Early Writings, Spiritual Gifts —Continued
Notwithstanding all the persecution of the saints, living witnesses for God’s truth were raised up on every hand. Angels of the Lord were doing the work committed to their trust. They were searching in the darkest places and selecting out of the darkness men who were honest in heart. These were all buried up in error, yet God called them, as He did Saul, to be chosen vessels to bear His truth and raise their voices against the sins of His professed people. Angels of God moved upon the hearts of Martin Luther, Melanchthon, and others in different places, and caused them to thirst for the living testimony of the Word of God. The enemy had come in like a flood, and the standard must be raised against him. Luther was the one chosen to breast the storm, stand up against the ire of a fallen church, and strengthen the few who were faithful to their holy profession. He was ever fearful of offending God. He tried through works to obtain His favor, but was not satisfied until a gleam of light
from heaven drove the darkness from his mind and led him to trust, not in works, but in the merits of the blood of Christ. He could then come to God for himself, not through popes or confessors, but through Jesus Christ alone.
Oh, how precious to Luther was this new and glorious light which had dawned upon his dark understanding and driven away his superstition! He prized it higher than the richest earthly treasure. The Word of God was new. Everything was changed. The book he had dreaded because he could not see beauty in it, was now life, eternal life, to him. It was his joy, his consolation, his blessed teacher. Nothing could induce him to leave its study. He had feared death; but as he read the Word of God, all his terrors disappeared, and he admired the character of God and loved Him. He searched the Bible for himself and feasted upon the rich treasures it contained; then he searched it for the church. He was disgusted with the sins of those in whom he had trusted for salvation, and as he saw many others enshrouded in the same darkness which had covered him, he anxiously sought an opportunity to point them to the Lamb of God, who alone taketh away the sin of the world.
Raising his voice against the errors and sins of the papal church, he earnestly endeavored to break the chain of darkness which was confining thousands and causing them to trust in works for salvation. He longed to be enabled to open to their minds the true riches of the grace of God and the excellence of salvation obtained through Jesus Christ. In the power of the Holy Spirit he cried out against the existing sins of the leaders of the church; and as he met the storm of opposition from the priests, his courage failed not; for he firmly relied upon the strong arm of God, and confidently trusted in Him for victory. As he pushed
the battle closer and closer, the rage of the priests was kindled still hotter against him. They did not wish to be reformed. They chose to be left in ease, in wanton pleasure, in wickedness; and they desired the church also to be kept in darkness.
I saw that Luther was ardent and zealous, fearless and bold, in reproving sin and advocating the truth. He cared not for wicked men or devils; he knew that he had One with him mightier than they all. Luther possessed zeal, courage, and boldness, and at times was in danger of going to extremes. But God raised up Melanchthon, who was just the opposite in character, to aid Luther in carrying on the work of reformation. Melanchthon was timid, fearful, cautious, and possessed great patience. He was greatly beloved of God. His knowledge of the Scriptures was great, and his judgment and wisdom excellent. His love for the cause of God was equal to Luther’s. The hearts of these men the Lord knit together; they were inseparable friends. Luther was a great help to Melanchthon when in danger of being fearful and slow, and Melanchthon in turn was a great help to Luther when in danger of moving too fast. Melanchthon’s farseeing caution often averted trouble which would have come upon the cause had the work been left alone to Luther; and ofttimes the work would not have been pushed forward had it been left to Melanchthon alone. I was shown the wisdom of God in choosing these two men to carry on the work of reformation.
I was then carried back to the days of the apostles and saw that God chose as companions an ardent, zealous Peter and a mild, patient John. Sometimes Peter was impetuous, and often when this was the case the beloved disciple would check him. This, however, did not reform him. But after he had denied his Lord, repented, and been converted, all he needed
to check his ardor and zeal was a mild caution from John. The cause of Christ would often have suffered had it been left to John alone. Peter’s zeal was needed. His boldness and energy often delivered them from difficulty and silenced their enemies. John was winning. He gained many to the cause of Christ by his patient forbearance and deep devotedness.
God raised up men to cry against the existing sins of the papal church and carry forward the Reformation. Satan sought to destroy these living witnesses; but the Lord made a hedge about them. Some, for the glory of His name, were permitted to seal with their blood the testimony they had borne; but there were other powerful men, like Luther and Melanchthon, who could best glorify God by living and exposing the sins of priests, popes, and kings. These trembled before the voice of Luther, and his fellow laborers. Through those chosen men, rays of light began to scatter the darkness, and very many joyfully received the light and walked in it. And when one witness was slain, two or more were raised up to take his place.
