Joseph Bates, James White, and others in New England accepted this light with joy. Thus Joseph Bates and James White were at last united on the Sabbath truth, and on the sanctuary teaching. They wished to meet with the group in western New York. A meeting was arranged. The late P. Z. Kinne, one of our veteran New York ministers, who knew all our early workers in those parts, has told us about the meeting. Hiram Edson, farmer lay preacher, was the leader of the New York group, and he it was who first caught the light on the sanctuary.

It was an important hour in the putting together of the key points of the advent message. Here Joseph Bates, leader in publishing the Sabbath as a very key truth in the advent movement, was to meet Hiram Edson, the man whom God had led as pioneer of the light on the sanctuary truth, another key point in the message.

In a letter to T. E. Bowen, of the General Conference (dated January 21, 1930), Elder Kinne told us the story, as he had heard it from Hiram Edson, for years a close friend of his and a fellow worker in New York:

"When the time came for Brethren Bates and White to start for the conference, Elder White was called to attend a funeral, which prevented his going. When Elder Bates arrived at Brother Edson's, they were entire strangers, except by correspondence. Brother Edson did not know that he was a minister. But when the time came to open the meeting, out of courtesy they invited him to conduct it. Brother Edson told me that soon after he received the light on the sanctuary he himself was impressed that the seventh day was the Sabbath, but without any conviction that it was important to keep it.

"After the opening services Elder Bates stood, and drew from his pocket his Sabbath tract and began to read. Brother Edson was so interested in it and delighted with it, that he could scarcely keep his seat till Elder Bates finished. As soon as the reading was finished, Brother Edson was on his feet, and said. 'Brother Bates, that is light and truth! The seventh day is the Sabbath, and I am with you to keep it!'

"This forms the connection of the Sabbath truth and the judgment message. Those three men [Joseph Bates, James White, and Hiram Edson] had all been giving the first and second angels' messages, and now they constitute the apostles of the third angel's message.

"From that time forward they were intimately associated in the promulgation of this message while they lived. It is true that there were Adventist Sabbathkeepers before them, but it is also true that none of them acted so prominent a part in establishing the message as they did. Elder Wheeler was true to the Sabbath till his death, in ripe old age. But he was not so conspicuous in presenting the message with voice and pen. When Elder Bates began writing his first Sabbath tract, he had but twelve and one-half cents at his command. Elder White cut cordwood at fifty cents a day to support his family, and mowed grass with a scythe to earn money to attend conferences. When the publishing work was started at Rochester, New York, Brother Edson sold his farm and lent Elder White the money to purchase the first printing press."

It is like a fresh breath of inspiration out of the past to listen to the testimony of veteran P. Z. Kinne. His name and that of his friend, Frederick Wheeler, whom James White commended for his evangelistic labors in the field, and the name of Hiram Edson, are written into the early columns of the REVIEW with the names of those upon whom came the early burdens of leadership.

The prophecy of Revelation 12 and 14 pictures the coming of the remnant church. It was to keep the commandments of God, to have the light as to the sanctuary and the judgment hour, and in its midst was to be the gift of the testimony of Jesus, which "is the Spirit of prophesy." All these three truths - the Sabbath, the sanctuary, and the Spirit of prophecy - we have seen rising to view in the record of 1844, and now in the record of the early years following we shall see the bearers of these three key doctrines exchanging light and uniting together in the beginnings of the definite advent movement for this hour. W. A. S. Review and Herald, December 7, 1939.

WHEREVER the veterans of the movement used to talk over the early times of our denomination, it was a joy to hear them tell how the coming of the teaching on the heavenly sanctuary and its cleansing brought a burst of light that made the whole 1844 experience as clear as noonday.

That was the key truth in explaining their past hopes and disappointments. That had been a momentous time. Not that there were exciting manifestations. It was too serious for that. They believed that at the end of the 2300 years, which they finally fixed as October 22, 1844, they would see their Saviour coming in power and glory. Such a faith gave me no place for excitement. It was a sobering conviction.

