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A Place Prepared

By Pastor Hal Mayer

A Place Prepared [1]

Dear Friends,

Warm Christian greetings to you and your family. I’m glad that you have joined us today. Keep the Faith Ministry is continually seeking to awaken God’s people to the nearness of the coming of Jesus. I hope that you are preparing for what is coming upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.

This month I have a very special message for you. It is another look at history. The last time we did a history lesson sermon, we had so many positive remarks that I thought that perhaps you would greatly appreciate the one I am going to share today. Today’s message is an encouraging one, as you will see. I hope that you will be able to see that what God has done in history, he will also do in your life.

But before I do, I want to remind you that if you haven’t returned your yellow renewal card, please do so today. You only have until the end of December to get it back to us before we update our mailing lists. We want you to continue to receive the timely free monthly messages from Keep the Faith which will keep you alert to fulfilling prophecy and help you prepare for the coming of Jesus. You don’t have to send a gift, but whatever you can send, it is greatly appreciated. I also want to thank our subscribers who support Keep the Faith Ministry on a regular basis. It really means a lot to us that you want to support the spread of God’s message for these last days.

The prophet Daniel was given a message that was specifically for the end time. In fact, the angel told Daniel in chapter 12:9 “Go thy way Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” The book of Daniel tells us a lot about history. In chapter two, we read about Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, and a divided kingdom after that. It also speaks about the future kingdom of Christ which overthrows the previous kingdoms and establishes an everlasting kingdom. We are in the time just before the overthrow of the earthly kingdoms.

Then in verse 10 we see that it is the wise that will understand… What is the angel referring to? At the end of time, when the book is unsealed, the wise shall understand. And he points out that the wise are the righteous. You remember that Psalm 111:10 says that “fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all they that do his commandments…” This verse should make it very clear to us that you cannot have the wisdom that the angel promised without obedience to God’s commandments. That is why God’s people in the last days are wise. It is because they keep all of His ten commandment law. The Bible is very easy to understand really if you know the secret of comparing scripture with scripture, “here a little, there a little” as it says in Isaiah 28:10, 13. This is a very important principle. If you want to understand anything, you must do what Jesus did. He lived by God’s law. If you want to understand prophecy as it really is, and sift through the confusing ideas that are floating around out there today, you need to keep God’s law. Then He will enlighten you. If you want to understand history, which goes hand in hand with prophecy, you must also keep God’s law. He will give you a depth of understanding that will powerfully impact your life. If you keep God’s law, and you pay attention and look deeply into the things of God, you will have understanding. And your influence, your light, will rise like the dawning sun and others will be drawn to the message you have to share. Isaiah 60:1 says “arise shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”

What a powerful verse that is. If you want to have Jesus shine upon you both with wisdom and understanding, and with power to convince others of the truth of God’s last message, you need to do the opposite of the wicked. Daniel 12:10 says that the “wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” There are two opposite sides polarizing in this world today. There are the wicked on one side, and the righteous on the other. These two polarized sides in the great controversy between Christ and Satan involves everyone. You cannot be half wicked or half righteous. You have to be one or the other. When you turn on the light switch in a dark room, there is no more darkness. But when you turn it off, there is no more light. It is the same way in our spiritual walk with Christ. You can claim to be a Christian, but unless you live by God’s law you are not in Christ. Christ gives you His grace when you are in Him, so that you can live by the ten commandment law. This is not a life of legalism. This is the life of grace. It is grace that empowers you to keep God’s law. It is not in yourself. Jesus gives you grace because of His sacrifice on the cross which earned Him the right to give you His grace so that you can keep the law and be wise.

What does this have to do with history? My friends, it has everything to do with it. If you want to see beyond what most historians can see; if you want to see what lies behind the scenes, you need the light of heaven to give you that insight. If you want to expand your mind, you have to look more deeply into the word of God, into prophecy, and into history so that Christ can put it all together for you so that you can understand His work. We are often told about the work of men, but what is really important; what is really thrilling, is to see God’s hand shaping, molding, nurturing His truth and his church, guiding and leading them to the place where He wants them to be, and to the message that He has prepared them to give.

