The Last Countdown


On the same day, John Scotram informed the members of his ministry:

Dear Friends,

With this message, I am sending you a very unusual dream that I had last Sabbath morning. I told it to my wife before church, and I repeated it again in my sermon so that I wouldn’t forget any details. Just before lunch, my wife left the house to feed the cows while I was warming up the food. When she came back, we got the good news that there was a beautiful bull calf born during our worship service. Since I always write down the date of birth of a calf, I looked up the date for the first time that day and recognized that is was the 22nd of October, 2011—the 167th Anniversary of the beginning of the investigative judgment. I think this makes the dream even more important. I called the dream: The Message of the Fourth Angel.

A Dream of John Scotram – Sabbath, 22nd of October 2011

In my dream, I see myself in a city that seems to be in a different time. I’m in a brisk, lively center of a small town, reminiscent of a time shortly before the arrival of electricity. I look down at myself and realize that I’m wearing strange clothes. They are all an antique brown color and the pants only go down to just below the knee, where they are bound together by a buckle. I wear black, finely polished leather shoes, like you cannot buy them anymore today. The leather is very thick and the shoes are of a homemade, craftwork quality. I have thick, wool socks on that scratch me a little. My upper garment resembles a tail coat and goes down under my buttocks. I realize that this is the normal clothing of many people around me, and I do not excite any attention in the crowd. I see gas lanterns everywhere on the square, and I am absolutely clear that I am in a short period before the introduction of electric lighting. The people around me all speak English and I notice that my mother tongue is English. (Everything that was said in my dream was in antiquated English, as it is no longer spoken, but I understood it.)

Then I feel a little hungry. I decide to visit one of the many food booths that are here in the town center. The booths are all built of rather coarse wood and are very primitive. Then my eye catches one that carries a large wooden sign over the booth. The inscription reads, “Hamburger.” I realize now that this does not belong to the era in which I see myself translated to, but I am getting closer to the snack stand. Behind a wooden display table, which reaches up to the seller’s and my belly height, I see a man of strange appearance. He is different than the people around me, who are of Caucasian origin like me, almost without exception. At first sight, he makes no trustworthy impression. But this impression changes later when he serves me. He has a very dark skin color, almost black, yet he has no traits of a black man, but reminds me more of an Arab. His hair is curly and raven-black, and falls in waves down to just below his shoulder level. I remember his face only vaguely.

He takes my order of a hamburger and then starts with the preparation, which goes completely differently than I expected. First, he takes a huge, round hamburger bun, which has a diameter of at least 12 inches, and he divides it into two halves without using a knife. The “cuts” look absolutely clean as if cut with a knife. I cannot explain how he did this “trick.” When he puts the two halves down on the big counter made of light colored wood, their respective outer side is down, and I see that the two halves have different shapes. The upper half of the hamburger bread is thinner and its cross section resembles a crescent moon (it is concave), while the bottom half is deeper and resembles a bowl.

After that, the man places two large bowls on the table, both of which correspond roughly to the size of the bowl-shaped base of the hamburger bread. In one bowl, I see a red sauce that makes me a little scared. The bowl is filled to the brim with this sauce and almost threatens to overflow. Somehow I know that this is no ordinary tomato sauce, but blood. But I do not stop the man—I know that I must accept this hamburger. In the other bowl, there are two large tomatoes, many lettuce leaves, and some green stuff, which I cannot remember in detail. But I know they are all vegetarian ingredients.

With lightning-fast speed, the man masterfully divides the two tomatoes into four tomato halves, again using only his hands and without a knife, and drapes them in the bottom half of the hamburger bread so that some space is spared in the midst. Then, like a whirlwind, the man takes the lettuce leaves one-by-one from the bowl and places them one after the other around the tomato halves into the lower part of the Hamburger bread, so that a circle of 24 lettuce leaves is formed. The only opening that is left is in the middle of the tomato halves. It all looks very decorative.

