Friday, February 22, 2019

1888 Message Study : Satan, a Defeated En emy



FEBRUARY 23, 2019



The war, known as The Great Controversy between the God of heaven and Satan, has waged on since the dawning of eternity. In the beginning Satan disputed the rights of the Son of God. He objected to Christ being the only one next to God on His throne. Satan was jealous of Christ's position of authority, the Son being equal with the Father. Satan could not understand why Christ was the only one allowed in private council with God while he was excluded. In this first great battle between good and evil, Ellen White describes it in the following words:

Good angels weep to hear the words of Satan, and to see how he despises to follow the direction of Christ, their exalted and loving Commander. 7BC 973

The Father decides the case of Satan, and declares that he must be turned out of heaven for his daring rebellion, and that all those who united with him in his rebellion should be turned out with him. Then there was war in heaven. Christ and His angels fought against Satan and his angels, for they were determined to remain in heaven with all their rebellion. But they prevailed not. Christ and loyal angels triumphed, and drove Satan and his rebel sympathizers from heaven. Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 3, p. 38

Immediately after Satan was cast out, "The Father consulted His Son in regard to at once carrying out their purpose to make man to inhabit the earth." The Story of Redemption, p. 19

At the end of the week of creation, "When Adam and Eve were placed in the beautiful garden, Satan was laying plans to destroy them." Early Writings, p. 142 The second great battle was about to begin.

Holy angels often visited the garden, and gave instruction to Adam and Eve… concerning the rebellion and fall of Satan….and cautioned them not to separate from each other. The angels also enjoined upon them to follow closely the directions God had given them, for in perfect obedience only were they safe….

Satan commenced his work with Eve,… She first erred in wandering from her husband, next in lingering around the forbidden tree,…she put forth her hand, took of the fruit and ate. It was pleasing to the eye and pleasant to the taste…she offered the fruit to her husband, thereby tempting him.

I saw a sadness come over Adam…. He appeared afraid and astonished. A struggle seemed to be going on in his mind.…His love for Eve was strong, and in utter discouragement he resolved to share her fate. He seized the fruit and quickly ate it….Satan knew that the woman would not fall alone. Adam, through his love for Eve, disobeyed the command of God, and fell with her.

All heaven was in agitation.…Angels were immediately commissioned to guard the way of the tree of life…Satan triumphed. He had made others suffer by his fall. He had been shut out of heaven, they out of Paradise. Early Writings, p. 142-149

Satan thought he won the war. But his victory was only temporary. He had no way of knowing the depth of the Father's and His Son's love for mankind. A way of escape was revealed to the trembling pair. The whole universe, along with the host of heaven watched in amazement. An angel shared the scene with sister White:

I saw the lovely Jesus and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow… Soon I saw Him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father….Three times He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came from the Father, His person could be seen. His countenance was calm, free from all perplexity…and shone with benevolence and loveliness,...He then made known to the angelic host…that He had been pleading with His Father, and had offered to give His life a ransom, to take the sentence of death upon Himself,…that through the merits of His blood, and obedience to the law of God, they could have the favor of God,…

   [Christ] would leave all His glory in heaven, appear upon earth as a man, humble Himself as a man, become acquainted…with the various temptations with which man would be beset, that He might know how to succor those who should be tempted; and that finally,…He would be delivered into the hands of men,…The angels prostrated themselves before Him. They offered their lives. Jesus said…the life of an angel could not pay the debt. His life alone could be accepted of His Father as a ransom for man…. With a holy sadness Jesus comforted…the angels and informed them that… by His death He should ransom many and destroy him who had the power of death…

Then joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven. And the heavenly host sang a song of praise and adoration. They touched their harps and sang a note higher than they had done before, for the great mercy and condescension of God in yielding up His dearly Beloved to die for a race of rebels….

