Sabbath, June 9, 2007
A TESTING TIME
1. What message was given by the Spirit of Prophecy to the Laodicean church in 1859?
Revelation 3:14-22 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
“Says the True Witness: ‘I know thy works.’ The third angel is leading up a people, step by step, higher and higher. At every step they will be tested.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 190.
AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
3.What trials came upon the Seventh-day Adventists in 1861?
Psalm 46:1-6 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
“The Civil War began when the guns of the South fired on the Federal Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and ended with the surrender of General Lee at Appomattox on April 9, and of General Johnston at Greensboro on April 26, 1865.” –American Civil War, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1961 edition, vol. 1, p. 753.
“Even after Lincoln’s inauguration, after Fort Sumter had fallen, after South Carolina had declared secession and six States and yet four more had followed her, when the President called for seventy-five thou¬sand volunteers to suppress the movement of secession, the response of the people was almost in holiday mood. The young soldiers waved gaily from their trains, crying, ‘We’ll be back in six weeks.’” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 317.
3. What test did the Seventh-day Adventists face during the Civil War?
Psalm 48:1-5 1 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge. For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.
“To the little band of Seventh-day Adventists the draft brought great fear and distress. They were in faith noncombatants, and the banner of their faith was the Sabbath. Neither of these convictions would be honored in the army.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 322.
4. What provision was made in the United States’ law for certain religious denominations?
Psalm 46:7-11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
“Provision was made in the law for noncombatant service of those who ‘are conscientiously opposed to the bearing of arms, and who are prohibited from doing so by the rules and articles of faith and practice of such religious denomination’; but Seventh-day Adventists had as yet no such standing before the law. When the war began, they were not a corporate body.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding,
5. How did Seventh-day Adventists meet this problem?
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
“In the year 1861 they effected their first organization, the publishing house, and also formed the first conference, Michigan; during the next year seven other State conferences were formed; but it was 1863, in the midst of the war, when the General Conference was organized. The value of organization was immediately apparent, not only in the internal affairs of the church, but in its external relations. Had there been no organized church, it could not have spoken for its people to the Government, and there could have been no recognition of its noncombatant principles, which have borne such good fruit since then.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol.
6. What other provision was made for conscientious objectors?
Deuteronomy 20:8 And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.
“The law also provided, as an alternative, that if the noncombatant paid $300 ‘commutation,’ the Government would furnish a substitute soldier. This plan was resorted to by many who were not Seventh-day Adventists, and a fund was raised by popular subscription to help worthy poor men thus to avoid military service.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 324.
7. What problems still existed during the Civil War?
Psalm 37:1-11 Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
“As in later times, some of them found that subordinate officers were not always ready to grant what the War Department had ordered; appeals were difficult and uncertain; and not a little trouble and injustice resulted, though there is no record of the extreme penalty of death being enforced, as was often threatened.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 324.
CHRISTIANS AND MILITARY OPERATIONS
8. What message was given to God’s people at that time?
Psalm 121:1-8 I Will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.
“I was shown that God’s people, who are His peculiar treasure, cannot engage in this perplexing war, for it is opposed to every principle of their faith. In the army they cannot obey the truth and at the same time obey the requirements of their officers. There would be a continual violation of conscience. Worldly men are governed by worldly principles. They can appreciate no other. Worldly policy and public opinion comprise the prin¬ciple of action that governs them and leads them to practice the form of rightdoing.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 361.