Ellen G. White Writings

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The Gathering of Israel, Page 11

and David had it; but as their possession was not the promised possession [for all these “received not the promise” (Hebrews 11:39, 40 cited)]; neither would the possession by the modern Jews be the promised possession.... Those who inherit with [Abraham and Christ] will not expect it in this mortal life, but in the resurrection and eternal life. 3Ward, “The Hope of Israel” (1842), reprinted in Advent Herald, n.s. 5:122, May 18, 1850.

The Seventh-day Adventists, still a small minority group, stayed out of the 1850 controversy; indeed, they could hardly have been accepted as allies by either side. Himes’ Advent Herald party and Marsh’s age-to-come adherents recognized each other as erring brethren, but considered the Seventh-day Adventists outside the pale. The latter, in turn, regarded both other parties as having departed from the original Advent message and having rejected the new light on the Sabbath. 4Perhaps this situation was a safeguard to Seventh-day Adventists, their separation helping to preserve their identity in their formative period.

But the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of the millennium precluded accepting the age-to-come views: With all the redeemed in heaven and no human being left alive on the earth, there is simply no room for either probation after the Second Advent or a “Judaizing” millennial kingdom on earth.

Like the Millerite “anti-Judaizing” view, the Seventh-day Adventist belief had nothing to do with the Jews or with their religion or national status. It opposed one specific Christian prophetic interpretation, namely: the application of certain prophecies to an expected gathering and conversion of the Jews, and to their place in a “Davidic” kingdom on earth during the millennium. (An opinion for or against the “Judaizing” Literalist interpretation of the prophecies no more makes one pro-Israel or anti-Jewish than does the acceptance or rejection of the British-Israel claim make one pro- or anti- British.) 5No more than our teaching that the prophecies indicate wars, calamities, and persecutions in the last days means that we rejoice in or approve of these developments.

Chapter 13—Meshullam and Old Jerusalem

If in 1850 and 1851 the Seventh-day Adventists held doctrines incompatible with the various contemporary teachings on “the time,” the “age to come,” and the Jews, why, then, did they need the “Gathering Time” counsels from Mrs. White? Because they were not isolated from the battle of ideas in the various Adventist journals. A few, such as Edson, had obviously been affected by the currently popular interpretations of prophecy and contemporary news. Though there seems to be no indication that Edson’s hints of an 1850 “sealing” in Jerusalem roused any interest in going there, yet from other quarters, at that very time, there came inducements to action in connection with “the story of Meshullam.”

In June, 1850, Mrs. Clorinda Minor of Philadelphia, after having returned from a visit to Palestine, published a brief biographical sketch of John Meshullam—an English-born Jewish Christian who farmed near Bethlehem and did what he could to aid the indigent Jews in Jerusalem by giving them produce or employment. Early in 1851 she enlarged her narrative by including an account of her travels, taken from her diary. In this book, entitled Meshullam! or, Tidings From Jerusalem, she appealed for funds and helpers for Meshullam’s project, 1[Clorinda S. Minor], Meshullam! or, Tidings From Jerusalem, published by the author, 1850 [i.e. 1851; see p. 98]. (For the identity of the author, see Advent Harbinger, 2:293, March 1, 1851.) This is the “second edition,” the first being the “Narrative” (pp. 81-95 in the 2nd ed.) published in June, 1850 (see p. 80). For appeals for helpers, see pp. 77, 98. which she invested with a prophetic significance.

Her visionary enthusiasm saw in his flourishing crops a sign of God’s returning favor to “the land.” Her imagination transformed his handful of Jewish tillers into the vanguard of Israel’s return to their soil, and her fancy saw them as prospective converts who would constitute the “remnant” gathered to welcome their returning Messiah to His capital, preparatory to the complete restoration after the Second Advent. 2See her Meshullam! pp. 73-74, 75, 77, 84-85, 98, 99; also her articles in The Truth Seeker, 1:2, April, 1851, and in the Advent Harbinger, n.s. 4:149, Oct. 23, 1852. Her sentiments are echoed by J. B. Cook, ibid., n.s. 3:77, Aug. 23, 1851.

Her plan was not only to collect money and supplies, but also to take over a group of settlers. They were to till the soil and work for the rehabilitation of the indigent Jews of Jerusalem, to free them from dependence on their rabbis and on the largesse of international Jewry, and also to convert them.

Numerous articles appeared in 1851 in the Advent Harbinger, J. B. Cook backing Mrs. Minor enthusiastically, but Marsh cautioning and Crozier eventually disparaging. 3For Cook, see Advent Harbinger, n.s. 2:293, 307, 321; n.s. 3:77, 85, 291. For Marsh, ibid., n.s. 2:396; n.s. 3:101-102, 118, 156; n.s. 4: 189. For Crozier, ibid., n.s. 4:174, 180, 204-206. Both Marsh and Crozier considered her project visionary, doubtful of success, and also unscriptural because they expected no return of the Jews until after the Advent.

The following autumn Mrs. Minor did sail with a group of seven. Soon, however, there came trouble, bad reports, and a parting of the ways with Meshullam, who disclaimed his would-be helper. 4They arrived in March, 1852; before that year was out, Meshullam was disillusioned. John Meshullam, Letter (Jan. 15, 1853), Advent Harbinger, n.s. 4:308, March 12, 1853; cf. n.s. 3:156, Nov. 1, 1851; p. 291, Feb. 28, 1852. Mrs. Minor, who observed the Sabbath though she was not a Seventh-day Adventist, appears to have tried unsuccessfully to induce the Seventh Day Baptists to take over her project. 5Minor, Meshullam! p. 71 (there seems to have been a Sabbatarian group in Philadelphia; see The Day-Star, November 22, 1845, 8:25); see also Advent Harbinger, n.s. 4:149, Oct. 23, 1852; ibid., p. 168, Nov. 6, 1852; ibid., p. 205, Dec. 11, 1852. Since she was well known to some of the early Seventh-day Adventists, 6To Ellen Harmon (Spiritual Gifts 2:72-73) and E. L. H. Chamberlain (The Day-Star, January 10, 1846, 9:17). it is quite possible that some of them would

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