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

Sunday, November 4, 2012

How Important is a Good Foundation? Part 5

It was a painful experience for the Harmon family to be cast out from their beloved church, but they were not willing to give up the truth for just a place in the church. The truth was so precious to them that nothing could convince them to cast it away. Though all may forsake them they would stand firm.
This same spirit filled many of the Millerites as their churches began to close their doors to the Advent message.  Charles Fitch, who gave up his pastoral position to become a Millerite preacher, summed it up this way: “I knew that the world would reproach me. I knew that God's professed people would cast out my name as evil. I knew that the friends whom I loved most dearly would many of them, perhaps, weep over me as lost. I knew that the confidence of the churches with which I stood connected, would be withdrawn from me, and perhaps all my past prospects of a maintenance for myself and my household be entirely cut off; but I knew that my Redeemer lived-and that all power was given unto Him in heaven and on earth and that I had only to ‘seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness’ (Matthew 6:33), nothing doubting that ‘He who feeds the fowls of the air, and clothes the lilies of the field, as Solomon was never arrayed in all his glory’ (Matthew 6:26,28-29), would surely feed and clothe me and mine.’”  {1840 CF, LPN 1.57}  
                Even though the Millerites were being cast out of their churches, and hated by their own brethren, Yet they carried the message on- afraid of neither friend or foe.  As these faithful watchmen blew their trumpets to warn the world of its coming doom, they also looked for the soon appearing of their precious Savior, who was believed to come anywhere from the spring of 1843 to the spring of 1844.
                But as month after month slipped by, and no Jesus appeared, some lost their faith and turned against the truths they had once loved. Then as the very spring of 1844 came and went and still no Christ had arrived, many of the faithful believers could no longer bear the test and also left the message to bitterly oppose it and its followers. All were disappointed, but some held firm their faith.  They could not understand why their Jesus had not come, but they determined that they would trust Him to the end.
“We were perplexed and disappointed, yet did not renounce our faith. Many still clung to the hope that Jesus would not long delay His coming; the word of the Lord was sure, it could not fail. We felt that we had done our duty, we had lived up to our precious faith; we were disappointed, but not discouraged. The signs of the times denoted that the end of all things was at hand; we must watch and hold ourselves in readiness for the coming of the Master at any time. We must wait with hope and trust, not neglecting the assembling of ourselves together for instruction, encouragement, and comfort, that our light might shine forth into the darkness of the world.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White p. 49 
These faithful Bible students reopened their Bibles to examine were they could have possibly gone wrong in there reckoning of the time.
“When the year 1843 entirely passed away unmarked by the advent of Jesus, those who had looked in faith for his appearing were for a time left in doubt and perplexity. But notwithstanding their 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 of 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.”  The Spirit of Prophecy Volume 4 p. 241.1
In July of 1844, a camp meeting was held in Exeter New Hamster and was well attended by the disappointed faithful Millerites.  This camp meeting would later be considered one of the greatest camp meetings ever held and the one that was responsible for the sounding of the “Midnight Cry.”  Here is how it happened:
“On Sunday forenoon Elder Joseph Bates was preaching, when a man came riding at full speed into the camp, placed his horse where they kept their stock, then came into the audience, and seated himself by the family of Elder John Couch, and with open Bible, in a whisper, explained to them the cause of their disappointment, and the midnight cry that was now due.”
“Brother Bates was using as an illustration of their course in patient waiting, his experience on nearing home on a sea voyage, after a long absence. The power of God came upon Sister Couch, as she arose, and beckoned to Brother Bates. He said, "Sister, what is it?" She replied, "What you are saying is all very good, but here is a man who has light on the midnight cry." "Well," said Brother Bates, "then let him come up here on the platform, and give it to the people," and he sat down.”
“The minister who thus walked into the stand was S. S. Snow, who in a few sentences gave them the path of his midnight cry message. Elder James White was in that audience; I was not there, but got my light on the subject from those who were there.” 
Brother Snow thus questioned them; "Where are we in our Advent experience?"
Answer from the audience: "In the tarrying time."
Question: "How long was the vision to tarry?"
Answer: "Until midnight"
Question: "What is a day in prophecy?"
Answer: "A year."
Question: "Then what would a night be?"
Answer: "Six months."
Question: "Then what would Midnight be?"
Answer: "Three months."
Question: "How long have we been in the tarrying time?"
Answer: "Just three months."
“He said, "Then it is just the midnight now, and I am here with the midnight cry." In a few sentences he explained that it was the fall of 457 that the decree went forth, and so they were short six months in their reckoning, showing them that the 2300 days would terminate Oct. 22, 1844, instead of the spring as they had previously supposed. Then, in a strong voice he said, "Behold the Bridegroom cometh on the tenth day of the seventh month, Oct. 22, 1844. Go ye out to meet Him!"  The Great Advent Movement: Its Rise and Progress by John N. Loughborough  p. 522- 523

Join us for part 6 next time. 

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.