Reading Time: 8 mins
FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE- Part XXXV
The Three Angels’ Messages Identifies the Remnant Church
Wikipedia describes Adventism as “a branch of Protestantism with origins in the 19thcentury American Protestant revival known as the Second Advent Awakening. The name refers to the belief in the imminent Second Coming (or ‘Second Advent’) of Jesus Christ. William Miller started the Advent movement in the 1830s. His followers became known as the Millerites.”
Cited are at least eleven Adventist denominations, including the dominant Seventh-day Adventist Church. The “Other minor Adventist groups” are: Christadelphians, Advent Christian Church, Primitive Advent Christian Church, Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement, Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association, Church of God (Seventh Day), Church of God and Saints of Christ, Church of God General Conference, Creation Seventh-Day Adventists, United Seventh-Day Brethren.” The largest church within the Advent movement is the Seventh-day Adventist Church—“one of the largest Christian churches in the world, with more than 18 million baptized members.” The official SDA Church website for world statistics lists, as of year 2014, 18, 479, 257 members.
Jesus forbade sectarianism. See Mark 9: 38-41. One day, in behalf of the other disciples-in-training, John reported to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us, casting out demons in Thy name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.” Christ’s reply reiterated a vital principle binding to the end of time. “Do not forbid him, . . . For he who is not against us is on our side.” Either for or against.
It is part of the special work of all faithful “watchmen and light bearers” to remind members of the remnant church, as well as help enlighten others of the general Advent movement of the highlights of the divine chronology, purpose, focus, and nature of the first, second, and third angels’ messages for the last days of earth’s history. We quote extensively from Vol. 4, Spirit of Prophecy, 1884 edition of the original Great Controversy of the Conflict of the Ages Series by Ellen G. White:
THE FIRST ANGEL’S MESSAGE
“The prophecy of the first angel’s message, brought to view in Revelation 14, found its fulfillment in the Advent movement of 1840-1844. In both Europe and America, men of faith and prayer were deeply moved as their attention was called to the prophecies, and tracing down the inspired record, they saw convincing evidence that the end of all things was at hand. The Spirit of God urged His servants, to give the warning. 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.’ Rev. 14: 7, K.J.V.
“Wherever missionaries had penetrated, were sent the glad tidings of Christ’s speedy return. In different lands were found isolated bodies of Christians, who, solely by the study of the Scriptures, had arrived at the belief that the Savior’s advent was near. In some portions of Europe [particularly the lowlands of Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg], where the laws were so oppressive [as instigated by the Papacy] as to forbid the preaching of the Advent doctrine, little children were impelled to declare it, and many listened to the solemn warning.
“To William Miller and his co-laborers it was given to preach the message in America, and the light kindled by their labors shone out to distant lands. The testimony of the Scriptures pointing to the coming of Christ in 1843* awakened wide-spread interest. Many were convinced that the arguments from the prophetic periods [the 70-weeks of Daniel 9; the 1260, 1290, and 1335 days within the 2300-day period] were correct, and, sacrificing their pride of opinion, they joyfully received the truth. . . . Though opposed by Satan, the work went steadily forward, and the Advent truth was accepted by many thousands.
The main message and its results – “Everywhere was heard the searching testimony warning sinners, both worldlings and church members, to flee the wrath to come. Like John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, the preachers laid the ax to 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 the popular pulpits; and wherever the message 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. . . .
“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 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 wall night in prayer for the assurance that their own sins were pardoned, or for the conversion of their relatives and neighbors. That earnest, determined faith gained its object.”- pp. 223, 224.
Contrary to false reports, “There was no making of ‘ascension robes;’ [see Appendix, Note 3], but all felt the need of internal evidence that they were prepared to meet the Savior; their white robes were purity of soul,—characters cleansed from sin by the atoning blood of Christ.”- p. 228.
“God designed to prove His people. His hand covered a mistake in the reckoning of the prophetic periods. [see Appendix, Note 1]. Adventists did not 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 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.’ ‘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 Savior, experienced a bitter disappointment. Yet the Lord had accomplished His purpose: He had tested 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.” – pp. 228-9.
THE SECOND ANGEL’S MESSAGE
“The churches that refused to receive the first angel’s message rejected light from Heaven. That message was sent in mercy to arouse them to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding, and to seek a preparation to meet their Lord. God had ever required His people to remain separate from the world, that they might not be allured from their allegiance to Him.” – p. 230.
