BRI Theologians Reject SDA Pioneers & 1843 Chart

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Biblical Research Institute Theologians Reject SDA Pioneers & 1843 Chart

Taken from Future News, May 2008, Vol. 12 #5. 

In our last newsletter (, April 2008) we identified that the foundations of Adventism have been destroyed, though they are as secure as ever. The leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist church has directly rejected most of the foundational truths and indirectly destroyed others by denying the biblical evidence necessary to uphold them. The laity of the Adventist church has destroyed the foundations, in the sense that they by and large do not know what those truths are. The Biblical Research Institute has taken a position that rejects not only the foundational truths represented upon the 1843 pioneer chart, but they also reject the inspired endorsements of those truths through the writings of Sister White. Compare once again Gerhard Pfandl's letter with the endorsement of the pioneer understanding that the Fifth and Sixth trumpet of Revelation nine are Islam:

"Most current Adventist interpreters do not identify Islam with the 5th and 6thtrumpet. See J. Paulien, R. Stefanovic, and J. Doukhan on these texts. While Islam is a current issue, we must avoid interpreting Scripture with the newspaper. In the 60s and 70s communism was the great evil; well, it is gone. At the moment it is Islam, for how long? We don't know! For now, Islam does not appear in my interpretation of Scripture.

"With kind regards and best wishes, Gerhard Pfandl, Ph.D. Associate Director Biblical Research Institute."


But what does Ellen White state about the pioneer understanding of the Fifth and Sixth trumpet?

"At the very time specified, Turkey, through her ambassadors, accepted the protection of the allied powers of Europe, and thus placed herself under the control of Christian nations. The event exactly fulfilled the  prediction. When it became known, multitudes were convinced of the correctness of the principles of prophetic interpretation adopted by Miller and his associates, and a wonderful impetus was given to the advent movement. Men of learning and position united with Miller, both in preaching and in publishing his views, and from 1840 to 1844 the work rapidly extended." The Great Controversy, 335.

Sister White identifies that the collapse of the Ottoman Empire was a perfect fulfillment of the time prophecy of the Sixth Trumpet and Josiah Litch's expression of the pioneer understanding of the Sixth Trumpet includes the understanding that the power there represented is Islam. The pioneer understanding of the Sixth Trumpet also included the recognition that the Sixth Trumpet was directly connected to the Fifth Trumpet, which is also identifying Islam.

The Fifth Trumpet has a time prophecy of "five months" which equals one-hundred-and-fifty years, and the starting point for that time prophecy was July 27, 1299. One-hundred-and-fifty years later we find not only the conclusion of the one-hundred-and-fifty year time prophecy, but also the starting point for the three-hundred-ninety-one-year and fifteen-days prophecy of the Sixth Trumpet. In other words, not only are the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets representing the work of Islam, but the two time prophecies set forth in the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets prophetically connect both Trumpets together. Yet the modern theologians of Adventism point out that "current Adventist interpreters do not identify Islam with the 5th and 6th Trumpet." The foundations have been removed!

"Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith,-the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work, by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for more than fifty years. Men may suppose that they have found a new way, that they can lay a stronger foundation than that which has been laid; but this is a great deception. ‘Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid.' [1 Corinthians 3:11.] In the past, many have undertaken to build a new faith, to establish new principles; but how long did their building stand? It soon fell; for it was not founded upon the Rock." Gospel Workers, 306.

"The warning has come: Nothing is to be allowed to come in that will disturb the foundation of the faith upon which we have been building ever since the message came in 1842, 1843, and 1844. I was in this message, and ever since I have been standing before the world, true to the light that God has given us. We do not propose to take our feet off the platform on which they were placed as day by day we sought the Lord with earnest prayer, seeking for light. Do you think that I could give up the light that God has given me? It is to be as the Rock of Ages. It has been guiding me ever since it was given." Review and Herald, April 14, 1903.

"God is not giving us a new message. We are to proclaim the message that in 1843 and 1844 brought us out of the other churches." Review and Herald, January 19, 1905.

