Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)


Ms 31, 1896

Testimony Concerning the Views of Prophecy Held by Bro. John Bell, No. 1

Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

November 8, 1896

This manuscript is published in entirety in 17MR 1-5.

I have not been able to sleep since half past one o’clock. I was bearing to Brother John Bell a message which the Lord has given me for him. The peculiar views he holds are a mixture of truth and error. If he had passed through the experience of God’s people as He had led them the last forty years, he would be better prepared to make the correct application of Scripture. The great waymarks of truth, showing us our bearings in prophetic history, are to be carefully guarded, lest they be torn down and replaced with theories that would bring confusion rather than genuine light. I have been cited to the various erroneous theories that have been presented over and over again. Those who advocated these theories presented Scripture quotations, but they misapplied and misinterpreted them. The theories supposed to be correct were incorrect, and yet many thought them the very theories to be brought before the people. The prophecies of Daniel and John are to be diligently studied. 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 1

There are those now living who in studying the prophecies of Daniel and John, received great light from God as they passed over the ground where special prophecies were in process of fulfillment in their order. They bore the message of time to the people. The truth shone out clearly as the sun at noonday. Historical events, showing the direct fulfillment of prophecy, were set before the people, and the prophecy was seen to be a figurative delineation of events leading down to the close of this earth’s history. The scenes connected with the working of the man of sin are the last features plainly revealed in this earth’s history. The people now have a special message to give to the world, the third angel’s message. Those who, in their experience, have passed over the ground acted a part in the proclamation of the first, second, and third angel’s messages are not so liable to be led into false paths as are those who have not had an experimental knowledge of the people of God. 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 2

God’s people are to warn the world to prepare for the second appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is coming with power and great glory, when the cry of peace and safety is being sounded from every part of the Christian world, and the sleeping church and the world will be asking in scorn, “Where is the promise of his coming? ... All things continue as they were from the beginning.” [2 Peter 3:4.] 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 3

Christ was taken up into heaven in a cloud composed of living angels. The angels declared to the men of Galilee, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” [Acts 1:11.] This is the great event to be contemplated and talked of. The declaration of the angels was that He should come in the same manner as He went up into heaven. 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 4

And the second appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is to be kept fresh before the minds of the people. Let all understand this. Jesus is coming again. The same Jesus that ascended into heaven, escorted by the heavenly host, is coming again. The same Jesus who has been our Advocate, our Friend at court, pleading the cases of all who accept Him as their Saviour, will come the second time to be admired in all them that believe. 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 5

There have been one and another who in studying their Bibles thought they discovered great light, and new theories, but these theories have not been correct. The Scripture is all true, but by misapplying Scripture men arrive at wrong conclusions. We are engaged in a mighty conflict, and it will become more close and determined as we near the final struggle. We have a sleepless adversary, and he is constantly at work upon human minds [that] have not had a personal experience in the teachings of the people of God for the last fifty years. Some will take the truth applicable for that time, and place it in the future. Events in the chain of prophecy that had their fulfillment away in the past are made future, and thus by these theories the faith of some is undermined. 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 6

From the light that the Lord has been pleased to give me, you are in danger of doing the same work, presenting before others truths which have had their place, and done their specific work for the time, in the history of the faith of the people of God. You recognize these facts in Bible history as true, but apply them to the future. They have their force still in their proper place, in the chain of events that have made us as a people what we are today, and as such, they are to be presented to those who are in the darkness of error. 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 7

The true workers with Jesus Christ are to co-operate with their brethren who have had an experience in the work from the very rise of the third angel’s message. These followed on step by step receiving light and truth as they advanced, bearing one test after another, lifting the cross that lay directly in their pathway, and pressing on to know the Lord, whose goings forth are prepared as the morning. You and others of our brethren must accept the truth as God has given it to His students of prophecy, as they have been led by a 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. 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 8

The burden of the warning now to come to the people of God, nigh and afar off, is the third angel’s message. And those who are seeking to understand this message will not be led by the Lord to make an application of the Word that will undermine the foundation and remove the pillars of the faith that has made Seventh-Day Adventists what they are today. The truths that have been unfolding in their order, as we have advanced along the line of prophecy revealed in the Word of God, are truth, sacred, eternal truth today. Those who passed over the ground step by step in the past history of our experience, seeing the chain of truth in the prophecies, were prepared to accept and obey every ray of light. They were praying, fasting, searching, digging for the truth as for hidden treasures, and the Holy Spirit, we know, was teaching and guiding us. 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 9

Many theories were advanced, bearing a semblance of truth, but so mingled with misinterpreted and misapplied Scriptures that they led to dangerous errors. Very well do we know how every point of truth was established, and the seal set upon it by the Holy Spirit of God. And all the time voices were heard, “Here is the truth.” “I have the truth; follow me.” But the warnings came, “Go not ye after them. I have not sent them, but they ran.” [See Luke 21:8; Jeremiah 23:21.] 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 10

The leadings of the Lord were marked, and most wonderful were His revelations of what is truth. Point after point was established by the Lord God of heaven. That which was truth then, is truth today. But the voices do not cease to be heard, “This is truth. I have new light.” But these new lights in prophetic lines are manifest in misapplying the Word and setting the people of God adrift without an anchor to hold them. If the student of the Word would take the truth which God has revealed in the leadings of His people, and appropriate these truth, digest them, and bring them into their practical life, they would then be living channels of light. But those who have set themselves to study out new theories have a mixture of truth and error combined, and after trying to make these things prominent, have demonstrated that they have not kindled their taper from the divine altar, and it has gone out in darkness. 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 11

According to the light God has given me, you are on the same track. That which appears to you to be a chain of truth is, in come lines misplacing the prophecies and counterworking that which God has revealed as truth. The third angel’s message is our burden to the people. It is the gospel of peace and righteousness and truth. Here is our work, to stand firmly to proclaim this. We need now to have every piece of the armor on. 11LtMs, Ms 31, 1896, par. 12