So let us begin a little journey. I want to show you how God prepared for a place and an environment so that His last message of love and warning could be given to the world. I want to show you that God doesn’t just let the world go its own way. Yes, He does allow Satan to manifest himself, and He does not fight our will. But He uses even those who oppose Him to accomplish His purposes. Moreover, I want to show you that God is working at many different levels and from many different angles all at once, and well in advance, so that just at the right time and with just the right elements in place when it is time for His work to make a significant step forward.

Listen to this statement from the book Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, page 379. ”There is a study of history that is not to be condemned. Sacred history was one of the studies in the schools of the prophets. In the record of His dealings with the nations were traced the footsteps of Jehovah. So today we are to consider the dealings of God with the nations of the earth. We are to see in history the fulfillment of prophecy, to study the workings of Providence in the great reformatory movements, and to understand the progress of events in the marshaling of the nations for the final conflict of the great controversy.”

As we consider the dealings of God with the nations of today, we can again see prophecy fulfilling, and we can also see at least some of the many ways in which God is working to bring about His will and draw attention to His truth and to His law.

Here is another statement that you will no doubt find very interesting. This is one of my favorites from the book Education, page 173. “In the annals of human history the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as [if they are] dependent on the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counterplay of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will.”

Isn’t that an inspiring statement? We can actually see what is going on behind the scenes. If we have a prophetic mindset, or a prophetic outlook, we can understand, by the grace of God, the inner workings of His agencies, carrying out the counsels of His own will. Most people don’t like history. Rarely do people today read the annals of human history. But this is vital. When you put together the annals of human history with the sacred knowledge of History as God sees and expresses it, we gain insights that are powerful, and very practical for our times.

But before we go further, let me lay down a few principles. These are not things that you heard in your high school or university history lessons. I learned these things as I combined a study of sacred history in the Spirit of Prophecy, such as in the book Great Controversy, with a study of the events, forces and elements that shaped our world today from the annals of human history. As the Holy Spirit influenced my mind, I began to realize that God had been working at many different levels to bring about an environment that would nurture the final message to be given to the world. Now, I saw some of the pieces of the puzzle fitting together that were beyond what I had ever seen before. It was a much more complete picture of God’s powerful hand in history.

Principle number one is intervention. God must permit Satan to carry out his agenda so that everyone will have the chance to see his malignant and evil purposes. Satan has misrepresented God as a tyrant, when in reality it is he that is guilty of tyranny, and that His commandments could not be kept voluntarily out of love to God. God could have destroyed Satan when he first rebelled, but then no one would serve Him and live by His law out of love, only out of fear. So God had to permit Satan to manifest himself and his rebellion so that it will become clear to all, without force of conscience that Satan is wrong and that God can be trusted.

But God only permits Satan to manifest his deceptive power to a point. Then He intervenes. Satan would destroy God’s people and defeat God’s purpose if God did not do something about it. But God does not let this happen because He needs witnesses to His truth to be seen in contrast to the error. So God permits Satan to mature his deceptions to a point, then he intervenes. Then He lets Satan mature his deceptions again, but at a certain point He intervenes again. And so on, throughout all human history.

For instance, when Adam and Eve sinned, God intervened and prevented them from eating of the tree of life. Otherwise, sin would have been perpetuated eternally. When man became so wicked “that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” (Genesis 6:5) God intervened again with the flood. When man rejected God’s promise never to destroy the earth again by flood and built the tower of Babel, God intervened and struck the tower and confused the languages of the people. Humanity is still affected by this intervention.

When Israel went into rebellion under Ahab and Jezebel, God intervened and sent His prophet Elijah to confront the apostasy. Eventually, when Israel rebelled again, God intervened and sent them to Babylon. Finally, when the world was dark with the misapprehension of God, He sent His son as the redeemer who died on the cross to guarantee that the cycle of sin and rebellion would one day come to an end.

