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Chapter 3 - 1844 - Year of Expectation
Chapter 3:     1844 - The year of Expectation
                               and Disappointments

  The days came and went, bringing the expectation of the coming of Jesus ever nearer. Ellen, her older sister Sarah, and her twin sister Elizabeth worked in the home with textiles that they might have means with which to purchase tracts and books heralding the message of the Second Advent. Ellen could earn 25 cents a day, many times working while propped up in her bed. The literature thus purchased they placed in the hands of persons of experience who could send it abroad.  {1BIO 45.1}

The Question of the Immortality of the Soul

About this time Ellen's mother and a sister attended a meeting at which was presented the mortal state of man. It was explained that at his death man did not go to heaven or hell, but back to the dust from whence he came. As the subject was talked over in the home, Ellen was deeply concerned. She wrote:  {1BIO 45.2}

I listened to these new ideas with an intense and painful interest. When alone with my mother, I inquired if she really believed that the soul was not immortal. Her reply was she feared we had been in error on that subject as well as upon some others.  {1BIO 45.3}
"But Mother," said I, "do you really believe that the soul sleeps in the grave until the resurrection? Do you think that the Christian, when he dies, does not go immediately to heaven, nor the sinner to hell?"  {1BIO 45.4}

She answered: "The Bible gives us no proof that there is an eternally burning hell. If there is such a place, it should be mentioned in the Sacred Book."  {1BIO 45.5}

"Why, Mother!" cried I, in astonishment. "This is strange talk for you! If you believe this strange theory, do not let anyone know of it, for I fear that sinners would gather security from this belief and never desire to seek the Lord."  {1BIO 46.1}

"If this is sound Bible truth," she replied, "instead of preventing the salvation of sinners, it will be the means of winning them to Christ. If the love of God will not induce the rebel to yield, the terrors of an eternal hell will not drive him to repentance."--1LS, pp. 170, 171.  {1BIO 46.2}
Some months later when she herself heard a sermon on the sleep of the dead, she believed it to be the truth. Of this she wrote:  {1BIO 46.3}
From the time that light in regard to the sleep of the dead dawned upon my mind, the mystery that had enshrouded the resurrection vanished, and the great event itself assumed a new and sublime importance.-- Ibid., p. 171.  {1BIO 46.4}

Step by step Ellen was being led into an understanding of Bible truths, truths that would become the foundation stones of Seventh-day Adventism.  {1BIO 46.5}


  The Time of Expectation Passes

Advent believers were now living in the terminal year of the 2300-year prophecy of Daniel 8:14, the year of the expected Advent. This, according to the accepted form of Jewish reckoning, would terminate on April 21, 1844. In simple language Ellen has given an account of what took place:  {1BIO 46.6} 
Unity and peace now dwelt among our people who were looking forward toward the coming of the Lord. How carefully and tremblingly did we approach the time of expectation. We sought, as a people, with solemn earnestness to purify our lives that we might be ready to meet the Saviour at His coming. Notwithstanding the opposition of ministers and churches, Beethoven Hall, in the city of Portland, was nightly crowded, and especially was there a large congregation on Sundays. . . .  {1BIO 46.7}
Meetings were still held at private houses in different parts of the city with the best results. Believers were encouraged to work for their friends and relatives, and conversions were multiplying day by day.--Ibid., p. 180.  {1BIO 46.8}
Ellen White recalled that the rich and the poor, the high and the low, ministers and laymen, crowded into Beethoven Hall to hear the doctrine of the Second Advent. At each meeting a short, pointed discourse was given, and the way was opened for general exhortation. The spirit of opposition was held in check.  {1BIO 47.1}
The presence of holy angels was felt, and Ellen White added, "The numbers were daily being added to the little band of believers."--Ibid., p. 181. During the last few weeks leading up to April 21, 1844--the last day of the 2300-day prophecy, as they then understood it, thus closing the year during which they expected the return of their Lord--preparation for the event became paramount. She reports:  {1BIO 47.2}
Worldly business was for the most part laid aside for a few weeks. We carefully scrutinized every thought and emotion of our hearts as if upon our deathbeds and in a few hours to close our eyes forever upon earthly scenes. There was no making "ascension robes" for the great event; we felt the need of internal evidence that we were prepared to meet Christ, and our white robes were purity of soul, character cleansed from sin by the atoning blood of our Saviour.  {1BIO 47.3}
But the time of expectation passed. This was the first close test brought to bear upon those who believed and hoped that Jesus would come in the clouds of heaven.  {1BIO 47.4}
The disappointment of God's waiting people was great. The scoffers were triumphant and won the weak and cowardly to their ranks. Some who had appeared to possess true faith seemed to have been influenced only by fear, and now their courage returned with the passing of time, and they boldly united with the scoffers declaring they had never been duped to really believe the doctrine of Miller, who was a mad fanatic. Others, naturally yielding or vacillating, quietly deserted the cause.-- Ibid., pp. 184, 185.  {1BIO 47.5}

