Many in Adventism discount the past experience of God’s people. As they recall their history, the churches early conflicts, and the disappointment they experienced in 1844, they find something of which to be ashamed. It seems fashionable and progressive to belittle the experience of those who God used at the beginning of the work; and to cavil at their writings and views on scripture. But God led these men and women into a true experience, and to them were committed truths the depths of which are only faintly being understood today. One such point of truth is the commencement to the chain of truth given to William Miller. In these commencements can be seen the three angels messages and the phases of Christian experience through which all must pass if they will be saved.
 
 

The Commencement to the Chain of Truth

The Spirit of Prophecy states that William Miller was given the commencement to the chain of truth:

“I saw that God sent his angel to move upon the heart of a farmer who had not believed the Bible, and led him to search the prophecies. Angels of God repeatedly visited that chosen one, and guided his mind, and opened his understanding to prophecies which had ever been dark to God’s people. The commencement of the chain of truth was given him, and he was led on to search for link after link, until he looked with wonder and admiration upon the word of God. He saw there a perfect chain of truth. That Word which he had regarded as uninspired, now opened before his vision with beauty and glory. He saw that one portion of scripture explained another, and when one portion was closed to his understanding, he found in another portion of the Word that which explained it. He regarded the sacred word of God with joy, and with the deepest respect and awe.” Spiritual Gifts Vol. 1, 128.1

William Miller tells us what commencements he received:

“From a farther study of the Scriptures, I concluded that the seven times of Gentile supremacy must commence when the Jews ceased to be an independent nation at the captivity of Manasseh, which the best chronologers assigned to B. C. 677; that the 2300 days commenced with the seventy weeks, which the best chronologers dated from B. C. 457; and that the 1335 days commencing with the taking away of the daily, and the setting up of the abomination that maketh desolate, Dan 12:11, were to be dated from the setting up of the Papal supremacy, after the taking away of Pagan abominations, and which, according to the best historians I could consult, should be dated from about A. D. 508. Reckoning all these prophetic periods from the several dates assigned by the best chronologers for the events from which they should evidently be reckoned, they all would terminate together, about A. D. 1843…” William Miller’s Apology and Defence, August 1, 11.2

The commencement to the chain of truth consists of three components – 677 B.C. which is the starting point for the 2520 for the Southern Kingdom of Judah, 457 B.C. which is the starting point for the 2300 year prophecy, and A.D. 508 which is the starting point for the taking away of the Daily. These commencements are dates pointing to events that mark the beginning of important and foundational time prophecies. These time prophecies may be in the past, but the truths they represent in type and parallel are present truth to the close of time.
 
 

The Experience of the Three Angels Messages

Christ said the following about the work of the Holy Spirit:

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” John 16:8

The Holy Spirit was to guide the disciples and every subsequent generation of believers into all truth. Its three-fold office is to convict of sin, righteousness and judgement. These three things represent the experience of the three angels’ messages. The first angel’s message calls upon men to “fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of judgement is come…” (Revelation 14:6-7). The first angel’s message brings about a fearful conviction of sin as the sinner sees the judgements delineated against those who continue in sin and comes face-to-face with the fact that, in his current condition, he is not ready to stand in the judgement.

The second angel’s message is a call out of Babylon. In the experience of the second angel the believer manifests righteousness by departing from Babylon and walking in the truth by faith.

Babylon at the end of the world comprises of three parts – Catholicism, apostate Protestantism and spiritualism. But it is also the embodiment of sin, false doctrine, false worship, pride and self exaltation.