But Satan was not satisfied. He could only have power over the body. He could not make believers yield their faith and hope. And even in death they triumphed with a bright hope of immortality at the resurrection of the just. They had more than mortal energy. They dared not sleep for a moment, but kept the Christian armor girded about them, prepared for a conflict, not merely with spiritual foes, but with Satan in the form of men whose constant cry was, “Give up your faith, or die.” These few Christians were strong in God, and more precious in His sight than half a world who bear the name of Christ, and yet are cowards in His cause. While the church was persecuted, its members were united and loving; they were strong in God. Sinners were not permitted to
unite with the church. Those only who are willing to forsake all for Christ could be His disciples. These loved to be poor, humble, and Christlike.
After this I saw Satan consulting with his angels and considering what they had gained. True, they had, through fear of death, kept some timid souls from embracing the truth; but many, even of the most timid, had received the truth, and thereupon their fears and timidity immediately left them. As these witnessed the death of their brethren and beheld their firmness and patience, they knew that God and angels assisted them to endure such sufferings, and they grew bold and fearless. And when called to yield their own lives, they maintained their faith with such patience and firmness as caused even their murderers to tremble. Satan and his angels decided that there was a more successful way to destroy souls, one that would be more certain in the end. Although Christians were made to suffer, their steadfastness, and the bright hope that cheered them, caused the weakest to grow strong and enabled them to approach the rack and the flames undaunted. They imitated the noble bearing of Christ when before His murderers, and by their constancy and the glory of God which rested upon them, they convinced many others of the truth.
Satan therefore decided that he must come in a milder form. He had already corrupted the doctrines of the Bible, and traditions which were to ruin millions were taking deep root. Restraining his hate, he decided not to urge on his subjects to such bitter persecution, but lead the church to contend for various traditions, instead of for the faith once delivered to
the saints. As he prevailed on the church to receive favors and honors from the world, under the pretense of receiving benefits, she began to lose favor with God. Shunning to declare the straight truths which shut out the lovers of pleasure and friends of the world, she gradually lost her power.
The church is not now the separate and peculiar people she was when the fires of persecution were kindled against her. How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! I saw that if the church had always retained her peculiar, holy character, the power of the Holy Spirit which was imparted to the disciples would still be with her. The sick would be healed, devils would be rebuked and cast out, and she would be mighty and a terror to her enemies.
I saw a very large company professing the name of Christ, but God did not recognize them as His. He had no pleasure in them. Satan seemed to assume a religious character and was very willing that the people should think they were Christians. He was even anxious that they should believe in Jesus, His crucifixion, and His resurrection. Satan and his angels fully believe all this themselves, and tremble. But if this faith does not provoke to good works, and lead those who profess it to imitate the self-denying life of Christ, Satan is not disturbed; for they merely assume the Christian name, while their hearts are still carnal, and he can use them in his service even better than if they made no profession. Hiding their deformity under the name of Christian, they pass along with their unsanctified natures, and their evil passions unsubdued. This gives occasion for the unbeliever to reproach Christ with their imperfections, and causes those who do possess pure and undefiled religion to be brought into disrepute.
The ministers preach smooth things to suit carnal professors. They dare not preach Jesus and the cutting truths of the Bible; for if they should, these carnal professors would not remain in the church. But as many of them are wealthy, they must be retained, although they are no more fit to be there than Satan and his angels. This is just as Satan would have it. The religion of Jesus is made to appear popular and honorable in the eyes of the world. The people are told that those who profess religion will be more honored by the world. Such teachings differ very widely from the teachings of Christ. His doctrine and the world could not be at peace. Those who followed Him had to renounce the world. These smooth things originated with Satan and his angels. They formed the plan, and nominal professors carried it out. Pleasing fables were taught and readily received, and hypocrites and open sinners united with the church. If the truth had been preached in its purity, it would soon have shut out this class. But there was no difference between the professed followers of Christ and the world. I saw that if the false covering had been torn off from the members of the churches, there would have been revealed such iniquity, vileness, and corruption that the most diffident child of God would have had no hesitancy in calling these professed Christians by their right name, children of their father, the devil; for his works they did.
Jesus and all the heavenly host looked with disgust upon the scene; yet God had a message for the church that was sacred and important. If received, it would make a thorough reformation in the church, revive the living testimony that would purge out hypocrites and sinners, and bring the church again into favor with God.
