Jon Paulien and George Knight are two scholars in Adventism becoming more aggressive in their denials


Dr. Jon Paulien is a professor at the Loma Linda University School of Religion. At a recent church-sponsored symposium about the end time prophetic events, Dr. Paulien said that Sunday Laws are not coming, the Great Controversy is outdated, there are other options for the mark of the beast and Ellen White was not an end-time prophet. Eight months ago, the Central California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists hosted a “Biblical Symposium on Final Events.”

The presentation was entitled “The Coming Sunday Law Dilemma” featuring Dr. Jon Paulien, a leading scholar and professor at Loma Linda University. However, the “coming Sunday law dilemma” was not about the crisis our world would soon face; no, the “dilemma” that Dr. Paulien was inferring was that there was no Sunday law forthcoming.


The New Mark of the Beast


Minute 17:45 “The biblical evidence does not speak of Sunday as such, but it speaks about a counterfeit of the Sabbath being critical to the mark of the beast at the end of time. And we noticed that there were four possibilities and four options for a counterfeit. One would be a different day than the Sabbath, and Sunday would be an example of that. A second option is that every day is the Sabbath, which means that no day would have any special significance. The third is that no day is the Sabbath. Sabbath was simply abolished by Jesus and therefore we can worship on any day that we choose. And finally, some sort of legislation to forbid Sabbath-keeping would be option number 4. So within exegeses of the biblical text you do have options for understanding what the mark of the beast will actually turn out to be.”


But says our truth...


“When the test comes, it will be clearly shown what the mark of the beast is. It is the keeping of Sunday” (SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 980).


Attacking Ellen White and the Great Controversy




Minute 27:26 “Our careful study of fulfilled prophecy, out of careful study from the book of Revelation and reading these statements (from Ellen White), with the biblical principles in mind, we should be careful not to assume that the end-time will be identical to GC (Great Controversy) in every detail. Considering both the Bible and world history, were Ellen White alive today there is at least a chance that her depiction of the end would be different than it was in the 1880s.


But the truth is...

Notice how Sister White describes how she received the Great Controversy vision and simply wrote it down:


“It was more essential that I should devote myself to writing out the important matters for Vol. IV; (Spirit of Prophecy Volume 4 was the original Great Controversy) that the warning must go where the living messenger could not go, and that it would call the attention of many to the important events to occur in the closing scenes of this world’s history. As the condition of the church and the world was open before me, and I beheld the fearful scenes that lie just before us, I was alarmed at the outlook; and night after night, while all in the house were sleeping, I wrote out the things given me of God. I was shown the heresies which are to arise, the delusions that will prevail, the miracle-working power of Satanthe false Christs that will appearthat will deceive the greater part even of the religious world, and that would, if it were possible, draw away even the elect. Is this work of the Lord? I know that it is, and our people also profess to believe it. The warning and instruction of this book are needed by all who profess to believe the present truth” (1888 Materials, p. 652).


Rewriting Sunday Laws


Minute 28:12 “The idea of a world-wide Sunday law made a lot of sense back then. The world was quite different than today. So we should not assume that after the passage of more than one hundred and fifty years that every detail would necessarily be fulfilled.”



Minute 29:40 “If the end had come in Ellen White’s lifetime, I have no doubt that it would have happened essentially the way that she said.”


Minute 30:00 Great Controversy fits perfectly with exactly what was happening in the world in the 1880sI think we make the mistake in putting lines in the sand and saying it must happen exactly this way when in fact we see God being creative, not always predictable things have changed in the world. If God was giving a prophecy today it wouldn’t sound like what was given back then because we are in a different world, different language, different circumstances, different time and place.


But the truth is...

“Popery is just what prophecy declared that she would be, the apostasy of the latter times. [2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.] It is a part of her policy to assume the character which will best accomplish her purpose; but beneath the variable appearance of the chameleon, she conceals the invariable venom of the serpent” (Great Controversy, p. 571).


Ellen White is not an End-time Prophet


Minute 17:30 Ellen White’s style of prophecy is classical rather than apocalyptic.


Minute 30:46 And finally, as a classical prophet, Ellen White’s predictions should be understood as conditional. As circumstances change the fulfillment of Revelation 13 could take other forms than the ones that seemed so clear in 1888.



Minute 41:48 She (Sister White) is talking about the near future. She’s talking about a world that was very real in the 1880s, but no longer exists today. It’s no longer a Protestant government. It’s no longer a world in which spiritualism is at the top of the radar and the agenda What she was describing in Great Controversy was about her present and her near future.


