The Last Countdown

Originally published on Monday, 08 March 2010 00:56 in German at www.letztercountdown.org

The first vision of Ellen G. White, and one subsequent vision, in which she saw the proclamation of the "day and the hour of Jesus' coming" is the key for understanding why the message of the Clock of God in Orion is the only exception to all of the warnings of the Spirit of Prophecy against time setting past 1844. She herself states in her very first vision (whether she was aware of it or not) that this exception will occur near the end of the investigative judgment with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, or the Latter Rain. But there is a subsequent vision of 1847 which obviously speaks about the proclamation of the day and the hour at the end of the plagues.

Instead of studying the two visions in depth, Adventists have for a long time assumed that the timing of the announcement in the first vision is the same moment as in the second vision, and therefore they place the announcement of the day and the hour of Jesus' coming at the end of the plagues. But this cannot be correct because it results in major contradictions in the sequence of the final events in the first vision. The problem can only be solved by a deep study of both visions.

Indeed, each of the visions add different details at different points in the flow of end time events, and these have to be compared in their exact order as they appear in both visions to get the whole picture and for both visions to fit together harmoniously.

To make the point clearer, and to show where the "day and hour" differences are in the first and second visions, I laid them out in a table for comparison. All of the sentences of the visions are kept in their original order, and nothing is left out. With this table you can study for yourself when and why the 144,000 get the message of the "day and the hour" of Jesus' second coming with the outpouring of the Latter Rain.

 

First Vision ever, Dec. 1844 (with "day and hour") Second Vision with "day and hour" 1847 Comments
While I was praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell upon me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. The Lord gave me the following view in 1847, while the brethren were assembled on the Sabbath, at Topsham, Maine. {EW 32.1}
We felt an unusual spirit of prayer. And as we prayed the Holy Ghost fell upon us. We were very happy. Soon I was lost to earthly things and was wrapped in a vision of God's glory.
These two visions are the only visions that Ellen White ever had where the day and the hour were announced.
I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them, when a voice said to me, "Look again, and look a little higher." At this I raised my eyes, and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the city, which was at the farther end of the path.   Prologue of first vision begins: The pathway to heaven traveled by the Advent people.
They had a bright light set up behind them at the beginning of the path, which an angel told me was the midnight cry. This light shone all along the path and gave light for their feet so that they might not stumble.   The light behind them, the Midnight Cry, marks the beginning of the pathway:
22nd Oct. of 1844.
The beginning of Investigative Judgment.
If they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the city, they were safe. But soon some grew weary, and said the city was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus would encourage them by raising His glorious right arm, and from His arm came a light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted, "Alleluia!"
Others rashly denied the light behind them and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below.
I saw an angel flying swiftly to me. He quickly carried me from the earth to the Holy City. In the city I saw a temple, which I entered. I passed through a door before I came to the first veil. This veil was raised, and I passed into the holy place. Here I saw the altar of incense, the candlestick with seven lamps, and the table on which was the shewbread. After viewing the glory of the holy, Jesus raised the second veil and I passed into the holy of holies. {EW 32.2}
In the holiest I saw an ark; on the top and sides of it was purest gold. On each end of the ark was a lovely cherub, with its wings spread out over it. Their faces were turned toward each other, and they looked downward. Between the angels was a golden censer. Above the ark, where the angels stood, was an exceeding bright glory, that appeared like a throne where God dwelt. Jesus stood by the ark, and as the saints' prayers came up to Him, the incense in the censer would smoke, and He would offer up their prayers with the smoke of the incense to His Father. In the ark was the golden pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of stone which folded together like a book. Jesus opened them, and I saw the ten commandments written on them with the finger of God. On one table were four, and on the other six. The four on the first table shone brighter than the other six. But the fourth, the Sabbath commandment, shone above them all; for the Sabbath was set apart to be kept in honor of God's holy name. The holy Sabbath looked glorious--a halo of glory was all around it. I saw that the Sabbath commandment was not nailed to the cross. If it was, the other nine commandments were; and we are at liberty to break them all, as well as to break the fourth. I saw that God had not changed the Sabbath, for He never changes. But the pope had changed it from the seventh to the first day of the week; for he was to change times and laws. {EW 32.3}
And I saw that if God had changed the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day, He would have changed the writing of the Sabbath commandment, written on the tables of stone, which are now in the ark in the most holy place of the temple in heaven; and it would read thus: The first day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. But I saw that it read the same as when written on the tables of stone by the finger of God, and delivered to Moses on Sinai. "But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers; and that the Sabbath is the great question to unite the hearts of God's dear, waiting saints. {EW 33.1} I saw that God had children who do not see and keep the Sabbath. They have not rejected the light upon it.
Prologue of the second vision begins:
The special light that comes from Jesus' "right arm" is:

1. The Sabbath
2. The health message

This is the third angel's message. Both doctrines accompany the Advent people along the pathway. And those who do not believe and guard it fall off the path.

Both visions' prologues reach up to here. It is about the faithfulness of God's people to the doctrines of the fathers (Midnight Cry), the Sabbath, and the Health Reform.

So far not a word about Latter Rain, Loud Cry or Tribulation. The theme in both visions is just doctrine and faithfulness along the pathway and not to lose sight of Jesus.
Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming.   Suddenly, almost unexpectedly, we hear the voice of God "like many waters" which announces the day and the hour of Jesus' coming in the first vision.
 
And, behold, the glory of the God [the throne of God] of Israel came from the way of the east [Orion]: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. Eze 43:2
The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake.   And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps. Rev 14:2

The sealing scene of the 144,000 is connected with this verse of Rev. 14:2.
When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai. {EW 14.1} And at the commencement of the time of trouble, we were filled with the Holy Ghost as we went forth and proclaimed the Sabbath more fully. This is now the most important point. "WHEN GOD SPOKE THE TIME, HE POURED UPON US THE HOLY GHOST"

This is parallel with the second vision and marks the beginning of the time of trouble.

There are two phases: The "little" time of trouble before the door of mercy is shut, and the "great" time of trouble after the door of mercy is shut; the time of the plagues.

Only in the "little" time of trouble will the Sabbath be preached one very last time to call out the rest of the remnant still in Babylon. This is called: The Loud Cry (see second vision).

The 144,000 will receive the Holy Spirit in the "little" time of trouble in order to finish the great commission with the "Loud Cry". And in the comparison of the two visions, we see that this is connected with a message that includes the "day and the hour" of Jesus' coming.

The Loud Cry will start when the 144,000 become aware that the Sunday Law is about to be declared in the U.S.
The 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united.   The Loud Cry leads to the completion of the sealing of all the 144,000. They are perfectly united in one faith.
On their foreheads was written, God, New Jerusalem, and a glorious star containing Jesus' new name.   They have just three thoughts: Faithfulness to Jesus (Sabbath), the New Jerusalem (the Second Coming) and the Orion message because it reveals Jesus' new name.
At our happy, holy state the wicked were enraged, This enraged the churches and nominal Adventists, as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time God's chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us. Now during the Loud Cry (and this is pure Adventist doctrine) the wicked become angry, because the 144,000 will mightily call out the remnant.
Therefore violent persecution starts.
  I saw the sword, famine, pestilence, and great confusion in the land. At the same time we have natural disasters, famine, and pestilences on the earth.
and would rush violently up to lay hands on us to thrust us into prison,   In the first vision we have both parts of tribulation in one sentence with two parts:
1. Little Time of Trouble begins: Prison, no death decree. We can go to jail and many will still die as martyrs because the door of mercy is still open.
when we would stretch forth the hand in the name of the Lord, and they would fall helpless to the ground. 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. {EW 33.2}
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.
2. Great Time of Trouble begins: Death decree.

We will be protected by angels and the wicked cannot kill us anymore. It would not make sense anymore for even one martyr to die, because nobody would be saved since the door of mercy was shut.
  Then we all cried day and night for deliverance, and the cry came up before God. "The time of Jacob's trouble" in the second vision. We are definitely already in the great time of trouble, as we already said!
  The sun came up, and the moon stood still. The streams ceased to flow. The plagues:

The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.
Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger.
Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. Hab 3:11-13
  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.. In another vision of EGW we have more details for this special moment:

Dark, heavy clouds came up and clashed against each other. The atmosphere parted and rolled back; then we could look up through the open space in Orion, whence came the voice of God. The Holy City will come down through that open space. I saw that the powers of earth are now being shaken and that events come in order. War, and rumors of war, sword, famine, and pestilence are first to shake the powers of earth, then the voice of God will shake the sun, moon, and stars, and this earth also. I saw that the shaking of the powers in Europe is not, as some teach, the shaking of the powers of heaven, but it is the shaking of the angry nations. {EW 41.2}
  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.. Now we hear for the second time the "day and the hour".