Then I notice that the man has a meat grill under the sales counter. It is a hot plate, on which I can see only one large steak of first grade beef. Skillfully, he flips it and it’s ready. He puts the piece of meat in the middle of the upper half of the hamburger bread, and now I realize what the space between the tomato halves was intended for. When combining the top half of the hamburger bread with the bottom half, the piece of meat would fit exactly between the four tomato halves. The man tells me that only the red sauce can hold both bread halves together, and that we need the whole bowl of sauce to do it. I watch as the man fills the bottom half of the hamburger bread with the sauce and the whole bowl fits in. I no longer can see the lettuce leaves and tomato halves and the man assembles the giant hamburger fitting the upper half with the piece of meat into the space of the lower part. He hands the hamburger to me and I wonder what it costs. The man says, “If you like it, it costs nothing.”

I eat the hamburger and notice a strong taste like raw meat. I wonder that I eat it because I’m vegetarian, as a Seventh-day Adventist. While I eat the hamburger, my mind is enlightened. I understand at once, the meaning of the symbolism perfectly clearly, and that it is about “righteousness by faith,” which has two parts. One part has Jesus, and the other bigger part has us as His church. (The meat in the top half of the hamburger represents His body, while the vegetarian part in the bottom half represents the Adventist health message.) It is clearly about the Fourth Angel’s Message, which I received in the last two weeks in two parts. After eating the hamburger, I understand at once, perfectly clearly that I have experienced something special and that now is the time that I should be shown more.

I sat down to eat at a table facing the snack bar in the open air. Then I see a man approaching, who is of Caucasian origin, and like me, he has only a little hair left on his head, although he is not yet very old. I think he’s about 35 or 40 years old. He comes to my table and I see that he looks very, very sad. I feel sympathy and a friendly affection towards him, although I do not know him yet. He comes closer and sits naturally at my table without a question. I ask him why he is so sad, and he tells me that he has problems with his spiritual life. He has sought his entire life for Jesus, but could never find the complete truth. That made him so unhappy that he could not even find any comfort within his family anymore, and he did not understand the meaning of his life. Immediately I realize that this man needs the message that I have just received. I explain to him “righteousness by faith” and that it isn’t true that at the cross, everything was finished. While I explain this to him with the illustration of the hamburger, emphasizing how great the task is for every individual in the church of God, I see his face beginning to shine. Both of his eyes shine and I see that he is happy now. We embrace and make an appointment for him to come next Sabbath to my church for worship. I know that he is not an Adventist, but he thinks like one and wants to live like one.

On the next Sabbath, I see myself standing in the foyer of a very large Adventist church. There are many people who talk in low voices. The men and women are all very well and respectably dressed. It is much quieter than in the Adventist congregations nowadays. I’m still in an era where there was no electricity. The hall is lit by gas lamps. Now I see my friend from the snack restaurant come to me. His face is not shining and he looks very sad again. I want to console him. He says, “Doubts were rising in me about whether the message about our mission can really be true. From where do you get the assurance that this is all true?” I look at him lovingly and say, “The whole Sacred Scriptures and the writings of Ellen White are full of confirmations.” But he says, “I’ve read everything in these few days, but I cannot keep the wealth of information, it all seems to confuse me even more.” Then I smile because I understand him, and tell him in my old English dialect, “My friend, you have not yet understood that the Scripture is condensed milk. How do you feel when you drink a quart of milk?” He replies, “Good and satisfied.” I further ask, “How do you feel when you’ve drunk a quart of condensed milk?” He also smiles now and says, “Bad. I would probably throw up.” “Yes,” I say, “that’s what has happened to you. You wanted to drink in a few days, the amount of condensed milk that corresponds to one or two gallons of normal milk. This is too much. Sometimes, you have to take a break to digest.” I tell him again the symbolism of the hamburger and the importance of our task in the plan of salvation. His face now shines again.

