Seventh-day Adventists have been a people who have always been very strong on the subject of prophecy. Let’s read some of those scriptures in the Bible (and there are many of them):
1 Thessalonians 5
1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing but He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
2 Peter 1
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
Prophecy not only shows us what is coming in the future, but more certainly it shows us just where we stand at the present time in the unfolding of the great plan that God has in the finishing of the work.
One of the most important prophecies for us to consider at this very time is the prophecy of Matthew 25.
Prophecies Given Three Ways
Prophecies in the Bible are given to us in three distinct ways:
- The most familiar are the visions containing symbols, as in Daniel and the Revelation.
- God also gave His prophecies by speaking directly to the prophet. We can read in Jeremiah and Isaiah the word of the Lord concerning Tyre or Sidon or Israel or Babylon.
- Thirdly, and less usually realized, is the fact that certain, not all, but certain of the parables are distinct prophecies. Christ spoke these prophecies in parable form. For instance, we have the parable of Matthew 21, the parable of Matthew 22, the parable of Matthew 25, and the parable of the marriage feast in Luke 14.
Certainly the parable of the sower is not a prophecy but rather a picture of the working of the gospel, as is the parable of the woman who swept the room to find the lost coin.
The Prophecy of Matthew 25
But Matthew 25 is a distinct prophecy.
The Review and Herald, August 19, 1890:
I am often referred to the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and five foolish. This parable has been and will be fulfilled to the very letter, for it has a special application to this time, and, like the third angel’s message, has been fulfilled and will continue to be present truth till the close of time.
Note her words: “it has been fulfilled,” and the word fulfilled means that it has been fulfilled, not partly fulfilled, but fully and completely fulfilled; and “it will be,” means future tense, after 1890. She also says that it has a present application as well.
In The Great Controversy, page 393 and onward, Ellen White herself gives us a step-by-step and exact application of that first fulfillment. In the study of this parable it would pay us to look at the actual details of the parable itself, without any thought at all to the interpretation or the application of historical events, but only to set down, point by point, just what the parable itself is.
And having gotten in our minds clearly just what the parable teaches, then we will turn to The Great Controversy and take the first fulfillment (which Ellen White says was a fulfillment to the very letter) and line that fulfillment up with the actual parable itself, and then we can begin to devote our time to a study of the second and final fulfillment of the parable of Matthew 25. Let us take a step by step look at this parable.
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes.
Let us consider the first verse. We must understand that it is presupposed here that there has been an announcement of the bridegroom’s coming. That is implicit, not explicit. Let us run a little ahead of ourselves and see what Ellen White has to say about this:
The coming of Christ, as announced by the first angel’s message, was understood to be represented by the coming of the bridegroom. The widespread reformation, under the proclamation of His soon coming, answered to the going forth of the virgins.
The announcement, or the message, is implicit there, because in response to the announcement, the five wise and the five foolish virgins go forth to meet the expected bridegroom. The wise took extra oil, and the foolish took no extra oil.
Verse 5 says:
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”
The point of time when they expected him to arrive came and went, and he did not appear. There was a delay, and that delay brought a disappointment.
Just picture the scene: the virgins had gone forth with enthusiasm, the kind of festal joy that attends a wedding, to meet the bridegroom, and they expected to find him at a certain point of time. The point of time comes, and he is not there, so naturally there is a disappointment. They feel terribly let down.
It says: “While the bridegroom tarried.” There now follows the disappointment, a “tarrying time,” and during that time, they all, not just the wise, but the wise and the foolish, slumber and sleep.
Verse 6 says:
“At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.”
How many virgins arose in verse 7? “All those virgins arose.” Not some, but “all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps” and then the foolish began to find that they were short of oil. The lamps represent the Word of God, and the oil is the Holy Spirit which illuminates the Word of God.
Then there was the “Midnight Cry,” which we shall see extends over a period of time.
Then they that are wise go in, the door is shut, and at that time, the wise and the foolish are separated.
In brief terms here, we have the cardinal points of the parable.
The First Fulfillment
The coming of Christ, as announced by the first angel’s message, was understood to be represented by the coming of the bridegroom. The widespread reformation under the proclamation of His soon coming, answered to the going forth of the virgins.
The “going forth” of the virgins represents the response to the message that William Miller preached between 1833 and March 1844, which ended with the first disappointment. Ellen White applies the first disappointment to the delay in the parable. So the going forth of the virgins was that period from 1833 to 1844, in response to the first angel’s message, which was a call announcing that the hour of God’s judgment is come.
