Sabbath, March 3, 2007
TWO GROUPS OF ADVENTISTS
1. What was the result of this great disappointment?
John 21:1-3 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
“Almost immediately following the disappointment of October 22, many believers and ministers who had associated themselves with the Advent message dropped away…. Others were swept into fanaticism. About half of the Adventist group clung to their confidence that Christ would soon appear in the clouds of heaven. In the experience of the derision and ridicule heaped upon them by the world, they thought they saw evidences that the day of the grace for the world had passed. These people believed firmly that the return of the Lord was very near.” –Early Writings, p. xv, xvi.
2. What different opinions developed among the Adventists?
Matthew 28:16, 17 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
“But as the days moved into weeks and the Lord did not appear, a division of opinion developed, and this group divided. One part, numerically large, took the position that prophecy was not fulfilled in 1844, and that there must have been a mistake in reckoning the prophetic periods. They began to fix their attention on some specific future date for the event. There were others, a smaller group, the forefathers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who were so certain of the evidences of the work of the Spirit of God in the great Advent Awakening that to deny that the movement was the work of the Lord would, they believed, do despite of the Spirit of grace. This they felt they could not do.” –Early Writings, p. xvi.
A NEW ERA OF VISIONS
3. What did God provide for His faithful people at that time?
Revelation 10:11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
“The experience of this company of believers, and the work they were to do, they found portrayed in the last verses of Revelation 10. The Advent expectation was to be revived. God had led them. He was still leading them. In their midst was a young woman, Ellen Harmon by name, who in December, 1844, barely two months after the Disappointment, received ”–Early Writings, p. xvi.
4. What did God’s people understand from that vision?
Revelation 21:2, 3 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
“In this vision the Lord portrayed to her the travels of the Advent people to the New Jerusalem. While this vision did not explain the reason for the Disappointment, which explanation could and did come from Bible study, it gave them assurance that God was leading them and would continue to lead them as they journeyed toward the heavenly city.” –Early Writings, p. xvi.
5. What was revealed in Ellen Harmon’s first vision?
Matthew 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
“At the beginning of the symbolic pathway revealed to youthful Ellen was a bright light, identified by the angel as the midnight cry, an expression linked with the climactic preaching in the summer and autumn of 1844 of the imminent Second Advent. In this vision she saw Christ as leading the people to the city of God. Their conversation indicated that the journey would be longer than they had anticipated. Some lost sight of Jesus and fell off the pathway, but those who kept their eyes on Jesus and the city reached their destination in safety. It is this that we find presented in ‘My First Vision’ on pages 13-17.” –Early Writings, p. xvi, xvii.
THE DEFINING DIVISION AMONG ADVENTISTS
6. What has been stated about the smaller group?
Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
“At first only a few were identified with this group who were moving forward in advancing light. By the year 1846 they reckoned their ”–Early Writings, p. xvii.
7. What information do we have about the other group of Adventists of that time?
Matthew 23:37, 38 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
“The larger group who turned from confidence in the fulfillment of prophecy in 1844 numbered approximately thirty thousand. Their leaders came together in 1845 in a conference in Albany, New York, April 29 to May 1, at which time they restudied their positions. By formal action they went on record as warning against those who claim ‘special illumination,’ those who teach ‘Jewish fables,’ and those who establish ‘new tests’ (Advent Herald, May 14, 1845). Thus they closed the door to light on the Sabbath and the Spirit of Prophecy. They were confident that prophecy had not been fulfilled in 1844, and some set time for the termination of the 2300-day period in the future. Various times were set, but one after another they passed by…. Some of these groups soon faded out. The group that survived became the Advent Christian Church. Such are identified in this book as the ‘first day Adventists’ or ‘nominal Adventists.’” – Early Writings, p. xvii.