Archive | January, 2014

Aims Of The Papacy.

31 Jan

favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism
is not in the ascendency, and the papists are taking a conciliatory
course in order to gain influence, there is an increasing
indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed
churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground,
that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has
been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring
us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when
Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience
which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children
to abhor popery, and held that to seek harmony with Rome would
be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments
now expressed.
The defenders of the papacy declare that the church has been
maligned; and the Protestant world are inclined to accept the
statement. Many urge that it is unjust to judge the church of
to-day by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign
during the centuries of ignorance and darkness. They excuse her
horrible cruelty as the result of the barbarism of the times, and
plead that the influence of modern civilization has changed her
[564] sentiments.
Have these persons forgotten the claim of infallibility put
forth for eight hundred years by this haughty power? So far from
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 585
being relinquished, this claim was affirmed in the nineteenth
century with greater positiveness than ever before. As Rome
asserts that the church “never erred; nor will it, according to the
Scriptures, ever err,”1000 how can she renounce the principles
which governed her course in past ages?
The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility.
All that she has done in her persecution of those who reject
her dogmas, she holds to be right; and would she not repeat the
same acts, should the opportunity be presented? Let the restraints
now imposed by secular governments be removed, and Rome be
re-instated in her former power, and there would speedily be a
revival of her tyranny and persecution.
A well-known writer speaks thus of the attitude of the papal
hierarchy as regards freedom of conscience, and of the perils
which especially threaten the United States from the success of
her policy:
“There are many who are disposed to attribute any fear of Roman
Catholicism in the United States to bigotry or childishness.
Such see nothing in the character and attitude of Romanism that
is hostile to our free institutions, or find nothing portentous in
its growth. Let us, then, first compare some of the fundamental
principles of our government with those of the Catholic Church.
“The Constitution of the United States guarantees liberty of
conscience. Nothing is dearer or more fundamental. Pope Pius
IX., in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854, said: ‘The
absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty
of conscience, are a most pestilential error—a pest, of all others,
most to be dreaded in a State.’ The same pope, in his Encyclical
Letter of December 8, 1864, anathematized ‘those who assert the
liberty of conscience science and of religious worship,’ also ‘all [565]
such as maintain that the church may not employ force.’
“The pacific tone of Rome in the United States does not imply
1000 Mosheim, “Eccl. Hist.,” b. 3, cent. 11, part 2, ch. 2, par. 9, note 1.
586 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
a change of heart. She is tolerant where she is helpless. Says
Bishop O’Connor: ‘Religious liberty is merely endured until the
opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic
world.’… The archbishop of St. Louis once said: ‘Heresy and
unbelief are crimes; and in Christian countries, as in Italy and
Spain, for instance, where all the people are Catholics, and where
the Catholic religion is an essential part of the law of the land,
they are punished as other crimes.’…
“Every cardinal, archbishop, and bishop in the Catholic Church
takes an oath of allegiance to the pope, in which occur the following
words: ‘Heretics, schismatics, and rebels to our said lord (the
pope), or his aforesaid successors, I will to my utmost persecute
and oppose.’ ”1001
It is true that there are real Christians in the Roman Catholic
communion. Thousands in that church are serving God according
to the best light they have. They are not allowed access
to His word, and therefore they do not discern the truth. They
have never seen the contrast between a living heart-service and
a round of mere forms and ceremonies. God looks with pitying
tenderness upon these souls, educated as they are in a faith that is
delusive and unsatisfying. He will cause rays of light to penetrate
the dense darkness that surrounds them. He will reveal to them
the truth as it is in Jesus, and many will yet take their position
with His people.
But Romanism as a system is no more in harmony with the
gospel of Christ now than at any former period in her history. The
Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would discern
the signs of the times. The Roman Church is far-reaching in her
plans and modes of operation. She is employing every device to
extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for
[566] a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world,
to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism
1001 Strong, Dr. Josiah, “Our Country,” ch. 5, pars. 1-3.
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 587
has done. Catholicism is gaining ground upon every side. See
the increasing number of her churches and chapels in Protestant
countries. Look at the popularity of her colleges and seminaries
in America, so widely patronized by Protestants. Look at the
growth of ritualism in England, and the frequent defections to the
ranks of the Catholics. These things should awaken the anxiety
of all who prize the pure principles of the gospel.
Protestants have tampered with and patronized popery; they
have made compromises and concessions which papists themselves
are surprised to see, and fail to understand. Men are
closing their eyes to the real character of Romanism, and the
dangers to be apprehended from her supremacy. The people need
to be aroused to resist the advances of this most dangerous foe to
civil and religious liberty.
Many Protestants suppose that the Catholic religion is unattractive,
and that its worship is a dull, meaningless round of ceremony.
Here they mistake. While Romanism is based upon
deception, it is not a coarse and clumsy imposture. The religious
service of the Roman Church is a most impressive ceremonial. Its
gorgeous display and solemn rites fascinate the senses of the people,
and silence the voice of reason and of conscience. The eye is
charmed. Magnificent churches, imposing processions, golden
altars, jeweled shrines, choice paintings, and exquisite sculpture
appeal to the love of beauty. The ear also is captivated. The
music is unsurpassed. The rich notes of the deep-toned organ,
blending with the melody of many voices as it swells through the
lofty domes and pillared aisles of her grand cathedrals, cannot
fail to impress the mind with awe and reverence.
588 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
This outward splendor, pomp, and ceremony, that only mocks
the longings of the sin-sick soul, is an evidence of inward corruption.
The religion of Christ needs not such attractions to
[567] recommend it. In the light shining from the cross, true Chris35.
Aims Of The Papacy. 589
tianity appears so pure and lovely that no external decorations
can enhance its true worth. It is the beauty of holiness, a meek
and quiet spirit, which is of value with God.
Brilliancy of style is not necessarily an index of pure, elevated
thought. High conceptions of art, delicate refinement of taste,
often exist in minds that are earthly and sensual. They are often
employed by Satan to lead men to forget the necessities of the
soul, to lose sight of the future, immortal life, to turn away from
their infinite Helper, and to live for this world alone.
A religion of externals is attractive to the unrenewed heart.
The pomp and ceremony of the Catholic worship has a seductive,
bewitching power, by which many are deceived; and they come
to look upon the Roman Church as the very gate of heaven. None
but those who have planted their feet firmly upon the foundation
of truth, and whose hearts are renewed by the Spirit of God,
are proof against her influence. Thousands who have not an
experimental knowledge of Christ will be led to accept the forms
of godliness without the power. Such a religion is just what the
multitudes desire.
The church’s claim to the right to pardon, leads the Romanist
to feel at liberty to sin; and the ordinance of confession, without
which her pardon is not granted, tends also to give license to
evil. He who kneels before fallen man, and opens in confession
the secret thoughts and imaginations of his heart, is debasing
his manhood, and degrading every noble instinct of his soul. In
unfolding the sins of his life to a priest,—an erring, sinful mortal,
and too often corrupted with wine and licentiousness,—his standard
of character is lowered, and he is defiled in consequence.
His thought of God is degraded to the likeness of fallen humanity;
for the priest stands as a representative of God. This degrading
confession of man to man is the secret spring from which has
flowed much of the evil that is defiling the world, and fitting it
for the final destruction. Yet to him who loves self-indulgence,
it is more pleasing to confess to a fellow-mortal than to open the [568]
590 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
soul to God. It is more palatable to human nature to do penance
than to renounce sin; it is easier to mortify the flesh by sackcloth
and nettles and galling chains than to crucify fleshly lusts. Heavy
is the yoke which the carnal heart is willing to bear rather than
bow to the yoke of Christ.
There is a striking similarity between the Church of Rome and
the Jewish Church at the time of Christ’s first advent. While the
Jews secretly trampled upon every principle of the law of God,
they were outwardly rigorous in the observance of its precepts,
loading it down with exactions and traditions that made obedience
painful and burdensome. As the Jews professed to revere
the law, so do Romanists claim to reverence the cross. They exalt
the symbol of Christ’s sufferings, while in their lives they deny
Him whom it represents.
Papists place crosses upon their churches, upon their altars,
and upon their garments. Everywhere is seen the insignia of
the cross. Everywhere it is outwardly honored and exalted. But
the teachings of Christ are buried beneath a mass of senseless
traditions, false interpretations, and rigorous exactions. The
Saviour’s words concerning the bigoted Jews, apply with still
greater force to the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church: “They
bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on
men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with
one of their fingers.”1002 Conscientious souls are kept in constant
terror, fearing the wrath of an offended God, while many of
the dignitaries of the church are living in luxury and sensual
pleasure.
The worship of images and relics, the invocation of saints,
and the exaltation of the pope, are devices of Satan to attract the
minds of the people from God and from His Son. To accomplish
their ruin, he endeavors to turn their attention from Him through
whom alone they can find salvation. He will direct them to any
1002 Matt. 23:4.
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 591
object that can be substituted for the One who has said, “Come
unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give [569]
you rest.”1003
It is Satan’s constant effort to misrepresent the character of
God, the nature of sin, and the real issues at stake in the great
controversy. His sophistry lessens the obligation of the divine
law, and gives men license to sin. At the same time he causes
them to cherish false conceptions of God, so that they regard Him
with fear and hate, rather than with love. The cruelty inherent in
his own character is attributed to the Creator; it is embodied in
systems of religion, and expressed in modes of worship. Thus the
minds of men are blinded, and Satan secures them as his agents
to war against God. By perverted conceptions of the divine
attributes, heathen nations were led to believe human sacrifices
necessary to secure the favor of Deity; and horrible cruelties
have been perpetrated under the various forms of idolatry.
The Roman Catholic Church, uniting the forms of paganism
and Christianity, and, like paganism, misrepresenting the character
of God, has resorted to practices no less cruel and revolting. In
the days of Rome’s supremacy, there were instruments of torture
to compel assent to her doctrines. There was the stake for those
who would not concede to her claims. There were massacres on
a scale that will never be known until revealed in the judgment.
Dignitaries of the church studied, under Satan their master, to
invent means to cause the greatest possible torture, and not end
the life of their victim. In many cases the infernal process was
repeated to the utmost limit of human endurance, until nature
gave up the struggle, and the sufferer hailed death as a sweet
release.
Such was the fate of Rome’s opponents. For her adherents
she had the discipline of the scourge, of famishing hunger, of
bodily austerities in every conceivable, heart-sickening form. To
1003 Matt. 11:28.
592 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
secure the favor of Heaven, penitents violated the laws of God
by violating the laws of nature. They were taught to sunder the
ties which He has formed to bless and gladden man’s earthly
[570] sojourn. The churchyard contains millions of victims, who spent
their lives in vain endeavors to subdue their natural affections,
to repress, as offensive to God, every thought and feeling of
sympathy with their fellow-creatures.
If we desire to understand the determined cruelty of Satan,
manifested for hundreds of years, not among those who never
heard of God, but in the very heart and throughout the extent of
Christendom, we have only to look at the history of Romanism.
Through this mammoth system of deception the prince of evil
achieves his purpose of bringing dishonor to God and wretchedness
to man. And as we see how he succeeds in disguising
himself, and accomplishing his work through the leaders of the
church, we may better understand why he has so great antipathy
to the Bible. If that book is read, the mercy and love of God will
be revealed; it will be seen that He lays upon men none of these
heavy burdens. All that He asks is a broken and contrite heart, a
humble, obedient spirit.
Christ gives no example in His life for men and women to shut
themselves in monasteries in order to become fitted for heaven.
He has never taught that love and sympathy must be repressed.
The Saviour’s heart overflowed with love. The nearer man approaches
to moral perfection, the keener are his sensibilities, the
more acute is his perception of sin, and the deeper his sympathy
for the afflicted. The pope claims to be the vicar of Christ;
but how does his character bear comparison with that of our
Saviour? Was Christ ever known to consign men to the prison
or the rack because they did not pay Him homage as the King of
heaven? Was His voice heard condemning to death those who
did not accept Him? When He was slighted by the people of a
Samaritan village, the apostle John was filled with indignation,
and inquired, “Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 593
down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?” Jesus
looked with pity upon His disciple, and rebuked his harsh spirit,
saying, “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but
to save them.”1004 How different from the spirit manifested by [571]
Christ is that of His professed vicar.
The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world,
covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She
has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged.
Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists
to-day. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held.
Let none deceive themselves. The papacy that Protestants are
now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days
of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of
their lives, to expose her iniquity. She possesses the same pride
and arrogant assumption that lorded it over kings and princes,
and claimed the prerogatives of God. Her spirit is no less cruel
and despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty, and
slew the saints of the Most High.
The papacy is just what prophecy declared that she would be,
the apostasy of the latter times.1005 It is a part of her policy to
assume the character which will best accomplish her purpose; but
beneath the variable appearance of the chameleon, she conceals
the invariable venom of the serpent. “Faith ought not to be kept
with heretics, nor persons suspected of heresy,”1006 she declares.
Shall this power, whose record for a thousand years is written
in the blood of the saints, be now acknowledged as a part of the
church of Christ?
It is not without reason that the claim has been put forth in
Protestant countries, that Catholicism differs less widely from
Protestantism than in former times. There has been a change; but
the change is not in the papacy. Catholicism indeed resembles
1004 Luke 9:54, 56.
1005 2 Thess. 2:3, 4.
1006 Lenfant, “History of the Council of Constance,” Vol. I, p. 516 (ed. 1728).
594 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
much of the Protestantism that now exists; because Protestantism
has so greatly degenerated since the days of the Reformers.
As the Protestant churches have been seeking the favor of the
world, false charity has blinded their eyes. They do not see but
[572] that it is right to believe good of all evil; and as the inevitable
result, they will finally believe evil of all good. Instead of
standing in defense of the faith once delivered to the saints, they
are now, as it were, apologizing to Rome for their uncharitable
opinion of her, begging pardon for their bigotry.
A large class, even of those who look upon Romanism with
no favor, apprehend little danger from her power and influence.
Many urge that the intellectual and moral darkness prevailing
during the Middle Ages favored the spread of her dogmas,
superstitions, and oppression, and that the greater intelligence
of modern times, the general diffusion of knowledge, and the
increasing liberality in matters of religion, forbid a revival of
intolerance and tyranny. The very thought that such a state of
things will exist in this enlightened age is ridiculed. It is true
that great light, intellectual, moral, and religious, is shining upon
this generation. In the open pages of God’s holy word, light
from heaven has been shed upon the world. But it should be
remembered that the greater the light bestowed, the greater the
darkness of those who pervert or reject it.
A prayerful study of the Bible would show Protestants the
real character of the papacy, and would cause them to abhor and
to shun it; but many are so wise in their own conceit that they
feel no need of humbly seeking God that they may be led into
the truth. Although priding themselves on their enlightenment,
they are ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God.
