The Gathering Time-1

March 19  The Gathering Time-1


"God therefor to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find." And those servants went into the streets and gathered all whom they found. Matt. 22:9, 10, RSV.

We saw back in January that the Great Disappointment of October 1844 had shattered Millerism. The once powerful movement had split into several factions, and many had given up Adventism altogether. The scattering time had begun in late 1844.

But all was not lost. Three and one half years of zealous Bible study had enabled Joseph Bates and the Whites to arrive at some powerful conclusions regarding the cause of the Disappointment and the shape of prophetic history according to the book of Revelation.

By early 1848 they had a message based on the heart of the Apocalypse of John that tied together the Second Advent, the opening of the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, and the end-time importance of of the Sabbath into a unified theology. To Bates and the Whites those were not three distinct doctrines or "fundamental beliefs" but a unified last-day message. They saw its evangelistic delivery package in terms of the three angels of Revelation 14.

Let's eavesdrop on James in his letter to a Brother Bowles on November 8, 1849: "By the proclamation of the Sabbath truth in connection with the Advent movement," White wrote, "God is making known those that are His. The scattering time we have had; it is in the past, and now the time for the saints to be gathered into the unity of the faith, and be sealed by one holy, uniting truth has come. Yes, Brother, it has come. It is true that the work moves slowly, but it moves sure, and it gathers strength at every step. New ones are entering the fields. . .and are proclamining the sealing, separating message. . .of the 3rd angel of Rev. 14. . .O my soul, what a message.

"Our past Advent experience, and present position and future work is marked out in Rev. 14. . .as plain as the prophetic pencil could write it. Thank God that we see it. . .I believe that the Sabbath truth  is yet to ring through the land, as the Advent never has. Let us all keep awake and be ready at any time to work for God. . .Our home, our resting place, our Heaven, is yonder, just yonder. . .Jesus is coming to gather the poor outcasts home."

It's hard not to catch his excitement. I'm still excited as I read God's promises and His prophecies. Our home is not here, but just "yonder."

Our home is not here, but just "yonder."