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Heavenly Visions

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    WHEREVER the veterans of the movement used to talk over the early times of our denomination, it was a joy to hear them tell how the coming of the teaching on the heavenly sanctuary and its cleansing brought a burst of light that made the whole 1844 experience as clear as noonday.HEVI 111.1

    That was the key truth in explaining their past hopes and disappointments. That had been a momentous time. Not that there were exciting manifestations. It was too serious for that. They believed that at the end of the 2300 years, which they finally fixed as October 22, 1844, they would see their Saviour coming in power and glory. Such a faith gave me no place for excitement. It was a sobering conviction.HEVI 111.2

    Years ago, in western New York, an elderly sister in the faith told me her memories of October 22, in her father’s family. She was then but a little girl. But graven in her memory was the scene of that day that father and mother, while doing the necessary things in the home, spent the day in devotion and singing and waiting. No work on the field was undertaken.HEVI 111.3

    At last the day was ending-and the Saviour had not come. The father was sitting in a chair by the door. The little girl was playing on the lawn. Just as the sun was sinking, its last rays lighted up a little cloud on the distant horizon. The cloud shone like silver and burnished gold. “Father rose to his feet,” she told me, “with face lighted with joy. ‘O, praise the Lord,’ he cried, clapping his hands, ‘our Saviour is coming.’”HEVI 111.4

    The preparations to meet eternity had all been made. These believers were ready; their sins were confessed and their wrongs were made right. This father did not have to attend to these things of getting ready when he saw that shining cloud. He had before that heard the admonition, “Be ye therefore ready.” It is a lesson for us today as the time of probation hastens by, someday to end “suddenly.”HEVI 111.5

    The disappointment of those waiting ones in 1844 was indeed bitter. The cleansing of the sanctuary, which was to take place at the end of the prophetic period, meant to them the coming of Christ to earth to cleanse it from sinful things. The earth was the sanctuary, they thought. After 1844 they knew not what to think next. Although the multitudes gave up, a firm body of disappointed second advent believers were waiting and praying for light that would explain the experience.HEVI 111.6

    With the light on the heavenly sanctuary, the explanation came. Hiram Edson, farmer preacher, leader of a group of early Adventists in western New York, was the brother who first caught the light that the sanctuary to be cleansed was the heavenly sanctuary. He wrote out the experience some years later, and the story was preserved by his daughter, Mrs. O. V. Cross, of Florida. In the REVIEW of June 23, 1921, a portion of his manuscript was reprinted. Here is his testimony to the coming of the light. Speaking first of the great disappointment, he wrote:HEVI 111.7

    “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 been no comparison. We wept and wept, till the day dawned....HEVI 111.8

    “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 in heaven, no golden city, no Paradise? Is all this but a cunningly devised fable? Is there no reality to our fondest hopes and expectations?’...HEVI 111.9

    “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.’ 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.HEVI 111.10

    “After breakfast I said to one of my brethren, ‘Let us go to see and encourage some of our brethren.’ We started, and while passing through a large field, I was stopped about midway in 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 2300 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; that He came to the marriage, or in other words, to the Ancient of days, to receive a kingdom, dominion, and glory; and that we must wait for His return from the wedding.”-The Review and Herald, June 23, 1921.HEVI 111.11

    Hiram Edson studied this question. Two close friends joined him. Evidently, one was a Doctor Hahn, a neighbor, the other, O. R. L. Crosier, a young preacher and teacher. The Scripture study made it plain that the end of the 2300 years was to reach to the opening of the ministry of our High Priest in the most holy of the sanctuary in heaven, foreshadowed by the last phase of the Levitical service in the typical earthly sanctuary. The service of the last day of the earthly sanctuary was called the cleansing of the sanctuary. That was exactly what the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 described as beginning in 1844. The whole matter was plain. Christ had come to that service in the most holy above, as the time came in 1844. Their mistake was explained. The prophecy had been fulfilled. They had looked to this earth instead of to the most holy place above. There in heaven above, the judgment hour had come, the time of cleansing the sanctuary records, as described in Daniel 7:10, 13. This was light. It must be published to the believers.HEVI 112.1

