1844 and the Future of Adventism

(Harry Elliott) #21

But Rome was not future when Jesus said that.

.t was said of Wm Miller that if he counted the seeds of a sunflower, he would get 1843. With the same lack of rigor, he found FIFTEEN proofs in the Bible that Jesus would return in 1843. When his prediction failed again, he changed AGAIN. History is vague enough that a motivated true believer can tweak any prediction in as many times as they fail.

The order of the beasts and horns was quite, well, orderly. In each case, it It was always the beast and then its horns. Breaking the rule by having a horn come out of thin air instead of an animal goes way too far.

It was a little horn because it was a sprout from its another horn, the last horn from that beast. A horn growing out of thin air? Aw come on. Miller’s predictions came with a built-in test, and Jesus was a no show. He and Daniel didn’t play the year-day speculation game.

(Steve Mga) #23

Andre –
Great Topic. A lot of great discussion has been generated as you can see. Not
EVERY SDA is persuaded by the same teachings.
Spectrum – Thanks for ALLOWING such a HOT TOPIC to be presented for comment.


This whole article in my humble opinion is misdirection when it comes to the true mission and purpose of the SDA faith. Yes we have taken a historicist position with regard to prophecy. Having said that, Antiochus Epiphanes hardly matches the scope and the longevity suggested by the emergence of a little horn which would speak great blasphemies against the most high. The emergence of this power appears to be a lasting, far reaching power well beyond the Grecian empire. To suggest that Adventists would not exist apart from our understanding that a man of sin would arise to combat God’s truth, is, in my opinion missing a large part of the contributions that the Seventh-day Adventists have made to the understanding of God’s word. In studying with people from other faiths, it has become clear to me that SDA’S have a very clear and consistent understanding of Scriptural topics. I am not saying that we have nothing to learn, but I am saying that line upon line, precept upon precept, we have arrived at certain incontrovertible truths which have and will stand the test of time. As a church our mission is to uplift Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. When we put forward large investments of time and effort to describe the Antichrist, we have shifted our attention away from the saving power of the Gospel. In truth, Adventism can survive and thrive quite well without any emphasis on the Little Horn described in Dan 8.


It is funny how the primary thought for accepting 1844 was as a kind of sign of the end of time, all be it a sign only seen in heaven. Now it seems amazing foolish 174 years later to be debating this so called interpretation. I mean really it has pretty much overwhelmingly proved itself false. Now it is just about tradition, which is never really a good argument for most things.

(Sirje) #26

All of this is symbolic for the antichrist. The antichrist is not a person or specific power - it’s Satan working through the ages. He’s shown up in every age. In Daniel’s time it was Antiochus and he will show up again - the same power in different clothes. This is why Jesus can refer to the “abomination spoken of in Daniel” because ultimately it is the same power of evil and opposition in every age. To have it any other way we would have to believe in predestination. There are plenty of candidates that are willing to pick up the mantle of the antichrist - someone will surely come along again.

We have vilified whole congregations of people by zeroing in one power we, as a church, personally dislike (as per the 19th century mindset). When it came to deciding if that little horn comes out of the wind or the horn - guess which one we chose - could we choose any other way? The entire SDA scenario is belief in search of proof.


History is clear Rome followed Greece, Daniel is clear the goat only has five horns, not six. Why not believe Daniel and history?

If the LH represents AT then it appears Rome is missing in chapter 8, just as the current church position teaches, When Rome is missing in Dan. 8, the 2,300 years are said to apply to the “persecuting rule of the Papacy,” This position makes a joke of the explanation of 8:14 provided in 9:24-27. But then we were warned about such “fanciful theories” by none other than Jesus Himself.

Why not consider the counsel and look for the “deeper understanding” of Daniel 8:9-14 that is yet to to be revealed. Why not consider strictly applying the generally accepted methods of interpreting prophecy to this challenging passage?

(Leroy Gillan) #28

Beloved, I am being taken to task. I do not say “predictions” or “Prophecies”. I say “messages”. Stick with the messages. Messages you will find on Character, even lifestyle unheard of in her day. I was introduced to “Ellen White Says” when I went to my first Adventist school in college. I grew up having no use for the lady. Forced Bible class was “Conflict of the Ages” series. It was years before I actually read writings that I was interested in. I found her advice much better on rearing children than Dr. Spock, her advice on character building and other subjects far advanced than what was on the market in my early youth. These topics were “Messages”. But the Seventh-day Adventist Church Organization has destroyed her messages to the world, insisting that she was a “Prophet”. Search the internet on any subject and you will find no references to any quotations by Ellen White,but plenty by D.L Moody, Charles Spurgeon, John Newton, Henry Ward Beecher, Billy Graham, etc., but none by Ellen White. This church insists she was a “prophet”, therefore, she has no credibility outside of the Adventist world. That is a pity.