God sent His angel to move upon the heart of a farmer who had not believed the Bible, to lead him to search the prophecies. Angels of God repeatedly visited that chosen one, to guide his mind and open to his understanding prophecies which had ever been dark to God’s people. The commencement of the chain of truth was given to him, and he was led on to search for link after link, until he looked with wonder and admiration upon the Word of God. He saw there a perfect chain of truth. That Word which he had regarded as uninspired now opened before his vision in its beauty and glory. He saw that one portion of Scripture explains another, and when one passage was closed to his understanding, he found in another part of the Word that which explained it. He regarded the sacred Word of God with joy and with the deepest respect and awe.
As he followed down the prophecies, he saw that the inhabitants of the earth were living in the closing scenes of this world’s history, yet they knew it not. He looked at the churches and saw that they were corrupt; they had taken their affections from Jesus and placed them on the world; they were seeking for worldly honor, instead of that honor which cometh from above; grasping for worldly riches, instead of laying up their treasure in heaven. He could see hypocrisy, darkness, and death everywhere. His spirit was stirred within him. God called him to leave his farm, as He called Elisha to leave his oxen and the field of his labor to follow Elijah. With trembling, William Miller began to unfold to the people the mysteries of the kingdom of God, carrying his hearers down through the prophecies to the second advent of
Christ. With every effort he gained strength. As John the Baptist heralded the first advent of Jesus and prepared the way for His coming, so William Miller and those who joined with him proclaimed the second advent of the Son of God.
I was carried back to the days of the disciples and was shown that God had a special work for the beloved John to accomplish. Satan was determined to hinder this work, and he led on his servants to destroy John. But God sent His angel and wonderfully preserved him. All who witnessed the great power of God manifested in the deliverance of John were astonished, and many were convinced that God was with him, and that the testimony which he bore concerning Jesus was correct. Those who sought to destroy him were afraid to attempt again to take his life, and he was permitted to suffer on for Jesus. He was falsely accused by his enemies and was shortly banished to a lonely island, where the Lord sent His angel to reveal to him events which were to take place upon the earth and the state of the church down to the end —her backslidings and the position which she should occupy if she would please God and finally overcome.
The angel from heaven came to John in majesty, his countenance beaming with the excellent glory of God. He revealed to John scenes of deep and thrilling interest in the history of the church of God and brought before him the perilous conflicts which Christ’s followers were to endure. John saw them passing through fiery trials, made white and tried, and, finally, victorious overcomers, gloriously saved in the kingdom of God. The countenance of the angel grew radiant with joy and was exceeding glorious, as he showed John the final triumph of the church of God. As the apostle beheld the final deliverance of the church, he was carried away with the glory of the scene and
with deep reverence and awe fell at the feet of the angel to worship him. The heavenly messenger instantly raised him up and gently reproved him, saying, “See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” The angel then showed John the heavenly city with all its splendor and dazzling glory, and he, enraptured and overwhelmed, and forgetful of the former reproof of the angel, again fell to worship at his feet. Again the gentle reproof was given, “See thou do it not for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.”
Preachers and people have looked upon the book of Revelation as mysterious and of less importance than other portions of the Sacred Scriptures. But I saw that this book is indeed a revelation given for the especial benefit of those who should live in the last days, to guide them in ascertaining their true position and their duty. God directed the mind of William Miller to the prophecies and gave him great light upon the book of Revelation.
If Daniel’s visions had been understood, the people could better have understood the visions of John. But at the right time, God moved upon His chosen servant, who, with clearness and in the power of the Holy Spirit, opened the prophecies and showed the harmony of the visions of Daniel and John and other portions of the Bible, and pressed home upon the hearts of the people the sacred, fearful warnings of the Word to prepare for the coming of the Son of man. Deep and solemn conviction rested upon the minds of those who heard him, and ministers and people, sinners and infidels, turned to the Lord and sought a preparation to stand in the judgment.
Angels of God accompanied William Miller in his mission. He was firm and undaunted, fearlessly proclaiming the message committed to his trust. A world lying in wickedness and a cold, worldly church were enough to call into action all his energies and lead him willingly to endure toil, privation, and suffering. Although opposed by professed Christians and the world, and buffeted by Satan and his angels, he ceased not to preach the everlasting gospel to crowds wherever he was invited, sounding far and near the cry, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.”
I saw that God was in the proclamation of the time in 1843. It was His design to arouse the people and bring them to a testing point, where they should decide for or against the truth. Ministers were convinced of the correctness of the positions taken on the prophetic periods, and some renounced their pride, and left their salaries and their churches to go forth from place to place to give the message. But as the message from heaven could find a place in the hearts of but few of the professed ministers of Christ, the work was laid upon many who were not preachers. Some left their fields to sound the message, while others were called from their shops and their merchandise. And even some professional men were compelled to leave their professions to engage in the unpopular work of giving the first angel’s message.