That message carried with it a very basic error, which was that the cleansing of the sanctuary was something that was to take place upon this earth. Let us not forget this point, because Ellen White says that it has been fulfilled to the very letter and will be fulfilled to the very letter.
Another point to notice is this: you will recall the study on the two separations where we learned that the first was caused by a message and the second caused by a test. Likewise we have two classes which respond to the message and go forth to meet the bridegroom. This message came to the church of that day, which was prophetically called the Sardis church. It was made up of Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterians, and so forth, of the Protestant churches.
Did all those people in those churches go forth to meet the bridegroom? No. There were three classes: The wise and the foolish, which did go forth—two classes—and the rest which stayed behind. They were hypocrites who professed to be looking for Christ’s coming; but when the message came announcing His coming, what did they do? They stayed behind.
So the first separation that took place here was the result of a message which divided the wise and the foolish from the rest, who were hypocrites. Three classes are actually represented, although one is implied.
In this parable, as in that of Matthew 24, two classes are represented.
This is speaking of the wise and foolish virgins, which are mainly dealt with in the parable. The third class, those who did not go forth to meet the bridegroom, have no more part in the prophecy.
All had taken their lamps, the Bible, and by its light had gone forth to meet the Bridegroom. But while “they that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them,” “the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”
The latter class [the wise virgins] had received the grace of God, the regenerating, enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, which renders His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path.
They had received the very experience which we have been taught in the past. Let us go over those words again.
The latter class had received the grace of God, the regenerating, enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, which renders His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. In the fear of God they had studied the Scriptures to learn the truth, and had earnestly sought for purity of heart and life.
These had a personal experience, a faith in God and in His word, which could not be overthrown by disappointment and delay.
That is what makes them wise virgins. The main force of this study is to realize just what constitutes a wise virgin. You can ask yourselves right now whether you are in that class or not, because we are going to see as we come up to the Midnight Cry, the importance of having that experience before it sounds.
Others [the foolish virgins] took their lamps, and took no oil with them. They had moved, from impulse…but they had depended upon the faith of their brethren, satisfied with the flickering light of good emotions, without a thorough understanding of the truth or a genuine work of grace in the heart. These had gone forth to meet the Lord, full of hope in the prospect of immediate reward; but they were not prepared for delay and disappointment. When trials came, their faith failed, and their lights burned dim.
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.” By the tarrying of the bridegroom is represented the passing of the time when the Lord was expected, the disappointment, and the seeming delay.
There was no real delay but only a seeming delay, because God had a very wonderful purpose to fulfill in this tarrying time. We will see that as we go along.
Christ was expected to come any time between March 1843, and March 1844. When at the end of that period He had not appeared, the leaders had no further light to give them on when He might come, just as when the virgins went forth in the parable and the bridegroom did not come when they expected him.
There was no word, no message, no indication to tell them of where he was or when he might come. As 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock, 10 o’clock, and 11 o’clock passed, they thought that he would not come till morning, and they all went to sleep. At midnight, the most unexpected hour, he turns up.
So with the passing of the time came the first disappointment and then the tarrying time.
The men whom God used to carry the first angel’s message were William Miller, who was a farmer, and Joshua V. Himes, a printer. Along with the message that God gave them, they also held the basic error that this earth was the sanctuary to be cleansed.
When the second angel’s message came, it brought an active agitation over separation, and the man who mainly worked in this field was Charles Fitch. He was the particular man who carried this aspect of the message. He taught things that Miller could not go along with. But this man was a man in advance of Miller, and God used him just as verily as Miller had been used.
The big test at that time was whether the people would stay with Miller or go on with the added light that Charles Fitch had given in the second angel’s message.
In this time of uncertainty the interest of the superficial and halfhearted soon began to waver, and their efforts to relax; but those whose faith was based on a personal knowledge of the Bible had a rock beneath their feet which the waves of disappointment could not wash away.
“They all slumbered and slept;” one class in unconcern and abandonment of their faith, the other class patiently waiting till clearer light should be given. Yet in the night of trial the latter seemed to lose to some extent, their zeal and devotion. The halfhearted and superficial could no longer lean upon the faith of their brethren. Each must stand or fall for himself.
We find that the tarrying time was a period of uncertainty. Here are these poor virgins saying:
“Where is the bridegroom, and when is he coming?”
In the actual fulfillment, it is worse than that, because some people began to wonder:
“What is the truth? Who has the message? What do we believe, this or something else?”
The next paragraph says:
About this time, fanaticism began to appear.