(Cfowler) #29

Seriously? No messages on character and Christian standards were around before EGW? What message did she write about that was “unheard of” in day? As to lifestyle, the dietary issues were written about well before she was even born. She brought nothing new to the table.

(Phillip Brantley) #30

I see a stray and marginally-relevant quotation of George Knight, a church historian. I see engagement with Clifford Goldstein, a Seventh-day Adventist Church apologist. Ted Wilson, who has a doctorate in religious education, is quoted. There is the testimony of the anonymous friend with the law degree. And the unnamed KJV-using evangelist is cited. None of these people are biblical scholars. Andre, I have read these various essays you have written, but I do not see any serious engagement with Seventh-day Adventist biblical scholars who have demonstrative subject-matter expertise in the OT, particularly Daniel and Leviticus. For example, Roy Gane, a world authority on Leviticus who has written extensively about 1844-related issues, is nowhere to be found in your essays, at least as far as I can tell. Writing about 1844 and not seriously engaging with Gane’s work is like writing about the hermeneutics of the Reformers and never mentioning Flacius.

Your essay, by the way, does not discuss “biblical hermeneutics,” as we are initially lead to think. All that you offer is grammatical analysis. You have an undergrad degree in theology and a terminal degree in NT studies. You correctly present yourself as a NT scholar. Do you have the requisite subject-matter expertise to opine on the meaning of the OT text? I am not sure that we know the answer to that question.

I am probably not treating you as fairly as you deserve in this comment, but I hope you can sense why some readers may be perplexed and frustrated.

(Leroy Gillan) #31

“She brought nothing new to the table?” A message doesn’t have to be “new”. “A good character is more precious than worldly possessions, and thee work of forming it is the noblest in which men can engage.” Maybe not new, but can you say it better? The White Estate ( I guess) make up their little compilations, I make mine. I can give you 293 more on character just as good as this one. How about one on “Prayer”, “The foundation of all Sin”, or “Train Up A Child”. That is how I discovered Ellen White’s “messages”. I sense, Sis. that you, also, were brought up of “Sister White Says”. Give her a chance.
My comment that this church has destroyed the credibility of Ellen White. I visited the local ABC book store and there were more books on display by, and about Ellen White than there were on Jesus or God or the Apostles.

(André Reis) #32

Yes, you did miss it:

“In the early 2000s, an article in the DARCOM series defending White’s position was refuted by Roy Gane and Norman Young in a series of articles in the Andrews University Seminary Studies.” [6] (Reis, Oct 2016 https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2016/10/21/disappointed-scripture-october-22-1844-and-limits-biblical-hermeneutics)

I’m not sure I should engage the rest of your comment seeing it appears to stem from partial reading of my essays and the proposed approach taken.

(George Tichy) #33

I will give you my opinion on the comments on your article that I read so far. I didn’t make any contribution because this issue is not my “forte” as it appears to be the case of so many people who posted on it. It seems that everyone knows it all, when the truth is actually that nobody knows anything for sure. Nothing!

You wrote an essay, rich and with many challenging ideas. As everyone always does. But, because it was not just a mere parroting of what the SDAs have preached for ages (let’s say ca 180 years…) you are being criticized kind of severely.

Adventism will never become “biblical only” on the issue of 1844/IJ. They CANNOT!!! What would they do with EGW? They cannot touch her no matter what. The history that was written by her and about her does not allow a return or a new beginning. Look how they dealt with Des Ford (@gford1) and others before him who also brought up the inconsistencies that we know so well.

Therefore, take a deep breath, and just enjoy the criticism you are still yet to get! Keep writing. And be glad you do not get paychecks from the SDA denomination - this is why you can be free to be totally open and honest about your intellectual findings.


(Cfowler) #34

No, I wasn’t raised SDA, so I wasn’t raised with “Sister White says”.

My point is (still), that comments on Christian character have been around for hundreds, no, a thousand years or more. She didn’t say things that were “unheard of” in her day.

There are lots of comments about character, etc. in the Bible…

(Leroy Gillan) #35

Sorry, I never intended to imply she said things unheard of before. She did bring it to our attention and in the majority of ways I have found, she said it better.