But the interventions continue to this day. When the Roman Church assumed political and temporal power and persecuted the true church of God’s faithful commandment keepers and others who followed the Bible only, for more than 1000 years, God intervened and raised up reformers to proclaim present truth for their time. Then when the Reformation churches fell into corruption and their own apostasy, and refused to follow the advancing light concerning the second coming of Christ, God intervened again and raised up William Miller and other Millerite preachers to proclaim the second coming in power, resulting in the remnant church. This last church is to carry on His great and final work of preparing a generation of people to live by God’s law and unmask Satan’s final deceptions. Now perhaps you can see why there is so much opposition in almost every place to those who teach that God’s law is still in force. Now you can see why there are a multitude of false doctrines that teach that the law of God cannot be kept, or that it is no longer valid for us today. This is the great argument in all of history. It is still the great argument today. When you think about it, everywhere you turn, you will find those who object to keeping God’s law. Or they make excuses. Or they present unbiblical and deceptive arguments.

The bottom line is that while Satan is busy making mischief, God is counteracting his influence, often at many different levels. What do you think will be the last great intervention before the second coming of Christ? My friends, the Holy Spirit will be poured out in latter rain power amid the great darkness and deceptions that Satan will bring upon the world in the last days. He is already at work and well down the line in maturing his final deceptions.

Principle number two is God turns evil into good. There are two texts that I would like to share with you. One of them is probably familiar to you. It is found in Romans 8:28. “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” No matter what happens to you, God will use it for your own good. I would even go so far as to say that God ordains trials and difficulties so that He can accomplish in you the good purpose that He has for your character and your eternal security. The other verse is found in 2 Corinthians 13:8. “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” This amazing little verse really says it all. No matter how hard men or demons may work against God’s truth, particularly in rebellion to His Ten Commandments, His eternal law, God will bring it about to benefit His truth and His people. Nothing can be done against God’s truth or His people that He won’t use to advantage to defeat the purposes of Satan. We may not always see how this is going to work out, but He promises us that we will one day understand clearly. I hope you will see this principle at work in history as we study today.

Let us look at history in a new way perhaps. We are going to go back to the time of the middle ages when the Roman Catholic Church ruled the empire now known as the old world. Satan used the Roman Catholic Church to control the minds and consciences of men for 1000 years. But God used those very circumstances to bring about change.

There were many factors leading to change. I’m going to go through some of them.

First there was control. The church controlled the people through superstition and kept the people in vice. The inquisition was the legal framework for keeping the people under control. Superstition was the spiritual basis for control. Without fear of the loss of their eternal salvation, people would have never accepted the power of the church over their lives. But once they accepted the superstitions of the church, their fears were kindled and led them to bondage. Those that did not accept papal teachings, were persecuted and killed. After 1000 years, there was a deep seated yearning for freedom from excessive control.

A second factor leading to change in the old system was the economy. In the middle ages, there was virtually no middle class, only rich and poor. The economy of any nation requires a middle class to move it forward. This is because the middle class have more money than they need for their basic necessities and can invest it in inventions, efficiencies, and even consumerism. In the middle ages, under the feudal system the rich kings, nobles, barons, princes, and others had all the economy coming their way, so they had no motivation to invest it. The poor were kept busy eking out an existence, working hard just to keep bread on the table, a roof over their heads, and clothes on their backs. Without the middle class it was easy for Rome to manipulate the economy to her advantage as well. Without a middle class there can be no real independence and freedom. Perhaps you can see why so many western nations have gradually been stripping their economies of the middle class. The United States, for instance, is now mostly dependent on consumerism rather than industry, because its industry has been gradually sent off shore. This has squeezed the middle class and over time has made people poorer. Now the economic crisis is creating circumstances that will again strip the middle class of their economic power by deflation, change of currency and other methods.

A third factor leading to change was oppression. Europeans were getting tired of oppression. The rich oppressed the poor. The church oppressed the masses. Life was hard and sorrowful.

A fourth factor leading to change was spiritual hunger. The Bible was forbidden. But the Holy Spirit never stops working on hearts. The people were very hungry for truth and light. They perceived, perhaps subconsciously, that something wasn’t right about the way they were being taught. Their spiritual interest was stimulated by the Waldenses who secretly gave them little portions of scripture and taught them that the teachings of Rome were not found in the Bible. Imagine the shock in finding out that penance, purgatory, pilgrimages, genuflection, transubstantiation, confession to a priest, Sunday sacredness and so much more was not in scripture, and that Christ is the only priest and mediator between God and man. The hunger for truth was enormous.

