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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
“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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

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