Said the angel, "Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no. It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His beloved Son to die for him." Angels were so interested for man's salvation that there could be found among them those who would yield their glory and give their life for perishing man, "But," said my accompanying angel, "that would avail nothing. The transgression was so great that an angel's life would not pay the debt. Nothing but the death and intercessions of His son would pay the debt and save lost man from hopeless sorrow and misery."…it was impossible for God to alter or change His law to save lost, perishing man; therefore He suffered His beloved Son to die for man's transgression.

Satan again rejoiced with his angels that he could, by causing man's fall, pull down the Son of God from His exalted position. He told his angels that when Jesus should take fallen man's nature, he could overpower Him and hinder the accomplishment of the plan of salvation.    Early Writings, p. 149-152

For four thousand years the war raged on. Satan, through lies and deception, distorted in the eyes of men the character of "the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." One of Satan's first lies was to tell us there is no hope, that our sins are too great, and that forgiveness and deliverance from the power of sin, is impossible. But not according to the plans of the Father and His Son:

"Satan declared that it was impossible for the sons and daughters of Adam to keep the law of God, and thus charged upon God a lack of wisdom and love. If they could not keep the law, then there was fault with the Lawgiver." Signs of the Times, January 16, 1896.

In order to prove the falsity of this claim, Christ left His high command, took upon Himself the nature of man, and came to this earth to stand at the head of the fallen race in order to show that humanity could withstand the temptations of Satan."  Manuscript 77, 1902

Christ kept the law, proving beyond controversy that man also can keep it. Review & Herald May 7, 1901

At last "the fullness of time" had come. The greatest battle ever    to be fought was about to begin. Christ, the Son of the living God, became Emmanuel [God with us] and for the next thirty-three years He walked upon this earth, wrapped in the flesh of fallen humanity. He fought the prince of this world in the same human equipment which we too may possess. The battle was fierce, the consequences eternal! Who would be the king of this world? Who would have the right to sit upon the throne of our hearts?

"This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" [John 17:3]. We do not contemplate as we should the character of God. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" [John 3:16]

Although Satan has misinterpreted God's purposes, falsified His character, and caused man to look upon God in a false light, yet through the ages God's love for man has never ceased. Christ's work was to reveal the Father as merciful, compassionate, full of goodness and truth. The character of Christ represented the character of God. The only begotten Son of God sweeps back the hellish shadow in which Satan has enveloped the Father, and declares, "I and My Father are one; look on Me and behold God."

Through every hour, through all ages, God's love stands revealed as without a parallel. When the fullness of time was come, a suitable channel was prepared in Christ Jesus, through whom the streams of heavenly grace could be poured into the world. God so loved that He made a gift to the world which defies all computation. That the abundance of His grace should be revealed, he could not give less than the fullness, nor was it possible for Him to give moreManuscript 25, 1890
 {13MR 243.3}

When the last and greatest of all the Savior's trials came upon Him at Calvary, His love for fallen man never wavered. His faith never died. As He hung upon the cross, for the first time Jesus felt the absence of His Father's presence. For the first time He felt the full weight of the sins of the world upon Himself. While the mob cried out crucify Him, He prayed: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do".  At the same time Christ was feeling a deepening separation from His heavenly Father. It was at this point that the Son of God, in great anguish and sorrow, cried out "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?". Though He could not see through the portal of the tomb and could not feel the acceptance of His Father, His faith in His Father's love and care never wavered. By faith, He at last cried out, "It is finished". And the Son of God bowed His head and died of a broken heart.


What did Jesus mean when He said, "It is finished"?

1) The penalty for sin had been paid in full.

2) Satan lost the war for the throne of God.

3) Satan no longer is the king of this world.

4) Christ conquered sin in the sinful flesh of humanity.