Years ago, in western New York, an elderly sister in the faith told me her memories of October 22, in her father's family. She was then but a little girl. But graven in her memory was the scene of that day that father and mother, while doing the necessary things in the home, spent the day in devotion and singing and waiting. No work on the field was undertaken.

At last the day was ending - and the Saviour had not come. The father was sitting in a chair by the door. The little girl was playing on the lawn. Just as the sun was sinking, its last rays lighted up a little cloud on the distant horizon. The cloud shone like silver and burnished gold. "Father rose to his feet," she told me, "with face lighted with joy. 'O, praise the Lord,' he cried, clapping his hands, 'our Saviour is coming.'"

The preparations to meet eternity had all been made. These believers were ready; their sins were confessed and their wrongs were made right. This father did not have to attend to these things of getting ready when he saw that shining cloud. He had before that heard the admonition, "Be ye therefore ready." It is a lesson for us today as the time of probation hastens by, someday to end "suddenly."

The disappointment of those waiting ones in 1844 was indeed bitter. The cleansing of the sanctuary, which was to take place at the end of the prophetic period, meant to them the coming of Christ to earth to cleanse it from sinful things. The earth was the sanctuary, they thought. After 1844 they knew not what to think next. Although the multitudes gave up, a firm body of disappointed second advent believers were waiting and praying for light that would explain the experience.

With the light on the heavenly sanctuary, the explanation came. Hiram Edson, farmer preacher, leader of a group of early Adventists in western  New York, was the brother who first caught the light that the sanctuary to be cleansed was the heavenly sanctuary. He wrote out the experience some years later, and the story was preserved by his daughter, Mrs. O. V. Cross, of Florida. In the REVIEW of June 23, 1921, a portion of his manuscript was reprinted. Here is his testimony to the coming of the light. Speaking first of the great disappointment, he wrote:

"Our expectations were raised high, and thus we looked for our coming Lord until the clock tolled twelve at midnight. The day had then passed, and our disappointment had become a certainty. 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 dawned. . . .

"I mused in my heart, saying: 'My advent experience has been the brightest of all my Christian experience. Has the Bible proved a failure? Is there no God in heaven, no golden city, no Paradise? Is all this but a cunningly devised fable? Is there no reality to our fondest hopes and expectations?'. . .

"I began to feel there might be light and help for us in our distress. I said to some of the brethren: 'Let us go to the barn.' We entered the granary, shut the doors about us, and bowed before the Lord. We prayed earnestly, for we felt our necessity. We continued in earnest prayer until the witness of the Spirit was given that our prayers were accepted, and that light should be given - our disappointment explained, made clear and satisfactory.

"After breakfast I said to one of my brethren, 'Let us go to see and encourage some of our brethren.' We started, and while passing through a large field, I was stopped about midway in the field. Heaven seemed open to my view, and I saw distinctly and clearly that instead of our High Priest coming out of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days, He, for the first time, entered on that day into the second apartment of that sanctuary, and that he had a work to perform in the most holy place before coming to the earth; that He came to the marriage, or in other words, to the Ancient of days, to receive a kingdom, dominion, and glory; and that we must wait for His return from the wedding." - Review and Herald, June 23, 1921.

Hiram Edson studied this question. Two close friends joined him. Evidently, one was a Doctor Hahn, a neighbor, the other, O. R. L. Crosier, a young preacher and teacher. The Scripture study made it plain that the end of the 2300 years was to reach to the opening of the ministry of our High Priest in the most holy of the sanctuary in heaven, foreshadowed by the last phase of the Levitical service in the typical earthly sanctuary. The service of the last day of the earthly sanctuary was called the cleansing of the sanctuary. That was exactly what the prophecy of Daniel 8:14 described as beginning in 1844. The whole matter was plain. Christ had come to that service in the most holy above, as the time came in 1844. Their mistake was explained. The prophecy had been fulfilled. They had looked to this earth instead of to the most holy place above. There in heaven above, the judgment hour had come, the time of cleansing the sanctuary records, as described in Daniel 7:10,13. This was light. It must be published to the believers.

