gospel-herald.com Exodus and Advent Movement

Taylor G. Bunch

Study #20


A Crisis

Just as Kadesh Barnea brought ancient Israel to the greatest crisis of their journey, so the message of 1888 brought modern Israel to the parting of the ways and the greatest crisis of our history. That the Lord intended to pour out the latter rain and quickly finish His work is abundantly evident. "The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth." —R.H. Nov. 22, 1892. "If you would stand through the time of trouble, you must know Christ and appropriate the gift of His righteousness, which He imputes to the repentant sinner." —Id.

Quick Work. Romans 9:28

It is through the preaching of the message of righteousness by faith that the latter rain comes and this text is fulfilled. "Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God which closes the work of the third angel." —Vol. 6:19, written during the nineties. "A work is to be accomplished in the earth similar to that which took place at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the days of the early disciples, when they preached Jesus and Him crucified. Many will be converted in a day; for the message will go with power." —R.H. Nov. 22, 1892.

What Might Have Been

That the Lord fully intended to lead the Advent Movement to a quick and glorious triumph following the Minneapolis Conference is evident from the following statements. "If these had done their work the world would have been warned ere this." R.H. Oct. 6, 1896. "Had the purpose of God been carried out by His people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God." Vol. 6:450, published in 1900. First appeared in the "Australian Union Record" Oct. 15, 1898. See "Brown Leaflet" No. 1. "If the people of God had gone to work as they should have gone to work right after the Minneapolis meeting in 1888, the world would have been warned in a few years and the Lord would have come." —A statement attributed to Sister White and corroborated by a letter to the writer from Elder W. C. White. See also D.A., pp. 633, 634; Vol. 9:29.

The Message Opposed

"God has raised up men to meet the necessity of this time who will ‘cry aloud and spare not’, who will lift up their ‘voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins’. Their work is not only to proclaim the law, but to preach the truth for this time,—the Lord our righteousness. … But there are those who see no necessity for a special work at this time. While God is working to arouse the people, they seek to turn aside the message of warning, reproof, and entreaty. Their influence tends to quiet the fears of the people, and to prevent them from awaking to the solemnity of this time. Those who are doing this, are giving the trumpet an uncertain sound. They ought to be awake to the situation, but they have become ensnared by the enemy. If they do not change their course, they will be recorded in the books of heaven as stewards who are unfaithful in the sacred trust committed to them, and the same reward will be apportioned to them as to those who are at enmity and in open rebellion against God." —R.H. Aug. 13, 1889.

Preach the Law

"You will meet those who will say, ‘You are too much excited over the matter. You are too much in earnest. You should not be reaching for the righteousness of Christ, and making so much of that. You should preach the law.’ As a people we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa, that had neither dew nor rain. We must preach Christ in the law, and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food to the famishing flock of God. We must not trust in our own merits at all, but in the merits of Jesus of Nazareth." —R.H. March 11, 1890.

Fully Two Thirds

According to some who attended the Minneapolis meeting fully two thirds of those present either opposed the message of righteousness by faith or were afraid of it. They felt that it was a form of fanaticism, a departure from the good old method of preaching the message. The teaching sounded new and strange and seemed to cast a reflection upon the message as it had been preached in the past and upon those who preached it. The opposition of some became very bitter and they not only ridiculed and criticized those who led out in preaching the message of righteousness by faith, but they even accused Sister White for standing with them. Scenes were enacted at the Minneapolis Conference and afterwards that were very similar to those enacted by the faithless Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea.

Good Old Doctrines

"Some of our brethren are not receiving the message of God upon this subject. They appear to be anxious that none of our ministers shall depart from their former manner of teaching the good old doctrines. We inquire, is it not time that fresh light should come to the people of God, to awaken them to greater earnestness and zeal? The exceeding great and precious promises given us in the Holy Scriptures have been lost sight of to a great extent, just as the enemy of all righteousness designed that they should be. He has cast his own dark shadow between us and God, that we may not see the true character of God." —R.H. April 1, 1890.

Contempt and Reproach

"O, the soul poverty is alarming! And those who are most in need of the gold of love, feel rich and increased with goods, when they lack every grace. Having lost faith and love, they have lost everything. The Lord has sent a message to arouse His people to repent and do the first works; but how has His message been received? While some have heeded it others have cast contempt and reproach upon the message and the messenger. Spiritually deadened, humility and child-like simplicity gone, a mechanical, formal profession of faith has taken the place of love and devotion. Is this mournful condition of things to continue?—Why will you try to rekindle a mere fitful fire, and walk in the sparks of your own kindling?" —R.H. Extra, Dec. 23, 1890.