How the faithful looked upon the situation is explained by Ellen White: 

         We were perplexed and disappointed, yet did not renounce our faith. Many still clung to the hope that Jesus would not long delay His coming; the Word of the Lord was sure, it could not fail. We felt that we had done our duty, we had lived up to our precious faith; we were disappointed but not discouraged; the signs of the times denoted that the end of all things was near at hand; we must watch and hold ourselves in readiness for the coming of the Master at any time. We must wait with hope and trust, not neglecting the assembling of ourselves together for instruction, encouragement, and comfort, that our light might shine forth into the darkness of the world.-- Ibid., p. 185.  {1BIO 48.1}


   A Test of True Character

She Added:
   We fully believed that God, in His wisdom, designed that His people should meet with a disappointment, which was well calculated to reveal hearts and develop the true characters of those who had professed to look for and rejoice in the coming of the Lord.  Those who embraced the first angel's message (see Rev. 14: 6, 7) through fear of the wrath of God's judgments, not because they loved the truth and desired an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, now appeared in their true light. - - Ibid, page 186.  {1BIO 48.2}
An interesting point is that scholars, even those who had no confidence in the near advent of Christ, saw no flaw in the reckoning of the prophecy. Ellen White noted this:  {1BIO 48.3}
The mistake made in reckoning the prophetic periods was not at once discovered even by learned men who opposed the views of those who were looking for Christ's coming. These profound scholars declared that Mr. Miller was right in his calculation of the time, though they disputed him in regard to the event that would crown that period. But they, and the waiting people of God, were in common error on the question of time.--Ibid.  {1BIO 48.4}

Ardently the believers had proclaimed what they understood to be the message of the first angel of Revelation: "The hour of his judgment is come" (verse 7). The Bible contained most assuring prophecies concerning the second advent of Christ, foremost of which was given by Jesus Himself: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2, 3).  {1BIO 48.5}

Some of these promises seemed linked with the judgment. Basic was the prophecy of Daniel 8:14: "Unto two thousand three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." They thought this earth to be the sanctuary; it would be cleansed by fire at the second advent of Christ.  {1BIO 49.1}
When April 21, 1844, passed--the time first thought to be the end of the 2300 days--and Jesus did not come, the believers checked and rechecked the basis of their reckoning. Ellen White explained this:  {1BIO 49.2}
Calculation of the time was so simple and plain that even the children could understand it. From the date of the decree of the king of Persia, found in Ezra 7, which was given in 457 before Christ, the 2300 years of Daniel 8:14 must terminate with 1843. Accordingly we looked to the end of this year for the coming of the Lord. We were sadly disappointed when the year entirely passed away and the Saviour had not come.  {1BIO 49.3}
It was not at first perceived that if the decree did not go forth at the beginning of the year 457 B.C., the 2300 years would not be completed at the close of 1843. But it was ascertained that the decree was given near the close of the year 457 B.C., and therefore the prophetic period must reach to the fall of the year 1844. Therefore the vision of time did not tarry, though it had seemed to do so. We learned to rest upon the language of the prophet, "For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry."--Ibid., pp. 185, 186.  {1BIO 49.4}
The surety of the Word of God, and the many evidences of the work of the Spirit of God through the proclamation of the coming Advent, provided compelling reasons for holding on to cherished and seemingly certain hopes.  {1BIO 49.5}

The early Adventists who had been firmly established in the joyous message of the soon-coming Christ to this earth now saw that there was a "tarrying time" they had overlooked; this proved to be a "sad and unlooked-for surprise."  {1BIO 49.6}