Christ on the cross, not only draws men to repentance toward God for the transgression of His law—for whom God pardons He first makes penitent—but Christ has satisfied justice; He has proffered Himself as an atonement. His gushing blood, His broken body, satisfy the claims of the broken law, and thus He bridges the gulf which sin has made. He suffered in the flesh that with His bruised and broken body He might cover the defenseless sinner. The victory gained at His death on Calvarybroke forever the accusing power of Satan over the universe, and silenced his charges that self-denial was impossible with God and therefore not essential in the human family.  Manuscript 50, 1900

Satan knew, on that glorious Sunday morning, the moment Christ burst forth from the tomb, he was a defeated enemy - lost forever! The Father by giving, and the Son by living and dying, secured heaven for us. In 1897 our Sabbath school lesson said it well:

"Jesus did not yield up His life till He had accomplished the work which He came to do; and He exclaimed with His parting breath, 'It is finished!' Angels rejoiced as the words were uttered; for the great plan of redemption was being triumphantly carried out. There was joy in heaven that the sons of Adam could now, through a life of obedience, be exalted finally to the presence of God. Satan was defeated, and knew that his kingdom was lost."   April 1897, p. 29

So why does the battle still rage on? Satan, because of his great hatred for the Father and His Son, fights on for the souls of all God's children. The Spirit of Prophecy gives us this insight into the thought process of Satan and our rights to be free:

"I have been shown that Satan has not been stupid and careless these many years, since his fall, but has been learning. He has grown more artful. His plans are laid deeper, and are more covered with a religious garment to hide their deformity. The power of Satan now to tempt and deceive is ten-fold greater than it was in the days of the apostles. His power has increased, and it will increase, until it is taken away. His wrath and hate grow stronger as his time to work draws near its close.

God knows how Satan is working, and sends his angels to watch over his children, to protect them from the Devil's power….The angels of God are clothed with a complete armor,…fear nothing, for they are doing the will of their loved Commander. They enter the darkest places to rescue the children of God from the snares of Satan, and their presence causes the evil angels to fall back….

I saw that the angels of God are not to force or bend the will of the individual they watch over. They are to gently chide, warn and guard. Satan can never force back these holy angels from their charge. None can do this but the individuals that they are watching over. If these individuals continue to grieve these tender, holy angels; if they go astray from their counsel and warnings, and choose an independent course of their own, they will drive these angels from them. If the will is submitted to them, they will bend it in the heavenly channel, and they will ever be on the watch for their interests, leading them from a thousand dangers,…

I saw that the great condescension for man has been made. Jesus condescended to the shameful death of the cross, and now man in his turn must condescend and bow. He must yield up his will and pleasure if he would follow in the only road to heaven. I saw that God would not compel any to be saved. Jesus has made the great sacrifice, and if man will freely, gladly accept it; if he will choose life, he can have it. But his life must be one of continual yielding."     Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2. p. 277-278

Yes, on the cross Christ won the right to save us. He won the right to let Adam and all his descendants have another trial. He won the right as the Good Shepherd to pursue His lost wandering sheep. He earned the right to dwell in all who would choose to follow Him by faith alone. And last of all, Jesus earned the right to transform us into His image by His saving grace!

Satan, our defeated foe, is still pursuing God's people. This is the last battle before Christ returns. He is not doing this in order to win the war. He knew his chances to accomplish this all ended at the cross. He only continues the fight in order to keep us from choosing to be on the winning side with Christ.

Satan, knowing he has but little time, pursues two things in his hateful desires. The first is to cause as many as possible to be lost. The second is to delay Christ's second coming for as long as possible in order to delay his own inevitable death.

  1.  Satan will cause as many as possible to be lost.

"There is power in the present truth[1888] but Satan is working in every conceivable way to keep the light away from the people. The controversy between Christ and Satan is not yet ended. The latter is constantly seeking to establish his own power and authority. If he can entangle minds, he will do it. If he can lead them to depend on human beings instead of upon the living God, he is well pleased. The deceptions of Satan are manifold, but the Lord will be our helper if we seek him earnestly.  Review & Herald.  December 18, 1888

"The Word was made flesh." Who's flesh?—"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same" …He took your flesh, my flesh, the flesh of all mankind, sinful flesh,…Those who would separate Jesus from the fullest share in our human nature do not realize that in so doing they are laboring to deprive mankind of all hope."  
EJ Waggoner, The Present Truth,  December 9, 1897

