It is heartwarming indeed to see Adventists debate and reject their own church’s historical understanding of prophecy.
Adventist Today is a site that offers thinking Adventists an alternative to the run of the mill “papacy is the little horn” idea that depends on meaningless eventless dates that the early Adventists re-engineered, with some imaginative biblical numerology, into a prophecy based on an anti-Catholic revisionist history.
In short, the typical idea is that the papacy came into existence in 538 AD (or gained its political power, depending on which revision of Ellen White’s writings you read) and that its political power ended in 1798 AD when a pope was kidnapped by Napoleon and died in prison the following year.
As the Adventist Today articles point out, that was hardly a significant event compared to other events in the rest of the world, then and since. And as I’ve pointed out, 538 AD is a non-starter because nothing really happened that year – the events Adventist revisionist history assigns to that year really happened at different times. But they need to subtract 1260 from 1798, and so they continue to subtract it. History shows that there were popes who called themselves popes long before then (and long before Constantine too), and that the papacy was under the domination of anti-Catholic forces more than 200 years during their supposed 1260 days of supreme power. The papal states only came into existence at the end of this period, and came to an end in 1796, two years before 1798.
Adventist ideas that Constantine (300s AD) was the first pope, that the papacy began in 538 AD (150 years later), that the papacy reigned supreme under the control of anti-Catholic occupying forces … none of it adds up.
So Adventist Today is to be applauded for recognising that the traditional view is flawed and outdated, and for recommending a rethink.
In reality, I think the little horns of Daniel 7 and 8 refer to Antiochus Epiphanes. You can read more about that in my series on the prophecies of Daniel.
Trump? I doubt it. He’s certainly an interesting and entertaining character, and some excitement in this world is worth hoping for, but I still doubt he’s some evil monster depicted in biblical prophecy. He’d have to be at least equal in malevolence to Antiochus Epiphanes, and he’s nowhere close.
That said, watch these dates, if you’re Adventist or if you like date setting as much as they do. They’re all 1260 days after his candidacy announcement, nomination, election, and inauguration respectively:
- November 27, 2018
- This has passed, and he didn’t sneeze on that day, so no big news there
- December 31, 2019
- New Year the next day? Will we see suicide cults appearing?
- April 21, 2020
- 9 days after Easter = 3×3 or 3+3+3 – is that significant?
- July 3, 2020
- Major fireworks expected the next day in the USA – this could be it!