Hiram Edson and Doctor Hahn asked O. R. L. Crosier to continue studying it from the Levitical type and to write it out. They agreed to publish it. The matter was written up in 1845. Early the next year they arranged for it to be printed in a Cincinnati second advent paper called the Day Star. An "Extra" was devoted to it, dated February 7, 1846.    Apparently Hiram Edson had to do the promoting and most of the financing. He told how he had to ask his wife for some of her wedding-gift silver to pay for this "Extra." His daughter, Mrs. Cross, confirmed this. H. M. Kelly, of Florida, who interviewed her and sent these extracts from Hiram Edson's manuscript, added:

"Mrs. Cross told me that her mother sold a set of silver spoons that had been given to her as a wedding present, to get money to have that first article on the sanctuary printed; and I have one of the spoons of that set in my possession now."

The first exposition of the sanctuary truth was sent to many second advent believers. Joseph Bates saw it and accepted the light. James White likewise accepted it. Ellen G. Harmon (later Mrs. White) also received the teaching on the sanctuary in heaven, being shown that it was light for the remnant. ("Word to the Little Flock," p.12.) Those who were to lead out in this definite advent movement were being led step by step from light to greater light. (In a preceding article we have seen Joseph Bates visiting Port Gibson, in western New York, bringing the Sabbath truth to Hiram Edson and others in that region.)      





In the section, "The Third Angel's Message," there is this description, in the language of symbol and figure, of the rise of the work of the third angel of Revelation 14:

"As the ministration of Jesus closed in the holy place, and He passed into the holiest, and stood before the ark containing the law of God, He sent another mighty angel with a third message to the world. A parchment was placed in the angel's hand, and as he descended to the earth in power and majesty, he proclaimed a fearful warning, with the most terrible threatening ever borne to man. This message was designed to put the children of God upon their guard, by showing them the hour of temptation and anguish that was before them. Said the angel, 'They will be brought into close combat with the beast and his image. Their only hope of eternal life is to remain steadfast. Although their lives are at stake, they must hold fast the truth.' The third angel closes his message thus: 'Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.' As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. . . .

"It was represented to me that the remnant followed Jesus into the most holy place, and beheld the ark and the mercy seat, and were captivated with their glory." - Pages 254, 255.

Thus those who turned to the commandments of God as the hour of His judgment came, in 1844, were to be straightway directed to the heavenly sanctuary and the ark of God's testament. The truths of the Sabbath and the sanctuary are inseparable in the advent movement of the prophecy.

While this pointing by the angel to the heavenly sanctuary, as he saw the people appear keeping the commandments of God, must apply to the whole body of believers, to our own day, it is interesting to note this very feature in the case of our first Seventh-day Adventist, who led the way in 1844.

Speaking at the General Conference, in San Francisco, in 1930, our veteran preacher, E. W. Farnsworth, one of the children of that first church of ours, told us of the experience of his father, William Farnsworth:

"My father was the first Seventh-day Adventist in the world. He was the one that began the observance of the Sabbath as an Adventist. . . . And in a little while nearly the whole church in Washington, New Hampshire, where I was born, had begun to observe the Sabbath. The text of Scripture that attracted my father's attention first was that text in Revelation, that 'there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament.' [Rev.11:18,19.] Father said, 'I wonder what is in that ark,' and in his thought he opened the ark, and there he saw the law of God, and there he saw the fourth commandment, 'The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.' And he said, 'I think we had better keep the Sabbath;' and he began the observance of the Sabbath quite largely on the strength of the statement in that text." - General Conference Bulletin, 1930. 





Mrs. Rachel Preston was there, a former Seventh Day Baptist, urging the claims of God's holy Sabbath. But it was the force of the impression by way of the heavenly sanctuary that drove home the conviction to William Farnsworth's heart that in this time of the near coming of Christ, the Lord was calling men to obey all His commandments.

The as yet undiscovered truth of the heavenly sanctuary and the judgment hour was apparently already shedding some rays of light in advance. It is suggestive of the close relation that the Sabbath and the sanctuary truths were to bear to one another in the full advent message which was to be developed.

