A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church
by Bob Pickle
Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and Others
Discern Fact from Fiction
The Millerite Movement
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|#19 & #20: "Even though the 1843 date had now
been adjusted to 1844, it was still an error."—Narrator.|
#19: It adjusted the 1843 date to 1844.
Neither Mrs. White's first vision of December 1844 nor her 1850 vision had
anything to do
with the change of date from 1843 to 1844. The simple proof of this is the fact that the date
was adjusted in the summer of 1844, long before
she had either of these visions (see #6).
#20: The 1844 date was still an error. The
documentation package is silent on quite a few points, including this one.
for silence here is simple: The theological understandings of those of any and every
persuasion have yet to produce any valid objections to the
basic interpretations of Scripture that lead to this date. No better date has yet been
If the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14 did not end in 1844, when did they end? Actually, this
question is premature. Since Daniel 8 and 9 are tied
together linguistically, a better question to start with is, When did the 490 days of Daniel 9
Even though Gabriel had already explained everything except the
2300 days, Daniel says that "none understood" the "vision" (8:27). How
could that be? The answer lies in the Hebrew text.
There are two different Hebrew words translated "vision" in chapter 8: mar'eh
and chazown. Chazown occurs in verses 2, 13, 15, 17,
and the last half of 26. Mar'eh occurs in verse 16, the first half of 26, and
27. The distinction between these two words is critical to a proper
understanding of the chapter, for it is the mar'eh that "none understood,"
not the chazown.
When Gabriel says in verse 26 that the "vision [mar'eh] of the
evening and the morning which was told is true," he provides the key to
understanding the difference between the chazown and the mar'eh.
Literally, the Hebrew for "2300 days" in verse 14 is "2300 evening-morning." So
the vision or mar'eh of the evening-morning must specifically refer to the
2300 evening-morning, while the chazown refers
to the entire vision.
Thus, when Daniel said none understood the vision or mar'eh, he
was correct, for Gabriel had not explained the mar'eh of the 2300 days
yet. Gabriel was specifically assigned the special task of making Daniel "to understand the
vision," or mar'eh, but Daniel fainted a little too
soon (vss. 16, 27).
In chapter 9 Gabriel returns, "the man" "whom I had seen in the vision" or
chazown (vs. 21). Gabriel tells Daniel, "Consider the vision,"
or mar'eh, the 2300 days (vs. 23). The rest of what he says to Daniel in
the chapter is connected to the time prophecy of the 70 weeks, or 490
days. Somehow, therefore, the 70 weeks are supposed to be an explanation of the 2300
Nearly everyone agrees that the first 483 of the 490 days of Daniel 9 end at some point
in the ministry of Christ, each day representing a year.
One troublesome problem in chapter 8 is that there is no starting point given for the
beginning of the [p. 26] 2300 days. This problem is removed
in chapter 9, for these time prophecies are said to begin with the decree to restore and build
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to
restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince
shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks. (Dan. 9:25)
So we need to find a decree that both restores and builds. Adventists begin the 490
years with the decree of Artaxerxes' seventh year, or 457
BC. In that year the Jews' judicial system was "restored" to the point that they could even
execute the death penalty against violators of God's
law (Ezra 7:7, 8, 26). Isaiah 1:26 had predicted this restoration of the judges.
What about the "build" part of the decree? We need to understand that the giving of
this decree was a process that took some time. It began
with Cyrus commanding the building, and it ended with Artaxerxes restoring the judiciary
Ezra 1:2 records Cyrus's decree which commanded the building of the temple, but did
Cyrus really fulfill Daniel 9:25 by also commanding
the building of Jerusalem? Yes, he did. The Lord, calling Cyrus by name more than a
century before his birth, said that he would command
Jerusalem to be built (Is. 44:28; 45:13).
If we start the 70 weeks in 457 BC, then the first 69 weeks unto "Messiah the Prince"
would end in 27 AD. Adventists identify this as being
the year of Christ's baptism. At that time He was anointed with the Holy Spirit descending
upon Him in the form of a dove (Luke 3:1, 22; Acts
10:38). Since the Hebrew word for "Messiah" and the Greek word for "Christ" both mean
"the anointed one," it seems most logical to identify
the coming of the Messiah of Daniel 9:25 with Christ's anointing at His baptism.
"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the
week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to
cease" (Dan. 9:27). When Christ died after a ministry of 3½ years (31 AD), the veil of the
temple was torn from top to bottom (Mat. 27:51). Thus
Christ showed that the sacrifices were to cease, since the true sacrifice for sin had been
This leaves but half a week left of the prophecy, 3½ years, stretching to 34 AD. In
Acts 7 we find Stephen being stoned as the first Christian
martyr. Immediately after this the gospel started going to non-Jews: Samaritans, the
Ethiopian eunuch, and the Roman centurion Cornelius, along
with his household (Acts 8:4-39; 10). Gabriel had told Daniel, "Seventy weeks are
determined upon thy people" (Dan. 9:24). It therefore seems
logical to end the 70 weeks with the stoning of Stephen, for at that point the gospel began to
go to the Gentiles, not just Daniel's people, the Jews.
