Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE- Part XXXVI

The Fires of Fanaticism: Feelings, Impressions, and Imaginations

“All we like sheep have gone astray.” Isa. 53: 6.  “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Rom. 3: 23.  If bad judgment often driven by “the love of money,” which Paul says “is the root of all evil,” causing temporary loss of common sense and deafness to wise counsel, are hurting anyone now with their painful consequences, an English proverb may help you wake up from these nightmarish experience, tired but hopeful. “He who never makes mistakes never makes anything.” Even well-meaning persons make grievous mistakes. True love overlooks many mistakes but does not excuse them. Making concessions of one’s rights for the sake of peace is not the same as compromising principles in order to purchase peace. Jesus never compromised.

David committed some of the worst premeditated crimes ever, particularly of one called “a man after God’s own heart” and divinely-chosen to be king of ancient Israel after Saul, the first king died. God forgave him of his terrible sin and crime, prompting others to murmur at what they call God’s injustice in sparing David while punishing Saul for what they perceive as “less flagrant sins.” Divine wisdom and God’s enduring mercy exercised towards the worst yet repentant sinner is demonstrated here:

    “This passage in David’s history is full of significance to the repenting sinner. It is one of the most forcible illustrations given us of the struggles and temptations of humanity, and of genuine repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. [Acts 20: 21].

Through all the ages, it has proved a source of encouragement to souls that, having fallen into sin, were struggling under the burden of their guilt. Thousands of the children of God who have been betrayed into sin, when ready to give up in despair have remembered how David’s sincere repentance and confession were accepted by God, notwithstanding he suffered  for his transgression; and they have also taken courage to repent, and try again to walk in the way of God’s commandments.”- E.G. White,Patriarchs & Prophets, Pacific Press Publishing Asso. Mt. View, CA, (1890, 1913), p. 726.      

Now, we pick up where we left off last week on the “tarrying time” portion of the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25), and the vital lessons it teaches us:

Source: Vol 4 Spirit of Prophecy by Ellen G. White,(1884) pp 241-245:

     “About this time fanaticism began to appear [in the summer of 1844]. 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 into the cause of truth.” – pp. 241-243.

     “Satan was trying by this means to oppose and destroy the work of God. The people had been greatly stirred by the Advent movement, thousands of sinners had been converted, and faithful men were giving themselves to the work of proclaiming the truth,even in the tarrying time. The prince of evil was losing his subjects; and in order to bring reproach upon the cause of God, he sought to deceive those who professed the faith, and drive them to extremes.

Then his agents stood ready to seize upon every error, every failure, every unbecoming act, and hold it up before the people in the most exaggerated light, to render Adventists and their faith odious. Thus the greater the number whom he could crowd in to make a profession of the Advent faith while his power controlled their hearts, the greater advantage would he gain by calling attention to them as representatives of the whole body of believers. [This is a precaution against hurriedly baptizing members so the numbers would show at the end of the year].

     “Satan is an accuser of the brethren [Rev. 12; 10], and it is his spirit which inspires men to watch for the errors and defects of the Lord’s people, and to hold them up to notice, while their good deeds are passed by without a mention. He is always active when God is at work for the salvation of souls. When the sons of God come to present themselves before the Lord, Satan comes also among them.

     “In every revival he is ready to bring in those who are unsanctified in heart and unbalanced in mind. When they have acquired some points of truth, and gained a place with believers, he works through them to introduce theories that will deceive the unwary.  No man is proved to be a true Christian because he is found in company with the children of God, even in the house of worship and around the table of the Lord [during observance of the Lord’s Supper]. Satan is frequently there upon the most solemn occasions, in the form of those whom he can use as his agents.

     “The great deceiver will profess anything in order to gain adherents. But should he claim to be converted, should he, if it were possible, enter Heaven and associate with the angels, he would not be changed in character. While the true worshippers would be bowed in adoration before their Maker, he would be plotting mischief against God’s cause and people, devising means to ensnare souls, considering the most successful method of sowing tares [among the wheat, Matt. 13: 24-30].

NOTE: Research for yourself as to who coined, has used, is currently employing, and will continue implementing the perverted principle, “the end justifies the means.”

     “Satan contests every inch of ground over which God’s people advance in their journey toward the heavenly city.  In all the history of the church, no reformation has been carried forward without encountering serious obstacles. Thus it was in Paul’s day. Wherever the apostle would raise up a church, there were some who professed to receive the faith, but who brought in heresies, that, if received, would eventually crowd out the love of the truth.

     “Luther suffered great perplexity and distress from the course of fanatical persons* who claimed that God spoke directly through them, and who therefore set their own ideas and opinions above the testimony of the Scriptures. Many who were lacking in faith and experience, but who had considerable self-sufficiency, and who loved to hear and tell some new thing, were beguiled by the pretensions of the new teachers, and they joined the agents of Satan in their work of tearing down what God had moved Luther to build up. The Wesleys also, and others who blessed the world by their influence and their faith, encountered at every step the wiles of Satan in pushing over-zealous, unbalanced, and unsanctified ones into fanaticism of every grade.

