FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
September 18, 2015
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XVI
PROPER PROPHETIC TIME-SETTED MOVEMENTS VS. UNBIBLICAL ONES
(Continued from last week): Ellen Gould Harmon first heard of the Sabbath truth from Joseph Bates (1790-1872), a retired sea captain who accepted the Advent doctrine in 1839 and the seventh-day Sabbath in 1845. Bates “became an apostle of the Sabbath truth. He often served as chairman at early conferences, and was the first conference president, being elected in Michigan in 1861. He ranged New England and north central states for years as an evangelist.” On August 30, 1846 Ellen married James White. By autumn of that year they began keeping the seventh–day Sabbath. In the summer of 1849 James White began to publish Present Truth at Middletown, Connecticut. The Advent Review, a “periodical-like publication (was) put out by James White and his associates in the summer and fall of 1850 in six sixteen page issues and a 48-page special, reviewing the teachings of the leaders in the Millerite Advent Movement of 1840-1844. This publication should not be confused with the Second Advent Review and Sabbath Herald which was started in November, 1850, following the eleven issues of Present Truth (cited above) published in 1849 and 1850.” (Read more of Ellen G. White on Wikipedia)
These brief facts cited are to underscore the fact that Seventh-day Adventists were not yet organized as a church till 1863—and yet have been unfairly blamed and ridiculed, as a church, even up to the present for the “Great Disappointment” by those who evidently know little of what they opine on, often based on hearsay, prejudice and even outright disinformation. As Wikipedia says: “In 1860, the fledgling movement finally settled in the name Seventh-day Adventist, representative of the church’s [two general] distinguishing beliefs [the seventh-day of the week being the Creator’s appointed weekly memorial of creation, and the glorious, literal premillenial second coming of Christ]. Three years later on May 21, 1863, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was formed and the movement became an official organization.”
Indeed, “a little knowledge is dangerous.” For instance, the word “Adventist,” initially was a “term frequently employed in referring to Millerite Adventists, especially in discussing the Advent Movement of 1840-1844, and applied at times to those who subsequentto 1844 did not accept the seventh-day Sabbath. These Adventists are also referred to as ‘First–day Adventists’ or ‘Nominal Adventists.’ Today the term is often used by Seventh-day Adventists as (a) shortened form of Seventh-day Adventist.” William Miller was licensed to preach by the Baptist Church. He was already 50 when he began to preach the advent doctrine in 1831. He actually suffered two disappointments. In his perplexity he did not accept the third angel’s message and the Sabbath truth, largely influenced by closest friends. But he died in the Lord. Angels watch over his grave, and will come forth at Christ’s return. (EW 258). Ellen G. Harmon and her family were Methodist Episcopalians.
These and other brief historical highlights explain why she goes on record as saying the following: (a) being a prophet: “Some have stumbled over the fact that I said that I did not claim to be a prophet; and they have asked, Why is this? I had no claims to make, only that I am instructed that I am the Lord’s messenger; that He called me in my youth to be His messenger, to receive His word, and to give a clear and decided message in the name of the Lord Jesus……Early in my youth I was asked several times, Are you a prophet? I have ever responded, I am the Lord’s messenger. I know that many have called me prophet, but I have made no claim to this title…..Why have I not claimed to be a prophet—because in these days many who boldly claim that they are prophets are a reproach to the cause of Christ; and because my work includes much more than the word ‘prophet’ signifies.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, pp. 32-36 (b) being the founder and leader of the SDA denomination: “No one has ever heard me claim the position of leader of the denomination. I have a work of great responsibility to do—to impart by pen and voice the instructions given me, not alone to the Seventh-day Adventists, but to the world.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 236. All these statements must be carefully considered in the contexts in which they were said or written.
