From Here to Forever


Chapter 22—Prophecies Fulfilled

When the time passed at which the Lord's coming was first expected—the spring of 1844—those who had looked for His appearing were in doubt and uncertainty. Many continued to search the Scriptures, examining anew the evidence of their faith. The prophecies, clear and conclusive, pointed to the coming of Christ as near. The blessing of the Lord in conversion and revival among Christians had testified that the message was of Heaven. Interwoven with prophecies which they had regarded as applying to the time of the second advent was instruction encouraging them to wait patiently in the faith that what was now dark to their understanding would be made plain. Among these prophecies was Habakkuk 2:1-4. No one, however, noticed that an apparent delay—a tarrying time—is in the prophecy. After the disappointment, this scripture appeared very significant: “The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. ... The just shall live by his faith.” HF 243.1

Ezekiel's prophecy also was a comfort to believers: “Thus saith the Lord God, ... The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. ... I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged.” “The word which I have spoken shall be done.” Ezekiel 12:23-25, 28. HF 243.2

The waiting ones rejoiced. He who knows the end from the beginning had given them hope. Had it not been for such portions of Scripture, their faith would have failed. HF 243.3

The parable of the ten virgins of Matthew 25 also illustrates the experience of the Adventist people. Here is brought to view the church in the last days. Their experience is illustrated by the incidents of an Eastern marriage: HF 244.1

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” Matthew 25:1-6. HF 244.2

The coming of Christ, as announced by the first angel's message, was understood to be represented by the coming of the bridegroom. The widespread reformation under the proclamation of Christ's soon coming answered to the going forth of the virgins. In this parable, all had taken their lamps, the Bible, and had gone “forth to meet the bridegroom.” But while the foolish “took no oil with them,” “the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” The latter had studied the Scriptures to learn the truth and had a personal experience, a faith in God which could not be overthrown by disappointment and delay. Others moved from impulse, their fears excited by the message. But they had depended upon the faith of the brethren, satisfied with the flickering light of emotion, without a thorough understanding of truth or a genuine work of grace in the heart. These had gone forth “to meet” the Lord in the prospect of immediate reward but were not prepared for delay and disappointment. Their faith failed. HF 244.3

“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” By the tarrying of the bridegroom is represented the passing of the time, the disappointment, the seeming delay. Those whose faith was based on a personal knowledge of the Bible had a rock beneath their feet which the waves of disappointment could not wash away. “They all slumbered and slept,” one class in abandonment of their faith, the other patiently waiting till clearer light should be given. The superficial could no longer lean upon the faith of their brethren. Each must stand or fall for himself. HF 244.4