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THE DAILY

First let’s determine what the daily is not:

It is not the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a weekly, not a daily.

Neither is the daily Paganism. “The daily is never used in the Old Testament to refer to a pagan system of religious mediation. It describes the work of the priest on behalf of God’s people. It is therefore contextually and linguistically inappropriate to apply it to pagan Rome.”–Angel Manuel Rodriguez, Director of the Seventh-day Adventist Biblical Research Institute, Adventist World, August, 2007

 

Ulrike Unruh agrees: “The “daily” represents Christ’s mediatorial ministry in the holy place in the heavenly sanctuary. It represents the continual work of Christ ministering in the sanctuary not made with hands, where He entered with His own blood to make intercession for His people.”–http://dedication.www3.50megs.com/dan/1260_1290_1335.html

 So far, so good. However, these good brethren think that “when the Catholic Church came into possession of an army led by Clovis in 508, she forced Sunday on all citizens in a progressively stricter sense. The Papacy could now enforce her mandates and strike fear into the people of Europe, and set up her Sunday idol, thus taking away the daily from the hearts of the people.”–ibid.

If this postulation were true then we are all hopelessly lost, since we no longer have a Mediator in the heavenly sanctuary interceding for us on a daily basis.

So, what does Sister White say about the daily? Almost nothing. Elder A. G. Daniels was interested in the daily and came to Sister White and asked if she could give him some insights on the daily. She replied that she had no light on the Daily. A couple years went by and again he came to her and asked if she could shed some light on the daily. Again she told him that the Lord had not reveled anything to her regarding the daily. Several more years went by. By this time she was living at Elms Haven in California. Elder Daniels came by to see her. He knocked on the door and was greeted by the maid. Elder Daniels told her he would like to ask Sister White about the daily. The maid went up to Sister White’s room and delivered the message. Sister White would not even come down, but told the maid to tell him that the Lord had not reveled anything to her about the daily.

So that must mean that the daily is not important. Well, just because the daily was not important in generations past does not mean that the daily is not important today. Do you really need to understand this subject? Yes, indeed you do. And I think you will be pleased to see just how clear and simple the daily is. Whatever our conclusions are about the daily, they must fit perfectly with every other facet of truth. They must harmonize with the big picture. We must start by asking some hard questions such as: What is the purpose of the daily? When did the daily begin? When will the daily end? Or has it ended already? Who took the daily away? Or is the taking away of the daily still a future event? What do you think? Are these good questions? Large books have been written on this subject. Today we are going to go right to the heart of the matter and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s start with the daily service in the wilderness tabernacle. Every morning and every evening, 6 AM and 6 PM, the priests would offer a flawless lamb of a year old, as a burnt sacrifice. Where did they get those lambs? Who brought them? Did you know that the priests bought those perfect little lambs with money from the temple/tabernacle budget? And who were these sacrifices for? No one in particular, but everyone in general. These were corporate sacrifices for “the congregation.” They represented Jesus substitutional death offered BEFORE the sinner was able to repent. The morning sacrifice covered sins that might be committed during the day, and the evening sacrifice covered sins that might be committed during the approaching night. What a beautiful illustration. Of course the sinner was required to bring his own sin offering, but the daily sacrifice held back the death penalty until he could get his sacrifice together and make his way to the temple/tabernacle.

“The ministration of the sanctuary consisted of two divisions, a daily and a yearly service. The daily service was performed at the altar of burnt offering in the court of the tabernacle and in the holy place; while the yearly service was in the most holy.”–PP 351

 “The daily service consisted of the morning and evening burnt offering, the offering of sweet incense on the golden altar. Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned upon the altar, , thus symbolizing their constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. The incense, , represents the merits and intercession of Christ, . Before the veil of the most holy place was an altar of perpetual intercession, , an altar of continual atonement. As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place at the time of incense, the daily sacrifice was ready to be offered upon the altar in the court without. Consider what Christ gave up when He left the courts of heaven and the royal throne, to give His life a daily sacrifice for men.”–PP353

This awesome service called the daily or continual represented something that was going on in the heavenly sanctuary. And that service in heaven neither began nor ended with earthly services. The tabernacle services were sand box illustrations of what has been going on in the heavenly courts for a long, long time and continues to this day!

So just when did the daily begin? Let’s get a running start at this question by looking at:

2 Thessalonians 2 (New International Version)

3Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the One who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2 (New Living Translation)

6And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. 7For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the One who is holding it back steps out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2 (Contemporary English Version)

6You already know what is holding this wicked one back until it is time for him to come. 7His mysterious power is already at work, but someone is holding him back. And the wicked one won’t appear until that someone is out of the way.

Who is this Someone?

When did He get in the way?

Genesis 2 (Contemporary English Version)

15The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it. 16But the LORD told him, “You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 17except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over!”

Genesis 2 (The Message)

15God took the Man and set him down in the Garden of Eden to work the ground and keep it in order. 16God commanded the Man, “You can eat from any tree in the garden, except from the Tree-of-Knowledge-of-Good-and-Evil. Don’t eat from it. The moment you eat from that tree, you’re dead.”

I thought that might be a little extreme until I read what Ellen White says about it:

“The instant Adam yielded to Satan’s temptation, and did the very thing which God had said he should not do, Christ, the Son of God, stood between the living and the dead, saying, “Let the punishment fall on Me. I will stand in man’s place. Give him another trial.” Transgression placed the whole world under the death-sentence. But in heaven there was heard a voice saying, “I have found a ransom.” He who knew no sin was made sin for fallen man.”–Signs of the Times, June 27, 1900

Why didn’t Adam and Eve die that day? Because my esteemed colleagues do not understand this deep subject they will offer strange explanations such as, “Dying ye shall die.” But bless their hearts, that is not good exegeses. Here is the correct answer:

Revelation 13:8 (New International Reader’s Version) The Book of Life belongs to the Lamb whose death was planned before the world was created.

“A plan was devised that the sentence of death should rest upon a substitute. In the plan of redemption there must be the shedding of blood, for death must come in consequence of man’s sin. The beasts for sacrificial offerings were to prefigure Christ. In the slain victim, man was to see the fulfillment, for the time being, of God’s word, “Ye shall surely die”.–1BC 1086

“A council was held in heaven, the result of which was that God’s dear Son undertook to redeem man from the curse and the disgrace of Adam’s failure, . Oh, wonderful condescension! The Majesty of heaven, through love and pity for fallen man, proposed to become his substitute and surety. He would bear man’s guilt. He would take the wrath of His Father upon Himself, which otherwise would have fallen upon man because of his disobedience. . Christ’s divine soul was exercised with infinite pity for the fallen pair. The wrath of God still hung over Adam, but the execution of the sentence of death was delayed, and the indignation of God was restrained, because Christ had entered upon the work of becoming man’s Redeemer. As you draw near the cross of Calvary, you see love that is without a parallel. Jesus stands before the Father, continually offering a sacrifice for the sins of the world. He is the minister of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Because of the continual commission of sin, the atoning sacrifice of a heavenly Mediator is essential. Jesus, our great high priest, officiates for us in the presence of God, offering in our behalf his shed blood.”–YI, April 16, 1903

 “The world’s Redeemer gave His life as a continual sacrifice in order to save man.”–2MR 98

As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. Adam and Eve did not die that day because Jesus engaged the plan of salvation which had been previously agreed upon between the Father and the Son.

