Your application is being submitted.

Please do NOT hit the back button or refresh the page.

[ close ]

The Advent Movement | Survey 3

“The Foundation Of Our Faith”

We will begin with 2 Timothy 2:19. This is our third study in Advent Movement Survey. We are going to study the foundation of our faith. This text says:

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure. – 2 Timothy 2:19

[*If you have Early Writings, you will note that the the name of the chapter that the following quote is taken from is called “A Firm Platform”.]

I was shown three steps– the first, second, and third angels’ messages. Said my accompanying angel, ‘Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received. – Early Writings, pg. 258

“Where are those messages found in the Bible? Revelation 14. And here she presents them as what? Three steps. Together they make what? A firm what? Platform. Now, you can see that in order to make a platform, they would all have to be under the platform, wouldn’t they? I mean, the first message would have to go clear on through. And that’s exactly what it does. The first message that began to be preached by William Miller back in 1831 is still being preached, right? The second message that they preached in 1844, that Babylon is fallen with the midnight cry, that’s present truth right on through. And the third message from 1844 on.”

“But, notice this is called a what? Platform. What kind of platform? A firm platform. I wonder why it’s so firm? That’s what I wanted to study with you. What is it that makes it so firm? Sister White has more than once said, “We are as certain that we have the truth as that God lives.” It is wonderful to be certain, isn’t it? What makes us certain? And there are two great lines of evidence that help us to know that and we want to note how they’re summed up here in Volume 8, page 297″:

Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith–the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for the last fifty years. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, pg. 297

This was written early in the twentieth century. Now here she uses the word “foundation” again. The foundations, she says, were laid by what? Prayerful study of the word and by revelation. Is the Bible the foundation of our faith? That’s right.

“We want to see in our lesson today what part Bible study had in laying the foundations of our faith, and what part revelation had. Was there revelation back there in the early days of this movement? What’s another name for that? The Spirit of Prophecy, or the visions of Ellen Harmon, after her marriage, Ellen G. White.”

“Now, let me say, as we enter into this study, that this is one of the points on which you will be questioned and criticized sooner or later. There are those who charge that the reason we, Seventh-day Adventists, believe and teach certain things, is because Ellen G. White’s visions teach them, and we have to defend those visions. That’s why we believe and teach certain things. Sometimes people in an endeavor to combat that criticism, try to take the position that the visions have nothing to do with our beliefs. But, you want to keep in your mind the question as we study, do the visions have anything to do with the foundation, and if so, what? This indicates that the visions do, because it says”:

Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith–the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the word and by revelation… – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 8, pg. 297

Then did revelation have something to do with it? What is mentioned first here? Prayerful study of the word. There is a relation between these two things. These both entered into the beginnings of this work. Now, we will go to Selected Messages. This is taken from “Series B, Special Testimonies”:

Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid. My husband, Elder Joseph Bates, Father Pierce, Elder Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, were among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844 searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. I met with them, and we studied and prayed earnestly. Often we remained together until late at night, and sometimes through the entire night, praying for light and studying the Word. Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible. – Selected Messages, Book 1, pg. 206

What did they come for?

In order that they might know its meaning and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, ‘We can do nothing more,’ the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood. – Selected Messages, Book 1, pgs. 206, 207

Now, how did they get light on Christ, His mission, and His priesthood? First of all by doing what? Studying the Bible, praying earnestly. And then, along with that, what did God in His mercy do? Gave Sister White visions.

“Now, you notice on the occasions that she is speaking of here, the visions came when they came to the point where they said what? They could do nothing more. That is a wonderful passage, dear friends.”

Again and again these brethren came together to study the Bible, in order that they might know its meaning, and be prepared to teach it with power. When they came to the point in their study where they said, ‘We can do nothing more,’ the Spirit of the Lord would come upon me, I would be taken off in vision, and a clear explanation of the passages we had been studying would be given me, with instruction as to how we were to labor and teach effectively. Thus light was given that helped us to understand the scriptures in regard to Christ, His mission, and His priesthood” – Selected Messages, Book 1, pgs. 206, 207

“You notice the balance there, friends? Who is the leader of this church? Christ, He is the head of the church and by His Holy Spirit, He is leading this church. And notice, the visions were never given, and were never intended to be given to take the place of Bible study, earnest study. Never. The visions are not a substitute for hard work, in digging into the mine of Bible truth. But, nevertheless, they came to points where in spite of all their study and prayer, with all their study and prayer, they couldn’t get all the answers, at least they didn’t  get them. Then God, in His love and mercy, gave His handmaiden visions from heaven. And she said those were a clear explanation of the passages they had been studying.”