(André Reis) #36

George, it never fails!

Antiochus is a four-letter word along with the other one, Ford. People have a knee-jerk whenever they hear those words (and I’m sure there are other words).

The strategy is to demonize the argument by attaching “Fordian” (or Vendenian or Knightian) to an idea and the laity won’t take it seriously, because, of course, people won’t do their homework.

I’d like to see real engagement with the arguments, be they grammatical, exegetical what have you rather than wholesale discrediting based on partial and faulty reading.

(Phillip Brantley) #37

Yes, thank you for making me aware that you have cited Gane for the refinements to our understanding of the doctrine of the sanctuary he has offered. So why not seriously engage with his work that sets forth that Antiochus IV Epiphanes is not in Daniel 8 (or even in Daniel 11), given that Antiochus IV Epiphanes is the focus of your essay?

(André Reis) #38

Because this essay and its longer PDF version are a response to Goldstein, not Gane. I may in due course address Gane’s ideas.

At this point, I’m interested in exploring the textual evidence I think refutes the mainstream Adventist arguments (as represented by Goldstein) against Antiochus.

(Gillian Ford) #39

When I was a new Adventist I went to Avondale College and signed up to do the Bible Worker’s course. My first class was Daniel and Revelation with Desmond Ford. When it came to doing the end-of-year essay I decided to write on Daniel 11. I was side-tracked when I read an encyclopedia with an article about Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees in it. As I read this, I could see the historical pattern of Revelation 13, and I wrote about this and the same pattern in the history of pagan Rome and papal Rome.

What I understood was that Antiochus was a beginning prototype of evil—not big in our sight looking back, but very big in the eyes of the Jews. As pagan Rome and papal Rome emerged the future pattern of antichrist became more clear. In the stories of Daniel (chs. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6), you have Nebuchadnezzar, Darius and Belteshazzar, all opponents of Judaism and prototypes of antichrist. Antiochus was another. However, as Sirje says so well there is a picture of evil in every age. A bigger focus ought to be on the current and future manifestations of evil, and it has to be put in as a backdrop to the gospel without which no man or woman can stand persecution.

Ranko Stephanovic states in his original S.S. pamphlet on Revelation for 2019 the following:

Revelation 13 gives a prophecy of the major apostasy in the history of the Christian Church, which was fulfilled when the state church of Western Europe claimed the position and prerogatives of God for the pope as its head. The atoning ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary was replaced by of the church’s priesthood to forgive sins. Those who insisted on living by the teaching of the Bible, experienced persecution and martyrdom. History testifies to more than fifty million Christians who paid with their lives for their faithfulness to the Bible. Although in modern times characterized by religious tolerance such statements are regarded as harsh, the present cannot erase historical facts.

I find this statement too limiting. Revelation 13 is bigger than the Catholic Church, even though it’s still a world player. Antichrist can’t just be the Catholic Church. Surely Islam is a participant? What about militant Buddhists killing off innocent Muslims? Is that not evil in God’s eyes?

Des says to me that in the future end-time all religions and all cultures will turn against Christians. The Adventist message was and is a message of preparation for the Second Coming. Daniel tells us what Antichrist looks like in the time of persecution and gives us several examples. This will culminate in the Man of Sin—the abomination of desolation of the future. Rather than being wrong in everything prophetic, I would rather say that Adventists were going in the right direction, but their picture was too small. They became stuck with the papacy and haven’t seen the big picture that was intended.

This is in the introduction to my essay. I saw it as a young woman at age 21:

Revelation 13 tells us that the general pattern at the time of the end will be something like this: man’s wish for power; a need for unity; unity of state and church; death decree against those who will not comply with his wishes; persecution or time of trouble to those who do not obey; saints run to the wilderness and hide.

We ought to be very afraid when our own church decides for unity by uniformity in a search for power and control. This is why some are saying GC is behaving like the Papacy. They haven’t put out a death degree yet, but the idea of shaming and punishment can lead to that.

(Cfowler) #40

I agree with that, and I think many (most) Christians do as well. It won’t be about a day or Adventists. It will be about allegiance to Christ, as opposed to the Antichrist, whoever it may be.


Do you agree with Des Ford that “A horn of a beast is never taken for a single person: it always signifies a new kingdom.: and the kingdom of Antiochus was an old one. Antiochus ruled over one of the four hons; and the little horn was a fifth under its proper kings. —” Daniel ,p. 173.