gospel-herald.com Exodus and Advent Movement

Taylor G. Bunch

Study #19


Recorded For Us. 1 Corinthians 10:11

"The apostle Paul plainly states that the experience of the Israelites in their travels has been recorded for the benefit of those living in this age of the world, those upon whom the ends of the world are come. We do not consider that our dangers are any less than those of the Hebrews but greater. There will be temptations to jealousies and murmurings, and there will be outspoken rebellion, as are recorded of ancient Israel." —Vol. 3:358. "We are following the same path as did ancient Israel." "Modern Israel are fast following in their footsteps." "We are repeating the history of that people." —Vol. 5:75, 94, 160.

Their Failures

"Call rebellion by its right name, and then consider that the experience of the ancient people of God with all its objectional features was faithfully chronicled to pass into history. The Scripture declares, ‘These things were written for our admonition upon whom the end of the world are come." Leaflet Series, "Apostasies’, Numbers 3.

"We need ever to keep in mind the experience of the children of Israel, and learn the lesson that the record of their failures is intended to teach us." —Loma Linda Messages, p. 117. The greatest mistake of ancient Israel was their failure to go in and possess the promised land from Kadesh-Barnea as God had purposed for them. Their refusing to follow His leadership is divinely called a rebellion and resulted in the "altering" of God’s purpose and the decree that they should wander in the wilderness for forty years before they could inherit Canaan.

The Advent Movement

We are definitely told that it was the Lord’s will and plan to lead the Advent Movement into the heavenly Canaan soon after the 1844 disappointment when they had learned the lessons of the law and the sanctuary. See G.C. pp. 457, 458. It was a number of years before the movement got under headway toward the completion of their world task and their journey towards the heavenly Canaan. There was a tendency to remain camped around the Mount of the Law. What is known as the message of 1888 brought the Advent Movement to the very borders of the heavenly kingdom where was enacted the scenes which constitute the antitype of the Kadesh-Barnea experience of ancient Israel.

Laodicean Wilderness

Between the Mount of the Law and Kadesh-Barnea ancient Israel passed through a dreadful wilderness. Also between 1844 and 1888 the Advent Movement passed through a dreadful spiritual wilderness. It was the Laodicean wilderness. During this time however they learned many valuable lessons in obedience to divine leadership. They also greatly strengthened their organization and received the instruction in the principles of health reform. In the early fifties the Lord, through the prophet of the Advent Movement, began to bear testimony that the church was in the deplorable Laodicean condition and that there must be a revival and reformation before His people could receive the latter rain and finish their task. Through the spirit of prophecy these messages continued to come with greater frequency and increasing urgency. However, they received but little attention until at the Minneapolis General Conference in 1888. At that notable meeting the Laodicean message was more fully given with special emphasis upon the remedy found in the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ.

Spiritual Desert

That modern Israel as in a barren spiritual wilderness previous to 1888 is evident from the following statements which are but a few of those which might be quoted: In the latter sixties the following was written: "Many have for years made no advancement in knowledge and true holiness. They are spiritual dwarfs. Instead of going forward to perfection, they are going back to the darkness and bondage of Egypt." —Vol. 2:124. In 1888 appeared the following testimonies: "As a people we are not advancing in spirituality as we near the end." "My heart aches day after day and night after night for our churches. Many are progressing, but in a back track." —Vol. 5:11, 93. "A formal round of religious services is kept up; but where is the love of Jesus? Spirituality is dying. … Shall we meet the mind of the Spirit of God? Shall we dwell more upon practical godliness, and far less upon mechanical arrangements?" —Vol. 5:538.

Further Rebukes

The following statement shows that great emphasis had been placed on the law to the neglect of the preaching of Christ and that this was one reason for their spiritual barrenness. "As a people we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa, that had neither dew or rain. We must preach Christ in the law, and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food for the famishing flock of God." —C.O.R., p. 64. Published in the R.H. of March 11, 1890. The condition that demanded a reformation is further emphasized in the following which was published in the R.H. of March 22, 1887. "What is our condition as a people Alas, what pride is prevailing in the church, what hypocrisy, what deception, what love of dress, frivolity, and amusement, what desire for supremacy! … We must no longer remain upon enchanted ground. … We have not the first reason for self-congratulation." —C.O.R., pp. 150, 151.

