The Last Countdown

Looking back at how William Miller calculated the date for the Second Coming in 1843, it seems almost incredible how after ten years of studying he missed the fact that there is no zero year between years B.C. and years A.D., and nobody else that followed his studies noticed the error either. In retrospect, we know why the error wasn’t noticed:

I have seen that the 1843 chart was directed by the hand of the Lord, and that it should not be altered; that the figures were as He wanted them; that His hand was over and hid a mistake in some of the figures, so that none could see it, until His hand was removed. {EW 74.1}

God deliberately allowed the error. One effect caused by this was the sifting of those who were following the message out of fear that it might be true from those who were following out of sincerity of heart and would continue seeking the truth even despite disappointment and delay. I have heard statements like “I was ready to send this letter of condemnation sooner, but I wanted to wait to see if your prediction would happen first.” Remarks like that very well capture the sentiments of the masses in Miller’s day who rejected the message and went on to perdition.

Another reason God allowed the error might be to give the warning more in advance. By an earlier calculation, the warning time—thus God’s mercy—was extended. How many actually avail themselves of that extension of mercy is a matter for individual contemplation.

Some have been quick to point to the passing of 2012 and urge us to give up our blessed hope. To such ones, I can find no better expression than to cite the experiences of our pioneers:

…the world was glad, and said to us, “You see now what we told you—we were right. You thought you knew more than your neighbors. Now go and make your confession, and be reinstated in your former position.” Though we could not see the meaning of our disappointed hopes, the response to our prayers was, God will justify his word, it will “not return to him void.” And this word said, “Light is sown for the righteous,” (Prov. 2:7,) [probably Ps. 97:11 was meant] and our minds were made up to wait for it. Our reply was, never! Go back to what? darkness, confusion, Babylon! No, no. We have experienced too much of the power and glory of God, to yield this “waymark in our pathway.” If there is no other difference to be seen, one mark is sure; we have been honest, and you have not. {Second Advent Way Marks and High Heaps, BP2 57.1}

Those who waited for time to pass before condemning the message have shown their dishonesty in professing to look for the Second Advent. Secretly, they didn’t believe and were restrained only by the superstitious thought that “maybe they’re right.” They did no study of their own and had no foundation for conviction of any kind.

The honest, on the other hand, look beyond disappointments to the experience of walking in God’s light. Every ray that brightens their path is a token of His tender-loving care toward them. The mere thought of returning to darkness is repulsive.

In this article, I will show you that the second Miller also made a mistake in the year, very much after the pattern of the first Miller.

How long shall it be?

Let us reflect upon Daniel 12 for a moment.

And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:6-7)

This passage has been thoroughly explained in the Orion study, wherein the symbolism is shown to encode a duration of 168 years for the judgment of the dead from October 22, 1844 to the autumn of 2012. The judgment of the living, on the other hand, is given in literal terms: “a time, times, and an half” or simply three and a half years. During these three and a half years, the cases of all living people must be decided for salvation or damnation. Figure 1 shows what our understanding was up to this point.

The Judgment Periods, As Understood Thus FarFigure 1 – The Judgment Periods, As Understood Thus Far

As we explained in the articles about the 1335, 1290, and 1260 days, the judgment of the living indeed began in the spring of 2012. It began invisibly, just as the judgment of the dead began invisibly in 1844. It began “at the house of God,” and will continue until every case is decided. This three-and-a-half-year process must come to an end in the autumn of 2015, its close marked by Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) and High Sabbath which falls on October 24, 2015.

This is where the problem comes in. If cases are still being decided up until autumn 2015, is it really possible for the plagues to begin one year earlier in the autumn of 2014 as we understood heretofore?

The plagues come when Jesus stops His mediation and leaves the Most Holy Place, takes off His priestly garments, and puts on His kingly robe. At that time, intercession ceases, and the pronouncement is made:

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22:11)

Once intercession ceases in the heavenly sanctuary it will be impossible for any more souls to be saved, but while Jesus still pleads His blood, every truly repenting sinner will be accepted. Therefore, it is impossible for the plagues to begin until the judgment of the living is finished, which means that the plagues cannot begin until the autumn of 2015. Since the plagues last a full year as shown in the Shadows of the Sacrifices articles, the Second Coming cannot be until autumn of 2016!

