Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Of Those Who Reinterpret the Prophecies

“There are persons ready to catch up every new idea. The prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation are misinterpreted. These persons do not consider that the truth has been set forth at the appointed time by the very men whom God was leading to do this special work. These men followed on step by step in the very fulfillment of prophecy, and those who have not had a personal experience in this work are to take the Word of God and believe on ‘their word’ who have been led by the Lord in the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages.” (17MR 14.3)

“It is true that there are prophecies yet to be fulfilled. But very erroneous work has been done again and again, and will continue to be done by those who seek to find new light in the prophecies, and who begin by turning away from the light that God has already given. . . . But the Lord does not lay upon those who have not had an experience in His work the burden of making a new exposition of those prophecies which He has, by His Holy Spirit, moved upon His chosen servants to explain.” (17MR 15.1)

“You and other of our brethren must accept the truth as God has given it to His students of prophecy, as they have been led by genuine, living experience, advancing point by point, tested, proved, and tried, until the truth is to them a reality. From their voices and pens the truth in bright, warm rays has gone to all parts of the world, and that which was to them testing truth, as brought by the Lord's delegated messengers, is testing truth to all to whom this message is proclaimed.” (17MR 3.2)

“There must be no long discussions, no presenting of new theories in regard to prophecies that God has already made plain.” (RH, Nov. 27, 1900 par. 13)

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Eastern Question

Ellen White's references to the Eastern Question are significant because of statements such as:

"Let us confine our public efforts to the presentation of the important lines of truth on which we are united, and on which we have clear light." (1SM 167)

So, her endorsement of a public presentation by our ministers implies (1) that it is an important line of truth, (2) that it is a subject on which the church was united, and (3) that it is a subject on which we have clear light. If a presentation did not meet those criteria, the minister had no business talking about it. The subject should not be discussed in our meetings.

"Matters of vital importance have been plainly revealed in the Word of God. These subjects are worthy of our deepest thought. But we are not to search into matters on which God has been silent." (1SM 173)

If the Eastern Question can be found in the Word of God, it is worthy of our deepest thought. But if not, we certainly should not be preaching about it.

The Eastern Question was the diplomatic problem posed by the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Adventist ministers tied the fulfillment of Daniel 11:45 to the ultimate outcome of that question. If Daniel 11:45 has nothing to do with the Ottoman Empire or its aftermath, our ministers were preaching about something on which God is silent.

But notice the comments of the Lord's messenger endorsing the public presentations on this subject. The sermons were "of special interest." In presenting this subject, Uriah Smith was "fully and thoroughly united with us." What he was presenting was described by Ellen White as "these great events in the near future." And the message was classed as "the truth."

September 6, 1877
“Sunday morning the weather was still cloudy, but before it was time for the people to assemble the sun shone forth. Boats and trains poured their living freight upon the ground, as was the case last year. Elder Smith spoke in the morning upon the Eastern question. The subject was of special interest, and the people listened with the most earnest attention. It seemed to be just what they wanted to hear.” (RH 9-6-1877)

August 24, 1884
“Elder Smith spoke on the Sabbath question to a large congregation this morning, and this evening he speaks on the Eastern question. I feel so grateful that Brother Smith is not lost to the cause. He seems fully and thoroughly united with us; seems like Brother Smith of old. Oh, thank the Lord! Praise His Holy Name, that His love, His wondrous love has been exercised toward the children of men. It is so dark, I must stop. Will write you tomorrow.” (Lt55-1884 par. 6)

August 25, 1884
“Aug. 25, 11:00 a.m. The first two pages were written Sunday after I had spoken to the crowd. The evening meeting was largely attended. Elder Smith spoke with great clearness, and many listened with open eyes, ears, and mouths. The outsiders seemed to be intensely interested in the Eastern question. He closed with a very solemn address to those who had not been preparing for these great events in the near future.” (Lt55-1884 par. 7)

December 25, 1898
“Elder Daniells speaks this evening upon the Eastern Question. May the Lord give His Holy Spirit to inspire the hearts to make the truth plain.” (Ms189-1898 par. 9)