Criticized Messengers

The ten unfaithful spies centered their criticism upon Caleb and Joshua and finally they bade the people stone them. Because Moses stood with these two faithful men he shared the criticism and reproach heaped upon them. "God has sent to His people testimonies of truth and righteousness, and they are called to lift up Jesus, and to exalt His righteousness. Those whom God has sent with a message are only men, but what is the character of the message they bear? Will you dare to turn from, or make light of the warnings, because God did not consult you as what would be preferred? God calls men who will speak, who will cry aloud and spare not. God has raised up His messengers to do His work for this time. Some have turned from the message of the righteousness of Christ to criticize the men and their imperfections. They have too much zeal, are too much in earnest, speak with too much positiveness, and the message that would bring healing and life and comfort to many weary and oppressed souls, is, in a measure, excluded; for just in proportion as men of influence close their own hearts and set up their own wills in opposition to what God has said, they will seek to take away the ray of light from those who have been longing and praying for light and for vivifying power. Christ has registered all the hard, proud, sneering speeches spoken against His servants as against Himself." —R.H. May 27, 1890.

Called False Light

"The third angel’s message will not be comprehended, the light which will lighten the earth with its glory will be called a false light, by those who refuse to walk in its advancing glory. The work that might have been done, will be left undone by the rejecters of truth, because of their unbelief. We entreat of you who oppose the light of truth, to stand out of the way of God’s people. Let Heaven-sent light shine forth upon them in clear and steady rays. God holds you to whom this light has come responsible for the use you make of it. Those who will not hear will be held responsible; for the truth has been brought within their reach, but they despised their opportunities and privileges." —Id.

Think Dangerous

"There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of their heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their expectations and ideal, they will oppose the work. ‘Why’ they say,’ should we not know the Spirit of God, when we have been in the work so many years? Because they did not respond to the warnings, the entreaties, of the message of God, but persistently said, ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. Talent, long experience, will not make men channels of light unless they place themselves under the bright beams of the Son of Righteousness." —R.H. Extra, Dec. 23, 1890.

Own Ideas

"For nearly two years, we have been urging the people to come up and accept the light and the truth concerning the righteousness of Christ, and they do not know whether to come and take hold of this precious truth or not. They are bound about with their own ideas. They do not let the Saviour in." —R.H. Mar. 11, 1890. This statement shows that it is the acceptance of the Laodicean message with its complete remedy that brings Jesus into the heart. Those who reject this message refuse to let the Saviour in. The hesitant attitude on the part of the people generally was due to the attitude of many of the leaders toward the new preaching. They interposed themselves between the people and God’s message. Just as the whole camp of Israel was affected by the faithless and rebellious attitude of the ten princes who "brought an evil report," so Adventists in general were made cautious and hesitant and many were led to openly reject the message because of the attitude of men of long years experience in whom they had confidence.

Very Stones Cry Out

"There is sadness in heaven over the spiritual blindness of many of our brethren. … The Lord has raised up messengers and endued them with His Spirit, and has said, ‘Cry aloud, spare not, lift up the voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.’ Let no one run the risk of interposing himself between the people and the message of Heaven. The message of God will come to the people; and if there were no voice among men to give it, the very stones would cry out. I call upon every minister to seek the Lord, to put away pride, to put away strife after supremacy, and humble the heart before God. It is the coldness of heart, the unbelief of those who ought to have faith, that keeps the churches in feebleness." —R.H. July 26, 1892.

Criticism in Rooms

Just as the Israelites "murmured in their tents" at Kadesh-Barnea, so those who opposed the message of righteousness by faith at Minneapolis murmured and criticized in their rooms. "I shall never again, I think, be called to stand under the direction of the Holy Spirit as I stood at Minneapolis. The presence of Jesus was with me. All assembled at that meeting had an opportunity to place themselves on the side of truth by receiving the Holy Spirit, which was sent by God in such a rich current of love and mercy. But in the rooms occupied by some of our people were heard ridicule, criticism, jeering, laughter. The manifestations of the Holy Spirit were attributed to fanaticism. … The scenes which took place at that meeting made the God of heaven ashamed to call those who took part in them His brethren. All this the heavenly Watcher noticed, and it was written in the book of God’s remembrance." —Special testimony to the Review and Herald Office, pp. 16, 17, written in 1896. Could there be a more striking antitype to what happened at Kadesh-Barnea?

