Recently, we came across a sermon by pastor David Gates, president of Gospel Ministries International, that quite surprised us. It is called “Even at the Door” and was recorded in English and Spanish, including a question and answer session (English and Spanish). It caught our attention in part because it was published right around Yom Kippur, and because of the content, which is about the reasons why he now expects that the Sunday Law will come in the Spring of 2019.
He comes to that conclusion from recognizing significance in the pope’s visit to the US, beginning September 22/23, 2015, which he believes was Yom Kippur like the rest of the world, since he does not follow the true calendar. Of course, this is not a deal-breaker, since the true Yom Kippur was just two days later, when the Pope addressed the assembled nations at the United Nations’ General Assembly.
Pastor Gates also included a couple of links to a recent televised series by the SDA conference pastor Arthur Branner, who arrives at the same timeframe through a study of the timelines of Daniel, and who has directly addressed the time-setting quotes of Ellen White in a separate pamphlet that he distributes.
Initially, we thought, “Wow! Adventists with influence are finally starting to preach a time message!” We envisioned possibly making contact and helping them to see the few corrections that are needed in order to find the whole truth. Since they are now studying time in a quantitative, calculable way, they are past one of the major hurdles that Adventists have gotten hung up on.
As I write this, that sermon from Pastor Gates has been viewed more than 100,000 times between both languages. This is the kind of influence that these truths needed nearly a decade ago when Brother John began to follow the same lines of thought! If he had had that kind of influential support of experienced pastors at that time, the Loud Cry could have been sounded in time for Adventists—and through them the whole world—to benefit from it! The church could even have been brought to repentance and spared its shipwreck. Do you understand why Ellen White said that such pastors would not escape God’s wrath, but their suffering would be ten times greater than that of their people? Yet honestly, it seems the punishment still falls short of fitting the crime.
Read this quote from one of the first articles Brother John published, called Iceberg Ahead! These lines follow a quoted dream of Ellen White, where she saw a ship that struck an iceberg, surviving the encounter only by meeting it head-on: (emphasis added)
First, I would like you to note that she "sent out the testimonies regarding the efforts of the enemy". Many Adventists argue that it is not our job to observe what the enemy does. But I agree with Ellen White that it is indeed also (!) necessary to "predict icebergs" in the fairway. And the largest iceberg that awaits us is probably the National Sunday Law in the U.S., because we know that our time of preparation must be completed beforehand. Wouldn't it be good for us to quickly "spy out this iceberg" a bit earlier to make up for lost time?
Secondly, I agree with Ellen G. White that there is no way to avoid the iceberg. That would—as with the Titanic—only lead to the destruction of the vessel (the church) and sink it. Compromises with these powers are impossible! The only chance is "full steam ahead toward the iceberg!" I try to meet it with my little website as far as my small funds allow. I spotted the Sunday Law, and another "iceberg", the appearance of the false Christ, from the lookouts and now ring the alarm bell and blow the trumpet, so we can fire up the engines and meet the obstacles at full power.
Or have we already rammed an iceberg without noticing it, and our "Titanic" is already ripped from stem to stern and is about to sink into the eternal silence of the sea? Have we felt too sure of ourselves, trusting in the designers and thinking that we were on an unsinkable ship? That would be a terrible realization and it would mean that we would have to leave the ship—as long as there is still space in the few lifeboats—the Titanic didn't have adequate provisions for all passengers to escape either.
This was published in early January, 2010, yet the words were prophetic of what was to befall the church. Indeed, the church did not meet the iceberg head on, but tried to skirt the issue with trickery at its 2015 General Conference Session. Like the Titanic, few escaped the sinking ship in time, but were enraptured with its hired ensemble playing, in this case, “It Is Well with My Soul,” in an effort to convince church members against the evidence to the contrary.
If it were truly well with the church’s soul, they would not have ignored the alarm bells and trumpet blasts, just because they didn’t come through David Gates or the like! When John Scotram first spotted the Sunday Law, he met with shunning or condescending “let’s wait and see (if this no-name is right),” but when David Gates sees the Sunday Law, Adventists are all ears with alarm! Unfortunately, even so, they still trust in the sinking “unsinkable ship” and therefore do not see the heavenly lifeboat.
