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Early Writings

by Ellen G. White

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The Advent Movement Illustrated

The disappointment of Jesus' disciples at His death well represents the disappointment of those who expected their Lord in 1844.
The disappointment of Jesus' disciples at His death well represents the disappointment of those who expected their Lord in 1844.

Illustration © Review and Herald Publ. Assoc.

I saw a number of companies that seemed to be bound together by cords. Many in these companies were in total darkness; their eyes were directed downward to the earth, and there seemed to be no connection between them and Jesus. But scattered through these different companies were persons whose countenances looked light, and whose eyes were raised to heaven. Beams of light from Jesus, like rays from the sun, were imparted to them. An angel bade me look carefully, and I saw an angel watching over every one of those who had a ray of light, while evil angels surrounded those who were in darkness. I heard the voice of an angel cry, "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come." {EW 240.1}

A glorious light then rested down upon these companies, to enlighten all who would receive it. Some of those who were in darkness received the light and rejoiced. Others resisted the light from heaven, saying that it was sent to lead them astray. The light passed away from them, and they were left in darkness. Those who had received the light from Jesus joyfully cherished the increase of precious light which was shed upon them. Their faces beamed with holy [241] joy, while their gaze was directed upward to Jesus with intense interest, and their voices were heard in harmony with the voice of the angel, "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come." As they raised this cry, I saw those who were in darkness thrusting them with side and with shoulder. Then many who cherished the sacred light, broke the cords which confined them and stood out separated from those companies. As they were doing this, men belonging to the different companies and revered by them passed through, some with pleasing words, and others with wrathful looks and threatening gestures, and fastened the cords which were weakening. These men were constantly saying, "God is with us. We stand in the light. We have the truth." I inquired who these men were, and was told that they were ministers and leading men who had rejected the light themselves, and were unwilling that others should receive it. {EW 240.2}

I saw those who cherished the light looking upward with ardent desire, expecting Jesus to come and take them to Himself. Soon a cloud passed over them, and their faces were sorrowful. I inquired the cause of this cloud and was shown that it was their disappointment. The time when they expected their Saviour had passed, and Jesus had not come. As discouragement settled upon the waiting ones, the ministers and leading men whom I had before noticed, rejoiced, and all those who had rejected the light triumphed greatly, while Satan and his evil angels also exulted. {EW 241.1}

Then I heard the voice of another angel saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen!" A light shone upon those desponding ones, and with ardent desires for His appearing, they again fixed their eyes upon Jesus. I saw a number of angels conversing with the one who had cried, "Babylon is fallen," and these united with [242] him in the cry, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him." The musical voices of these angels seemed to reach everywhere. An exceedingly bright and glorious light shone around those who had cherished the light which had been imparted to them. Their faces shone with excellent glory, and they united with the angels in the cry, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh." As they harmoniously raised the cry among the different companies, those who rejected the light pushed them and with angry looks scorned and derided them. But angels of God wafted their wings over the persecuted ones, while Satan and his angels were seeking to press their darkness around them, to lead them to reject the light from heaven. {EW 241.2}

Then I heard a voice saying to those who had been pushed and derided, "Come out from among them, and touch not the unclean." In obedience to this voice, a large number broke the cords which bound them, and leaving the companies that were in darkness, joined those who had previously gained their freedom, and joyfully united their voices with them. I heard the voice of earnest, agonizing prayer from a few who still remained with the companies that were in darkness. The ministers and leading men were passing around in these different companies, fastening the cords more firmly; but still I heard this voice of earnest prayer. Then I saw those who had been praying reach out their hands for help toward the united company who were free, rejoicing in God. The answer from them, as they earnestly looked to heaven, and pointed upward, was, "Come out from among them, and be separate." I saw individuals struggling for freedom, and at last they broke the cords that bound them. They resisted the efforts which were made to fasten the cords tighter and refused to heed the repeated assertions: "God is with us." "We have the truth with us." [243] {EW 242.1}

Persons were continually leaving the companies that were in darkness and joining the free company, who appeared to be in an open field raised above the earth. Their gaze was directed upward, the glory of God rested upon them, and they joyfully shouted His praise. They were closely united and seemed to be wrapped in the light of heaven. Around this company were some who came under the influence of the light, but who were not particularly united to the company. All who cherished the light shed upon them were gazing upward with intense interest, and Jesus looked upon them with sweet approbation. They expected Him to come and longed for His appearing. They did not cast one lingering look to earth. But again a cloud settled upon the waiting ones, and I saw them turn their weary eyes downward. I inquired the cause of this change. Said my accompanying angel, "They are again disappointed in their expectations. Jesus cannot yet come to earth. They must endure greater trials for His sake. They must give up errors and traditions received from men and turn wholly to God and His Word. They must be purified, made white, and tried. Those who endure that bitter trial will obtain an eternal victory." {EW 243.1}

Jesus did not come to the earth as the waiting, joyful company expected, to cleanse the sanctuary by purifying the earth by fire. I saw that they were correct in their reckoning of the prophetic periods; prophetic time closed in 1844, and Jesus entered the most holy place to cleanse the sanctuary at the ending of the days. Their mistake consisted in not understanding what the sanctuary was and the nature of its cleansing. As I looked again at the waiting, disappointed company, they appeared sad. They carefully examined the evidences of their faith and followed down through the reckoning of the prophetic periods, but [244] could discover no mistake. The time had been fulfilled, but where was their Saviour? They had lost Him. {EW 243.2}

I was shown the disappointment of the disciples as they came to the sepulcher and found not the body of Jesus. Mary said, "They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him." Angels told the sorrowing disciples that their Lord had risen, and would go before them into Galilee. {EW 244.1}

In like manner I saw that Jesus regarded with the deepest compassion the disappointed ones who had waited for His coming; and He sent His angels to direct their minds that they might follow Him where He was. He showed them that this earth is not the sanctuary, but that He must enter the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to make an atonement for His people and to receive the kingdom from His Father, and that He would then return to the earth and take them to dwell with Him forever. The disappointment of the first disciples well represents the disappointment of those who expected their Lord in 1844. {EW 244.2}

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I was carried back to the time when Christ rode triumphantly into Jerusalem. The joyful disciples believed that He was then to take the kingdom and reign a temporal prince. They followed their King with high hopes. They cut down the beautiful palm branches, and took off their outer garments, and with enthusiastic zeal spread them in the way; and some went before, and others followed, crying, "Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." The excitement disturbed the Pharisees, and they wished Jesus to rebuke His disciples. But He said unto them, "If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." The prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 must be fulfilled; yet the disciples were doomed [245] to a bitter disappointment. In a few days they followed Jesus to Calvary, and beheld Him bleeding and mangled upon the cruel cross. They witnessed His agonizing death and laid Him in the tomb. Their hearts sank with grief; their expectations were not realized in a single particular, and their hopes died with Jesus. But as He arose from the dead and appeared to His sorrowing disciples, their hopes revived. They had found Him again. {EW 244.3}

I saw that the disappointment of those who believed in the coming of the Lord in 1844 was not equal to the disappointment of the first disciples. Prophecy was fulfilled in the first and second angels' messages. They were given at the right time and accomplished the work which God designed to accomplish by them. {EW 245.1}

Click here to read the next chapter: "Another Illustration"


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