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The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 4

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    V. Edson—Fundamental Emphasis on Revelation 13 to 17

    HIRAM EDSON, already noted, will be remembered as the first to begin reconstructive study following the Disappointment, leading out in group investigation on the question of the sanctuary in prophecy. This was in central New York. Because of his early prominence, we note his expositions in some detail. Edson held the standard view of the great outline prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, 8, and 9 with their related time periods, 28Hiram Edson, “The Shortening of the Days,” Review and Herald, July 30, 1867, p. 102. as carried over from the seventh-month movement. But he thought Russia might be the king of the north, of Daniel 11:45. 29Unpublished Ms., “The Time of the End” (1849), p. 10. And there was little variance in his view of the true and false churches of the Apocalypse and of the major time periods of the Revelation. He held the usual view on the trumpets 30Ibid., pp. 5, 6. and believed the two-horned beast to be “Protestant Rome,” with civil and ecclesiastical power, or civil and religious liberty, as the two horns. 31Edson, “An Appeal to the Laodicean Church,” Advent Review, Extra, 1830, p. 9 (see also Edson, “The Times of the Gentiles,” Review and Herald, Feb. 14, 1856, p. 153).PFF4 1082.2

    Here are a few items in the special area of his personal study in the early fifties, namely, of Revelation 13-17. Following along chronologically from 1850 to 1856, Edson’s leading positions were these.PFF4 1083.1


    Edson’s view, in 1850, on the last three of the seven churches was still quite circumscribed:PFF4 1083.2

    “All Advent believers know perfectly well that the Philadelphia Church, the Church of Brotherly Love, was made up of those who came out of the Sardis, or nominal Church in [the summer and autumn of] 1844, under the cry ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen.’ They know, also, that the Laodicean Church is the next in order, and is the seventh and last stage of the Church, as brought to view in Rev. chapters 2, 3. This church is made up of such as have become ‘lukewarm,’ and have left the Philadelphia Church of brotherly love, and are saying ‘I am rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing;’ and know not that they are ‘wretched and miserable, and poor and blind, and naked.’ 32Ibid., p. 1.PFF4 1083.3


    His view of the first two of the three messages is “standard“:PFF4 1083.4

    “The first angel was a message of warning and mercy to the world, and nominal church. The rejection of this message, by the churches proved their FALL. This prepared the way for the second angel to follow, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city,’ ice. This brought God’s people out of Babylon, and made them a free people, and prepared them to receive and obey the third angel’s message, which thy could not have obe[y]ed while in Babylon no more than Israel could have kept the Holy Sabbath, while they were bondmen and slaves in Egypt.” 33Ibid., p. 8.PFF4 1083.5

    3. Revelation 13-BEAST FROM SEA WOUNDED

    Edson held the “deadly wound” to have been given in, or following, 1798:PFF4 1083.6

    “The beast then, whose mark and worship we are to avoid, is the one with seven heads, and ten horns, of Chap. 13, which made war with the saints, and overcame them; and had power given him to continue forty and two months, 1260 years; at the end of which he received a deadly wound by a sword, and was led into captivity. This [wounding] was somewhere between 1798 and 1809, when a quarrel of no short standing, between Bonaparte and the Pope, reached its crisis.” 34Ibid. The wound, he later thought, was healed by 1815. (Edson, “The Times of the Gentiles,” Review and Herald, Jan. 24, 1856, p. 131.)PFF4 1083.7


    Edson’s view of “Protestant Rome,” probably centering in America, as symbolized by the two-horned beast, was in step with other Sabbatarians by this time:PFF4 1084.1

    “At this point [in 1809], John saw another beast COMING UP—not yet up, but coming up—having two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. Now it is certain that this two horned beast does not apply to the reign of Bonaparte, for this good reason—that Bonaparte was then already in the height of his power. Neither did he ever exercise ALL the power of the Papal beast, or do the miracles to be accomplished by the two horned beast....PFF4 1084.2

    “The two-horned beast is Protestant Rome, and is the seventh head. The two horns are civil and ecclesiastical power. The great and grand principle on which the Protestant churches have reared themselves was the right of liberty of conscience, and tree toleration. This was, indeed, lamb-like. The civil power became deeply imbued with the same spirit. It protected, sustained, and upheld the churches in this principle. This was also lamb-like in the civil power.... ‘And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him.’ ... So that by learning the history of the first beast, we may know what to expect from the latter, which ‘exerciseth ALL the power of the first beast before him,’ although he continues but a short space.” 35Ibid., p. 9.PFF4 1084.3


    It may be well to record the detailed enumeration of the seven heads, beginning with Babylon, as conceived by Edson:PFF4 1084.4

    “At this point, the angel talks with John, and gives him an explanation of the seven heads and the ten horns. He says, the seven heads are seven mountains, on’ which the woman sitteth. Some would tell us that these seven mountains are the seven literal hills “of earth on which the city of Rome is built.—But how could one of those literal hills of earth be wounded to death by a sword, and then be healed again? This cannot be the correct view....PFF4 1084.5

