The 1290 and 1335 years prophecies in historicism reviewed


A proper discussion on the 1290 and 1335 years prophecies in biblical historicist interpretation, will first have to present a proper midrash of Ellen White’s 1850 statement in Present Truth, Hiram Edson’s reflection in 1856 and Uriah Smith scooping under the same rug of these numbers with the 2300 years statement in 1867.

If these three statements are cleared or providing a possible license for difference of the 1843 chart, then one can continue with the interpretation of the biblical text in historicist manner utilizing still the year-day principle.

Ellen White is cited by many scholars to say that she was shown that after 1844 there would be no longer longterm prophetic periods.

The midrash to this is that it may mean that Ellen White means that after 1844 there will be no long period starting, but she did not include the possibility that a period would end starting some time under the umbrella of the 2300 years? This is my midrash on it.

Ellen White’s 1850 statement is interesting. She said that the 1843 prophetic chart was accurate and that all the figures were correct. God’s Hand however was over “some mistakes in the figures”. Well, some will say quickly, it is the 1843 that was supposed to be 1844, the year between BC and AD. And it was. However, midrash of Ellen White’s statement demands to we have to point to the plural in “figures”. To change 1843 to 1844 is only one figure. Some may argue that one should not be so literal in hermeneutics here. The intention is not to throw out Ellen White. If there is a license here to think different, by all means different thinking can be investigated. In no manner can anyone end up with a result opposed to the divine light that was given to Ellen White. This is a rule.

In the liberal scholarship of Adventism there is always the call for creative work. New paradigms. New hermeneutics. A change from hermeneutics of affirmation to hermeneutics of difference. Critical investigation. Challenging of traditional views. This spirit is wrong. Anyone citing George Knight on this call for new views or park Ellen White truth still to be discovered statement with their endeavor outlined here, is wrong. Ellen White’s statement has nothing to do with challenging the inspiration of her works or the biblical text. They do. Noteworthy is it that many persons working with liberalism in Adventism are questioning her authority, inspiration and constantly pleading for a looseness to live, work, operate, publish and comment in. They call it present truth and progressive thinking.

I love the way Peter Kreeft talked about progressivism:

“Worst of all, Progressivism clearly contradicts the very idea of a divine revelation. If there is such a revelation, Progressivism corrects it, corrects God Himself, and arrogates to itself the right to edit rather than deliver the divine mail, evaluating it by dating its postmark. Even religions that do not claim a direct divine revelation, like Confucianism, Taoism, or Buddhism, get their teachings from their past, from their founders. Progressivists make it up as they go along.’

Peter Kreeft, Progressivism: The Snobbery of Chronology

Of course, one must be careful with Kreeft as well. He was a Calvinist who converted to Catholicism and worship Thomas Aquinas.

George R. Knight maintained that the concept of “present truth” as an identifying mark of Adventist theology involves a rejection of “creedal rigidity” as well as an acceptance of “progressive understanding” of the biblical doctrine.( George R. Knight, A Search for Identity: The Development of Seventh-day Adventist Belief (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald, 2000), 21-26). In the same vein also Roberto Badenas said “for Adventist Christianity, the very word ‘truth’ ought to mean discovery and growth.”(Roberto Badenas, “Dealing with ‘Present Truth:’ 2 Peter 1:12 Revisited,” in Exploring the Frontiers of Faith, eds. Børge Schantz and Reinder Bruinsma (Lüneburg, Germany: Advent-Verlag, 2009), 211). These two sources are your identifiers for a liberal researcher. It shows that they argue for a hermeneutics of cynicism or hermeneutics of difference. They normally go one step further to scoop Ellen White up for a prooftext: “There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible . . . No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation” (Ellen G. White, Councils to Writers and Editors (Hagerstown, MD: Pacific Press, 1993), 35). A good rebuttal of this of course is pointing to the warning of Ellen White against new ideas at the end time: ““the great deceiver has many agents to present any and every kind of errors to ensnare souls–heresies, prepared to suit the varied tastes and capacities of those whom he would ruin.” Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy Ended . . . A Glimpse into Eternity (Silver Spring, MD: Better Living Pub., 2002), 292.

The subject of the 1290 years and 1335 years has been the study by various scholars and three or four camps were identified: traditional which is the 1843 chart by the two men honored by Ellen White in an 1850 Present Truth statement regarding the correctness of the figures in this chart, the 1856 statement of Hiram Edson about this chart and the Uriah Smith statement about it in 1867. Those who kept to this view is called the traditional interpreters.

If one should accept the 1260 years and the 2300 years interpretation of this chart and the year-day principle for all these periods, can one in the words of Ellen White sideline the 1290 and 1335 periods for “mistakes in figures (plural)” to be reconsidered?

I will take the position here that one can. For now.

So the Traditional view is that of W. Shea also. But then there is the Preteristic view of R. Cottrell in 1997 who waited for Hasel to die to come out of the preteristic closet where he was hiding and show his true colors in the open. He completely rejected the 2300 years prophecy and made in days, by making the 2300 days half. A number of scholars followed him.

Then there is the view of Desmond Ford which is a fusion of preterism, historicism and futurism plus. Multiplicity approach.

The Idealist view of R. Stefanovich is also listed here. He does not want to commit to the historicist view and wish to remain vague. He is looking either for a then application when the book was written or a now application in our lives.

My own view is none of these. It is rather an offshoot of the Traditional view. It claims that the reading of Daniel 12:11 is about the building of the Dome of the Rock over the mount Moriah rock of Abraham’s offer. The abomination is not in heaven or considered so in heaven but on earth as a sign. When was it built. That is the terminus ad quo for the beginning period. 684-691 A.D. Arabic scholars said. So that places 1974 as the end of the 1290 years and 2019 as the end of the 1335 years. But it is a sliding calculation since scholars are not sure which year exactly it was started. So until 2024, we may not know what is to happen at the end of the 1335 years.


A. F. Hernandez (2015), Adventist Eschatological Identity and the Interpretation of the Time Periods of Daniel 12:11-12. AUSS Vol. 1, No. 1, 65-84. Downloaded from on the 26th of August 2019.