They must have some means of quieting their consciences; and
they seek that which is least spiritual and humiliating. What they
desire is a method of forgetting God which shall pass as a method
of remembering Him. The papacy is well adapted to meet the
wants of all these. It is prepared for two classes of mankind,
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 595
embracing nearly the whole world,—those who would be saved
by their merits, and those who would be saved in their sins. Here
is the secret of its power.
A day of great intellectual darkness has been shown to be favorable
to the success of the papacy. It will yet be demonstrated [573]
that a day of great intellectual light is equally favorable for its
success. In past ages, when men were without God’s word, and
without the knowledge of the truth, their eyes were blindfolded,
and thousands were ensnared, not seeing the net spread for their
feet. In this generation there are many whose eyes become
dazzled by the glare of human speculations, “science falsely so
called;” they discern not the net, and walk into it as readily
as if blindfolded. God designed that man’s intellectual powers
should be held as a gift from his Maker, and should be employed
in the service of truth and righteousness; but when pride and
ambition are cherished, and men exalt their own theories above
the word of God, then intelligence can accomplish greater harm
than ignorance. Thus the false science of the present day, which
undermines faith in the Bible, will prove as successful in preparing
the way for the acceptance of the papacy, with its pleasing
forms, as did the withholding of knowledge in opening the way
for its aggrandizement in the Dark Ages.
In the movements now in progress in the United States to
secure for the institutions and usages of the church the support
of the state, Protestants are following in the steps of papists.
Nay, more, they are opening the door for the papacy to regain
in Protestant America the supremacy which she has lost in the
Old World. And that which gives greater significance to this
movement is the fact that the principal object contemplated is the
enforcement of Sunday observance,—a custom which originated
with Rome, and which she claims as the sign of her authority. It
is the spirit of the papacy,—the spirit of conformity to worldly
customs, the veneration for human traditions above the commandments
of God,—that is permeating the Protestant churches,
596 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
and leading them on to do the same work of Sunday exaltation
which the papacy has done before them.
If the reader would understand the agencies to be employed
in the soon-coming contest, he has but to trace the record of the
[574] means which Rome employed for the same object in ages past.
If he would know how papists and Protestants united will deal
with those who reject their dogmas, let him see the spirit which
Rome manifested toward the Sabbath and its defenders.
Royal edicts, general councils, and church ordinances sustained
by secular power, were the steps by which the pagan
festival attained its position of honor in the Christian world. The
first public measure enforcing Sunday observance was the law
enacted by Constantine.1007 This edict required townspeople to
rest on “the venerable day of the sun,” but permitted countrymen
to continue their agricultural pursuits. Though virtually a heathen
statute, it was enforced by the emperor after his nominal
acceptance of Christianity.
The royal mandate not proving a sufficient substitute for divine
authority, Eusebius, a bishop who sought the favor of princes,
and who was the special friend and flatterer of Constantine,
advanced the claim that Christ had transferred the Sabbath to
Sunday. Not a single testimony of the Scriptures was produced
in proof of the new doctrine. Eusebius himself unwittingly
acknowledges its falsity, and points to the real authors of the
change. “All things,” he says, “whatever that it was duty to do on
the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord’s day.”1008 But
the Sunday argument, groundless as it was, served to embolden
men in trampling upon the Sabbath of the Lord. All who desired
to be honored by the world accepted the popular festival.
As the papacy became firmly established, the work of Sunday
exaltation was continued. For a time the people engaged in
agricultural labor when not attending church, and the seventh
1007 A.D. 321; see Appendix.
1008 Cox, R., “Sabbath Laws and Sabbath Duties,” p. 538 (ed. 1853).
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 597
day was still regarded as the Sabbath. But steadily a change was
effected. Those in holy office were forbidden to pass judgment in
any civil controversy on the Sunday. Soon after, all persons, of
whatever rank, were commanded to refrain from common labor,
on pain of a fine for freemen, and stripes in the case of servants. [575]
Later it was decreed that rich men should be punished with the
loss of half of their estates; and finally, that if still obstinate
they should be made slaves. The lower classes were to suffer
perpetual banishment.
Miracles also were called into requisition. Among other wonders
it was reported that as a husbandman who was about to plow
his field on Sunday, cleaned his plow with an iron, the iron stuck
fast in his hand, and for two years he carried it about with him,
“to his exceeding great pain and shame.”1009
Later, the pope gave directions that the parish priest should
admonish the violators of Sunday, and wish them to go to
church and say their prayers, lest they bring some great calamity
on themselves and neighbors. An ecclesiastical council brought
forward the argument, since so widely employed, even by Protestants,
that because persons had been struck by lightning while
laboring on Sunday, it must be the Sabbath. “It is apparent,” said
the prelates, “how high the displeasure of God was upon their
neglect of this day.” An appeal was then made that priests and
ministers, kings and princes, and all faithful people, “use their
utmost endeavors and care that the day be restored to its honor,
and, for the credit of Christianity, more devoutly observed for
the time to come.”1010
The decrees of councils proving insufficient, the secular authorities
were besought to issue an edict that would strike terror
to the hearts of the people, and force them to refrain from labor
1009 West, Francis, “Historical and Practical Discourse on the Lord’s Day,” p.
174.
1010 Morer, Tho., “Discourse in Six Dialogues on the Name, Notion, and
Observation of the Lord’s Day,” p. 271 (ed. 1701).
598 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
on the Sunday. At a synod held in Rome, all previous decisions
were reaffirmed with greater force and solemnity. They were
also incorporated into the ecclesiastical law, and enforced by the
[576] civil authorities throughout nearly all Christendom.1011
Still the absence of scriptural authority for Sunday-keeping
occasioned no little embarrassment. The people questioned the
right of their teachers to set aside the positive declaration of
Jehovah, “The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God,”
in order to honor the day of the sun. To supply the lack of Bible
testimony, other expedients were necessary. A zealous advocate
of Sunday, who about the close of the twelfth century visited the
churches of England, was resisted by faithful witnesses for the
truth; and so fruitless were his efforts that he departed from the
country for a season, and cast about him for some means to enforce
his teachings. When he returned, the lack was supplied, and
in his after-labors he met with greater success. He brought with
him a roll purporting to be from God Himself, which contained
the needed command for Sunday observance, with awful threats
to terrify the disobedient. This precious document—as base a
counterfeit as the institution it supported—was said to have fallen
from heaven, and to have been found in Jerusalem, upon the altar
of St. Simeon, in Golgotha. But in fact, the pontifical palace at
Rome was the source whence it proceeded. Frauds and forgeries
to advance the power and prosperity of the church have in all
ages been esteemed lawful by the papal hierarchy.
The roll forbade labor from the ninth hour, three o’clock, on
Saturday afternoon, till sunrise on Monday; and its authority was
declared to be confirmed by many miracles. It was reported that
persons laboring beyond the appointed hour were stricken with
paralysis. A miller who attempted to grind his corn, saw, instead
of flour, a torrent of blood come forth, and the mill-wheel stood
still, notwithstanding the strong rush of the water. A woman who
1011 See Heylyn, “History of the Sabbath,” Part II, ch. 5, sec. 7.
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 599
placed dough in the oven, found it raw when taken out, though
the oven was very hot. Another who had dough prepared for
baking at the ninth hour, but determined to set it aside till Monday,
found, the next day, that it had been made into loaves and
baked by divine power. A man who baked bread after the ninth [577]
hour on Saturday, found, when he broke it the next morning,
that blood started therefrom. By such absurd and superstitious
fabrications did the advocates of Sunday endeavor to establish
its sacredness.1012
In Scotland, as in England, a greater regard for Sunday was
secured by uniting with it a portion of the ancient Sabbath. But
the time required to be kept holy varied. An edict from the king
of Scotland declared that “Saturday from twelve at noon ought to
be accounted holy,” and that no man, from that time till Monday
morning, should engage in worldly business.1013
But notwithstanding all the efforts to establish Sunday sacredness,
papists themselves publicly confessed the divine authority
of the Sabbath, and the human origin of the institution by which
it had been supplanted. In the sixteenth century a papal council
plainly declared: “Let all Christians remember that the seventh
day was consecrated by God, and hath been received and observed,
not only by the Jews, but by all others who pretend to
worship God; though we Christians have changed their Sabbath
into the Lord’s day.”1014 Those who were tampering with the
divine law were not ignorant of the character of their work. They
were deliberately setting themselves above God.
A striking illustration of Rome’s policy toward those who
disagree with her was given in the long and bloody persecution
of the Waldenses, some of whom were observers of the Sabbath.
Others suffered in a similar manner for their fidelity to the fourth
commandment. The history of the churches of Ethiopia and
1012 See Roger de Hoveden, “Annals,” Vol. II, pp. 528-530 (Bohn ed.).
1013 Morer, “Dialogues on the Lord’s Day,” pp. 290, 291.
1014 Idem, pp. 281, 282.
600 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
Abyssinia is especially significant. Amid the gloom of the Dark
Ages, the Christians of Central Africa were lost sight of and
forgotten by the world, and for many centuries they enjoyed
freedom in the exercise of their faith. But at last Rome learned of
their existence, and the emperor of Abyssinia was soon beguiled
[578] into an acknowledgment of the pope as the vicar of Christ.
Other concessions followed. An edict was issued forbidding the
observance of the Sabbath under the severest penalties.1015 But
papal tyranny soon became a yoke so galling that the Abyssinians
determined to break it from their necks. After a terrible struggle,
the Romanists were banished from their dominions, and the ancient
faith was restored. The churches rejoiced in their freedom,
and they never forgot the lesson they had learned concerning
the deception, the fanaticism, and the despotic power of Rome.
Within their solitary realm they were content to remain, unknown
to the rest of Christendom.
The churches of Africa held the Sabbath as it was held by the
papal church before her complete apostasy. While they kept the
seventh day in obedience to the commandment of God, they abstained
from labor on the Sunday in conformity to the custom of
the church. Upon obtaining supreme power, Rome had trampled
upon the Sabbath of God to exalt her own; but the churches of
Africa, hidden for nearly a thousand years, did not share in this
apostasy. When brought under the sway of Rome, they were
forced to set aside the true and exalt the false sabbath; but no
sooner had they regained their independence than they returned
to obedience to the fourth commandment.1016
These records of the past clearly reveal the enmity of Rome
toward the true Sabbath and its defenders, and the means which
she employs to honor the institution of her creating. The word
of God teaches that these scenes are to be repeated as Roman
Catholics and Protestants shall unite for the exaltation of the
1015 See “Church History of Ethiopia,” pp. 311, 312.
1016 See Appendix.
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 601
Sunday.
The prophecy of Revelation 13 declares that the power represented
by the beast with lamb-like horns shall cause “the earth
and them which dwell therein” to worship the papacy—there
symbolized by the beast “like unto a leopard.” The beast with
two horns is also to say “to them that dwell on the earth, that
they should make an image to the beast;” and, furthermore, it is
to command all, “both small and great, rich and poor, free and [579]
bond,” to receive “the mark of the beast.”1017 It has been shown
that the United States is the power represented by the beast with
lamb-like horns, and that this prophecy will be fulfilled when
the United States shall enforce Sunday observance, which Rome
claims as the special acknowledgment of her supremacy. But
in this homage to papacy the United States will not be alone.
The influence of Rome in the countries that once acknowledged
her dominion, is still far from being destroyed. And prophecy
foretells a restoration of her power. “I saw one of his heads as
it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed:
and all the world wondered after the beast.”1018 The infliction of
the deadly wound points to the downfall of the papacy in 1798.
After this, says the prophet, “His deadly wound was healed: and
all the world wondered after the beast.” Paul states plainly that
the man of sin will continue until the second advent.1019 To the
very close of time he will carry forward his work of deception.
And the revelator declares, also referring to the papacy, “All that
dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not
written in the book of life.”1020 In both the Old and the New
World, the papacy will receive homage in the honor paid to the
Sunday institution, that rests solely upon the authority of the
Roman Church.
1017 Rev. 13:11-16.
1018 Rev. 13:3.
1019 2 Thess. 2:8.
1020 Rev. 13:8.
602 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
For more than half a century, students of prophecy in the
United States have presented this testimony to the world. In
the events now taking place is seen a rapid advance toward the
fulfilment of the prediction. With Protestant teachers there is
the same claim of divine authority for Sunday-keeping, and the
same lack of scriptural evidence, as with the papal leaders who
fabricated miracles to supply the place of a command from God.
The assertion that God’s judgments are visited upon men for their
violation of the Sunday-sabbath, will be repeated; already it is
[580] beginning to be urged. And a movement to enforce Sunday
observance is fast gaining ground.
Marvelous in her shrewdness and cunning is the Roman
Church. She can read what is to be. She bides her time, seeing
that the Protestant churches are paying her homage in their
acceptance of the false sabbath, and that they are preparing to
enforce it by the very means which she herself employed in
bygone days. Those who reject the light of truth will yet seek
the aid of this self-styled infallible power to exalt an institution
that originated with her. How readily she will come to the help
of Protestants in this work, it is not difficult to conjecture. Who
understands better than the papal leaders how to deal with those
who are disobedient to the church?
The Roman Catholic Church, with all its ramifications
throughout the world, forms one vast organization, under the
control, and designed to serve the interests, of the papal see. Its
millions of communicants, in every country on the globe, are
instructed to hold themselves as bound in allegiance to the pope.
Whatever their nationality or their government, they are to regard
the authority of the church as above all other. Though they may
take the oath pledging their loyalty to the state, yet back of this
lies the vow of obedience to Rome, absolving them from every
pledge inimical to her interests.
History testifies of her artful and persistent efforts to insinuate
herself into the affairs of nations; and having gained a foothold,
35. Aims Of The Papacy. 603
to further her own aims, even at the ruin of princes and people.
In the year 1204, Pope Innocent III. extracted from Peter II.,
king of Arragon, the following extraordinary oath: “I, Peter,
king of Arragonians, profess and promise to be ever faithful and
obedient to my lord, Pope Innocent, to his Catholic successors,
and the Roman Church, and faithfully to preserve my kingdom
in his obedience, defending the Catholic faith, and persecuting
heretical pravity.”1021 This is in harmony with the claims re- [581]
garding the power of the Roman pontiff, that “it is lawful for
him to depose emperors,” and that “he can absolve subjects from
their allegiance to unrighteous rulers.”1022
And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she
never changes. The principles of Gregory VII. and Innocent
III. are still the principles of the Roman Catholic Church. And
had she but the power, she would put them in practice with as
much vigor now as in past centuries. Protestants little know what
they are doing when they propose to accept the aid of Rome in
the work of Sunday exaltation. While they are bent upon the
accomplishment of their purpose, Rome is aiming to re-establish
her power, to recover her lost supremacy. Let the principle once
be established in the United States, that the church may employ
or control the power of the state; that religious observances may
be enforced by secular laws; in short, that the authority of church
and state is to dominate the conscience, and the triumph of Rome
in this country is assured.
God’s word has given warning of the impending danger; let
this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the
purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape
the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are
exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and
in the hearts of men. She is piling up her lofty and massive struc-
1021 Dowling, J., “History of Romanism,” b. 5, ch. 6, sec. 55.
1022 Mosheim, “Ecclesiastical History,” b. 3, cent. 11, part 2, ch. 2, sec. 9, note
8 (tr. by Murdock). See also Appendix.
604 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
tures, in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will
be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectedly she is strengthening
her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come
for her to strike. All that she desires is vantage-ground, and
this is already being given her. We shall soon see and shall
feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall
believe and obey the word of God, will thereby incur reproach
and persecution.

