Let us examine the problems with Adventist teachings regarding the identity of the Remnant Church.
1. Did the Waldenses keep the truth alive for 1,260 years? First, there is no church group that kept the "truth" of the Sabbath alive during the Dark Ages. The Waldenses were not Sabbath-keepers, and they did not move to the mountains until after 1184 AD. Persecution ended by the middle of the 1600s, so this group was in the so-called "wilderness" less than 500 years. (For more facts about the Waldenses, click here)
2. Did the Albigenses keep the truth alive for 1,260 years? In her epic book Great Controversy Mrs. White points to the Albigenses as a group that preserved the "truth" during the era of papal supremecy. However, the Albigenses were a heretical group of fanatics who believed the Old Testament was written by Satan, that Christ had no real body, and that marriage was evil. The group barely survived one century. (For more facts about the Albigenses, click here)
3. Is the 1,260 days of Revelation 12 a period of years? Adventists apply the year-for-a-day principal to turn the 1,260 days into 1,260 years, but that is an arbritrary and unwarranted application of the year-day principal. Adventists arbitrarily apply the year-day principle to some time periods in Revelation but not to others. Even if the days are indeed years, the dates of 538 AD to 1798 AD are questioned even by SDA scholars. (For more facts about these dates, click here)
4. Who has the Spirit of Prophecy? In 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 the Bible says the Holy Spirit is the source of spiritual gifts. One of those gifts is the gift of prophecy (1 Cor. 12:10). Therefore, the phrase "Spirit of Prophecy" would be a reference to the Holy Spirit--the One who gives the gifts--and not to the human recipient of the gift.4 Mrs. White claimed to be (or have) the "spirit of prophecy" but in order to make such a claim, one must first pass the Biblical tests of a prophet. There is significant evidence that Mrs. White failed six of the seven tests of a prophet.
Even if Mrs. White had passed the tests, the SDA Church has not had a living prophet in nearly a century. That puts the sect in the exact same position as all other commandment-keeping Christian churches who do not have a living prophet. Other Christian churches follow the writings of dead prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and the Apostle John. In fact, the writings of at least 24 deceased prophets appear in the Bible. So, how is the SDA Church now any different from non-SDA denominations in this regard? Is it because Adventists follow the writings of 25 deceased prophets instead of 24?5 Does the fact that SDA's have one more prophet than most other churches prove that they are the only ones who have the Spirit of Prophecy?
Even Ellen White described her writings as a "lesser light" pointing to the writings of the 24 Biblical authors who had the real spirit of prophecy.6 In fact, she admitted that her writings were not even necessary:
If you had made God's word your study, with a desire to reach the Bible standard and attain to Christian perfection, you would not have needed the Testimonies.7
So then, how important is that 25th prophet? Mrs. White implies she is not even necessary so long as one follows the writings of the other 24 prophets. That being the case, how can the SDA Church claim to be the sole denomination having the Spirit of Prophecy? They only have 1 more deceased prophet than other churches, AND, that one prophet testified...
- Her writings merely pointed to the writings of the other 24 prophets
- She was not needed if believers would study the other 24 prophets
5. Is the "Testimony of Jesus" really Ellen White's writings?? In Revelation 12:17, the word, "Testimony" (Greek marturia) comes from a root word which, in its various Greek forms, means "testifying," "testimony," "witness," and "martyr."
The phrase "Of Jesus" could be understood in two ways:
- The testimony came from Jesus. This stresses Jesus as the source of the testimony.
- The testimony is about Jesus. This stresses Jesus as the subject of the testimony.
Notice how the apostle John understood the meaning of the word "testimony" (marturia):
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote
these things: and we know that his testimony [marturia] is true.
What John is telling us in this verse is that his gospel is a
testimony about Jesus. Therefore, John's gospel is the
"testimony of Jesus."
Now, notice how John uses marturia to describe the
testimony of the believer concerning Jesus:
...for this is the witness [marturia] of God which he hath testified of his Son.