Ministers laid aside their sectarian views and feelings and united in proclaiming the coming of Jesus. Wherever the message was given, it moved the people. Sinners repented, wept, and prayed for forgiveness,
and those whose lives had been marked with dishonesty were anxious to make restitution. Parents felt the deepest solicitude for their children. Those who received the message labored with their unconverted friends and relatives, and with their souls bowed with the weight of the solemn message, warned and entreated them to prepare for the coming of the Son of man. Those cases were most hardened that would not yield to such a weight of evidence set home by heartfelt warnings. This soul-purifying work led the affections away from worldly things to a consecration never before experienced.
Thousands were led to embrace the truth preached by William Miller, and servants of God were raised up in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the message. Like John, the forerunner of Jesus, those who preached this solemn message felt compelled to lay the ax at the root of the tree, and call upon men to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Their testimony was calculated to arouse and powerfully affect the churches and manifest their real character. And as the solemn warning to flee from the wrath to come was sounded, many who were united with the churches received the healing message; they saw their backslidings, and with bitter tears of repentance and deep agony of soul, humbled themselves before God. And as the Spirit of God rested upon them, they helped to sound the cry, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.”
The preaching of definite time called forth great opposition from all classes, from the minister in the pulpit down to the most reckless, heaven-daring sinner. “No man knoweth the day nor the hour,” was heard from the hypocritical minister and the bold scoffer. Neither would be instructed and corrected by those who were pointing to the year when they believed the
prophetic periods would run out, and to the signs which showed Christ near, even at the doors. Many shepherds of the flock, who professed to love Jesus, said that they had no opposition to the preaching of Christ’s coming, but they objected to the definite time. God’s all-seeing eye read their hearts. They did not love Jesus near. They knew that their unchristian lives would not stand the test, for they were not walking in the humble path marked out by Him. These false shepherds stood in the way of the work of God. The truth spoken in its convincing power aroused the people, and like the jailer, they began to inquire, “What must I do to be saved?” But these shepherds stepped in between the truth and the people, and preached smooth things to lead them from the truth. They united with Satan and his angels, crying, “Peace, peace,” when there was no peace. Those who loved their ease and were content with their distance from God would not be aroused from their carnal security. I saw that angels of God marked it all; the garments of those unconsecrated shepherds were covered with the blood of souls.
Ministers who would not accept this saving message themselves hindered those who would have received it. The blood of souls is upon them. Preachers and people joined to oppose this message from heaven and to persecute William Miller and those who united with him in the work. Falsehoods were circulated to injure his influence; and at different times after he had plainly declared the counsel of God, applying cutting truths to the hearts of his hearers, great rage was kindled against him, and as he left the place of meeting, some waylaid him in order to take his life. But angels of God were sent to protect him, and they led him safely away from the angry mob. His work was not yet finished.
The most devoted gladly received the message. They knew that it was from God and that it was delivered at the right time. Angels were watching with the deepest interest the result of the heavenly message, and when the churches turned from and rejected it, they in sadness consulted with Jesus. He turned His face from the churches and bade His angels faithfully watch over the precious ones who did not reject the testimony, for another light was yet to shine upon them.
I saw that if professed Christians had loved their Saviour’s appearing, if they had placed their affections on Him, and had felt that there was none upon the earth to be compared with Him, they would have hailed with joy the first intimation of His coming. But the dislike which they manifested, as they heard of their Lord’s coming, was a decided proof that they did not love Him. Satan and his angels triumphed, and cast it in the face of Christ and His holy angels, that His professed people had so little love for Jesus that they did not desire His second appearing.
I saw the people of God joyful in expectation, looking for their Lord. But God designed to prove them. His hand covered a mistake in the reckoning of the prophetic periods. Those who were looking for their Lord did not discover this mistake, and the most learned men who opposed the time also failed to see it. God designed that His people should meet with a disappointment. The time passed, and those who had looked with joyful expectation for their Saviour were sad and disheartened, while those who had not loved the appearing of Jesus, but embraced the message through fear, were pleased that He did not come at the time of expectation. Their profession had not affected the heart and purified the life. The passing of the time was well calculated to reveal such hearts.
They were the first to turn and ridicule the sorrowful, disappointed ones who really loved the appearing of their Saviour. I saw the wisdom of God in proving His people and giving them a searching test to discover those who would shrink and turn back in the hour of trial.
