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Return to Ugliness

TimeWatch Editorial
November 17, 2016

The history of the United States of America has been dealt with by many authors and researchers over the years, but there is one writer whose description of the beginnings of America has a certain flavor that is difficult to ignore. His name is Stephen Nelson Haskell. His biography as found in The Ellen G. White Estate website, describes him as having born in the year 1833. He died in the year 1933. Stephen Haskell began preaching for First-day Adventists in 1853, but the same year, after reading a tract on the Sabbath , he became a Sabbath keeper at the age of 20. Following some years in self-supporting work in New England, he was ordained in 1870 and became president of the New England Conference, serving from 1870 to 1887. While in that position, he served three times president of the California Conference (1879–1887, 1891–1894, and 1908–1911) and also of the Maine Conference (1884–1886).

Haskell accompanied James and Ellen White on several speaking tours. He also worked closely with them as a member of the General Conference Committee in the mid-1870s. He led out in the establishment of South Lancaster Academy, later known as Atlantic Union College (1882), and wrote several important books on the sanctuary and Bible prophecy. In his description of the events related in Revelation chapter 13, Haskell describes the two beasts this way.

“Rome (the first beast of Revelation 13:1-10) sprang into existence in the midst of many peoples. That beast arose from the sea, but away from all the strife, outside the bounds of European darkness, arose another nation (The United States of America, Revelation 13: 11-17). It was brought into existence by the Lord Himself; at the very time it was most needed for the development of the principles of the Gospel, and of the final struggle for truth. From 1492 and onward, Europe heard reports of a new land beyond the seas. Navigators, usually in search of gold or glory, explored the shores and established colonies. But neither wealth nor honor was to have a hand in the final settlement; God reserved the territory, afterwards known as the United States of America, for the planting of downtrodden truth.” Stephen Haskell; The Story of the Seer of Patmos, Page 235

His detailed explanation of the impact of the Reformation leaves a lasting impression upon his readers. Living during the time of the birth of the remnant church of God, created an atmosphere of personal testimony in his delivery. Listen to how he concisely describes the reach of the Reformation.

“The Reformation, in which Luther played such an important part, was more far reaching in its results than its most sanguine advocates could imagine, in the days when the light began to shine. It was the proclamation of a great truth, twofold in its mission. As the papacy must be considered, and had to be met, both as a civil and as an ecclesiastical power, so the Reformation gave birth to, or revived, the principles which were both civil and ecclesiastical in nature. The fact is stated in the words of the twelfth chapter, "The earth helped the woman." The church was in the hands of a persecuting power; and when the dragon sent forth a great flood, hoping to drown the truth, the earth (that is: the new world, or The United States) came to the rescue of the church.” Stephen Haskell; The Story of the Seer of Patmos, Page 236

But as other historians have stated, Protestantism and Republicanism was not easy to achieve in America. Those who came to this land, brought with them habits of the past. They brought with them habits of control and coercion. It took a while for the change to come, but it did come. On page 236 Haskell says:

“On the bleak New England shores, principles of Protestantism and republicanism struggled for existence. These two went hand in hand. Historians recount the hardships of braving the sea and making new homes; but these were light trials, compared with the soul-strivings against bondage and oppression. So strongly ingrained were the principles of monarchy and the spirit to dictate in religious matters-the two foundation stones of the papacy-that only by dint of perseverance and strong determination on the part of a few souls who were open to heaven-born convictions, there gradually grew up in New England a representative form of government. The towns about Boston refused to be taxed unless they had a voice in the legislative body. Thomas Hooker, with his whole congregation, immigrated to the wilds of Connecticut for greater liberty; and as a result, the first written constitution ever known to exist in America, was framed in 1633. Rhode Island had an existence solely, because of the attempt of man to oppress the conscience of his fellow man; and it stands in the Union to-day as a monument of the struggle for religious liberty.” Stephen Haskell; The Story of the Seer of Patmos, Page 236

Using Haskell’s description as a backdrop, we are even more aware of the threat to the victory that was won at such great cost during the early years of the beginning of America. After having purged our nation from the ugliness of coercive control, we stand upon the edge of a new beginning of the very inquisitorial environment which we sought so desperately to escape. Perhaps the single most reassuring fact about all this is that it has been prophesied in advance of its occurrence. Revelation 13 verse 12, 16, 17 makes it clear.

Revelation 13:12 - And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

Revelation 13:16 - And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

Revelation 13:17 - And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

We cannot be far from the entire fulfillment.

Cameron A. Bowen