“Just like a teacher in school – the students are left to wrestle with certain things. They recite. But oh, so often the teacher sees that they haven’t quite gotten the point, or at least not all of it, isn’t that true? And there is a time when the teacher says, “Well, you take your book and look into that some more.” But there are times that the teacher says, “Well let me explain that to you.” Does the teacher add anything to the truth of the arithmetic book when he explains? Not a bit. But he sometimes adds a great deal to the students’ comprehension of it, doesn’t he? Oh, yes. It makes all the difference between failure and success. And so in the early days of this movement, the foundations were laid by prayerful study of the word and by revelation.”

“Now, to bring out clearly what we mean and what we don’t mean, I want to refer to a parallel movement; that’s the Mormon church, Latter Day Saints, as they call themselves. I spent several years working among those dear people up in Utah. Now they have the Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine and Covenants. Those are the four books they have. They accept Joseph Smith as the prophet. But now when you listen to a Mormon elder, he will quote his prophet just the same as he quotes Paul or Isaiah or any of the others. And in fact, there are things in the Mormon religion that they make no attempt to prove out of the Bible.”

“You and I, of course, do not accept the idea that Joseph Smith is a prophet. But if we should accept him as a prophet, we would have to believe a number of things that are not in the Bible. And as I say, that doesn’t bother a true Mormon at all, because to him the writings of Joseph Smith are on a par with the Bible. He is a latter-day prophet, and as such is to be listened to, just the same as Moses or Samuel or Peter. So in teaching, they use the writings of Joseph Smith.”

“Now, when you and I go out to preach this message and study with people in their homes, when we try to make clear to people the second coming of Christ, or the Sabbath, or the sanctuary, do we use the writings of [Sis.] Ellen White to convince them of that truth? Why not? We don’t have to. That’s right, and that isn’t the way to do it. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. We are to search the scriptures with people. You remember that Great Controversy, page 595 says:

But God will have a people … to maintain the Bible, and the Bible only, as the standard of all doctrines and the basis of all reforms. – Great Controversy, pg. 595

“That’s the true Protestant position, isn’t it? And we are true Protestants in that. The Catholic church has the Bible and tradition, the Bible and the Pope. And they end up, of course, making tradition above the Bible and the Pope above them all, don’t they? The Mormons have the Bible and Joseph Smith and they end up making Joseph Smith above the Bible. Christian Scientists have the Bible and Mrs. Eddie and they end up accepting science and health as the key to the scriptures as really of greater authority than the Bible.”

“Seventh-day Adventists do not do that with the writings of [Sis.] Ellen White. [Sis.] Ellen G. White herself teaches that the Bible is the measuring stick. It’s the standard. It’s the yardstick, Instead of testing the Bible by the visions, we test the visions by the Bible. And so in the formative days of this message, it was very important (Mark this point!) that the great foundation principles of this message should be seen where? In the Bible, and that the visions which were given should lead people to see those truths where? In the Bible. That was the purpose of the visions. Not as a new rule of faith. No. But to correct those who erred from Bible truth and lead people to a clear understanding of Bible truth. Oh, I am so thankful for that, aren’t you?”

On the other hand, when we say that we believe the Bible and the Bible only, that doesn’t cut out the visions, because the Bible itself calls for the visions:

The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. – Revelation 12:17

And [Revelation] 19:10 says that the testimony of Jesus is what? The Spirit of Prophecy. Now, is that a part of the Bible? Does the Bible itself, then, call for the Spirit of Prophecy in and among the remnant? That’s right? And again Acts 2:17,18:

In the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. – Acts 2:17

“So the Bible itself calls for visions, prophesyings when? In the last days. Therefore (Mark this!) when we believe in visions in the last days we are only believing what the Bible says. And he who denies or ignores visions and prophesyings in the last days, denies or ignores that part of the Bible which calls for them, right? Yes. So we can believe in visions and dreams and not set aside the Bible. In fact, a failure to believe in true visions and true dreams of the Spirit of Prophecy would set aside that part of the Bible, which calls for them. Is that clear?”

Now, when we go back to the beginnings of our work as a movement in 1844, we find several distinctive features of the doctrines of our message coming into focus and being linked together in the first few years following 1844. I would like to have you think of five special features of our message.