Jesus and all the heavenly host looked with sympathy and love upon those who had with sweet expectation longed to see Him whom their souls loved. Angels were hovering around them, to sustain them in the hour of their trial. Those who had neglected to receive the heavenly message were left in darkness, and God’s anger was kindled against them, because they would not receive the light which He had sent them from heaven. Those faithful, disappointed ones, who could not understand why their Lord did not come, were not left in darkness. Again they were led to their Bibles to search the prophetic periods. The hand of the Lord was removed from the figures, and the mistake was explained. They saw that the prophetic periods reached to 1844, and that the same evidence which they had presented to show that the prophetic periods closed in 1843, proved that they would terminate in 1844. Light from the Word of God shone upon their position, and they discovered a tarrying time—“Though it [the vision] tarry, wait for it.” In their love for Christ’s immediate coming, they had overlooked the tarrying of the vision, which was calculated to manifest the true waiting ones. Again they had a point of time. Yet I saw that many of them could not rise above their severe disappointment to possess that degree of zeal and energy which had marked their faith in 1843.
Satan and his angels triumphed over them, and those who would not receive the message congratulated themselves upon their farseeing judgment and wisdom
in not receiving the delusion, as they called it. They did not realize that they were rejecting the counsel of God against themselves, and were working in union with Satan and his angels to perplex God’s people, who were living out the heaven-sent message.
The believers in this message were oppressed in the churches. For a time, those who would not receive the message were restrained by fear from acting out the sentiments of their hearts; but the passing of the time revealed their true feelings. They wished to silence the testimony which the waiting ones felt compelled to bear, that the prophetic periods extended to 1844. With clearness the believers explained their mistake and gave the reasons why they expected their Lord in 1844. Their opposers could bring no arguments against the powerful reasons offered. Yet the anger of the churches was kindled; they were determined not to listen to evidence, and to shut the testimony out of the churches, so the others could not hear it. Those who dared not withhold from others the light which God had given them, were shut out of the churches; but Jesus was with them, and they were joyful in the light of His countenance. They were prepared to receive the message of the second angel.
As the churches refused to receive the first angel’s message, they rejected the light from heaven and fell from the favor of God. They trusted to their own strength, and by opposing the first message placed themselves where they could not see the light of the second angel’s message. But the beloved of God, who were oppressed, accepted the message, “Babylon is fallen,” and left the churches.
Near the close of the second angel’s message, [See Appendix.] I saw a great light from heaven shining upon the people of God. The rays of this light seemed bright as the sun. And I heard the voices of angels crying, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him!”
This was the midnight cry, which was to give power to the second angel’s message. Angels were sent from heaven to arouse the discouraged saints and prepare them for the great work before them. The most talented men were not the first to receive this message. Angels were sent to the humble, devoted ones, and constrained them to raise the cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him!” Those entrusted with the cry made haste, and in the power of the Holy Spirit sounded the message, and aroused their discouraged brethren. This work did not stand in the wisdom and learning of men, but in the power of God, and His saints who heard the cry could not resist it. The most spiritual received this message first, and those who had formerly led in the work were the last to receive and help swell the cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him!”
In every part of the land, light was given upon the second angel’s message, and the cry melted the hearts of thousands. It went from city to city, and from village to village, until the waiting people of God were fully aroused. In many churches the message was not permitted to be given, and a large company who had the living testimony left these fallen churches. A mighty work was accomplished by the midnight cry. The message was heart-searching, leading the believers to seek a living experience for themselves. They knew that they could not lean upon one another.
The saints anxiously waited for their Lord with fasting, watching, and almost constant prayer. Even some sinners looked forward to the time with terror;
but the great mass manifested the spirit of Satan in their opposition to the message. They mocked and scoffed, repeating everywhere, “No man knoweth the day nor the hour.” Evil angels urged them on to harden their hearts and to reject every ray of light from heaven, that they might be fastened in the snare of Satan. Many who professed to be looking for Christ had no part in the work of the message. The glory of God which they had witnessed, the humility and deep devotion of the waiting ones, and the overwhelming weight of evidence, caused them to profess to receive the truth; but they had not been converted; they were not ready for the coming of their Lord.
A spirit of solemn and earnest prayer was everywhere felt by the saints. A holy solemnity was resting upon them. Angels were watching with the deepest interest the effect of the message, and were elevating those who received it, and drawing them from earthly things to obtain large supplies from salvation’s fountain. God’s people were then accepted of Him. Jesus looked upon them with pleasure, for His image was reflected in them. They had made a full sacrifice, an entire consecration, and expected to be changed to immortality. But they were destined again to be sadly disappointed. The time to which they looked, expecting deliverance, passed; they were still upon the earth, and the effects of the curse never seemed more visible. They had placed their affections on heaven, and in sweet anticipation had tasted immortal deliverance; but their hopes were not realized.