This experience of our first Seventh-day Adventist, in taking his stand for the commandments of God in 1844, is of special interest to us in view of the scene shown by the Spirit of prophecy as this message rose:

"The third angel closes his message thus: 'Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.' As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary."

And there is just where our first Adventist pioneer in Sabbathkeeping was led to look for help in making the decision. The angel surely pointed him to the sanctuary. How closely together these experiences are seen to come as the time came for the movement to be fully developed.

Note also that as those who accepted the Sabbath light in 1844 were being prepared by the Spirit to look toward the heavenly sanctuary, so also those who led out in the study of the sanctuary truth were being prepared to look toward the Sabbath. We have already, in a preceding article, quoted the late P. Z. Kinne's statement regarding Hiram Edson, who was the first to see the light on the sanctuary and its cleansing. Elder Kinne wrote:

"Brother Edson told me that soon after he received the light on the sanctuary he himself was impressed that the seventh day was the Sabbath, but without any conviction that it was important to keep it."

Doubtless that impression helped to place him in a receptive attitude, so that the moment he heard the evidence for the Sabbath presented, he sprang to his feet, saying: "Brother Bates, that is light and truth! The seventh day is the Sabbath, and I am with you to keep it!"

The factors and agents were all being drawn together as the definite advent movement and message were taking shape.

Again, in the first vision given for the remnant church by the Spirit of prophecy, in 1844, the heavenly sanctuary was described, with the "glorious ark" within the veil, the ark that held the law of God engraved on the two tables of stone. In this first vision, also, were shown the 144,000, who "were all sealed." (See "Early Writings," article, "My First Vision," pp. 13-20.)


Thus the sealing work, or Sabbath reform, was brought to light, and the subject of the sanctuary was stressed, though as yet the agent of the gift did not understand the meaning of the terms, as she and other pioneers came to understand them all a little later. In fact, what seems to me the finest description we have, outside of Scripture, of the change in Christ's priestly ministry from the holy place to the most holy, in 1844, is that given to Ellen Harmon only a few weeks after her first vision. That was before Hiram Edson and O. R. L. Crosier had brought out the first exposition on the sanctuary. Note a few words of Ellen Harmon's description:

"I saw the Father rise from the throne, and in a flaming chariot go into the holy of holies within the veil, and sit down. Then Jesus rose up from the throne, and most of those who were bowed down arose with Him [the praying ones on earth, who by faith were represented as looking to Him]. . . . He left the throne and led them out a little way. Then  He raised His right arm, and we heard His lovely voice saying: 'Wait here; I am going to  My Father to receive the kingdom; keep your garments spotless, and in a little while I will return from the wedding and receive you to Myself.' Then a cloudy chariot, with wheels like flaming fire, surrounded by angels, came to where Jesus was. He stepped into the chariot and was borne to the holiest, where the Father sat. There I beheld Jesus, a great high priest, standing before the Father."

Read the whole picture in "Early Writings" (pp.54-56), entitled, "End of the 2300 Days." It is an exact counterpart of Daniel's view of the same event, given in the days of Babylon:

"I beheld till the thrones were cast down ["placed"], and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool: His throne was like fiery flame, and His wheels as burning fire. . . . Thousands thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. . . .

"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." Dan.7:9-14.

That description of the vision was written by the prophet's pen in Babylon more than 2,300 years before this scene in the heavenly sanctuary began to take place in 1844. From that writing in Babylon, I know of no place in all the record of history where any similar description of the actual scene was written, until a few days after 1844, when a young woman of seventeen, called to the prophetic gift, took up her pen and set down what she was shown in vision of the same wondrous event - beyond all power of human words fully to portray.

Daniel repeated, "I beheld," "I saw;" and the youthful prophet of our day repeated, "I saw," "I beheld," "I saw." And the later description is the very counterpart of the ancient one.

