Daniel S. Warner and the earlier ministers of the Church of God (Anderson) taught that the restoration of the church was prophesied by the Old Testament Prophets, in the New Testament, and in the book of Revelation.
They taught that 270-1530 was the Papal age, 1530 -1880 was the Protestant age, with 1880 being the year the Church of God was restored. Warner describes how he came up with these dates in chapter 13 of “Birth of a Reformation”.
From a number of scriptures in Daniel and Revelation, he took “time, times, and half a time”, “42 months” or “1260 days” (Dan 7:25; 12:7, Rev 11:3; 12:6; 12:14; 13:5;) to mean the 1260 years of the Papal age, holding that in symbolic language one day is one year.
Warner claims that “historians have fixed at about the year 270 A.D.” as the date that the “substitution of man-rule for the Holy Spirit-rule” was made, but provides no evidence for this claim. The 1260 years of the Papal age is added to this date of 270 which gives the end of the Papal age as 1530 AD.
Then using the symbol from Revelation of “three days and a half” (Rev 11:11), with each day equaling a century, Warner held that the duration of the Protestant age was 350 years – which brings them to 1880. This date, according to Warner, was the beginning of the full restoration of the Church of God, which he calls the ‘Evening Light’ age.
I reject the date of 1880, as the dates 270 and 1530 hold no historical significance. As they hold no historical significance, they could only be obtained by dating backward 350 years and 1260 years from the year 1880. While there is Biblical authority to use the symbol of “one day for a year” (Num 14:34; Eze 4:6), there is no Biblical authority to use ‘one day as a century’; and Warner did not offer any either.
The Church of God (Restoration) builds their movement dating on the same dates that the earlier Church of God (Anderson) ministers did. They also hold that in about 1930, the Church of God (Anderson) became apostate and there was silence in the spiritual heavens for “the space of half an hour” (Rev 8:1).
This one ‘half hour’ is supposed to mean 50 years, using ‘one hour’ in symbolic language as ‘one century’. The time of the silence period ended in 1980 – which was about the time of the beginning of Daniel Layne’s ministry. Here again, there is no Biblical authority to have ‘one hour’ equaling ‘one century’ in symbolic language.
Due to Warner’s teaching on divorce and remarriage (where he did not require divorced couples that had remarried and had a living spouse to separate in all cases), I would hold that Warner made an allowance for adultery.
If God indeed restored the church with all truth in 1880, then why would God have left Warner in the dark on such an important teaching as adultery?
The Church of God Restoration teaches separation from adulterous marriages of this type, while Warner did not. I do not see how the Restoration can hold that Warner’s movement could be the ‘Restoration of the Church’, as according to their teaching he allowed adultery. Also, for this reason I do not see why they would build the dates for their movement on a movement that, according to their teaching, allowed adultery.
Further, the ministers assembled in the General Camp Meeting at Moundsville, West Virginia in June 1901 confirmed Warner’s teaching that those in a second marriage must remain in their marriage union if they got into the second marriage not realizing it was unscriptural. This decision was published in the Gospel Trumpet paper and in tract form.
I find it interesting that the Restoration considers Warner’s movement to have started to fall around 1910 over the allowance of the necktie, where all along they were allowing people to stay in marriages that the Restoration considers adultery. I would think that they should take the position that allowing people to stay in adultery is more serious than putting on a necktie.
With no historical significance for the date of the fall of the church and the end of the Papal age that this system uses, it is clear this is a case of back- dating just to get 1880. Also, with no Biblical authority to interpret “three days and a half” as 350 years, the whole system falls flat, and anyone who believes this teaching should be embarrassed to admit that they believe it.
I am embarrassed to admit that I used to believe it.