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World Bank Ex-Chief Economist Calls For Dollar To Be Replaced By ‘Super Currency’

30 Jan

RED LINE! Iran Now Able To Produce A Nuclear Bomb!!

30 Jan

Kristi Ann's Haven

Please Pray for Israel and our Christian Nation USA!!

AP05033001559

( An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. The conversion facility in Isfahan reprocesses uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, into uranium hexaflouride gas. The gas is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi )

RED LINE! Iran Now Able To Produce A Nuclear Bomb!!

For the past 5 years, US occupying president Barack Hussein Obama has done a political tap dance on par with anything that Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire did on the ballroom floor in their primes. Obama has nearly single-handedly coddled, cajoled and maneuvered world leaders and situations to allow Iran all the time and space they needed to bring nuclear reactors online and create the bomb(s) that will be fired at Israel-Yisrael!!

Critical mass has been…

View original post 953 more words

Why Hasn’t Jesus Returned Yet?

30 Jan

Please prayerfully read this page, as this is present truth and a vital message for the time we live in.

I am sure many of God’s professed people are wondering why Christ Jesus hasn’t returned yet. This world has been in turmoil for some time now, and it is just getting worse and worse. What is God waiting for? What is He waiting for His people to do?

There are many different types of Christians in the world today. But unfortunately, not enough who do the express will of God. There are those who focus on the ‘grace’ of Christ Jesus, thinking that they can continue to live a life of worldliness and sin, and forget about keeping the law of God. There are those who focus on the law of God, so much so that they forget about the grace of Christ and think that their works will save them. Then there are those who truly accept the grace of Christ, AND strive to keep the ten commandments, not to be saved, but because they love God. This is commendable, BUT this has become the only focus of many of God’s people today. They have become very insular and only focus on themselves, and there is something very important which God requires that they are NOT doing.

So what is God waiting for in His people? Why hasn’t Jesus returned yet? I believe the answer lies in the 58th Chapter of Isaiah. Let’s take a look and see what we are missing.

Isaiah 58:1 …’Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.’

So God is telling us that we are to warn the church of it’s sins. “Oh but I already do this, I show people THEIR wrong doing.” you may say. But is God just talking about telling people of THEIR wrong doing here? Let’s read on.

Isaiah 58:2-3 …’Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.’

Now look at the above verses and tell me if you see a diligent people who seek God and keep his commands. A people who “seek God daily” and “delight to know His ways”. A people who “did righteousness” and “approaches God” in prayer and supplication. A people who “fast” regularly. I bet many would look at this description and say, wow! yes! These people know God’s will, they are truly God’s people. Then why is it that God doesn’t bless them? The verse confirms that God does not “see” their efforts. Why is this? We find the answer in the next few verses.

Isaiah 58:5-7 …’Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?’

The reason God doesn’t bless them is because even though they have remembered the first commandment to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. They have forgotten the second greatest commandment, which is to love thy neighbor as thyself. These professed people of God are so focused on themselves, they have forgotten to do good to others. They neglect one of the basic teachings of Christ Jesus, which is to love your neighbor as yourself, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. They have become insular and are only focusing on their own relationship with God.

IMPORTANT NOTE: What type of lifestyle do the verses above expose as being NOT the will of God? The Monastic lifestyle, where Monks close themselves off to the rest of the world and only focus on their own relationship with God. This is not the will of God and God does not bless this kind of life.

What is God Waiting For?

When we think of sin, we think about the ten commandments. So when God tells us to warn the people about their sin, we tend to think He is just talking about observing the ten commandments. But sin is much more wider and broader than what the ten commandments say. Think about it. If Jesus says we are to go and feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and we DON’T do those things. Is that not sin? (James 4:17) Yes it is. If Jesus tells us to go and teach all nations the gospel, and we DON’T do it. Is that not sin? Yes it is. Now look at what God says will happen if we do these things.

Isaiah 58:8,10 …’Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward … And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day.’

Isaiah 58:12 …’and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.’

THEN the Spirit of the Lord shall fall upon us, and we will be able to light up the world with the three angels message, and THEN the glory of God will shine in His people and THEN the true character of Christ will be shown in His people, and THEN the second coming can be hastened and the last days of earth’s history can reach their climax.

The problem with us sabbath keepers is that we look at chapters like Isaiah 58 and we ONLY see the verses to do with the sabbath. Yes, the sabbath is mentioned in Isaiah 58, and the sabbath day IS an important issue. Just like keeping the ten commandments is an important issue. Just like transforming our characters into Christ-like characters is very important. But we must not forget the other vital Christian principles, which is to take the “everlasting gospel” to the world (Rev. 14), and to SHOW the gospel to the world by doing good to others, whether friend or foe.

As a professed people of God, if we just stay insular, only focusing on ourselves, and keeping the truth to ourselves, then God CANNOT use us and WILL NOT use us. In order to bring on the last days and the second coming of Christ Jesus, we have to be LIVING the everlasting gospel ourselves. Yes, keep the ten commandments. Yes, keep the seventh day sabbath as per the 4th commandment. Yes, make every effort to have your character transformed to be like Christ. But we MUST also share and show the gospel truth with others who do not know the truth. We MUST warn the world of it’s sin. We MUST take the three angels messages to the world. And we MUST do good towards others, helping those in need, showing forgiveness and love.

Why hasn’t Jesus returned yet? Jesus hasn’t returned yet because He is STILL waiting for His people to start LIVING the gospel. What did Jesus do during His life on earth? He obeyed God and did His express will. He warned people of their sin. He preached the gospel message. He healed the sick and helped those in need. This is the TRUE chracter of Christ that we are to replicate. THIS is what God is waiting for. THIS is what the world needs to see! Let us as God’s professed people start doing the will of God and then we will soon see the return of our Lord and Saviour!

Let the world SEE Jesus Christ in your everyday life!

Prophecies Fulfilled.