The first is in the name Adventist. Our pioneers all believed, and we believe in what? The second coming of Christ.

Then, there is the sanctuary. That was the keynote of the 1844 message. The sanctuary will be cleansed. And when they came to a true understanding of what the sanctuary is, where it is, and what its cleansing meant, that became the great keynote of the third angel’s message.

Third was the Sabbath. That’s where we get the name Seventh-day Adventist.
And fourth is the Spirit of Prophecy. That is the second of those distinguishing features in Revelation 12:17, the testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy.

Fifth is the state of the dead, the nature of man.

“You might think of them as five S’s, if you want an easy way to remember them: The second coming, the sanctuary, the Sabbath, the Spirit of Prophecy, the state of the dead. I like to help people to remember them by thinking of the fingers of the hand. The thumb, the second coming and it touches all the other fingers. It is the great keynote. It is what got us started, isn’t it? Yes that’s right That was the trumpet call of the first angel’s message, Jesus is coming. Then the sanctuary like a great pointer finger pointing to the temple of God in heaven. Then the Sabbath as the great prominent mark or seal, that middle finger. Then the Spirit of Prophecy and the state of the dead as the fourth and fifth fingers. Yes, I thought of it as a hand clenched for attack or extended in welcome invitation.”

“Very well, now we will not have time in [future studies] to introduce how all of these came into our movement. You are familiar already with the second coming message preached by William Miller and all of the Adventist preachers, up to October 22, 1844. And the great lines of prophecy in Daniel and Revelation, and Matthew 24, that focus on this last generation and make us know that Christ’s coming is near, even at the doors. But I would like to notice especially, tonight, these distinctive features of the sanctuary, the Sabbath, and the Spirit of Prophecy, their relation to one another, and how they came together. We will link them in our study of the history with certain names.”

“When we think of the Spirit of Prophecy, of course, we think of Ellen Harmon. Were there any other manifestations of the prophetic gift in the earlier part of this message? Yes. William Foy and Hazen Foss. Before the disappointment, they had been given visions. In fact, each of them was given this vision of the three steps. They didn’t understand it. And then as we shall see, there was a most precious manifestation of a prophetic vision, it might be called, certainly a view, on the morning after the disappointment there in Western New York. We will speak of that presently.”

“Various ones of the pioneers were given dreams which they regarded as being given them of God. Loughborough had this experience. Joseph Bates did. And others. But of course, towering far above all those, we might say incidental manifestations of the gift, was the great gift of the Spirit of Prophecy given to Ellen Harmon and after marriage, Ellen G. White, through the seventy years and more, of her work as the Lord’s messenger. Now, let us trace for a moment how the sanctuary message came to us, and how it found its connection with the Sabbath and with the Spirit of Prophecy as given through Ellen G. White. The day of the disappointment was observed by the little band at Port Gibson, New York, as it was in other places. The Adventist believers gathering to wait the coming of the Lord. They gathered at the home of Hiram Edson, a farmer-preacher. He was the leader of the little group there.”

“As the day came and went and the night wore on and they realized that they had been disappointed, their hearts were broken. I want to read Hiram Edson’s own account of it as he wrote it later. The brethren at Washington have his manuscript account. What I am reading from is quoted in the Review and Herald”:

“Our expectations were raised high, and thus we looked for our coming Lord until the clock tolled twelve at midnight. The day had then passed and our disappointment had become a certainty. Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before. It seemed that the loss of all earthly friends could have no comparison. We wept and wept till the day dawned.” {Review and Herald, June 23, 1921}

Think of it, friends, weeping from midnight until the day dawned.

“I mused in my heart saying, ‘My advent experience has been the brightest of all my Christian experience. Has the Bible proved a failure? Is there no God, no heaven, no golden city, no paradise? Is all this but a cunningly devised fable? Is there no reality to our fondest hopes and expectations?’ I began to feel there might be light and help for us in our distress. I said to some of the brethren, ‘Let us go to the barn.’” {Review and Herald, June 23, 1921}

What do you suppose they went for?

“We entered the granary, shut the doors about us and bowed before the Lord. We prayed earnestly for we felt our necessity. We continued in earnest prayer until the witness of the Spirit was given that our prayers were accepted and that light should be given, our disappointment explained, made clear and satisfactory.” 