The fear that had rested upon many of the people did not at once disappear; they did not immediately triumph over the disappointed ones. But as no visible tokens of God’s wrath appeared, they recovered from the fear which they had felt and commenced their ridicule and scoffing. The people of God were again
proved and tested. The world laughed and mocked and reproached them; and those who had believed without a doubt that Jesus would ere then have come to raise the dead, and change the living saints, and take the kingdom, to possess it forever, felt as did the disciples at the sepulcher of Christ, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.”
I saw a number of companies that seemed to be bound together by cords. Many in these companies were in total darkness; their eyes were directed downward to the earth, and there seemed to be no connection between them and Jesus. But scattered through these different companies were persons whose countenances looked light, and whose eyes were raised to heaven. Beams of light from Jesus, like rays from the sun, were imparted to them. An angel bade me look carefully, and I saw an angel watching over every one of those who had a ray of light, while evil angels surrounded those who were in darkness. I heard the voice of an angel cry, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.”
A glorious light then rested down upon these companies, to enlighten all who would receive it. Some of those who were in darkness received the light and rejoiced. Others resisted the light from heaven, saying that it was sent to lead them astray. The light passed away from them, and they were left in darkness. Those who had received the light from Jesus joyfully cherished the increase of precious light which was shed upon them. Their faces beamed with holy
joy, while their gaze was directed upward to Jesus with intense interest, and their voices were heard in harmony with the voice of the angel, “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” As they raised this cry, I saw those who were in darkness thrusting them with side and with shoulder. Then many who cherished the sacred light, broke the cords which confined them and stood out separated from those companies. As they were doing this, men belonging to the different companies and revered by them passed through, some with pleasing words, and others with wrathful looks and threatening gestures, and fastened the cords which were weakening. These men were constantly saying, “God is with us. We stand in the light. We have the truth.” I inquired who these men were, and was told that they were ministers and leading men who had rejected the light themselves, and were unwilling that others should receive it.
I saw those who cherished the light looking upward with ardent desire, expecting Jesus to come and take them to Himself. Soon a cloud passed over them, and their faces were sorrowful. I inquired the cause of this cloud and was shown that it was their disappointment. The time when they expected their Saviour had passed, and Jesus had not come. As discouragement settled upon the waiting ones, the ministers and leading men whom I had before noticed, rejoiced, and all those who had rejected the light triumphed greatly, while Satan and his evil angels also exulted.
Then I heard the voice of another angel saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen!” A light shone upon those desponding ones, and with ardent desires for His appearing, they again fixed their eyes upon Jesus. I saw a number of angels conversing with the one who had cried, “Babylon is fallen,” and these united with
him in the cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” The musical voices of these angels seemed to reach everywhere. An exceedingly bright and glorious light shone around those who had cherished the light which had been imparted to them. Their faces shone with excellent glory, and they united with the angels in the cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh.” As they harmoniously raised the cry among the different companies, those who rejected the light pushed them and with angry looks scorned and derided them. But angels of God wafted their wings over the persecuted ones, while Satan and his angels were seeking to press their darkness around them, to lead them to reject the light from heaven.
Then I heard a voice saying to those who had been pushed and derided, “Come out from among them, and touch not the unclean.” In obedience to this voice, a large number broke the cords which bound them, and leaving the companies that were in darkness, joined those who had previously gained their freedom, and joyfully united their voices with them. I heard the voice of earnest, agonizing prayer from a few who still remained with the companies that were in darkness. The ministers and leading men were passing around in these different companies, fastening the cords more firmly; but still I heard this voice of earnest prayer. Then I saw those who had been praying reach out their hands for help toward the united company who were free, rejoicing in God. The answer from them, as they earnestly looked to heaven, and pointed upward, was, “Come out from among them, and be separate.” I saw individuals struggling for freedom, and at last they broke the cords that bound them. They resisted the efforts which were made to fasten the cords tighter and refused to heed the repeated assertions: “God is with us.” “We have the truth with us.”
Persons were continually leaving the companies that were in darkness and joining the free company, who appeared to be in an open field raised above the earth. Their gaze was directed upward, the glory of God rested upon them, and they joyfully shouted His praise. They were closely united and seemed to be wrapped in the light of heaven. Around this company were some who came under the influence of the light, but who were not particularly united to the company. All who cherished the light shed upon them were gazing upward with intense interest, and Jesus looked upon them with sweet approbation. They expected Him to come and longed for His appearing. They did not cast one lingering look to earth. But again a cloud settled upon the waiting ones, and I saw them turn their weary eyes downward. I inquired the cause of this change. Said my accompanying angel, “They are again disappointed in their expectations. Jesus cannot yet come to earth. They must endure greater trials for His sake. They must give up errors and traditions received from men and turn wholly to God and His Word. They must be purified, made white, and tried. Those who endure that bitter trial will obtain an eternal victory.”