29 Jan

When the time passed at 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 as having been 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 felt assured that God had led them in their past experience.
Interwoven with 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
[392] their understanding would in due time be made plain.
Among these prophecies was that of Hab. 2:1-4: “I will stand
upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see
what He will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am
reproved. And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision,
22. Prophecies Fulfilled. 407
and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
For 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. Behold, his soul which is lifted up
is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”
As early as 1842, the direction 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 fulfilment
of the command given by Habakkuk. 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 believers: “The word of the Lord came unto me,
saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the
land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision
faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God, … The
days are at hand, and the effect of every vision…. I will speak,
and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no
more prolonged.” “They of the house of Israel say, The vision
that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of
the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith
the Lord God: There shall none of My words be prolonged any [393]
more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done.”645
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
645 Eze. 12:21-25, 27, 28.
408 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
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 pagan and papal persecutions, the darkening of the sun
and moon, and the falling of the stars. 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 mes-
[394] sage, was understood to be represented by the coming of the
bridegroom. The wide-spread 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
22. Prophecies Fulfilled. 409
had gone forth to meet the Bridegroom. 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 class
had received the grace of God, the regenerating, enlightening
power of the Holy Spirit, which renders His word a lamp to
the feet and a light to the path. In the fear of God they had
studied the Scriptures to learn the truth, and had earnestly sought
for purity of heart and life. These had a personal experience, a
faith in God and in 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 brethren, satisfied 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, and their lights burned dim.
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all 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 [395]
should be given. Yet in the night of 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.
About this time, fanaticism began to appear. Some who had
professed to be zealous believers in the message, rejected the
410 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
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.
Satan was seeking 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 some who professed the faith,
and to 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 faith
in the second advent 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.
Satan is “the accuser of the brethren,” and it is his spirit that
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
[396] 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 these have
accepted 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
22. Prophecies Fulfilled. 411
of worship and around the table of the Lord. Satan is frequently
there upon the most solemn occasions, in the form of those whom
he can use as his agents.
The prince of evil 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 raised 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 also suffered great perplexity and distress
from the course of fanatical persons who claimed that God had
spoken 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. And the Wesleys,
and others who blessed the world by their influence and their
faith, encountered at every step the wiles of Satan in pushing
overzealous, unbalanced, and unsanctified ones into fanaticism
of every grade.
William Miller had no sympathy with those influences that
led to fanaticism. He declared, with Luther, that every spirit
should be tested by the word of God. “The devil,” said Miller,
“has great power over the minds of some at the present day. And
how shall we know what manner of spirit they are of? The [397]
Bible answers: ‘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. I am more and more convinced that Satan has much to
do in these wild movements…. Many among us, who pretend
412 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
to be wholly sanctified, are following the traditions of men, and
apparently are as ignorant of truth as others who make no such
pretensions.”646 “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 an error, and think he has the truth. What then? We
answer, The Spirit and 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.”647 “I have often obtained more
evidence of inward piety from a kindling eye, a wet cheek, and a
choked utterance, than from all the noise in Christendom.”648
In the days of the Reformation its enemies 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.
Their peace was disturbed by the proclamation of Christ at the
door. They feared it might be true, yet hoped it was not, and this
[398] 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 was the presence of fanatics and deceivers in
the church in Paul’s or Luther’s day a sufficient excuse for condemning
their work. Let the people of God arouse out of sleep,
and begin in earnest the work of repentance and reformation; let
them search the Scriptures to learn the truth as it is in Jesus; let
646 Bliss, “Memoirs of Wm. Miller,” pp. 236, 237, 282.
647 The Advent Herald and Signs of the Times Reporter, Vol. VIII, No. 23 (Jan.
15, 1845).
648 Ibid.
22. Prophecies Fulfilled. 413
them make an entire consecration to God, and evidence will not
be wanting that Satan is still active and vigilant. With all possible
deception he will manifest his power, calling to his aid all the
fallen angels of his realm.
It was not the proclamation of the second advent 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. The preaching of the first angel’s message
and of the “midnight cry” tended directly to repress fanaticism
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.
“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. Then all those virgins arose,
and trimmed their lamps.”649 In the summer of 1844, midway
between the time when it had been first thought that the 2300
days would end, and the autumn of the same year, to which it
was afterward found that they extended, the message was proclaimed
in the very words of Scripture, “Behold, the Bridegroom
cometh!”
That which led to this movement was the discovery that the
decree of Artaxerxes for the restoration of Jerusalem, which
formed the starting-point for the period of the 2300 days, went
into effect in the autumn of the year B.C. 457, and not at the [399]
beginning of the year, as had been formerly believed. Reckoning
from the autumn of 457, the 2300 years terminate in the autumn
of 1844.650
649 Matt. 25:5-7.
650 See Appendix.
414 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
Arguments drawn from the Old Testament types also pointed
to the autumn as the time when the event represented by the
“cleansing of the sanctuary” must take place. This was made
very clear as attention was given to the manner in which the
types relating to the first advent of Christ had been fulfilled.
The slaying of the Passover lamb was a shadow of the death
of Christ. Says Paul, “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.”651
The sheaf of first-fruits, which at the time of the Passover was
waved before the Lord, was typical of the resurrection of Christ.
Paul says, in speaking of the resurrection of the Lord, and of all
His people, “Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s
at His coming.”652 Like the wave-sheaf, which was the first ripe
grain gathered before the harvest, Christ is the first-fruits of that
immortal harvest of redeemed ones that at the future resurrection
shall be gathered into the garner of God.
These types were fulfilled, not only as to the event, but as to
the time. On the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, the very
day and month on which, for fifteen long centuries, the Passover
lamb had been slain, Christ, having eaten the Passover with His
disciples, instituted that feast which was to commemorate His
own death as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of
the world.” That same night He was taken by wicked hands, to
be crucified and slain. And as the antitype of the wave-sheaf,
our Lord was raised from the dead on the third day, “the firstfruits
of them that slept,”653 a sample of all the resurrected just,
whose “vile body” shall be changed, and “fashioned like unto
His glorious body.”654
In like manner, the types which relate to the second advent
[400] must be fulfilled at the time pointed out in the symbolic service.
Under the Mosaic system, the cleansing of the sanctuary, or
651 1 Cor. 5:7.
652 1 Cor. 15:23, 20.
653 Ibid.
654 Phil. 3:21.
22. Prophecies Fulfilled. 415
the great day of atonement, occurred on the tenth day of the
seventh Jewish month,655 when the high priest, having made an
atonement for all Israel, and thus removed their sins from the
sanctuary, came forth and blessed the people. So it was believed
that Christ, our great High Priest, would appear to purify the earth
by the destruction of sin and sinners, and to bless His waiting
people with immortality. The tenth day of the seventh month,
the great day of atonement, the time of the cleansing of the
sanctuary, which in the year 1844 fell upon the twenty-second
of October, was regarded as the time of the Lord’s coming. This
was in harmony with the proofs already presented, that the 2300
days would terminate in the autumn, and the conclusion seemed
irresistible.
In the parable of Matthew 25 the time of waiting and slumber
is followed by the coming of the bridegroom. This was in accordance
with the arguments just presented, both from prophecy
and from the types. They carried strong conviction of their
truthfulness; and the “midnight cry” was heralded by thousands
of believers.
Like a tidal wave the movement swept over the land. Fromcity
to city, from village to village, and into remote country places
it went, until the waiting people of God were fully aroused.
Fanaticism disappeared before this proclamation, like early frost
before the rising sun. Believers saw their doubt and perplexity
removed, 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 that mark the work of God in every age.
There was little ecstatic joy, but rather deep searching of heart,
655 Lev. 16:29-34.
416 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
[401] 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 Miller, in describing that work: “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….
There is no clashing of sentiments: all are of one heart and of
one mind.”656
Another who participated in the movement testified: “It
produced everywhere the most deep searching of heart and humiliation
of soul before the God of high heaven. It caused a
weaning of affections from the things of this world, a healing of
controversies and animosities, a confession of wrongs, a breaking
down before God, and penitent, broken-hearted supplications to
Him for pardon and acceptance. It caused self-abasement and
prostration of soul, such as we never before witnessed. As God
by Joel commanded, when the great day of God should be at
hand, it produced a rending of hearts and not of garments, and a
turning unto the Lord with fasting, and weeping, and mourning.
As God said by Zechariah, a spirit of grace and supplication was
poured out upon His children; they looked to Him whom they
had pierced, there was a great mourning in the land, … and
those who were looking for the Lord afflicted their souls before
Him.”657
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.
Even now, after the lapse of many years, all who shared in that
movement and who have stood firm upon the platform of truth,
656 Bliss, “Memoirs of Wm. Miller,” pp. 270, 271.
657 Bliss, in the Advent Shield and Review, Vol. I, p. 271 (Jan., 1845).
22. Prophecies Fulfilled. 417
still feel the holy influence of that blessed work, and bear witness
that it was of God. [402]
At the call, “The Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,”
the waiting ones “arose and trimmed their lamps;” they studied
the word of God with an 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 this movement. The churches in general closed their
doors against this message, and a large company of those who
received it withdrew from their connection. In the providence of
God, this proclamation united with the second angel’s message,
and gave power to that work.
The message, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!” was not so
much a matter of argument, though the Scripture proof was clear
and conclusive. There went with it an impelling power that
moved the soul. There was no doubt, no questioning. Upon the
occasion of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the people
who were assembled from all parts of the land to keep the feast,
flocked to the Mount of Olives, and as they joined the throng that
were escorting Jesus, they caught the inspiration of the hour, and
helped to swell the shout, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name
of the Lord!”658 In like manner did unbelievers who flocked
to the Adventist meetings—some from curiosity, some merely
to ridicule—feel the convincing power attending the message,
“Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!”
At that time there was faith that brought answers to
658 Matt. 21:9.
418 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
prayer,—faith that had respect to the recompense of reward.
Like showers of rain upon the thirsty earth, the Spirit of grace
[403] descended upon the earnest seekers. Those who expected soon
to stand face to face with their Redeemer, felt a solemn joy that
was unutterable. The softening, subduing power of the Holy
Spirit melted the heart, as His blessing was bestowed in rich
measure upon the faithful, believing ones.
Carefully and solemnly those who received the message came
up to the time when they hoped to meet their Lord. Every morning
they felt that it was their first duty to secure the evidence
of their acceptance with God. Their hearts were closely united,
and they prayed much with and for one another. They often met
together in secluded places to commune with God, and the voice
of intercession ascended to heaven from the fields and groves.
The assurance of the Saviour’s approval was more necessary to
them than their daily food; and if a cloud darkened their minds,
they did not rest until it was swept away. As they felt the witness
of pardoning grace, they longed to behold Him whom their souls
loved.
But again they were destined to disappointment. The time
of expectation passed, and their Saviour did not appear. With
unwavering confidence they had looked forward to His coming,
and now they felt as did Mary, when, coming to the Saviour’s
tomb and finding it empty, she exclaimed with weeping, “They
have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid
Him.”659
A feeling of awe, a fear that the message might be true, had
for a time served as a restraint upon the unbelieving world. After
the passing of the time, this did not at once disappear; at first
they dared not triumph over the disappointed ones; but as no
tokens of God’s wrath were seen, they recovered from their fears,
and resumed their reproach and ridicule. A large class who
659 John 20:13.
22. Prophecies Fulfilled. 419
had professed to believe in the Lord’s soon coming, renounced
their faith. Some who had been very confident were so deeply
wounded in their pride that they felt like fleeing from the world.
Like Jonah, they complained of God, and chose death rather than
life. [404]
Those who had based their faith upon the opinions of others,
and not upon the word of God, were now as ready again to
change their views. The scoffers won the weak and cowardly
to their ranks, and all these united in declaring that there could
be no more fears or expectations now. The time had passed, the
Lord had not come, and the world might remain the same for
thousands of years.
The earnest, sincere believers had given up all for Christ, and
had shared His presence as never before. They had, as they
believed, given their last warning to the world; and expecting
soon to be received into the society of their divine Master and the
heavenly angels, they had, to a great extent, withdrawn from the
society of those who did not receive the message. With intense
desire they had prayed, “Come, Lord Jesus, and come quickly.”
But He had not come. And now to take up again the heavy
burden of life’s cares and perplexities, and to endure the taunts
and sneers of a scoffing world, was a terrible trial of faith and
patience.
Yet this disappointment was not so great as was that experienced
by the disciples at the time of Christ’s first advent. When
Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, His followers believed
that He was about to ascend the throne of David, and deliver
Israel from her oppressors. With high hopes and joyful anticipations
they vied with one another in showing honor to their
King. Many spread their outer garments as a carpet in His path,
or strewed before Him the leafy branches of the palm. In their
enthusiastic joy they united in the glad acclaim, “Hosanna to the
Son of David!” When the Pharisees, disturbed and angered by
this outburst of rejoicing, wished Jesus to rebuke His disciples,
420 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
He replied, “If these should hold their peace, the stones would
immediately cry out.”660 Prophecy must be fulfilled. The disciples
were accomplishing the purpose of God; yet they were
doomed to a bitter disappointment. But a few days had passed
ere they witnessed the Saviour’s agonizing death, and laid Him
in the tomb. Their expectations had not been realized in a single
[405] particular, and their hopes died with Jesus. Not till their Lord
had come forth triumphant from the grave could they perceive
that all had been foretold by prophecy, and “that Christ must
needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead.”661
Five hundred years before, the Lord had declared by the
prophet Zechariah, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout,
O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, 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.”662 Had the disciples realized that
Christ was going to judgment and to death, they could not have
fulfilled this prophecy.
In like manner, Miller and his associates fulfilled prophecy,
and gave a message which Inspiration had foretold should be
given to the world, but which they could not have given had
they fully understood the prophecies pointing out their disappointment,
and presenting another message to be preached to
all nations before the Lord should come. The first and second
angels’ messages were given at the right time, and accomplished
the work which God designed to accomplish by them.
The world had been looking on, expecting that if the time
passed and Christ did not appear, the whole system of Adventism
would be given up. But while many, under strong temptation,
yielded their faith, there were some who stood firm. The fruits of
the Advent Movement, the spirit of humility and heart-searching,
of renouncing of the world and reformation of life, which had at-
660 Luke 19:40.
661 Acts 17:3.
662 Zech. 9:9.
22. Prophecies Fulfilled. 421
tended the work, testified that it was of God. They dared not deny
that the power of the Holy Spirit had witnessed to the preaching
of the second advent, and they could detect no error in their
reckoning of the prophetic periods. The ablest of their opponents
had not succeeded in overthrowing their system of prophetic
interpretation. They could not consent, without Bible evidence,
to renounce positions which had been reached through earnest,
prayerful study of the Scriptures, by minds enlightened by the
Spirit of God, and hearts burning with its living power; positions [406]
which had withstood the most searching criticisms and the most
bitter opposition of popular religious teachers and worldly-wise
men, and which had stood firm against the combined forces of
learning and eloquence, and the taunts and revilings alike of the
honorable and the base.
True, there had been a failure as to the expected event, but
even this could not shake their faith in the word of God. When
Jonah proclaimed in the streets of Nineveh that within forty days
the city would be overthrown, the Lord accepted the humiliation
of the Ninevites, and extended their period of probation; yet the
message of Jonah was sent of God, and Nineveh was tested according
to His will. Adventists believed that in like manner God
had led them to give the warning of the judgment. “It has,” they
declared, “tested the hearts of all who heard it, and awakened a
love for the Lord’s appearing; or it has called forth a hatred, more
or less perceivable, but known to God, of His coming. It has
drawn a line, … so that those who will examine their own hearts,
may know on which side of it they would have been found, had
the Lord then come—whether they would have exclaimed, ‘Lo!
this is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us;’
or whether they would have called to the rocks and mountains to
fall on them to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on
the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. God thus, as we
believe, has tested His people, has tried their faith, has proved
them, and seen whether they would shrink, in the hour of trial,
422 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
from the position in which He might see fit to place them; and
whether they would relinquish this world and rely with implicit
confidence in the word of God.”663
The feelings of those who still believed that God had led them
in their past experience, are expressed in the words of William
[407] Miller: “Were I to live my life over again, with the same
evidence that I then had, to be honest with God and man I should
have to do as I have done.” “I hope that I have cleansed my
garments from the blood of souls. I feel that, as far as it was in my
power, I have freed myself from all guilt in their condemnation.”
“Although I have been twice disappointed,” wrote this man of
God, “I am not yet cast down or discouraged…. My hope in the
coming of Christ is as strong as ever. I have done only what,
after years of solemn consideration, I felt it my solemn duty
to do. If I have erred, it has been on the side of charity, love
to my fellow-men, and conviction of duty to God.” “One thing
I do know, I have preached nothing but what I believed; and
God has been with me; His power has been manifested in the
work, and much good has been effected.” “Many thousands, to
all human appearance, have been made to study the Scriptures
by the preaching of the time; and by that means, through faith
and the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, have been reconciled
to God.”664 “I have never courted the smiles of the proud, nor
quailed when the world frowned. I shall not now purchase their
favor, nor shall I go beyond duty to tempt their hate. I shall never
seek my life at their hands, nor shrink, I hope, from losing it, if
God in His good providence so orders.”665
God did not forsake His people; His Spirit still abode with
those who did not rashly deny the light which they had received,
and denounce the Advent Movement. In the Epistle to
663 The Advent Herald and Signs of the Times Reporter, Vol. VIII, No. 14
(Nov. 13, 1844).
664 Bliss, “Memoirs of Wm. Miller,” pp. 256, 255, 277, 280, 281.
665 White, J., “Life of Wm. Miller,” p. 315.
22. Prophecies Fulfilled. 423
the Hebrews are words of encouragement and warning for the
tried, waiting ones at this crisis: “Cast not away therefore your
confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have
need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye
might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall
come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by
faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure
in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; [408]
but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”666
That this admonition is addressed to the church in the last days
is evident from the words pointing to the nearness of the Lord’s
coming: “For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come,
and will not tarry.” And it is plainly implied that there would be
a seeming delay, and that the Lord would appear to tarry. The
instruction here given is especially adapted to the experience
of Adventists at this time. The people here addressed were in
danger of making shipwreck of faith. They had done the will of
God in following the guidance of His Spirit and His word; yet
they could not understand His purpose in their past experience,
nor could they discern the pathway before them, and they were
tempted to doubt whether God had indeed been leading them. At
this time the words were applicable, “Now the just shall live by
faith.” As the bright light of the “midnight cry” had shone upon
their pathway, and they had seen the prophecies unsealed, and
the rapidly fulfilling signs telling that the coming of Christ was
near, they had walked, as it were, by sight. But now, bowed down
by disappointed hopes, they could stand only by faith in God and
in His word. The scoffing world were saying: “You have been
deceived. Give up your faith, and say that the Advent Movement
was of Satan.” But God’s word declared, “If any man draw back,
My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” To renounce their faith
now, and deny the power of the Holy Spirit which had attended
666 Heb. 10:35-39.
424 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
the message, would be drawing back toward perdition. They
were encouraged to steadfastness by the words of Paul, “Cast not
away therefore your confidence;” “ye have need of patience,”
“for yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will
not tarry.” Their only safe course was to cherish the light which
they had already received of God, hold fast to His promises, and
continue to search the Scriptures, and patiently wait and watch
to receive further light.

A Warning Rejected.

