FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
August 28, 2015
Bible Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XIII
TIME-SETTING AFTER 1844 HAVE, AND WILL FAIL IN PREDICTIONS (Continued)
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. 1 Timothy 4:1, K.J.V.
Our minds and senses are daily being bombarded with a wild onslaught of unprecedented distractions, attractions, deceptions, and temptations which were prophesied to take place in “the latter days” which include false prophecies and its fanciful interpretations relating to time and specific individuals as being the Antichrist, etc.
Doubtless, this is the generation that the prophets were shown and wrote about living in the closing hours of earth’s probation since after 1844, the beginning of the investigative judgment in heaven. Yet how few in the Christian world and even among the remnant, at this late hour really understand its awful nature and are rearranging priorities around it; or worse, even want hear about it. They ridicule the humble messengers who raise these specific warning as fanatics and trouble-makers. Such was the attitude towards God’s prophets and messengers of yore:
“Now as in former ages, the presentation of a truth that reproves the sins and errors of the times will excite opposition. ‘Everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.’ John 3: 20. As men see that they cannot maintain their position by the Scriptures, many determine to maintain it at all hazards, and with a malicious spirit they assail the characters and motives of those who stand in defense of unpopular truth. It has been the same policy which has been pursued in all ages. Elijah was declared to be a troubler in Israel [1 Kings 18:17], Jeremiah a traitor [Jer. 37: 12-18], Paul a polluter of the temple [Acts 16: 20; 21: 28]. From that day to this, those who would be loyal to truth have been denounced as seditious, heretical, or schismatic. Multitudes who are too unbelieving to accept the sure word of prophecy will receive with unquestioning credulity an accusation against those who dare reprovefashionable sins. This spirit will increase more and more. And the Bible plainly teaches that a time is approaching when the laws of the state will so conflict with the law of God that whosoever will obey all the divine precepts must brave reproach and punishment as an evildoer.” – E. G. White, Great Controversy, (1911), pp. 458-9.
It is those who persistently reject the light of truth that Paul addresses the following:
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion [those who did not love the truth], that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2: 8-12, N.K.J.V.
Like the Jewish nation when Christ, the promised “seed” of Genesis 3: 15 and the Messiah—the Anointed One, finally appeared before them and made His impassioned plea with tears in His voice, demonstrating before their very eyes for three and half years every single prophecy regarding Him in His life, words, works, and miracles, yet “they knew not their time of visitation.” Luke 19: 44. They knew who He was. John the Baptist, as prophesied by Isaiah and Malachi prepared the way for His introduction to His own people so that through them Christ would be introduced as the world’s Redeemer. But they rejected Him because they cherished false prophecies that catered to their carnal desires for earthly greatness and riches, not a kingdom of righteousness as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. They desired His power, as demonstrated in His countless miracles but not His self-denying character. Many false prophets, religious leaders, and scholars kept predicting, and still do to this very moment that the Messiah is yet to come. Sadly the record for eternity stands as stated in the Gospels. “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came to His own and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1: 10, 11, K.J.V.
To those who, by God’s grace, exert every effort to zone out Satan’s alluring ideas and gimmickry, and focus on studying the grandeur of the sanctuary doctrine explaining in glorious detail the plan of redemption in type and antitype in the Old and New Testaments, in connection with the chronologically-arranged time prophecies within the 2300-day prophecy of Daniel 8: 14, and the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14—earth’s final warning messages–these dizzying global developments and unprecedented changes in the physical, political, financial, and religious realms, stumping even the experts of these major realms and layers of human endeavor, these do not come as a surprise. On the other hand, they rekindle their hopes and reaffirm their faith in the Biblical soundness of the Pioneer View of the pillars of present truth established through a humble, all-consuming desire to know God’s will and to do it, much prayer, tears, and diligent and orderly study.
Their peace of heart and mind, however, are mingled with deep concern over fellow Christians, including the remnant who are supposed to have the advanced light of the third angel’s message. Why? Many yet entertain vague ideas of the prophecies, are either confused or deceived as to the real significance of the rapidity with which the papacy under Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope, dubbed “the media darling,” is fulfilling John’s prophecy of Revelation 13.
This past weekend, a woman in her late sixties who survived a major heart attack but has recovered well enough to drive herself around told me that her Christian father, a scholarly person who secured several college degrees, including theology, introduced her to the Bible at the early age of 12. She studied the Bible on and off since then but now she wanted to have a clearer understanding of the prophecies of Revelation. As we conversed she quickly asked me, “What do you think will l happen to all who refuse to take the mark of the beast?” Before I could answer she quickly added: “All will be required to wear a computer chip implanted beneath the skin of their right hand or forehead or else they cannot buy nor sell.” I told her that that was not the mark of the beast but she was a bit insistent, so I stopped in order to allow her to continue talking. She asked me, “How long will it take for me to take a study on this? I’m in a hurry today because I have an appointment later.” I tried to get her to first think the matter through for herself rather than merely relying on prevailing popular ideas and interpretations by reminding her that John was shown in vision the important closing events both in heaven and on earth before Jesus comes, picking up from where Daniel left off in the Old Testament. Thus, Revelation cannot be properly understood independent of the book of Daniel.