The people in 1844 knew that they were in the tarrying time.
Early Writings, p. 247:
The disappointed ones saw from the Scriptures that they were in the tarrying time, and that they must patiently wait the fulfillment of the vision.
They could see it, just as we today can see that we are again in that exact space of time—the tarrying time. We can see it as clearly as can be.
The same evidence which led them to look for their Lord in 1843, led them to expect Him in 1844. Yet I saw that the majority did not possess that energy which marked their faith in 1843.
In other words, there was energy and enthusiasm during the 1843 movement which they had lost during the tarrying time.
Like a tidal wave the movement swept over the land. From city to city, from village to village, and into remote country places it went, until the waiting people of God were fully aroused. Fanaticism disappeared before this proclamation like early frost before the rising sun. Believers saw their doubt and perplexity removed.
So the tarrying time had also been a period of uncertainty, of fanaticism, of doubt, and of perplexity. It was a tarrying time, and they had no idea how long or how short it might be. It could prove to be years or even months. It turned out to be just months.
Let us go back and read about this fanaticism:
About this time, fanaticism began to appear. Some who had professed to be zealous believers in the message rejected the Word of God as the one infallible guide and, claiming to be led by the Spirit, gave themselves up to the control of their own feelings, impressions, and imaginations.
There were some who manifested a blind and bigoted zeal, denouncing all who would not sanction their course. Their fanatical ideas and exercises met with no sympathy from the great body of Adventists; yet they served to bring reproach upon the cause of truth.
Satan was seeking by this means to oppose and destroy the work of God. The people had been greatly stirred by the advent movement. Thousands of sinners had been converted, and faithful men were giving themselves to the work of proclaiming the truth, even in the tarrying time.
Notice that the Lord has “faithful men who were giving themselves to the work,” when? “even in the tarrying time” when all the virgins slumber and sleep.
Fanaticism has specific characteristics:
In every revival he [Satan] is ready to bring in those who are unsanctified in heart and unbalanced in mind. When these have accepted some points of truth, and gained a place with believers, he works through them to introduce theories that will deceive the unwary.
Let us now skip a few pages, and again the Bible verse is quoted, and then the historical comment:
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.”
In the summer of 1844, midway between the time when it had been first thought that the 2300 days would end, and the autumn of the same year, to which it was afterward found that they extended, the message was proclaimed in the very words of Scripture: “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!”
This is in the summer of 1844, midway between when Christ was first expected, which was March 1844, and the time that He finally did come to the sanctuary, which was October 22, 1844. Ellen White says that the midnight cry began midway between.
This can be verified in the books, The Midnight Cry, by F. D. Nichol, starting on page 226, and The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Volume 4, by L.E. Froom.
At this Exeter camp meeting, which was held in New Hampshire, the Adventists had gotten together, very hopeful that there would be some specific light coming at this camp meeting to reveal just where they were in the unfolding of time. This camp meeting began on August 12, 1844, and was to be held for 5 days.
F. D. Nichol, The Midnight Cry, p. 227:
The services at this Exeter encampment were dragging perceptibly. Joseph Bates was in the speaker’s stand, seeking to quicken the hearts of the hearers, and to enlighten their minds. But he was making little progress.
What Bates was trying to do was to go back over the evidences which had brought them thus far, rehearsing those and encouraging the people to hold on because the bridegroom would soon come. While he was laboring through this, the vast majority of the people in that rather hot tent, as it was summertime then, were nodding off to sleep. Their literal sleep was only a reflection of the fact that they were all slumbering and sleeping, in the spiritual sense, as wise and foolish virgins.
As this was going on, a man named Elder Samuel S. Snow rode up on horseback to the side of that great tent, tied his horse up, went in, and sat down by the side of his sister, Mrs. John Couch, inside of this great big tent. For six months this man had been trying to get across to the other believers that the true ending of the 2300 days was October 22, 1844, and not March at all. But he had not been able to get himself any kind of a hearing among the people.
On this day he sat down beside his sister, Mrs. John Couch, while Joseph Bates was trying to enliven and wake up the people, and on a piece of paper he sketched out his conviction that the real day was October 22. What his sister saw actually thrilled her.
L. E. Froom, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 3, p. 741:
Nothing in this old earth is more powerful than a prophetic truth whose time has come.
The time for that truth had come, and the mighty power of God’s Spirit sent tremendous conviction to that woman’s heart. Leaping to her feet she said,
F. D. Nichol, The Midnight Cry, p. 227:
“It is too late to spend our time upon these truths, with which we are familiar, and which have been blessed to us in the past, and have served their purpose and their time.”