Retreating Spiritually

"I am filled with sadness when I think of our condition as a people. The Lord has not closed heaven to us, but our own course of continual backsliding has separated us from God. Pride, covetousness, and love of the world have lived in the heart without fear of banishment or condemnation. Grievous and presumptuous sins have dwelt among us. Yet the general opinion is that the church is flourishing, and that peace and spiritual prosperity are in all her borders. The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader, and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt and even unbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God is leavening our churches everywhere." —Vol. 5:217. No person can read Vol. 5, without knowing that God’s people were in deplorable spiritual condition previous to 1888. The same message applies to us again now and this volume should be carefully and prayerfully read by all our people. They should also read and study the book of "Christ Our Righteousness," which explains the significance of the 1888 crisis.

Calls For Revival

Previous to the 1888 General Conference the Lord, through the spirit of prophecy, sent message after message calling for a revival of true and primitive godliness that His people might be prepared to enter the heavenly kingdom. This call was equivalent to that given to Israel at Mount Sinai; "Ye have dwelt long enough in this Mount. … go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your father." The most outstanding and urgent of these heaven-sent messages appeared in the R.H. of March 22, 1887. "A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work. … A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer. … There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impenitent congregation. If Satan had his way, there would never be another awakening, great or small, to the end of time." See C.O.R., pp. 146-152. Also pp. 40-48.

On the Borders

That the Advent Movement was on the very borders of the heavenly Canaan in those momentous days is evident from the following: In 1879 came the cheering message: "We are now on the very borders of the eternal world." —Vol 4:306. In 1881 the prophet of the movement said: "The end of all things is at hand," and "I have been shown that we are standing upon the threshold of the eternal world." —Vol. 5:16, 17. During the next few years appeared the following statement: "We are standing as it were, on the borders of the eternal world." "Eternity stretches before us. The curtain is about to be lifted." —Vol.5:382, 460, 464. In the R.H. of June 18, 1889 was another statement to the same effect: "What place have we for jesting and levity right here on the borders of the eternal world." God’s remnant people were told that the end was nearer than any of them realized. There is only one explanation for these and many other statements and that is that the end was then at hand and the Lord planned to quickly finish His work. His purpose for the Advent Movement was just as clear and definite as for the Exodus Movement when He led them to Kadesh-Barnea.

Minneapolis Conference

This General Conference began October 17, 1888, and before the conference proper started there was a week’s ministerial institute. During this historic gathering the message of righteousness by faith was preached with power. Sister White placed her approval upon it at the conference and ever afterwards. She recognized it as the answer to the many calls for a revival and reformation. It was indeed a heaven-sent message to lead this movement out of the barren Laodicean wilderness into the heavenly Canaan. The message as given at this conference is clearly set forth in C.O.R., pp. 56-71. One cannot read these quotations without recognizing their tremendous import and that a new day had dawned.

Divine Credentials

Over and over again we are assured that this message was from heaven and bore the divine credentials. "The present message—justification by faith—is a message from God; it bears the divine credentials, for its fruit is unto holiness." —R.H. Sept. 3, 1889. "Messages bearing the divine credentials have been sent to God’s people; the glory, the majesty, the righteousness of Christ, full of goodness and truth have been presented; the fulness of the Godhead in Christ Jesus has been set forth among us with beauty and loveliness, to charm all whose hearts are not closed with prejudice. We know God has wrought among us. We have seen souls turn from sin to righteousness; we have seen faith revived in the hearts of the contrite ones." —R.H. May 27, 1890. Quoted in C.O.R., pp. 59, 60.

Further Testimony

"We thank the Lord with all the heart that we have precious light to present before the people, and we rejoice that we have a message for this time which is present truth. The tidings that Christ is our righteousness has brought relief to many, many souls, and God says to His people, ‘Go forward!’ The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to our condition. How plainly is pictured the position of those who think they have all the truth, who take pride in their knowledge of the Word of God, while its sanctifying power has not been felt in their lives. The fervor of the love of God is wanting in their hearts, but it is this very fervor of love that makes God’s people the light of the world." —R.H. July 23, 1889.

Burden of Message

"In every meeting since the General Conference, souls have eagerly accepted the precious message of the righteousness of Christ. We thank God that there are souls who realize that they are in need of something which they do not possess,—gold of faith and love, white raiment of Christ’s righteousness, eye-salve of spiritual discernment. If you possess these precious gifts, the temple of the human soul will not be like a desecrated shrine. Brethren and sisters, I call upon you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to work where God works. Now is the day of gracious opportunity and privilege." —Id.

