Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Hit «Ch «Pg   Pg» Ch» Hit» Forward»

The Ellen G. White Letters and Manuscripts: Volume 1, Page 244

I saw that the two-horned beast9

Not until some months later, in May 1851, did a Sabbatarian scholar (J. N. Andrews) first propose that the United States of America be identified with the “two-horned” beast of Revelation 13.

See: J. N. Andrews, “Thoughts on Revelation XIII and XIV,” Review, May 19, 1851, pp. 82-84. For the development of early Sabbatarian interpretation of the two-horned beast, see P. Gerard Damsteegt, Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission, pp. 196-203.

had a dragon mouth, and that his power was in his head, and that the decree would go out of his mouth. Then I saw the mother of harlots, that the mother was not the daughters, but separate and distinct from them.10

In the main, this exposition of Revelation 17 follows earlier Millerite thinking that after 1843 increasingly identified “Babylon … mother of harlots” with the Roman Catholic Church and her offspring harlots as the apostate Protestant churches. The general identification of “Babylon” with Roman Catholicism had a much longer past, reflecting a common position among Protestant scholars going back to the Reformation.

More specifically, this passage may have been directed against the position taken by James White during the 1850s, which tended to downplay the Roman Catholic identity of “Babylon” in Revelation 17. As pointed out by Damsteegt, White seems to have taken his cue for the identification of “Babylon” in Revelation 17 from his understanding of “Babylon” in the second angel's message of Revelation 14. He insisted that since Millerites had not been called out of the Catholic Church in 1843-1844, but out of the Protestant “nominal” churches, “Babylon” did not include the Catholic Church. Turning to “Babylon” in Revelation 17, in an 1851 article, while paying lip service to the Roman Catholic “Mother” and Protestant “harlots” schema of the Millerites, James White sought to conflate the two, seeing them instead as “a family of harlots”… “symbolical of all the churches.” The assertion in Ms 15 that “the mother … [is] not the daughters, but separate and distinct from them” seems to be a rejection of this approach. Though James White's article in December 1851 cited above was published after the vision recorded in Ms 15, 1850, yet he may well have held the opinions expressed there earlier.

See: James White, “Come out of Babylon!” Review, Dec. 9, 1851, p. 58; P. Gerard Damsteegt, Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission, p. 179, note 99. For Millerite and early Sabbatarian interpretations of “Babylon,” see further P. Gerard Damsteegt, Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission, pp. 46-48, 179-184; Alberto R. Timm, The Sanctuary and the Three Angels’ Messages, pp. 44-47, 81-83, 182-187; Reinder Bruinsma, Seventh-day Adventist Attitudes Toward Roman Catholicism 1844-1965, pp. 42-45, 62, 63, 89. For a general history of prophetic interpretation, see LeRoy Edwin Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers (see especially vol. 2, pp. 528-532; vol. 3, pp. 252, 253, 744; and vol. 4, pp. 392-401 for summaries of non-Millerite Protestant interpretations of “Babylon”). See also: EGWEnc, s.v. “Babylon in Eschatology.”

She has had her day, and it is past, and her daughters, Protestant sects, were next to come on the stage and act out the same mind that the mother had when she persecuted the saints. I saw that as the mother has been declining in power the daughters have been growing, and soon they will exercise the power once manifested by the mother.

«Back «Hit «Ch «Pg   Pg» Ch» Hit» Forward»