“Adam and Eve broke God’s law and fell, and the family of Adam must perish. . All heaven knew that God could not change or abolish his law to save man. The transgressor is about to meet the great Law-giver over his broken law. The wrath of God has long slumbered, but soon, with terrible justice and crushing weight will his wrath fall upon the transgressor. I saw that Jesus would not leave the most holy place until every case was decided either for salvation or destruction, and that the wrath of God could not come until Jesus had finished His work in the most holy place, laid off His priestly attire, and clothed Himself with the garments of vengeance. Then Jesus will step out from between the Father and man, and God will keep silence no longer, but pour out His wrath on those who have rejected His truth.”–2SG 274

 Surely you will agree that no power on earth could possibly take away the daily! Do you see the picture? Are you still with me? With this background I trust you will be eager to learn what happens when the daily is taken away. Just because you may not agree with me does not automatically mean that you are right and I am wrong. It simply means that you have not had the privilege of seeing all the lines of evidence yet. Please be patient. When all the surrounding pieces are put in place you will see the beauty and harmony that comes from the sum of all the parts.

Are you ready for this:

Daniel 12 (Amplified Bible)

10 None of the wicked shall understand, but the teachers and those who are wise shall understand.

Daniel 12 (New Century Version)

11 “The daily sacrifice will be stopped. Then, after 1,290 days from that time, a blasphemous object that brings destruction will be set up.

Daniel 12 (Contemporary English Version)

11There will be one thousand two hundred ninety days from the time that the daily sacrifices are stopped, until someone sets up the ” Horrible Thing” that causes destruction.

Daniel 12 (Amplified Bible)

12Blessed, happy, fortunate, spiritually prosperous, and to be envied is he (singular) who waits expectantly and earnestly [who endures without wavering beyond the period of tribulation] and comes to the 1,335 days!

13But you Daniel [who was now over ninety years of age], go about your business.

You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise from death to receive your reward.

At the end of what days? The 1335 days, of course. Did Daniel rise from death in 1844?

I wish you would read the above verses one more time. Verse 11 mentions that the daily will one day be taken away. Now think carefully. Has the daily been taken away yet? Certainly not. On the very day that the daily is taken away, the tribulation will commence. There are several reasons why the tribulation has not started yet. One reason is that the four angels are holding back the winds of strife. See Revelation 7:1-3. And they will continue to do so until Jesus steps out of the way between the sinner and the wrath of an offended God. When that happens, no one will have to tell you. It will be horrifyingly obvious. And that will mark day one of the 1335 days of the tribulation. Did I lose you? Isn’t that what Daniel 12 is saying? Did I hear someone say that Daniel was unlocked in 1798? Not so! Daniel will be unlocked only when our minds are unlocked. Looks like another paradigm shift may be required about now. Take your time. I know it is not easy. But I trust it will not take you as long to adjust as it took me. You are holding in your hand a lot more relevant information than what I had at that time.

Perhaps you are thinking that the 1335 days ended in 1843 or 1844. But that doesn’t really fit the picture.

THE HEWITT ERROR

You may be interested in seeing a statement Sister White made in reference to the 1335 days?

 We told him [Brother Hewitt] of some of his errors in the past, that the 1335 days were ended, and numerous [other] errors of his.”–Letter 28, November 7, 1850

Since this statement is not written in as clear a manner as it could be, my wife wrote to Robert W. Olson, then Secretary of the White Estate and asked him to look into the matter. His succinct reply is as follows:

“You asked also about the 1335-day statement. Yes, I rather think that I would interpret it the same way you have in your letter, and that is that the ERROR involved was that ‘the 1335 days were ended.’ Frankly, I do not have a satisfactory explanation of the 1335 days.”–Washington, D.C., August 5, 1982

As you can see from the date of his letter, my wife and I have been searching for prophetic answers for many years. We have had to make paradigm shifts many times. And, praise God, the big picture is becoming clearer.

Now back to Daniel 12 (The Message)

12 “Blessed are those who patiently make it through the 1,335 days.

Do you really think 1844 was a blessed experience? Honestly? History indicates that 1844 was a great disappointment. And those who spent the day looking up into an empty sky were not happy. “Oh but…” you say, “the blessing came when Hiram Edson was crossing the corn field the next day and was given a vision of the cleansing of the HEAVENLY sanctuary.”

Certainly that was a lollypop to console the despondent believers, but by that time 99% of the believers had given up all hope and were not remotely interested in a consolation prize. The beginnings of Adventism is an exciting story, but it does not apply here.

You will also notice that stretching this out to 1335 years is out of the question. No one can live that long. Some of those who see the start of the 1335 days will also see the end of the 1335 days and partake of the blessing.

“In the time of trouble we were pursued by the wicked, who entered the houses of the saints with a sword. They raised the sword to kill us, but it broke, and fell as powerless as a straw. Then we all cried day and night for deliverance, and the cry came up before God. The sun came up, and the moon stood still. The streams ceased to flow. Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. But there was one clear place of settled glory, whence came the voice of God like many waters, which shook the heavens and the earth. The sky opened and shut and was in commotion. The mountains shook like a reed in the wind, and cast out ragged rocks all around. The sea boiled like a pot and cast out stones upon the land. And as God spoke the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming and delivered the everlasting covenant to His people, He spoke one sentence, and then paused, while the words were rolling through the earth. The Israel of God stood with their eyes fixed upward, listening to the words as they came from the mouth of Jehovah, and rolled through the earth like peals of loudest thunder. It was awfully solemn. And at the end of every sentence the saints shouted, “Glory! Alleluia!” Their countenances were lighted up with the glory of God; and they shone with the glory, as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai. The wicked could not look on them for the glory. And when the never-ending blessing was pronounced on those who had honored God in keeping His Sabbath holy, there was a mighty shout of victory over the beast and over his image.”–EW34

And when is the “never-ending blessing” pronounced? On day 1335 exactly. Not a day sooner and not a day later. Is that the day Jesus comes? No. That is the day of the announcement of His coming, which will occur several days later. How many days later we have not been told yet.

If you have not yet read the chapter on God’s Calendars,  please ask. The documentation is rock solid. It is an indispensable key to unlocking Daniel and Revelation. You will learn that the year for a day yardstick does not apply to end-time prophecy.

Now let’s take a close look at verse 11 and notice that something awful happens 45 days before the end of the time of trouble. This is how various translations render verse 11:

the abomination that causes desolation is set up,

the obscene desecration is set up in its place,

the abomination that makes desolate is set up,

the sacrilegious object that causes desecration is set up to be worshiped,

until someone sets up the ” Horrible Thing” that causes destruction.

a blasphemous object that brings destruction will be set up.

to the giving out of the desolating abomination,

the hated thing that destroys will be set up.