“After breakfast I said to one of my brethren, ‘Let us go and see and encourage some of our brethren.’ We started, and while passing through a large field I was stopped about midway of the field. Heaven seemed open to my view and I saw distinctly and clearly that instead of our High Priest coming out of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month at the end of the twenty-three hundred days, He for the first time, entered on that day into the second apartment of that sanctuary, and that He had a work to perform in the most holy place before coming to the earth.” {Review and Herald, June 23, 1921}

“How did he get it, friends? God showed it to him, in answer to what? Prayer. Now, they had been studying. They had been studying right up to that awful disappointment. But, oh, in that darkness of despair, as they cried to their Lord from that barn, the heart of God was touched, and He sent His angel to show them what had happened. I thank the Lord for that, don’t you?”

“Now, the young man who was accompanying Brother Edson on that trip that morning, as he came to the edge of the field and looked around, he didn’t see Brother Edson with him. He looked back and there was Brother Edson, in the middle of the field, looking up. He said, “What is the matter, Brother Edson?” He says, “The Lord is answering our morning prayer.” He came up to where he was, and told him what the Lord had shown him; that instead of the High Priest coming to the earth, He had gone into the most holy place to cleanse the sanctuary, to receive His kingdom; that He had a work to do there, and we were to wait for Him when He should return from the wedding.”

“So they went and cheered the brethren, went home and took their Bibles and began to study the sanctuary. There were three, especially, that studied – Hiram Edson, a Dr. Hahn, and a young man by the name of Crosier. O. R. L. Crosier. At the end of a number of months of most careful study, Crosier wrote up their conclusions in a paper called “The Law of Moses”,  but later called “The Sanctuary”. It was published in a little paper that they got out, called “The Day Dawned”. Later it was re-printed in a paper called “The Day Star” in Cincinnati. Still later, re-printed in the “Advent Review”, which was gotten out by James White and others, seven years after the passing of the time. So it had quite a wide circulation.”

“Now, one who studies that paper of Crosier’s (and I hope all of you who have the Advent Review, either in this book form or in the facsimile form that some of you have – I hope you will study carefully Crosier’s article), will be interested in how clear his reasoning is even at those early days in the message, and that was before those people knew anything about the visions of Ellen Harmon. This was out in western New York. Sister Harmon was up in Portland, Maine. She didn’t know of their work, they didn’t know of her work. As we shall see, Jesus was giving her some visions, but they were out there in western New York studying, studying, studying.”

“God had given them a ray of light. They had followed that. They were studying in Hebrews and Leviticus, and digging out this wonderful material on the work in the holy place, the work in the most holy place, and what was really going on in heaven.  As they got this information out in these papers that I have mentioned, copies of that fell into the hands of James White and of Joseph Bates. Correspondence was had back and forth between them. And before many years had gone by, we find Joseph Bates and James White, with his wife, Ellen White, fully embracing the glorious light on the sanctuary that had been studied out by Edson and Crosier.”

“Now, let us see how the Spirit of Prophecy helped in that. You will remember that Ellen Harmon had her first vision in December 1844 in Portland, Maine. At that time she had given up the midnight cry and the shut door in the past, and she was looking, with others, to the future for it. But the first vision showed that the midnight cry was what? Truth, vital truth, light for them.  A few weeks later, in the middle of February 1845, she was given a view of the two apartments of the heavenly sanctuary. That is the vision that I was referring to that I had you study in Early Writings, page 54 to 56. At that time the vision was called “The Coming of the Bridegroom.” In this book it is called “End of the 2300 Days.” Both names are correct. Now, in that, she saw Christ going from the holy place to the most holy place.”

“I want you to notice what she says in a letter to Joseph Bates, about how much she knew on the subject, on that particular point, when she had that vision.  What I am going to read from now, is in this excellent little booklet called Ellen G. White, Messenger to the Remnant. It is available from the Ellen G. White publications. It was written and gotten together by Elder Arthur White, who has done some excellent work in assembling this material.  This is Sister White’s statement regarding this vision. This is page 37. About the middle of February she was given this view of Jesus, rising from His mediatorial throne and going to the holiest, as Bridegroom to receive His kingdom. Now she says about this”:

Previous to this I had no light on the coming of the Bridegroom. I did not hear a lecture or a word in any way relating to the Bridegroom’s going to the holiest. – Ellen G. White, Messenger to the Remnant, pg. 37 

“Where did she personally get the light on the bridegroom going from the holy to the most holy place? Where did she get it? She got it in vision. And it came to her as fresh, new light. But remember, already for four months the little group over at Port Gibson, New York, had been studying the very same thing, as Edson and Crosier and Hahn dug out the wonderful texts in the Bible, dealing with the work in the holy place and the most holy place. Now, see how God brings together the result of the Bible study by the group over in New York and the result of the visions up in Maine. Watch now how this happens.”

