“And they walked hand in hand off into the sunset….” There’s something about an ending like that which intrigues the imaginative soul. All’s well that ends well. Together… into the future…
Could God’s ending in the great controversy read something like that? Except maybe a sunrise rather than a sunset?
Do we realize how dark this world is? Are our eyes too adjusted to the dark? Ellen White’s first vision showed her the dark realities. “I seemed to be rising higher and higher, far above the dark world….” She saw “a straight and narrow path, cast up high above the world.” The Advent people were walking on it, but became weary. “Jesus would encourage them by raising His glorious right arm, and from His arm came a light which waved over the Advent band, and they shouted, ‘Alleluia!’ Others rashly denied the light behind them [the midnight cry] and said that it was not God that had led them out so far. The light behind them went out, leaving their feet in perfect darkness, and they stumbled and lost sight of the mark and of Jesus, and fell off the path down into the dark and wicked world below” (Early Writings, p. 14).
Do we realize how dark this world is?
At the end of the vision she related, “Then an angel bore me gently down to this dark world. Sometimes I think I can stay here no longer; all things of earth look so dreary. I feel very lonely here, for I have seen a better land. Oh, that I had wings like a dove, then would I fly away and be at rest! After I came out of vision, everything looked changed; a gloom was spread over all that I beheld. Oh, how dark this world looked to me. I wept when I found myself here, and felt homesick. I had seen a better world, and it had spoiled this for me” (Ibid, pp. 19-20).
If we learn to walk with Jesus here in the darkness, hand in hand, we are safe. And our future, into the sunrise, is secure with Him. “There will always be obstacles before us, but we are to follow our Leader, and meet our difficulties unitedly, hand in hand” (Upward Look, p. 141). The future is not lonely, nor is the present.
But did you know we often present a lonely message? “The third angel’s message is the proclamation of the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ. The commandments of God have been proclaimed, but the faith of Jesus Christ has not been proclaimed by Seventh-day Adventists as of equal importance, the law and the gospel going hand in hand” (Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 172). Let’s present them, let’s live them, “hand in hand.” It will lighten this dark world with glory, and hasten the Sonrise.
Fred Bischoff became involved in Adventist history while working as a preventive medicine physician in southern California for Kaiser Permanente and serving on the clinical faculty, School of Medicine and School of Public Health, Loma Linda University. He found his greatest joy in exploring and explaining "the simplicity that is in Christ" in relation to history and prophecy, which culminate in the Adventist mission.