Why two times? The first time it was a promise, from the understanding of the Orion Message, to give us hope and the knowledge of how long we would have to endure tribulation, and also to show us anew the lost pillars of our faith and to unite the 144,000 with them.

Now the faithful ones get the everlasting covenant (2 * 12) delivered. The 12 tribes of ancient Israel and the 12 tribes of spiritual Israel.

This is also when the special resurrection happens; and all who died proclaiming the message of the third angel are resurrected.

Please note, there is NO WORD about the Holy Spirit anymore, because He was already poured out before the beginning of the little time of trouble!
Then it was that the synagogue of Satan knew that God had loved us who could wash one another's feet and salute the brethren with a holy kiss, and they worshiped at our feet. {EW 15.1}1} 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. Then commenced the jubilee, when the land should rest. I saw the pious slave rise in triumph and victory and shake off the chains that bound him, while his wicked master was in confusion and knew not what to do; for the wicked could not understand the words of the voice of God. Now the wicked understand. They see the "shining faces" of the saints and know who was always right.

The synagogue of Satan, are those of Sardis who did not believe that the 144,000 had the truth. (And of course they did not believe in the Orion Message.)

Remark: The "holy kiss" is an allegory to show which church is forming the last church of God: Philadelphia, which means "Brotherly Love".
Soon our eyes were drawn to the east, for a small black cloud had appeared, about half as large as a man's hand, which we all knew was the sign of the Son of man. Soon appeared the great white cloud. It looked more lovely than ever before. On it sat the Son of man. At first we did not see Jesus on the cloud, but as it drew near the earth we could behold His lovely person. This cloud, when it first appeared, was the sign of the Son of man in heaven. Now at last the cloud appears at Jesus' second coming. Both visions parallel each other.
We all in solemn silence gazed on the cloud as it drew nearer and became lighter, glorious, and still more glorious, till it was a great white cloud. The bottom appeared like fire; a rainbow was over the cloud, while around it were ten thousand angels, singing a most lovely song; and upon it sat the Son of man. His hair was white and curly and lay on His shoulders; and upon His head were many crowns. His feet had the appearance of fire; in His right hand was a sharp sickle; in His left, a silver trumpet. His eyes were as a flame of fire, which searched His children through and through. Then all faces gathered paleness, and those that God had rejected gathered blackness. Then we all cried out, "Who shall be able to stand? Is my robe spotless?"
Then the angels ceased to sing, and there was some time of awful silence, when Jesus spoke: "Those who have clean hands and pure hearts shall be able to stand; My grace is sufficient for you." At this our faces lighted up, and joy filled every heart. And the angels struck a note higher and sang again, while the cloud drew still nearer the earth. {EW 15.2}
  The seventh seal begins.
Then Jesus' silver trumpet sounded, as He descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazed on the graves of the e sleeping saints, then raised His eyes and hands to heaven, and cried, "Awake! awake! awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise." Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The voice of the Son of God called forth the sleeping saints, clothed with glorious immortality. The Seventh Trumpet and the resurrection of all who died in faith to Jesus, a big part of the great multitude.
The 144,000 shouted, "Alleluia!" as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. {EW 16.1} The living saints were changed in a moment and were caught up with them into the cloudy chariot. The living saints are clothed with immortality.
We all entered the cloud together, and were seven days ascending to the sea of glass, when Jesus brought the crowns, and with His own right hand placed them on our heads. He gave us harps of gold and palms of victory. Here on the sea of glass the 144,000 stood in a perfect square. Some of them had very bright crowns, others not so bright. Some crowns appeared heavy with stars, while others had but few. All were perfectly satisfied with their crowns. And they were all clothed with a glorious white mantle from their shoulders to their feet. Angels were all about us as we marched over the sea of glass to the gate of the city. Jesus raised His mighty, glorious arm, laid hold of the pearly gate, swung it back on its glittering hinges, and said to us, "You have washed your robes in My blood, stood stiffly for My truth, enter in." We all marched in and felt that we had a perfect right in the city. {EW 16.2} It looked all over glorious as it rolled upward. On either side of the chariot were wings, and beneath it wheels. And as the chariot rolled upward, the wheels cried, "Holy," and the wings, as they moved, cried, "Holy," and the retinue of holy angels around the cloud cried, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!" And the saints in the cloud cried, "Glory! Alleluia!" And the chariot rolled upward to the Holy City. Jesus threw open the gates of the golden city and led us in. Here we were made welcome, for we had kept the "commandments of God," and had a "right to the tree of life." The travel of the saints in "the chariot" to the sea of glass in Orion.