Before we can make sense of this, we have to understand something about the Jewish mind set and use of language at the time these statements were made. The Jews regarded their homeland as the “promised land” – the land promised to Abraham. It was also considered by the Jews to be God’s “holy land.” In fact, many people today refer to the geography of the modern nation of Israel as “the holy land.” Notice King David’s words of praise: “He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, the first fruits of manhood in the tents of Ham. But he brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the desert. He guided them safely, so they were unafraid; but the sea engulfed their enemies. Thus he brought them to the border of his holy land, to the hill country his right hand had taken. He drove out nations before them and allotted their lands to them as an inheritance; he settled the tribes of Israel in their homes.” (Psalm 78:51-55)

The word holy means set apart, not common or usual. Of course, the phrase “holy land” means land set apart from all other lands. God set Israel apart from Egypt as a holy nation of people. (Exodus 19:4-6) He placed Israel geographically in the center of the nations, at a special location, “His holy land.” (Ezekiel 5:5)

 The Levites and their Pastureland

 A very interesting and significant distinction surrounds the Tribe of Levi. Many people do not know that God did not give a share of the promised land to the Levites when the Jews entered Canaan. “The Lord said to Aaron, ‘You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the Tent of Meeting.’” (Numbers 18:20,21)

When Israel was ready to take possession of the holy land, God instructed Moses as follows (please notice the size, place and role of the pasturelands): “On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho, the Lord said to Moses, ‘Command the Israelites to give the Levites towns to live in from the inheritance the Israelites will possess. And give them pasturelands around the towns. Then they will have towns to live in and pasturelands for their cattle, flocks and all their other livestock. The pasturelands around the towns that you give the Levites will extend out fifteen hundred feet from the town wall. Outside the town, measure three thousand feet on the east side, three thousand on the south side, three thousand on the west and three thousand on the north, with the town in the center. They will have this area as pastureland for the towns. (Numbers 35:1-8)

When the Israelites finally took possession of the land, Joshua sanctified or “made holy” Bezer, Ramoth and Golan as cities of refuge on the East side of the Jordan, and on the West side of the Jordan he set apart Kedesh, Shechem and Kiriath Arba. (Joshua 20:7,8) These six cities became known as “holy cities” because they were set apart as cities of refuge, a place where a murderer could flee from an avenger of blood for either temporary or permanent safety. About four hundred years after Israel occupied the promised land, King David overthrew the stronghold of Jebus and established his throne there. David renamed Jebus and called his city “Jerusalem” (the city of peace). It became the seventh (and last) holy city within the promised land, and eventually, the Ark of the Covenant and sanctuary services were located there.

As before, when a holy city was established, the immediate pastureland around the walls of the city was set apart for the Levites as a place for their gardens and flocks. This border around the walls of each city was called “the holy place” or “holy ground.” When Jerusalem became the center of worship, the pasturelands outside the city were set apart for the exclusive use of the Levites. Even after Jerusalem was destroyed and the survivors were taken into Babylonian captivity, it was God’s plan for the rebuilt city and the temple to have “holy ground” surrounding the walls of the city. (Ezekiel 45:1-6) With this background information regarding the holy place or holy ground around the city walls, please consider these two parallel texts:

  1. “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the [Gentile] reader understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.” (Matthew 24:15-20, insertion mine)
  2. “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.” (Luke 21:20-23)

Note the difference between these two texts. Both Luke and Matthew heard Jesus as He gave this discourse. Years later, when they recalled this event from their memory bank for the purpose of writing a record, Matthew, the Jew, writes as a Jew would have remembered the prediction made by Jesus. Luke, on the other hand, a Gentile converted to Christianity, wrote it according to what he understood Jesus to mean. The point here is the harmony that is found in their diversity! From their personal perspectives, both writers understood the meaning of Christ’s words. To the Jewish mind, a foreign army standing on the holy ground around Jerusalem’s walls was an abomination intent on destruction. The presence of uncircumcised Gentiles on the holy ground dedicated to the Levites would be considered to the Jewish mind as a high insult to the God of Heaven. The Jews believed that Jerusalem was the City of God because His temple dwelling was there. Although his perspective is different, Luke also confirms this point. He writes, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that desolation is near.”

So, let us pull all this information together. An abomination that causes desolation is this: A great insult, an evil act committed against Almighty God, a detestable plan implemented by man for the purpose of destroying an object of God’s affection. So where does Matthew 24:15 and Luke 21:20 prophetically apply? Jesus is obviously talking about the destruction of Jerusalem that would be forthcoming in AD70. You might be surprised to learn that this total destruction was also predicted in Daniel 11:31. This is the verse that Matthew refers to. So, how does the abomination that causes desolation in Daniel 12:11,12 fit into the end-time scenario? When you understand the background, the parallel is obvious and simple. Just as wicked men surrounded ancient Jerusalem to destroy it, so wicked men will surround the saints of God with an intent to destroy them during the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 13:15) From the casting down of the censer (Rev 8:5), which is the taking away of the daily, there will be 1,290 days before a universal death decree is issued against the saints. (See the book of Esther for a parallel story about an abomination that almost caused desolation.) This is why the Bible says, “Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the 1,335th day!” Those people who live beyond the universal death decree will see Christ appear in clouds of glory and victory. They will witness the most powerful battle ever seen on Earth as Jesus destroys the false prophet and the beast. The redeemed who live to see Jesus come will be the eyewitnesses who can sing the song of mighty deliverance, and they will also tell of this glorious rescue to those individuals who slept in death through this event. What a blessing God will give the people who will endure to the end. They kept the faith and He who is Faithful and True kept them from death!

Satan has an evil strategy. If he can successfully annihilate everyone who is loyal to God, he can then shake his fist toward heaven and demand that God back off. And technically he is right. If there are no followers of the Lamb left on planet earth, Satan can boast, “They are all mine! Jesus, you can cancel your rescue mission. There is no one left to rescue.”

“Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects. He has gained control of the apostate churches; but here is a little company that are resisting his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete. As he influenced the heathen nations to destroy Israel, so in the near future he will stir up the wicked powers of earth to destroy the people of God.”–9T 231

So, just how successful will Satan be? He will certainly come close to his murderous plan. God will permit him to kill the great multitude. And this precious unnumbered throng will be resurrected at the glorious appearing of Jesus and will forever after wear a boarder of red on the hem of their garments. But there will be a small group who Satan will not be able to kill. They will be water proof, fire proof, and bullet proof. A thousand shall fall at their side and ten thousand at their right hand, but they will be untouched. This will infuriate Satan. This favored group is known as the 144,000. These are the same ones who were filled with unlimited Holy Spirit power at the beginning of the time of trouble. In a desperate attempt to rid the earth of this hated group, Satan will issue a universal death decree, at which time every wicked soul on earth will be urged to eliminate these holy people wherever they are found. With weapons in hand the wicked will surround God’s holy people in anticipation of the abominable decree.

Exodus 22:31

You are to be my holy people.

Deuteronomy 14:2

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

Deuteronomy 28:9

The LORD will establish you as his holy people,

Isaiah 62:12

They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD;

1 Peter 2:9

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

But again Satan’s plan will be frustrated. God will say in effect, “You have gone too far. You have overstepped your bounds.”

The great drama of the ages is not over yet.

“Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man’s hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth.”–Maranatha288

 Why does it appear black. Perhaps that is because it is traveling faster than the speed of light. Its light has not caught up with it yet. The people of God will not be the only ones to recognize the approach of Jesus. Satan knows very well what is coming and he will be in a panic. He knows that he is doomed. But he does something foolish. He will stir up the powers of earth to hurl their weapons of mass destruction against this unwanted intruder. This is called the battle of Armageddon. The 144,000 will witness some awesome fireworks!

Revelation 17 (Today’s New International Version)

12 “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

Matthew 24 (Contemporary English Version)

29Immediately after the tribulation, The sun will become dark, and the moon will no longer shine. The stars will fall, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

30Then a sign or token will appear in the sky. .  All nations on earth will be sad and weep/wail/mourn/cry/beat their breasts and lament in anguish.

Perhaps Satan will convince the ten kings that this is another asteroid. Remember the earth has already been impacted by two devastating asteroids. One splashed into one of the seven seas and the other slammed into one of the seven continents. See Revelation 8:8-11

By the way, did the ten divisions of Rome make war with the Lamb? No. And who are His called, chosen and faithful followers? None other than the 144,000. Revelation 17 is clearly an end-time prophecy. May God grant us the high privilege of being among His faithful followers.