    Hiram Edson and Doctor Hahn asked O. R. L. Crosier to continue studying it from the Levitical type and to write it out. They agreed to publish it. The matter was written up in 1845. Early the next year they arranged for it to be printed in a Cincinnati second advent paper called the Day Star. An “Extra” was devoted to it, dated February 7, 1846. Apparently Hiram Edson had to do the promoting and most of the financing. He told how he had to ask his wife for some of her wedding-gift silver to pay for this “Extra.” His daughter, Mrs. Cross, confirmed this. H. M. Kelly, of Florida, who interviewed her and sent these extracts from Hiram Edson’s manuscript, added:HEVI 112.2

    “Mrs. Cross told me that her mother sold a set of silver spoons that had been given to her as a wedding present, to get money to have that first article on the sanctuary printed; and I have one of the spoons of that set in my possession now.”HEVI 112.3

    The first exposition of the sanctuary truth was sent to many second advent believers. Joseph Bates saw it and accepted the light. James White likewise accepted it. Ellen G. Harmon (later Mrs. White) also received the teaching on the sanctuary in heaven, being shown that it was light for the remnant. (“Word to the Little Flock,” p.12.) Those who were to lead out in this definite advent movement were being led step by step from light to greater light. (In a preceding article we have seen Joseph Bates visiting Port Gibson, in western New York, bringing the Sabbath truth to Hiram Edson and others in that region.)HEVI 112.4

    Sad to say, young Crosier walked in the light of the Sabbath truth but a very little time. He later repudiated the sanctuary teaching that he had helped to establish. Our pioneer brethren reprinted his exposition on the sanctuary several times in their early papers, but they never could reprint his complete document. In it he had added to the sanctuary exposition some ideas on the age to come-a temporal millennium, with a glorious age on this earth at the second advent. These things our brethren always omitted. These teachings of the age to come were all abroad in those days. The doctrine never fitted in with the definite advent message; and doubtless this leaven of error helped to lead the younger men away from the Sabbath and the sanctuary truths. He soon turned to bitter opposition to our early movement.HEVI 112.5

    But the Sabbath truth and sanctuary truths were spread abroad, as our pioneers began to publish, and the light brought joy to many who had given up the second advent hope. To give one instance, Horace and Olive Patten, of Rochester, New York, who had lapsed into Spiritualism wrote to James White:HEVI 112.6

    “O that we could tell you with what joy and gratitude we received the true light on the cleansing of the sanctuary! No one could be clearer than we were that the days ended in 1844. In our darkness we have secretly longed for something that would more fully explain the past mighty move, and the fulfillment of this scripture, ‘then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.’ Think then of our joy, after waiting near seven long years in ignorance, to learn that our great High Priest did exactly fulfill the types on the tenth day of the seventh month, and entered the most holy place, in the true sanctuary above.”-The Review and Herald, March 2, 1852.HEVI 112.7

    A former preacher of the 1844 days, wrote from Wisconsin:HEVI 112.8

    “I feel like a new man. From 1844 until now I have felt destitute of a message. And though I have occasionally made an effort to preach, yet it has been like ‘beating the air.’ I now long to be in the field, as I was before the tenth-day movement. I see the sanctuary is being cleansed, and the last message is being given. O who will prepare himself for battle!” -Id., May 6, 1852HEVI 112.9

    And to this day, in remotest corners of the earth, the light of the sanctuary truth is gladdening hearts. Away in the island of Bougainville, in the Solomon group, east of New Guinea, Brother Tutty found this truth shaping island lives. He wrote of a visit to one remote outpost:HEVI 112.10

    “While there I was handed two bags full of native food as tithe. I asked Rongupitu, the teacher, ‘What have you been teaching them? He replied, ‘The sanctuary,’ and showed me his drawing on a board.”HEVI 112.11

    It is interesting to get this picture of the island teacher, only recently out of heathenism, using a board and chalk to make real to his hearers the blessed work of Jesus our high priest in the heavenly sanctuary.HEVI 113.1

    In 1844 the Sabbath truth first came to the little group of Adventists in Washington, New Hampshire.HEVI 113.2

    In 1844 the light on the sanctuary in heaven came first to a group of Adventist believers near Port Gibson, New York.HEVI 113.3

    Now we see these key truths, in the days of 1846 and 1847, drawing together the men whom God had called to lead out in the first days of this advent movement. W. A. S. The Review and Herald, December 14, 1939.HEVI 113.4

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