"your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."  1 Peter 5:8

Satan is earnest and sincere in his work. He does not want souls saved. He does not want his power upon them broken. Satan does not merely pretend. He is in earnest. He beholds Christ inviting souls to come to Him that they may have life, and he is earnest and zealous in his efforts to prevent them from accepting the invitation. He will leave no means untried to prevent them from leaving his ranks and standing in the ranks of Christ. He exerts his power with terrible effect. He does not wait for his prey to come to him. He hunts for it. He goes to and fro in the earth like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He does not always wear the ferocious look of the lion, but when he can work to better effect he transforms himself into an angel of light. He can readily exchange the roar of the lion for the most persuasive arguments or for the softest whisper….He charms and deludes many by flattering their vanity. Through his agents he presents the pleasures of the world in an attractive light, and strews the path to hell with tempting flowers,…    Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, p. 288

The antidote to all of Satan's power is in the cross. Jesus' promises are sure: "Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me."...

Your strength in God will increase while you consecrate all to Him; so that you can say with confidence: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels,…shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2,  p. 288

  1. To delay Christ's second coming for as long as possible, in order to delay his own inevitable death.

If Satan can keep us from seeing and believing in the true character and love of God, if he can continue to deceive God's people in regard to the depth of the victory won at the cross, then man's time on earth will continue and the return of Christ will be thus delayed.

The third angel's message is to be sounded by God's people. It is to swell   to the loud cry. The Lord has a time appointed when He will bind off the work; but when is that time?—when the truth to be proclaimed for these   last days shall go forth as a witness to all nations, then shall the end come.  If the power of Satan can come into the very temple of God, and manipulate things as he pleases, the time of preparation will be prolonged. 9MR 212

He (Christ) has put it in our power, through cooperation with Him, to bring this scene of misery to an end. Education, p. 264 (1903)

Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.

It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.   Christ's Object Lessons, p. 69 (1900)

Our enemy has been defeated. Have we allowed the victory so freely offered to become ours? The world is still watching. The last battle is still being fought. Sides are still being chosen. Christ is offering His people one last gift. A gift we are to share with the world. Have you accepted the last gift offered so freely? Ellen White describe this gift in these words:

"Holiness is the gift of God through Christ. Those who receive the Saviour become Sons of God. They are His spiritual children, born again, renewed in righteousness and true holiness. Their minds are changed. They become conformed to His likeness, changed by His spirit from glory to glory."  Signs of The Times, December 17, 1902

"All through the scriptures He has given us assurances that through His grace we may attain the same perfection of character He attained."  Signs of The Times, June 10, 1903

AMEN! :>)

"By His perfect obedience, He has made it possible for every human being to obey Gods commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness."[our last free gift]    Christs Object Lessons, p. 312

When God's people, by faith alone, allow Christ's robe of righteousness to rest gently upon them, the world will see a living demonstration of the character of Christ! The choice for all will be easy to see: Either Christ and eternal life or Satan, their defeated enemy and eternal death! The final decisions will at last be made. And quickly the clouds will open and Christ in all His glory, will come to receive us as His own!

"Even so come Lord Jesus"!!

~RJ Gravell

Friday, February 15, 2019

1888 Message Study : The Seven Trumpets



FEBRUARY 16, 2019

"The Seven Trumpets"


  The Sabbath School Quarterly for this week presents a broad general overview of the seven trumpets. However, we also need to consider a few details of some of the trumpets, especially as they relate to the third angel's message. In Monday's lesson we read this sentence:


"The seventh trumpet announces that the time has arrived for God to assume His rightful rule." During this trumpet's era, the mystery of God will be finished (Rev 10:17). The "mystery of God" is the gospel (Rom 16:25; Eph 6:19; Col 1:27). Under this last trumpet "the nations" are "angry" (Rev 11:18). God restrains the angry nations so the third angel can finish its God designed work: "At that time, while the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and the nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel." EW 85-86.