"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week" (Dan. 9:27). For one
week (7 years) the gospel, the new "covenant," was
"confirmed" with "many," the Jewish nation: 3½ years during the ministry of Christ, and
3½ years after His resurrection. After that, it went to
The first 490 days of the 2300 thus ended in 34 AD. The remaining 1810 years can be
added to 34 AD to arrive at 1844.
Before it can be said emphatically that 1844 is "an error," a better interpretation than
the above must be found. None has been found to date.
The most popular alternative interpretation today is the following, which is more
complex than what was above, which should tell you
something: The first 69 weeks stretch from Artaxerxes' supposed twentieth year in 445 BC
to about the death of Christ, and the 70th week is
Sir Robert Anderson proposed multiplying the 69 weeks, or 483 days, by 360 days to
the year, and then dividing this product by 365.25 days
per year. By this method he reduced the 483 years to just over 476 years, a total of 173,880
days. He then began the time period on March 14,
445 BC, what he supposed was the first day of the first Jewish month of Nisan that year.
Then he ended it with April 6, 32 AD, what he supposed
was Nisan 10, Palm Sunday, the week Christ was crucified. The 70th week of Daniel 9
Anderson put off into the future to a yet unknown time
(The Coming Prince).
There are a number of serious problems with Anderson's theory:
In making this calculation, he mistakenly added three leap days too
few, owing to his misunderstanding the differences between the Julian
and the Gregorian calendars. 173,880 days should really end on Thursday, April 3, not
Sunday, April 6.
Nisan 10 could not have been earlier than Wednesday, April 9, in
32 AD, and so could not have been April 6. This is because the sighting
of the new moon which begins the new Jewish month could not have occurred as early as
Anderson's theory demands.
Thus, Nisan 14 would have been on a Sunday or Monday in 32
AD, not on a Thursday as Anderson supposed. Anderson tied the last supper
to Nisan 14, with Christ dying on the 15th. If Nisan 14 was on a Sunday or Monday, that
would put Christ's death on a Monday or Tuesday in
disagreement with the gospel accounts.
The Jews of Elephantine used accession-year reckoning for
Artaxerxes, and the Jews of that [p. 27] time used a fall-to-fall
calendar (Horn and
Wood, The Chronology of Ezra 7, pp. 75-90; Neh. 1:1; 2:1). A king's
accession year ran from the date of his enthronement until the next
New Year's day. In a fall-to-fall calendar this would be Tishri 1, sometime in September or
October. Not till after the accession year did the
king's first year of reign begin. In contrast, non-accession year reckoning has no accession
year, but begins the first year of reign with the king's
enthronement. Each year of reign still ends on New Year's day.
Xerxes was murdered sometime in 465 BC. An Aramaic papyri, AP
6, written on January 2, 464 BC, is still dated in Artaxerxes's accession
year, meaning that his first year would not begin until Tishri 464 (Ibid.,
pp. 98-115, 172-174). This makes Nisan in his twentieth year 444 BC,
not 445. So Anderson's starting date was a year off.
Daniel 9 requires a "commandment to restore and build." While we
have record of a decree from Artaxerxes' seventh year in Ezra 7, we
have no record of a decree from his twentieth year. So how can we commence the 70 weeks
with the twentieth year?
The reason Artaxerxes's twentieth year is chosen is because it is
thought that then is when the Jews were commanded to build Jerusalem.
However, Cyrus had commanded this long before (Is. 44:28; 45:13).
Putting the seventieth week of Daniel 9 into the future ignores the
linguistic ties between chapters 8 and 9, and the resulting connection
between the 2300 days and the 490 days.
The method of reducing the 69 weeks of 483 years to only 476
years ignores the Jewish seven-year cycle, since the 483 years no longer
coincide with 483 actual years.
The Israelites were to work their fields for six years, and then let the land keep a
sabbath for the seventh year (Lev. 25:2-7). It is easy to see
an allusion to this practice in Daniel 9's "70 weeks," "7 weeks," "62 weeks," and "1 week."
In fact, many scholars of various persuasions have
recognized just such a connection. One's interpretation of the 70 weeks ought to therefore
coincide with actual seven-year sabbatical cycles.
The Adventist way of reckoning them indeed does. The fall of 457 BC began the first
year, and the fall of 34 AD ended the seventh year of
a seven-year cycle (see "When Were the Sabbatical Years?" posted at
Thus, when 31 AD is identified
as the date for Christ's crucifixion, the middle of the last week of seven years, it truly is the
precise middle of a seven-year cycle.
Back to the original point: Until the critics find a better interpretation that fits all the
data, they really shouldn't be so emphatic that the 1844
date is an error. Indeed, with the evidence as overwhelming as it is, the 1844 date is as solid
as it gets.
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