible of a time prophecy in Leviticus 26.

We know this article was not just his personal opinion that went against the other SDA pioneers at the time, for he used the third person plural when commenting on the article.

The Review and Herald

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”  

BATTLE CREEK, MICH., THIRD-DAY, JANUARY 26, 1864,

JAMES WHITE, EDITOR

The Seven Times of Lev. xxvi

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. To rightly fix the commencement and termination of this period, became therefore a matter of consequence. Where does it commence? and where does it end? have been questions of much study, and perhaps some perplexity. {January 26, 1864 JWe, ARSH 68.1} 

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} 

This article was written to inform the members of the position of the Seventh-day Adventist church on the 2520 time prophecy. Of course, Pippenger and followers claim that only Ellen White could make such a decision. Really? That means that none of the men who formed the SDA church were qualified to do so, for they failed immediately, upon creating the church, to include the 2520 as a pillar of our faith. Should we believe that Ellen White opposed these men who rejected this false time prophecy? Please, bring forward the evidence showing she did. For if they cannot, there is a problem on our hands. Her own testimony on this subject is:

“Think you that my faith in this message will ever waver? Think you that I can remain silent, when I see an effort being made to sweep away the foundation pillars of our faith?” 3SM 38

In addition, in this issue of the Review and Herald, the new charts are advertised for sale for all SDA members to purchase. In light of the fact that Ellen White travelled with her husband for the sole purpose of creating the two new charts and her statement above, it is clear she did not oppose the development of the new prophetic chart that dropped the 2520 time prophecy.

And what was dropped from the new 1863 chart that was on the 1843, 1850 charts? The 2520 time prophecy. The 2520 figure used to be at the top of the chart, but now, the 2300 days was prominently displayed at the top of the chart, reflecting the statement by Ellen White:

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

Now many claim that Ellen White never endorsed the 1863 chart. The facts prove otherwise:

“My husband had taken hold of the book matter at Battle Creek, and a noble example had been set by that church. At the meeting at Fairplains he presented the matter of placing in the hands of all who were not able to purchase, such works as Spiritual Gifts, Appeal to Mothers, How to Live, Appeal to Youth, Sabbath Readings, and the charts, with Key of Explanation. The plan met with general approval. But of this important work I will speak in another place.”   {1T 666.2}  (Experiences from December 23, 1867 to February 1, 1868)

“Are you missionaries in your neighborhoods, and in your own families? Are you seeking to have a deep work of reformation going forward where you are best known? Is your life such as to give you influence at home with your families and workmen? You can hang up the charts, and show them the truth, as it is there illustrated. You can teach them, if you have a mind thus to do, by explaining prophetic history, and tracing down prophecies, that the end of all things is at hand. You can impress them with the sacredness of the law of God, and show them its claims upon them.”  {RH, March 29, 1870 par. 14}

This last quote is referring to the 1863 charts, the chart with the prophetic information and the chart with the 10 commandments, both of which were commissioned in May of 1863 at the meeting to choose the General Conference leadership.

Again, why would Ellen White endorse the charts that removed the 2520 time prophecy? Good question, demand answers.

Thus we see that at no time in our history, as a denominated church, was the 2520 a part of the foundation of our church. It is also clear that Ellen White knew of the development of the chart (how could she not) and supported it, recommending it to the people for use in sharing the prophecies and the 10 commandments.

It is clear from the historical facts that our church never endorsed the 2520, that all of the founding members of the church were in favor of the new chart, that Ellen White was fully aware of it’s development. Again we repeat: she knew that the 2520 time prophecy was dropped from the chart and yet she recommended it to the people herself and never uttered a word of censure or rebuke for the decision that was made by the church leaders or the article by James White. The Review article told the whole world that Seventh-Day Adventists do not believe there is a time prophecy in Leviticus 26. 

And so we must ask, is this a message that should divide the church? Is this new (or old) light we need to accept?

Finally, what claims do key leaders in the Pippenger camp make regarding the acceptance or rejection of this time prophecy?

Jeff Pippenger:

“To say that she (Ellen White) 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!”

This whole issue of the 2520 is a dead horse, resurrected by Jeff and others that places themselves as self-styled reformers who are calling the members back to the "foundation" of our church. The fact is, it never was a part of that foundation, and to claim otherwise is to spread lies to unsuspecting members.

The question we ask is this, "if people in this movement do not believe the "church" is qualified to make a judgment concerning this teaching because of it's apostasy, then why stay in it?" Why would they want to be a part of a church that is totally unqualified to make important decisions on Bible doctrine? Those who are challenged to accept the church's decision on this and other matters speak with scorn of the leadership of the church, and refuse all allegiance to the authority of the church world-wide and on a local basis. Should they not be seen as rebels, seeking to tear down the church? 

We close with a few comments by Ellen White that show their wrong course of action:

1) “There are a thousand temptations in disguise prepared for those who have the light of truth; and the only safety for any of us is in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of the Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience. Lay it before them in a humble, teachable spirit, with earnest prayer; and if they see no light in it, yield to their judgment; for “in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”–Testimonies, Vol. 5, pp. 291-293. (1885.)  {CW 47.1}

2) “God has bestowed power on the church and the ministers of the church, and it is not a light matter to resist the authority and despise the judgment of God’s ministers. . . . You should have submitted to the judgment of the church. If they decided wrong, God could take hold of this matter in His own time and vindicate the right. He does not lay upon you the responsibility of keeping the church in order.”–Letter 5, 1863, pp. 1-3. (To Brother and Sister Scott, July 6, 1863.)  {5MR 297.1} 

“God has bestowed the highest power under heaven upon His church. It is the voice of God in His united people in church capacity which is to be respected.” {3T 451 (1875)

3) “…Individual experience is set above the authority of the church, and their example leads others whom they deceive to regard lightly the voice of counsel and admonition of the church. This course has worked the ruin of very many souls in every age of the world. {ST, October 23, 1879 par. 8}  

 

January 29 2012 08:29 pm | Uncategorized

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