Crowning of the saints by Jesus.

Entering the golden city.

Right to the tree of life.
Here we saw the tree of life and the throne of God. Out of the throne came a pure river of water, and on either side of the river was the tree of life. On one side of the river was a trunk of a tree, and a trunk on the other side of the river, both of pure, transparent gold. At first I thought I saw two trees. I looked again, and saw that they were united at the top in one tree. So it was the tree of life on either side of the river of life. Its branches bowed to the place where we stood, and the fruit was glorious; it looked like gold mixed with silver. {EW 17.1}
...
  Epilogue of first vision with details of the tree of life and heaven.

 

Explanations and Remarks

1. Vision 1: "Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming." {EW 14.1}

The word "soon" in this context is very rare. Could this scene, as many Adventists believe so far, take place at the end of the plagues? "Soon" could not express the feelings of the saints after the plagues because they would be desperately waiting for their Lord's coming in the clouds. "Soon" is expressing that an event occurs

a) earlier than expected, or
b) that it had in no way been expected.

Neither of those possible meanings of the word "soon" could possibly apply at the end of the time of the plagues. See the following quote of Ellen G. White:

They are waiting the word of their Commander to snatch them from their peril. But they must wait yet a little longer. The people of God must drink of the cup, and be baptized with the baptism. The very delay, so painful to them, is the best answer to their petitions. As they endeavor to wait trustingly for the Lord to work, they are led to exercise faith, hope, and patience, which have been too little exercised during their religious experience. ... {GC 630.2}

The word "soon" cannot be used in a context where the saints are awaiting desperately the coming of the Lord at the end of the plagues.

2. Great Controversy, 630.2: "But they must wait yet a little longer. The people of God must drink of the cup, and be baptized with the baptism. The very delay, so painful to them, is the best answer to their petitions."

Now in the last quote we read something astonishing: "The very delay, so painful to them"... What is a delay? The word delay is used if something is postponed or deferred. But this is only possible if we first have a fixed date from which we can say that it was postponed or deferred. Ellen White cannot speak here about a situation after the proclamation of the day and the hour at the end of the time of plagues, because then the "holy covenant" will be already delivered and there is no more any delay.

The "delay" must relate to a promise that was given before. The saints expected Jesus at a fixed date. They already had the day and the hour of Jesus' coming. But now, He delays another short time...hopefully! The delay is painful to them, because they expected Jesus earlier. And this can only relate to the message of the day and the hour at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in vision 1 before tribulation started: The Orion Message.

3. Vision 1: "When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai." {EW 14.1}

Just reading this verse alone, it could be the time of:

a) the Latter Rain, because the Holy Ghost is poured out, or
b) the glorification of the saints at the end of the time of plagues when Jesus comes again (as most Adventists believe).

In vision 2 we do not read that the Holy Spirit is being poured out again; and we know for sure that we only have the 'early and latter' rains in the Bible. There is no scriptural evidence for us to think that the Holy Spirit is poured out three times.

But there is still more evidence that this moment cannot be the same moment in vision 2. The point in time of the first announcement of the day and hour is defined a little later in the text of vision 1 very clearly in the order of the last day events. If we follow vision 1 phrase by phrase until the moment of the announcement of the day and hour, we do not see a single word about the tribulation beforehand. There is just a description of the pathway to heaven, admonition to keep the doctrines, and to be faithful to Jesus.

