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David Lin

        Seventh-day Adventists trace their origin to the Millerite movement. It is estimated that about 50,000 souls in America looked for Christ to come on October 22, 1844. They had been cast out by their respective churches. The resulting disappointment left some 50 faithful souls who held together to form a nucleus that, after accepting the Sabbath truth, organized the SDA church in 1863.
   
     Today people like to embellish the tale of the Disappointment as a spicy American folklore of religious fanaticism. So people point at us and say, “You Adventists are followers of a deluded fanatic.” No, we reply, we are a people foretold in Bible prophecy. The Disappointment is proof that Adventists fulfilled the prophecy of John eating the book that was sweet in his mouth but bitter in his belly. After the Disappointment, Hiram Edson wrote, “We have eaten the little book that was sweet in our mouth, but now bitter in our belly.”
        Objectors used Matthew 24:36 against Adventists, saying, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man.” Actually, when William Miller studied the 2300 days, he arrived at the conclusion that Christ would come within the year beginning on March 21, 1843, and ending on March 21, 1844. He did not pin down a day and hour. When God sealed the vision of 2300 days, He meant that at the time of the end, many would “run to and fro” in the pages of Scripture, and knowledge of the vision would increase. Moreover, Christ told a parable of the fig tree, “When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh, So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. “ Matt. 24:32,33. After the year passed, Miller and his group did not all give up. On March 25, 1844 he wrote, “The time, as I have calculated it, is now filled up; and I expect every moment to see the Savior descend from heaven. I have now nothing to look for but this glorious hope. I am full in the faith that all prophetic chronology except the 1000 years in the 20th of Revelation is now about full. Whether God designs for me to warn the people of this earth any more, or not, I am at a loss to know; yet I mean to be governed, if time should continue any longer than I expected, by the word and providence of Him who will never err, and in whom I think I have trusted, and been supported during my twelve years’ arduous labors.”
        In the Adventist camp meeting of August 12, 1844, preachers and members met in an air of apathy. A sister rose to her feet and said, “It is too late, brother, to spend our time upon these truths, with which we are familiar, . . the Lord has servants here who have meat in due season for His household. Let them speak, and let the people hear them.” The words interrupted the speaker, but were spoken calmly and greeted by cries of “Amen” from the audience. The meeting closed, and the one in charge arranged for a speaker who had meat in due season to speak the next day. He was John Couch, who presented what Miller had written in the May 17, 1843 issue of “Signs of the Times,” but failed to develop further. The theme was that in the midst of the last week of the 70 weeks, “He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” As Christ was crucified in the spring, the end of that week must be in the fall. So the 2300 days should also end in the fall---the Day of Atonement---the 10th day of the 7th month, which would be October 22,1844.
        The new light was biblical, simple and clear to all, solving the perplexity that weighed on the people, so the good news spread like a tornado. No man could know the day and the hour, but with the bridegroom at the door, it was time to announce it. Men thought that since the Day of atonement ritual was done in a day, Jesus would come from the sanctuary on that day, and appear in person.
        The floundering time jibes with Matt. 25:5, “While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” Then at midnight a cry was made, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him!” Then all the virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. The Advent message had been called the “midnight cry,” now it was more applicable. The October 11 issue of the Midnight Cry quoted the text on Elijah’s rapture. The sons of the prophets asked Elisha, “Knowest thou that the Lord will take away thy master from thy head today?” It proved that as time came for the Advent, people would know. This met the objection that “the day and the hour knoweth no man.”
        In the three months of revival, Miller and his associates responded cautiously, and were the last to join. The movement was free from fanaticism. The story of people making “ascension robes” was a rumor of the press. Believers were awed by the solemnity of the hour. They examined themselves. If one needed to make restitution, he did it sincerely, not leaving unconfessed sins on the record books of heaven. It was indeed a day of atonement, when people afflicted their souls. There was no disorder in the meetings.
        John’s first-sweet-then-bitter experience is related to the seven thunders. In John 12:28 a voice from heaven answered Jesus’ prayer. He said to men about Him, “This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes.” Yet they did not get its meaning, but said, “It thundered.”  They were spiritually too dull. John understood, and wrote it down.  John also understood the seven thunders, wanted to write, but a voice from heaven said, “Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.” As Jesus said, the voice came “for your sakes.” Though men did not understand, God was in control, and events resulted in the sifting of His church.
        The “book open” in the angel’s hand was the book of Daniel, the only sealed book in the Bible, opened in the time of the end. The riddle of the 2300 days was solved, but half of the verse, “then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,” remained sealed in the seven thunders. Miller held the popular theory that the sanctuary was the earth, to be cleansed by fire. This caused the Disappointment.
        But if they had seen the truth of the sanctuary, they would not have repented so fully and spread the message so fast. Even so, if the disciples knew Jesus would be crucified, they would not have cried “Hosanna” when He entered the city. And they fulfilled prophecy! Zech. 9:9 said, “O daughter of Zion, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Strange! Jesus had thrice told the disciples of His death, yet it did not register in their minds!
        That disappointment was greater than the one in 1844. Yet each was providential. Psalm 84:6 says, “Who passing through the valley of tears, make it a well, the rain also filleth the pools.” Jesus said, “Ye shall drink indeed of my cup.” The cross before the crown.
        The voice from heaven ordering John to seal the seven thunders meant that the disappointment was due to men’s spiritual dullness, and was yet overruled by God. “All things work together for good to them that love God.” Rom. 2:28. God rules in our world.
        After the Disappointment, it was seen that there is no Bible proof for the view that the earth is the sanctuary. Early on October 23, 1844, Hiram Edson, after weeping in prayer, saw that Christ, instead of leaving the sanctuary, had entered the Holy of Holies, and had a work to do. He and O.R.L. Crosier, F.B. Hahn studied this topic and published their studies in the Feb 7, 1846 Day Star Extra.
        April 21, 1847, in A Word to the Little Flock, Ellen White wrote, “The Lord showed me in vision, more than one year ago, that Brother Crosier had the true light on the cleansing of the sanctuary, and that it was His will that Bro. Crosier should write out the view which he gave us in the Day Star Extra, Feb. 7, 1846. I feel fully authorized by the Lord, to recommend that Extra to every saint.”
       