  The  Second  Angel's  Message

We return to Ellen White's vivid account of this crucial year with its rapidly transpiring events. She summarizes the happenings of a few months: {1BIO 50.1}
Our hopes now centered on the coming of the Lord in 1844. This was also the time for the message of the second angel, who, flying through the midst of heaven, cried, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city." Many left the churches in  obedience to the message of the second angel. Near its close the Midnight Cry was given: "Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him"!  {1BIO 50.2}
Light was being given concerning this message in every part of the land, and the cry aroused thousands. It went from city to city, from village to village, and into the remote country regions.  It reached the learned and talented, as well as the obscure and humble.--Ibid., p. 187.  {1BIO 50.3}
She wrote of this time as "the happiest year of my life. My heart was full of glad expectation; but I felt great pity and anxiety for those who were in discouragement and had no hope in Jesus."  {1BIO 50.4}
It was during this period of expectation and waiting that, as noted in her statement quoted above, the message of the second angel began to sound. Another who passed through the experience reported, "We all rushed out of Babylon."-- JW to L. W. Hastings, Aug. 26, 1848. It was later in this period that eyes turned to October 22, which, according to the Karaite reckoning, would be the exact time for the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 8:14. It came about this way:  {1BIO 50.5}
October 22, 1844, The Day of Expectation

A careful study of types and antitypes led to the observation that the crucifixion of Christ took place on the very day in the yearly round of ceremonies given to Israel when the Passover lamb was slain. Would not the cleansing of the sanctuary typified in the Day of Atonement--falling on the tenth day of the seventh month--likewise take place on the very day in the year celebrated in the type? (see GC, p. 399). This, according to the true Mosaic reckoning of time, would be October 22. Early in August, 1844, at a camp meeting at Exeter, New Hampshire, this view was introduced and it was accepted as the date for the fulfillment of the prophecy of the 2300 days. The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 took on particular significance--the tarrying of the bridegroom, the waiting and slumbering of those who awaited the marriage, the cry at midnight, the shutting of the door, et cetera. The message that Christ was coming on October 22 came to be known as the "midnight cry." "The 'midnight cry,'" wrote Ellen White, "was heralded by thousands of believers." She added:  {1BIO 50.6}

Like a tidal wave the [seventh-month] 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.-- GC, p. 400.  {1BIO 51.1}
The rapidity with which the message spread is depicted by writers cited by L. E. Froom:  
        Bates left the record that the Exeter message "flew as it were upon the wings of the wind." Men and women sped by rail and water, by stagecoach and horseback, with bundles of books and papers, distributing them as "profusely as the leaves of autumn." White said, "The work before us was to fly to every part of that wide field, sound the alarm, and wake the slumbering ones." And Wellcome adds that the movement broke forth like the released waters of a dam. Fields of ripened grain were left standing unharvested, and full-grown potatoes left undug in the ground. The coming of the Lord was nigh. There was no time now for such earthly things.-- The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. IV, p. 816.  {1BIO 51.3}

As an eyewitness and participant in the movement, Ellen White described the character of the rapidly accelerating work:      
     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 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. . . .  {1BIO 51.5}

Of all the great religious movements since the days of the apostles, none have been more free from human imperfection and the wiles of Satan than was that of the autumn of 1844. Even now, after the lapse of many years [1888], all who shared in that movement and who have stood firm upon the platform of truth still feel the holy influence of that blessed work and bear witness that it was of God.-- GC, pp. 400, 401.  {1BIO 52.1}
In spite of the evidences of a work sweeping across the land and drawing thousands into the fellowship of the Second Advent, and some two hundred ministers from various churches united in spreading the message, [SEE C. M. MAXWELL, TELL IT TO THE WORLD, PP. 19, 20.] the Protestant churches as a whole spurned it and used every means at their command to prevent the belief in Christ's soon coming from spreading. No one dared to mention in a church service the hope of the soon coming of Jesus, but to those awaiting the event it was quite different.  {1BIO 52.2}
Ellen White told what it was like:  Every moment seemed precious and of the utmost importance to me. I felt that we were doing work for eternity, and that the careless and uninterested were in the greatest peril. My faith was unclouded, and I appropriated the precious promises of Jesus to myself. . . .  {1BIO 52.3}
With diligent searching of hearts and humble confession we came prayerfully up to the time of expectation. Every morning we felt that it was our first business to secure the evidence that our lives were right before God. We realized that if we were not advancing in holiness we were sure to retrograde. Our interest for each other increased; we prayed much with and for one another.  {1BIO 52.4}
We assembled in the orchards and groves to commune with God and to offer up our petitions to Him, feeling more clearly His presence when surrounded by His natural works. The joys of salvation were more necessary to us than our food and drink. If clouds obscured our minds we dared not rest or sleep till they were swept away by the consciousness of our acceptance with the Lord.--1LS, pp. 188, 189.  {1BIO 53.1}

