"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

Saturday, April 14, 2012

How Important is a Good Foundation? Part 4

Picking up right where we left off last post, let us continue in our search for truth. 
Charles Fitch and William Miller worked closely together for many years in proclaiming the first angels message.  Together with many others, they sounded the cry, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.”
“To William Miller and his colaborers it was given to preach the warning in America. This country became the center of the great advent movement. It was here that the prophecy of the first angel's message had its most direct fulfillment. The writings of Miller and his associates were carried to distant lands. Wherever missionaries had penetrated in all the world, were sent the glad tidings of Christ's speedy return. Far and wide spread the message of the everlasting gospel: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’”  {Great Controversy p. 368.1} 

One of the people that heard this stirring message in its early days was Ellen Harmon. In later years she wrote about her experience: In March, 1840, William Miller visited Portland, Maine, and gave his first course of lectures on the second coming of Christ. These lectures produced a great sensation, and the Christian church on Casco Street, occupied by Mr. Miller, was crowded day and night. No wild excitement attended these meetings, but a deep solemnity pervaded the minds of those who heard his discourses. Not only was there manifested a great interest in the city, but the country people flocked in day after day, bringing their lunch baskets, and remaining from morning until the close of the evening meeting.”  
     “In company with my friends I attended these meetings and listened to the startling announcement that Christ was coming in 1843, only a few short years in the future. Mr. Miller traced down the prophecies with an exactness that struck conviction to the hearts of his hearers. He dwelt upon the prophetic periods, and brought many proofs to strengthen his position. Then his solemn and powerful appeals and admonitions to those who were unprepared, held the crowds as if spellbound.  {Testimonies to the Church Volume 1 p. 14} 
“In May, 1842, a General Conference was convened in Boston, Mass. At the opening of this meeting, Brn. Charles Fitch and Apollos Hale, of Haverhill, presented the pictorial prophecies of Daniel and John, which they had painted on cloth, with the prophetic numbers, showing their fulfillment. Bro. Fitch in explaining from his chart before the Conference, said, while examining these prophecies, he had thought if he could get out something of the kind as here presented it would simplify the subject and make it easier for him to present to an audience. Here was more light in our pathway. These brethren had been doing what the Lord had shown Habbakuk in his vision 2468 years before, saying, "Write the vision and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time." Hab.ii,2.” {1868 JB, AJB 262.1}
“After some discussion on the subject, it was voted unanimously to have three hundred similar to this one lithographed, which was soon accomplished. They were called "the '43 charts." {1868 JB, AJB 263.1}
At this conference meeting, a simple chart was presented illustrating the prophecies in a way that was easy to present and understand.  It held the Metal man of Daniel 2; The beasts of Daniel 7 and 8 and many other basic things that we believe today.  Each of these was clearly presented from the Bible with the key texts printed right on the chart.  It was a valuable tool for presenters and listener alike.  The preachers could point to any given topic, having most of the texts right there, and the people could follow along with the large pictures illustrating the point. Another added bonus was the small space that each of these charts took up, making it a very portable aid.

Soon an announcement went out in one of the small Adventist publications it read:  “Chronological Chart of the Visions of Daniel and John. It is now nearly finished; and will be ready for delivery in a few days. Price $2.50 per copy to subscribers. Published at No. 14 Devonshire Street, up stairs. Subscribers may send or call soon.” {June 22, 1842 JVHe, HST 96.35}
During the next few months hundreds of these charts were sold to millerite preachers, old and young alike.  Some of these preachers were James White; Joseph Bates; William Miller; Joshua V. Himes; Charles Fitch; Hiram Edson; and many others. 

With all the millerite preachers preaching off the same chart, the already unified message became clearer- The trumpet was given a clearer sound as it went out to the people.  
This clear, unified message was not long in sounding before great opposition began.  The Churches that had previously been open to the preaching of the prophecies started to close their doors to the truth.
“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.”  {Early Writings p. 237.2}
This rejection of the first angel’s message resulted in the proclamation of the second.  “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." [Revelation 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 the result, about fifty thousand withdrew from these churches.”  {4SP 232.1}
The Harmon family was one of thousands that were cast out from their churches for no other reason than following the Bible and its truths.

Join us for part 5 next time. 

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