28 Jan

In preaching the doctrine of the second advent, William Miller
and his associates had labored with the sole purpose of arousing
men to a preparation for the judgment. They had sought to awaken
professors of religion to the true hope of the church, and to
their need of a deeper Christian experience; and they labored also
to awaken the unconverted to the duty of immediate repentance
and conversion to God. “They made no attempt to convert men
to a sect or party in religion. Hence they labored among all
parties and sects, without interfering with their organization or
discipline.”618
“In all my labors,” said Miller, “I never had the desire or
thought to establish any separate interest from that of existing
denominations, or to benefit one at the expense of another. I
thought to benefit all. Supposing that all Christians would rejoice
in the prospect of Christ’s coming, and that those who could
not see as I did would not love any the less those who should
embrace this doctrine, I did not conceive there would ever be any
necessity for separate meetings. My whole object was a desire to
convert souls to God, to notify the world of a coming judgment,
and to induce my fellow-men to make that preparation of heart
which will enable them to meet their God in peace. The great
majority of those who were converted under my labors united
618 Bliss, “Memoirs of Wm. Miller,” p. 328.
390 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
[376] with the various existing churches.”619
As his work tended to build up the churches, it was for a
time regarded with favor. But as ministers and religious leaders
decided against the advent doctrine, and desired to suppress all
agitation of the subject, they not only opposed it from the pulpit,
but denied their members the privilege of attending preaching
upon the second advent, or even of speaking of their hope in the
social meetings of the church. Thus the believers found themselves
in a position of great trial and perplexity. They loved their
churches, and were loath to separate from them; but as they saw
the testimony of God’s word suppressed, and their right to investigate
the prophecies denied, they felt that loyalty to God forbade
them to submit. Those who sought to shut out the testimony
of God’s word, they could not regard as constituting the church
of Christ, “the pillar and ground of the truth.” Hence they felt
themselves justified in separating from their former connection.
In the summer of 1844 about fifty thousand withdrew from the
churches.
About this time a marked change was apparent in most of the
churches throughout the United States. There had been for many
years a gradual but steadily increasing conformity to worldly
practices and customs, and a corresponding decline in real spiritual
life; but in that year there were evidences of a sudden and
marked declension in nearly all the churches of the land. While
none seemed able to suggest the cause, the fact itself was widely
noted and commented upon, by both the press and the pulpit.
At a meeting of the presbytery of Philadelphia, Mr. Barnes,
author of a commentary widely used, and pastor of one of the
leading churches in that city, “stated that he had been in the
ministry for twenty years, and never, till the last communion,
had he administered the ordinance without receiving more or
less into the church. But now there are no awakenings, no
619 Ibid.
21. A Warning Rejected. 391
conversions, not much apparent growth in grace in professors,
and none come to his study to converse about the salvation of
their souls. With the increase of business, and the brightening [377]
prospects of commerce and manufacture, there is an increase of
worldly-mindedness. Thus it is with all the denominations.”620
In the month of February of the same year, Professor Finney,
of Oberlin College, said: “We have had the fact before our minds,
that, in general, the Protestant churches of our country, as such,
were either apathetic or hostile to nearly all the moral reforms of
the age. There are partial exceptions, yet not enough to render the
fact otherwise than general. We have also another corroborated
fact: the almost universal absence of revival influence in the
churches. The spiritual apathy is almost all-pervading, and is
fearfully deep; so the religious press of the whole land testifies….
Very extensively, church-members are becoming devotees of
fashion,—join hands with the ungodly in parties of pleasure, in
dancing, in festivities, etc…. But we need not expand this painful
subject. Suffice it that the evidence thickens and rolls heavily
upon us, to show that the churches generally are becoming sadly
degenerate. They have gone very far from the Lord, and He has
withdrawn Himself from them.”
And a writer in the Religious Telescope testified: “We have
never witnessed such a general declension of religion as at the
present. Truly, the church should awake, and search into the
cause of this affliction; for as an affliction every one that loves
Zion must view it. When we call to mind how ‘few and far between’
cases of true conversion are, and the almost unparalleled
impertinence and hardness of sinners, we almost involuntarily
exclaim, ‘Has God forgotten to be gracious? or, Is the door of
mercy closed?’ ”
Such a condition never exists without cause in the church
itself. The spiritual darkness which falls upon nations, upon
620 Congregational Journal, May 23, 1844.
392 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
churches and individuals, is due, not to an arbitrary withdrawal
of the succors of divine grace on the part of God, but to neglect or
[378] rejection of divine light on the part ofmen. A striking illustration
of this truth is presented in the history of the Jewish people in the
time of Christ. By their devotion to the world and forgetfulness
of God and His word, their understanding had become darkened,
their hearts earthly and sensual. Thus they were in ignorance
concerning Messiah’s advent, and in their pride and unbelief they
rejected the Redeemer. God did not even then cut off the Jewish
nation from a knowledge of, or a participation in, the blessings
of salvation. But those who rejected the truth lost all desire for
the gift of Heaven. They had “put darkness for light, and light for
darkness,” until the light which was in them became darkness;
and how great was that darkness!
It suits the policy of Satan, that men should retain the forms
of religion, if but the spirit of vital godliness is lacking. After
their rejection of the gospel, the Jews continued zealously to
maintain their ancient rites, they rigorously preserved their national
exclusiveness, while they themselves could not but admit
that the presence of God was no longer manifest among them.
The prophecy of Daniel pointed so unmistakably to the time of
Messiah’s coming, and so directly foretold His death, that they
discouraged its study, and finally the rabbis pronounced a curse
on all who should attempt a computation of the time. In blindness
and impenitence, the people of Israel for eighteen hundred
years have stood, indifferent to the gracious offers of salvation,
unmindful of the blessings of the gospel, a solemn and fearful
warning of the danger of rejecting light from heaven.
Wherever the cause exists, the same results will follow. He
who deliberately stifles his convictions of duty because it interferes
with his inclinations, will finally lose the power to
distinguish between truth and error. The understanding becomes
darkened, the conscience callous, the heart hardened, and the
soul is separated from God. Where the message of divine truth
21. A Warning Rejected. 393
is spurned or slighted, there the church will be enshrouded in
darkness; faith and love grow cold, and estrangement and [379]
dissension enter. Church-members center their interests and energies
in worldly pursuits, and sinners become hardened in their
impenitence.
The first angel’s message of Revelation 14, announcing the
hour of God’s judgment, and calling upon men to fear and worship
Him, was designed to separate the professed people of God
from the corrupting influences of the world, and to arouse them
to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding. In this
message, God had sent to the church a warning, which, had it
been accepted, would have corrected the evils that were shutting
them away from Him. Had they received the message from
heaven, humbling their hearts before the Lord, and seeking in
sincerity a preparation to stand in His presence, the Spirit and
power of God would have been manifested among them. The
church would again have reached that blessed state of unity, faith,
and love, which existed in apostolic days, when the believers
“were of one heart and of one soul,” and “spake the word of God
with boldness,” when “the Lord added to the church daily such
as should be saved.”621
If God’s professed people would receive the light as it shines
upon them from His word, they would reach that unity for which
Christ prayed, that which the apostle describes, “the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace.” “There is,” he says, “one body, and
one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one
Lord, one faith, one baptism.”622
Such were the blessed results experienced by those who
accepted the advent message. They came from different denominations,
and their denominational barriers were hurled to the
ground; conflicting creeds were shivered to atoms; the unscriptural
hope of a temporal millennium was abandoned, false views
621 Acts 4:32, 31; 2:47.
622 Eph. 4:3-5.
394 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
of the second advent were corrected, pride and conformity to
the world were swept away; wrongs were made right; hearts
were united in the sweetest fellowship, and love and joy reigned
[380] supreme. If this doctrine did this for the few who did receive it,
it would have done the same for all, if all had received it.
But the churches generally did not accept the warning. Their
ministers, who, as “watchmen unto the house of Israel,” should
have been the first to discern the tokens of Jesus’ coming, had
failed to learn the truth, either from the testimony of the prophets
or from the signs of the times. As worldly hopes and ambitions
filled the heart, love for God and faith in His word had grown
cold; and when the advent doctrine was presented, it only aroused
their prejudice and unbelief. The fact that the message was, to
a great extent, preached by laymen, was urged as an argument
against it. As of old, the plain testimony of God’s word was
met with the inquiry, “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees
believed?” And finding how difficult a task it was to refute the
arguments drawn from the prophetic periods, many discouraged
the study of the prophecies, teaching that the prophetic books
were sealed, and were not to be understood. Multitudes, trusting
implicitly to their pastors, refused to listen to the warning; and
others, though convinced of the truth, dared not confess it, lest
they should be “put out of the synagogue.” The message which
God had sent for the testing and purification of the church, revealed
all too surely how great was the number who had set their
affections on this world rather than upon Christ. The ties which
bound them to earth were stronger than the attractions heavenward.
They chose to listen to the voice of worldly wisdom, and
turned away from the heart-searching message of truth.
In refusing the warning of the first angel, they rejected the
means which Heaven had provided for their restoration. They
spurned the gracious messenger that would have corrected the
evils which separated them from God, and with greater eagerness
they turned to seek the friendship of the world. Here was the
21. A Warning Rejected. 395
cause of that fearful condition of worldliness, backsliding, and
spiritual death which existed in the churches in 1844. [381]
In Revelation 14, the first angel is followed by a second,
proclaiming, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because
she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her
fornication.”623 The term “Babylon” is derived from “Babel,”
and signifies confusion. It is employed in Scripture to designate
the various forms of false or apostate religion. In Revelation
17, Babylon is represented as a woman,—a figure which is
used in the Bible as the symbol of a church, a virtuous woman
representing a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church.
In the Bible the sacred and enduring character of the relation
that exists between Christ and His church is represented by the
union of marriage. The Lord has joined His people to Himself
by a solemn covenant, He promising to be their God, and they
pledging themselves to be His, and His alone. He declares, “I
will betroth thee unto Me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto
Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness,
and in mercies.”624 And again, “I am married unto you.”625 And
Paul employs the same figure in the New Testament when he
says, “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present
you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”626
The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her
confidence and affection to be turned from Him, and allowing
the love of worldly things to occupy the soul, is likened to the
violation of the marriage vow. The sin of Israel in departing
from the Lord is presented under this figure; and the wonderful
love of God which they thus despised is touchingly portrayed: “I
sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the
Lord God, and thou becamest Mine.” “And thou wast exceeding
623 Rev. 14:8.
624 Hosea 2:19.
625 Jer. 3:14.
626 2 Cor. 11:2.
396 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown
went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect
through My comeliness, which I had put upon thee…. But thou
didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because
[382] of thy renown.” “As a wife treacherously departeth from her
husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with Me, O house of
Israel, saith the Lord;” “as a wife that committeth adultery, which
taketh strangers instead of her husband.”627
In the New Testament, language very similar is addressed to
professed Christians who seek the friendship of the world above
the favor of God. Says the apostle James: “Ye adulterers and
adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is
enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the
world is the enemy of God.”
The woman (Babylon) of Revelation 17, is described as “arrayed
in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and
precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand
full of abominations and filthiness: … and upon her forehead
was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother
of harlots.” Says the prophet, “I saw the woman drunken with
the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of
Jesus.” Babylon is further declared to be “that great city, which
reigneth over the kings of the earth.”628 The power that for so
many centuries maintained despotic sway over the monarchs of
Christendom, is Rome. The purple and scarlet color, the gold
and precious stones and pearls, vividly picture the magnificence
and more than kingly pomp affected by the haughty see of Rome.
And no other power could be so truly declared “drunken with
the blood of the saints” as that church which has so cruelly
persecuted the followers of Christ. Babylon is also charged with
the sin of unlawful connection with “the kings of the earth.” It
was by departure from the Lord, and alliance with the heathen,
627 Eze. 16:8, 13-15, 32; Jer. 3:20.
628 Rev. 17:4-6, 18.
21. A Warning Rejected. 397
that the Jewish church became a harlot; and Rome, corrupting
herself in like manner by seeking the support of worldly powers,
receives a like condemnation.
Babylon is said to be “the mother of harlots.” By her daughters
must be symbolized churches that cling to her doctrines and
traditions, and follow her example of sacrificing the truth and [383]
the approval of God, in order to form an unlawful alliance with
the world. The message of Revelation 14, announcing the fall of
Babylon, must apply to religious bodies that were once pure and
have become corrupt. Since this message follows the warning
of the judgment, it must be given in the last days; therefore it
cannot refer to the Roman Church alone, for that church has
been in a fallen condition for many centuries. Furthermore, in the