Minute 42:45 She does not address the world that we live in today, directly. Her predictions are natural extensions of the world of her day. You will look in vain for a nuclear war or a nuclear power. You will look in vain for computers, internet, cell phones, space travel, world wars, Islamic terrorism, rise of secularism, rise of post modernism and so on. She does not address our world. That is typical of the Bible prophets. They spoke to their world.


But says Ellen White in truth...

“Each of the ancient prophets spoke less for their own time than for ours, so that their prophesying is in force for us. ‘Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come’ 1 Corinthians 10:11(Selected Messages, Book 3, p. 338).


“The prophets spoke less for their own time than for the ages which have followed, and for our own day” (Signs of the Times, April 2, 1896).


Speculations, Conspiracies, Undermining Prophecy and Unsafe Assumptions


Minute 49:48 There is another way to undermine prophecy and that is to over specify the prophecy. To be too confident that we understand every detail in advance, and out of that confidence putting charts together signifying the events of the end in such a way that when the real thing comes you miss it. You don’t see it because it doesn’t fit the expectations you put together.

But says the Bible in truth...


“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:3.


“Whoso readeth, let him understand.” Matthew 24:15


“Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” Revelation 10:11.


Minute 54:54 “I believe it is unwise to use this particular idea (Sunday laws) as the sign of the end. As the one thing that we are all looking for to say, ‘Yea I think we’re in the final crisis.’ In the end it may happen in surprising ways. You see, after all, Ellen White spoke about Sunday legislation throughout her life. It was there, over 100 statements. There was legislation all through those decades that she served in her ministry. So the idea of Sunday being particularly significant to the mark of the beast certainly was a common theme in her writings. But the idea of a specific legislation in Congress, that’s the key idea that gets people excited. And that occurs only in statements around 1888 through 1890 There was a specific context that called for that specificity. But to assume that this exact context will repeat itself at the end, it’s not a safe assumption.”

But the truth is....


Bible: “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9.


Spirit of Prophecy: “History will repeat itself. In this age the great test will be upon the point of Sabbath observance. The heavenly universe beholds men trampling upon the law of Jehovah, making the memorial of Godthe sign between Him and His commandment-keeping peoplea thing of naught, something to be despised Apostate Protestantism has accepted the false sabbath instituted by the Roman Catholic Church. They have cradled this child of the papacy. Very soon all who refuse to worship this idol will be forbidden to buy or sell” (Manuscript 110, 1904).


Ellen G. White Estates: “As Sunday law issues intensified in the late 1800’s and agitation for a national Sunday law in the United States increased, Ellen White wrote perceptively of “The Impending Conflict” Agitation for Sunday legislation gradually waned, but in succeeding years Ellen White kept the issues of the final conflict before church leaders. Times might have changed, so far as actual persecution for Sabbath observance was concerned, but the issues and the principles involved remained the same. Since Ellen White’s death further changes have taken place, but we believe that the same principles and the same issues will be revived in the coming conflict, present appearances to the contrary notwithstanding” (Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 380, 381).


Minute 58:34 “As we look to the future, I encourage you to weigh Bible prophecy and particularly unfulfilled Bible prophecy. Speculations about unfulfilled prophecies have gotten us nowhere. It’s been a failure pretty much every time it’s tried.”


Minute 59:26 “It’s easy for people to speculate and create conspiracy theories.”


Ellen White’s Own Defense of the Book Great Controversy


In 1888 Materials, pages 657-690, Ellen White presents her defense against church leaders who became antagonistic toward her book that she refers to as “Vol. IV.”


“The course pursued toward Vol. IV. (Spirit of Prophecy Volume 4 which is the Great Controversy) has confirmed the word of the Lord which has been given me, that men were occupying responsible positions who were not working where God was working; that the testimony of the spirit of God had no special sacredness to them unless it sanctioned their ideas and actions. Anything not in harmony with their ideas, they did not receive. Had they realized the importance of the light given me of God, would they have let the message of appeal and warning lie buried in the office of publication while they only expressed regret, and did nothing to change the order of things? Brethren, you may think that your course in this matter does not justify me in speaking plainly as I do, but the time has come for me to speak, and I refuse to keep silent longer. I cannot but feel that the enemy has warped your conscience and beclouded your minds. My oral testimony will do you no good while you stand where you now are” (1888 Materials, p. 660.1).


“But their course in regard to the circulation of my books has made it a necessity for me to speak. I cannot be clear and keep silent. I cannot have confidence to leave these matters, which to me involves so much, to their discretionary power, when I am brought into constant embarrassment. I have less confidence in their management than I have had, for I cannot believe that the Lord leads them to pursue the course they have taken.” (1888 Materials, p. 657.1)


Source: Andy Roman, “Prominent LLU Professor: ‘No Sunday Law, No Great Controversy, No End-time Prophet and the Mark of the Beast is Undetermined’” June 10, 2021