     Jones wrote an 11 part series, beginning July 31, 1900, which he titled "The Third Angel's Message. Its Basis in the Seven Trumpets." Time elements in the fifth and sixth trumpets form that basis. The first angel began its message in 1840 with the second angel following in the spring of 1844. The third angel followed in the fall of 1844. More on this later.


The third angel's message, undeniably, is justification by the faith as clearly taught in Galatians 2:16. "The faith of Jesus" is the message of justification by faith in Revelation 14:12. Mrs. White stated unequivocally that, "justification by faith"…"is the third angel's message in verity." Review and Herald, April 1, 1890. To deny justification's place in the third angel's message is to deny the message itself. To affirm justification by faith in that message is to affirm the third angel's message.


     So, what do the trumpets have to do with the third angel's message? Much in every way. The fifth and six trumpets underlie the message of the third angel and thus of justification by faith in the end time of earth's history.


    Early on, in the initial understanding of the third angel's message, after the disappointment of 1844, this angel pointed God's people to the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary:


"The third angel closes his message thus: 'Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.' As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God's commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts. EW, 254.


     Both the final atonement and justification by faith are joined in the third angel's message. This message of justification by faith is essential for the finishing of the atonement in the second apartment of the heavenly temple. Luther and other Reformers taught a message that originated in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. Luther "clearly taught" "the great doctrine of justification by faith" (GC 253). His message prepared people to die, but did not prepare people for translation. Justification by faith in the end time—in the third angel's message—is the message from the second apartment of heaven's Most Holy Place. This message prepares God's people for translation.


     "The mystery of God" will be completed during the time of the seventh trumpet by the "loud cry" of justification by faith which began in 1888— 44 years after the third angel first began its proclamation.  


     In the prelude to the messages of the seven trumpets, heaven's altar of incense is brought into sharp focus (Rev 8:3-4). "Much incense" was offered "with the prayers of the saints." The incense is the merits of Christ's righteousness. The believer's prayers were, and continue to be, mixed with Christ's incense—His righteousness. "Such was the work of ministration in the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven." The Great Controversy, 420.


     But there is also a disturbing picture in Rev 8:5 where the verse states, "Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake." This is not the close of the general probation that precedes Christ's advent. The first apartment ministry of Christ continues as recorded in Rev 9:11 as John hears "a voice from the four horns of the altar" during the time of the sixth trumpet message.


     The picture in 8:5 is about things transpiring on earth which caused Christ's intercession of mercy to change into specific judgments against the most violent opposers of His people in both pagan and papal Rome.


    Hundreds of years earlier Daniel wrote of the great nations of Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, Pagan and Papal Rome. The first three nations passed from the world scene by the time John wrote the book of Revelation. The universal monarchy in his day was pagan Rome. John's work was to give the prophetic history of the fall of Rome and to proclaim to us the various means by which that great persecuting system of Rome would come to its end.


      Historically, in A.D. 330, Constantine moved the capital from Rome to Constantinople. Rome's unity had been preserved intact, for the most part, until that time. But "after that, division and subdivision became the order of the day, until the final ruin of the empire." James White, An Exposition of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation VII & IX, third edition, p. 1.


     Seven years after Constantine moved the capital from Rome to that city named for him, he divided the Roman Empire into three parts with a part given to each of his three sons.  Constantius Gallus, a member of the Constantinian dynasty was Caesar of the Roman Empire from 351–354. Within three years after his death in 354, the Huns were so powerful that Roman armies dared not attack them. This was because the Roman Empire was in a downhill spiral with no stopping place until its ruin. By 476 the Roman Empire of 1000 years was no more. That year the Germanic leader, Odoacer, became the first Barbarian to rule from Rome.


     James White wrote, "The sounding of the first four trumpets comes in as a complement to the prophecy of Dan. 2 and 7. It describes the fall of the Roman Empire, and the manner of breaking it up into ten parts as represented by the ten toes of the image, or the ten horns of the beast." Ibid.


