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Heavenly Visions

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    INCREASING LIGHT

    The times of 1846 and early 1847 were important days in the progress of the Sabbath reform. Ellen Harmon had visited New Bedford, and James White also, whom she was to marry in August, 1846. She was bearing her messages by the Spirit of prophecy. Joseph Bates urged the Sabbath strongly in the meetings. Miss Harmon thought him overzealous about the seventh day. But later both she and James White saw the light and accepted it, and joined Elder Bates in preaching it. Thus the Sabbath truth was brought into the circles in which the gift of the Spirit of prophecy was having its influence.HEVI 109.8

    Meantime, in February, 1846, while Joseph Bates was working on his mission of publishing the Sabbath truth, a group of Adventists in western New York published the light on the sanctuary in heaven and its cleansing. Here was Bible truth which explained the very thing about the 1844 movement that those who held to that past experience needed to know. It made clear their mistake in looking for Christ to come to this earth in 1844, and showed that actually He had, according to the prophecy, then come into the most holy of the heavenly sanctuary, to open the work of the judgment hour.HEVI 110.1

    Joseph Bates, James White, and others in New England accepted this light with joy. Thus Joseph Bates and James White were at last united on the Sabbath truth, and on the sanctuary teaching. They wished to meet with the group in western New York. A meeting was arranged. The late P. Z. Kinne, one of our veteran New York ministers, who knew all our early workers in those parts, has told us about the meeting. Hiram Edson, farmer lay preacher, was the leader of the New York group, and he it was who first caught the light on the sanctuary.HEVI 110.2

    It was an important hour in the putting together of the key points of the advent message. Here Joseph Bates, leader in publishing the Sabbath as a very key truth in the advent movement, was to meet Hiram Edson, the man whom God had led as pioneer of the light on the sanctuary truth, another key point in the message.HEVI 110.3

    In a letter to T. E. Bowen, of the General Conference (dated January 21, 1930), Elder Kinne told us the story, as he had heard it from Hiram Edson, for years a close friend of his and a fellow worker in New York:HEVI 110.4

    “When the time came for Brethren Bates and White to start for the conference, Elder White was called to attend a funeral, which prevented his going. When Elder Bates arrived at Brother Edson’s, they were entire strangers, except by correspondence. Brother Edson did not know that he was a minister. But when the time came to open the meeting, out of courtesy they invited him to conduct it. Brother Edson told me that soon after he received the light on the sanctuary he himself was impressed that the seventh day was the Sabbath, but without any conviction that it was important to keep it.HEVI 110.5

    “After the opening services Elder Bates stood, and drew from his pocket his Sabbath tract and began to read. Brother Edson was so interested in it and delighted with it, that he could scarcely keep his seat till Elder Bates finished. As soon as the reading was finished, Brother Edson was on his feet, and said. ‘Brother Bates, that is light and truth! The seventh day is the Sabbath, and I am with you to keep it!’HEVI 110.6

    “This forms the connection of the Sabbath truth and the judgment message. Those three men [Joseph Bates, James White, and Hiram Edson] had all been giving the first and second angels’ messages, and now they constitute the apostles of the third angel’s message.HEVI 110.7

    “From that time forward they were intimately associated in the promulgation of this message while they lived. It is true that there were Adventist Sabbathkeepers before them, but it is also true that none of them acted so prominent a part in establishing the message as they did. Elder Wheeler was true to the Sabbath till his death, in ripe old age. But he was not so conspicuous in presenting the message with voice and pen. When Elder Bates began writing his first Sabbath tract, he had but twelve and one-half cents at his command. Elder White cut cordwood at fifty cents a day to support his family, and mowed grass with a scythe to earn money to attend conferences. When the publishing work was started at Rochester, New York, Brother Edson sold his farm and lent Elder White the money to purchase the first printing press.”HEVI 110.8

    It is like a fresh breath of inspiration out of the past to listen to the testimony of veteran P. Z. Kinne. His name and that of his friend, Frederick Wheeler, whom James White commended for his evangelistic labors in the field, and the name of Hiram Edson, are written into the early columns of the REVIEW with the names of those upon whom came the early burdens of leadership.HEVI 110.9

    The prophecy of Revelation 12 and 14 pictures the coming of the remnant church. It was to keep the commandments of God, to have the light as to the sanctuary and the judgment hour, and in its midst was to be the gift of the testimony of Jesus, which “is the Spirit of prophesy.” All these three truths-the Sabbath, the sanctuary, and the Spirit of prophecy-we have seen rising to view in the record of 1844, and now in the record of the early years following we shall see the bearers of these three key doctrines exchanging light and uniting together in the beginnings of the definite advent movement for this hour. W. A. S. The Review and Herald, December 7, 1939.HEVI 110.10

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