That Mrs. White and Adventists and Adventism grew and developed, starting from New England and New York State, then Michigan, I scarcely need to mention. From the Shut Door to wider inclusion; to other states, to other lands, and other hemispheres it spread (though the preaching of the Second Coming did originate contemporaneously in multiple locations); yet it is evident that the outlook of Adventists, or at least Sister White and the early Adventist scholars, in regard to the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation remained rather constricted and USA-centric, except for J. N. Andrews who diverged somewhat.
I and my family have wondered (having lived abroad, and my parents in a place that later tragically was subject to a genocide): we pondered whether in a global church, would the time of trouble occur at the same time in the same way everywhere? we asked ourselves in 1995. Or does prophecy still point to and concentrate on only America and Europe?
What about Australia, still in the English-speaking world? What about the persecution of LIndy Chamberlain, for example, and the “destroying angels” that ruined her life and family? (as a case in point of a single individual SDA representative facing the oppressive power of a state and libelous public opinion?). This was a cause celebre “down under.”
Dr. Gutierrez is, I find, right on the money about the principles and larger context involved.
Is it not time to expand our thinking, as that author indicates (with footnoted support)—while still considering previous insights and principles and not dispensing with them altogether, I would add, but perhaps honoring them in the breach. I agree from recent reading in the Great Controversy, that the general prophetic outlook is limited and largely outdated if one takes it only literally and as to events, but the principles still remain cogent, such as the attitude of “intolerance and persecution” quoted in the above excellent and timely article. We currently see dogmatism and tyranny mirrored in so many places world-wide, and now also in the United States we see.abuse, division, and passionate contention.
Not to make too great a point of it, but in my view Sister White does not state definitively about the Sunday law, but says “when these conditions” are right then the Sunday law could take force. Of course she implies it, and treating it as a priori expands on it (greatly!), I admit–but she seems to me to start out speaking more cautiously than she is given credit for. A similar tentative prophecy concerns her statements on contamination of eggs and dairy, when for all practical purposes what she foresaw has been largely prevented in the USA by better laws and hygiene and FDA regulation. Some Adventists have taken this latter counsel as gospel truth, when as in the case of Nineveh, by appropriate measures taken, the “disaster” (to all but vegans) has been avoided.
Previous troubles may have been the beginning of birth pangs. In the 1860s there was an perception not only among Adventists (voire “Battle Hymn of the Republic”), that the Civil War, with its polarizing existential issues, could very well portend the closing of Earth’s history. To go farther back, note the Albrecht Durer prints on the Apocalypse, during the times of wars and plagues in Europe and Britain. There was also at that time, the threat of the Ottoman Turks to Christendom, and the day of judgment was expected by some in 1500. Not to mention the Y1K forebodings still earlier! Many times indeed people have “cried wolf” unnecessarily, to our minds, and the Final Trouble has not materialized. At the end of the story, though, the wolf does come.
Were what is already in essence a proxy war in Ukraine (with secular commentators styling this conflict as an existential contest between Democracy and Despotism)—were this engagement to spin into a world war III, not so far-fetched according to some, would not the whole planet be drawn into the issue?—considering how intertwined we are in commerce, economies, energy, communication, transportation, culture, politics, rising sea levels, disasters, the planet’s food supply, the plague of COVID, etc.—truly globalized! Would not our theology and view of prophecy need updating? Are there not persecutions aplenty and genocides ongoing? Is not raw brutality evident? Is not the Serpent-Beast active in many guises? Will we wait for the oppression to take the form of a Sunday law before we believe that we are on the last lap of this race?