The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, , at sacred-texts.com
I saw a number of companies who seemed to be bound together by cords. Many in these companies were in total darkness. Their eyes were directed downward to the earth, and there seemed to be no connection between them and Jesus. I saw individuals scattered through these different companies whose countenances looked light, and whose eyes were raised upward to heaven. Beams of light from Jesus, like rays of light from the sun, were imparted to them. An angel bid me look carefully, and I saw an angel watching over every one of those who had a ray of light, while evil angels surrounded those who were in darkness. I heard the voice of an angel cry, Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come.
A glorious light rested down upon these companies, to enlighten all who would receive it. Some of those who were in darkness received the light and rejoiced; while others resisted the light from heaven, and said that it was deception to lead them astray. The light passed away from them, and they were left in darkness. Those who had received the light from Jesus, joyfully cherished the increase of precious light which was shed upon them. Their faces lighted up, and beamed with holy joy, while their gaze was directed upward to Jesus with intense interest, and their voices were heard in harmony with the voice of the angel, Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come. As they raised this cry, I saw those who were in darkness thrusting them with side and with shoulder. Then many of those who cherished the sacred light, broke the cords which confined them, and stood out separate from those companies. And as many were breaking the cords which bound them, men belonging to these different companies, who were revered by them, passed through the companies, and some with pleasing words, and others with wrathful looks and threatening gestures, fastened the cords which were weakening, and were constantly saying, God is with us. We stand in the light. We have the truth. I inquired who these men were. I was told that they were ministers, and leading men, who had rejected the light themselves, and were unwilling that others should receive it. I saw those who cherished the light looking with interest and ardent desire upward, expecting Jesus to come and take them to himself. Soon a cloud passed over those who rejoiced in the light, and their faces looked sorrowful. I inquired the cause of this cloud. I was shown that it was their disappointment. The time when they expected their Saviour had passed, and Jesus had not come. Discouragement settled upon them, and those men I had before noticed, the ministers and leading men, rejoiced. Those who had rejected the light, triumphed greatly, while Satan and his evil angels also exulted around them.
Then I heard the voice of another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen! is fallen! A light shone upon those desponding ones, and with ardent desires for his appearing, they again fixed their eyes upon Jesus. Then I saw a number of angels conversing with the second angel, who had cried, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and these angels raised their voices with the second angel, and cried, Behold the Bridegroom cometh! go ye out to meet him! The musical voices of these angels seemed to reach everywhere. An exceeding bright and glorious light shone around those who had cherished the light which had been imparted to them. Their faces shone with excellent glory, and they united with the angels in the cry, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh! And as they harmoniously raised the cry among these different companies, those who rejected the light, pushed them, and with angry looks, scorned and derided them. But the angels of God wafted their wings over the persecuted ones, while Satan and his angels were seeking to press their darkness around them, to lead them to reject the light from heaven.
Then I heard a voice saying to those who had been pushed and derided, come out from among them, and touch not the unclean. A large number broke the cords which bound them, and they obeyed the voice, and left those who were in darkness, and united with those who had previously broken the cords, and they joyfully united their voices with them. I heard the voice of earnest, agonizing prayer from a few who still remained with the companies who were in darkness. The ministers and leading men were passing around in these different companies, fastening the cords stronger; but still I heard this voice of earnest prayer. Then I saw those who had been praying reach out their hands for help towards that united company who were free, rejoicing in God. The answer from them, as they earnestly looked to heaven, and pointed upward, was, Come out from among them, and be separate. I saw individuals struggling for freedom, and at last they broke the cords that bound them. They resisted the efforts which were made to fasten the cords tighter, and would not heed the repeated assertions, God is with us, We have the truth with us. Individuals continued to leave the companies who were in darkness, and joined the free company, who appeared to be in an open field raised above the earth. Their gaze was upward, and the glory of God rested upon them, and they shouted the praises of God. They were united, and seemed to be wrapt in the light of heaven. Around this company were some who came under the influence of the light, but who were not particularly united to the company. All who cherished the light shed upon them were gazing upward with intense interest. Jesus looked upon them with sweet approbation. They expected Jesus to come. They longed for his appearing. They did not cast one lingering look to earth. Again I saw a cloud settle upon the waiting ones. I saw them turn their weary eyes downward. I inquired the cause of this change. Said my accompanying angel, They are again disappointed in their expectations. Jesus cannot yet come to earth. They must yet suffer for Jesus and endure greater trials. They must give up errors and traditions received from men, and turn wholly to God and his word. They must be purified, made white and tried. And those who endure that bitter trial will obtain an eternal victory.
Jesus did not come to earth as the waiting, joyful company expected, to cleanse the Sanctuary, by purifying the earth by fire. I saw that they were correct in their reckoning of the prophetic periods. Prophetic time closed in 1844. Their mistake consisted in not understanding what the Sanctuary was, and the nature of its cleansing. Jesus did enter the Most Holy place to cleanse the Sanctuary at the ending of the days. I looked again at the waiting, disappointed company. They looked sad. They carefully examined the evidences of their faith, and followed down through the reckoning of the prophetic periods, and could discover no mistake. Time was fulfilled, but where was their Saviour? They had lost him.
I was then shown the disappointment of the disciples as they came to the sepulchre and found not the body of Jesus. Said Mary, They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. Angels told the sorrowing disciples that their Lord had risen, and would go before them into Galilee.
I saw that as Jesus looked upon the disappointed ones with the deepest compassion, he sent his angels to direct their minds that they might find him, and follow him where he was; that they might understand that the earth is not the Sanctuary; that he must needs enter the Most Holy place of the heavenly Sanctuary to cleanse it; to make a special atonement for Israel, and to receive the kingdom of his Father, and then return to earth and take them to dwell with him forever. The disappointment of the disciples well represents the disappointment of those who expected their Lord in 1844. I was carried back to the time when Christ triumphantly rode into Jerusalem. The joyful disciples believed that he was then to take the kingdom, and reign a temporal prince. They followed their King with high hopes. They cut down the beautiful palm branches, and took off their outer garments, and with enthusiastic zeal spread them in the way; and some went before, and others followed crying, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! The excitement disturbed the Pharisees, and they wished Jesus to rebuke his disciples. But he said unto them, If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. The prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, must be fulfilled, yet, I saw, the disciples were doomed to a bitter disappointment. In a few days they followed Jesus to Calvary, and beheld him bleeding and mangled upon the cruel cross. They witnessed his agonizing death, and laid him in the tomb. Their hearts sunk with grief. Their expectations were not realized in a single particular. Their hopes died with Jesus. But as he arose from the dead, and appeared to his sorrowing disciples, their hopes revived. They had lost their Saviour; but again they had found him.
I saw that the disappointment of those who believed in the coming of the Lord in 1844, was not equal to the disappointment of the disciples. Prophecy was fulfilled in the first and second angels' messages. They were given at the right time, and accomplished the work God designed they should.
See Daniel 8:14; Matthew 21:4-16, 25:6; Mark 16:6-7; Luke 19:35-40; John 14:1-3, 20:13; 2 Corinthians 6:17; Revelation 10:8-11, 14:7-8