1. Ellen White claimed the first angel's message was sounded in 1844 fulfilling prophecy, but was it really fulfilled in 1844?
The Bible clearly says the angelic messages of Revelation 14 were to be proclaimed....
"...to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people"
Was the Millerite message of the soon return of Christ delivered to every nation, kindred,
tongue, and people in 1844?
Not according to Joshua V. Himes. Next to William Miller, Joshua Himes was the foremost leader of the 1844 movement. No one was in a better position to assess the progress of the 1844 movement than Elder Himes. Note carefully what Himes wrote after the Great Disappointment:
"...the cry of the seventh month was a local and partial one. It was confined to this country..."13
Himes went on in the article to say that the "cry" produced no effect in Europe whatsoever. Himes knew what he was talking about. He had directed this movement. He had traveled all over the Northeastern United States promoting the movement. He was in contact with England. If anyone was in a position to assess the progress of the movement, it was Himes.14
The historical facts show that the Millerite Movement was largely confined to the Northeastern United States. There is scant evidence that it ever made much penetration into the southern or western United States, let alone the entire world! There was a small interest in the message in southeastern Canada, and perhaps 2,000 to 3,000 followers in Britain. There were a handful of believers in a few scattered places in Europe, but the message really only caught on in the Northeastern United States where it garnered perhaps 50,000 adherents.
Although the message was carried out to a few missionary
stations, it is a complete falsehood to claim this was a worldwide message that went to every nation, tongue, and people! In 1844 there were approximately 1,250,000,000 people living on earth. There is little or no evidence that this message ever reached the following peoples:
- 17 Million in the Southern U.S.A. and Western U.S.A./Canada
- 110 Million in Africa (this was before David Livingstone opened Africa)
- 36 Million in Latin America and the Caribbean
- 800 Million in China, Japan, Philippines, Southeast Asia, India, Pakistan, and the Middle East
- 275 Million in Russia and the rest of Europe
Of the 1.25 billion people on the earth, only approximately 12 million in the Northeastern United States, Southeastern Canada, and London, even had the opportunity of hearing Millerite preaching, and there is no way to tell how many of them actually heard the message. Therefore, less than 1% of the world's population had a chance of hearing Miller's message--nearly all of whom spoke English! Even in the year 2013, the gospel message has not yet penetrated every language group in the world. How could a message that reached less than one percent of the world's population--mainly English speakers--be a fulfillment of a prophecy that was to go "to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people"? The 1844 Movement could not possibly have fulfilled the first and second angels' messages of Revelation 14, which describe a worldwide message reaching every nation, every language, and every ethnic group!
2. What is the Judgment of the First Angel's Message?
In 1844, the Millerites proclaimed that the hour of God's judgment, as described in Rev. 14:7, had commenced: "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come." What did they understand this judgment to be? They understood it to be the judgment of God upon the wicked. This is the only valid interpretation possible from the text of Revelation 14. The judgment of God upon the wicked is the focal point of the whole chapter.
The "judgment" announced by the first angel in Rev. 14:7 refers to the wrath of God being visited upon the wicked. The wrath of the judgment is then described potently in the subsequent verses of the chapter. This is what all the Millerites taught and believed.
After 1844, however, the Adventists faced a dilemma. The wrath of God did not commence as expected in 1844. How could they continue to claim the First Angel's Message had been fulfilled when the judgment upon the wicked did not occur? In order to explain away this obvious failure, they concocted a theory that the judgment referred to an investigative judgment that took place in Heaven, not upon earth. The investigative judgment, rather than being an execution of justice upon the wicked, envisions a court-room procedure where God ponders the fate of every soul and makes a decision upon each case. This "court-room" investigation is not found anywhere in Revelation 14. Nevertheless, the Adventists adopted this teaching because, even though it violated the context of the passage, it allowed them to have a "judgment" commence in 1844 while at the same time allowing them to continue claiming the first two angels' messages had already sounded.
It is impossible for a person to sit down with their Bible, read Revelation 14, and come up with an investigative judgment. If there is any doubt, read the following quotes and ask yourself this question: Do these verses describe a courtroom-like investigative judgment of the righteous or do they describe the execution of a judgment of wrath upon sinners?
- vs. 10 - "drink of the wine of wrath"
- vs. 10 - "cup of His indignation"
- vs. 10 - "shall be tormented with fire and brimstone"
- vs. 11 - "smoke of their torment shall ascend"
- vs. 19 - "threw it into the great winepress of God's wrath"
- vs. 20 - "winepress was trampled"
- vs. 20 - "blood came out of the winepress"
How could these verses possibly be describing an investigative judgment??? The fact that Revelation 14 is describing a judgment upon the wicked is yet another proof that the first and second angels' messages were not fulfilled in 1844.
