Rise of the Remnant – Part 2

TimeWatch Editorial
March 17, 2017

In our very last Editorial, as we looked at the arrival of the Pilgrims to American shores, we were examining the description by Arthur Whitefield Spalding in his book, “Origin and History of Seventh Day Adventists, Volume 1. On page 15, in describing the actions of the Pilgrims on their arrival, he said the following:

“Scarcely had the Pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock or the larger colonies of Puritans landed at Massachusetts Bay, when their pioneer leaders began to speak and write, among other subjects, on Biblical prophecy. In sermons, in pamphlets, in books, they proclaimed their faith. Their early books, perforce, were published in old England, but the authors were the new Americans. John Cotton, early minister of the Boston church, within his first decade on this continent published two volumes on the Second Advent. Other ministers of the same period were Second Advent writers. Roger Williams, dissenting pastor at Salem and Plymouth, and then founder of Rhode Island, wrote four prophetic works.” Arthur Whitefield Spalding, “Origin and History of Seventh Day Adventists,” Volume 1, page 15

These were the early years. What a powerful time it was! The number of minds that were called by the Holy Spirit to ponder, study and write concerning the second coming of Christ, was quite amazing. It could not have been opinion arrived at by reason alone. The uniformity of the message, the direction of the revelation, all spoke to the fullness of time that brought forth the Word of God in its purity.

“Before the century had passed, John Davenport; Cotton Mather; Increase Mather; Governor Joseph Dudley; Chief Justice Samuel Sewall; Urian Oakes, president of Harvard College; John Eliot, apostle to the Indians; and altogether over forty writers, including clergymen, statesmen, lawyers, teachers, physicians, and historians, were expositors of the blessed hope.' However much some of these stern Puritans fell short of the grace of toleration, they yet held the basic doctrines of the Christian faith.”
Arthur Whitefield Spalding, “Origin and History of Seventh Day Adventists,” Volume 1, page 16

As stated above, it took a while for the Pilgrims to reach the level of understanding that liberty of conscience was an absolute necessity when following the Word of God. At first, the same coercive tendencies of their past experiences held them prisoner, but as time progressed, they began to understand the concept of Freedom of Religion. This understanding, blended with recognition of the urgency of being prepared for the return of Christ, opened up for them a whole new vision of their need.

“The voices of prominent clergymen in the Established Churches of England and Scotland, and also in the nonconforming churches, were heard proclaiming the Advent near. Eloquent and saintly Edward Irving was one of the foremost preachers of the Advent. Hugh M'Neile, rector of Albury, was a foremost expositor of the prophecies, and moderator of the Prophetic Conferences held at Albury Park, the estate of Henry Drummond. William Cuninghame, of Scotland, and Edward Bickersteth, of England, were other prominent advocates. Altogether, it was reckoned there were more than four hundred preachers of the Second Advent in the British Isles.” Arthur Whitefield Spalding, “Origin and History of Seventh Day Adventists,” Volume 1, page 16

The message of truth soon began to spread throughout the land. Long before the entrance of the sort of technology that today is taken for granted, the message was disseminated.

“Like the scattering of the winged seeds of a great tree, the message of the coming King whirled over Christendom; and through the distribution of literature by merchant and through such messengers as Joseph Wolff, it penetrated Mohammedan and pagan lands. These British "Literalists" raised the cry of "the Advent near," opposing the popular postmillennialist view that deferred or "spiritualized" away the personal, visible coming of the Lord. Thus they proclaimed a message that was and is an integral part of Christian doctrine and the logical end of the gospel.” Arthur Whitefield Spalding, “Origin and History of Seventh Day Adventists,” Volume 1, page 19

Just so there might be no misunderstanding, the Free Encyclopedia defines Postmillennialism as the fact that Jesus Christ establishes his kingdom on earth through his preaching and redemptive work in the first century and that he equips his church with the gospel, empowers her by the Spirit, and charges her with the Great Commission (Matt 28:19) to disciple all nations. Postmillennialism expects that eventually the vast majority of men living will be saved. Increasing gospel success will gradually produce a time in history prior to Christ's return in which faith, righteousness, peace, and prosperity will prevail in the affairs of men and of nations. After an extensive era of such conditions Jesus Christ will return visibly, bodily, and gloriously, to end history with the general resurrection and the final judgment after which the eternal order follows

After careful study, however many turned away from their Postmillennialism, and urgently proclaimed the soon coming of Our Lord and Savior. Slowly, step by step the path of wisdom opened before those who had commited themselves to the study of the Prophetic Utterances of the Word of God.

“Many of these British writers and some on the Continent and in North America, including a few postmillennialists also, looked for the end of Daniel's 2300 days. The most popular dates set were 1843, 1844, and 1847 (based on beginning the 2300 days and the 70 weeks together, as Petri of Germany had done earlier), though some looked to 1866 or 1867. The events variously expected included: the fall of the papacy, of Islam, or of Protestant error, the restoration of the Jews, the freeing of Palestine from the Turks, and the return of Jesus.” Arthur Whitefield Spalding, “Origin and History of Seventh Day Adventists,” Volume 1, page 19

All of this slowly matured, step by step, until the revelation of truth burst through, filling hearts and minds with the power of the Gospel. As Arthur Spalding puts it, “It was reserved for a simple American farmer to be the agent in planting the seed which should grow into the tree of the judgment-hour message of the judgments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

Cameron A. Bowen

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