eighteenth chapter of the Revelation, the people of God are called
upon to come out of Babylon. According to this scripture, many
of God’s people must still be in Babylon. And in what religious
bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be
found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the
Protestant faith. At the time of their rise, these churches took
a noble stand for God and the truth, and His blessing was with
them. Even the unbelieving world was constrained to acknowledge
the beneficent results that followed an acceptance of the
principles of the gospel. In the words of the prophet to Israel,
“Thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for
it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon
thee, saith the Lord God.”629 But they fell by the same desire
which was the curse and ruin of Israel,—the desire of imitating
the practices and courting the friendship of the ungodly. “Thou
didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because
of thy renown.”630
Many of the Protestant churches are following Rome’s example
of iniquitous connection with “the kings of the earth”—the
629 Eze. 16:14, 15.
630 Ibid.
398 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
state churches, by their relation to secular governments; and
other denominations, by seeking the favor of the world. And
the term “Babylon”—confusion—may be appropriately applied
to these bodies, all professing to derive their doctrines from the
Bible, yet divided into almost innumerable sects, with widely
conflicting creeds and theories.
Besides a sinful union with the world, the churches that sep-
[384] arated from Rome present other of her characteristics. A
Roman Catholic work argues that “if the Church of Rome were
ever guilty of idolatry in relation to the saints, her daughter, the
Church of England, stands guilty of the same, which has ten
churches dedicated to Mary for one dedicated to Christ.”631
And Dr. Hopkins, in “A Treatise on the Millennium,” declares:
“There is no reason to consider the antichristian spirit and
practices to be confined to that which is now called the Church of
Rome. The Protestant churches have much of antichrist in them,
and are far from being wholly reformed from … corruptions and
wickedness.”632
Concerning the separation of the Presbyterian Church from
Rome, Dr. Guthrie writes: “Three hundred years ago, our church,
with an open Bible on her banner, and this motto, ‘Search the
Scriptures,’ on her scroll, marched out from the gates of Rome.”
Then he asks the significant question, “Did they come clean out
of Babylon?”633
“The Church of England,” says Spurgeon, “seems to be eaten
through and through with sacramentarianism; but non-conformity
appears to be almost as badly riddled with philosophical
infidelity. Those of whom we thought better things are turning
aside one by one from the fundamentals of the faith. Through
and through, I believe, the very heart of England is honeycombed
631 Dr. Challoner, “The Catholic Christian Instructed,” Preface, pp. 21, 22 (ed.
1897).
632 Hopkins, Samuel, “Works,” Vol. II, p. 328 (ed. 1854).
633 Guthrie, John, “The Gospel in Ezekiel,” p. 237 (Edinburgh ed. 1857).
21. A Warning Rejected. 399
with a damnable infidelity which dares still go into the pulpit and
call itself Christian.”
What was the origin of the great apostasy? How did the church
first depart from the simplicity of the gospel? By conforming to
the practices of paganism, to facilitate the acceptance of Christianity
by the heathen. The apostle Paul declared, even in his day,
“The mystery of iniquity doth already work.”634 During the lives
of the apostles the church remained comparatively pure. But
“toward the latter end of the second century most of the churches
assumed a new form; the first simplicity disappeared, and insensibly,
as the old disciples retired to their graves, their children, [385]
along with new converts, … came forward and new-modeled
the cause.”635 To secure converts, the exalted standard of the
Christian faith was lowered, and as the result “a pagan flood,
flowing into the church, carried with it its customs, practices, and
idols.”636 As the Christian religion secured the favor and support
of secular rulers, it was nominally accepted by multitudes; but
while in appearance Christians, many “remained in substance
pagans, especially worshiping in secret their idols.”637
Has not the same process been repeated in nearly every church
calling itself Protestant? As its founders, those who possessed the
true spirit of reform, pass away, their descendants come forward
and “new-model the cause.” While blindly clinging to the creed
of their fathers and refusing to accept any truth in advance of
what they saw, the children of the reformers depart widely from
their example of humility, self-denial, and renunciation of the
world. Thus “the first simplicity disappears.” A worldly flood,
flowing into the church, “carries with it its customs, practices,
and idols.”
634 2 Thess. 2:7.
635 Robinson, Robert, “Ecclesiastical Researches,” ch. 6, par. 17 (ed. 1792, p.
51).
636 Gavezzi’s Lectures, p. 278 (ed. 1854).
637 Ibid.
400 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
Alas, to what a fearful extent is that friendship of the world
which is “enmity with God,” now cherished among the professed
followers of Christ! How widely have the popular churches
throughout Christendom departed from the Bible standard of humility,
self-denial, simplicity, and godliness! Said John Wesley,
in speaking of the right use of money: “Do not waste any part
of so precious a talent, merely in gratifying the desire of the
eye, by superfluous or expensive apparel, or by needless ornaments.
Waste no part of it in curiously adorning your houses; in
superfluous or expensive furniture; in costly pictures, painting,
gilding…. Lay out nothing to gratify the pride of life, to gain the
admiration or praise of men…. ‘So long as thou doest well unto
thyself, men will speak good of thee.’ So long as thou art ‘clothed
in purple and fine linen, and farest sumptuously every day,’ no
[386] doubt many will applaud thy elegance of taste, thy generosity
and hospitality. But do not buy their applause so dear. Rather be
content with the honor that cometh from God.”638 But in many
churches of our time, such teaching is disregarded.
A profession of religion has become popular with the world.
Rulers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, merchants, join the church
as a means of securing the respect and confidence of society, and
advancing their own worldly interests. Thus they seek to cover
all their unrighteous transactions under a profession of Christianity.
The various religious bodies, re-enforced by the wealth and
influence of these baptized worldlings, make a still higher bid for
popularity and patronage. Splendid churches, embellished in the
most extravagant manner, are erected on popular avenues. The
worshipers array themselves in costly and fashionable attire. A
high salary is paid for a talented minister to entertain and attract
the people. His sermons must not touch popular sins, but be
made smooth and pleasing for fashionable ears. Thus fashionable
sinners are enrolled on the church-records, and fashionable sins
638 Wesley’s Works, Sermon 50, “The Use of Money.”
21. A Warning Rejected. 401
are concealed under a pretense of godliness.
Commenting on the present attitude of professed Christians
toward the world, a leading secular journal says: “Insensibly
the church has yielded to the spirit of the age, and adapted its
forms of worship to modern wants.” “All things, indeed, that
help to make religion attractive, the church now employs as its
instruments.” And a writer in the New York Independent speaks
thus concerning Methodism as it is: “The line of separation
between the godly and the irreligious fades out into a kind of
penumbra, and zealous men on both sides are toiling to obliterate
all difference between their modes of action and enjoyment.”
“The popularity of religion tends vastly to increase the number
of those who would secure its benefits without squarely meeting
its duties.” [387]
Says Howard Crosby: “It is a matter of deep concern that we
find Christ’s church so little fulfilling the designs of its Lord. Just
as the ancient Jews let a familiar intercourse with the idolatrous
nations steal away their hearts from God, … so the church of
Jesus now is, by its false partnerships with an unbelieving world,
giving up the divine methods of its true life, and yielding itself
to the pernicious, though often plausible, habits of a Christless
society, using the arguments and reaching the conclusions which
are foreign to the revelation of God, and directly antagonistic to
all growth in grace.”639
In this tide of worldliness and pleasure-seeking, self-denial
and self-sacrifice for Christ’s sake are almost wholly lost. “Some
of the men and women now in active life in our churches were
educated, when children, to make sacrifices in order to be able
to give or do something for Christ.” But “if funds are wanted
now, … nobody must be called on to give. Oh, no! have a
fair, tableaux, mock trial, antiquarian supper, or something to
eat—anything to amuse the people.”
639 “The Healthy Christian: An Appeal to the Church,” pp. 141, 142 (ed. 1871).
402 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
Governor Washburn, of Wisconsin, in his annual message,
Jan. 9, 1873, declared: “Some law seems to be required to break
up the schools where gamblers are made. These are everywhere.
Even the church (unwittingly, no doubt) is sometimes found
doing the work of the devil. Gift concerts, gift enterprises and
raffles, sometimes in aid of religious or charitable objects, but
often for less worthy purposes, lotteries, prize packages, etc.,
are all devices to obtain money without value received. Nothing
is so demoralizing or intoxicating, particularly to the young, as
the acquisition of money or property without labor. Respectable
people engaging in these chance enterprises, and easing their
consciences with the reflection that the money is to go to a good
object, it is not strange that the youth of the State should so often
fall into the habits which the excitement of games of hazard is
[388] almost certain to engender.”
The spirit of worldly conformity is invading the churches
throughout Christendom. Robert Atkins, in a sermon preached
in London, draws a dark picture of the spiritual declension that
prevails in England: “The truly righteous are diminished from
the earth, and no man layeth it to heart. The professors of religion
of the present day, in every church, are lovers of the world,
conformers to the world, lovers of creature comfort, and aspirers
after respectability. They are called to suffer with Christ, but
they shrink from even reproach…. apostasy, apostasy, apostasy,
is engraven on the very front of every church; and did they know
it, and did they feel it, there might be hope; but, alas! they
cry, ‘We are rich, and increased in goods, and stand in need of
nothing.’ ”640
The great sin charged against Babylon is, that she “made all
nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” This
cup of intoxication which she presents to the world, represents
the false doctrines that she has accepted as the result of her
640 Second Advent Library, Tract No. 39.
21. A Warning Rejected. 403
unlawful connection with the great ones of the earth. Friendship
with the world corrupts her faith, and in her turn she exerts a
corrupting influence upon the world by teaching doctrines which
are opposed to the plainest statements of Holy Writ.
Rome withheld the Bible from the people, and required all
men to accept her teachings in its place. It was the work of the
Reformation to restore to men the word of God; but is it not too
true that in the churches of our time men are taught to rest their
faith upon their creed and the teachings of their church rather
than on the Scriptures? Said Charles Beecher, speaking of the
Protestant churches: “They shrink from any rude word against
creeds with the same sensitiveness with which those holy fathers
would have shrunk from a rude word against the rising veneration
of saints and martyrs which they were fostering…. The Protestant
evangelical denominations have so tied up one another’s hands,
and their own, that, between them all, a man cannot become a
preacher at all, anywhere, without accepting some book besides [389]
the Bible…. There is nothing imaginary in the statement that the
creed power is now beginning to prohibit the Bible as really as
Rome did, though in a subtler way.”641
When faithful teachers expound the word of God, there arise
men of learning, ministers professing to understand the Scriptures,
who denounce sound doctrine as heresy, and thus turn
away inquirers after truth. Were it not that the world is hopelessly
intoxicated with the wine of Babylon, multitudes would be
convicted and converted by the plain, cutting truths of the word
of God. But religious faith appears so confused and discordant,
that the people know not what to believe as truth. The sin of the
world’s impenitence lies at the door of the church.
The second angel’s message of Revelation 14 was first
preached in the summer of 1844, and it then had a more direct
application to the churches of the United States, where the
641 Sermon on “The Bible a Sufficient Creed,” delivered at Fort Wayne, Ind.,
Feb. 22, 1846.
404 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
warning of the judgment had been most widely proclaimed and
most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches
had been most rapid. But the message of the second angel did
not reach its complete fulfilment in 1844. The churches then
experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the
light of the advent message; but that fall was not complete. As
they have continued to reject the special truths for this time, they
have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however, can it be said that
“Babylon is fallen, … because she made all nations drink of the
wine of the wrath of her fornication.” She has not yet made all
nations do this. The spirit of world-conforming and indifference
to the testing truths for our time, exists and has been gaining
ground in churches of the Protestant faith in all the countries
of Christendom; and these churches are included in the solemn
and terrible denunciation of the second angel. But the work of
apostasy has not yet reached its culmination.
The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord, Satan
[390] will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with
all deceivableness of unrighteousness;” and they that “received
not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” will be left
to receive “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”642
Not until this condition shall be reached, and the union of the
church with the world shall be fully accomplished throughout
Christendom, will the fall of Babylon be complete. The change
is a progressive one, and the perfect fulfilment of Rev. 14:8 is
yet future.
Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from
God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the
great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their
communion. There are many of these who have never seen the
special truths for this time. Not a few are dissatisfied with their
present condition, and are longing for clearer light. They look
642 2 Thess. 2:9-11.
22. Prophecies Fulfilled. 405
in vain for the image of Christ in the churches with which they
are connected. As these bodies depart farther and farther from
the truth, and ally themselves more closely with the world, the
difference between the two classes will widen, and it will finally
result in separation. The time will come when those who love
God supremely can no longer remain in connection with such as
are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form
of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting
the threefold warning of Rev. 14:6-12, the church will have fully
reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people
of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from
her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given
to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that
“believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness,”643
shall be left to receive strong delusion and to believe a lie, then
the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to
receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon
will heed the call, “Come out of her, My people.”644