    Authors Miller, Litch, the Whites, Smith, Haskell, Jones and Waggoner along with others unitedly proclaimed that the trumpets were God's judgments against Rome in its two phases—pagan and papal. This information is readily available in the written materials of the above mentioned authors, but because of the limited length of this SS Insight, they will not be sourced here. A major factor in the fall of Rome was when a false version of Christianity joined itself to pagan Rome. As a result, the heavenly censer was thrown down and judgment commenced. The first four trumpets had to do with the fall of pagan Rome; the last three with Byzantine and papal Christianity.


    When papal Rome became the head of a variant brand of Christianity in 538 A.D., another religio-state entity arose in less than 100 years. Mohammed solidified Arab tribes into his newly founded religion. The Muslim religion (both Arabian Saracens and Ottoman Turks) paralleled the papacy both in rising and falling. Both zeniths were reached during the time of the Protestant Reformation. And both lost their political power within 100 years of each other. 1260 years was allotted to the Papacy—from 538 until 1798. Muslim dominion began in 622 and ended in 1840. The Muslim power held in check papal power for several hundred years. When the papacy lost its secular power, the time came shortly after when the Ottoman Muslims too lost their sovereignty. Thus both papal and Muslim dominions were taken away.


     Let's consider the time elements in the fifth and sixth trumpet messages that are the time basis of the three angel's messages, beginning with the third angel's message.


"Then a third angel followed them…" (Revelation 14:9). The word "third" implies two preceding angels. Going backward we find an additional angel in the words:

 "And another angel followed…" (v.8). This, in turn, shows that another angel has also preceded this one. Going to verse 6 there is yet,

"… another angel… (v.6), further certifying that an angel has gone before this.


     We search backwards until we find "an" angel. This is found in Rev 8:13 with the "woe" judgments near the center of the trumpet messages:


    "And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, "Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!"


     Four trumpets had already sounded (8:6-12). Then came the "woe trumpets" – the last three of the seven trumpet judgments. Beginning in 8:13 there is a series of angels connected by the word "another" straight through to 1844, the time the third angel of Revelation 14 when this message pointed to the closing work of Christ's ministry in the second apartment of the heavenly temple, and to the message of "the faith of Jesus" – heaven's message of justification by faith as joined to the cleansing of the sanctuary.


     Before the 1840s, for over 1,000 years, Bible students agreed generally about the interpretation of the woe trumpets as referring to Muslims. Willian Miller and Josiah Litch were in agreement with this understanding. However, they took another step forward. Both men specifically studied the time elements of the fifth (1st woe) and sixth (2nd woe) trumpets (Rev 9:5, 10, 15. They applied the day for a year principle. The 5 prophetic months were 150 literal years and that the prophetic "hour, and a day, and a month, and a year" of Rev 9:15 were 391 years and 15 days. Litch joined, sequentially, the time elements of Rev 9 – the 150 and the 391 years for a total of 541 years and 15 days ending in 1840. Of course there were expositors who opposed Litch's interpretation. These had abandoned the Historical School of prophetic interpretation, along with the year-day principle for all prophetic time periods. Litch was undaunted. He continued to write and to preach about these time periods. After studying historical records he came to the conclusion that the Muslim Ottoman Empire would lose its dominion sometime in 1840.


     One of the historical works Litch referred to was Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire from which he got the beginning date for the Muslim advancement:


It was on the twenty-seventh of July, in the year twelve hundred and ninety-nine of the Christian era, that Othman first invaded the territory of Nicomedia [an ancient city of northwest Asia Minor near the Bosporus in present-day Turkey]; and the singular accuracy of the date seems to disclose some foresight of the rapid and destructive growth of the monster. Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. VI, Chapter 64, p. 26.


   J.N. Loughborough, in his book, The Great Second Advent Movement, p. 129, wrote:


In 1838 Dr. Josiah Litch, of Philadelphia, Pa, having embraced the truth set forth by William Miller, united in the work of giving greater publicity to the message. He prepared articles for the public print on the subject of the seven trumpets of Revelation. He took the unqualified position that the 6th trumpet would cease to sound and the Ottoman power [would] fall on the 11th day of August 1840, and that would demonstrate to the world that a day in symbolic prophecy represents a year of literal time.


