The introductory and most far-reaching health vision came to Ellen White on June 6, 1863 at Otsego, Michigan. But her most important single vision—and the most comprehensive—came on March 14, 1858 at Lovett's Grove (now Bowling Green), Ohio. We have seen that in this vision at Lovett's Grove, a sweeping panorama was spread out before her—from the fall of Lucifer down to the final destruction of the wicked and beyond.
God has promised in the Bible to give us information through His prophets. And we have a wealth of material in the Bible. But in mercy to those living in these last days, facing as they do such a complexity of problems and crises,—God has given additional light that we need today.
It is because of our special need at this time, and because we face the greatest crisis in history since the time of the flood—that God has sent this light to us. There is a pattern to history. And the pattern repeats. When crises come, God sends warnings. And Satan often sends counterfeits to turn eyes away from the warnings. Less than fifteen hundred years after the time of Adam and Eve, God saw that the world was becoming so corrupt that destruction was ahead. And He sent a warning through a prophet—Noah. And we can well expect that the religionists and scientists of the day did everything they could to block the message. They succeeded remarkably well. Only eight people were saved when the Flood came.
The First Advent of Christ was another crisis for everyone. Their acceptance or rejection of Him would decide their eternal destiny. Jesus said that John was "Elijah which was to come" (see Matthew 11:14), reminding His hearers of the important prophecy in the last two verses of the Old Testament: Malachi 4: 5-6. But it is well-known by serious Bible students that that prophecy also refers to a time just before the Second Advent of Jesus. Just as Christ sent a messenger to prepare the way before His First Advent, so a messenger would be sent before His Second.
In the early nineteenth century, men discovered clear cut prophecies in the books of Daniel and Revelation that pointed to the year 1844 as a time when God would begin a work of judgment of this world. And with this, through other Bible prophecies, they discovered the great truth that the Second Coming of Christ to this earth was near.
Revelation 12, 13 and 14 foresaw a great final judgment-hour message before the end—over the issue of the Mark of the Beast. And Daniel 7 clarified still more the issues involved, while Daniel 8 and 9 dovetailed together to predict 1844 as the time when this judgment would begin.
As a result, from 1830 through 1844, dedicated Bible students around the world, often with no contact with one another, stood up and warned men of the nearness of the Second Coming of Christ. It was generally thought that the end would come in or near 1844, when in reality it was a special work of judgment in heaven, just prior to His Second Advent, that began in that year.
For a moment, let us pause and consider the Biblical background behind this great truth—since it affects all of us living today:
The earthly sanctuary, built by special direction of God in the time of Moses (Ex 25:8-9 commanded; Ex 31:40 constructed), explained Heaven's plan to put away our sins through the atonement of Christ. This earthly tabernacle was patterned after the original that is in heaven (Ex 25:8-9,40; Heb 8:5). The earthly sanctuary was the "type," or prediction, of the heavenly Sanctuary, whose service would follow it. The earthly sanctuary had a first and a second apartment (Heb 9:1.5).
When Jesus died on Calvary in 31 A.D., the earthly, typical sanctuary no longer had significance in the eyes of God. For soon after His ascension to heaven, the mediation of Jesus, our great High Priest, began in the heavenly Sanctuary (Heb 8:1-5). Read the entire book of Hebrews to better understand the work of Christ on your behalf in the heavenly Sanctuary (Especially note Heb 2:17-3:1; 4:14-16; 6:17-20; 7:25-8:6; 9:1-10:39; 11:1-12:7; 12:22-25; 13:20-21.) We understand the antitypical Sanctuary in heaven through the earthly tabernacle that preceded it.
"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the Sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." Hebrews 8: 1-2.
In the earthly sanctuary, the priest ministered all year long in the first apartment. But at the end of the year, on the Day of Atonement, there was a work of judgment and putting away of sin from the Sanctuary and from the people (Lev 16: 30-34). Christ is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). On the mount of Calvary, Christ died for all the world. After His ascension in 31 A.D., He began His intercession, on behalf of those who would accept His sacrifice, in the great Sanctuary in heaven (Heb 8:1-5). As in the earthly sanctuary, His work began in the first apartment in that heavenly Sanctuary, but the time must eventually come when He was to enter upon His final work of atonement, foreshadowed in Leviticus 16, when He would cleanse the Sanctuary of sin, preparatory to returning to earth the second time. This special work that must be done prior to His Second Advent would involve a work of judgment, an investigation of the books of heaven, that all the intelligences of the universe might know that all who had genuinely accepted Christ as their Saviour and had obeyed His Written Word would have a place in His Kingdom.
The prophecy of Daniel 8:14 identified the time when this special work of judgment and cleansing of the Sanctuary would begin. Daniel 2, 7, 8 and 9 are closely connected, and predict coming ages from Daniel's time (550-600 years before the time of Christ) down to the Second Advent. "Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the Sanctuary be cleansed." (Daniel 8:14) We know from the book of Hebrews that Christ began His ministry, in the heavenly Sanctuary after His death and ascension. Daniel 8:14 tells us when He began the final part of the atonement—His ministry within the second apartment. Here is a brief summary of this prophecy:
“The 2300 days had been found to begin when the commandment of Artaxerxes for the restoration and building of Jerusalem, went into effect, in the autumn of 457 B.C. Taking this as the starting-point, there was perfect harmony in the application of all the events foretold in the explanation of that period in Daniel 9: 25-27. Sixty-nine weeks, the first 483 of the 2300 years, were to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One; and Christ's baptism and anointing by the Holy Spirit, A.D. 27, exactly fulfilled the specification. In the midst of the seventieth week, Messiah was to be cut off. Three and a half years after His baptism, Christ was crucified, in the spring of A.D. 31. The seventy weeks, or 490 years [as given in Daniel 9:24-27], were to pertain especially to the Jews. At the expiration of this period, the nation sealed its rejection of Christ by the persecution of His disciples, and the apostles turned to the Gentiles, A.D. 34. The first 490 years of the 2300 having then ended, 1810 years would remain. From A.D. 34, 1810 years extend to 1844. 'Then,' said the angel, 'shall the Sanctuary be cleansed.' " Great Controversy, 410.'
It is truly marvelous how God predicted the exact year in which Christ would be baptized, and the very year in which He would die—almost 500 years before the events took place! Just so surely, the exact year in which the antitypical Day of Atonement experience would begin (Leviticus 16:30-34) was also foretold: 1844, when Jesus entered the second apartment of the heavenly Sanctuary to begin His final work—to cleanse the Sanctuary of the records of sin.
But this work of cleansing must first include an examination of the records of men's lives in order that all the universe might know exactly who, down through the ages, had genuinely accepted God's provision for their salvation. This work of judgment in heaven above is called the Investigative Judgment, and it immediately precedes the return of Christ to this earth for His own. According to Bible prophecy, we today are living at the end of time.
A special threefold message is given in Revelation 14 for those living in this final hour of earth's history—the hour of judgment: "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come, and worship Him that made heaven and earth." (Revelation 14:7) These solemn messages of Revelation 14:6-12 also warn against receiving the Mark of the Beast, and this is understandable, for the message of Revelation 14 is closely connected with the solemn warning of Revelation 13 about the terrible beast-mark.
In view of such an end-time crisis as this, it is very understandable that the God of heaven would send special counsels in these last days—to us, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
God sent a prophet. . just when the prophet was needed,—before time ended and as the investigative judgment began in heaven.
Truly, this is a solemn hour in earth's history. It is a time when men never needed God more—and yet a time when they are living in rebellion against Him.