Questions and comments are always welcome. Call anytime 423 949-5115. If you have any insights that would enhance this study, please share. Let’s learn together. Now start from the beginning and read this chapter one more time with the following quote in mind:

“Nothing worth having is obtained without earnest, persevering effort. . Without earnest toil we cannot expect to obtain a knowledge of spiritual things. In your study of the word, lay at the door of investigation your preconceived opinions and your hereditary and cultivated ideas. You will never reach the truth if you study the Scriptures to vindicate your own ideas. Leave these at the door, and with a contrite heart go in to hear what the Lord has to say to you. Do not read the word in the light of former opinions; but, with a mind free from prejudice, search it carefully and prayerfully. If you see that your cherished opinions are not in harmony with the word, do not try to make the word fit these opinions. Make your opinions fit the word. Do not allow what you have believed or practiced in the past to control your understanding.”–MYP260

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Was this the Sixth Trumpet?

by David Dence

Do you happen to know how many apocalyptic prophecies the Scriptures have given us? Seventeen. That’s right. Five in Daniel and twelve in the book of Revelation.  Each of the seventeen prophecies are in chronological order and they fit together perfectly when properly assembled. The books of Daniel and Revelation are all about time and timing. The prophecies in Daniel and Revelation can be compared to a tall wedding cake having seventeen layers. The toothpicks that hold the cake layers together are the prophetic events in each prophecy that connect and align the layers with each other. In other words, dates or events in one layer connect to dates and events in other layers. When all seventeen layers are properly aligned, a glorious story about Jesus and His salvation is the result! The harmony that comes from the sum of all the parts is wonderful to behold.

Some of the seventeen prophecies in Daniel and Revelation have ordinal numbers in them. This feature forces events to occur in chronological order. For example, trumpet four has to occur between trumpets three and five. There is no wiggle room on this point. The same is true for the seven seals and the seven bowls. If the chronological order found in the Word of God cannot be trusted, who then would you trust to tell you God’s intended order. I hope you will ponder the significance of this statement. God Himself has declared the order of events in His Word. Therefore, the seven trumpets cannot occur twice because the seventh trumpet occurs at the close of salvation, when the Ark of the Covenant is shown from Heaven (Revelation 11:19), and these events occur a few weeks before the Second Coming.

Some believe the seven trumpets were one thing at one time and they can be something else in the future. This is impossible. The meaning of the fifth trumpet cannot change with time. The fifth trumpet has a set of specifications that cannot be changed or manipulated. The fifth trumpet only occurs when the specifications given in the fifth trumpet are met. If the fifth trumpet marks the release of the devil and his angels from the spirit realm so that Lucifer can physically masquerade on Earth as Almighty God, how many times can this happen? Moreover, if Lucifer is permitted to kill a third of mankind to set up his theocracy during the sixth trumpet, how many times can this happen? If the sixth seal is the Second Coming, how many times can the sixth seal be broken and the Second Coming take place? How many times can the seven bowls occur? Dual fulfillment and dual interpretation is pure fiction.

Valid rules of interpretation will not permit the fifth trumpet to be interpreted “one way” at one time and interpreted “another way” at another time. When dual interpretation is taken to its logical conclusion, fiction is the result. Claims of dual fulfillment and dual interpretation are beguiling. Once this sophistry invades prophetic study, Bible truth is trampled underfoot because a perfect full-fillment of prophecy cannot be found. Even worse, no one can anticipate a prophetic full-fillment because there is no way to determine what a second fulfillment would look like! Again, there is a simple rule that eliminates this problem. “A full-filling only occurs when the specifications are perfectly met and this includes the given order of the events.

The Millerite movement was built on a false assumption and it eventually imploded because it forced the Bible to defend a conclusion rather than allowing the Bible to speak for itself. Sometimes the Bible speaks so softly that you must really strain to hear it.

In 1838, Dr. Josiah Litch, a scholarly Methodist minister from Massachusetts, published a 48 page booklet supporting Miller’s prophetic position. Litch had been studying the prophecies for some time when he became aware of the Millerite movement. Litch became involved in the movement and he produced this booklet which brought thousands into the Millerite movement in 1840. Looking through the corridor of history for a fulfillment for each of the seven trumpets, Litch came up with an explanation for the fifth and sixth trumpets that was better and more concise than anything heard before. Litch’s exposition on Revelation 9 fit within the paradigm of 1843 like a hand fits within a glove. Basically, Dr. Litch thought he discovered a time capsule. He translated the five months in Revelation 9:5 to mean 150 years (using a day for a year) and the time period called “an hour, day, month and year” in Revelation 9:16 he translated as 391 years and 15 days. In other words, Dr. Litch believed the fifth and sixth trumpets spanned a total of 541 years and 15 days.

Based on the time span, Dr. Litch concluded the fifth trumpet marked the rise of Othman, a Moslem commander who founded the Ottoman Empire. Litch calculated the five months mentioned in Revelation 9:5 began on July 27, 1299 when Othman began to assault (torment) the Greeks and the 150 years (using a day for a year) of torment ended when Constantine was crowned at Sparta in 1449. (This Constantine is not to be confused with the Constantine who ruled over Rome during the fourth century A.D.) Shortly after Constantine was crowned, Constantinople fell to the Moslems and according to Litch, the Ottoman Empire ruled over the Greeks for 391 years and 15 days. Litch concluded in 1838 that the Ottoman Empire would fall two years later, specifically on August 11, 1840. Litch’s prophetic position was hot news! It was widely published throughout New England and everyone waited anxiously to see what would happen. “At the very time specified,” Ellen White wrote in 1888, “Turkey, through her ambassadors, accepted the protection of the allied powers of Europe, and thus placed herself under the control Christian nations.” The Millerites were overjoyed. Their prophetic interpretation was on track. The Ottoman Empire appeared to have fallen and their joy increased as hundreds of new converts swelled the Millerite movement. Seeing was believing. The end of the world was less than four years away!

Three Tragic Outcomes

There are three tragic outcomes in this story. First, Jesus did not come in 1843 (the date was later changed to the Spring of 1844 and changed again to October 22, 1844) and this was a bitter disappointment for thousands of Millerites – the disappointment was so deep that many abandoned their faith in Jesus altogether. Second, history reveals that the Ottoman Empire did not fall on August 11, 1840 as Litch predicted. Consequently, anyone still clinging to Litch’s interpretation on the fifth and sixth trumpets is trusting in a meaningless interpretation. Third, by 1850 many Protestant churches in the United States abandoned the study of Daniel and Revelation altogether because Miller’s fiasco had proven that a historical approach to prophecy could not be trusted.

The Millerites reaped a bitter harvest because they (unwittingly) forced the Bible to support their conclusions. Ironically, history is about to be repeated. Millions of Evangelical Christians today are forcing the Bible to support their prophetic conclusions and they will be bitterly disappointed when they discover that there is no pretribulation rapture and no way to escape the destruction of the seven trumpets. On the other hand, millions of Christians who hold to a historical interpretation of prophecy will also be bitterly disappointed when they discover there is no escape from the seven trumpets! In both cases, the result will be the same – an overwhelming disappointment and spiritual bitterness.

