Sabbath, February 24, 2007
“WATCH AND PRAY”
1. What do we know about one little group of the Millerites in New York State?
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
“Port Gibson, New York, is a little town on the Erie Canal, about midway between Syracuse and Buffalo, and some thirty miles east of Rochester….
“It was the post office for the little company of Advent believers, mostly farmers, who looked to Hiram Edson as their leader. He owned a good farm a mile south of town, and his house was commonly their meeting place. A close friend and associate of Edson’s was a physician, Dr. Franklin B. Hahn, who lived in Canandaigua, on the lake of the same name, about fifteen miles southwest of Port Gibson.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol.
2. What was the experience of this little company on October 22, 1844?
Mark 13:35-37 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
“This company of believers on the twenty-second day of October met at Hiram Edson’s to wait for Christ to appear in glory. With hymns of thanksgiving and fervent expectation, with exhortation and review of evidences, they passed each hour in momentary hope that the Lord would come. Would it be in the morning? The frost of the dawn melted under the rising sun. Might it be at noon? The meridian was reached, and the sun began to decline. Surely the evening! But the shades of night fell lowering. Still there was hope: ‘For ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.’
“But midnight passed. There was prayer, there was apprehension, there were glistening eyes. The cock crowed; but, announcer of the coming day, he made no heraldry of the Advent. At last the morning broke; no more could they pretend the twenty-second day. That day was past. Christ had not come. In Hiram Edson’s farmhouse there was weeping, as in thousands of other meeting places on that day.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol.
3. What questions and answers did they exchange among themselves that morning?
2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
“They questioned one another: Had the Scriptures failed? Was there no reward of saints? Was there to be no judgment day? Was the Bible false? Could it be there was no God?
“‘Not so, brethren,’ spoke Hiram Edson; ‘There is a God in heaven. He has made Himself known to us in blessing, in forgiving, in redeeming; and He will not fail us now. Sometime soon this mystery will be solved. We shall know what God’s purpose is, and this dark secret shall be made as plain as day.’” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 99.
CHRIST ENTERED THE TRUE SANCTUARY
4. What was the first new experience of this little company on that morning?
Daniel 9:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
“As the dawn [October 23, 1844] came most of the believers slipped away to their now desolate homes. To those who remained, Hiram Edson said, ‘Let us go out to the barn and pray.’ They went out and entered the almost empty granary; for the corn had not been husked, and yet stood in shocks in the fields. They entered and shut the door behind them. There in the crisp air of that late October morning they poured out their souls in anguished supplication that God would not desert them and their fellows in this hour of trial, nor hide from them His face and His design. They prayed until they felt the witness of the Spirit that their disappointment would be explained.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-Day Adventists, vol. 1, pp. 99, 101.
5. What did Hiram Edson see in the sky that morning?
Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
“After breakfast Edson said to one who remained (some say it was Crosier), ‘Let us go out to comfort the brethren with their assurance.’ Perhaps because it was a shortcut to their first destination, perhaps because they shunned the road, where they might meet mocking enemies, they struck back through the farm, crossing a field where Edson’s corn still stood in the shocks. About midway across the field Hiram Edson stopped as if a hand had been placed on his shoulder. As he lifted his face to the skies, there flashed upon his understanding the meaning of the sanctuary in heaven. Recalling the arrangement of the Mosaic sanctuary, he saw it as a type of the sanctuary in heaven, and realized that as Christ was the minister of the heavenly sanctuary, His ministration would change in due course of time from the holy place to the most holy.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 101.
6. What was Hiram Edson’s final conclusion after having this vision?
Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
“He wrote of this occasion: ‘I saw distinctly and clearly that instead of our High Priest coming out of the most holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days, He for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary; and that He had a work to perform in the most holy before coming to this earth.’” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol.
7. What was the position of the Millerite leaders in relation to the sanctuary question?
Hebrews 10:19, 20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.
“Edson and his friends were doubtless in great debt to Fitch, Snow, and others who had begun to study the sanctuary question and who had led in the great step forward of correctly identifying the sanctuary. With the background of this advanced position, the gap between the early Adventists’ understanding of the sanctuary and that revealed in Edson’s vision, which became the Seventh-day Adventist position, was lessened.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 102.