3. Are all the Protestant Churches Babylon?
The most appalling aspect of Seventh-day Adventism is its treatment of other Christian denominations. According to Adventism, non-Adventist churches made the dreadful mistake of rejecting William Miller. Therefore, God has rejected them, their prayers are "useless", and they are under the influence of Satan. It is mind-boggling to try and understand the total lack of common sense in this philosophy! First, the Protestant churches were absolutely correct in rejecting Miller's setting of times for Christ's return. These Christians did not reject William Miller because they did not love Christ or want Him to return. They rejected William Miller for four very good reasons:
- Christ stated plainly, "But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matt. 24:36)
- Time-setting is a device the devil uses to stir up fanaticism, and it always ends in disappointment and failure.
- The gospel message had not yet penetrated even half of the world. Jesus had said, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matt. 24:14)
- Many Bible prophecies had not yet come to fulfillment in 1844.
Those are some pretty strong Biblical reasons for rejecting Millerism! Protestants were absolutely right in rejecting Miller. So, why would God punish them for being correct? Why would God reject Protestant churches when they were right and the Adventists were the ones who were wrong?
For the last 160 years Adventists have spent the vast majority of their efforts and resources aimed at recruiting members from other Christian churches. On more than one occasion it has been reported that SDA missionaries, rather than attempting to convert the heathens, will try to win converts from natives that have already been converted to Christianity through the efforts of other non-SDA missionaries. This is because Adventists view all other churches as "fallen" or "Babylon" and they see it as their special mission to call people out of Babylon. This teaching seriously distorts the purpose of the gospel message.
4. What is the Third Message?
Ellen White makes it very clear that the mission of the SDA Church is to recruit believers from the Sunday-keeping churches so that they will not receive the Mark of the Beast. Mrs. White writes,
...the churches were left as were the Jews; and they have been filling up with every unclean and hateful bird. I saw great iniquity and vileness in the churches; yet they profess to be christians. Their profession, their prayers and their exhortations, are an abomination in the sight of God. Said the angel, God will not smell in their assemblies. Selfishness, fraud and deceit are practiced by them without the reprovings of conscience. And over all these evil traits they throw the cloak of religion. I was shown the pride of the nominal churches. God was not in their thoughts; but their carnal minds dwell upon themselves. They decorate their poor mortal bodies, and then look upon themselves with satisfaction and pleasure. Jesus and the angels looked upon them in anger. Said the angel, Their sins and pride have reached unto heaven. Their portion is prepared. Justice and judgment have slumbered long, but will soon awake. Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, saith the Lord. The fearful threatenings of the third angel are to be realized, and they will drink the wrath of God. An innumerable host of evil angels are spreading themselves over the whole land. The churches and religious bodies are crowded with them.15
Notice Ellen White's assessment of non-SDA Churches:
- They were rejected by God just as the Jews were rejected
- They are full of vileness
- Their prayers are an abomination
- God's presence is gone from their assemblies
- Jesus and the angels are angry with them
- They will suffer the wrath of God
- They are crowded with evil angels
Instead of viewing communism, atheism, heathenism, paganism, and Islam as being major threats to their religious liberty, Seventh-day Adventists view other Christians as the main threat to their liberty and consider them to be under the influence of Satan. Many unsuspecting individuals are not told this up front during SDA evangelistic crusades. Only later do they find out the incredible bigotry and animosity of a church that holds every other Christian church in the utmost contempt. For fear of bad publicity, these teachings are not prominently promoted by the SDA Church today, but they are nevertheless the underpinning of the church's philosophy. It is this "context" that warps and distorts the SDA presentation of the gospel message.
In fact, one might question how committed the SDA Church is to the gospel message. By the church's own admission, the organization was caught up in the chains of legalism for the first 25 years of their existence. One Adventist scholar laments:
In early Seventh-day Adventist sermons, books, and periodicals there is but scant mention of justification by faith and salvation by grace."16
It was not until 1888 that the message of Justification by Faith was prominently taught in the SDA Church by A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner. Even then, some of the leading brethren fought against the message, and even today it is still being debated as to whether or not the church ever fully accepted it. It is astonishing that the SDA sect can claim that all other churches are led by Satan, when those very churches were the ones preaching a true understanding of the foremost Christian doctrine--Justification by Faith--for a quarter of a century while the SDA Church was caught up in the chains of legalism!