The preacher sat down. Every eye was fixed on this woman as she continued: “It is too late, brethren, to spend precious time as we have since this camp meeting commenced. Time is short. The Lord has servants here who have meat in due season for His household. Let them speak, and let the people hear them. ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet Him.’ ”
You can imagine how sudden the announcement was. One moment the whole camp meeting was sound asleep in their seats with no intimation that the real message was about to break. The next second it breaks.
Joseph Bates, according to Froom’s account of this, told the man to come forward, while he sat down. Snow walked up to the front, went to the blackboard, and quietly began to set out his convictions in regards to the end of the 2300 days.
Every person in that meeting that day was absolutely convinced of that truth. They went out from that camp meeting, east, west, north, and south with the message:
“Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him.”
Ellen White says that the message was carried to every mission station in the world in the short space of just under three months.
In the parable of Matthew 25 the time of waiting and slumber is followed by the coming of the bridegroom. This was in accordance with the arguments just presented, both from prophecy and from the types. They carried strong conviction of their truthfulness; and the “midnight cry” was heralded by thousands of believers.
Like a tidal wave the movement swept over the land. From city to city, from village to village, and into remote country places it went, until the waiting people of God were fully aroused. Fanaticism disappeared before this proclamation like early frost before the rising sun. Believers saw their doubt and perplexity removed, and hope and courage animated their hearts.
The work was free from those extremes which are ever manifested when there is human excitement without the controlling influence of the Word and Spirit of God. It was similar in character to those seasons of humiliation and returning unto the Lord which among ancient Israel followed messages of reproof from His servants.
It bore the characteristics that mark the work of God in every age. There was little ecstatic joy, but rather deep searching of heart, confession of sin, and forsaking of the world. A preparation to meet the Lord was the burden of agonizing spirits. There was persevering prayer and unreserved consecration to God.
Notice that we have here a mighty manifestation of the outpouring of God’s Spirit,—the greatest since Pentecost, which empowered those people to preach the message, but at the same time, they were led into a deep experience of heart-searching and of putting away of sin.
From August, somewhere about the fifteenth, (we know that the camp began the twelfth), this announcement came. From August fifteenth, till October, which was about two and a half months, the Midnight Cry message went forward.
In the summer of 1844 about fifty thousand withdrew from the churches.
At the end of that period is the shut door. This is the point of time when the foolish virgins are divided from the wise by the great test of that fantastic disappointment which came upon them at that time. Every evidence of sight and circumstance testified that they had been misled in their study of God’s Word. The church at that point appeared as if it was about to fall. It was fearfully shaken.
The next morning, October 23, 1844, it would have been hard to find fifty or a hundred left. Yet up until that point, fifty thousand people had endured tremendous persecution and ridicule.
Ellen White says that the parable has been fulfilled to the very letter. All that we have done is to study what the Bible says and what the Spirit of Prophecy says. Now I want to ask you a simple question, How could you get a more exact fulfillment? Is not that precise? Every single thing foretold in the prophecy was exactly fulfilled to the very letter in the actual fulfillment. We have not tried to guess at anything.
The Second Fulfillment
Notice, she says it has been fulfilled to the very letter and it will be fulfilled to the very letter. Therefore this history has to be repeated exactly.
We have seen with our eyes that it has been fulfilled again. I believe that we are living through the “will be” part of the second fulfillment, and up until the present point of time, as far as we have come here in the tarrying time, the midnight cry is yet future. It has been fulfilled to the very letter with remarkable exactness. Let us now trace the present fulfillment of this parable.
First of all, can we pinpoint in prophecy just when the beginning of the second fulfillment will be?
So far, as the first fulfillment was concerned, it came at a time when the Reformation was born. In that Reformation the people of God of that time had gotten themselves a name, and that name was the name of God. They were a true Christian church.
Look at the record given in Revelation, chapter 3, of the Sardis church.
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things says he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead.
The Sardis church had a living name, she had the mighty name of the Reformation churches. But they were dead, because they had left their first love.
3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you.
There is something very remarkable about God’s calls to His people. Do you know that again and again, God gives to a people whom He has already called, a first call. And if they refuse it, He gives them a second call, and that is the end to that people.
Let me illustrate this a few times for you. First of all, let us take the parable of the Good Samaritan. There was a man who had fallen by the wayside. First of all, God gave to His chosen people, in the person of a priest of Israel, the opportunity of helping that man. Israel, in that priest, turned it down. Then He gave it to a Levite, and that man turned it down also. To whom, then, did God go? To a Samaritan. There were two calls to Israel, then one outside of Israel.