 NOTE: *On the Muntzer fanatical movement that plagued Luther’s work and was falsely blamed on him, see Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online, art. Muntzer, 1957 article. This, in addition to the vigorous counterreformation strategies waged by the papacy, including the introduction of the Preteristic and Futuristic interpretations of end-time prophecies by two Spanish Jesuit priests, Alcasar and Ribera, towards the latter part of Protestant Reformation.

     “William Miller had no sympathy with those influences that led to fanaticism [he himself was accused of being one by his critics]. He declared with Martin Luther, that every spirit should be tested by the word of God. The devil has great power over the minds of some at the present day. And how shall we know what manner of spirit they are of? ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.’ ‘There are many spirits gone out into the world; and we are commanded to try the spirits. The spirit that does not cause us to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, is not the spirit of Christ.

      [William Miller said] ‘I am more and more convinced that Satan has much to do in these wild movements.’ ‘Many among us, who pretend to be wholly sanctified, are following the traditions of men, and apparently are as ignorant of truth as others who make no such pretensions, and are not half as so modest.’ ‘The spirit of error will lead us from the truth; and the Spirit of God will lead us into truth.

     “But, say you, a man may be in error, and think he has the truth. What then? We answer: the Spirit and the word agree. If a man judges himself by the word of God, and finds a perfect harmony through the whole word, then he must believe he has the truth; but if he finds the spirit by which he is led does not harmonize with the whole tenor of God’s law or book, then let him walk carefully, lest he be caught in the snare of the devil.’’ ‘I have obtained more evidence of inward piety from a kindling eye, a wet cheek, and a choked utterance, than from all the noise in Christendom.’

The Reformation and the Advent Movements Falsely Accused of Fanaticism. –  “The enemies of the Reformation charged all the evils of fanaticism upon the very ones who were laboring most earnestly against it. A similar course was pursued by the opposers of the Advent Movement. And not content with misrepresenting and exaggerating the errors of extremists and fanatics, they circulated unfavorable reports that had not the slightest semblance of truth. These persons were actuated by prejudice and hatred.”

The Real Reason for Hatred Against Adventists and their Faith Then and Now. – “Their [carnal ] peace was disturbed by the proclamation of Christ at the door. They feared that it might be true, yet hoped it was not, and this was the secret of their warfare against Adventists and their faith. The fact that a few fanatics worked their way into the ranks of Adventists is no more a reason to decide that the movement was not of God, than is the presence of fanatics and deceivers in the church In Paul’s and Luther’s day a sufficient excuse for discarding or ridiculing their work.

     “Let the people of God arouse out of sleep, and begin in earnest the work ofrepentance and reformation [more specific to revival and reformation]; let them search the Scriptures to learn the truth as it is in Jesus; let them make an entire consecration to God, and evidences will not be wanting that Satan is still active and vigilant. With all possible deception will he manifest his power, calling to his aid all the fallen angels in his realm.” – pp. 244-246.


     “It was not the proclamation of the Advent message that created fanaticism and division. These appeared in the summer of 1844, when Adventists were in a state of doubt and perplexity concerning their real position. [On the contrary] The preaching of the first [angel’s] message in 1843, and of the midnight cry in 1844, tended directly to repressfanaticism and dissension.  Those who participated in these solemn movements were in harmony; their hearts were filled with love for one another, and for Jesus, whom they expected soon to see.  The one faith, the one blessed hope, lifted them above the control of any human influence, and proved a shield against the assaults of Satan.”- p. 247.

The “Tarrying Time” of Christ’s Return is almost Ended! –  Tarry here means “to delay or be tardy in acting or doing; to linger in expectation.” To all who have been faithfully, patiently preparing and desiring His appearing more than the dawn of the next day, He has been “tarrying” too long, or so it seems. Many have, and will yet pass away but such “die in the Lord” thus simply “rest from their labors.” Rev. 14: 13. The good news is we can hasten His return by doing the special work He has appointed each one by the power of the Holy Spirit, and “to do it with all our might.” Eccl.9: 10.

     “Living power must attend the message of Christ’s second appearing.  We must not rest until we see many souls converted to the blessed hope of the Lord’s return. In the days of the apostles the message that they bore wrought a real work, turning souls from idols to serve the living God. The work to be done today is just as real, and the truth is just as much truth; only that we are to give the message with just as much moreearnestness as the coming of the Lord is nearer. The message for this time is positive, simple, and of the deepest importance. We must act like men and women who believe it. Waiting, watching, working, praying, warning the world—this is our work.

     “All heaven is astir, engaged in preparing for the day of God’s vengeance, the day of Zion’s deliverance. The time of tarrying is almost ended. The pilgrims and strangers who have so long been seeking a better country [Heb. 11: 13, 14] are almost home. . . . Homeward bound! Rapidly we are nearing the time when Christ will come to gather His redeemed to Himself.”—Ibid, Review & Herald, Nov. 13, 1913.

(To to be continued next week)