The Seven Trumpets by James White, 1875
This book is an attempt by James White to show how the 7 Trumpets of Revelation 8-11 were all fulfilled in the physical history of the world, with the first 4 dealing with the fall of Rome, and the last three dealing with, or timed with, the rise and fall of Islam.
The content is very similar to what William Miller used in his discourses on the imminent return of Christ in 1843/4. And therein lies the big problem with this book — William Miller was a man led of God to get people ready for the move made by Jesus into the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary in 1844. But naturally, he had to have ALL the prophecies of events before Christ’s Second Coming already completed by 1843. He even proclaimed that the Catholic Church died in 1798, and would not rise again! James White makes a similar error when he favorably quotes someone stating: “The power of Islamism is broken forever.” If he could only see the rise of its power today!
What makes me put the time and energy into putting this book on the internet in 2010, is that us Seventh-day Adventists are still just repeating the same old prophetic interpretations of our forefathers, without studying for ourselves to see if these things are so. And in this book, it can be shown in several places where these things are definitely not so.
Historians Gibbon and Keith are quoted profusely throughout the book, to bolster the correctness of the Biblical interpretation. For me, that has an opposite effect, as neither of these men belonged to God’s remnant church, and thus, did not understand the Bible as we do. Now James White should have, as he is one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist church, laboring tirelessly, even to the point of an early grave, to raise up this church. But strangely, he ignored some of the inspired counsel in the Bible and from his own wife, which would have made him rethink the publication of this book.
Do you, as a SDA member, know what the 7 Trumpets represent? We are all told that they represent something in history, and, having been born and raised in a SDA environment, i have about as much information regarding this as anyone else. And — i cannot tell you anything more about our church’s teaching on the 7 Trumpets other than they occured sometime in the past, mostly in the fall of the Roman Empire, and don’t have much instruction for us today. Yes, that is the standard SDA teaching today, i’m very sorry to say, and this book, following on the shoulders of William Miller’s work, and leading to the “Bible” of prophetic interpretation in SDA circles ” – Thoughts on Daniel and Revelation” by Uriah Smith, played a big part in creating this problem.
Back to my question – What do the 7 Trumpets represent? According to this book:
4. The dissolution of the Roman emperor, consul, and senate
5. The rise of Islam
6. The Ottoman Empire
7. Began in 1844.
If you are saying to yourself “How can this be?” you are not alone. No wonder that our preaching of Daniel and Revelation has so little power to convict people’s hearts today. This historical fulfillment method of interpreting the 7 Trumpets just falls flat on its face. Yes, it may have been useful in the past to confirm where the people were in the stream of time, but today, we can see much more clearly that none, yes NONE of the Seven Trumpets has been sounded yet.
How can i make such a bold claim? Easily, by just reading the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.
Rev 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
So we see that the trumpets cannot even BEGIN to sound until AFTER the 144,000 are sealed! Then what does the first angel do? – He hurts the earth and trees, just what he was told not to do, until AFTER the 144,000 are sealed: “Rev 8:7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.”
Returning to the book review, James White writes: “‘The four angels’ are the four principal sultanies of which the Ottoman Empire is composed, located in the country of the Euphrates. These sultanies were situated at Aleppo, Iconium, Damascus, and Bagdad. Previously they had been restrained; but God commanded, and they were loosed.” How can he ignore his wife’s own writing, in 1849: “I saw that the four angels would hold the four winds until Jesus work was done in the Sanctuary, and then will come the seven last plagues.”???
Everything in referring to the 5th Trumpet, or First Woe, as Islam falls flat too. Why? Because the locusts only hurt: “the people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.” Again, i wish to ask Brother James White why he could believe such a thing, when his own wife wrote: “The seal of God will be placed upon the foreheads of those only who sigh and cry for the abominations done in the land.” and in 1873, just two years before he published this book: “Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand,”, showing that the sealing is yet future to 1873.
On one more point, that of considering the “day-for-year” principle, the idea of taking only 360 days to make one year does not seem compelling. We know the year has 365 1/4 or so days. If we really, really wish to follow the Jewish calendar in making our calculations, then, to be honest with ourselves, we shoud do as they do, and ADD an extra month every few years. But to my knowledge, none of my fellow SDA Brethren are doing this….. How to resolve the 2300 day prophecy, for example? By showing that it refers to one Atonement day a year, thus 2300 “evening mornings”. Perfect. And it makes the whole Sanctuary service richer. But i disgress a bit from my book review.
To sum it up, James White followed the historical method of interpreting the 7 Trumpets, considering them all to have been completed, and the 7th to have already started in his day, in 1875. In 1888 tho, Ellen White wrote emphatically that: “Trumpet after trumpet is to be sounded,” showing that at least TWO of the trumpets, and probably all 7 of them, are yet to sound.
Let’s study to show ourselves approved unto God, and to know the prophecies, including the Seven Trumpets, so we can lead others to the cross of Jesus Christ, and receive the Seal of God in our foreheads.