  The Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844

With bated breath the Adventists, no less than fifty thousand and probably nearer one hundred thousand scattered largely across the northeastern portion of North America, arose to greet the eventful day, Tuesday, October 22, 1844.  {1BIO 53.2}
Some sought vantage points where they could peer into the clear heavens, hoping to catch a first glimpse of the coming of their returning Lord. When would Jesus come? The morning hours slowly passed and noon came, then midafternoon; finally darkness settled upon the earth. But it was still October 22, and it would be till midnight. At last that hour came, but Jesus did not come. The disappointment was almost beyond description. In later years some wrote of the experience. Hiram Edson gave a vivid account of how they looked for the coming of the Lord "until the clock tolled twelve at midnight. Then our disappointment became a certainty." Of his experience in the depths of sorrow he wrote:  {1BIO 53.3}
Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before. It seemed that the loss of all earthly friends could have been no comparison. We wept and wept, till the day dawn.  {1BIO 53.4}
I mused in my own heart, saying, "My advent experience has been the richest and brightest of all my Christian experience. If this had proved a failure, what was the rest of my Christian experience worth? Has the Bible proved a failure? Is there no God, no heaven, no golden home city, no Paradise? Is all this but a cunningly devised fable? Is there no reality to our fondest hope and expectation of these things?" And thus we had something to grieve and weep over, if all our fondest hopes were lost. And as I said, we wept, till the day dawn.-- DF 588, Hiram Edson manuscript (see also RH, June 23, 1921).  {1BIO 53.5}
Another Advent believer who passed through the painful experience in Vermont, Washington Morse, recounted: [SEE F. D. NICHOL, THE MIDNIGHT CRY, PP. 247-250, for other accounts.]  {1BIO 54.1}
That day came and passed, and the darkness of another night closed in upon the world. But with that darkness came a pang of disappointment to the Advent believers that can find a parallel only in the sorrow of the disciples after the crucifixion of their Lord.  {1BIO 54.2}
The passing of the time was a bitter disappointment. True believers had given up all for Christ, and had shared His presence as never before. The love of Jesus filled every soul; and with inexpressible desire they prayed, "Come, Lord Jesus, and come quickly"; but He did not come.  {1BIO 54.3}
And now, to turn again to the cares, perplexities, and dangers of life, in full view of jeering and reviling unbelievers who scoffed as never before, was a terrible trial of faith and patience. When Elder Himes visited Waterbury, Vermont, a short time after the passing of the time, and stated that the brethren should prepare for another cold winter, my feelings were almost uncontrollable. I left the place of meeting and wept like a child.-- In RH, May 7, 1901.  {1BIO 54.4}

We turn again to Ellen White's eyewitness account:

It was hard to take up the vexing cares of life that we thought had been laid down forever. It was a bitter disappointment that fell upon the little flock whose faith had been so strong and whose hope had been so high. But we were surprised that we felt so free in the Lord, and were so strongly sustained by His strength and grace. . . .  {1BIO 54.5}
We were disappointed but not disheartened. We resolved to submit patiently to the process of purifying that God deemed    needful for us; to refrain from murmuring at the trying ordeal by which the Lord was purging us from the dross and refining us like gold in the furnace. We resolved to wait with patient hope for the Saviour to redeem His tried and faithful ones. {1BIO 54.6}
We were firm in the belief that the preaching of the definite time was of God. It was this that led men to search the Bible     diligently, discovering truths they had not before perceived. . . .  {1BIO 55.1}
Our disappointment was not so great as that of the disciples. When the Son of man rode triumphantly into Jerusalem they expected Him to be crowned king. . . . Yet in a few days these very disciples saw their beloved Master, whom they believed would reign on David's throne, stretched upon the cruel cross above the mocking, taunting Pharisees. Their high hopes were drowned in bitter disappointment, and the darkness of death closed about them. Yet Christ was true to His promises. -- 1LS, pp. 189-192.  {1BIO 55.2}
The Failing Health of Ellen Harmon 
 It was during this period of uncertainty and bitter disappointment that Ellen's health, already impaired, worsened rapidly. Tuberculosis, it seemed, would take her life. She could speak only in a whisper or broken voice. Her heart was seriously affected. She found it difficult to breathe lying down, and at night was often bolstered to almost a sitting position. She was frequently awakened from sleep by coughing and bleeding in her lungs.  {1BIO 55.3}
While Ellen was in this condition she responded to an invitation from a close friend, Mrs. Elizabeth Haines, just a little older than she, to visit her in her home across the causeway in South Portland. It was now December, but even so Ellen went to spend a few days with her. Elizabeth also was perplexed because of the seeming failure of the fulfillment of prophecy in October. Ellen had given up confidence in the validity of the October date. For her and her close associates, October 22 seemed now to have no real significance. They now looked for the events they had expected to take place on October 22 as yet in the future (Letter 3, 1847; WLF, p. 22).  {1BIO 55.4}
Ellen Harmon Given a Vision -- Her First 
 Three other young women joined Mrs. Haines and Ellen for morning family worship. Tradition has it that this worship experience occurred in the second-floor room of the house at the corner of Ocean and C streets. The exact date is not known, but in 1847 Ellen White placed it in December, 1844. {1BIO 55.5}
"It was not an exciting occasion," Ellen later recalled. "While I was praying, the power of God came upon me as I had never felt it before. I was wrapped in a vision of God's glory, and seemed to be rising higher and higher from the earth, and was shown something of the travels of the Advent people to the Holy City."-- EW, p. 13 (see also Experience and Views, p. 5).  {1BIO 56.1}
As she recounted the experience about a year later in a letter to Enoch Jacobs, editor of the Day-Star, [UP TO THIS TIME THE VISION HAD BEEN RECOUNTED ONLY IN ORAL FORM. SHE COULD NOT HOLD HER HAND STEADY ENOUGH TO WRITE AT THE TIME OF THE VISION NOR FOR SEVERAL MONTHS FOLLOWING IT.] she declared:  {1BIO 56.2}
As God has shown me the travels of the Advent people to the Holy City, and the rich reward to be given those who wait the     return of their Lord from the wedding, it may be my duty to give you a short sketch of what God has revealed to me. The dear     saints have got many trials to pass through. But our light afflictions, which are but for a moment, worketh for us a far more     exceeding and eternal weight of glory -- while we look not at the things which are seen, for the things which are seen are     temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  {1BIO 56.3}
I have tried to bring back a good report, and a few grapes from the heavenly Canaan, for which many would stone me, as the congregation bade stone Caleb and Joshua for their report (Num. 14:10). But I declare to you, my brethren and sisters in the   Lord, it is a goodly land, and we are well able to go up and possess it.-- Experience and Views, pp. 9, 10.  {1BIO 56.4}       