While we were talking, I did not realize that other brothers and sisters in the foyer had become aware of us and heard our conversation. Suddenly I see myself surrounded by a fairly large group of brethren. Men and women almost rush on me. They are all so interested in the topic that I can hardly resist them. They push and knock me unintentionally to press everything out of me that I know. Although I’m pestered hard, I feel that this is a good thing. When I tell them everything, I see their faces lighting up also. All at once, they are full of joy! Many more beset me, but suddenly we hear a siren, and everyone must enter the “auditorium”. An important event begins.

I say “auditorium” because, as I enter the hall of the Adventist church, I do not see myself in a normal church with wooden benches on a flat floor, but I am standing behind the back row of pews, which are arranged so that every next pew row is on a higher level than the one in front, like a lecture hall at a major university or a large conference hall of a convention center. I see all the pews filled, but no faces, since I stand behind everyone and am at the highest point of the room. Now I realize that my friend is standing to my left, and to his left is the director of this big congregation. The pews are curved and there are two banks of benches, which are separated in the middle by a staircase aisle that leads down to the podium. I know that the pews at the left are filled with Adventists, but when I look there, I see only darkness and cannot distinguish the bodies of the people. By contrast, I see the contours of the Adventists in the right bank pretty clearly.

On the podium, a woman begins to speak. She gives a very important sermon that I do not understand in detail. But I know that she is talking about what I’ve found, that the big topic is “righteousness by faith,” and that this is the beginning of the light of the fourth angel. I am delighted as I see that many Adventists in the right pews begin to shine. Suddenly, an Adventist in very black clothing wants to get up in the second row and I know it’s a “gainsayer” (opponent, interferer). (This word came to my mind so often in the dream that I want to emphasize it, leaving it even in the translations in its original form.) Then something happens which frightens me deeply. Suddenly, three Adventists in the church pew behind him pull out a pistol. I see that it is an antique pistol with only one shot. They hold the gun to the head of the gainsayer and shoot. When they pull the trigger, I do not hear a bang and see no fire or smoke. The head of the gainsayer, which I can only see from behind, falls to the right, and he is “dead.” I see no blood and no wounds. He just does not move anymore. The woman kept talking the whole time unimpressed, and I see how the Adventists in the right pew bank shine more and more.

Then approximately in the middle of the rows, the same thing happens again. A gainsayer wants to get up and interrupt the woman and raise some stupid objections. Behind him, three Adventists aim their ancient guns at him and pull the trigger. No smoke, no bang, no fire, no wounds, but the head of the gainsayer falls on his right shoulder and he is silent.

Then I see a gainsayer directly in front of me. Immediately, the director, my friend, and I hold the same kind of pistol in our hands and shoot. Again, no sound, no wound, but the gainsayer is dead. That was the last one.

Then the woman on the podium makes a call to repentance and new surrender to the Lord Jesus with the new knowledge about our destiny. She asks all who want to surrender to God to come to the podium. All the Adventists from the right pew bank go down—all except the dead gainsayers. When I look to my left to the other pews, I notice that everyone who sat there before had left the hall. Suddenly, all of the Adventists at the podium turn to me, and the woman starts to lead them. They are coming up the stairs towards me with shining faces. I notice that they wish to show their gratitude to someone. But in no way do I want to be worshiped by them, so I want to flee. Doing this, I turn my head slightly to the right and at the wall behind me I see a giant, rough-cut cross, which had apparently been there all the time without me having noticed it.

Again, I turn to the crowd led by the woman, which is still getting closer to my friend, the director and I. But now I understand that they do not want to worship me, but fall on their knees before the cross. I wait until they have arrived to me and the woman falls down directly in front of me. At that moment, out of her hand slips a pistol with the same design as the others. Then I kneel down before the woman—not to pay homage to her, but to give respect and worship to Jesus, together with her. I’m so low on my knees, that my hands are touching the ground. Now I see that I have a pistol in each of my hands and I put them in front of the woman’s pistol on the floor. My two pistols are now right in front of the woman’s pistol and together, they form a triangle. My two pistols are placed in a way that the barrel of one points to the handle of the other.

