Photo Credit Flickr/ernestkoe

Photo Credit Flickr/ernestkoe


September 11, 2015

Nathaniel Fajardo

Website:  Whole Gospel Ministries

Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XV


     Where there is no vision, the people perish. Prov. 29: 18. Ellen Gould Harmon (Nov. 26, 1827-July 16, 1915) and twin sister, Elizabeth, was born in Gorham, Maine, and reared in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She had great ambitions to be a scholar at a young age but  was injured at 9 years old. At the age of 12 she enrolled in a ladies’ seminary but was unable to continue due to ill health. A minister’s reading of Acts 12 greatly impressed her at that time. In 1840 she heard William Miller lecture for the first time at Portland, Maine.

In the summer of 1840 she attended a Methodist camp meeting and found Christ at that occasion and was taken into the Methodist Church on probation. In June 1841 she listened to a lecture by Miller again. She also became was convinced that that Biblical method of baptism is by immersion, not sprinkling—a pagan practice. In June 26, 1841 a Methodist minister baptized her into the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Not long after she fell into despair, perplexed over the Methodist doctrine of justification and sanctification but received encouraging counsel from an early advent preacher, Elder Stockman. She was also troubled by the doctrine of an eternally-burning hell, and had a dream of Christ as the bleeding Lamb. Not long after she testified in the Millerite Adventist conference meeting. She had six months of rejoicing in her religious experience, having gained a clearer understanding of the plan of salvation. She overheard her mother’s conversation regarding the Bible doctrine that man’s soul is not immortal. She testified of her beliefs in a Methodist class meeting.  She was only 17 years old, small, frail, unused to society, and naturally timid and retiring.

Together with the other much older first advent believers, she experienced the first disappointment when Christ did not return in 1843, as first expected. This date was first arrived at by simply deducting 457 B.C. from 2300.  “In the seventh chapter of Ezra the decree is found. Verses 12-26. In its completest form it was issued by Artaxerxes, king of Persia, 457 B.C. But in Ezra 6: 14 the house of the Lord in Jerusalem is said to have been built ‘according to the commandment [‘decree,’ margin] of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.’ The these three kings, in originatingreaffirming, andcompleting the decree [respectively], brought it to the perfection required by the prophecy to mark the beginning of the 2300 days. Taking 457 B.C., the time when the decree was completed, as the date of the commandment, every specification of the prophecy concerning the 70 weeks [Daniel 9: 24-27] was seen to have been fulfilled.” – Great Controversy, pp. 326-7.  

She was disfellowshipped by the Methodist Church in September of that year for accepting the Millerite views. Later she also accepted Miller’s revised view that the second advent would occur the following year, October, 1844. The typical Day of Atonement, an autumn festival described in Leviticus chapter 16, took place at the end of the year.  When the correct date was finally arrived at by guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Parable of the Ten Virgins took place,  described as follows in: Great Controversy, 1911,“The Prophecies Fulfilled,” ch. 22; and “The Tarrying Time,” ch. XVI, Vol. 4 Spirit of Prophecy, pp. 241-247, Pacific Press, 1884:

      “When the time passed as which the Lord’s coming was first expected,—in the spring of 1844,—those who had looked in faith for His appearing were for a season involved in doubt and uncertainty. While the world regarded them utterly defeated and proved to have been cherishing a delusion, their source of consolation was still the word of God. Many continued to search the Scriptures, examining anew the evidences of their faith and carefully studying the prophecies to obtain further light. The Bible testimony in support of their position seemed clear and conclusive. Signs which could not be mistaken pointed to the coming of Christ as near. The special blessing of the Lord, both in the conversion of sinners and the revival of spiritual life among Christians, had testified that the message was of Heaven.  And though the believers could not explain their disappointment, they assured that God had led them in their past experience.

Habbakkuk’s Prophecy and the Tarrying Time.– “Interwoven with the prophecies which they had regarded as applying to the time of the second advent was instruction specially adapted to their state of uncertainty and suspense, and encouraging them to wait patiently in the faith that what was now dark to their understanding would in due time be made plain.  Among these prophecies was that Habbakkuk 2: 1-2 [quoted]. As early as 1842 the direction was given in this prophecy to ‘write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it,’ had suggested to Charles Fitch the preparation of a prophetic chart to illustrate the visions of Daniel and the Revelation.

