God's Time Clock Reveals His Plan
By Alice R. Voorheis
God’s time clock traces His guiding hand in world events since Creation! Each time the need arose from the days of the patriarchs and prophets until the birth of Jesus, God always had faithful messengers to proclaim “present truth.”
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it was time for God’s time clock to strike again!
New Messengers Identified
From his home in Low Hampton, New York, Baptist preacher William Miller proclaimed that the 2300-day/year prophecy of Daniel 8:14 would end in 1843 or 1844. He sensed a responsibility to tell the whole world that Jesus was coming soon. In Maine 21-ye
ar-old schoolteacher James White accepted Miller’s message, and in January of 1843 he left his father’s house on a borrowed horse to begin a lifelong preaching career proclaiming the “present truth.”
Rachel Oaks Preston, a Seventh Day Baptist woman, shared her belief in the importance of the seventh-day Sabbath with Pastor Frederick Wheeler at Washington, New Hampshire. Soon a small group of Millerite Adventists was observing God’s holy day. Retired sea captain Joseph Bates of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, heard about the new “present truth” being shared by this group, committed his life to preaching it also.Nearly half a million people in the Northeastern states, expecting the soon return of Jesus, wholeheartedly accepted and joyfully spread the news that October 22, 1844, was the very day of Jesus’ coming. When the day passed without a glimpse of Jesus, their happiness and joy turned to gloom and despair. Many had sold their farms, closed their businesses, and settled all accounts in eager anticipation of going home with their best Friend, Jesus. Now they had to face the scoffers, try to pull things together, and prepare for another hard northern winter. One of these disappointed believers was Hiram Edson of Port Gibson, New York.
Edson invited some friends to accompany him to his barn for a prayer session begging God for an answer that would explain why Jesus had not returned as expected. The very next morning as Edson crossed his cornfield to encourage other disappointed believers, he received an insight revealing the entrance of Jesus into the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary to complete His work of atonement for the sins of humankind before His second coming. Further study in Hebrews 8 and 9 clarified a new “present truth.”
In December 1844, 17-year-old Ellen Harmon of Portland, Maine, received a vision from God depicting a company of Advent believers traveling a narrow pathway from earth to heaven. She accepted this divine call to serve as His special messenger, revealing to others what she had been shown.
As Ellen Harmon traveled throughout New England during 1845, sharing many God-given messages in various meetings, she met young Millerite preacher James White, who fearlessly proclaimed the “present truth” of Jesus’ soon coming. Their friendship developed as they witnessed the working of God in each other’s ministry.
Joseph Bates ardently preached the “present truth “of the seventh-day Sabbath as he traveled about. Becoming convinced that a small book or tract that could be left with interested people would be helpful, he published in 1846 a 48-page tract entitled The Seventh-day Sabbath, a Perpetual Sign.
On August 30, 1846, Ellen Harmon and James White were united in marriage and ministry. When in November of that same year, James and Ellen White and Joseph Bates were all present at an Advent conference held in Topsham, Maine, the labors of the three cofounders of what was to become the Seventh-day Adventist Church were united!
In 1847 these new messengers labored throughout New England, emphasizing the place of the third angel’s message in the Advent movement. Slowly but surely God was getting the right people as well as the right pieces together to send His final message of grace and salvation.
Residing in Collegedale, Tennessee, U.S.A., and dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Adventist Heritage, retired educator Alice R. Voorheis serves as editor and immediate past president for Adventist Heritage Ministry.