“Let’s go back. In October, 1844, Edson saw that Jesus had gone from the holy to the most holy, and that caused them to begin at once to study the Bible, to dig into the Bible. Then, Crosier got out the article we have referred to, first in “The Day Dawn” and then in “The Day Star”. Now that article was published in “The Day Star” in an extra, dated February 7, 1846. I would just like for you to put down three dates here, February 7, 1846. The issue preceding that, January 24, 1846, contained the first vision of Ellen Harmon. An issue afterward, soon afterward, the March 14 issue, carried the second Ellen Harmon communication which presented her view of Jesus going from the holy to the most holy. Let’s see if we can get that before us here, so that we get the connection.”

“The views of this “The Day Star” that are brought to view. All of them in what year? 1846. January 24, this is the first E. G. White vision. We had better say Ellen Harmon because she hadn’t been married yet. (You understand this is not the date of the vision; this is the date of the publication in this Adventist paper, not a Seventh-day Adventist paper, but it was a paper that was being circulated among the advent believers.) Then in the Crosier article – this had the article, you see, that brought to view the Bible proof of the work in the holy place and the work in the most holy place. Then the March 14 vision on the sanctuary. Now, remember, when this was given, she was writing here a vision that she had been given a year before.”

“I want to ask you something. Why do you think the Lord had delayed the publishing of this vision until this article came out in that paper? Can you see any light in that? Do you see how that, as the people studied this issue, and looked up all those Bible texts that Crosier brought together, they became established in what the Bible said on it? And then when they read this vision from Ellen Harmon, those who had already seen her first vision in the January 24 issue, and had accepted it, were led to see that this vision confirmed what Crosier had written.”

“Remember, these people had not met each other. Crosier and Edson didn’t get their light from Ellen Harmon at all. As far as I know, they didn’t even know she existed. Ellen Harmon said when she had that vision, she had not heard one thing on the coming of the Bridegroom from the holy to the most holy place. There is a verse in the Bible about “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established,” and that is beautifully demonstrated again and again in the early days of this message.”

In this Word to the Little Flock, which some of you have, you will find an interesting statement. This Word to the Little Flock came out in 1847. That’s still a year later. So I want you to notice what Sister White says at that time in this Word to the Little Flock:

I believe the sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the twenty- three hundred days is the New Jerusalem temple of which Christ is the minister. The Lord showed me in vision more than one year ago that Brother Crosier had the true light on the cleansing of the sanctuary, and that it was his will that Brother Crosier should write out the view which he gave us in “The Day Star” extra, February 7, 1846. I feel fully authorized by the Lord to recommend that extra to every saint. – Word to the Little Flock, pg. 12

“Isn’t that nice? And so, those who had come to recognize in Ellen Harmon the manifestation of the Spirit of Prophecy, had, you might say, a direct testimony from Jesus, from Heaven, confirming what Crosier had written, based on the investigation of the Bible on the sanctuary. Well, I hope you will take time to read the very interesting study that Elder White has written here in this book, Messenger to the Remnant, pages 34 to 37, on this relationship to the development of doctrine.”

“All the light on the sanctuary didn’t come through Crosier and through Edson. As the believers got together, James and Ellen White, Edson, and Bates, they studied more and more into this subject of the sanctuary; the priesthood of Christ and His work there, and that formed the basis of what we now have in this book Great Controversy in the chapters “What is the Sanctuary,” “In the Holy of Holies,” and “God’s Law Immutable.” You will find it also in Early Writings in those chapters on the third angel’s message and the sanctuary. In other words, as our believers studied, as our pioneers dug into these things in the Bible, God kept coming to them with revelations from heaven, to correct any erroneous ideas, and to lead them into an appreciation of the application of the ancient sanctuary service to what Jesus is doing in heaven.”