As we listened to the sermons, however, we began to see how they preach with a wrong motivation that is contrary to what this ministry stands for. Andrew Henriquez well expressed what drives him in many of his sermons, as he often appallingly says, “I want to be saved, don’t you?” Such expressions come from a selfish motivation. Their own desire to be saved drives these pastors to do good works, study, preach, etc. They appeal to the selfishness of their audience to secure salvation for themselves, rather than being motivated by the self-sacrificial love that is concerned with the truth being proclaimed so the Father’s name can be cleared, regardless of the cost to themselves.
Let it be clear, whether we as High Sabbath Adventists are ultimately honored with eternal life or not, we are committed to serve the Lord and keep His commandments, so that the Father’s name may be vindicated in the great controversy. The crown of life that Jesus places upon our head, we gratefully lay at His feet, simply because we love Him who first loved us, and His law is written in our hearts. We are content to be eternally blotted out of existence if that is needed for God’s cause to succeed.
Thus, we could not help but recognize that these pastors have outed themselves as the foolish virgins, and not the wise, as we briefly considered may have been the case. The Midnight Cry has been sounding by the fourth angel for years, but pride prevented the people from receiving the Latter Rain, because (as it was in 1888) it did not come through big-name preachers, so they had no oil in their lamps. Not having their Sodomy-Law oil refill, they tried to go buy more Sunday-Law oil. Now, at this late hour, they hastily return, still without oil, having only some rudimentary elements of the message God wanted to give them, but soon they will learn that the door is closed. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Just after the second plague began, I personally contacted the Reform Adventist pastor, Andrew Henriquez of Saved to Serve once again, inviting him to consider the section on the Sunday law in the third part of our Series on the stench of the first plague, with a heartfelt plea (emphasis added):
As I was writing for our recent publication, I was often thinking about you. As a ministry, we appreciate the dedication and sincerity that is apparent in your preaching and publications, to bring people to an awareness of the relevant issues of this time. There are a few points where we differ, however, and this is troubling for us, because if we both sincerely desire to work with God to do His bidding, how is it that we are not led in the same direction?
One particularly heart-wrenching [difference] is regarding the Sunday Law. I addressed this issue directly, though briefly, in our recent publication, and I would be most appreciative if you could spare a few moments of your time to read the relevant portion where it is addressed, and offer a thoughtful response.
Apparently, he gave his response in his sermon on the true Yom Kippur (Judgment day) High Sabbath of October 20, 2018, where sadly, he strongly reiterated that “We don’t need Time!” They will be judged by their own words. In reality, the message wouldn’t have needed time if the church had been faithful, but unfaithfulness changes the application of prophecies, as we detailed at the beginning of The Stench of the First Plague – Part III. His canned, parroted answer shows that he felt no need to contemplate the matter further, to consider the arguments presented, which already addressed his textbook response. This smug, know-it-all-because-Ellen-White-said-it-all attitude that dismisses honest study to better understand how her words should be understood, leads me to question whether his apparent sincerity isn’t just that—an appearance of godliness that denies the humble honesty thereof.
This sad revelation brought us to understand something more about the distinction between the five wise and five foolish virgins. First of all, they are virgins. That means they are potential candidates for the 144,000, who clearly have accepted the Adventist message. The foolish ones are still virgins—Adventists—but they didn’t accept the Latter Rain message.
But why ten virgins? What does ten represent? Its most obvious reference is to the Ten Commandments. Are there five commandments that are associated with the wise, and five with the foolish? We normally divide them into four and six, with the former being those that are about honoring our relationship with God, while the latter are about honoring human relationships. However, there is one commandment that requires the Latter Rain to fully understand its relationship to the first four.
And how many conservative Adventist pastors have fallen, even on the obvious superficial level, because of breaking the seventh commandment? They are not tempted to steal, kill, or even covet another’s possessions, but they dishonor God by breaking the marriage covenant, of which the Sabbath is the seal. The seventh commandment may legitimately be counted with the first four in relation to the virgins. The foolish virgins, because they did not receive the Holy Spirit to recognize the relationship of the Sunday Law to marriage, are represented only by the other five commandments not directly connected to the Latter Rain.