Fall Feasts Finally Fulfilled

That the plagues cannot begin until the Judgment is finished seems so obvious in retrospect that the only explanation for why no one saw it earlier is that God had His hand over it, just like He had His hand over William Miller’s mistake of exactly one year.

However, we need to exercise due diligence by checking some things. Based on the logic of the pioneers, we expect Jesus to return on Yom Kippur. We already know that the plagues will last 365 + 7 = 372 days. If we begin the count at the end of the judgment of the living on the Yom Kippur of October 24, 2015, will we really arrive at Yom Kippur in 2016? We have to check when the new moons will be, and thus when the feast days fall, according to the correct calendar as explained in the Gethsemane articles. The results for both possibilities (depending on the barley harvest) are shown in Figure 2.

The Feast Days of 2016Figure 2 – The Feast Days of 2016

As you can see, Yom Kippur falls on October 12 in 2016, which is only 353 days after the end of the judgment of the living. That is not enough time to allow for the year of plagues. What could be wrong? Remember that William Miller’s mistake was in the year, and the second Miller’s mistake is also in the year, and not in the day. We thought that Jesus would come on October 24, 2015, but we were off on the year. Take a look at the table above and see what day October 24 of 2016 falls on...yes, it is Shemini Atzeret, also called The Last Great Day.

Yom Kippur is a type for the investigative judgment which began in 1844. It is a fitting day for God to have begun the investigative judgment, and a fitting day for God to end the investigative judgment, because all the Jewish feasts must be fulfilled in their time.

Arguments drawn from the Old Testament types also pointed to the autumn as the time when the event represented by the “cleansing of the sanctuary” must take place. This was made very clear as attention was given to the manner in which the types relating to the first advent of Christ had been fulfilled. {GC 399.1}

When the judgment of the living (and thus the whole of the investigative judgment) is finished, Yom Kippur will have been completely fulfilled. After the Yom Kippur holy day, there is a little break of four days, after which is the week of Tabernacles, a type for the 3 x 40-year wilderness wandering of the Adventist Church from 1890 to 2010. Many mistakenly teach that the Feast of Tabernacles represents the millennium with Christ after the Second Coming, but the Bible is clear: The Feast of Tabernacles commemorates the sojourn in the desert after Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, not their dwelling in houses after entering Canaan.

Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 23:42-43)

The Feast of Tabernacles could also be fittingly applied to the time of plagues when God’s people will once again be driven into the wilderness to remain solely dependent upon Him, but certainly not during the millennium when the saints will dwell in the mansions of heavenly Canaan.

The Judgment Periods, As Now UnderstoodFigure 3 – The Judgment Periods, As Now Understood

Immediately after the Feast of Tabernacles, yet connected to it, is the last and greatest day of the entire religious year: Shemini Atzeret. This is, after all, finally the type for the Second Coming, the great and terrible day of the Lord.

Jesus personally fulfilled the first annual Sabbath day—the First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread—when He rested in the tomb, and now He will personally fulfill the last great day of the sacred feasts.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelation 22:13)

As the Alpha, He tasted death for every man, but as the Omega, He will call forth from death all the righteous dead of the ages.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Then it will be sung:

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Thus, every feast day will be fulfilled in its time. This is how the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth: little by little, with the harmony of our studies improving with each new understanding as the teaching of the Holy Spirit builds upon itself.

The Sealing Has Begun

In her first vision, Ellen G. White describes the time when God announced the day and the hour to the saints. In her portrayal of the events, the speaking of the time is connected with the sealing. More precisely, it is what leads to, or effects, the sealing of the 144,000. When we discovered that we had been off by a year in our understanding of the time, we realized that only now have we been sealed by the making known of the true time of the Second Coming. Why time is the essence of the sealing message is a whole subject in itself to be reserved for another article. Suffice it to say that the full significance of the time will be both eye-opening and humbling, and it exposes why the message on time is so vehemently resisted by anti-time-setters.