      The First Vision as Published in the Day-Star 
While [I was] praying at the family altar, the Holy Ghost fell upon me, and I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world. I turned to look for the Advent people in the world, but could not find them, when a voice said to me, Look     again, and look a little higher.  {1BIO 56.5}
At this, I raised my eyes and saw a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world. On this path the Advent people were traveling to the City, which was at the farther end of the path. They had a bright light set up behind them at the first end of the path, which an angel told me was the Midnight Cry. This light shone all along the path, and gave light for their feet so they might not stumble. And if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus, who was just before them, leading them to the City, they were safe.  {1BIO 56.6}
But soon some grew weary, and said the City was a great way off, and they expected to have entered it before. Then Jesus     would encourage them by raising His glorious right arm, and from His arm came a glorious light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted, Hallelujah!  {1BIO 57.1}
Others rashly denied the light behind them, and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them      went out, which left their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and got their eyes off the mark and lost sight of Jesus, and fell off the path down in the dark and wicked world below. It was just as impossible for them to get on the path again and go to the City, as all the wicked world which God had rejected. They fell all the way along the path one after another, until we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus' coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spake the time, He poured on us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God as Moses' did when he came down from Mount Sinai.  {1BIO 57.2}
By this time the 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united. On their foreheads was written, God, New Jerusalem, and a     glorious star containing Jesus' new name.  {1BIO 57.3}
At our happy, holy state the wicked were enraged, and would rush violently up to lay hands on us to thrust us in prison,  when we would stretch forth the hand in the name of the Lord, and the wicked would fall helpless to the ground. Then it was that the synagogue of Satan knew that God had loved us who could wash one another's feet and salute the holy brethren with a holy kiss, and they worshiped at our feet.  {1BIO 57.4}
Soon our eyes were drawn to the east, for a small black cloud [SEE THE LATER EXPANDED ACCOUNT IN GC, PP. 640-42.] had appeared, about half as large as a man's hand, which we all knew was the sign of the Son of man. We all in solemn     silence gazed on the cloud as it drew nearer, [and became] lighter, and brighter, glorious, and still more glorious, till it was a     great white cloud. The bottom appeared like fire, a rainbow was over it, around the cloud were ten thousand angels singing a    most lovely song.  {1BIO 57.5}
And on it sat the Son of man, on His head were crowns, His hair was white and curly and lay on His shoulders. His feet had      the appearance of fire, in His right hand was a sharp sickle, in His left a silver trumpet. His eyes were as a flame of fire, which searched His children through and through.  {1BIO 58.1}
Then all faces gathered paleness, and those that God had rejected gathered blackness. Then we all cried out, Who shall be able to stand? Is my robe spotless? Then the angels ceased to sing, and there was some time of awful silence, when Jesus spoke, Those who have clean hands and a pure heart shall be able to stand; My grace is sufficient for you. At this, our faces lighted up, and joy filled every heart. And the angels struck a note higher and sung again while the cloud drew still nearer the earth.  {1BIO 58.2}
Then Jesus' silver trumpet sounded, as He descended on the cloud, wrapped in flames of fire. He gazed on the graves of the sleeping saints, then raised His eyes and hands to heaven and cried, Awake! Awake! Awake! ye that sleep in the dust, and arise. Then there was a mighty earthquake. The graves opened, and the dead came up clothed with immortality. The 144,000 shouted, Hallelujah! as they recognized their friends who had been torn from them by death, and in the same moment we were changed and caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.  {1BIO 58.3}
We all entered the cloud together, and were seven days ascending to the sea of glass.--The Day-Star, Jan. 24, 1846  (see also EW, pp. 14-16).  {1BIO 58.4}
As Ellen in vision entered the New Jerusalem, she saw harps of gold and palms of victory given to the redeemed; she saw the tree of life and the throne of God, and she conversed with Brethren Fitch and Stockman, who had been laid in the grave a little before the October 22 disappointment. The account closes with all joining in the cry "Hallelujah, heaven is cheap enough!" and she relates, "We touched our glorious harps and made heaven's arches ring."--Ibid. (see also EW, pp. 16, 17).  {1BIO 58.5}
The Vision Answered Many Pressing Questions 
What a glorious and comprehensive revelation!  {1BIO 59.1}
     As the five women were praying that December morning in South Portland, one question was uppermost in their minds: Was the experience through which they had just passed in 1844 one in which God led? Was prophecy fulfilled on October 22, or was their experience a delusion without sound scriptural support and without the leadings of the Spirit of God? In their hearts they cried out, "Why, oh, why were we disappointed?"  {1BIO 59.2}
The vision answered the first question. God had led them in their past experience. The Midnight Cry was in the providence of God. It was pictured as "light" -- light behind them that shone all about the path. Also she was shown that they were at the beginning of a path, rather than at the end of it, as they had supposed. The vision gave assurance that if they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus they would safely enter upon the heavenly reward. And they were given inklings of what the reward was like.  {1BIO 59.3}
As to the second question, "Why were they disappointed?"-- this could and would be answered from Bible study. How gracious of the Lord to give light in that dark and discouraging hour!  {1BIO 59.4}
Continue to Chapter 4 - ( 1844 to 1845 )
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