The Omega: You're Soaking In It

In the early 80s, New Zealand TV had an advert about a dishwashing detergent which would soften ladies' hands.  The ad showed a woman soaking her hands in green “hand softener” while her beautician touted the merits of the featured dish detergent.  The punch line, “You're soaking in it,” revealed that the green “hand softener” was actually this particular dishwashing liquid.

This ad describes my growing conclusions about the Omega heresy.  I believe we have evidence that the Omega may not be a big bang event at the end of our church's history, but may instead be a train of events which we are in the midst of now.  Hence, we may be "soaking in it" already.

Ellen G. White makes very few comments about the Omega heresy; most are found in Selected Messages, Book 1.  She writes, “Be not deceived; many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.  We have now before us the alpha of this danger.  The omega will be of a most startling nature,” {1SM 197.4}.  She is warning us that the Omega will be big and horrible and will deceive many in the SDA church.

She writes further, “In the book Living Temple there is presented the alpha of deadly heresies.  The omega will follow, and will be received by those who are not willing to heed the warning God has given,” {1SM 200.1}.  This statement forecasts a series of heresies, with Doctor John Harvey Kellogg's book at the front.

When we say “A to Z,” we refer to a connected series of items.  Alpha and Omega are the A and Z of the Greek alphabet.  Revelation 1:8, in introducing a series of events from the beginning of the Christian era to the end of the world, employs the terms Alpha and Omega to describe Jesus: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”  Ellen G. White apparently uses these terms to forecast a series of events in the Remnant church.

Here is a more direct statement from a different publication: “Living Temple contains the alpha of a train of heresies.  These heresies are similar to those that I met in my first labors in connection with the cause in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, then in Boston, Roxbury, New Bedford, and other parts of Massachusetts.  Through them the evil one worked upon the minds of men and women,” {Lt265-1903.1}.

Mrs. White describes Omega's timing. 

Living Temple contains the alpha of these theories.  I knew that the omega would follow in a little while; and I trembled for our people.  I knew that I must warn our brethren and sisters not to enter into controversy over the presence and personality of God.  The statements made in Living Temple in regard to this point are incorrect.  The scripture used to substantiate the doctrine there set forth, is scripture misapplied,” {1SM 203.2}. 

The Alpha apostasy climaxed about 107 years ago; what did Sister White mean by a “little while?”

There are two ways we can view this.  One view is that the Omega is an event at the end of the church's history which is separated from the Alpha by more than 107 years and has not happened yet.                 Therefore the "little while" is 107+ years.  Regarding 107+ years as a "little while" is strange, but some may quote 2 Peter 3:8, “...one day is with the Lord as a thousand years,” and feel that Ellen G. White viewed it that way.  Some Seventh-day Adventists regard the Omega as a single future event  (Source). Lewis Walton's Omega and Omega II books give a similar impression.

Another view is that the Omega is an A to Z  train of events following, literally, "a little while" after the Alpha (the engine?), rather than a singular event at the end of the church's history.  Wherever Mrs. White mentions the Omega she uses the word heresies (plural) instead of heresy (singular).  When writing about the parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25), she sees considerable delay to the Second Advent.  In another place, she writes,

“If every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind.  While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us,” {9T 29},{ChS 86.2}.

If Sister White saw the Omega as a singular event at the end of the church's history, she might have written “heresy” instead of “heresies.”  She might have not spoken of a "little while" between them.  If we accept that the Omega concludes the train of heresies, then her habit of grouping them under one heading, The Omega, would indicate common themes and a relation to the Alpha, as Z relates to A.

One common theme among these heresies has to do with the nature of God, or Christ:

“I have been instructed by the heavenly messenger that some of the reasoning in the book Living Temple is unsound, and that this reasoning would lead astray the minds of those who are not thoroughly established on the foundation principles of present truth.  It introduces that which is nought but speculation in regard to the personality of God and where His presence is.  No one on this earth has a right to speculate on this question.  The more fanciful theories are discussed, the less men will know of God and of the truth that sanctifies the soul,” {1SM 201.3}. 