I repeated to her that John was shown in vision that in the last days “the whole world would wonder after the beast,” not after Christ, and that is “after its deadly wound is healed.” Rev. 13: 3. I inquired if she knew who or what the “beast” is in these prophecies. A quizzical look crossed her face. “I didn’t think about that,” she finally said. “Unless we know who or what this beast is, we will not know what its ‘mark’ is and chances are, we will be misled as to what it means.” I told her that the “mark” is not the number for many, when asked what the mark of the beast is, instantly reply, “666.” John makes a distinction between the three identifying features of this apocalyptic beast, namely, it’s mark (of claimed authority), name (official title), and number(the sum total of the numerical equivalent of the alphabetical letters of its name, particularly in Latin but also in Hebrew and Greek. Furthermore, John reveals that it is “the image of or to the beast” who will actually enforce “the mark of the beast,” that it “should both speak and cause that as many as would notworship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their forehead; and that no man might buy nor sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast : for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and ten.” Rev. 13: 15-18, K.J.V. Do we know who or what the “image of the beast” is? Again, we will not know who or what it is until we know what or who it images or mimics,—the beast introduced as the beginning of chapter 13.
Beasts in prophecy refers to kingdoms, governments, and political powers—not individuals! See Dan. 7: 17, 23; rev. 13: 2, 3, 7. End-time prophecy never points to any individuals, except for Nebuchadnezzar as “being that head of gold” but as only as the king of Babylon, the latter being the focus of the prophecy even as it was signified as a lion.
The concern which we should have is that we may not be as prepared as we think we are, and should, by now,—intellectually, spiritually, and physically—to stand singly and alone to explain before the great men of the earth” what we accepted as truth when the “fiery but necessary ordeal” of the sifting of our faith takes place. The enemies of truth are more prepared than the professed people of God are. Notice the following recent history:
“The majority of the Adventists rejected the truths concerning the sanctuary and the law of God, and many also renounced their faith in the advent movement and adopted unsound and conflicting views of the prophecies which applied to that work. Some were led into the error of repeatedly fixing upon a definite time for the coming of Christ. The light which was now shining on the subject of the sanctuary should have shown them that no prophetic periods extend to the second advent; that the exact time of this advent is not foretold. But, turning from the light, the continued to set time after time for the Lord to come, and as often they were disappointed.
“When the Thessalonian church received erroneous views concerning the coming of Christ, the apostle Paul counseled them to test their hopes and anticipations carefully by the word of God. He cited them to prophecies revealing the events to take place before Christ should come, and showed them that they had no ground to expect Him in their day. ‘Let no man deceive you by any means’ (2 Thess. 2: 3), are his words of warning. Should they indulge expectations that were not sanctioned by the Scriptures, they would be led to a mistaken course of action; disappointment would expose them to the derision of unbelievers, and they would be in danger of yielding to discouragement and would be tempted to doubt the truths essential for their salvation. The apostle’s admonition to the Thessalonians contains an important lesson for those who live in the last days. Many Adventists have felt that unless they could fix their faith upon a definite time for the Lord’s coming, they could not be zealous and diligent in the work of preparation. But as their hopes are again and again excited, only to be destroyed, their faith receives such a shock that it becomes well-nigh impossible for them to be impressed by the great truths of prophecy.
“The preaching of a definite time for the judgment, in the giving of the first [angel’s] message [in 1840-1844] was ordered of God. The computation of the prophetic periods on which that message was based, placing the close of the 2300 days in the autumn [October] of 1844, stands without impeachment. The repeated efforts to find new dates for the beginning and close of the prophetic periods, and the unsound reasoning necessary to sustain these positions, not only lead minds away from the present truth, but throw contempt upon all efforts to explain the prophecies. The more frequently a definite time is set for the second advent, and the more widely it is taught, the better it suits the purposes of Satan. After the time has passed, he excites ridicule and contempt upon its advocates, and thus casts reproach upon the great advent movement of 1843 to 1844 [the 1290 and 1335 days of Daniel 12: 11, 12]. Those who persist in this error will at last fix upon a date too far in the future for the coming of Christ. Thus they will be led to rest in a false security, and many will not be undeceived until it is too late.” – Ibid, pp. 456, 457. (Continued next week)