The key is in the subsequent phrases of vision 1...

The 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united. On their foreheads was written, God, New Jerusalem, and a glorious star containing Jesus' new name. At our happy, holy state the wicked were enraged, and would rush violently up to lay hands on us to thrust us into prison, when we would stretch forth the hand in the name of the Lord, and they would fall helpless to the ground.

This is doubtlessly speaking about the persecution of the saints. Now read again and discover why the persecution comes? It comes because of the holy state of the saints. And what is it that brings this happy, holy state? It is...receiving the day and hour and the Holy Spirit (sealing) beforehand. This is the opposite order of events as in vision 2 that states as follows:

This enraged the churches and nominal Adventists, as they could not refute the Sabbath truth. And at this time God's chosen all saw clearly that we had the truth, and they came out and endured the persecution with us. 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. {EW 33.2}
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. ... 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.

Here the persecution comes first and then the announcement of the day and the hour. This is the only time that most Adventists have accepted and they are applying it to both visions. But the sequence of events and also the causes of the events are different!

Indeed in vision 1 the announcement of the day and the hour causes persecution. And in vision 2 the proclamation terminates persecution!

4. Read on in vision 2: "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. Then commenced the jubilee, when the land should rest."

We are informed at first that the wicked cannot even look on the saints anymore because of the glory they reflect. How could they try to lay hands on them, if they cannot even look upon them anymore? Then, this is definitely at the end of tribulation because also the shout of victory (!) can be heard. And in vision 1, we read nothing about victory after the proclamation of the day and the hour, but that tribulation starts because of it, as we have read in the first vision:

The 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united. On their foreheads was written, God, New Jerusalem, and a glorious star containing Jesus' new name. At our happy, holy state the wicked were enraged, and would rush violently up to lay hands on us to thrust us into prison, when we would stretch forth the hand in the name of the Lord, and they would fall helpless to the ground.

Compare vision 2! There is no tribulation anymore after the proclamation of the day and the hour:

"I saw the pious slave rise in triumph and victory and shake off the chains that bound him, while his wicked master was in confusion and knew not what to do; for the wicked could not understand the words of the voice of God.
Soon appeared the great white cloud. It looked more lovely than ever before. On it sat the Son of man. At first we did not see Jesus on the cloud, but as it drew near the earth we could behold His lovely person. This cloud, when it first appeared, was the sign of the Son of man in heaven.

We have to be fair and finally admit, like the majority of our church brethren, that we have inspired evidence that we have "at least" a contradiction between the two visions.

5. Now it's on us to solve the problem of the obvious contradiction in the two visions!

May I suggest two possibilities?

Possibility #1: Ellen White is proven a false prophet! I personally do not believe this! And the more horrible consequence of this possibility would be that the whole Seventh-day Adventist denomination which believes in and exists because of the Spirit of Prophecy, Ellen G. White, would lose its prophetic base and finally terminate. Whoever chooses this possibility just to avoid possibility number 2 is definitely not an Adventist anymore.

Possibility #2: The day and the hour will be announced two times. The first time as a promise before tribulation starts with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (as stated in vision 1) to refresh God's people with the great hope that Jesus is with them and even let them know just how long the tribulation will take. And the second time, ending tribulation, delivering the "holy covenant" and glorifying His people.

I personally hope that most of the readers will choose possibility #2 and go on with their studies about the Clock of God in Orion, which He placed there to give us not only a message of the day and hour, but more so to guide us to repentance, show us how He sees sin, and what the pillars of faith are that we must reestablish in our lives to gain the victory.

Therefore, the Orion Message is NOT TIME SETTING. It is the only exception to all the wrong time setting messages. The day and hour will be given only twice in human history: Once at the outpouring of the Latter Rain, with a message that still has to be believed because it is "just" a written message even though it was written in the heavens with the finger of God, so that whoever reads it, believes it, takes the message seriously, and leaves Babylon will belong to the 144,000. And once again the day and hour will be given the second and last time when Jesus is already appearing and the plagues come to an end. Everybody will be sure at this last announcement of the day and hour that the end has come, because this announcement will come out of the mouth of Jesus Himself.