A Meeting Described

In an article in the R.H. of March 5, 1889, Sister White described a meeting in South Lancaster as follows: "I have never seen a revival go forward with such thoroughness, and yet remain so free from all undue excitement. There was no urging or inviting. The people were not called forward, but there was a solemn realization that Christ came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. The honest in heart were ready to confess their sins, and to bring forth fruit to God by repentance and restoration as far as it lay in their power. We seemed to breathe in the very atmosphere of heaven. Angels were indeed hovering around. Friday evening the social service began at five, and it was not closed until nine. … There were many who testified that as the searching truths had been presented, they had been convicted in the light of the law as transgressors. They had been trusting in their own righteousness. Now they saw it as filthy rags, in comparison with the righteousness of Christ, which is alone acceptable to God. While they had not been open transgressors, they saw themselves depraved and degraded in heart. They had substituted other gods in the place of their heavenly Father. They had struggled to refrain from sin, but had trusted in their own strength. We should go to Jesus just as we are, confessing our sins, and cast our helpless souls upon our compassionate Redeemer. This subdues the pride of the heart, and is a crucifixion of self. —C.O.R., p. 62.

In Battle Creek

In the R.H. of Feb. 12, 1889, God’s servant described a revival in Battle Creek as follows: "The principal topic dwelt upon was justification by faith and this truth came as meet in due season to the people of God. The living oracles of God were presented in a new and precious light. … As one after another of these students of Battle Creek College, hitherto ignorant of the truth of the saving grace of God, espoused the cause of Christ, what joy was there in the heavenly courts. … It made my heart glad to see those who had been connected with the publishing work for a period of thirty years rejoice as young converts rejoice in their first love. They expressed their gladness and gratitude of heart for the sermons that had been preached by Brother A.T. Jones; and saw the truth, goodness, mercy and love of God as they never before had seen it. They humbled their hearts, confessed their sins, and removed everything that had separated their souls from God and the Lord had put a new song in their mouth, even praise to His name. It was manifest that a renovation had taken place; for they expressed their determination of soul to work earnestly to counteract the evil influence they had exerted in the past. … Will any of these who have tasted the Bread of Life ever loathe the manna that has been so sweet to their souls at these meetings?"

Great Power

"I have traveled from place to place attending meetings where the message of the righteousness of Christ was preached. I considered it a privilege to stand by the side of my brethren and give my testimony with the message for the time; and I say that the power of God attended the message wherever it was spoken." —R.H. March 18, 1890. "When we came to Potterville, Michigan, Brother VanHorn said, ‘I am glad this meeting is not like the meetings we have had in the past. There seems to be much more weight to the truth. There is not so much levity and jesting. The people seem to have a realization of the solemn importance of the truth.’ Why should we not have a solemn realization of the truth at this time? What place have we for jesting and levity right here on the borders of the eternal world?" —R.H. June 8, 1889.

Purpose of Message

The purpose of the heaven-sent message that came to this people in 1888 and onward was described by the servant of the Lord in the R.H. of Nov. 24, 1904, as follows: "The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto man, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in large measure." —T.M. 91, 92.

Third Angel’s Message

"The message of the gospel of His grace was to be given to the church in clear and distinct lines that the world should no longer say that Seventh-day Adventists talk the law, but do not teach or believe in Christ. The efficacy of the blood of Christ was to be presented to the people with freshness and power, that their faith might lay hold upon its merits. … For years the church has been looking to man, and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel’s message, in clear distinct lines." —Id. 92, 93.

"Several have written me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, ‘It is the third angel’s message in verity’." —R.H. April 1, 1890. Therefore those who do not preach the third angel’s message in the setting of righteousness by faith are not preaching it at all, that is, in its fullness. At best theirs is only a partial message with the salvation part left out.

The Expectations

For a decade or more this message went forward with power and wherever it was preached the Lord was present by His Spirit to witness that it was a message from heaven. The text was often quoted "Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount." God’s remnant people recognized it as a definite call to leave the wilderness of sin and enter the goodly land of the heavenly Canaan. They believed that it would bring the latter rain and a quickly finished work. Those who accepted the message and entered into the experience it demanded were jubilant because they believed their earthly pilgrimage was about ended. Like the Israelites they did not know that their hopes were to be blasted at the very borders of their goal because of the unbelief of a few of the leaders who gave a false report of the message given by God’s servants.

Note: This chapter concludes on page 87. Page 88 is omitted in the original—there is a blank page. The following chapter begins on page 89 through what appears to be a typographical error in the original document pagination. Some copies of this document are available that do contain a "page 88" which we feel is spurious and is therefore not included in this current document. (Ed. The Gospel Herald)

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