To a studious Seventh-day Adventist, the following dates and/or years are highly prophetically significant,— dates that they do not forget and that have become a part of them: 457 B.C. 27 A.D., 31 A.D., 34 A.D., 508, 538, 1798, October 22, 1844, 1863 and 1888. Yet another date with just as much prophetic import is often unknown or overlooked by many Seventh-day Adventists. That date is August 11. Every year on this day should be a special reminder to Seventh-day Adventists around the world of how the day for a year principle was confirmed, established and gave much power to the Great Advent Movement leading up to 1844.
What exactly took place on August 11 occurred in the year 1840, which was the termination of the second woe, the sixth trumpet ceasing to sound, and the opening of the third and final woe under the seventh trumpet shortly thereafter, brought to view in Revelation 8:13. “And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound! ” Note, there are only three woes, and but seven trumpets. This prophecy fulfilled the hour, day, month and year (literally 391 years and 15 days) of Revelation 9:12-15. “One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter. And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men.”
To understand and find the starting point of this prophecy, one would have to go back and study the first woe under the fifth trumpet. The first woe describes and characterizes the rise and spread of the Muslim power, her conquests and works of destruction especially upon the Roman Empire. The second woe is likewise about the Muslim power, but brings us to its end. What was the event that took place on August 11, 1840 that fulfilled the 391 years and 15 days? It was the fall of the Ottoman Empire. This prophecy is remarkable in that it is one of the few prophecies in the Bible where the time of the fulfillment is given to the very day. At the end of this period, Turkey would cease to be an independent power. For 391 years and 15 days the power of the Ottoman Empire was to continue. However, on that exact day the actual power of the Turkish Government passed into the hands of the great powers of Europe, and from that day to this the very existence of the Ottoman Empire has been, and is now, solely dependent on the support of these great powers.
The period of (1st) “woe” began, July 27, 1299 (see Revelation 9:10) when the Muslim power came on the scene when Othman first invaded the territory of Nicomedia. It extended five prophetic months or one hundred and fifty years (using the day for a year principle found in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6,) to July 27, 1449. The Bible continues, "One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter." The Bible then details other elements of havoc to be let loose” (Revelation 9:12) before opening the second woe under the sixth seal. “And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men” (Revelation 9:13-15). An hour, and a day, and a month, and a year. Counting 30 days to the month, according to the scriptural mode of computing time, a year is 360 days, and taking each day for a year, we have 360 years. A month-30 days-is 30 years. A day is 1 year. These added together give 391 years. From July 27, 1449, the 391 years reach to July 27, 1840. But there is "an hour" yet. An hour is the twenty-fourth part of a day. And (a day for a year) this would be the twenty-fourth part of a year, or 15 days. Fifteen days from July 27 extends to August 11. Therefore, on August 11, 1840, this period of an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, would expire. During the Great Advent Movement or Millerite Movement, wherein Adventists were looking for the second Coming of Jesus in 1844 based on Daniel 8:14 and the message of Revelation 14:6 and 7 was being proclaimed, the fulfillment of Revelation 9:15, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, greatly strengthened the message of the Lord’s Second Coming and gave certainty to the year 1844. There is an intimate connection between the opening of the investigative judgement and the closing of the second woe.
“In the year 1840 another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy excited widespread interest. Two years before, Josiah Litch, one of the leading ministers preaching the second advent, published an exposition of Revelation 9, predicting the fall of the Ottoman Empire. According to his calculations, this power was to be overthrown ‘in A.D. 1840, sometime in the month of August;’ and only a few days previous to its accomplishment he wrote: ‘Allowing the first period, 150 years, to have been exactly fulfilled before Deacozes ascended the throne by permission of the Turks, and that the 391 years, fifteen days, commenced at the close of the first period, it will end on the 11th of August, 1840, when the Ottoman power in Constantinople may be expected to be broken. And this, I believe, will be found to be the case.’--Josiah Litch, in Signs of the Times, and Expositor of Prophecy, Aug. 1, 1840. At the very time specified, Turkey, through her ambassadors, accepted the protection of the allied powers of Europe, and thus placed herself under the control of Christian nations. The event exactly fulfilled the prediction. When it became known, multitudes were convinced of the correctness of the principles of prophetic interpretation adopted by Miller and his associates, and a wonderful impetus was given to the advent movement. Men of learning and position united with Miller, both in preaching and in publishing his views, and from 1840 to 1844 the work rapidly extended.”
As the first two woes are past, and we are now living under the third woe, the seventh trumpet which is soon to close based on Bible prophecies, we understand that the investigative judgment is soon to close, and the seventh trumpet is soon to cease from blowing which will give way to the trumpet of Christ’s Second Coming. “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:15 and 18). We must daily examine our lives to make sure that we are gaining victory over every sin, through the power of Christ, and dispensing with everything that would hinder our spiritual progress. We must have the experience of the early Advent believers that were expecting the Lord’s Coming in 1844. They spent entire nights in prayer and study; they had no time for frivolity, indolence, self-seeking, amusement, grudges or any other earthly consideration. How do we spend our time, what are our conversations about, what themes occupy our thoughts? Let us examine ourselves and amend our ways before the Lord, “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” Hebrews 10:37.
White Ellen. The Great Controversy (1911), pages 334 and 335