Jesus did not come to the earth as the waiting, joyful company expected, to cleanse the sanctuary by purifying the earth by fire. I saw that they were correct in their reckoning of the prophetic periods; prophetic time closed in 1844, and Jesus entered the most holy place to cleanse the sanctuary at the ending of the days. Their mistake consisted in not understanding what the sanctuary was and the nature of its cleansing. As I looked again at the waiting, disappointed company, they appeared sad. They carefully examined the evidences of their faith and followed down through the reckoning of the prophetic periods, but
could discover no mistake. The time had been fulfilled, but where was their Saviour? They had lost Him.
I was shown the disappointment of the disciples as they came to the sepulcher and found not the body of Jesus. Mary said, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” Angels told the sorrowing disciples that their Lord had risen, and would go before them into Galilee.
In like manner I saw that Jesus regarded with the deepest compassion the disappointed ones who had waited for His coming; and He sent His angels to direct their minds that they might follow Him where He was. He showed them that this earth is not the sanctuary, but that He must enter the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to make an atonement for His people and to receive the kingdom from His Father, and that He would then return to the earth and take them to dwell with Him forever. The disappointment of the first disciples well represents the disappointment of those who expected their Lord in 1844.
I was carried back to the time when Christ rode triumphantly into Jerusalem. The joyful disciples believed that He was then to take the kingdom and reign a temporal prince. They followed their King with high hopes. They cut down the beautiful palm branches, and took off their outer garments, and with enthusiastic zeal spread them in the way; and some went before, and others followed, crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” The excitement disturbed the Pharisees, and they wished Jesus to rebuke His disciples. But He said unto them, “If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” The prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 must be fulfilled; yet the disciples were doomed
to a bitter disappointment. In a few days they followed Jesus to Calvary, and beheld Him bleeding and mangled upon the cruel cross. They witnessed His agonizing death and laid Him in the tomb. Their hearts sank with grief; their expectations were not realized in a single particular, and their hopes died with Jesus. But as He arose from the dead and appeared to His sorrowing disciples, their hopes revived. They had found Him again.
I saw that the disappointment of those who believed in the coming of the Lord in 1844 was not equal to the disappointment of the first disciples. Prophecy was fulfilled in the first and second angels’ messages. They were given at the right time and accomplished the work which God designed to accomplish by them.
I was shown the interest which all heaven had taken in the work going on upon the earth. Jesus commissioned a mighty angel to descend and warn the inhabitants of the earth to prepare for His second appearing. As the angel left the presence of Jesus in heaven, an exceedingly bright and glorious light went before him. I was told that his mission was to lighten the earth with his glory and warn man of the coming wrath of God. Multitudes received the light. Some of these seemed to be very solemn, while others were joyful and enraptured. All who received the light turned their faces toward heaven and glorified God. Though it was shed upon all, some merely came under its influence, but did not heartily receive it. Many were filled with great wrath. Ministers and people united with the vile and stoutly resisted the
light shed by the mighty angel. But all who received it withdrew from the world and were closely united with one another.
Satan and his angels were busily engaged in seeking to attract the minds of as many as possible from the light. The company who rejected it were left in darkness. I saw the angel of God watching with the deepest interest His professed people, to record the character which they developed as the message of heavenly origin was presented to them. And as very many who professed love for Jesus turned from the heavenly message with scorn, derision, and hatred, an angel with a parchment in his hand made the shameful record. All heaven was filled with indignation that Jesus should be thus slighted by His professed followers.
I saw the disappointment of the trusting ones, as they did not see their Lord at the expected time. It had been God’s purpose to conceal the future and to bring His people to a point of decision. Without the preaching of definite time for the coming of Christ, the work designed of God would not have been accomplished. Satan was leading very many to look far in the future for the great events connected with the judgment and the end of probation. It was necessary that the people be brought to seek earnestly for a present preparation.
As the time passed, those who had not fully received the light of the angel united with those who had despised the message, and they turned upon the disappointed ones with ridicule. Angels marked the situation of Christ’s professed followers. The passing of the definite time had tested and proved them, and very many were weighed in the balance and found wanting. They loudly claimed to be Christians, yet in almost every particular failed to follow Christ. Satan exulted at the state of the professed followers of Jesus.