Addendum

[September 17, 2013]

Recently, I got a letter from another person who wanted to refute the Orion Message. Apparently he pounced on this article because it looked like easy game, and he thought that he could simply show an alternative to the two possibilities listed under the 5th point and it would be sufficient to disprove the Orion Message. (Never mind that he completely ignored the arguments presented in this article.)

Gerhard Pfandl of the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists also took a similar approach, publishing his flimsy response to the church body without ever even bothering to contact the source. I don’t know whether to wonder more that such a scholar pawned such poor research upon the people, or that the people tolerate such insults to their intelligence!

The first fundamental flaw in any such approach is that the person sets out with the goal to disprove something they have already rejected based on their own human understanding, instead of setting out with the goal to seek the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit and be open to a finer revelation of truth.

The evidence that the opposition uses against this article is a letter wherein Ellen White refers to her visions about the announcement of the day and hour. She quotes part of the 1847 vision and then states that the 1844 vision refers "to the same time." (The letter is in Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, p. 176)

The recent critic I mentioned considers that statement to be "incontrovertible proof" when in fact it is not. The expression "the same time" as it is used in that sentence could be (and I say is) referring to the time period that the visions depict, not just to a specific moment in time. She was not saying that the announcement of the day and hour in particular was at the same time, but that the visions cover the same time period. Thus, the "incontrovertible proof" turns out to be ambiguous after all, and rests on the supposition that Ellen White meant something that she did not actually express.

The bigger problem with the argument, however, is that it ignores the evidence that the shining of the saints' faces (and thus the announcement of the day and hour) must happen at different points in time. It assumes that harmony can be found if the two events are treated as one, despite the evidence to the contrary.  Any argument that the two events are one should carefully address those points.

Furthermore, the honest student of the Spirit of Prophecy owes it to himself to harmonize the following quote (treated in the next article). It shows that the time of trouble is definitely sandwiched between two separate occurrences of shining faces, exactly as this article explained:

At the transfiguration, Jesus was glorified by His Father. We hear Him say: “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.” Thus before His betrayal and crucifixion He was strengthened for His last dreadful sufferings. As the members of the body of Christ approach the period of their last conflict, “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” they will grow up into Christ, and will partake largely of His spirit. As the third message swells to a loud cry, and as great power and glory attend the closing work, the faithful people of God will partake of that glory. It is the latter rain which revives and strengthens them to pass through the time of trouble. Their faces will shine with the glory of that light which attends the third angel.

I saw that God will in a wonderful manner preserve His people through the time of trouble. As Jesus poured out His soul in agony in the garden, they will earnestly cry and agonize day and night for deliverance. The decree will go forth that they must disregard the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and honor the first day, or lose their lives; but they will not yield, and trample under their feet the Sabbath of the Lord, and honor an institution of papacy. Satan’s host and wicked men will surround them, and exult over them, because there will seem to be no way of escape for them. But in the midst of their revelry and triumph, there is heard peal upon peal of the loudest thunder. The heavens have gathered blackness, and are only illuminated by the blazing light and terrible glory from heaven, as God utters His voice from His holy habitation.

The foundations of the earth shake; buildings totter and fall with a terrible crash. The sea boils like a pot, and the whole earth is in terrible commotion. The captivity of the righteous is turned, and with sweet and solemn whisperings they say to one another: “We are delivered. It is the voice of God.” With solemn awe they listen to the words of the voice. The wicked hear, but understand not the words of the voice of God. They fear and tremble, while the saints rejoice. Satan and his angels, and wicked men, who had been exulting that the people of God were in their power, that they might destroy them from off the earth, witness the glory conferred upon those who have honored the holy law of God. They behold the faces of the righteous lighted up and reflecting the image of Jesus. Those who were so eager to destroy the saints cannot endure the glory resting upon the delivered ones, and they fall like dead men to the earth. Satan and evil angels flee from the presence of the saints glorified. Their power to annoy them is gone forever.

(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 353-354)

The above quote shows that there are two definite and distinct points in time (one at the beginning of the time of trouble and one at the end) when the faces of the saints shine. All a person needs to do is figure out how the events in the two visions correspond to these two times. There are not many possibilities, and only one that makes sense: the first time their faces shine corresponds to the shining faces of the 1844 vision, and the second time corresponds to the shining faces of the 1847 vision.

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