Through these aspects of medieval life, God was silently, patiently bringing about the counsels of His own will, preparing for a huge change. Most historians think that the Protestant Reformation was started by a disgruntled monk who startled Europe’s peace by his open rebellion to the Catholic Church. But in reality, it was the hand of God that prepared the way for Martin Luther to accomplish his great work through all these factors leading to change. Perhaps one of the most notable was the work of the Waldenses. Their missionary efforts to undermine the teachings of Rome (and undermining is what is was), for over 1000 years created a network of interest in the truth of the gospel. When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Chapel, all of Europe knew about it in a very short time, without faxes, without telephones and without email. It was mostly because of the diligent work of the Waldenses for centuries that opened the way for the surprise and relief brought by the work of Martin Luther.

You see, God often works by setting forces in motion that result in change. Often He uses the very things that Satan invents to keep people in superstition. It’s like dropping a small pebble in a lake. The ripples start small, then widen to encompass the whole lake.

Similar to how God prepared for the Reformation, there were a number of key counteracting influences that God set in motion to prepare the way for the Remnant Church and the last message of warning to the world.

The first one I want to tell you about was discoveries. In 1492 a Portuguese sailor, Christopher Columbus proposed a new route to the Indies. Back then the church had endorsed the popular myth that the earth was flat. This was a daring voyage, because at any time, these ships would come to the edge of the earth and fall off never to be seen again. Or so many people thought. But Columbus sailed anyway. The result was that Columbus discovered the Americas. But he did not discover what is today the United States. He landed, from what I understand, on an island in the Caribbean. God perhaps led him there, so that others, mainly Protestants would discover the land that is now the USA.

Christopher Columbus’ lands on U.S. [2]

Christopher Columbus’ Biography [3]

But Christopher Columbus’ voyage was just at the right time. It was just enough in advance so that there was enough time for other explorers to investigate other places (and there were many of them) and develop new territories. Eventually, a new country would develop, that (unknown to Columbus) would be built on new principles. Not on the old Catholic model that had been so detrimental to the old world, a country that would nurture the three angel’s messages, and bring a mature and powerful message of the soon coming of Jesus in the clouds of glory. God was planning it all the way back in 1492.

In our short lives we cannot always see the things that God is doing. Nor can we always see our part in it. That takes vision motivated by faith. We have to trust that God is working out the counsels of His own will in our lives and in our world. But looking back on history in light of God’s word, we learn that He was bringing about the very things He needed to happen so that His people would be prepared to receive and then give the message of love and obedience to His character and law in the last generation.

The Rosetta Stone was another great discovery prior to the advent movement. This was discovered 300 years after Columbus in 1799. Napoleon’s general Berthier was in Egypt rebuilding a fort at Rosetta (or Rashid, as it is known today). There he uncovered the famous stone. The Rosetta Stone was a civil document written in three languages which verified certain things found in scripture. This gave great confidence in the biblical accounts and increased faith in the Bible. Most importantly, it helped raise the level of interest in the Bible, just before the advent movement.

Biblical Archaeology [4]

Rosetta Stone [5]

At this point let me say that the truth of the Bible has always been at the center of the struggle in the great controversy as played out in human affairs. Is the Bible true, or is it just a tale? Can we trust what it says, or do we need other sources of truth? Do we follow it, or do we follow tradition? I think it is very intriguing that God used an atheist to discover the Rosetta Stone. Here was an avowed enemy of God and of Christianity, a product of the French Revolution, whom God uses to discover a document that brings great interest in scripture. That is amazing! And it goes a long way in showing us how we can do nothing against the truth but for the truth.

Another counteracting influence was the Crusades. We don’t hear much about the Crusades and their real impact on the western world. But in spite of all the bloodshed, they were a useful tool in the hand of God to bring about the Reformation and the advent movement.