Pride and the desire for self exaltation are the principles actuating Lucifer in his rebellion:

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14

Self exaltation is also the principle actuating his followers (see Romans 6:16; 2 Peter 2:19-20). And it is the antithesis of the principle that actuates the followers of Christ – self-sacrificing love:

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

Therefore the experience of coming out of Babylon entails not only a doctrinal departure from the teachings and philosophies of Babylon, but a death to self and a new life actuated by the principle of Christ’s self-sacrificing love (John 12:24-26; Matthew 16:24).1

The third angel’s message corresponds with the Holy Spirit’s work of convicting the world of judgement in that it is a warning of judgement against receiving the mark of the beast. The mark of the beast is the epitome of false worship; the culmination of a false experience. An experience which, rather than leading the sinner to the foot of the cross to receive remission of sins, sanctification by obedience to the truth through the power of the Spirit, and glorification at Christ’s second-coming – this false experience leads the sinner to remain in his sins and it does not take away the “self exaltation” problem. There is no death to self. This experience leads men to set up their own standard of righteousness and not the righteousness of Christ.2

The judgement decreed against such is to receive the seven last plagues and to die the second death (Revelation 16; Matthew 22:1-13).
 
 

The Three Angel’s Messages and the Commencement to the Chain of Truth

Thus the three angel’s messages are not simply messages that are to go to the world, but an experience that all that will be saved must have. This experience is exemplified in the commencements given to William Miller as comprising the “perfect chain of truth.”

The first commencement, 677 B.C. is the starting point for Judah’s 2520. The 2520 represents a fearful conviction of sin as it is a punishment for breaking God’s covenant (Leviticus 26:23-33). The condition of the covenant was obedience to God’s law (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:9). Sin is defined as the breaking of God’s law (1 John 3:4). And when God’s people sinned by disobeying His law (and thereby breaking His covenant), the judgement of the 2520 fell upon them. Deliverance from the 2520 also required the acknowledgement and confession of sin (Leviticus 26:40-42; Daniel 9:1-16). Thus 677 B.C. corresponds with the first angel’s message whose effect is to bring about a fearful conviction of sin.

A.D. 508 marks the point at which the Daily, or paganism, was taken away in order to make way for the Papacy.3

The principle at the heart of paganism is that which is at the centre of its author – self exaltation. This is exemplified in the kingdoms under Satan’s rule in Daniel 8. The ram representing Medo-Persia “became great” (verse 4). Greece which followed it “waxed very great” and the little horn representing Rome in both its pagan and papal forms “waxed exceeding great,” “even to the host of Heaven” (verses 8-10).

Since the fall and the entrance of sin man has been subject to satanic traits of character (2 Peter 2:19; Romans 6:16). The “self-exaltation” in us, the very character of Satan, will need to be removed following the realization of our sin-polluted and lost state. We must undergo a character transformation in which we die to self and live unto Christ. We must put off the garments of our own righteousness and humbly put on the garments of His righteousness; and walk with Him by faith until His coming in the clouds of glory. This experience of righteousness by faith corresponds with the taking away of the Daily and the second angel’s call out of Babylon.

The third commencement, 457 B.C., marks the beginning of the 2300 year prophecy. The 2300 years marks the beginning of the investigative judgement. In the typical Day of Atonement those who did not afflict their souls, put away their sins, and make peace with God, were cut off (Leviticus 23:29). So with us, God will enter into judgement with us to see if we have purified ourselves by obedience to the truth and formed characters after the divine similitude. In order to stand in the judgement brought to view by the third angel, one would have to have had a true experience in both the first and second angels’ messages.

Hence 457 B.C. corresponds with the third angel’s message and the Holy Spirits work of convicting of judgement.

So it can be seen that the commencements given to William Miller are not just important prophecies; they represent the three angel’s messages and the experience of the three angel’s messages which all of God’s people must have if they will be saved.
 
 

In Closing

Given that these commencements typify the three angels messages it follows that the rejection of these commencements is, in effect, a rejection of the three angels’ messages. These commencements are on the 1843 and 1850 charts which portray the three angels’ messages – the messages that were given from 1840 and 1844.4

The three angels’ messages are not just doctrine but an experience. Those who reject these messages are laying the foundation of a false experience that will ultimately lead them to receive the mark of the beast.