A Great Religious Awakening.

27 Jan

A great religious awakening under the proclamation of Christ’s
soon coming, is foretold in the prophecy of the first angel’s message
of Revelation 14. An angel is seen flying “in the midst of
heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that
dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue,
and people.” “With a loud voice” he proclaims the message,
“Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment
20. A Great Religious Awakening. 369
is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the
sea, and the fountains of waters.”590
The fact that an angel is said to be the herald of this warning,
is significant. By the purity, the glory, and the power of the heavenly
messenger, divine wisdom has been pleased to represent the
exalted character of the work to be accomplished by the message,
and the power and glory that were to attend it. And the angel’s
flight “in the midst of heaven,” the “loud voice” with which
the warning is uttered, and its promulgation to all “that dwell
on the earth,”—“to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and
people,”—give evidence of the rapidity and world-wide extent
of the movement.
The message itself sheds light as to the time when this movement
is to take place. It is declared to be a part of the “everlasting
gospel;” and it announces the opening of the judgment. The [356]
message of salvation has been preached in all ages; but this
message is a part of the gospel which could be proclaimed only
in the last days, for only then would it be true that the hour
of judgment had come. The prophecies present a succession
of events leading down to the opening of the judgment. This
is especially true of the book of Daniel. But that part of his
prophecy which related to the last days, Daniel was bidden to
close up and seal “to the time of the end.” Not till we reach this
time could a message concerning the judgment be proclaimed,
based on a fulfilment of these prophecies. But at the time of the
end, says the prophet, “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge
shall be increased.”591
The apostle Paul warned the church not to look for the coming
of Christ in his day. “That day shall not come,” he says,
“except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be
revealed.”592 Not till after the great apostasy, and the long period
590 Rev. 14:6, 7.
591 Dan. 12:4.
592 2 Thess. 2:3.
370 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
of the reign of the “man of sin,” can we look for the advent of
our Lord. The “man of sin,” which is also styled the “mystery of
iniquity,” the “son of perdition,” and “that wicked,” represents
the papacy, which, as foretold in prophecy, was to maintain its
supremacy for 1260 years. This period ended in 1798. The
coming of Christ could not take place before that time. Paul
covers with his caution the whole of the Christian dispensation
down to the year 1798. It is this side of that time that the message
of Christ’s second coming is to be proclaimed.
No such message has ever been given in past ages. Paul, as we
have seen, did not preach it; he pointed his brethren into the then
far-distant future for the coming of the Lord. The Reformers did
not proclaim it. Martin Luther placed the judgment about three
hundred years in the future from his day. But since 1798 the
book of Daniel has been unsealed, knowledge of the prophecies
has increased, and many have proclaimed the solemn message of
[357] the judgment near.
Like the great Reformation of the sixteenth century, the Advent
Movement appeared in different countries of Christendom
at the same time. In both Europe and America, men of faith and
prayer were led to the study of the prophecies, and tracing down
the inspired record, they saw convincing evidence that the end
of all things was at hand. In different lands there were isolated
bodies of Christians who, solely by the study of the Scriptures,
arrived at the belief that the Saviour’s advent was near.
In 1821, three years after Miller had arrived at his exposition
of the prophecies pointing to the time of the judgment, Dr.
Joseph Wolff, “the missionary to the world,” began to proclaim
the Lord’s soon coming. Wolff was born in Germany, of Hebrew
parentage, his father being a Jewish rabbi. While very young, he
was convinced of the truth of the Christian religion. Of an active,
inquiring mind, he had been an eager listener to the conversations
that took place in his father’s house, as devout Hebrews daily
assembled to recount the hopes and anticipations of their people,
20. A Great Religious Awakening. 371
the glory of the coming Messiah, and the restoration of Israel.
One day hearing Jesus of Nazareth mentioned, the boy inquired
who He was. “A Jew of the greatest talent,” was the answer; “but
as He pretended to be the Messiah, the Jewish tribunal sentenced
Him to death.” “Why,” rejoined the questioner, “is Jerusalem destroyed,
and why are we in captivity?” “Alas, alas!” answered his
father, “because the Jews murdered the prophets.” The thought
was at once suggested to the child, “Perhaps Jesus was also a
prophet, and the Jews killed Him when He was innocent.”593 So
strong was this feeling, that though forbidden to enter a Christian
church, he would often linger outside to listen to the preaching.
When only seven years old, he was boasting to an aged Christian
neighbor of the future triumph of Israel at the advent of the
Messiah, when the old man said kindly, “Dear boy, I will tell you
who the real Messiah was: He was Jesus of Nazareth, … whom [358]
your ancestors have crucified, as they did the prophets of old. Go
home and read the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, and you will be
convinced that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”594 Conviction at
once fastened upon him. He went home and read the scripture,
wondering to see how perfectly it had been fulfilled in Jesus of
Nazareth. Were the words of the Christian true? The boy asked
of his father an explanation of the prophecy, but was met with a
silence so stern that he never again dared to refer to the subject.
This, however, only increased his desire to know more of the
Christian religion.
The knowledge he sought was studiously kept from him in
his Jewish home; but when only eleven years old, he left his
father’s house, and went out into the world to gain for himself an
education, to choose his religion and his life-work. He found a
home for a time with kinsmen, but was soon driven from them
as an apostate, and alone and penniless he had to make his own
way among strangers. He went from place to place, studying dili-
593 “Travels and Adventures of the Rev. Joseph Wolff.” Vol. I, p. 6 (ed. 1860).
594 “Travels and Adventures of the Rev. Joseph Wolff,” Vol. I, p. 7.
372 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
gently, and maintaining himself by teaching Hebrew. Through
the influence of a Catholic instructor, he was led to accept the
Romish faith, and formed the purpose of becoming a missionary
to his own people. With this object he went, a few years later,
to pursue his studies in the College of the Propaganda at Rome.
Here his habit of independent thought and candid speech brought
upon him the imputation of heresy. He openly attacked the abuses
of the church, and urged the necessity of reform. Though at first
treated with special favor by the papal dignitaries, he was after a
time removed from Rome. Under the surveillance of the church
he went from place to place, until it became evident that he could
never be brought to submit to the bondage of Romanism. He was
declared to be incorrigible, and was left at liberty to go where
he pleased. He now made his way to England, and professing
the Protestant faith, united with the English Church. After two
[359] years’ study he set out, in 1821, upon his mission. While Wolff
accepted the great truth of Christ’s first advent as “a man of
sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” he saw that the prophecies
bring to view with equal clearness His second advent with power
and glory. And while he sought to lead his people to Jesus of
Nazareth as the Promised One, and to point them to His first
coming in humiliation as a sacrifice for the sins of men, he taught
them also of His second coming as a king and deliverer.
“Jesus of Nazareth, the true Messiah,” he said, “whose hands
and feet were pierced, who was brought like a lamb to the slaughter,
who was the Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, who
after the scepter was taken from Judah, and the legislative power
from between his feet, came the first time; shall come the
second time in the clouds of heaven, and with the trump of the
Archangel,”595 “and shall stand upon the Mount of Olives; and
that dominion, once consigned to Adam over the creation, and
forfeited by him (Gen. 1:26; 3:17), shall be given to Jesus. He
595 Wolff, “Researches and Missionary Labors,” p. 62 (ed. 1835).
20. A Great Religious Awakening. 373
shall be king over all the earth. The groanings and lamentations
of the creation shall cease, but songs of praises and thanksgivings
shall be heard…. When Jesus comes in the glory of His Father,
with the holy angels, … the dead believers shall rise first. 1 Thess.
4:16; 1 Cor. 15: 23. This is what we Christians call the first
resurrection. Then the animal kingdom shall change its nature
(Isa. 11:6-9), and be subdued unto Jesus. Psalm 8. Universal
peace shall prevail.”596 “The Lord again shall look down upon
the earth, and say, ‘Behold, it is very good.’ ”597
Wolff believed the coming of the Lord to be at hand, his
interpretation of the prophetic periods placing the great consummation
within a very few years of the time pointed out by Miller.
To those who urged from the scripture, “Of that day and hour
knoweth no man,” that men are to know nothing concerning the
nearness of the advent, Wolff replied: “Did our Lord say that that
day and hour should never be known? Did He not give us signs
of the times, in order that we may know at least the approach [360]
of His coming, as one knows the approach of the summer by
the fig-tree putting forth its leaves? Matt. 24:32. Are we never
to know that period, whilst He Himself exhorteth us not only to
read Daniel the prophet, but to understand it? and in that very
Daniel, where it is said that the words were shut up to the time
of the end (which was the case in his time), and that ‘many shall
run to and fro’ (a Hebrew expression for observing and thinking
upon the time), ‘and knowledge’ (regarding that time) ‘shall be
increased.’ Dan. 12:4. Besides this, our Lord does not intend to
say by this, that the approach of the time shall not be known,
but that the exact ‘day and hour knoweth no man.’ Enough, He
does say, shall be known by the signs of the times, to induce us
to prepare for His coming, as Noah prepared the ark.”598
Concerning the popular system of interpreting, or misinter-
596 “Journal of the Rev. Joseph Wolff,” pp. 378, 379 (ed. 1839).
597 Idem, p. 294.
598 Wolff, “Researches and Missionary Labors,” pp. 404, 405.
374 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
preting, the Scriptures, Wolff wrote: “The greater part of the
Christian church have swerved from the plain sense of Scripture,
and have turned to the phantomizing system of the Buddhists,
who believe that the future happiness of mankind will consist
in moving about in the air, and suppose that when they are
reading Jews, they must understand Gentiles; and when they
read Jerusalem, they must understand the church; and if it is
said earth, it means sky; and for the coming of the Lord they
must understand the progress of the missionary societies; and
going up to the mountain of the Lord’s house, signifies a grand
class-meeting of Methodists.”599
During the twenty-four years from 1821 to 1845, Wolff traveled
extensively: in Africa, visiting Egypt and Abyssinia; in
Asia, traversing Palestine, Syria, Persia, Bokhara, and India. He
also visited the United States, on the journey thither preaching
on the island of St. Helena. He arrived in New York in August,
1837; and after speaking in that city, he preached in Philadelphia
and Baltimore, and finally proceeded to Washington. Here, he
says, “on a motion brought forward by the ex-president, John
[361] Quincy Adams, in one of the houses of Congress, the House
unanimously granted to me the use of the Congress Hall for
a lecture, which I delivered on a Saturday, honored with the
presence of all the members of Congress, and also of the bishop
of Virginia, and of the clergy and citizens of Washington. The
same honor was granted to me by the members of the government
of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, in whose presence I delivered
lectures on my researches in Asia, and also on the personal reign
of Jesus Christ.”600
Dr. Wolff traveled in the most barbarous countries, without
the protection of any European authority, enduring many hardships,
and surrounded with countless perils. He was bastinadoed
and starved, sold as a slave, and three times condemned to death.
599 “Journal of the Rev. Joseph Wolff,” p. 96.
600 “Journal of the Rev. Joseph Wolff,” pp. 398, 399.
20. A Great Religious Awakening. 375
He was beset by robbers, and sometimes nearly perished from
thirst. Once he was stripped of all that he possessed, and left to
travel hundreds of miles on foot through the mountains, the snow
beating in his face, and his naked feet benumbed by contact with
the frozen ground.
When warned against going unarmed among savage and hostile
tribes, he declared himself “provided with arms,”—“prayer,
zeal for Christ, and confidence in His help.” “I am also,” he said,
“provided with the love of God and my neighbor in my heart, and
the Bible is in my hand.”601 The Bible in Hebrew and English he
carried with him wherever he went. Of one of his later journeys
he says, “I … kept the Bible open in my hand. I felt my power
was in the book, and that its might would sustain me.”602
Thus he persevered in his labors until the message of the
judgment had been carried to a large part of the habitable globe.
Among Jews, Turks, Parsees, Hindoos, and many other nationalities
and races, he distributed the word of God in these various
tongues, and everywhere heralded the approaching reign of the
Messiah.
In his travels in Bokhara he found the doctrine of the Lord’s
soon coming held by a remote and isolated people. The Arabs [362]
of Yemen, he says, “are in possession of a book called ‘Seera,’
which gives notice of the second coming of Christ and His reign
in glory; and they expect great events to take place in the year
1840.”603 “In Yemen … I spent six days with the children of
Rechab. They drink no wine, plant no vineyard, sow no seed,
and live in tents, and remember good old Jonadab, the son of
Rechab; and I found in their company children of Israel, of the
tribe of Dan, … who expect, with the children of Rechab, the
speedy arrival of the Messiah in the clouds of heaven.”604
601 Adams, W. H. D., “In Perils Oft,” p. 192.
602 Idem, p. 201.
603 “Journal of the Rev. Joseph Wolff,” p. 377.
604 Idem, p. 389.
376 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
A similar belief was found by another missionary to exist in
Tartary. A Tartar priest put the question to the missionary, as to
when Christ would come the second time. When the missionary
answered that he knew nothing about it, the priest seemed greatly
surprised at such ignorance in one who professed to be a Bible
teacher, and stated his own belief, founded on prophecy, that
Christ would come about 1844.
As early as 1826 the advent message began to be preached in
England. The movement here did not take so definite a form as in
America; the exact time of the advent was not so generally taught,
but the great truth of Christ’s soon coming in power and glory was
extensively proclaimed. And this not among the dissenters and
non-conformists only. Mourant Brock, an English writer, states
that about seven hundred ministers of the Church of England
were engaged in preaching this “gospel of the kingdom.” The
message pointing to 1844 as the time of the Lord’s coming was
also given in Great Britain. Advent publications from the United
States were widely circulated. Books and journals were republished
in England. And in 1842, Robert Winter, an Englishman
by birth, who had received the advent faith in America, returned
to his native country to herald the coming of the Lord. Many
united with him in the work, and the message of the judgment
[363] was proclaimed in various parts of England.
In South America, in the midst of barbarism and priestcraft,
Lacunza, a Spaniard and a Jesuit, found his way to the Scriptures,
and thus received the truth of Christ’s speedy return. Impelled to
give the warning, yet desiring to escape the censures of Rome,
he published his views under the assumed name of “Rabbi Ben-
Israel,” representing himself as a converted Jew. Lacunza lived
in the eighteenth century, but it was about 1825 that his book,
having found its way to London, was translated into the English
language. Its publication served to deepen the interest already
awakening in England in the subject of the second advent.
In Germany the doctrine had been taught in the eighteenth
20. A Great Religious Awakening. 377
century by Bengel, a minister in the Lutheran Church, and a
celebrated biblical scholar and critic. Upon completing his education,
Bengel had “devoted himself to the study of theology,
to which the grave and religious tone of his mind, deepened
and strengthened by his early training and discipline, naturally
inclined him. Like other young men of thoughtful character,
before and since, he had to struggle with doubts and difficulties
of a religious nature, and he alludes, with much feeling, to the
‘many arrows which pierced his poor heart, and made his youth
hard to bear.’ ”605 Becoming a member of the consistory of
Würtemberg, he advocated the cause of religious liberty. “While
maintaining the rights and privileges of the church, he was an
advocate for all reasonable freedom being accorded to those who
felt themselves bound, on grounds of conscience, to withdraw
from her communion.”606 The good effects of this policy are still
felt in his native province.
It was while preparing a sermon from Revelation 21 for “Advent
Sunday” that the light of Christ’s second coming broke in
upon Bengel’s mind. The prophecies of the Revelation unfolded
to his understanding as never before. Overwhelmed with a sense
of the stupendous importance and surpassing glory of the scenes
presented by the prophet, he was forced to turn for a time from
the contemplation of the subject. In the pulpit it again presented [364]
itself to him with all its vividness and power. From that time he
devoted himself to the study of the prophecies, especially those
of the Apocalypse, and soon arrived at the belief that they pointed
to the coming of Christ as near. The date which he fixed upon as
the time of the second advent was within a very few years of that
afterward held by Miller.
Bengel’s writings have been spread throughout Christendom.
His views of prophecy were quite generally received in his own
state of Würtemberg, and to some extent in other parts of Ger-
605 Encyclopædia Britannica, art. Bengel (ninth edition).
606 Ibid.
378 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
many. The movement continued after his death, and the advent
message was heard in Germany at the same time that it was
attracting attention in other lands. At an early date some of the
believers went to Russia, and there formed colonies, and the faith
of Christ’s soon coming is still held by the German churches of
that country.
The light shone also in France and Switzerland. At Geneva,
where Farel and Calvin had spread the truths of the Reformation,
Gaussen preached the message of the second advent. While a student
at school, Gaussen had encountered that spirit of rationalism
which pervaded all Europe during the latter part of the eighteenth
and the opening of the nineteenth century; and when he entered
the ministry he was not only ignorant of true faith, but inclined to
skepticism. In his youth he had become interested in the study of
prophecy. After reading Rollin’s “Ancient History,” his attention
was called to the second chapter of Daniel, and he was struck
with the wonderful exactness with which the prophecy had been
fulfilled, as seen in the historian’s record. Here was a testimony
to the inspiration of the Scriptures, which served as an anchor
to him amid the perils of later years. He could not rest satisfied
with the teachings of rationalism, and in studying the Bible and