“It was to separate the church of Christ from the corrupt influence of the world that the first angel’s message was given. . . . Those who perished in the waters of the flood had an opportunity to escape. All were urged to find refuge in the ark; but the multitudes refused to heed the warning. So when the first angel’s message was given, all who heard were invited to receive it, and share the blessing to follow its acceptance; but many scorned and rejected the call . . . Inspiration declares that when the antediluvians rejected Noah’s words, the Spirit of God ceased to strive with them.
So when men nowdespise the warnings which God in mercy sends them, His Spirit after a time ceases to arouse conviction in their hearts. God gives light to be cherished and obeyed, not to be despised and rejected. The light which He sends becomes darkness to those who disregard it. When the Spirit of God ceases to impress the truth upon the hearts of men, all hearing is in vain, and all preaching also in vain.
“When the churches spurned the counsel of God by rejecting the Advent message, the Lord rejected them. The first angel was 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.’ Rev. 14: 8. This message was understood by Adventists to be an announcement of the moral fall of the churches in consequence of their rejection of the first message. The proclamation, ‘Babylon is fallen’ was given in the summer of 1844, and as a result, about fifty-thousand withdrew from these churches.’
“The term Babylon derived from Babylon, and signifying confusion, is applied in Scripture to the various forms of false or apostate religion. But the message announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to some religious body that was once pure, and has become corrupt. It cannot be the Romish Church which is here meant; for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries. But how appropriate the figure as applied to theProtestant churches, all professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided almost into innumerable sects.” – pp. 231, 232.
“Anciently the Lord declared to His servants concerning Israel: [Isa. 9: 16; Jer. 5: 31; 6: 13 quoted]. The Jewish church, once highly favored of the Lord, became an astonishment and a reproach through neglect to improve the blessings granted them. Pride and unbelief led to their ruin [the Roman desolation, then by their rejection and crucifixion of Christ the loss of their chosen people status]. But these scriptures do not apply to ancient Israel only. The character and condition of many nominally Christian churches are here portrayed. Though in possession of far greater blessings than were granted to the Jews, they are following in the steps of that people; and the greater the light and privileges bestowed, the greater the guilt of those who permit them to pass unimproved.” – p. 238.
THE TARRYING TIME
“When the year 1843 entirely passed away unmarked by the advent of Jesus, those who had looked in faith [not fear or fanatical excitement] for His appearing were for a time left in doubt and perplexity. But notwithstanding their [first] disappointment, 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 or their position seemed clear and conclusive. Signs which could not be mistaken pointed to the coming of Christ as near. The believers could not explain their disappointment; yet they felt assured that God had led them in their past experience.
“Their faith was greatly strengthened by the direct and forcible application of those scriptures which set forth a tarrying time. As early as 1842, the Spirit of God had moved upon Charles Fitch to devise the prophetic chart, which was generally regarded by Adventists as a fulfillment of the command given to the prophet Habbakkuk, ‘to write the vision and make it plain upon tables. No one, however, then saw the tarrying time, which was brought to view in the same prophecy. After the disappointment, the full meaning of this scripture became apparent. Thus speaks the prophet: ‘Write the vision, and make it plain on 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.’ Hab. 2: 2, 3.
“A portion of Ezekiel’s prophecy also was a source of much strength and comfort to believers. [Ezekiel 12: 21-25, 27, 28 quoted. Read it]. The waiting ones rejoiced that He who knows the end from the beginning had looked down through the ages, and foreseeing their disappointment, had given them words of courage and hope. Had it not been for such portions of Scripture, showing that they were in the right path, their faith would have failed in that trying hour.
“In the parable of the ten virgins, Mathew 25, the experience of Adventists 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.’ ‘While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.’ The widespread movement under the proclamation of the first message, answered to the going forth of the virgins, while the passing of the time of expectation, the disappointment, and the delay, were represented by the tarrying of the bridegroom.
After the definite time had passed, the true believers were still united in the belief that the end of all things was at hand; but it soon became evident that they were losing, to some extent, and were falling into the state denoted in the parable by the slumbering of the virgins during the tarrying time.” – pp. 241-243.
Remember, these messages “are the most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals!” (9T 19). Make, not merely “find” time to review them!
(To be continued next week)