He had them in his snare. He had led the majority to leave the straight path, and they were attempting to climb up to heaven some other way. Angels saw the pure and holy mixed up with sinners in Zion and with world-loving hypocrites. They had watched over the true disciples of Jesus; but the corrupt were affecting the holy. Those whose hearts burned with an intense desire to see Jesus were forbidden by their professed brethren to speak of His coming. Angels viewed the scene and sympathized with the remnant who loved the appearing of their Lord.
Another mighty angel was commissioned to descend to earth. Jesus placed in his hand a writing, and as he came to the earth, he cried, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.” Then I saw the disappointed ones again raise their eyes to heaven, looking with faith and hope for their Lord’s appearing. But many seemed to remain in a stupid state, as if asleep; yet I could see the trace of deep sorrow upon their countenances. The disappointed ones saw from the Scriptures that they were in the tarrying time, and that they must patiently wait the fulfillment of the vision. The same evidence which led them to look for their Lord in 1843, led them to expect Him in 1844. Yet I saw that the majority did not possess that energy which marked their faith in 1843. Their disappointment had dampened their faith.
As the people of God united in the cry of the second angel, the heavenly host marked with the deepest interest the effect of the message. They saw many who bore the name of Christians turn with scorn and derision upon those who had been disappointed. As the words fell from mocking lips, “You have not gone up yet!” an angel wrote them. Said the angel, “They mock God.” I was pointed back to a similar sin committed in ancient times. Elijah had been translated
to heaven, and his mantle had fallen upon Elisha. Then wicked youth, who had learned from their parents to despise the man of God, followed Elisha, and mockingly cried, “Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.” In thus insulting His servant, they insulted God and met their punishment then and there. In like manner, those who have scoffed and mocked at the idea of the saints’ going up, will be visited with the wrath of God, and will be made to feel that it is not a light thing to trifle with their Maker.
Jesus commissioned other angels to fly quickly to revive and strengthen the drooping faith of His people and prepare them to understand the message of the second angel and the important move which was soon to be made in heaven. I saw these angels receive great power and light from Jesus and fly quickly to earth to fulfill their commission to aid the second angel in his work. A great light shone upon the people of God as the angels cried, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” Then I saw these disappointed ones rise and in harmony with the second angel proclaim, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” The light from the angels penetrated the darkness everywhere. Satan and his angels sought to hinder this light from spreading and having its designed effect. They contended with the angels from heaven, telling them that God had deceived the people, and that with all their light and power they could not make the world believe that Christ was coming. But notwithstanding Satan strove to hedge up the way and draw the minds of the people from the light, the angels of God continued their work.
Those who received the light appeared very happy. They looked steadfastly toward heaven and longed for the appearing of Jesus. Some were weeping and praying
in great distress. Their eyes seemed to be fixed upon themselves, and they dared not look upward. A light from heaven parted the darkness from them, and their eyes, which had been fixed in despair upon themselves, were turned upward, while gratitude and holy joy were expressed upon every feature. Jesus and all the angelic host looked with approbation upon the faithful, waiting ones.
Those who rejected and opposed the light of the first angel’s message, lost the light of the second, and could not be benefited by the power and glory which attended the message, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh.” Jesus turned from them with a frown; for they had slighted and rejected Him. Those who received the message were wrapped in a cloud of glory. They greatly feared to offend God, and waited and watched and prayed to know His will. I saw Satan and his angels seeking to shut this divine light from the people of God; but as long as the waiting ones cherished the light and kept their eyes raised from earth to Jesus, Satan could have no power to deprive them of its precious rays. The message given from heaven enraged Satan and his angels, and led those who professed to love Jesus, but despised His coming, to scorn and deride the faithful, trusting ones. But an angel marked every insult, every slight, every wrong, which the children of God received from their professed brethren.
Very many raised their voices to cry, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!” and left their brethren who did not love the appearing of Jesus, and who would not suffer them to dwell upon His second coming. I saw Jesus turn His face from those who rejected and despised His coming, and then He bade angels lead His people out from among the unclean, lest they should be defiled. Those who were obedient to the message
stood out free and united. A holy light shone upon them. They renounced the world, sacrificed their earthly interests, gave up their earthly treasures, and directed their anxious gaze to heaven, expecting to see their loved Deliverer. A holy light beamed upon their countenances, telling of the peace and joy which reigned within. Jesus bade His angels go and strengthen them, for the hour of their trial drew on. I saw that these waiting ones were not yet tried as they must be. They were not free from errors. And I saw the mercy and goodness of God in sending a warning to the people of the earth, and repeated messages to lead them to a diligent searching of heart, and study of the Scriptures, that they might divest themselves of errors which have been handed down from the heathen and papists. Through these messages God has been bringing out His people where He can work for them in greater power, and where they can keep all His commandments.