A Prophet Among You


Chapter 10—Backgrounds Of The Advent Movement

The focal point of prophecy beyond the apostolic age is the second advent of Christ. While the experience of the church and the world during the intervening centuries receives attention, from the viewpoint of prophecy it seems to be largely for the purpose of centering the mind of the believers on the climactic conclusion. Predictions of intermediate events serve the dual end of revealing the progress of the plan of salvation, and confirming confidence in the fulfillment of the whole plan. APAY 166.1

In the vision of the seven seals (Revelation 6 and 8) we find a summation of the major lines of prophecy pointing to the second advent. We get a preview of how paganism would enter the early church and destroy its purity, how Satan would attempt to blot out God’s faithful ones by persecution when they stood for their faith. The vision also foretells how the testimony of God’s word would speak out continually against corrupt conditions, and how the second advent would be dramatically foretold by major signs that would be fulfilled just before Christ came. APAY 166.2

Portions of the description, with emphasis on a variety of particulars, may be found in the prophecies of Daniel 2; 7; 11; 12; Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Thessalonians 1; 2; 2 Peter 3; Revelation 2; 3; 6-14. No prophecy gives a complete picture, and all of them must be fitted together in the same way that the four Gospels must be combined to obtain a full understanding of the events of the first advent. But no matter which phase of the coming events is stressed, everything moves resistlessly toward the time when “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ.” Revelation 11:15. Once again we see the singleness of purpose characteristic of the Bible writers. APAY 166.3

As we study of the predictions of the prominence of the gift of prophecy during the period preceding Christ’s second coming, our attention turns to the signs of the advent that are found in the context of some of the predictions. These signs not only emphasize the imminence of the second advent, but they also show the relation of the gift of prophecy to the remnant church. The prophecies indicate that the gift was to be revealed in the setting of these signs. APAY 167.1

Joel said, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.” Joel 2:31. Christ added to the details of the prophecy: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Matthew 24:29. John the revelator, in describing the sixth seal, adds still another item: “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.” Revelation 6:12, 13. APAY 167.2

The blending of the three passages produces a list of three prominent signs calculated to indicate the approach of the end: (1) a great earthquake, (2) a darkening of the sun, (3) a falling of the stars. It is not necessary to repeat here the evidences that these signs have been fulfilled. Seventh-day Adventist literature has stated the facts many times. We will simply note the event fulfilling the prediction: (1) the Lisbon earthquake, November 1, 1755; (2) the dark day, May 19, 1780; (3) the meteoric shower, November 13, 1833. Another key event of the preadvent days was to be the emergence of the remnant church, the seed of the woman, spoken of in Revelation 12:17. This group is identified as keeping the commandments of God and possessing the testimony of Jesus Christ. To grasp the significance of the signs to those who saw them and to those who came after, we must glance at the world in which they took place. Since the first signs appeared in the natural world, events have shaped toward fulfillment of predicted conditions in the political and religious world. APAY 167.3