Ellen G. White Writings

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The Great Controversy 1888, Page 357

Christendom at the same time. In both Europe and America, men of faith and prayer were led to the study of the prophecies, and, tracing down the inspired record, they saw convincing evidence that the end of all things was at hand. In different lands there were isolated bodies of Christians, who, solely by the study of the Scriptures, arrived at the belief that the Saviour's advent was near.

In 1821, three years after Miller had arrived at his exposition of the prophecies pointing to the time of the judgment, Dr. Joseph Wolff, “the missionary to the world,” began to proclaim the Lord's soon coming. Wolff was born in Germany, of Hebrew parentage, his father being a Jewish Rabbi. While very young he was convinced of the truth of the Christian religion. Of an active, inquiring mind, he had been an eager listener to the conversations that took place in his father's house, as devout Hebrews daily assembled to recount the hopes and anticipations of their people, the glory of the coming Messiah, and the restoration of Israel. One day hearing Jesus of Nazareth mentioned, the boy inquired who he was. “A man of the greatest talent,” was the answer; “but because he pretended to be the Messiah, the Jewish tribunal sentenced him to death.” “Why, then,” rejoined the questioner, “why is Jerusalem destroyed? and why are we in captivity?” “Alas, alas!” answered his father, “because the Jews murdered the prophets.” The thought that was at once suggested to the child, “Perhaps Jesus of Nazareth was also a prophet, and the Jews killed him when he was innocent.” So strong was this feeling, that though forbidden to enter a Christian church, he would often linger outside to listen to the preaching.

When only seven years old, he was boasting to an aged Christian neighbor of the future triumph of Israel at the advent of the Messiah, when the old man said kindly, “Dear boy, I will tell you who the real Messiah was: he was Jesus of Nazareth, whom your ancestors crucified, as they slew the prophets of old. Go home and read the fifty-third

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