Inspiration describes these commencements as the “perfect chain of truth” meaning they cannot be separated. When one link in a chain is broken the entire object loses its ability to fulfill its purpose. In like manner the 2520, 2300, 1290 and 1335 year prophecies are all inextricably linked, and one cannot reject one of these truths without undermining the others.5

The three angels’ messages are the platform of truth upon which we as God’s people are to be build if we will stand through the tempests of the last days. Scripture likens those who are building upon this platform to those who build their house upon a rock – the Rock of Ages.

To build ones religious experience upon anything else is to invite shipwreck and ruin (Matthew 7:26-27).

May each soul give careful consideration to the foundation upon which they are building.
 
 
1 “You cannot enter heaven with any deformity or imperfection of character, and you must be fitted for heaven now in this probationary life. If you would enter the abode of the righteous when Christ shall come, you must have the deep movings of the Spirit of God, that you may have an individual experience, and be complete in Him who is the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Through the power of the righteousness of Christ, we are to depart from all iniquity. There must be a living connection of the soul with its Redeemer. The channel of communication must be open continually between man and his God, that the soul may grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord…” {BEcho, February 1, 1892 par. 4}
 
2 God’s law is the standard of righteousness – “God has a law, and it is the great standard of righteousness. Everyone who has presumed upon the mercy of God, and practiced iniquity, will be judged according to his works. God has warned you to depart from all iniquity. He has commanded you individually to resist the devil, not to entertain him as an honored guest. The time has come when Jerusalem is being searched as with lighted candles. God is at work investigating character, weighing moral worth, and pronouncing decisions on individual cases. It may not be too late for those who have sinned to be zealous and repent; “for godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” This sorrow is a deceptive kind. It has no real virtue in it. There is no sense of the aggravated character of sin; but there is a sorrow and regret that the sin has come to the knowledge of others; and so no confessions are made, except in acknowledgment of the things thus revealed which cannot be denied.” {TM 448.1}
 
3 Pioneers had correct view of the Daily – “Then I saw in relation to the “daily” (Daniel 8:12) that the word “sacrifice” was supplied by man’s wisdom, and does not belong to the text, and that the Lord gave the correct view of it to those who gave the judgment hour cry. When union existed, before 1844, nearly all were united on the correct view of the “daily”; but in the confusion since 1844, other views have been embraced, and darkness and confusion have followed. Time has not been a test since 1844, and it will never again be a test.” {EW 74.2}

William Miller on the Daily – “I read on, and could find no other case in which it [the daily] was found, but in Daniel. I then [by the aid of a concordance] took those words which stood in connection with it, ‘take way;’ he shall take away,’the daily; ‘from the time the daily shall be taken away’, etc. I read on, and thought I should find no light on the text; finally, I came to 2 Thess. 2:7, 8. ‘For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way, and then shall that wicked be revealed,’ etc. And when I had come to that text, oh! how clear and glorious the truth appeared! There it is! That is ‘the daily!’ Well now, what does Paul mean by ‘he who now letteth,’ or hindereth? By ‘the man of sin,’ and the ‘wicked,’ popery is meant. Well, what is it which hinders popery from being revealed? Why, it is paganism; well, then, ‘the daily’ must mean paganism.” – Second Advent Manual, page 66. {1872 JNA, S23D 34.1}
 
4 See article entitled “The Foundation of Seventh Day Adventism”
 
5 “The warning has come: Nothing is to be allowed to come in that will disturb the foundation of the faith upon which we have been building ever since the message came in 1842, 1843, and 1844. I was in this message, and ever since I have been standing before the world, true to the light that God has given us. We do not propose to take our feet off the platform on which they were placed as day by day we sought the Lord with earnest prayer, seeking for light. Do you think that I could give up the light that God has given me? It is to be as the Rock of Ages. It has been guiding me ever since it was given. Brethren and sisters, God lives and reigns and works today. His hand is on the wheel, and in His providence He is turning the wheel in accordance with His own will. Let not men fasten themselves to documents, saying what they will do and what they will not do. Let them fasten themselves to the Lord God of heaven. Then the light of heaven will shine into the soul-temple, and we shall see the salvation of God.” {GCB, April 6, 1903 par. 35}

 

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