Testimony of Witnesses

Several ministers who attended the Minneapolis Conference have testified to their personal knowledge of what happened in the rooms of some of the delegates. The following is from one who stayed in the same house with a group of workers: "In our lodging house we were hearing a good many remarks about Sister White favoring Elder Waggoner, and that he was one of her pets. The spirit of controversy was up, and when the delegates came in from the last meeting of the day there was simply babble, with much laughter and joking and some very disgusting comments were being made, no spirit of solemnity prevailing. A few did not engage in the hilarity. No worship hour was kept, and anything but solemnity that should have been felt and manifested on such an occasion was present." —Written by Elder C. McReynolds in 1931.

Satan in Control

Just as Satan got control of the ten spies whose false report kept Israel from entering the promised land at the time of God’s appointment, and led them to bitterly denounce and persecute the two men of faith, so Satan’s spirit controlled those who rejected the message of 1888 and criticized, ridiculed and persecuted the men of faith who gave it. In T.M. pp. 77-81, is a testimony from God’s servant entitled "A Faithful Message," and written from Hobart, Tasmania, May 1, 1895. After speaking of Cain’s hatred for Abel which led to murder, the following statement is made: "Just as soon as man separates from God so that his heart is not under the subduing power of the Holy Spirit, the attributes of Satan will be revealed, and he will begin to oppress his fellow men. … Men who are entrusted with weighty responsibilities, but who have no living connection with God, have been and are doing despite to His Holy Spirit. They are indulging the very same spirit as did Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and as did the Jews in the time of Christ. (See Matthew 12:22-29, 31-37.) Warnings have come from God again and again for these men, but they have cast them aside, and ventured on in the same course."

Persecutors of Christ

After repeating many of the woes pronounced by Christ upon the Scribes and Pharisees as recorded in Matthew 23, with the prediction that other prophets and teachers would be sent them in future against whom they would manifest the same persecuting spirit of their fathers, the application is then made to the rejectors of the message at Minneapolis and the persecution of the messengers: "This prophecy was literally fulfilled by the Jews in their treatment of Christ and of the messengers whom God sent to them. Will men in these last days follow the example of those whom Christ condemned?" T.M. 79. "These terrible predictions they have not as yet carried out to the full; but if God spares their lives, and they nourish the same spirit that marked their course of action both before and after the Minneapolis meeting, they will fill up to the full of deeds of those whom Christ condemned when He was upon the earth." Pamphlet 154, p. 21.

A Satanic Work

Continuing we read: "Satan takes control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the spirit of God. Some have been cultivating hatred against the men whom God has commissioned to bear a special message to the world. They began this satanic work at Minneapolis. Afterward, when they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit, testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more, because it was a testimony against them. They would not humble their hearts to repent, to give God the glory, and vindicate the right. They went on in their own spirit, filled with envy, jealousy, and evil-surmisings, as did the Jews. They opened their hearts to the enemy of God and man. Yet these men have been holding positions of trust, and have been molding the work after their own similitude, as far as they possibly could. Those who are now first, who have been untrue to the cause of God, will soon be last, unless they repent. Unless they speedily fall upon the Rock and be broken, and be born again, the spirit that has been cherished will continue to be cherished. Mercy’s sweet voice will not be recognized by them. Bible religion, in private and in public, is with them a thing of the past. They have been zealously declaiming against enthusiasm and fanaticism. Faith that calls upon God to relieve human suffering, faith that God has enjoined upon His people to exercise, is called fanaticism. But if there is anything upon the earth that should inspire men with sanctified zeal, it is the truth as it is in Jesus. It is the grand, great work of redemption. It is Christ, made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." —T.M. pp. 79, 80.

Called A Rebellion

"I question whether genuine rebellion is ever curable. Call rebellion by its right name and apostasy 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 ends of the world are come.’ And if men and women who have the knowledge of the truth are so far separated from their Great Leader that they will take the great leader of apostasy and name him Christ our Righteousness, it is because they have not sunk deep into the mines of truth. They are not able to distinguish the precious ore from the base material." —Leaflet Series, Number 3, "Apostasies."

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