In 1873 (35 years later), Dr. Litch published a book titled, A Complete Harmony of Daniel and the Apocalypse (published by Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, Philadelphia) and to his credit, he indicated that his previous view on the seven trumpets had been unfounded. After the failures of 1843 and 1844, he went back to the Bible to see where he went wrong. Upon deeper study he became convinced that the seven trumpets would be seven future events (including a meteoric firestorm that burns up a third of the trees and all the green grass, and two civilization-threatening asteroid impacts). Litch concluded the seven trumpets will take place just before the Second Coming.

Some SDA scholars have recognized that Litch’s August 11, 1840 date is meaningless. Mervyn Maxwell is among them.

I have asked many pastors and scholars about their understanding of the seven trumpets. Usually, they brush aside the importance of the topic with one of two arguments. First, they often say the trumpets are in the past and are not essential to our salvation. Some may say that a dual fulfillment is possible. This seems to open the door for further Bible study. The dual fulfillment argument allows staunch members to hold to their historical view, but also allows progressive members to embrace another view. (Ironically, the Catholic Church did the same thing at the turn of the 16th century by offering the preterist and futurist views of prophecy simultaneously.) But dual fulfillment is impossible. Multiple interpretations make putty out of the “more sure word of prophecy.” Let me be clear, the intended meaning of a passage does not change with time and a fulfillment only occurs when all of the specifications are perfectly full-filled.

Ellen White may have believed the seven trumpets are yet future based on a quote from her book written in 1890, Selected Messages Volume III, page 426. This quote says, “Solemn events before us are yet to transpire. Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded; vial after vial poured out one after another upon the inhabitants of the earth.”

She could have been referring to the seven trumpets since “vial after vial” is a reference to the seven last plagues which occur right after the trumpets.

Thanks to the ever increasing light God is shedding on His sure word of prophecy, we now have a much better understanding of the trumpets. Are you willing to learn or is your mind already made up?

If you and I are not agreed on a particular prophecy, it may be because either you or I or both of us are missing some critical information. The trouble is, we may not know what information we are missing. We may think we know it all. God help us to be humble learners, earnestly seeking after truth. How much is the truth worth to you? How much are you willing to pay for it? Would you even recognize the truth if you saw it?

Just two weeks ago a worker at a UPS distribution facility succumbed to temptation and stole a diamond. The next day he traded it for twenty dollars worth of marijuana. The dealer then took it to a pawn shop and discovered it was worth $160,000.00! Swine do not see the value of pearls or gems. Understanding the truth about the trumpets is of more value than you can imagine. The trumpets are the very scaffolding on which all closing events hang. Ignore the trumpets and your pile of closing events is a jumble. The only way to understand the timing of the Sunday law, for instance, is to understand its relationship to the trumpets. How valuable is that?!

 

Summary

  1. The Ottoman Empire Did Not Fall in 1840

Turkey remains a sovereign nation to this day. History does not indicate that the Ottoman Empire fell on August 11, 1840 and it is no surprise that historians do not regard August 11, 1840 as having any significance in Turkish history.

  1. Faulty Understanding of the Greek Language

Dr. Litch reached the August 11, 1840 date through a faulty translation of Scripture. The KJV says: “And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.” (Revelation 9:15) Dr. Litch applied the day/year principle to this verse and derived 391 years and 15 days out of the hour, day, month, and year mentioned. The translation should read: “And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.” Greek scholars around the world (who have no position to defend one way or another) widely agree that the syntax of Revelation 9:15 points to a specific point in time and is therefore punctiliar. The phrase should not be regarded as the sum of chronological units of time. (See the NIV, NEB, NEV, RSV, and ASV.) In other words, the sixth trumpet says nothing about 391 years and 15 days.

  1. August 11, 1840 Is the Wrong Date

The final problem with the August 11, 1840 date is that Dr. Litch failed to adjust his 391 year, 15 day prophecy according to a change in the calendar which occurred in October, 1582. Pope Gregory XIII removed ten days from the Julian Calendar that year to reset the Julian Calendar with respect to the Sun. Therefore, Dr. Litch’s August 11, 1840 date should have been adjusted to August 21, 1840 and absolutely nothing of historical consequence occurred on that date.

Well-meaning folks may promote the illusion of dual fulfillments, but multiple interpretations only harms and further obscures the truth. Why not let the Bible speak for itself? I have no doubts that Miller, Litch, and White did their best to understand God’s truth and if they were alive today, I believe they would eagerly update their thinking. Previous generations could not know all that we know today because man’s understanding of God’s truth is progressive. To reach the intended meaning of apocalyptic prophecy, we have to use valid rules of interpretation.

We have detailed what the sixth trumpet is not. This is only half the study. If you are honest and humble enough to acknowledge the above problems with the historic view, perhaps we can now move forward with what the Bible actually teaches about the sixth trumpet. How badly do you want to know? How good are you at sorting out truth from error? If you intend to use Ellen White as the final arbiter of prophecy, you have a rough road ahead of you. I know. I have been down that road. Are you ready to let the Holy Spirit lead you a little higher in your prophetic understanding than He lead dear Sister Ellen? Does that thought frighten you? May I pray for you? Time is running out, my friend, and you have lots to learn. Being thrust into the time of trouble with your limited knowledge could be unsettling.

LIFE AFTER DELIVERY?

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will become later.”
“Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But since the umbilical cord is so short, life after delivery is to be logically excluded.”

The second insisted, “Well I think there is something, and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover if there is life, then why has no one has ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists then where is She now?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of Her. It is in Her that we live. Without Her our world here would not and could not exist.”

Said the first: “Well I don’t see Her, so it is only logical that She doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re totally silent and you focus and you really listen, you can perceive Her presence, and you can hear Her loving voice, calling down from above.”

THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON

by David Dence

I developed a keen interest in this subject when I discovered to my surprise how little my friends know about the Battle of Armageddon. Many great men have suffered because their view of Armageddon differed from their superiors. Sad. Armageddon is NOT a salvation issue. I will not be saved or lost based on my understanding or misunderstanding of this subject. Thus I should never disparage those who hold a different view.

Some have argued that the Battle of Armageddon will be a spiritual battle, while others have insisted that it will be fought with real weapons and armaments. Some have taught that the focus of the battle will be literal Israel. And of course the exact location of the battle has always been a point of contention. So, does it really matter. Fifty years ago? Perhaps not. But if indeed the battle of Armageddon is imminent, we might be well advised to upgrade our understanding. Let me put it to you like this: The FAA has designated traffic lanes in the sky. When a plane is high in the sky and 150 miles out, air controllers are not going to be concerned if it is flying a hundred feet above or below its assigned altitude. When the plane is 15 miles from the airport it better not be more than a few feet above or below its assigned altitude. And when it is less than a mile from the runway it better be within a few inches of its assigned altitude. Folks, we are lined up with the runway now. We will be on the ground momentarily. We cannot afford to be off course any more. A proper understanding of the battle before us is critical.