“How does the Sabbath fit into this? What relation does the Sabbath and the Spirit of Prophecy have to each other, and what relation does the Sabbath and the sanctuary have to each other? Most of us, when we think of the beginning of the Sabbath truth in this message, we think of Washington, New Hampshire. We think of the Farnsworth family. We think of Rachel Oakes, the Seventh-day Baptist who was in 1844 in Washington, New Hampshire. It is a very interesting story of Elder Frederick Wheeler holding the communion service in the little church there. The people there were Adventists. They believed Jesus was about to come. As Elder Wheeler gave the communion, he spoke of the importance of keeping the commandments of God, and Rachel Oaks felt almost like standing up in the meeting and talking to him about it, for they were all Sunday keepers, but her. And before long she did talk to him, privately. Read the story in Elder Spaulding’s wonderful chapter in Captains of the Host, page 107, called “Lift up the Banner.”

“As Elder Wheeler was challenged by this Seventh-day Baptist woman over the question of really keeping all the commandments, he went to his Bible, and there he could find no proof for Sunday- keeping. Thank the Lord, he began to keep the Sabbath. Others did. There are various incidents of how the truth spread from that place.”

“Bates, reading Preble’s article on the Sabbath, hearing about the group up in Washington, New Hampshire, made a trip up there in 1845. He was greatly impressed. And not long after, he began to keep the Sabbath, and shortly to write about it.”

“In 1846, James and Ellen White heard Bates present the Sabbath question, but they did not, at first, accept it. Sister White was the Lord’s messenger in this movement for nearly two years before she accepted the Sabbath. And even when she and her husband accepted it, (they accepted it on the Bible evidence that Bates presented) they did not see the importance of it as they saw it later. In fact, at first, Ellen White tells us that she thought that Brother Bates erred in putting so much emphasis on the Sabbath, in dwelling on it.”

“Now watch, how the Spirit of Prophecy comes in. Then the Lord showed her several months after she began to keep the Sabbath, in vision, Jesus in the sanctuary. She saw Him open the ark. She looked at the ten commandments, and the first table shone brighter than the second, and the fourth commandment shone brighter than all. Read the vision there in Early Writings. You are familiar with it, I guess. Page 255 is part of it. So having embraced the Sabbath through the work of Bates, James and Ellen White, through the visions given Sister White, were led to see its great importance. Also, Ellen White was given great light linking the Sabbath with the sanctuary and the other truths of the message.”

“I want to read a statement, or two, from Sister White on this. This is in a letter she wrote in 1874, and it is on page 34 of this little book, Ellen G. White, Messenger to the Remnant“:

“I believed the truth upon the Sabbath question before I had seen anything in vision in reference to the Sabbath. It was months after I had commenced keeping the Sabbath before I was shown its importance and its place in the third angel’s message” Ellen G. White, Messenger to the Remnant, page 34.
Do we keep the Sabbath, then, because Sister White was shown in vision about the Sabbath? Did she keep the Sabbath for that reason? No. But oh, on the other hand, did those visions that Sister White had, did they help us to see certain glory and beauty in the Sabbath, and linking it with other phases of the message that were not at first discerned? Very definitely. So, God brought together Joseph Bates, who was pushing the Sabbath; Sister White, who was being given the Spirit of Prophecy; and thus the commandments of God and the Testimony of Jesus were brought together.”

“Meanwhile, as we have already seen, those who were teaching the sanctuary from Bible study, in New York, were led together with those who had seen light in the sanctuary, in Maine, through the Spirit of Prophecy. So, Hiram Edson, Joseph Bates, and James and Ellen White, during the first five or six years of the development of the message, were brought together in a close fellowship, and through study, together with others, and through the revelations, a straight chain of truth was forged, comprehending an explanation of the disappointment of the past, and also showing the place of the Sabbath, and the other truths in the crisis of the future.”

“There is still another angle of this thing that I want to notice, for to me it is wonderful. Turn in your Bibles to Revelation 11:19. I want you to see the connection between the sanctuary truth and the Sabbath truth. With this I want you to put down in your notes Early Writings, page 255 and Great Controversy, page 434 and 435. I would like you to study those pages. Revelation 11:19, will you read it with me?”

And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament. – Revelation 11:19

“That’s enough. When was this fulfilled? 1844. What makes us apply this text to 1844? Because looking at the picture we see that it relates to what apartment of the temple? The second. Why? The ark is there. That is what it is talking about, the ark, the ark of His testament. But we know, according to the type, that the most holy place is open on what day? The day of atonement. And the anti-typical day of atonement begins when? October 22, 1844. You will find that ground covered in Great Controversy, page 433. You should study that page. Very well.”