Thus began the process of sealing the 144,000 who know and understand the voice of God like many waters. Our group came to discover the one-year-off error on a Friday night as we opened the Sabbath, with this new understanding fully settling into our minds during the worship service the following day on Saturday, January 5. Later the next week, we noticed that another small group had a very blessed Sabbath on January 5 as well. They also experienced the Holy Spirit’s presence and learned the same truths we did about the sealing and the timing of the plagues in relation to the judgment of the living. This was not January 5 of 2013, but a different January 5.

The Sealing

At the commencement of the holy Sabbath, January 5, 1849, we engaged in prayer with Brother Belden’s family at Rocky Hill, Connecticut, and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. I was taken off in vision to the most holy place, where I saw Jesus still interceding for Israel. On the bottom of His garment was a bell and a pomegranate. Then I saw that Jesus would not leave the most holy place until every case was decided either for salvation or destruction, and that the wrath of God could not come until Jesus had finished His work in the most holy place, laid off His priestly attire, and clothed Himself with the garments of vengeance. Then Jesus will step out from between the Father and man, and God will keep silence no longer, but pour out His wrath on those who have rejected His truth. {EW 36.1}

What a confirmation of our experience!

We originally thought that the time of plagues would begin on October 18, 2014, but again the year was off by one. With the correction, the time of plagues of 372 days would not begin until October 18 of 2015, still within the 2014 Orion year, but just after the last dying drops of mercy will have been shed upon the world.

Detail of the End of the Judgment and the Beginning of the PlaguesFigure 4 – Detail of the End of the Judgment and the Beginning of the Plagues

That first week corresponds to the “extra” seven days of provision which we thought would be the seven days waiting for the small black cloud to arrive. Those seven days would still end on the High Sabbath, which is now the first Sabbath within the time-frame of the 372 days. Nestled between that High Sabbath of October 24, 2015 and Shemini Atzeret of 2016 is exactly 365 days...the full year of plagues, at the end of which Jesus will come on October 24 as we have been teaching all along, but now in the year 2016.

So, we were off one year. We were not off on the month or the day—just the year, just like William Miller. It is interesting to note that the two main charts we have for the Orion message and the Vessel of Time do not need any significant changes, again paralleling the fact that Miller’s charts were not corrected. They were as God wanted them.

Now it becomes clear why no visible events have happened to confirm our studies yet. It is because we have been experiencing the events in the heavenly sanctuary, the three and a half years which end before the plagues. The corresponding events in the earth are offset by one year and will take their own three and a half years, ending at the end of the plagues at the second coming. That means the major visible events should begin this spring of 2013. We were a year early in our expectations! Take another look at the sequence of events from the article Is This Time Setting? and notice that we are just now getting into the row when the day and hour are spoken and the (little) time of trouble begins.

Our Position in the Sequence of the VisionsFigure 5 – Our Position in the Sequence of the Visions

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.

The entire purpose and plan of God for the 144,000 is to demonstrate to the heavenly court and the on-looking universe that the law of God can actually be kept by created beings, as fully explained in our article entitled Our High Calling. No other beings in the universe can do this work. During the year of plagues, the 144,000 must stand faithful against every imaginable temptation. During that time, the enemy of souls will need only one failure of one member at one moment to win his case. Of course, human effort alone can avail nothing, but success is possible in cooperation with the divine will. Ellen G. White puts it this way:

The controversy was to wage between Christ and Satan throughout all time. The costly ransom that was provided reveals the value that God set upon man. Christ volunteered to become man’s surety and substitute, and took upon himself the penalty of transgression, in order that a way might be provided whereby every son and daughter of Adam may, through faith in their Redeemer, cooperate with heavenly intelligences, and oppose the workings of Satan, and thus bring in everlasting righteousness. {ST October 8, 1894, par. 8}

Jesus paved the way for every child of Adam to participate in bringing in everlasting righteousness, but in the same paragraph she makes it clear that this participation is not optional, and not only for the redemption of one’s self and of fellow human beings, but that it is necessary for the entire plan of salvation to be a success, including the silencing of Satan and the eradication of evil from the universe forever.

