Swiss Cheese Double Witness Theory, by Charles Lawson


The Swiss Cheese Double Witness Theory:

“In the mouth of two witnesses, a thing is confirmed.” Jeff P.

by Charles Lawson

Jeff Pippenger has created a principle (his original idea) he applies to prophetic understanding, which goes as follows: “In the mouth of two witnesses, a thing is confirmed.” He gets this Biblical interpretation principle from Deuteronomy 19:15, “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”

Jeff then claims that in order for any prophecy to be valid, it needs a second witness. More specifically, he claims that the 2300 day prophecy must have a second witness or it cannot be confirmed, and therefore is not a valid prophecy.

But first, let's see if the application is warranted or not. Notice in Deuteronomy 19:15, it says by the mouth of two or three witnesses a matter shall be established. It does not say only two, it could be three or four or a dozen. Secondly, this text is talking specifically about accusations against someone by a third-pary, not how to determine if a prophecy or doctrine is valid.

In context, how is a "thing" established in an argument between those accusing and the accused? What is the judicial oversight here?

Reading on in the text it says in verse 16,

“If a false witness rises against any man to testify against him of wrongdoing, 17 then both men in the controversy shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days. 18 And the judges shall make careful inquiry, and indeed, if the witness is a false witness, who has testified falsely against his brother, 19 then you shall do to him as he thought to have done to his brother; so you shall put away the evil from among you.

Here it is clear that in order for the matter to be established, it must be done before the priests and the judges who are serving at the time. The judges shall hear the testimony of both sides, make careful inquiry into the matter to see who is telling the truth.

This means, then, if this text could be applied to Bible prophecy, and we are not saying it can be, the decision must be rendered by the priests or judges serving at the time. Meaning, that it is not left to the parties disputing the point to determine the truth of the matter but the priests and judges. This would be the equivalent ordained ministers, and leaders of the church. A Bible doctrine, or prophecy would have to be established after “careful inquiry” and if the witness proves false (those teaching a false message), only the priests and judges could render the decision, not an individual, or individuals outside the appointed offices of the church.

But let's look at this principle a little further.  Pippenger’s rule says if two witnesses are found, a “thing” is confirmed. Clearly a "thing" can’t just be referring to Bible prophecy. This is really quite vague, what thing is he referring to. According to Merriam Webster, a “thing” can be an affair, a situation, an event, or deed, personal belongings, an idea, and an individual (poor little thing) an activity or a usually mild fear or obsession (she has a thing about snakes).

If we apply the liberal word “thing” to Jeff’s principle in accepting or rejecting truth in the Bible, we could perhaps show most of the Bible to be untrue because the events, deeds done by persons, stories of personal possessions, ideas and individuals would all need a second witness to be confirmed to be true! If one "thing" must have a witness to be confirmed, then all "things" are rendered invalid without a second witness!

According to this principle, a “thing” is not confirmed, or valid, or true unless it has two witnesses. Is there ever a time when two witnesses could be telling a lie? Of course, then according to the Pippenger principle it would be true.

But let’s show how foolish this idea is. First of all, there are at least two witnesses (texts) in the Bible that say the wicked burn forever. According to this principle, the truth of this matter is confirmed by both texts saying the same thing.

But what about all of the other “things” in the Bible that don’t have a second witness? According to Jeff it would mean they were not true.

Where is the second witness to Daniel 2, or the 490 year prophecy for the Jewish nation. Where is the second witness for Revelation 10 and the little book message, the prediction of the 7 plagues, the three angels messages?

The reason why Jeff created this false application of the scriptures is to prop up the 2520 time prophecy and other various theories. They claim that the 2520 time prophecy is the "second witness" to the 2300 days. Without the 2520 the 2300 days is not confirmed, which is another way of saying the 2300 day prophecy cannot be proved without the 2520 time prophecy and would not be valid unless it existed! Nonsense!