Let us consider also the parable of Matthew 22. It distinctly says there that the king makes a marriage for his son, and the people are bidden to that marriage. Then his servants are sent out to call them that were bidden, and they would not come. Again he sends forth other servants, and again they would not come. So the king said to pass them by and go to the highway and hedges.
Ellen White says in Christ’s Objection Lessons, p. 308, that this was fulfilled towards the Jews. The first call was given before the cross by the twelve and then the seventy. The second call was Pentecost, and when the Jews turned the second call down they sealed their rejection of God’s mercy.
The Protestant churches were born in the mighty message, first of all, of Wycliffe in 1300, Huss and Jerome in 1400, and Martin Luther in 1512 onward. They started well, then began to fall away, just as the Jews started well, then fell away.
In the 1700’s, God sent to them a first call to return, in the mighty reformation of the Wesleys. For a time it stemmed the tide of evil. But after a time the Reformation churches continued on a downward course.
Then God gave to the Reformation churches the second call in the Millerite movement. When they had turned down that message, what did God say of that people?
“Babylon is fallen, is fallen, come out of her my people.”
The Scriptures verify this again and again: God gives two calls to return, to those whom He has already called to be His people. When they turn the second call down, then that is the last day of opportunity for that people.
In 1844, God called the Advent people to be His peculiar people. They failed to enter the kingdom, and began to fall away. In 1883, the Lord said through Ellen White, that if God’s people had been faithful, then years before that time they would have been in the kingdom.
In 1888, God sent a first call to the Advent people to come to the marriage, through Elders Waggoner and Jones. We know what happened: they did not come.
The parable of Matthew 25 could not begin in 1888 because there was yet another call to this people, and that call must be the repetition of the message of 1888. From the year 1950 and onwards, with Wieland and Short, and the work of the Brinsmeads, there came the message,
“The hour of God’ s judgment is come, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.”
I place that point, 1955, as corresponding to the year 1833. There are some amazing parallels between the two times:
- Miller’s contribution in his day was the message that the hour of God’s judgment is come. The Brinsmead’s message was also that the hour of God’s judgment is come.
- Miller was associated with a printer, J. V. Himes; Brinsmead was associated with a printer, Al Hudson.
- Miller was a farmer, and so was Brinsmead.
- Miller’s basic mistake was to believe that the cleansing of the sanctuary was something that was to take place upon this earth and so was Brinsmead’s. He teaches that the cleansing of the sanctuary is the cleansing of the soul temple that is upon this earth, where it is not. It is the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, just as it had to be discovered back there in 1844 by the true believers.
- Miller’s worst enemies and his best friends were unable to detect the error. And for a long time Bob’s best friends and his worst enemies were not able to detect the error in his teachings, either.
- During this first period, 1833-1844, there was wonderful unity in that message. It just went along with enthusiasm and power, with no fanaticism raising its ugly head. It was just a unified movement going forward. Likewise from 1955-1962, there was a remarkable unity between the various groups of people who were carrying the flag of reformation at that time. There was only an odd voice or two of dissension, but nothing of real consequence.
Three classes were actually being formed. There were the wise and the foolish, who were going forth to meet the bridegroom, and then there was the balance in the church who did not respond to the message but fought vigorously against it.
During those years the wise were those who had gained an experience for themselves, a living experience. The foolish were those who had been moved from impulse, yet they believed the message, they supported the message, and they taught the message. Ellen White states that the foolish virgins have…
…a regard for the truth, they have advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe the truth.
In 1962 there came a sudden reversal on the part of the majority of those who had been going forward, in regards to this message. From 1962 on, there has been a far different atmosphere in the general reformation movement than what there was before.
Before that time there was unity, there was drive, there was enthusiasm, and the thing was just really going places. But from that time on, what are we seeing? Kind of a dead pan, a dead patch, in short, a “tarrying time.”
We are in it today. It has been a time of uncertainty. There are questions everywhere, a time of doubt; and sometimes we have wondered if we have been misled after all—perplexity and fanaticism are all over the place again. The fanatics are really popping their heads up everywhere at the present time.
Let us go back and read about the fanaticism:
Some who had professed to be zealous believers in the message rejected the Word of God as the one infallible guide and claiming to be led by the Spirit, gave themselves up to the control of their own feelings, impressions and imaginations.