searching for clearer light he was, after a time, led to a positive
faith.
As he pursued his investigation of the prophecies, he arrived
at the belief that the coming of the Lord was at hand. Impressed
[365] with the solemnity and importance of this great truth, he desired
to bring it before the people; but the popular belief that the
prophecies of Daniel are mysteries and cannot be understood,
was a serious obstacle in his way. He finally determined—as
Farel had done before him in evangelizing Geneva—to begin
with the children, through whom he hoped to interest the parents.
“I desire this to be understood,” he afterward said, speaking
of his object in this undertaking, “it is not because of its small
importance, but on the contrary because of its great value, that I
20. A Great Religious Awakening. 379
wished to present it in this familiar form, and that I addressed it
to the children. I desired to be heard, and I feared that I would not
be if I addressed myself to the grown people first.” “I determined
therefore to go to the youngest. I gather an audience of children;
if the group enlarges, if it is seen that they listen, are pleased,
interested, that they understand and explain the subject, I am sure
to have a second circle soon, and in their turn, grown people will
see that it is worth their while to sit down and study. When this
is done, the cause is gained.”607
The effort was successful. As he addressed the children, older
persons came to listen. The galleries of his church were filled
with attentive hearers. Among them were men of rank and
learning, and strangers and foreigners visiting Geneva; and thus
the message was carried to other parts.
Encouraged by this success, Gaussen published his lessons,
with the hope of promoting the study of the prophetic books in
the churches of the French-speaking people. “To publish instruction
given to the children,” says Gaussen, “is to say to adults,
who too often neglect such books under the false pretense that
they are obscure, ‘How can they be obscure, since your children
understand them?’ ” “I had a great desire,” he adds, “to render a
knowledge of the prophecies popular in our flocks, if possible.”
“There is no study, indeed, which it seems to me answers the
needs of the time better.” “It is by this that we are to prepare for
the tribulation near at hand, and watch and wait for Jesus Christ.” [366]
Though one of the most distinguished and beloved of preachers
in the French language, Gaussen was after a time suspended
from the ministry, his principal offense being that instead of the
church’s catechism, a tame and rationalistic manual, almost destitute
of positive faith, he had used the Bible in giving instruction to
the youth. He afterward became teacher in a theological school,
while on Sunday he continued his work as catechist, addressing
607 Gaussen, L., “Daniel the Prophet,” Vol. II, Preface.
380 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
the children, and instructing them in the Scriptures. His works
on prophecy also excited much interest. From the professor’s
chair, through the press, and in his favorite occupation as teacher
of children, he continued for many years to exert an extensive
influence, and was instrumental in calling the attention of many
to the study of the prophecies which showed that the coming of
the Lord was near.
In Scandinavia also the advent message was proclaimed, and
a wide-spread interest was kindled. Many were roused from
their careless security, to confess and forsake their sins, and
seek pardon in the name of Christ. But the clergy of the state
church opposed the movement, and through their influence some
who preached the message were thrown into prison. In many
places where the preachers of the Lord’s soon coming were thus
silenced, God was pleased to send the message, in a miraculous
manner, through little children. As they were under age, the law
of the state could not restrain them, and they were permitted to
speak unmolested.
The movement was chiefly among the lower class, and it was
in the humble dwellings of the laborers that the people assembled
to hear the warning. The child-preachers themselves were
mostly poor cottagers. Some of them were not more than six or
eight years of age; and while their lives testified that they loved
the Saviour, and were trying to live in obedience to God’s holy
requirements, they ordinarily manifested only the intelligence
and ability usually seen in children of that age. When standing
before the people, however, it was evident that they were moved
[367] by an influence beyond their own natural gifts. Tone and manner
changed, and with solemn power they gave the warning of the
judgment, employing the very words of Scripture, “Fear God,
and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.”
They reproved the sins of the people, not only condemning immorality
and vice, but rebuking worldliness and backsliding, and
warning their hearers to make haste to flee from the wrath to
20. A Great Religious Awakening. 381
come.
The people heard with trembling. The convicting Spirit of
God spoke to their hearts. Many were led to search the Scriptures
with new and deeper interest, the intemperate and immoral
were reformed, others abandoned their dishonest practices, and a
work was done so marked that even ministers of the state church
were forced to acknowledge that the hand of God was in the
movement.
It was God’s will that the tidings of the Saviour’s coming
should be given in the Scandinavian countries; and when the
voices of His servants were silenced, He put His Spirit upon the
children, that the work might be accomplished. When Jesus drew
near to Jerusalem attended by the rejoicing multitudes that, with
shouts of triumph and the waving of palm branches, heralded
Him as the Son of David, the jealous Pharisees called upon
Him to silence them; but Jesus answered that all this was in
fulfilment of prophecy, and if these should hold their peace, the
very stones would cry out. The people, intimidated by the threats
of the priests and rulers, ceased their joyful proclamation as they
entered the gates of Jerusalem; but the children in the temple
courts afterward took up the refrain, and waving their branches
of palm, they cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”608 When the
Pharisees, sorely displeased, said unto Him, “Hearest Thou what
these say?” Jesus answered, “Yea; have ye never read, Out of the
mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?” As
God wrought through children at the time of Christ’s first advent,
so He wrought through them in giving the message of His second [368]
advent. God’s word must be fulfilled, that the proclamation of
the Saviour’s coming should be given to all peoples, tongues, and
nations.
To William Miller and his co-laborers it was given to preach
the warning in America. This country became the center of the
608 Matt. 21:8-16.
382 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
great Advent Movement. It was here that the prophecy of the
first angel’s message had its most direct fulfilment. The writings
of Miller and his associates were carried to distant lands. Wherever
missionaries had penetrated in all the world, were sent the
glad tidings of Christ’s speedy return. Far and wide spread the
message of the everlasting gospel, “Fear God, and give glory to
Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.”
The testimony of the prophecies which seemed to point to the
coming of Christ in the spring of 1844, took deep hold of the
minds of the people. As the message went from State to State,
there was everywhere awakened wide-spread interest. Many
were convinced that the arguments from the prophetic periods
were correct, and sacrificing their pride of opinion, they joyfully
received the truth. Some ministers laid aside their sectarian views
and feelings, left their salaries and their churches, and united in
proclaiming the coming of Jesus. There were comparatively few
ministers, however, who would accept this message; therefore
it was largely committed to humble laymen. Farmers left their
fields, mechanics their tools, traders their merchandise, professional
men their positions; and yet the number of workers was
small in comparison with the work to be accomplished. The
condition of an ungodly church and a world lying in wickedness,
burdened the souls of the true watchmen, and they willingly
endured toil, privation, and suffering, that they might call men
to repentance unto salvation. Though opposed by Satan, the
work went steadily forward, and the advent truth was accepted
[369] by many thousands.
Everywhere the searching testimony was heard, warning sinners,
both worldlings and church-members, to flee from the
wrath to come. Like John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ,
the preachers laid the axe at the root of the tree, and urged all
to bring forth fruit meet for repentance. Their stirring appeals
were in marked contrast to the assurances of peace and safety
that were heard from popular pulpits; and wherever the message
20. A Great Religious Awakening. 383
was given, it moved the people. The simple, direct testimony of
the Scriptures, set home by the power of the Holy Spirit, brought
a weight of conviction which few were able wholly to resist.
Professors of religion were roused from their false security. They
saw their backslidings, their worldliness and unbelief, their pride
and selfishness. Many sought the Lord with repentance and
humiliation. The affections that had so long clung to earthly
things they now fixed upon heaven. The Spirit of God rested
upon them, and with hearts softened and subdued they joined to
sound the cry, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of
His judgment is come.”
Sinners inquired with weeping, “What must I do to be saved?”
Those whose lives had been marked with dishonesty were anxious
to make restitution. All who found peace in Christ longed to
see others share the blessing. The hearts of parents were turned
to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents. The
barriers of pride and reserve were swept away. Heartfelt confessions
were made, and the members of the household labored for
the salvation of those who were nearest and dearest. Often was
heard the sound of earnest intercession. Everywhere were souls
in deep anguish, pleading with God. Many wrestled all night in
prayer for the assurance that their own sins were pardoned, or for
the conversion of their relatives or neighbors.
All classes flocked to the Adventist meetings. Rich and poor,
high and low, were, from various causes, anxious to hear for
themselves the doctrine of the second advent. The Lord held the
spirit of opposition in check while His servants explained the [370]
reasons of their faith. Sometimes the instrument was feeble; but
the Spirit of God gave power to His truth. The presence of holy
angels was felt in these assemblies, and many were daily added
to the believers. As the evidences of Christ’s soon coming were
repeated, vast crowds listened in breathless silence to the solemn
words. Heaven and earth seemed to approach each other. The
power of God was felt upon old and young and middle-aged.
384 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
Men sought their homes with praises upon their lips, and the glad
sound rang out upon the still night air. None who attended those
meetings can ever forget those scenes of deepest interest.
The proclamation of a definite time for Christ’s coming called
forth great opposition from many of all classes, from the minister
in the pulpit down to the most reckless, Heaven-daring sinner.
The words of prophecy were fulfilled: “There shall come in
the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying,
‘Where is the promise of His coming?’ for since the fathers fell
asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the
creation.”609 Many who professed to love the Saviour, declared
that they had no opposition to the doctrine of the second advent;
they merely objected to the definite time. But God’s all-seeing
eye read their hearts. They did not wish to hear of Christ’s
coming to judge the world in righteousness. They had been
unfaithful servants, their works would not bear the inspection
of the heart-searching God, and they feared to meet their Lord.
Like the Jews at the time of Christ’s first advent, they were not
prepared to welcome Jesus. They not only refused to listen to the
plain arguments from the Bible, but ridiculed those who were
looking for the Lord. Satan and his angels exulted, and flung the
taunt in the face of Christ and holy angels, that His professed
people had so little love for Him that they did not desire His
appearing.
“No man knoweth the day nor the hour,” was the argument
most often brought forward by rejecters of the advent faith. The
[371] scripture is, “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not
the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”610 A clear and harmonious
explanation of this text was given by those who were
looking for the Lord, and the wrong use made of it by their
opponents was clearly shown. The words were spoken by Christ
in that memorable conversation with His disciples upon Olivet,
609 2 Peter 3:3, 4.
610 Matt. 24:36, 3, 33, 42-51.
20. A Great Religious Awakening. 385
after He had for the last time departed from the temple. The
disciples had asked the question, “What shall be the sign of Thy
coming, and of the end of the world?” Jesus gave them signs,
and said, “When ye shall see all these things, know that it is
near, even at the doors.”611 One saying of the Saviour must not
be made to destroy another. Though no man knoweth the day
nor the hour of His coming, we are instructed and required to
know when it is near. We are further taught that to disregard His
warning, and refuse or neglect to know when His advent is near,
will be as fatal for us as it was for those who lived in the days of
Noah not to know when the flood was coming. And the parable
in the same chapter, contrasting the faithful and the unfaithful
servant, and giving the doom of him who said in his heart,
“My Lord delayeth His coming,” shows in what light Christ will
regard and reward those whom He finds watching, and teaching
His coming, and those denying it. “Watch therefore,” He says;
“blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall
find so doing.”612 “If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come
on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come
upon thee.”613
Paul speaks of a class to whom the Lord’s appearing will come
unawares. “The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the
night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden
destruction cometh upon them, … and they shall not escape.” But
He adds, to those who have given heed to the Saviour’s warning,
“Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake
you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of
the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”614 [372]
Thus it was shown that Scripture gives no warrant for men to
remain in ignorance concerning the nearness of Christ’s coming.
611 Ibid.
612 Ibid.
613 Rev. 3:3.
614 1 Thess. 5:2-5.
386 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
But those who desired only an excuse to reject the truth closed
their ears to this explanation; and the words, “No man knoweth
the day nor the hour,” continued to be echoed by the bold scoffer,
and even by the professed minister of Christ. As the people
were roused, and began to inquire the way of salvation, religious
teachers stepped in between them and the truth, seeking to quiet
their fears by falsely interpreting the word of God. Unfaithful
watchmen united in the work of the great deceiver, crying, Peace,
peace, when God had not spoken peace. Like the Pharisees in
Christ’s day, many refused to enter the kingdom of heaven themselves,
and those who were entering in, they hindered. The blood
of these souls will be required at their hand.
The most humble and devoted in the churches were usually
the first to receive the message. Those who studied the Bible
for themselves could not but see the unscriptural character of the
popular views of prophecy; and wherever the people were not
controlled by the influence of the clergy, wherever they would
search the word of God for themselves, the advent doctrine
needed only to be compared with the Scriptures to establish its
divine authority.
Many were persecuted by their unbelieving brethren. In order
to retain their position in the church, some consented to be silent
in regard to their hope; but others felt that loyalty to God forbade
them thus to hide the truths which He had committed to their
trust. Not a few were cut off from the fellowship of the church
for no other reason than expressing their belief in the coming
of Christ. Very precious to those who bore this trial of their
faith were the words of the prophet, “Your brethren that hated
you, that cast you out for My name’s sake, said, Let the Lord
be glorified: but He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be
[373] ashamed.”615
Angels of God were watching with the deepest interest the
615 Isa. 66:5.
20. A Great Religious Awakening. 387
result of the warning. When there was a general rejection of the
message by the churches, angels turned away in sadness. But
there were many who had not yet been tested in regard to the
advent truth. Many were misled by husbands, wives, parents, or
children, and were made to believe it a sin even to listen to such
heresies as were taught by the Adventists. Angels were bidden
to keep faithful watch over these souls; for another light was yet
to shine upon them from the throne of God.
With unspeakable desire those who had received the message
watched for the coming of their Saviour. The time when they
expected to meet Him was at hand. They approached this hour
with a calm solemnity. They rested in sweet communion with
God, an earnest of the peace that was to be theirs in the bright
hereafter. None who experienced this hope and trust can forget
those precious hours of waiting. For some weeks preceding the
time, worldly business was for the most part laid aside. The
sincere believers carefully examined every thought and emotion
of their hearts as if upon their death-beds and in a few hours to
close their eyes upon earthly scenes. There was no making of
“ascension robes;”616 but all felt the need of internal evidence
that they were prepared to meet the Saviour; their white robes
were purity of soul,—characters cleansed from sin by the atoning
blood of Christ. Would that there was still with the professed people
of God the same spirit of heart-searching, the same earnest,
determined faith. Had they continued thus to humble themselves
before the Lord, and press their petitions at the mercy-seat, they
would be in possession of a far richer experience than they now
have. There is too little prayer, too little real conviction of sin,
and the lack of living faith leaves many destitute of the grace so
richly provided by our Redeemer.
God designed to prove His people. His hand covered a mistake
in the reckoning of the prophetic periods. Adventists did not [374]
616 See Appendix.
388 The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan
discover the error, nor was it discovered by the most learned of
their opponents. The latter said: “Your reckoning of the prophetic
periods is correct. Some great event is about to take place; but it
is not what Mr. Miller predicts; it is the conversion of the world,
and not the second advent of Christ.”617
The time of expectation passed, and Christ did not appear for
the deliverance of His people. Those who with sincere faith and
love had looked for their Saviour, experienced a bitter disappointment.
Yet the purposes of God were being accomplished:
He was testing the hearts of those who professed to be waiting
for His appearing. There were among them many who had been
actuated by no higher motive than fear. Their profession of faith
had not affected their hearts or their lives. When the expected
event failed to take place, these persons declared that they were
not disappointed; they had never believed that Christ would
come. They were among the first to ridicule the sorrow of the
true believers.
But Jesus and all the heavenly host looked with love and sympathy
upon the tried and faithful yet disappointed ones. Could
the veil separating the visible from the invisible world have been
swept back, angels would have been seen drawing near to these
steadfast souls, and shielding them from the shafts of Satan.

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