The publication of this chart was regarded as a fulfillment of the command given by Habbakkuk. No one, however, then noticed that an apparent delay in the accomplishment of the vision—a tarrying time—is presented in the same prophecy. After the disappointment, this scripture appeared very significant: ‘The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. . . . The just shall live by his faith.’

A Portion of Ezekiel’s Prophecy also was a source of strength and comfort to the believers. [Ezekiel 12: 21-25, 27, 28 quoted. Read them!]  “The waiting ones rejoiced, believing that He who knows the end from the beginning had looked down through the ages, and, foreseeing their disappointment, had given them words of courage and hope.Had it not been for such portions of Scripture, admonishing them to wait with patience and to hold fast their confidence in God’s word, their faith would have failed in that trying hour.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins of Matthew 25, also illustrates the experience of the Adventist people. In Matthew 24, in answer to the question of His disciples concerning the sign of His coming and of the end of the world, Christ had pointed out some of the most important events in the history of the world and of the church from His first to His second advent; namely, the destruction of Jerusalem, the great tribulation of the church under the [Roman] pagan and papal persecutions [Matt 24: 21, 22], the darkening of the sun and moon [May 19, 1780], and the falling of the stars [Leonid showers of Nov. 13, 1833].

After this He spoke of His coming in His kingdom, and related the parable describing the two classes of servants who look for His appearing. Chapter 25 opens with the words: ‘Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins.’ Here is brought to view the church living in the last days, the same that is pointed out in the close of chapter 24. In this parable their experience is illustrated by the incidents of an Eastern marriage. ’Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them; but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.’

The coming of Christ, as announced by the first angel’s message [Rev. 14: 6, 7], was understood to be represented by the coming of the bridegroom. The widespread reformation under the proclamation of His soon coming, answered to the going forth of the virgins. In this parable, as in that of Matthew 24, two classes are represented. All had taken their lamps—the Bible—and by its light had gone forth to meet the Bridegroom [Jesus Christ]. But while ‘they that were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,’ ‘the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. The latter had received the grace of God [oil], the regenerating, enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, which renders His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path [Ps. 119: 105]

In the fear of God they had studied the Scriptures to learn the truth, and earnestly sought for purity of heart and life. These had a personal experience, a faith in God and His word, which could not be overthrown by disappointment and delay. Others ‘took their lamps, and took no oil with them. They had moved from impulse. Their fears had been excited by the solemn message, but they had depended upon the faith of their brethrensatisfied with the flickering light of good emotions, without a thorough understanding of the truth or a genuine work of grace in the heart. These had gone forth to meet the Lord, full of hope in the prospect of immediate reward; but they were not prepared for delay and disappointment.When trials came their faith failed.

The Tarrying of the Bridegroom. ‘While the bridegroom tarried, they slumbered and slept.’ By the tarrying of the bridegroom is represented the passing of the time when the Lord was expected, the disappointment, and the seeming delay. In this time of uncertainty, the interest of the superficial and half-hearted soon began to waver, and their efforts to relax; but those whose faith was based on a personal knowledge of the Bible had a rock beneath their feet, which the waves of disappointment could not wash away.

‘They all slumbered and slept;’ one class in unconcern and abandonment of their faith, the other class patiently waiting till clearer light should be given. Yet in the night of their trial the latter seemed to lose, to some extent, their zeal and devotion. The half-hearted and superficial could no longer lean upon the faith of their brethren. Each must stand or fall for himself.”– Ibid, pp. 391-5.

Fanaticism Appears.— “About this time, fanaticism began to appear. Some who professed to be zealous believers in the message rejected the word of God as the one infallible guide and, claiming to be led by the Spirit, gave themselves up to the control of their own feelings, impressions, and imaginations. There were some who manifested a blind and bigoted zeal, denouncing all who would not sanction their course. Their fanatical ideas and exercises met with no sympathy from the great body of Adventists; yet they served to bring reproach upon the cause of truth.” (Continued next week)