After we all knelt together and thanked God for all His teachings and the new light, we stand up again. The woman says to myself, my friend and the director, that we now must make a permanent record of what we have experienced here today in this congregation. We must go now to the office of the director and record everything that has happened here in the church journal, so this would never get lost.

We enter the director’s office with its dark wood lining. He pulls the huge church book from a shelf on the wall and opens it with much difficulty, since it is very big and heavy. The pages seem enormous to me. Then he begins to make his records with a quill and ink. Everything is very solemn. After some time, we all sign—the director, myself, my friend, the woman, and many of those present. The director puts the book back on the shelf, and we go away happy and with shining faces.

The next Sabbath, I’m standing in front of the big white church house where I had been the Sabbath before. I’m still in the same time period as before. This time, I’m not in the foyer, but outside the huge sanctuary of the congregation. I realize that it is a wooden church with white paint. It is not new, but not too old; the white is not super white, but not too dirty either.

My friend is there with me, and we are waiting for the beginning of the service. Suddenly, the double doors of the main entrance open, and the woman comes running out. She weeps bitterly and with sobbing, runs away toward a small forest. My friend and I run after her, reaching her before the forest, and my friend holds her lovingly. Slowly and with much patience, I begin to talk to her. She is crying so much that I can hardly understand what she wants to say. I already knew as soon as the big double doors of the church opened, that something terrible had happened. When the woman calms down a bit, I can finally understand what she says: “The director! He is dead! When I came to church this morning to clean everything and prepare for worship, I found him lying dead in his office on the floor. I do not know whether someone killed him or if he died of a heart attack. But he’s dead!” Again, she sobs and weeps bitterly. Suddenly, it comes to my mind with burning intensity: “THE CHURCH BOOK! My God, maybe they wanted to steal the church book!”

Meanwhile, other brethren arrive, and we take the woman under our arms and go back to the church as fast as her crying allows. Immediately, with excitement and great anxiety, we run into the office of the director. Indeed, he is lying dead on the floor. But I cannot see any blood. He is lying face down. The church book is still on the shelves. We pull out the heavy, leather bound book, and put it on the director’s desk and begin to search for the entry from the Sabbath seven days before. It takes a long time for us to turn the big, heavy pages. Each page is written in two columns. We finally find the beginning of the entry—it is on the right page in the right column, starting approximately in the lower third.

It reads “Church Conference 18XX” in big, black letters. (I could not see the exact year, because the characters were kind of blurred. I indicate that by the XX in the year.)

Under this heading is a list of names of those present, all of which I have forgotten. Behind each name is the occupation of the participant. I wonder again at how antiquated the job titles are. There is a lawyer, a pastor, a carpenter and a housewife. I either do not see more, or just forgot it.

The list of attendees ends right at the end of the right page in the second column where it says: “On this day, the following highly important events happened in this house:”

We quickly turn the page. And then we realize that a large rectangular piece has been torn out from the next page. The entire left column is missing, where the events and the new light that we all had received were recorded. We are all scared to death. Suddenly, the woman says, “My God, I saw a piece of paper of that shape this morning at the door of the director’s office, struck with a nail. Maybe it’s still there!” All of us turn to the door and examine both sides. The paper is no longer there. Where the nail was, one sees only a small hole on the outside of the door to the director’s office.

Again, I turn to all the others. I see that their faces are no longer shining. The woman weeps bitterly again. I know what happened today hit her so hard, that she will never forget it for the rest of her life.

Then I look down at myself and my clothes suddenly begin to change. I see everything as if in slow motion, when my knickerbockers change back to my everyday blue trousers and the scratching of the woolen socks stops. My shoes turn back to my work shoes for the farm and now I wear a lightweight summer shirt. Suddenly I hear a loud voice from above and just behind me. Immediately I realize that this was the direction in which I had seen the giant wooden cross in the auditorium. The voice was great and loud, but not unpleasant and solemnly proclaims, “And now it’s your turn!”

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