     Loughborough continued,


Infidel's discussed the question in their meetings and said, "Here is a man that ventures something, and if this matter comes out as he says, it will establish his claim without a doubt that a day in prophecy symbolizes a year, and that 2300 days are so many years, and that they will terminate in 1844." Ibid., p. 130.


    The publication of Dr. Litch's lecture made a general stir, and many thousands were motivated with intense interest to watch for the termination of the difficulties that had sprung up between Mehemet Ali, the Pasha of Egypt, and the Turkish sultan. Hundreds of infidels said:


"If this affair terminates as the doctor has asserted, it will establish the 'year-day' principle of interpreting symbolic time, and we will be Adventists." Ibid.


    Some of the brethren, even those who believed with Litch on time periods, trembled with fear for the result "if it should not come to pass" as he said. They attempted to get him to not be so positive about the time elements. However, this did not discourage him. He went forward to do all in his power to give publicity to his views on the Turkish question. Public journals spread abroad the claim he made on the subject. Ibid., p. 129.


    The following is Litch's reasoning written August 1, 1840:


Allowing the first period, 150 years [the 5 months of Rev 9:5, 10], to have been exactly fulfilled before Deacozes ascended the throne by permission of the Turks, and that the 391 years, fifteen days, commenced at the close of the first period [Rev 9:12-15], it will end on the 11th of August, 1840, when the Ottoman power in Constantinople may be expected to be broken. And this, I believe, will be found to be the case. Josiah Litch, Signs of the Times, and Expositor, August 1, 1840.


     Following is the understanding of the time elements of Rev 9:10, 15 –


                              July 27, 1299

                        (1st Woe)     150 years

                              July 27, 1449

                        (2nd Woe) 391 years, 15 days

                             Aug 11, 1840


      On that very day "... England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia interposed, and determined on a settlement of the difficulty . . ." [between the Pasha of Egypt, and the Turkish Sultan]. J. N. Loughborough, The Great Second Advent Movement, p. 130.


    "At the very time specified, Turkey, through her ambassadors, accepted the protection of the allied powers of Europe, and thus placed herself under the control of Christian nations. The event exactly fulfilled the prediction." The Great Controversy, 335.


      On August 11, 1840 the first angel's message began with a divine power which brought conviction to thousands of people concerning Miller's prediction regarding 1844. That message reached every missionary station in the world. Tens of thousands of people accepted Miller's Advent message.


     Here is a summary of the time elements regarding time basis of the three angels of Rev 14:


"an angel"                         1299  (8:13)

"another angel"                 1840  (14:6)          

"another angel" spring of 1844   (14:8)

"a third angel"       fall of 1844   (14:9)


    Loughborough recorded the following powerful testimony from Josiah Litch about some converted infidels who wrote to him:


This striking fulfillment of the prophecy had a tremendous effect upon the public mind. It intensified the interest of the people to hear upon the subject of fulfilled and fulfilling prophecy.... "Dr. Litch said that within a few months after August 11, 1840, he had received letters from more than 1,000 prominent infidels, some of them leaders of infidel clubs, in which they stated that they had given up the battle against the Bible, and  had accepted it as God's Revelation to man." J.N. Loughborough, The Great Second Advent Movement, p. 132.


     In closing, the fulfillment of the time elements in the fifth and sixth trumpets produced a compelling urgency which set in motion a deepening attentiveness on the part of religious and secular people, including infidels and atheists, regarding the 1844 Advent Movement as proclaimed by Miller and his associates. The purpose of the seven trumpets as connected to the third angel's message demonstrates its basis in its inherent teaching of justification by faith along with the closing work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. This purpose brings assurance to God's people that the day for a year principle is true and demonstrable today.


-Jerry Finneman