Love Under Fire


The Message Opposed

The message of a definite time for Christ's coming stirred up great opposition from many people in all parts of society, from the minister in the pulpit to the most Heaven-daring sinner. Many declared that they were not against the doctrine of the Second Advent, they just objected to the definite time. But God's all-seeing eye read their hearts. They did not want to hear that Christ would come to judge the world in righteousness. Their works would not pass the inspection of the heart-searching God, and they were afraid to meet their Lord. Like the Jews at the time of Christ's first advent, they were not prepared to welcome Jesus. They not only refused to listen to the clear arguments from the Bible but ridiculed those who were looking for the Lord. Satan flung the taunt in the face of Christ that His professed people had so little love for Him that they did not want Him to return. LF 154.6

Those who rejected the advent faith most often used the argument, “No one knows the day nor the hour.” The scripture text is: “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36). Those who were looking for the Lord gave a clear explanation of this text and showed plainly how their opponents were using it wrongly. LF 155.1

One saying of the Savior must not be made to destroy another. Though no one knows the day nor the hour of His coming, we are required to know when it is near. To refuse or neglect to know when His advent is near will be as fatal for us as it was for people in the days of Noah not to know when the Flood was coming. Christ says, “Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Revelation 3:3). LF 155.2

Paul speaks of those who have accepted the Savior's warning: “You, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day” (1 Thessalonians 5:4, 5). LF 155.3

But those who wanted an excuse to reject truth refused to listen to this explanation, and the words “No one knows the day nor the hour” continued to echo from the scoffer and even the professed minister of Christ. As the people began to ask about the way of salvation, religious teachers stepped in between them and the truth by falsely interpreting the Word of God. LF 155.4

The most devoted in the churches were usually the first to accept the message. Wherever the people were not controlled by the clergy, wherever they would search the Word of God for themselves, they only needed to compare the advent doctrine with Scripture to be convinced of its divine authority. LF 155.5

Many were misled by husbands, wives, parents, or children and were made to believe it was a sin even to listen to such “heresies” as the Adventists taught. God sent His angels to keep faithful watch over these people, for another light was going to shine on them from His throne. LF 155.6

Those who had accepted the message watched for the coming of their Savior. The time when they expected to meet Him had almost arrived. They approached this hour calmly and solemnly. None who experienced this can forget those precious hours of waiting. For some weeks before the time, for the most part they set worldly business aside. Sincere believers carefully examined their hearts as if in a few hours their earthly lives would end. There was no making of “ascension robes” (see Appendix), but all of them felt the need for inner assurance that they were prepared to meet the Savior. Their white robes were purity of heart—characters cleansed by the atoning blood of Christ. Oh, if only the people of God still had the same heart searching, the same earnest faith! LF 155.7

God intended to test His people. His hand covered a mistake in computing the prophetic periods. The time of expectation [that is, that Christ would come in the spring of 1844] passed, and Christ did not appear. Those who had looked for their Savior experienced a bitter disappointment. Yet God was testing the hearts of those who claimed to be waiting for His appearing. Many had acted from fear. These people declared that they had never believed that Christ would come. They were among the first to ridicule the sorrow of the true believers. LF 156.1

But Jesus and all of heaven looked with love and sympathy on the faithful yet disappointed ones. If the veil separating the visible from the invisible world could have been swept back, these loyal believers would have seen angels drawing near to them and shielding them from Satan's arrows. LF 156.2