Again and again, even here in America, I have had conflicts with fanatics over unscriptural ideas, time-setting, and so forth. They say that they cannot give it up because God has revealed it to them personally. They depend upon impressions, instead of a clear cut statement from the word of God.
I have read to these men the following statement:
The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1052:
There will never again be a message for the people of God that will be based on time.
They say that this is what Ellen White said, but God has revealed this thing to them, and their light is beyond what Ellen White had. So they are rejecting the Word of God in favor of their own impressions. These things are rampant in the world right now.
When the midnight cry comes, we are either going to have oil in our lamps or we are not. It is very evident that during the midnight cry period we are going to grow up very considerably in our experience. But the midnight cry does not give an experience, it only develops to its finality an experience already gained.
We must enter the midnight cry with the oil in our lamps. If we have the oil in our lamps, the midnight cry will do for us a great and tremendous work. It will finish the work of God’s grace in our souls, because the midnight cry is the loud cry in our time.
This is also symbolized by the trimming of the lamps. The loud cry—or latter rain—brings to completion the work of God’s grace in the soul. Unless the former rain has done its work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection (see Testimonies to Ministers, p. 506).
The latter class [the wise virgins] had received the grace of God, the regenerating, enlightening power of the Holy Spirit, which renders His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. In the fear of God they had studied the Scriptures to learn the truth, and had earnestly sought for purity of heart and life. These had a personal experience, a faith in God and in His word, which could not be overthrown by disappointment and delay.
The wise virgins had “received the grace of God”. From our study on the sanctuary we have seen that the only place and the only way that we can receive the grace of God is by confessing what we have done, and what we are, so God can take that thing out of and away from us, and leave a vacuum into which He puts the graces of the Holy Spirit.
To those who have that experience, this is not a time of uncertainty, doubt, or perplexity, because they know that they are exactly where God wants them to be, and that this is the whole purpose of the tarrying time.
During the going forth of the virgins in the first onslaught of the message, things are moving. There is bustle and excitement because of the message which is going forward and because of conflicts with the apostates who do not believe the message. There are thrills and victories right along; and the band wagon is going, and everyone is caught up in the excitement.
In that state of being, we are not able to discern the real nature of our experience. But when the tarrying time comes and all the fanfare dies and we are then forced to stand upon the Word of God alone, very quickly we will be able to discern as to whether we have the certainty of a rock under our feet, or the uncertainty of not knowing just where we stand.
The tarrying time is mercifully given to us. We feel that we could dispense with it, but we need it to show us what we are, so that we can hasten to the sanctuary, put away the evil experience,—the evil heart,—and get a living experience. Then when the midnight cry comes, we will have the oil in our lamps and go forth and give the message in power. We will be found at last on the right side when the second separation takes place, this time by that great final test,—the death decree,—when the wise and foolish are forever separated from each other.
Is it not wonderful how the Lord has given us a more sure Word of prophecy? We have only taken the parable and Ellen White’s interpretation of it, and we have seen how present events exactly fit that second and final fulfillment.
I believe that when the midnight cry comes, it will be as unexpected as the first one, because the parable must be fulfilled exactly—to the very letter. Let it not catch us by surprise, without the living experience.
We may debate today lots of questions about separation from the church and questions about the order of last day events in regards to the latter rain, but remember that all our debating will be fruitless unless we gain that one supreme requirement, the oil of God’s grace, which is His character—His righteousness —in our lamps as a personal experience.
Let us leave the personalities out of it. Bob has done his part. Those who stayed back with Miller and refused to go on to the second angel’s message lost their eternal life. God does not give all the work to one man. When Miller had done his part, God gave to Fitch the next stage, and when Fitch had done his part, He gave to Snow the next stage. Next it went to Hiram Edson and Crosier, then to Loughborough and Bates.
So today we must keep pace with the advancing light. That light now goes beyond what Miller taught, and God has shown us the basic error today in regard to the wrong interpretation of the sanctuary, so we must advance with the light as we go on step by step.
Other articles by F.T. Wright:
- The Real Issues at Minneapolis
- Why a Detached Fourth Angel
- Why Jesus Came
- Churchcraft and Statecraft, part 1
- Self and the Sin-Master
- Men on the Moon
- True Gospel Work
- The Parables of Matthew 22 & 25 as Revealed in the Old Testament
- God’s Eternal Purpose
- The Hidden Ark
- Righteousness by Faith in the Book of Job
- Point of No Return
- Covered Sin
- The Path of the Just
- The Number 666, part 2