“Revelation 11:19 is applied. It pinpointed October 22, 1844. The temple of God was opened in heaven, and then, what follows? “And there was seen.” Now John doesn’t say “I saw it.” Doubtless he did see it, but that isn’t what he says. He says, “and there was seen.” What? The ark of His testament. What is the testament? The law (Deuteronomy 4:13). The covenant, or the testament, is the ten commandments, and as we know, they were put in the ark. All right.”

“Now watch: John says that as that temple was opened, the ark of God’s testament, or God’s covenant, was seen. As you read in the pages I have given you in Early Writings and Great Controversy, you will see how inspiration applies that to God’s people here on earth, looking up through the open door of that temple and beholding the testament in the ark; as the result of being led to see the binding claims of the law of God, including the seventh-day Sabbath.”

Sister White writes here in “Review and Herald”, page 225:

It was presented to me that the remnant followed Jesus into the most holy place and beheld the ark and the mercy seat, and were captivated with their glory. Jesus then raised the cover of the ark, and lo! the tables of stone, with the ten commandments written upon them. They trace down the lively oracles, but start back with trembling when they see the fourth commandment among the ten holy precepts, with a brighter light shining upon it than upon the other nine, and a halo of glory all around it. Early Writings, pg. 255

“She describes their feelings as they see themselves transgressors of God’s law. Study carefully page 256. They mourn because of their transgressions of ignorance in breaking the Sabbath. But Jesus presents their prayers and confessions to the Father, and they are pardoned and accepted and blessed, and they go out to spread the light to others.”

“Now friends, is that just a parable or did that actually happen? Well, it’s both. It is a parable. But friends, there were some people that actually found the Sabbath truth through Revelation 11:19. I want to read you something very interesting. This is from the Review and Herald of June 6, 1930. Now, I was there at this General Conference, and dear old Elder Eugene Farnsworth was there. This is the report of what he said:

“My father was the first Seventh-day Adventist in the world. He was the one who began the observance of the Sabbath as an Adventist.’ Elder W. A. Spicer broke in, ‘That’s right.’ Elder Farnsworth says ‘Yes, that is right. And in a little while nearly the whole church in Washington, New Hampshire, where I was born, had began to observe the Sabbath.” {Review and Herald, June 6, 1930}

Now listen to this:

“The text of scripture that attracted my father’s attention first was that text in Revelation that there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament. Father said, ‘I wonder what is in that ark.’ And in his thought he opened the ark, and there he saw the law of God, and there he saw the fourth commandment – the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. In it thou shalt not do any work. And he said, ‘I think we had better keep the Sabbath,’ and he began the observance of the Sabbath quite largely on the strength of the statement in that text.” {Review and Herald, June 6, 1930}

“Isn’t that wonderful, friends? Yes. Now, let me give you something from another son of William Farnsworth. William Farnsworth had a number of children. Here is another one, O. O. Farnsworth. I knew this man personally, too. This is from the “Review and Herald”, December 14, 1944.

“It is very interesting to realize that the prophet John looked down to the time of the judgment and saw the ark of the testament in heaven, and saw that the temple was opened and that the ark with its commandments was seen at this time. It would seem as if he might actually have seen the attention of God’s faithful children directed to the temple and the Sabbath truth.” {Review and Herald, December 14, 1944}

Now watch:

“William Farnsworth got his knowledge of the Sabbath truth directly from the word of God. Previous contacts with the Seventh-day Baptist had not made any impression on his mind, as the Sabbath doctrine that they taught did not appeal to him as any more than just one more difference between denominations. But when he saw that the fourth commandment was in the ark in heaven, the significance of the Sabbath truth dawned on his mind.” {Review and Herald, December 14, 1944}

“Oh friends, let me tell you, there is a power in the Sabbath truth when it is linked with the second coming, the sanctuary, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the state of the dead. Every one of these five great pillars stands with the others, and is closely connected with them. I wish I had time to study every one of these five points and show you how it is linked definitely with all the other four. Every one of those, calls for each one of the others. Study it out for yourself.” [Let us pray]

Dear Lord, bless what we have studied together today. Oh, make us glad for the firm foundation of this blessed message, the three angels’ messages. May we never leave this firm platform. May we know that it is solid as the Rock of Ages. May we rejoice for the Bible and for the Spirit of Prophecy. May we understand their relation. And may we be among those that follow this path through to the pearly gate. We ask it in Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Continue on to the next study-

_______
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.