Ellen G. White Writings

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The Gathering of Israel, Page 6

early years of division—the time of scattering, as Mrs. White said in September, 1850—“efforts made to spread the truth had but little effect, accomplished but little or nothing.” Now, in 1850, she was urging unity and action in this “gathering time,” when “efforts to spread the truth will have their designed effect.” 4Early Writings, 74.

But at that very time, she said, Satan was trying to divert them from the present truth and the present task by still other distractions, principally timesetting and the age-to-come doctrine.

Since the Seventh-day Adventists held to the date 1844 for the end of the 2300 days, they were not seeking for a substitute date. This gave them a certain immunity to the date-setting fevers transmitted by various individuals among the other Adventists. (There were a few exceptions, around 1850.)

As for their view of the future age, the Seventh-day Adventists had retained the original Millerite belief that Christ’s return would end probation and would begin the reign of the immortal saints, Jew and Gentile alike. They also developed by 1850 a new doctrine of the millennium—held, so far as I know, by no one else—a view that placed the millennial reign in heaven, with the earth left during that period without a single living human being. This view provided an effective inoculation against the Literalist millennialism being newly taught under the name “the age to come.” 5See “Millennium,” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, pp. 886-888. For Seventh-day Adventist statements published in 1850, see Ellen G. White, Vision of January 26, in The Present Truth, April, 1850, 1:72; James White, “The Day of Judgment,” Advent Review, 1:49-51, September, 1850; [Hiram Edson], “The Age to Come,” Advent Review, Extra, [September, 1850], pp. 14, 15; Ellen G. White, in Present Truth, 1:86, November, 1850. This last was a vision received in September (entitled “The Last Plagues and the Judgment” in Early Writings, 52), about the same time as the section dated September 23 (on the same page in Present Truth) which forms the first part of the “Gathering Time” messages in Early Writings, 74-76.

The age-to-come party, which might be called another minority group, emerged later from the original majority group of Adventists. Since it belongs to the 1850s, it will be deferred to a later section, after a survey of the period of 1848-1850 and its timesettings.

Chapter 8—The Upheavals Of 1848

In 1848, as a rash of revolutions broke out in Europe, popular uprisings toppled thrones and upset power structures in many countries, even driving the pope to flight and making Rome a republic. In 1849 there was fear of a Russian invasion from the north.

Some Adventists saw these events as the “shaking of the powers of heaven.” 1Early Writings, 41. To many the upheaval of the “Gentile powers” of Europe presaged the end of the “times of the Gentiles” and the restoration of Israel, especially since in some countries the revolutions brought new freedom to the Jews. It was generally supposed that the “times of the Gentiles” extended to the Second Advent. 2For example, William Miller, “Review of Smith and Campbell.” in his Views, pp. 178, 179; Josiah Litch, Prophetic Expositions, vol. 1, p. 70; Himes, Editorial, Advent Herald, n.s. 5:60, 61, March 23, 1850; [Storrs], in Bible Examiner, reprinted in Advent Harbinger, n.s. 3:77, Aug. 23, 1851; Marsh, Editorial, Advent Harbinger, n.s. 2:236, Jan. 11, 1851.

In mid-1848 Josiah Litch, one of the leading Millerite authors, was stirred by the current revolutions. Because in some countries these brought new freedom to Jews, he looked for an imminent emancipation of the Jews and the Holy Land from being trodden underfoot by Gentile domination, at the end of the 2300 years. He concluded (though he doubted this later) 3Litch, Lecture 8 on Matthew 24, Advent Herald, n.s. 6:381, Dec. 28. 1850. that “we are near, if not in the midst of, the events connected with the cleansing of the sanctuary.” In his The Restitution he said that “all Israel”—the saved of the Jews of all ages—would be gathered to inherit the kingdom in the new earth forever at the first resurrection, though he added that the Gentile saints would share it with them; and he rejected probation after the Advent. 4Litch, The Restitution (1848), pp. 80-81, 94-112, 176-177.

In November, 1848, Mordecai M. Noah, a Jewish newspaperman of New York City, delivered an address—widely reported in the press—on the arrival of a “messenger” from Jerusalem soliciting charity for the Jews there. Noah’s purple oratory transformed an appeal for funds (to build a synagogue in Jerusalem) into a trumpet blast heralding the emancipation of the Jews and foreshadowing their restoration.

The thunders begin to roll all over Europe; ... the Sun of Liberty begins to rise; the chains of the Jews are unloosed, and they are elevated to the rank of men .... The Sultan of Turkey, following the march of Civilized Nations, says to the Jews in his dominions—“You are free; you have my permission to erect a synagogue in Jerusalem[”]; and messengers are dispatched, as they were in the days of Solomon, to ask for aid from their brethren throughout the world ....

When the trumpet sounds from Mount Zion, every ear is opened, every heart throbs. I know full well, that there are many Jews throughout the world, who look upon the restoration of their brethren to the Holy Land as a possible event in the great changes which may hereafter occur ....

This permission to lay a corner stone once more in Jerusalem, to erect a magnificent temple ... is ... foreshadowing the great promises hereafter. 5Mordecai M. Noah, Thanksgiving Address, Weekly Tribune (New York), Dec. 2, 1848, p. [3] (this page is dated November 27, probably from the daily edition).

Copied from one paper to another, Noah’s verbiage was boiled down into a news item: “Rebuilding of Jewish Temple.” 6Advent Harbinger, 18:5, Dec. 23, 1848, quoting the Religious Telescope; see also p. 20, Jan. 6, 1849, on an item from the New York Express.

There were other journalistic prophetic interpretations in circulation. One newspaper story announced that wealthy Jewish financiers of the Rothschild family were negotiating to

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