Ellen White, writing about the presentation of the 2300 day prophecy during the 1840-1844 time period said,

“Calculation of the time was so simple and plain that even the children could understand it. From the date of the decree of the king of Persia, found in Ezra 7, which was given in 457 before Christ, the 2300 years of Daniel 8:14 must terminate with 1843. Accordingly we looked to the end of this year for the coming of the Lord. We were sadly disappointed when the year entirely passed away and the Saviour had not come. It was not at first perceived that if the decree did not go forth at the beginning of the year 457 B. C., the 2300 years would not be completed at the close of 1843. But it was ascertained that the decree was given near the close of the year 457, B.C., and therefore the prophetic period must reach to the fall of the year 1844.” LS 185

The question must be asked, if understanding the 2300 day prophecy was so easy children could understand it, why would it need a second witness?

Some people, who have been exposed to this wrong thinking, have said the reason they left the Adventist church is because they couldn’t find a second witness to the 2300 days. They only express this view because someone convinced them of the swiss cheese second witness theory.

If Pippenger and his group followed their own principle, created by Jeff Pippenger, they would be forced to admit they can’t hold the 2520 prophecy view unless the ordained leaders of the church verified it after close investigation. Has the church rejected the 2520 time prophecy? Answer, yes. Historically it can be shown, without question, that none of the people who formed the SDA church agreed that a time prophecy lasting 2520 years can be found in Leviticus 26. 

Jeff is right about one thing regarding the 2520, our church never accepted it or taught it, so it cannot be said the church has apostatized from this teaching. If it never supported it, if it never taught it, it cannot be said it rejected a “pillar” of the church, or that it ever was a part of the foundation of the church. Why would Ellen White prolifically state that the Seventh-day Adventist church was ordained by God, is His remnant church, if at the outset, it rejected a pillar of our faith? Why didn't Ellen White correct those men who rejected the 2520 time prophecy, including her husband. Why did she recommend the chart produced by the church (within months of it's official organization) to the people herself when it removed the 2520 time prophecy? Why didn't she present the 2520 in any of her writings? She made it very clear that the 2300 days and the sanctuary message were a pillar of the church. Her silence on these points creates a deafening roar against their position. She writes:

“As a people we are to stand firm on the platform of eternal truth that has withstood test and trial. We are to hold to the sure pillars of our faith. The principles of truth that God has revealed to us are our only true foundation. They have made us what we are.” (1904) 

This statement does not say, we must stand on the principles of truth that God revealed to "me", she says to "us". In addition, how could the 2520 be one of the pillars of our church that has "withstood test and trial" when it was rejected at the outset of the formation of the church?

There is a further difficulty for the Pippenger group to answer. Should we believe that Ellen White opposed these men who rejected this false time prophecy? Please, bring forward the evidence showing she did…they cannot. 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

Ellen White's own testimony is that she would not remain silent as people tried to sweep away the pillars of our faith. Strange, she never said a word about the church's dropping the 2520, creating the new chart that clearly was a departure from the 1843 and 1850 charts and her husbands article on the Review refuting the 2520. Her silence is an indictment against her personally if the 2520 was a sacred time prophecy, a "second-witness" to the 2300 days and she did not correct this terrible error in the church. 

Was the 2520 part of the foundation of the Millerite movement. Absolutely. The Millerite pastors and lay-people, at one time, had over 300 charts in use, where they taught the 2520 time prophecy. Now, if the Millerites rejected the 2520 it could be said they have apostatized from their original position of “Father” Miller. But it cannot be said that any leader of the SDA church rejected something that was never a part of the foundation of our church.

The question for Pippenger and his followers is this, will you be Millerites or Adventists. If Adventist drop the 2520 time prophecy or be in apostasy against the SDA church and it’s foundation. (See the historical timeline of the rejection of the 2520 and development of the official SDA chart of 1863 to verify the facts).


January 29 2012 07:38 pm | Uncategorized

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