The paper corrects the view that Christ finished His work on the Day of Atonement. Rather, He entered a second phase of the atonement process. The main points are: 1) After His ascension Christ began the daily ritual of forgiveness that defiled the sanctuary.  2) On October 22, 1844 He entered the Holiest to blot out sin and cleanse the sanctuary. 3) The investigative judgment is not dealt with as a special topic. It was later seen by other Bible students that the judgment which began in 1844, is that mentioned in 1 Pet. 4:17, as beginning with the house of God. After the saints are taken to heaven, they will then judge the world and evil angels. See. 1 Cor. 6:1,2.
        In February, 1845, Ellen White saw in vision the Father enter the Holiest from the Holy Place, followed by the Son. She made it known on March 14, 1846. She also saw that “Jesus had shut the door of the holy place, and no man can open it; and that He had opened the door into the most holy, and no man can shut it.” EW 42. So God’s own first saw the light in Dan
8:14, Rev 10:10, Rev. 3:7.
        In a 4th text, Rev. 10:11, an angel says to John, “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues and kings.” This predicates a revival of faith resulting from a correct view of Dan. 8:14. It was an absolute requisite, if God’s people were to “prophesy again.” Revival came as the temple and worshipers were measured, as seen in Rev. 11:1-2, which is our 5th text.
       
In the 6th text, Rev 3:14, Jesus is called “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.” Christ addresses His people, as if to say, “You have the Testimonies for the Church. I am the one speaking to you through those books.” You keep the Sabbath in memory of creation. Very well, I am the Creator.” By this you recognize Me as Creator, and I recognize you as My people by giving you instructions and rebuking and chastening you.” This is a case of mutual recognition.
        In the 7th text, Rev. 12:17, we note two marks of the true church, “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” God holds up these two points, giving them weight. We cannot lightly regard this badge of the King of kings.
        The 8th text is Rev 14:12, again marks of the true church. “The testimony of Jesus” turns to “the faith of Jesus.” The testimony of Jesus teaches us to develop the faith of Jesus. The 9th text is Rev. 19:10, which identifies the testimony of Jesus as the Spirit of prophecy, the Holy Spirit that spoke through the prophets of old, and continues to speak through the writings of Ellen White.
        The 10th text is Rev. 3:19: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” In Jesus’ letters to the churches, only the Laodiceans does He rebuke and chasten because He loves them. All familiar with the testimonies hear Christ’s loving voice of rebuke. He does not say one word of commendation. It is the essence of the many volumes of Testimonies for the Church.  We thank God for His rebukes, and earnestly afflict our souls as the solemn event of the investigative judgment proceeds in heaven. We must prepare for translation.
        The 11th text, Rev. 14:6-7 says, “Fear God, for the hour of His judgment is come, and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” It was the judgment hour proclaimed as 1844 approached. Though Miller failed to see the truth of the cleansing of the sanctuary, yet his preaching of Dan. 8:14 was the first angel’s message announcing the hour of God’s judgment, in the same way as Jesus’ words, “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand,” proclaimed the time of Dan. 9:24.
        The 12th text, Rev. 14:8, says,  “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” It was when churches rejected the first warning and began to fall spiritually. The fall is complete in Rev 18.
        The 13th text, Rev. 14:9-11, says, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb . . . ”
        The 14th text, Rev. 18:2,4, says, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. . . Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev 14:8 was when Babylon first fell. Now it is complete; the call to “Come out of her” is sounded.
        These 14 texts are unique in that no other church claims even one of them as applying to its work, identity, or message. Eight of them refer either to the history or identity of the SDA church; six of them refer to the message we bear. All Bible texts that tally with what Crosier wrote, to confirm our faith and tell us of our duty. We bear the last message ordained of God to be preached to the world, and no other church preaches it. Is it not strange that some SDAs today have lost the vision, and are turning to other churches to learn from them? God heal us of such blindness! Help us to prize our own legacy and duty to preach God’s last warning message to men!
   
     Before the end comes, God has no other message for all mankind. The cataclysmic event that will shock all nations will be the advent of Christ with His Father and all His angels. The message is thrice spoken in the Bible: that the world will be overwhelmed with horror by the greatest crisis in world history.  Isaiah 2:21 first mentions it. Then on His way to Calvary Jesus said to the women who wept at the sight of His agony, “O daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall . . . begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us;’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’”
       
John mentioned this frightful scene again in Rev. 6:14-17.  We bear the awesome responsibility of telling the world that is asleep in spiritual complacency, to wake up and get ready!
        We’ve been too apathetic. The efforts we’ve made are puny compared with the impact of that day. When it comes, let no one say to us, “You knew this was coming, why didn’t you tell us?” If we hold our peace now, God will require their blood at our hands.

 


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