As to the pre-eminence of the nature and magnitude of the special work of a true messenger of God compared relatively to that of strictly a prophet,—we read Christ’s own words regarding John the Baptist, His prophesied forerunner (Isaiah 40: 11; Malachi 3: 1; 4: 1; Matt. 3: 1-17): “But what went ye out to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, andmore than a prophet. For this is he, whom it is written, Behold I send My messengerbefore thy face, which shall prepare the way before thee. Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist’notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Matt. 11: 9-11, K.J.V. “Here the prophet Malachi declares [verses 5, 6 quoted]. He . . describesthe character of the work those who are to prepare the way for the second coming of Christ, are represented by faithful Elijah, as John came in the spirit of Elijah, to prepare the way of the Lord’s first advent. The great subject of reform is to be agitated, and the public mind is to be stirred [by the three angel’s messages of Revelation 14.].” – Counsels on Health, pp. 72-74. E.G. White penned the following in the first edition of the Great Controversy, Volume 4 of the Conflict of the Ages Series, 1884, pp. 248-251:
“[Matt. 25: 5-7 quoted].
“In the summer of 1844, Adventists discovered the mistake in their former reckoning of the prophetic periods, and settled upon the correct position. The 2300 days of Daniel 8: 14, which all [Christian denominations then] believed to extend to the second coming of Christ, had been thought to end in the spring of 1844; but it was now seen that this period extended to the autumn of the same year. (See Appendix, Note 1, which we will quote next week), and the minds of Adventists were fixed upon this point as the time for the Lord’s appearing. The proclamation of this time message was another step in the fulfillment of the parable of the marriage [The Ten Virgins], whose application to the Adventists had already been clearly seen. As in the parable the cry was raised atmidnight announcing the approach of the bridegroom, so in the fulfillment midway between the spring of 1844, when it was first supposed that the 2300 days would close, and the autumn of 1844, at which time it was afterward found that they were really to close, such a cry was raised, in the very words of Scripture: ’Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.’
“Like a tidal wave the movement swept over the land. From city to city, from village to village, and into remote country places it went, until the waiting people of God were fully aroused. Before this proclamation, fanaticism disappeared, like early frost before the rising sun. Believers once more found their position, and hope and courage animated their hearts. The work was free from those extremes which are ever manifested when there is human excitement without the controlling influence of the word and Spirit of God. It was similar in character to those seasons of humiliation and returning unto the Lord which among ancient Israel followed messages of reproof from His servants. It bore the characteristics which mark the work of God in every age. There was little ecstatic joy, but rather deep searching of heart, confession of sin, and forsaking of the world. A preparation to meet the Lord was the burden of agonizing spirits. There was persevering prayer, and unreserved consecration to God.
“Said William Miller, in describing that work [at that time]: ‘There is no great expression of joy; that is, as it were, suppressed for a future occasion, when all Heaven and earth will rejoice together with joy unspeakable and full of glory. There is no shouting; that too is reserved for the shout from heaven. The singers are silent; they are waiting to join the angelic hosts, the choir from Heaven. No arguments are used or needed; all seemed convinced that they have the truth. There is no clashing of sentiments; all are of heart and one mind.’ Of all the great religious movements since the days of the apostles, none have been more free from human imperfection and the wiles of Satan than was that of the autumn of 1844.
“At the call. ‘The Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him,’ the waiting ones ‘arose and trimmed their lamps,’ [meaning] they studied the word of God with and intensity of interest before unknown. Angels were sent from Heaven to arouse those who had become discouraged, and prepare them to receive the message. The work did not stand in the wisdom and learning of men, but in the power of God. It was not the most talented, but the most humble and devoted, who were the first to hear and obey the call. Farmers left their crops standing in the fields, mechanics laid down their tools, and with tears and rejoicing went out to give the warning. Those who had formerly led in the cause were among the last to join in the movement. The churches in general closed their doors against it, and a large company who had a living testimony withdrew from their connection. In the providence of God this united with the second angel’s message, and gave power to that work.”
NOTE: The historic midnight cry of the parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25 joinedthe second angel’s message of Rev. 14:8 even as the final loud cry of the fourth angel of Revelation 18: 1-5 will join the third angel’s message and movement of Revelation 14: 9-11 to give unwonted power to the closing work and message in the days ahead! Remember our past series on the promise of the outpouring of the latter rain in the last days!? There is to be no specific time-setting attached to these. All in God’s appointed time. All we need to do is to be ready each day.
(To be continued next week).