The word “Armageddon” only occurs in Revelation 16:16, “Then they [the demons] gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” This text has puzzled Bible students for almost 2,000 years, but I think the meaning is quite simple. The word har-megiddon is mentioned only once in the Bible, so a word study is not practical. However, in Old Testament times it is well known that the Hebrews would join words together to create names as circumstances warranted. For example, when God called Abraham to offer his son Isaac on Mount Moriah, the Lord intervened. The Lord interrupted the sacrifice of Isaac because He provided a ram that was caught in a thicket. Abraham named that place “Jehovahjireh” by putting two Hebrew words together. Jehovahjireh means “Jehovah will provide [the sacrifice]” or “Jehovah will see to it [that the sacrifice will be provided].” (Genesis 22:14)

The word Megiddon refers to a battlefield where kings Ahaziah and Josiah died. (2 Kings 9:27; 23:30) The interesting thing about Josiah’s death is that he foolishly went against God’s command. He went to war with Pharaoh Neco who was passing through the land, and was needlessly killed. (2 Kings 23:29; 2 Chronicles 35:21,22) The reference to Megiddo depicts a battlefield where kings die. The kings of Earth will foolishly make war with Almighty God at the mountain of God and they will be destroyed. In the end, “the King of the mountain” will be Almighty God. The kings of Earth will have all perished.

Primarily “Mageddon is from mo‘ed meaning a place of assembly. Secondarily “Magedon is derived from the Hebrew word gadad which means ‘to gather in troops or bands.’ The Hebrew way to make a noun from a verb is to add the prefix ma. Thus we have maged –‘a place of gathering in troops.’ Then the suffix o meaning ‘his’ is added, yielding ‘his place of gathering troops.’ 

As far as we know, no geographical location ever bore this name. But because Megiddo is similar to Armageddon, all eyes are focused on the plain of Megiddo which stretches out around the city of Megiddo in northern Palestine. More than two hundred battles have been fought here. Two of the most famous victories in Israel’s history are: 1) Barak’s victory over the Canaanites (Judges 4:15) and 2) Gideon’s victory over the Midianites (Judges 7). The plain of Megiddo is also the site for two great tragedies: 1) the death of Saul and his sons (1 Samuel 31:8) and 2) the death of King Josiah (2 Kings 23:29-30; 2 Chronicles 35:22). Hence it signifies a place of great slaughter.  Because of this history, the plain of Megiddo has become a symbol of the final conflict. The word “Armageddon” has become synonymous with a future battle at the end of the world. It is “the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14). Hence Armageddon primarily signifies an event rather than a place.

This is not an unheard-of concept. Consider the well-known word waterloo. A student might say, “It was in speech class that I met my waterloo.” Waterloo is actually a battlefield where Emperor Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington in 1815. But since that decisive battle, the word waterloo has come to represent a crushing defeat. Thus we see the similarity between Armageddon and Waterloo. They are both names of places but have transcending importance as special events or conditions.

Another indication that Armageddon is symbolic is noted in the word “place.” “And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” Rev 16:16 The Hebrew word for “place” is “topos.” This can refer to a place in a book, or a situation, without attributing geographical significance to the term Armageddon.

Notice how “topos” is used in Hebrews 12:17 “For you know that afterward, when he (Esau) wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” Here again “place” refers to a condition not a geographical location.

Who are the contestants? And what are they fighting about?

Every Bible scholar should know. But you would be surprised how few people know the answers. The most common answer is, “Well, it is a battle between good and evil.”

Sounds a bit nebulous, no? Might have been adequate 150 years ago, but not now. The most frequent misconception is that God’s people are involved. The first thing to be said about the battle of Armageddon is that it is one of the seven last plagues. In fact it is the sixth.

“The enemy’s last great conflict will be a most determined one. It will be the last battle between the powers of darkness and the powers of light. Every true child of God will fight bravely on the side of Christ.” {E. G. White – Pamphlets 135, 5.1}

Does this mean you and I will be actively involved? Yes, but our involvement will end when the plagues begin. The Battle of Armageddon does not begin until the sixth plague. So battles between good and evil occurring before the sixth plague should not be called Armageddon. This term has been carelessly applied to various conflicts. The focus of Armageddon is not Israel nor is it the saints, it is the coming Christ in the sky. Remember that the saints have been glorified BEFORE Armageddon begins. The saints will simply be spellbound spectators during the battle. We will likely be urging Him on, “Bare Thy holy arm O Lord ‘It is time for thee to work: for they have made void thy law.’” (Isa 40:10, Ps 119:126)

“John beheld an angel flying through the midst of heaven, warning men of the final judgments of God. He proclaimed the position of those who heeded his warning, and who would escape the seven last plagues. He announced them as God’s people, and called attention to their peculiar character: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” The time for the fulfillment of this prophecy has come.” The Review and Herald  January 31, 1888

How can the children of God, who keep the commandments, be involved in spiritual fighting and at the same time escape the sixth plague?

“Then I saw that the seven last plagues were soon to be poured out upon those who have no shelter; yet the world regarded them no more than they would so many drops of water that were about to fall. I was then made capable of enduring the awful sight of the seven last plagues, the wrath of God. I saw that His anger was dreadful and terrible . . . . Then I realized, as never before, the importance of searching the Word of God carefully, to know how to escape the plagues which that Word declares shall come on all the ungodly who shall worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands. It was a great wonder for me that any could transgress the law of God and tread down His holy Sabbath, when such awful threatenings and denunciations were against them.” {EW 64.2}

“A book has been given us to guide our feet through the perils of this dark world to heaven. It tells us how we can escape the wrath of God, and also tells of the sufferings of Christ for us, the great sacrifice that has been made that we might be saved and enjoy the presence of God forever. And if any come short at last, having heard the truth as they have in this land of light, it will be their own fault; they will be without excuse. The word of God tells us how we may become perfect Christians and escape the seven last plagues.” {1T 125.3}

If we search the Bible we may know how to escape the seven last plagues. Thus the Bible tells us how to escape Armageddon, the sixth in a series of seven plagues. It might be argued that God’s people will be involved in the sufferings of the seven last plagues and therefore they will be involved in Armageddon, the sixth plague. It is true that the righteous will suffer during the seven last plagues but they are not being punished and destroyed as are the wicked. They will escape the punishment that is coming upon the wicked.

“Then my eyes were taken from the glory, and I was pointed to the remnant on the earth. The angel said to them, “Will ye shun the seven last plagues? Will ye go to glory and enjoy all that God has prepared for those who love Him and are willing to suffer for His sake? If so, ye must die that ye may live. Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye must have a greater preparation than ye now have, for the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” {EW 66.2}

“The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied. While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants.” {GC 629.2}

“The power of the Holy Ghost must be upon us, and the Captain of the Lord’s host will stand at the head of the angels of heaven to direct the battle. Solemn events before us are yet to transpire. Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded, vial after vial poured out one after another upon the inhabitants of the earth. Scenes of stupendous interest are right upon us.” {7BC 982.7}

“Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty.” {EW 43.2}

“Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God’s people, and they left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. God has begun to draw this covering over His people, and it will soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter. God will work in power for His people; and Satan will be permitted to work also.” {EW 44.2}

“The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. ‘Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.’ Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:12-16)

The meaning of this sixth plague is not too difficult if you understand the context and setting of this future event. The drying up of the great river Euphrates is an ancient phrase that means the arrival of the two kings coming down from the North (the Father and the Son) is unstoppable. In other words, ancient kings could cross through the river bed of the Euphrates because the great river itself was no longer a barrier. I believe the sign of the Father and Son will first appear in the sky during this time. This sign will be a small black cloud drawing near to Earth. (Matthew 24:30) Remember, divine destruction in ancient times always came out of the North (Jeremiah 51:48, Job 37:22), but visually, because of the rotation of the Earth on its axis, the Father and Son (the two kings) will appear to be coming from the East. (Matthew 26:64)

By the time the sixth plague is poured out, the wicked will be suffering in the extreme. The saints do not suffer from the seven last plagues. (Daniel 12:1) Every wicked person will be wearing the devil’s inescapable tattoo. Even more, the world will know that the Satan is not Almighty God, contrary to the devil’s claims. Wicked people realize they are looking at the embodiment of evil. Emotionally speaking, they will be at the point of utter discouragement. Everything they wanted to avoid during the Great Tribulation has happened to them. Then, with his incredible deceptions exposed and the wicked recognizing who he really is, the devil plays his final card.

