From Here to Forever


The Message Opposed

The proclamation of a definite time for Christ's coming called forth great opposition from many of all classes, from the minister in the pulpit to the most Heaven-daring sinner. Many declared that they had no opposition to the doctrine of the second advent; they merely objected to the definite time. But God's all-seeing eye read their hearts. They did not wish to hear of Christ's coming to judge the world in righteousness. Their works would not bear the inspection of the heart-searching God, and they feared 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 plain 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 desire His appearing. HF 230.2

“No man knoweth the day nor the hour” was the argument most often brought forward by rejecters of the advent faith. The scripture is: “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” Matthew 24:36. A clear explanation of this text was given by those who were looking for the Lord, and the wrong use of it by their opponents was clearly shown. HF 230.3

One saying of the Saviour must not be made to destroy another. Though no man knoweth 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 those in the days of Noah not to know when the Flood was coming. Christ says, “If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” Revelation 3:3. HF 231.1

Paul speaks of those who have heeded the Saviour's warning: “Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-5. HF 231.2

But those who desired an excuse to reject truth closed their ears to this explanation, and the words “No man knoweth the day nor the hour” continued to be echoed by the scoffer and even the professed minister of Christ. As the people began to inquire the way of salvation, religious teachers stepped in between them and the truth by falsely interpreting the Word of God. HF 231.3

The most devoted in the churches were usually the first to receive the message. Wherever the people were not controlled by the clergy, wherever they would search the Word of God for themselves, the advent doctrine needed only to be compared with Scripture to establish its divine authority. HF 231.4

Many were misled by husbands, wives, parents, or children and were made to believe it a sin even to listen to such “heresies” as were taught by the Adventists. Angels were bidden to keep faithful watch over these souls, for another light was yet to shine upon them from the throne of God. HF 231.5

Those who had received the message watched for the coming of their Saviour. The time when they expected to meet Him was at hand. They approached this hour with a calm solemnity. None who experienced this can forget those precious hours of waiting. For some weeks preceding the time, worldly business was for the most part laid aside. Sincere believers carefully examined their hearts as if in a few hours to close their eyes upon earthly scenes. There was no making of “ascension robes” (See Appendix), but all felt the need of internal evidence that they were prepared to meet the Saviour. Their white robes were purity of soul—characters cleansed by the atoning blood of Christ. Would that there were still with the people of God the same heart searching, the same earnest faith. HF 231.6

God designed to prove His people. His hand covered a mistake in the reckoning of 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 Saviour experienced a bitter disappointment. Yet God was testing the hearts of those who professed to be waiting for His appearing. Many had been actuated by fear. These persons declared that they had never believed that Christ would come. They were among the first to ridicule the sorrow of the true believers. HF 232.1

But Jesus and all the heavenly host looked with love and sympathy upon the faithful yet disappointed ones. If the veil separating the visible from the invisible world could have been swept back, angels would have been seen drawing near to these steadfast souls and shielding them from the shafts of Satan. HF 232.2