Not only does the Biblical Research Institute reject the correct understanding of the Trumpets of Revelation, but they reject the 2520 time prophecy of Leviticus 26. Pfandl states:

"The 1843 chart was used by the Millerites with good success, but not everything on the chart is correct. One of the issues concerns the 2520 years. Please note, Judah was not taken into captivity in 677; King Manasseh was taken to Babylon for a period of time, but he was restored to the throne and cleaned house before he died (2 Chronicles 33:14-16). Judah continued as a kingdom until 586 when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians. "The year-day principle cannot be used in Leviticus 26:28. The New American Bible correctly translates "I will increase the chastisement for your sins sevenfold." The Hebrew text only has the word "seven" there is no reference to a time period. "Seven (fold or times)" is a proverbial expression for the full,complete measure of discipline (it is also used in 26:21, 24, 28, Psalms 79:12). Seven was an appropriate number of completeness in view of the importance of "seven" in the Israelite religion. The year-day principle should only be used for time periods in apocalyptic texts (Daniel and Revelation). Outside of these books God always clearly spelled it out when he applied a day for a year (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6).

"With kind regards and best wishes, Gerhard Pfandl, Ph.D. Associate Director Biblical Research Institute."


It is true that "not everything on the" 1843 "chart is correct" for inspiration informs us that the Lord held His hand over a mistake in some of the figures on the chart. "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." Early Writings, 74.

This statement however, does not give us license to reject the 1843 chart. The mistakes in the pioneer understanding that was represented upon the chart had to do with the Lord's providence in testing His Millerite people with the first disappointment that occurred on March 21, 1844. The first disappointment was brought about through a misunderstanding of the year zero in the calculations of the time prophecies upon the chart. This  misunderstanding reflected an incorrect conclusion that was represented upon the chart in both the 2300 year and the 2520 year time prophecies. The Millerites believed these prophecies concluded in 1843, but when the correct understanding of the year zero was factored into the understanding of the prophecies, it was understood that these prophecies concluded in 1844. Sister White clearly identifies what was misunderstood on the chart:

"Jesus and all the heavenly host looked with sympathy and love upon those who had with sweet expectation longed to see him whom their souls loved. Angels were hovering around them, to sustain them in the hour of their trial. Those who had neglected to receive the heavenly message were left in darkness, and God's anger was kindled against them, because they would not receive the light he had sent them from heaven. Those faithful, disappointed ones, who could not understand why their Lord did not come, were not left in darkness. Again they were led to their Bibles to search the prophetic periods. The hand of the Lord was removed from the figures, and the mistake was explained. They saw that the prophetic periods reached to 1844, and that the same evidence they had presented to show that the prophetic periods closed in 1843, proved that they would terminate in 1844. Light from the word of God shone upon their position, and they discovered a tarrying time.-If the vision tarry, wait for it.-In their love for Jesus' immediate coming, they had overlooked the tarrying of the vision, which was calculated to manifest the true waiting ones. Again they had a point of time. Yet I saw that many of them could not rise above their severe disappointment, to possess that degree of zeal and energy which had marked their faith in 1843." Spiritual Gifts, volume 1, 138.

There is no rejection of the pioneer understanding of the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets in the inspired commentary on what mistake had been covered up by the Lord's hand on the 1843 pioneer chart. If we look to the lower right hand corner of the 1843 chart we find the Fifth and Sixth Trumpets illustrated and identified as Islam -- in spite of what Gerhard Pfandl, "J. Paulien, R. Stefanovic, and J. Doukhan" may teach "on these texts."

There is also no repudiation of the pioneer understanding of the 2520 time prophecy, other than the mistake of the year zero. Pfandl casually rejects the work of William Miller while consistently pointing Adventism to the modern theologians, but inspiration has placed an endorsement on not only William Miller, but on the type of study which Miller employed.

Future News, May 2008, Vol. 12 #5.


"False teachers may appear to be very zealous for the work of God, and may expend means to bring their theories before the world and the church; but as they mingle error with truth, their message is one of deception, and will lead souls into false paths. They are to be met and opposed, not because they are bad men, but because they are teachers of falsehood and are endeavoring to put upon falsehood the stamp of truth."  {Testimonies to Ministers, p. 55}

"A long-continued resistance of truth will harden the most impressionable heart. Those who reject the Spirit of truth place themselves under the control of a spirit that is opposed to the word and work of God. For a time they may continue to teach some phases of the truth; but their refusal to accept all the light God sends will after a time place them where they will do the work of a false watchman."  {Paulson Collection of EGW Letters, p. 60} 

DISCLAIMER: In 2008 it was believed that the "no year zero" idea was the cause of the single error on the 1843 Chart, but we now know it was the "fullness of the year" concept that the Millerites failed to understand.