A more fundamental common theme is "the sanctification of sin". 

“The difficulties that have arisen have been very hard to meet, and they are far from being settled yet.  One, and another, and still another are presented to me as having been led to accept the pleasing fables that mean the sanctification of sin.  Living Temple contains the alpha of a train of heresies.  These heresies are similar to those that I met in my first labors in connection with the cause in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, then in Boston, Roxbury, New Bedford, and other parts of Massachusetts.  Through them the evil one worked upon the minds of men and women,” {Lt265-1903.1}.

Let us bring these two themes together.  Now we are looking at heresies that speculate on the divine/human nature of Christ and ultimately seek to sanctify sin.

A careful interpretation of Ellen G. White's writings on the Omega seem to support it being a train of heresies (plural) rather than a heresy (singular) at the end of time.  Those of us living now, 130-plus years after she wrote these prophecies, can test our interpretation against actual events.  To do that, we need to look at one of Sister White's most important Omega passages. 

“The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization.  Were this reformation to take place, what would result?  The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded.  Our religion would be changed.  The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error.  A new organization would be established.  Books of a new order would be written.  A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced.  The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do a wonderful work.  The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement.  The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless.  Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure,” {1SM 204.2}.

The quote "books of a new order" is well known; its context, when read in full, shows clear links to the Omega.  So, in the Omega we should see a train of heresies that:

question the divine or human nature of Christ

  • sanctify sin

  • advocate turning away from the doctrines that are the pillars of our faith as part of a great reformation

  • gain more and more traction as time goes by

  • appear a "little while" after the Alpha heresy

To test my theory that we are in the Omega already, we need to look into our church's history for a train of events that fulfill the above requirements.  I will only consider heresies which have a significant following among church leaders and members alike. 

I believe that events of 1957, and subsequently, show that we are now in the Omega.  The book Questions on Doctrine introduced new teachings into our church about the human nature of Christ. Subsequent events in the church, stemming from that event, meet all the points above about the Omega. That is, they sanctify sin, advocate turning away from the doctrines and they increase and gain traction with time.

The point "a little while" after the Alpha needs a little discussion.  Lewis Walton shows in Omega that the Alpha apostasy took place from about 1900 to 1910.  Certainly, it was over by 1914 and its results could clearly be seen by then (Chapter 8).  So, it was only 47 years (just over a generation) from the end of the Alpha to the publication of  Questions on Doctrine.  That could be regarded, as concerns the  delay in Jesus' coming, a "little while."  If we consider the 1931 move toward accredited qualifications for pastors and church workers to have led to the events of 1957, then we could consider the Omega began then, just 21 years from the end of the Alpha.

Seventh-day Adventists tend to focus on the pantheist/spiritualist aspects of the Omega.  It is true Ellen White said it would have that aspect. History shows the Alpha was pantheistic and spiritualistic in its nature.  She also states the Omega will culminate in pantheism and spiritualism again.  “We have now before us the alpha of this danger.  The omega will be of a most startling nature,” {1SM 197.4}.

There are many excellent articles, books and videos on this aspect of it.  Rick Howard's book The Omega Rebellion is one (pdf). Here I have focused on the nature of these heresies themselves.  Our unique doctrines, including the sanctuary, are carefully crafted by God to protect us from the last deceit, which is spiritualism.  But they are like an early nylon stocking. Cut one thread and the whole thing unravels.  Therefore, the path to spiritualism includes attacks on our key doctrines.

These heresies, along the Alpha-Omega train, are carefully crafted by Satan to lead a people who know truth and abhor spiritualism to turn and embrace it in the end times.  While not overtly pantheistic and spiritualistic, they would lead our people to full acceptance of both.  Jesus' warning still applies: “Behold, I have told you before,” Matthew 24:25.

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 Tony Rigden is a semi-retired computer programmer living in New Zealand. In 1979, he was converted from atheism when a Seventh-day Adventist work associate gave him The Great Controversy.  Tony has enjoyed serving as an elder and head elder in several SDA churches, and he also enjoys flying.