Unless man shall fully cooperate with Christ in the work of rescuing souls from evil, the plan of salvation can never be carried out. {ST October 8, 1894, par. 8}

These words have never been more applicable than they are to this final generation. If mere men will not rise to the occasion of their Lord and Savior, and the Father of all, the plan of salvation will not succeed. God has pawned Himself for us, and the consequences of our behavior will affect His very Person. The entire universe full of unfallen beings depends upon God for sustenance and will therefore share His fate even though they are also innocent. Did you notice that Shemini Atzeret does not fall on a weekly Sabbath in 2016? It is not a High Sabbath because the High Sabbaths will have to have already been fulfilled through the loud cry and the work of the 144,000 for Jesus to return at all.

Weak, degenerate human beings should clearly see their utter inadequacy for the task at hand, but by cooperation with heavenly agencies, they can succeed.

To the souls that have joined themselves to Him, Christ says, “You are one with Me, ‘labourers together with God’” (1 Corinthians 3:9). God is the great and unperceived actor; man is the humble and seen agent, and it is only in cooperation with the heavenly agencies that he can do anything good. It is only as the mind is enlightened by the Holy Spirit that men discern the divine agency. And hence Satan is constantly seeking to divert minds from the divine to the human, that man may not cooperate with Heaven. {2SM 123.1}

Folks who read our articles and judge our message as a product of mere man do so because their mind is not enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit enables one to discern God as the “great and unperceived actor” behind these messages.

In the context of the 144,000, the oneness which Christ speaks of in the above quote is beautifully depicted in Revelation:

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. (Revelation 15:2)

Sea of Glass

This passage is nestled within the introduction of the seven last plagues (v. 1, 5-6), clearly showing that this scene depicts the 144,000 during the year of plagues. They do not (as some think) literally stand on the sea of glass in heaven any more than they play literal harps. Rather, this symbolic imagery shows that as any person “stands” on the Word of God, these “stand” on the voice of God coming from Orion, or the Orion message, which is represented by the beautiful imagery of the transparent Orion nebula mingled with fiery orbs—the sea of glass. Their playing of harps symbolizes their understanding of the mysteries of God as revealed in these last days. Their hearts and allegiance are to heaven, though they still walk among the temptations of this earth during the year of plagues.

Standing true during “a time of trouble such as never was” might seem too hard, but the all-important question is not “Am I able.” It is: “Am I willing?” Do I actually love God enough to be willing to stand up for His rule no matter the cost? Are there really enough people in the world today who are willing to count every earthly thing as being worth dung, and can dismiss every earthly suffering as being of no offense compared to disappointing the God who so loved them that He put His infinite life on the line for them? God ransomed humanity not only with His son, but with His own Being and the whole wealth of the universe.

For our redemption, heaven itself was imperiled. {COL 196.4}

The salvation of man is accomplished at an infinite expense to Heaven; {GC88 489.1}

The costly ransom that was provided reveals the value that God set upon man. {ST October 8, 1894, par. 8}

Your value in the eyes of God is such that He chose to lose everything including Himself and all His infinite potential in order to restore your ability to make the free-will choice to return His love.

I implore you, dear reader, to begin today to count the cost and buy gold tried in the fire. God pawned Himself—and by consequence, the whole universe—to redeem you. You can do what He cannot do, to vindicate His law. We, who want to live with Him for eternity, need you, for if the plan of salvation fails, we will all cease to exist. The unfallen angels who have enjoyed the vast riches of His universe for untold eons need you, because they will lose everything too if sin is not stopped once and for all. But above all, God the Father Himself needs you, because without your selfless service at this critical time, His final recourse will be to pay the debt of immortalized sin with His very existence.

Such responsibility the Father of all would shoulder.

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