Ellen Harmon could have understood little of the meaning of it at the time, for the full light as to the sanctuary question came to her the next year through the Crosier document, published in February, 1846, and sent out by Hiram Edson. Then it was shown her that this sanctuary teaching was light for the remnant. The earth was not the sanctuary to be cleansed, as they had believed, but the cleansing of the sanctuary in heaven had begun in 1844.

1984 JNL, HEVI 110-117


A devoted brother, of Port Byron, N. Y. (Hiram Edson), who had earnestly labored in the first and second messages, began to receive light on the sanctuary question the day after the close of the prophetic time. While praying, it came to him as distinctly as though spoken with an audible voice, "The sanctuary to be cleansed at the end of the twenty-three hundred days is in heaven." He at once began the investigation of the subject by searching his Bible, opening at Hebrews and reading chapters eight and nine. Although he had often read these scriptures before, he was now greatly astonished at discovering how clearly they proved a sanctuary in heaven, of which the earthly tabernacle is a "figure," a "shadow," a "pattern," and its service an example of Christ's mediatorial work in the heavens.

As this disappointed people were again to take up the work of teaching "peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings," it was of the highest importance that the subject of the true sanctuary, and the nature of its cleansing, be understood. The sanctuary question connects the time message of 1844 with the third angel's message of Revelation 14. The burden of that message is "the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus," which is really the third call to the supper of Luke 14. This call goes "into the highways and hedges," compelling the people, not by physical force, but by the clearness of truth and the power of the Holy Spirit, "to come in."

1904 JNL, LDT 180

      Light on the Sanctuary



Hiram Edson, of Port Gibson, N.Y., told me that the day after the passing of the time in 1844, as he was praying behind the shocks of corn in a field, the Spirit of God came upon him in such a powerful manner that he was almost smitten to the earth, and with it came an impression, "The sanctuary to be cleansed is in heaven." He communicated this thought to O. R. L. Crosier, and they together carefully investigated the subject. In the early part of 1846 an elaborate exposition of the sanctuary question from a Bible standpoint, written by Mr. Crosier, was printed in the Day Star, a paper then published in Canandaigua, N.Y. In that lengthy essay it was made to appear that the work of cleansing the sanctuary was the concluding work of Christ as our high priest, beginning in 1844 and closing just before he actually comes again in the clouds of heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords.

1905 JNL, GSAM 193


     As is explained elsewhere, Hiram Edson brought forth the idea that the sanctuary to be cleansed was in heaven. In this way, bit by bit, the present belief of Seventh-day Adventists developed by prayer and Bible study. Mrs. White later wrote of this period: 

     "Many of our people do not realize how firmly the foundation of our faith has been laid." 

     "My husband, with Elders Joseph Bates, Stephen Pierce, Hiram Edson, and others who were keen, noble, and true, was among those who, after the passing of the time in 1844, searched for the truth as for hidden treasure. 

     "We would come together burdened in soul, praying that we might be one in faith and doctrine; for we knew that Christ is not divided. One point at a time was made the subject of investigation. The Scriptures were opened with a sense of awe. Often we fasted, that we might be better fitted to understand the truth. 

     "After earnest prayer, if any point was not understood, it was discussed, and each one expressed his opinion freely; then we would again bow in prayer, and earnest supplication went up to heaven that God would help us to see eye to eye that we might be one, as Christ and the Father are one. Many tears were shed. 

     "We spent many hours in this way. Sometimes the entire night was spent in solemn investigation of the Scriptures, that we might understand the truth for our time. On some occasions the Spirit of God would come upon me, and difficult portions were made clear through God's appointed way, and then there was perfect harmony. . . . 

     "Sometimes one or two of the brethren would stubbornly set themselves against the view presented, and would act out the natural feelings of the heart; but when this disposition appeared, we suspended our investigations and adjourned our meeting, that each might have an opportunity to go to God in prayer, and without conversation with them study the point of difference, asking light from heaven. With expressions of friendliness we parted, to meet again as soon as possible for further investigation. At times the power of God came upon us in a marked manner, and when clear light revealed the points of truth, we would weep and rejoice together. We loved Jesus; we loved one another."- 

1938 END, FOME 167, 168