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness [marturia] in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record [marturia] that God gave of his Son.
And this is the record [marturia], that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
(1 John 5:9-11)
In these important verses we find that those who believe on Jesus
have the marturia, the witness or testimony of Jesus, in
How is the "testimony of Jesus" used in Revelation?
[John] Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony [marturia]
of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
In this verse John says he bore witness of three things:
- The Word of God
- The Testimony of Jesus Christ
- The things that he saw (in vision)
John goes on to say in verse 9:
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation,
and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle
that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony [marturia]
of Jesus Christ.
Notice the two reasons that John gives for being imprisoned on
the isle of Patmos:
- The Word of God
- The Testimony of Jesus
Clearly it was John's testimony about Jesus that resulted in his being imprisoned.
Notice something else: John had the "Testimony of Jesus" when he was on Patmos. That was somewhere between 65 AD and 100 AD. So, the "Testimony of Jesus" was manifested in the writings of John over 1,700 years before the birth of Ellen [Harmon] White.
Look at Revelation 6:9:
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of
them that were slain for the word of God, and for the
testimony [marturia] which they held.
Notice the martyrs were slain for two reasons:
- The Word of God
- Their testimony [marturia], presumably about Jesus.
The SDA Church teaches that among these martyrs were those who died in the 1,260-year reign of the papacy. Adventists claim this period started in 538 AD and ended in 1798 AD. If this is true, then these martyrs had the "testimony" long before Ellen Harmon was born.
From the context of Revelation chapter 12, the testimony of Jesus clearly refers to the word of testimony of those who "loved not
their lives unto the death":
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word
of their testimony [marturia]; and they loved not their lives unto the
death. ... And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to
make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments
of God, and have the testimony [marturia] of Jesus Christ.
(Revelation 12:11, 17)
Notice that the "testimony" in Revelation 12 is "their testimony," once again indicating that the "testimony" was their personal testimony about Jesus, not Ellen White's writings.
In Revelation 19:10 we find that John's "brethren" also had the marturia,
or testimony of Jesus:
...I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that
have the testimony [marturia] of Jesus: worship God: for
the testimony [marturia] of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
The marturia is here described as
the gift of prophecy, which is given to testify about
Here are some alternate readings of the last part of Revelation 19:10
The prophetic spirit proves itself by witnessing to Jesus.
(New American Bible)
Testimony to Jesus is the spirit which underlies Prophecy.
(Weymouth New Testament)
Those who bear testimony to Jesus are inspired like all the prophets.
(New English Bible)
The purpose of all prophecy and of all I have shown you is to tell about Jesus.
Worship God, because the testimony about Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
(Holman Christian Standard Bible)
The last reference to marturia is found in Revelation 20:4:
...I saw the souls of them that were beheaded
for the witness [marturia] of Jesus, and for the word of
God, and which had
not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had
received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and
they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
This verse parallels Rev. 6:9. Again, the two reasons for martyrdom are given:
- The Word of God
- The witness [marturia] of Jesus.
Throughout the New Testament we find a pattern of the "testimony of
Jesus" referring to the believer's personal witness about
Jesus Christ. Rather than being the prophetic utterances received from Jesus, the testimony of Jesus is the believer's personal testimony about Jesus. The "testimony of Jesus" is found in the writings of the New Testament, whose writers personally knew Christ and bore witness to Him. Furthermore, John tells us that the testimony of Jesus is found in the heart of all those who accept and believe in Jesus as the Son of God:
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness [marturia] in himself (1 John 5:10)
Therefore, the "testimony of Jesus" cannot be used to uniquely identify the SDA Church as the remnant church of Bible prophecy. Revelation clearly teaches that John had the "testimony of Jesus" (Rev. 1:9), the martyrs had it (Rev. 6:9), and John's brethren had it (Rev. 19:10). None of these ever knew Ellen White, so it could not refer directly to her.