It is a pathetic situation. Even though Lucifer knows the outcome of this drama, he will demonstrate his evil character one last time by sending three miracle-working demons with a pack of lies to visit the ten kings of Earth. (Frogs catch their prey with their tongues.) Lucifer, who is the dragon, and the lamblike beast and the false prophet, sends these powerful demons out. The Bible uses these three descriptors of Lucifer because these three caricatures describe him fully. As the great red dragon who was cast out of Heaven, he is the original Antichrist. As the lamblike beast who rose up out of the Earth, he is the final Antichrist. As the false prophet who led the whole world astray, he is the father of lies.

Their message to each king will be simple and direct: “You have but one chance to save yourselves from the approaching cloud in the East. If you will join with us in destroying Jesus as he draws near Earth, we can defeat him. You have atomic bombs. We have the power to work miracles. Do we have a deal? If so, arm yourselves for immediate battle.” The only option is to trust in human might and the miracle working power of these demons. They prepare for battle.

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matt 24:30

Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man’s hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth, becoming lighter and more glorious, until it is a great white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror.” The Great Controversy, 640, 641.

So why does the small cloud look black? Simply because it is traveling faster than the speed of light and is leaving the light behind. Kind of like a black hole. But when Jesus and His holy retinue approach Earth and slow their approach the light will catch up soon enough and about blind us earthlings.

Now let’s dust off Daniel 12

(New International Reader’s Version and Common English Bible) 11 “The daily sacrifices will be stopped. Then, after 1,290 days from that time, a blasphemous object that brings destruction will be set up.

12 Blessed are those who keep waiting for the 1,335 days and reach the end of them.

13 “Daniel, go on your way until the end. Your body will rest in the grave. Then at the end of the days (Which days? The days just mentioned, of course, the 1335 days.) you will rise from the dead, and you will stand to receive your reward.”

Has Daniel received his reward yet? We are talking about Daniel the prophet, not Daniel the prophecy. The unsealing of Daniel the prophecy is not the same thing as raising Daniel the prophet. Is Daniel the person standing today? Let’s try to be true to the Scriptures. We can no longer accept sloppy interpretations. Some of my esteemed colleagues say that the 1335 days ended in 1843 or 1844. But these verses tell us that a great blessing comes at the end of the 1335 days. Was 1844 a great blessing or a great disappointment? It is always curious to watch them squirm and backtrack and say things like, “Well, it was both.” That is not being intellectually honest. Let’s stick with the obvious historic fact that 1844 was certainly a great disappointment. Furthermore, verse 13 clearly indicates that Daniel will be resurrected at the end of the 1335 days. So if the 1335 days ended in 1844, where is Daniel? Have you heard anything about Daniel being resurrected? Neither have I. The Scriptures cannot lie. Daniel will indeed be resurrected at the end of the 1335 days which is still future. (For some documentation on the 1335 days, please ask.)

So does Jesus appear on day 1335? No, not yet. This is what happens on day 1335:

“The voice of God is heard from heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus’ coming, and delivering the everlasting covenant to His people. Like peals of loudest thunder His words roll through the earth.

He spoke one sentence, and then paused, while the words were rolling through the earth. The Israel of God stood with their eyes fixed upward, listening to the words as they came from the mouth of Jehovah and rolled through the earth like peals of loudest thunder. It was awfully solemn. At the end of every sentence the saints shouted, “Glory! Hallelujah!”

The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake.

A glorious light shone upon them [the saints]. How beautiful they then looked! All marks of care and weariness were gone, and health and beauty were seen in every countenance. Their enemies, the heathen around them, fell like dead men; they could not endure the light that shone upon the delivered, holy ones. This light and glory remained upon them, until Jesus was seen in the clouds of heaven. And I saw a flaming cloud come where Jesus stood. Then Jesus… took His place on the cloud which carried Him to the East, where it first appeared to the saints on earth—a small black cloud which was the sign of the Son of man. While the cloud was passing from the Holiest to the East, which took a number of days, the synagogue of Satan worshipped at the saints’ feet.” Maranatha, Page 287

“I saw the sword, famine, pestilence, and great confusion in the land. The wicked thought that we had brought the judgments upon them, and they rose up and took counsel to rid the earth of us, thinking that then the evil would be stayed. In the time of trouble we all fled from the cities and villages, but were pursued by the wicked, who entered the houses of the saints with a sword. They raised the sword to kill us, but it broke, and fell as powerless as a straw. Then we all cried day and night for deliverance, and the cry came up before God. The sun came up, and the moon stood still. The streams ceased to flow. Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. But there was one clear place of settled glory, whence came the voice of God like many waters, which shook the heavens and the earth. The sky opened and shut and was in commotion. The mountains shook like a reed in the wind, and cast out ragged rocks all around. The sea boiled like a pot and cast out stones upon the land. And as God spoke the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming and delivered the everlasting covenant to His people, He spoke one sentence, and then paused, while the words were rolling through the earth. The Israel of God stood with their eyes fixed upward, listening to the words as they came from the mouth of Jehovah, and rolled through the earth like peals of loudest thunder. It was awfully solemn. And at the end of every sentence the saints shouted, “Glory! Alleluia!” Their countenances were lighted up with the glory of God; and they shone with the glory, as did the face of Moses when he came down from Sinai. The wicked could not look on them for the glory. And when the never-ending blessing was pronounced on those who had honored God in keeping His Sabbath holy, there was a mighty shout of victory over the beast and over his image.” Early Writings 34

Did you see it? This is the blessing promised in Daniel 12:12.

Isn’t God good! Why does he bother announce the day and hour of His coming when it is only a few days away? Simply because what is about to transpire over our heads will be so horrific that we might think that all is lost. We have been forgotten. We are about to parish in the conflagration. So God, knowing our frailty and our long days of suffering and apprehension, reassures us that He is indeed coming. At this welcome announcement we rejoice. We are glorified. Our faces shine. Rainbows appear above us. Our enemies fall back in utter amazement. The special resurrection occurs. The stage is set, the river Euphrates dries up making way for the Kings of the East. Revelation 16:12

“There appears in the East a small black cloud…. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth, … until it is a great white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror….

As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head, but a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun. “And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords…. The heavens are rolled together as a scroll, the earth trembles before Him, and every mountain and island is moved out of its place….” My Life Today 345

 “Then I described the lovely person of Jesus, his glorious appearance in the clouds of heaven, as he comes to earth the second time; with what majesty and power he rides forth upon the cloudy chariot, escorted by all the angelic host, and with the glory of the Father.” Life Sketches of James and Ellen White, Page 252 (1880)

Perhaps you are aware that NASA already has contingency plans in place to divert or fragment an incoming asteroid if they have enough lead time. And since by that time earth will have already been impacted by two devastating asteroids, the kings of the earth might think that this small black cloud is another asteroid. And it will be quite obvious that it is heading straight for Earth.

“Unlike the dinosaurs, we have the means to prevent catastrophic impacts,” says the B612 Foundation, which advocates finding and tracking asteroids, and testing technology to deflect them.

NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, which co-ordinates efforts to detect, track and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that could approach the Earth says, “There’s only very preliminary research in the area of how best to shove away an asteroid if it’s in the rare position of heading in the Earth’s direction. Nuclear explosions in space, for instance, could fragment the asteroid or push it out of Earth’s way. Hazardous asteroids larger than a few hundred meters in diameter will require enormous energies to deflect or fragment.”

Now let’s review the recent past: The great multitude who would not accept the mark of the beast have all been beheaded or otherwise dispatched. Those faithful souls who have stood stiffly for the seventh day Sabbath have sealed their testimony with their blood. They are all sleeping in Jesus awaiting the resurrection. You can imagine how triumphant the devil feels. Next his evil attentions are turned toward the 144,000. He reasons that if he can now kill them, too, his triumph will be complete. He can then raise his bony fist toward heaven and declare, “Back off. They are all mine. There is no one left to rescue. The whole world now serves and worships me.” But to his chagrin, the 144,000 cannot be killed. They seem to be fire proof, water proof and bullet proof.

And suddenly his attention is shifted again. With horror he gazes at the small black cloud looming in the east. He knows very well what it is. He knows what he must do. I am here reminded of Jesus’ parable: “But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” Matt 21:37,38

Now Brother Dence, you are not suggesting that the devil will try to destroy Jesus at His second coming? Yes, that is exactly what the devil will try to do. Let me show you some pertinent verses:

“The ten horns you saw are ten kings, but they’re not yet in power. They will come to power along with the Scarlet Beast, but won’t last long—a very brief reign. All ten have a common purpose, and they hand over their power and right to rule to the beast.  Together they will go to war against the Lamb but the Lamb will defeat them.” Revelation 17:12-14

“These evil spirits are the spirits of demons, which have power to do miracles. They go out to the kings of the whole world to gather them together for the battle of the great day of God Almighty. Then the demons assembled the kings and their armies together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” Revelation 14:14 and 16

“Then I saw the beast and all the kings of the earth. Their armies were gathered together, ready to make war against the rider on the white horse and his army.” Revelation 19:19

“Here it is seen that the great battle is not between nation and nation; but between earth and heaven. Satan wishes to make another attack on Jesus Christ. He musters the fallen spirits of his command, and they go forth to the kings of the earth, and the whole world, to gather them to battle. The King of kings overcomes, and destroys all his enemies.”  Review and Herald, Battle Creek, Mi,  JAN 21, 1862                                                                                                                                                             

“Then the powers of earth will marshal their forces for the last great battle.” 6T14 (1900).

You see the picture. A frightful picture. It should be crystal clear who the combatants are. The devil stirs up the ten kings to fight against Christ. And where is Christ? Jerusalem? No, He is in the sky. The kings of the earth fear that Christ will set up his kingdom in Jerusalem. That is not a welcome prospect. They themselves are aspiring to rule the world and do not want any interference from Christ. Satan capitalizes on this fear and urges them on to destroy this invader from space.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” Revelation 19:11

Make War? Oh yes! This is not just a figure of speech. The war is very real. Why? Because Christ will face some stiff opposition. Satan will do everything to prevent Christ from stealing his subjects. You must understand, Satan is frantic. But he has been preparing for this war. Why do you think the US has 9,200 nuclear warheads stockpiled? So much for disarmament. Nothing will be spared to knock Jesus out of the sky. Super weapons even more lethal than nuclear warheads may be employed. Folks, we are in for quite a show. Do you think these weapons will hamper Jesus? Of course not. He simply needs to put forth His hand and what was outgoing is now incoming. Look out down below. We will witness the grandest fireworks display ever detonated.

When Jesus enters Satan’s airspace, do you really think Satan will just sit down and let Jesus conduct His world-wide reaping campaign unhindered? No, no. Satan has been looking forward to this murderous opportunity for a long time. Jesus will be hotly resisted at every advance mile. Some reason that since the earth’s systems will be heavily damaged at this point, weaponry may not work. That is certainly a good guess. But consider the possibility that devastation will not be world-wide. Also recognize that the most lethal weapons are protected in the depths of mountains and oceans. Nuclear warheads can be launched from numerous underground silos. You should also be aware of the awful destruction that can be deployed from under the seas. The USS Kentucky is a nuclear submarine which carries 24  Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles each with a range of 7000 miles. And they can cover that distance in a hurry. Would you believe 13000 MPH? These missiles are not toys. They were built at a cost of 31 million dollars EACH. And they can really pack a wallop, 30 times the explosive force of the Hiroshima bomb. The Trident missiles are currently carried by 14 US subs and 4 British subs. And who knows what other frightful weapons are aboard the 75 subs in the US Naval fleet? The larger subs can safely hide 800 feet below the surface. I expect some of them will survive the first five plagues. What do you think?

“And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” Revelation 14:15

This verse shows just how anxious Jesus is to rescue us. Who is in the temple? Not Jesus, but an angel. Where is Jesus? Out on His white horse, just waiting for the command to ride forth. So why is Jesus not in the temple? You will recall that Jesus’ work in the temple ended just before the seven last plagues began.

All that we have seen so far occurs under the sixth plague. And now comes the seventh plague. And where is Jesus? Still hovering above the earth directing the armies of heaven. Right?

“The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘It is done!’ [I believe this voice comes from one of the four living creatures. See Rev 8:13.] Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city [Babylon the Great – the throne, the buildings and offices of Lucifer’s one-world-church-state] split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.” (Revelation 16:17-21, insertions mine)

When the seventh bowl is poured out, the entire planet goes into a violent spasm. A global earthquake rips up the Earth and the devil’s empire is torn into three parts.* The islands and mountains are moved out of their places as Earth vomits from the nausea of sin. The cities of Earth collapse into rubble and hailstones weighing a hundred pounds each fall on the enemies of the Lamb. “They called to the mountains and the  rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of his wrath has come, and who can stand?’” Revelation 6:16,17

* Note: The phrase, “The great city split into three parts” is significant. It means the complete destruction of Babylon, the global city whose citizens make up the harlot. God will divide and totally destroy the city. No mercy will be shown to the evil empire. Throughout the Bible, language describes the use of one-third and two-thirds. For example, David killed two-thirds of the Moabites when they refused to pay tribute. (2 Samuel 8:2) God killed two-thirds of Israel when they refused to keep His covenant. (Ezekiel 5:12 also see Zechariah 13:8,9) In these situations, David and God mercifully spared a remnant. The idea in Revelation 16 is that there is NO mercy for Babylon. Babylon will cease to exist. Three-thirds will be destroyed. (Revelation 19:21)

“Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints…. Throughout the length and breadth of the earth the dead shall hear that voice, and they that hear shall live…. All arise with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth….

The living righteous are changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” At the voice of God they were glorified; now they are made immortal, and with the risen saints are caught up to meet their Lord in the air. Oh, what a glorious meeting!” My Life Today 345

Then, a sword comes out of the mouth of Jesus. This sword is the command, “death to the wicked.” The seventh plague marks the end of human life on Earth for 1,000 years. The saints sail away through space to spend the next 1,000 years living and reigning with Jesus in their Father’s house. (John 14:1-3)

Now you can see that the coming of Jesus is not just a peaceful 20 minute trip through the bright sky to pick you up from your front yard and then leisurely float back up to heaven. That picture simply does not fit Scripture. Now you know that the coming of Jesus will transpire during the sixth and seventh plagues. And that will necessarily take several days. Tumultuous days. But I am earnestly looking forward to those days. Aren’t you?