    “These texts seem to authorize us to go back to the head of gold or lion, Babylon, to count the seven heads:—Babylon, one; MedofPersia, two; Grecia, three; Rome Imperial, four; Rome Kingly, five; Rome Papal, six; and Rome Protestant, or two-horned beast, seven. Said the angel to John, ‘there are seven kings, five ARE FALLEN,’ in the past, ‘one is’ present,(the sixth) ‘and the other (the seventh), is not yet come,’ but is COMING UP.(Two horned beast.)PFF4 1084.6

    “Mark this-John in vision, is standing at the end of the 1260 years of Papal rule, when he sees the two horned beast COMING UP.PFF4 1085.1

    “‘The beast that thou sawest, WAS and IS NOT, [because he is wounded as it were to death, and gone into captivity] and shall ascend [future] out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition.’ Chap. 17:8. Again, ‘And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the EIGHTH and is of the SEVEN, and goeth into perdition.’ Verse 11. This is the image; it is the son of perdition.” 36Ibid. (Brackets in the original.)PFF4 1085.2

    6. Revelation 14-EMPHASIS Now ON THIRD MESSAGE

    His view of the Sabbath-heart of the third angel’s message likewise coincides with the other Sabbatarians, and his paralleling of the exodus and advent movements is interesting:PFF4 1085.3

    “So far as the third angel’s message has been proclaimed, it is known that the burden of the message has been to restore the down trodden Sabbath commandment. This is the most prominent characteristic mark of those who are proclaiming the present truth. It is the seal or mark of the living God. But some require a thus saith the Lord, that the Sabbath is the seal. They might with equal propriety require the same of every sealing truth that has ever been proclaimed to man. But thank heaven, we have got a thus saith the Lord for the Sabbath seal. He has said by his prophet, Isaiah 8:16, speaking of the present crisis, ‘Bind up the testimony, SEAL [or ratify] THE LAW among my disciples.’ This could never be done while they were violating one precept of that law.PFF4 1085.4

    “Again, when the children of Israel had left Egypt, the first commandment urged on them was the Sabbath of the Lord our God. So, also, it was with us, after we got out of Babylon into the wilderness of the people, this side of 1844. Then it began to ring in our ears, ‘How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws, for see that the Lord hath given you the Sabbath.[’]” 37Ibid., p. 11.PFF4 1085.5


    The relationship between the 1335—and 2300—year periods is the same as the Millerite seventh-month leaders taught:PFF4 1085.6

    “There was no mistake in the figures given on the chart for the beginning of the 2300 days, there must also of necessity be, and there was, a harmony of the dates of the 1260, the 1290, and the 1335 days with that of the 2300 days.” 38Edson, “The Times of the Gentiles,” Review and Herald, Jan. 10, 1856, p. 113.PFF4 1085.7

    This terminus he puts in 1843-1844. Edson also shares the Miller view in holding that both paganism and the Papacy are involved in Daniel 8:13. 39Ibid., p. 114 (see also January 17, p. 122).PFF4 1086.1


    Edson shared what was evidently the majority view at this time; namely, that the Papacy is the power of the latter part of Daniel 11, as Miller and James White had held it, and many others back to Reformation times. Russia might become the king of the north.PFF4 1086.2

    “The king, that is, the Pope or Papal king, should do according to his will, and exalt [*]and magnify himself above every god,’ that is to say, above every one of the kings of Europe, by holding all those kings under his dictation and control, claiming the right to crown and depose kings at his will, practicing and prospering in doing according to his will in this magnified, exalted station, TILL the indignation be ACCOMPLISHED....PFF4 1086.3

    Verses 36-39 [of Daniel 11] contain a catalogue of the acts and doings of the Papal king; and verse 40 foretells an event which should mark the time of the end, where the indignation would cease; viz., ‘And at the time of the end the king of the south shall push at him.’” 40Ibid., p. 115.PFF4 1086.4

    But Russia might be the king of the north, of verse 45. 41Edson, Ms., “The Time of the End” (1849), p. 10.PFF4 1086.5


    Edson clearly dates the beginning of the 1260 years from the 533 decree of Justinian, made effective A.D. 538, not from the uprooting of the opposing Ostrogothic power:PFF4 1086.6

    “In 538 the Papal form of government was established by the decree of Justinian being carried into effect. This was the dragon giving his power, his seat, and great authority, to the Papal beast. This decree clothed the Pope, the head of the church, with the civil power and the PURPLE AND SCARLET robe. The supremacy of the pope is limited in prophecy to 1260 years. Then the judgment was to sit and they should take away his dominion to consume and to destroy it unto the end. Add 1260 to 538 and it brings us to 1798.” 42Edson, “The Times of the Gentiles,” Jan. 24, 1856, p. 130.PFF4 1086.7

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