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From Here to Forever

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    The Disciples’ Message Compared to the 1844 Message

    The experience of the disciples at the first advent of Christ had its counterpart in the experience of those who proclaimed His second advent. As the disciples preached, “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand,” so Miller and his associates proclaimed that the last prophetic period in the Bible was about to expire, that the judgment was at hand, and that the everlasting kingdom was to be ushered in. The preaching of the disciples in regard to time was based on the seventy weeks of Daniel 9. The message given by Miller and his associates announced the termination of the 2300 days of Daniel 8:14, of which the seventy weeks form a part. The preaching of each was based upon the fulfillment of a different portion of the same prophetic period.HF 218.1

    Like the first disciples, William Miller and his associates did not fully comprehend the message which they bore. Errors long established in the church prevented a correct interpretation of an important point in the prophecy. Therefore, though they proclaimed the message God had committed to them, yet through a misapprehension of its meaning they suffered disappointment.HF 218.2

    Miller adopted the general view that the earth is the “sanctuary,” and he believed that the “cleansing of the sanctuary” represented the purification of the earth by fire at the coming of the Lord. Therefore, the close of the 2300 days, he concluded, revealed the time of the second advent.HF 218.3

    The cleansing of the sanctuary was the last service performed by the high priest in the yearly round of ministration. It was the closing work of the atonement—a removal or putting away of sin from Israel. It prefigured the closing work of our High Priest in heaven in the removal or blotting out of the sins of His people which are registered in the heavenly records. This service involves investigation, a work of judgment, and it immediately precedes the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, for when He comes every case has been decided. Says Jesus: “My reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12. It is this work of judgment that is announced in the first angel's message of Revelation 14:7: “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come.”HF 218.4

    Those who proclaimed this warning gave the right message at the right time. As the disciples were mistaken in regard to the kingdom to be set up at the end of the “seventy weeks,” so Adventists were mistaken in regard to the event to take place at the expiration of the “2300 days.” In both cases popular errors blinded the mind to truth. Both fulfilled the will of God in delivering the message He desired to be given, and both through misapprehension of their message suffered disappointment.HF 219.1

    Yet God accomplished His purpose in permitting the warning of judgment to be given as it was. In His providence the message was for the testing and purification of the church. Were their affections set upon this world or upon Christ and heaven? Were they ready to renounce their worldly ambitions and welcome the advent of their Lord?HF 219.2

    The disappointment also would test the hearts of those who had professed to receive the warning. Would they rashly give up their experience and cast away their confidence in God's Word when called to endure the reproach of the world and the test of delay and disappointment? Because they did not immediately understand the dealings of God, would they cast aside truths sustained by the clear testimony of His Word?HF 219.3

    This test would teach the danger of accepting the interpretations of men instead of making the Bible its own interpreter. The children of faith would be led to a closer study of the Word, to examine more carefully the foundation of their faith, and to reject everything, however widely accepted by the Christian world, that was not founded upon Scripture.HF 220.1

    That which in the hour of trial seemed dark would afterward be made plain. Notwithstanding the trial resulting from their errors, they would learn by a blessed experience that the Lord is “very pitiful, and of tender mercy”; that all His paths “are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” James 5:11; Psalm 25:10.HF 220.2

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