The oil in the vessels of the wise virgins has sustained them in this dark time, when the world and the church alike are falling apart. Do you have that oil? Do you see that there is no heavenly light burning in the lamps of the Sunday law preachers?
David Gates mentioned several historical timeframes of warning before judgment, but it is striking how each period that he noted (among others) serves as a type that has been precisely fulfilled in this ministry—and not that of the Adventist church institution.
Noah preached for 120 years before the flood came.
This corresponds to the 120 years of the wilderness wandering of the Adventist Church from the rejection of the Holy Spirit in 1890 until the Latter Rain came through the Orion message in 2010.
God gave Israel 490 years before they were rejected as a people.
This, of course, corresponds to the fulfillment of the seventy literal weeks of trouble in our day.
Jonah warned 40 days in advance of approaching destruction (averted by their repentance).
We have different 40-day periods, including the one beginning with the sixth trumpet until the sickle moon was in Orion’s hand on July 11 as described in The Books are Closed. This time, as it was also in Jesus’ day, there was no repentance to avert the destruction.
The Millerite message was preached for 11 years (1833-1844) prior to the Investigative Judgment.
The Orion Message, beginning in 2008 with the understanding of the Orion formula in Daniel’s vision of the Man over the river until the Second Coming in Spring of 2019, also spans 11 years.
While Pastor Gates only referenced these timeframes to reiterate that God gives warning before sending judgment, their reflection in this movement leaves no doubt—for those who can still see—that this ministry is following a divine and prophetic pattern. Furthermore, we have additional fulfillments to add to these, like the 1260-day periods of Revelation 12, where the woman fled into the wilderness:
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. (Revelation 12:6)
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (Revelation 12:14)
Adventists normally connect these two verses as relating to the same timeframe between AD 538 and 1798, when God’s people were persecuted by the church. In his first sermon of the series, Arthur Branner did well to explain that the different time units used (days and “times”) suggest that these timelines refer to different periods of time. Of course, in the same discourse, he fails to distinguish a third time-unit: “months.” He knows nothing of the constellation-months as we have described, which provide stunningly accurate prophetic markers of key trade war developments throughout the five months of the fifth trumpet.
There is another detail that confirms our double end-time application, which Branner was oblivious to. Verse 14 mentions the seemingly redundant detail that the woman was given two wings of a great eagle. Don’t all eagles have two wings? Why does it specify the number, instead of saying simply that she was given wings of an eagle? This points to the double application of the three and a half years of our ministry, where we here in the wilderness (sparsely-populated Paraguay), have been nourished for not just one term, but a full 7 years. From the time that others began to live here on the farm with Brother John in 2012 until 2019 is 7 years—three and a half years for each wing of the eagle. Note also which eagle it is referring to! It is a “great eagle,” which must be a reference to the one over the north gate in the heavens, who bears the great protective shield in her clutches.
Note that the traditional interpretation is not as good of a fit, because the church of the Dark Ages fled into the woods in Europe, which was never characterized as “wilderness” in Bible prophecy (and also not for the full duration of the 1260 years). But in the last-days application, it is a clear reference to the “wilderness” of the sparsely-populated Americas.
In conclusion, we are saddened to see these Adventist preachers clearly in the role of the foolish virgins—not having oil to know their time, and therefore being as fish caught in an evil net.
For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. (Ecclesiastes 9:12)
They have set themselves up for a terrible surprise when they discover that the door they have been waiting to enter is already closed. Did Jesus not conclude the parable with a warning to watch, because they don’t know the time?
Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:13)
Had they watched, they would have learned the time in the Latter Rain, and would not have been caught in the snare. Then the prayer on their lips would reflect their knowledge of the Lord:
Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to [men’s] teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord [Time], who made heaven and earth. (Psalms 124:6-8)
Instead, they fulfill a less praiseworthy example:
And while they went to buy [oil for their Sunday Law lamps, expecting the bridegroom to come later], the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (Matthew 25:10-12)
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:22-23)
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41-42)