You have sent me an email as a confirmation that James White believed in the seven times period of Daniel 4, that is, according to Wm Miller, the 2520 years, from King Manasseh to 1844.
I know that Jeff Pippenger and a few other SDA brethren turned back to the oldest Millerite positions in prophecy. This research strategy is not the best way to find the truth. If the truth is real truth, then one should find it independent of Miller’s findings. I appreciate the piety and the Biblical and historical research of Miller. However, I cannot accept some of his prophetic „chains” leading to 1844. You should read the doctoral dissertation of Kai Arasola, The End of Historicism, which is the most documented and most complete work on Miller’s interpretations. While Arasola’s conclusions are not to be accepted, his exposition of the 15 ways of Miller to determine the end in 1844 is a valid research. For example, Miller has found the ”seven times”, not only in Daniel 4, but also in Lev 26:18, 21, 24, 28. Besides the fact that the ”seven times” of Leviticus have no relationship to the ”seven times” of Nebucadnezzar, they are also a different matter, because they have different meanings (1. time, as in once, twice, three times, seven times etc. cf. Dan 3:19; 2. time, an indefinite period, or according to Daniel 4 and 7, probbably one year, as LXX have translated in chap. 4).
My main objections against the ultra-conservative prophetic interpretations are following:
1. They do not care if their prophetic periods can be honestly accepted by non-Adventists. If these number games are acceptable only for the pious SDAs who search for oldest prophetic expositions, they have no importance in the UNIVERSAL message of the third angels.
2. The fact that Miller or our pioneers, including the Whites, believed some old or new interpretation is not the best argument that we also should accept that interpretation. There is no direct relationship between piety and correct Biblical interpretation. Even inspired authors may express some erroneous interpretations, sometimes borrowed from others (e. g. Gal 3:17 contradicts Ex 12:40-41. Heb 9:4 contradicts 1Ki 8:9 and 2Ch 5:10, cf. Ex 16:33; Nu 17:10). Examples of this kind may multiply, and they are a real challenge for the fundamentalist reading of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. One should read about the true understanding of the prophetic inspiration in Selected Messages book 1, pp. 20-21. Ellen White herself believed some mistaken interpretations, you remember the ”shut door”, or you may add her appeal to other brethren to help her improving the new edition of Great Controversy in 1911. But the need of correction did not stop at 1911. She was still not right to keep Litch’s interpretation of Revelation 9 in the Great Controversy 334, even though she wrote that it was ”another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy”. She certainly believed it, like James and Uriah did, but even the textual information is erroneous. Take, for example, the reference to an Eastern Emperor ”Deacozes” – no historical character with this name have ever existed. It must have been an old typographic error, for the original name ”Dragasses”.
3. Most important for the ”seven times” of Daniel 4, one should read first the Bible, where it is written that ”ALL THIS (about the seven times experience) CAME UPON THE KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR” (v. 28). Why then should one re-interpret the prophecy to give it a second appplication, if there is no hint, no suggestion in the Bible that we must do so?
4. If the seven times should be understood prophetically, as Miller misunderstood them, then why should one count them from king Manasseh? Just because 2520 minus 1843 leads to 677? Any counting must lead somewhere. But why is more important 677 BC? Jehovah’s witnesses are more right to count from the Babylonian captivity of the Jews. Why count them from the Assyrian captivity of one Jewish king in Babylon? And why should one count them from the Manasses captivity, and not from Manasses liberation?
5. Is the year 677 BC the real time of Manasseh‘s captivity? Nowhere in the Bible is stated the year of his captivity. Thus any counting based on Manasseh’s captivity is a little better than a hoax, no matter how many, how pious or how prominent were the people who believed this ”peophecy”.
The SOP statements you add are not relevant to this prophecy. They are general statements and they should be understood only in their historical context.
Please, my brethren, do not spend so much time and energy on such traditional pet reckonings that amount to nothing. There are lots of better things to do, than insisting to resuscitate defunct Biblical interpretations.
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