Are We Ready Yet?

TimeWatch Editorial
November 21, 2016

In our November 17, 2016 Editorial, we looked at the beginnings of America through the eyes of Stephen N. Haskell in his book en titled, “The Story of the Seer of Patmos.” 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’s continued look at early America, delivers a thoughtful analysis of the development of the nation. Listen as he continues.

“In 1776, the Declaration of Independence published to the world the purpose of the new and growing states to cut loose from the tie which bound them to the medieval forms of government. The step appeared rash; but this was necessary, to bring unity and united effort among the people of America. With one common enemy, all internal strife was forgotten; but when the new nation was acknowledged free and independent, the problem of ages was just before it. Having thrown off the fetters of monarchy, and with no definite ideas as to the actual workings of an administration by the people, the ship of state was in the greatest danger of foundering on the rocks of anarchy;” Stephen Haskell; The Story of the Seer of Patmos, Page 237

What is most interesting about Haskell’s observation is that there were some who, because of the difficult circumstances that existed at the beginning of the new environment, that is, a nation without a king and a church without a Pope, they, like the children of Israel in the wilderness, actually considered returning to the place from which they had been set free. This is how he puts it.

“Tired of the open sea, (some of them considered) again seeking shelter in the harbor from which they had sailed. There were men who advocated a return (to Europe); but God had His angels in the meetings of statesmen, and His Spirit guided the minds of those who sought to follow the light of the Reformation. The Federal Convention, which convened in Philadelphia in the year 1787, was no common meeting; for from the work done by the men who sat there, a wave was set in motion which has influenced every nation of the earth. It was by the fifty-five representatives from the states which formed the nucleus of the nation to-day recognized as one of the leading powers of the world, that the American Constitution was framed.” Stephen Haskell; The Story of the Seer of Patmos, Page 237

Haskell states that the Declaration of Independence lays the foundation upon which the nation’s government was founded. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. . . . That, to secure these rights, governments is instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." He further describes the Declaration.

“The Declaration was a deathblow to the papal hierarchy; it was the outgrowth of the principles advocated in the sixteenth century,-the result of restoring to their proper place the Two Witnesses (The Old and New Testament), that for twelve hundred and sixty years prophesied, clothed in sackcloth. Thus the earth, (the United States) helped the woman, by giving to her a home where the sunlight might shine unobstructed by the darkness which covered Europe during the twelve hundred and sixty years. The beast which came up out of the earth in the sight of the prophet, symbolizes the United States; and the two horns represent the two foundation principles of the government, Protestantism and republicanism.” Stephen Haskell; The Story of the Seer of Patmos, Page 238

Of course Protestantism is the movement that arose in protest to the error of Roman Catholicism. Republicanism is a form of government that respects the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority. Unfortunately, the prophetic announcement of Revelation 13 details a certain shift in the atmosphere of “the earth” that helped to woman.

“America, according to prophecy, would repudiate the fundamental principles of the nation, and from the lamblike beast, the voice of the dragon is heard.”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." Stephen Haskell; The Story of the Seer of Patmos, Page 240

But what is truly amazing is the fact that the book “The Story of the Seer of Patmos” was published in the year 1905, and yet the description of the times in the following paragraph gives a picture as to how far we have come.

“America has already repudiated her first principles of liberty. In form, the government remains the same as when established, but the spirit and life of the beast speak through the form. The life of Protestantism is gone; the life of democracy is lost. The professed Protestant nation is imitating the papal power of Rome, thus forming the image to the beast. As time progresses, it will be seen that the image will receive, more and more, the life of the beast. The return to papal principles in Europe, is the partial healing of the wounded head; but the fuller development of all the powers of that beast, which combined the characteristics of Babylon, Persia and Greece, in the once free and liberty loving America, will be the complete healing of the deadly wound.” Stephen Haskell; The Story of the Seer of Patmos, Page 241

So the question is, are we there yet? Haskell says that “America is the home of Protestantism, but her churches to-day are Protestant only in name. The exaltation of man above God, the enthroning of human intellect, the hope of righteousness by works, the trampling underfoot of the law of God,-these are some of the things which mark the Protestant churches as daughters of the Babylon, which swayed the world from her seat at Rome.” If this is so, then the final question must be, are we ready yet.

Cameron A. Bowen

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