The bibles in the East, and the bibles in the West were different. The eastern bibles were far more pure than the Latin bibles of the West which had been corrupted in the fourth century by the Gnostics and adopted by the Roman church. These eastern bibles had been kept in the east by the split in the Catholic Church. The Crusades opened up a lot of new trade and commerce between the East and the West, and this opened the way for the bibles of the East to come to the West. These bibles from the East became the basis for the Reformation Bibles, eventually known as the Textus Receptus. There is no way that a Reformation could be successful unless there were purer bibles to be had. Therefore, just before the Reformation God brought many of these eastern scripture manuscripts into the West so that they would be ready just in time for the Reformation. The reformers used these manuscripts to make their translations into the common languages of the people.

Also, remember that the remnant church needed a Bible from a pure source manuscript, not the corrupted sources of Rome’s bibles, in order to keep its message pure and unmixed with error. Moreover, the advent message had to be based on pure bibles or it could never mature. Furthermore, the advent message was to be based on faithfulness to scripture and it involved deep Bible study. If the only bibles available were of the corrupted variety, it would never have arrived at the pointed and detailed principles it has today. In addition, the Second Advent message had to be totally disconnected from Rome in order to pursue present truth. For these reasons and more, it was vital that pure bibles be available at the time of the Reformation, so that their successors, such as the King James Version would be mature and widely accepted by Protestants at the time of the Second Advent movement in the first half of the 19th century. It could not be an Adventist Bible, for instance, or else the advent message would be of its own devising. But by using a widely accepted Protestant Bible, God’s last message could be presented to all without serious questions concerning its source. Men may criticize the message, but they can never gainsay its basis in the Bible. They may try to disprove it, but their arguments are frivolous.

A third counteracting influence that God used to defeat the darkness of the medieval world and prepare the way for the last message was inventions. The printing press was and still is the greatest invention of all time. It changed more than any other invention in history. Neither the jet engine, nor the computer microchip has changed more of life and society than the printing press. It was invented just in time for the Reformation so that the people could have relatively cheap bibles in their own languages to read. The pope was apparently going to suppress the printing press, but one of the cardinals persuaded him that it could be very useful to the church in combating heresy. But it was the Protestants that used the printing press as a weapon. They were very effective in waging the battle for truth against the darkness of superstition and abuse.

Those reformation bibles were published by the thousands. People everywhere went to night school after work to learn to read, just so that they could read the Bible. This raised their intellect to where they could improve their understanding. And this led them to question the teachings of the church more openly. They could now see that they were in darkness and falsehood. And the light was bright! So bright that it nearly destroyed the influence of Rome in northern Europe. This improved intellect, began to raise the economy. After all, more inventions and efficiencies could be brought into common life, trade, commerce and production. The new bibles helped to restore a very damaged society.

Another key counteracting influence was the way in which God arranged the languages of the world. There was competition between the Spanish and the English languages. Catholic Spain wanted to conquer the world. But God ordained that Protestant England would become the global superpower for a time. And for a very important reason. The English language would then become the dominant language of the expanding world. Why was that important?

Had Spain become the superpower, then the Spanish language would have been the dominant language and America would have been connected to Rome. God was preparing a place for freedom, a place where men could investigate His word unhindered by social pressure. He was preparing a place where His last message could develop deep roots and could grow and mature as far from Rome as possible.

Rome saw that England had ambitions to expand and rule the seas. So she sent the Spanish Armada to the English Channel in an effort to reconquer England for Spain and the Catholic Church. All of England trembled in fear of those huge Spanish galleons. But it was their very magnificence and size that led to their destruction. The English Channel was treacherous and the Spanish captains did not know it well. Moreover, the English captains had much smaller and more maneuverable ships. And they knew the channel quite well. God intervened and brought fog down onto the channel, giving the English ships a huge advantage. The Spanish ships had no choice but to sit out the fog. But the English ships maneuvered around them and blasted them to pieces.

When the Spanish Armada was defeated there was no hindrance to England becoming master of the high seas. Spain lost her bid for global dominance. Protestant English, not Catholic Spanish would be the dominant language. The English speaking colonies on every continent of the inhabited world would use the Protestant Bible in English. Since the advent message would start in the English language, it was vitally important for the English language to have a global presence. God was planning for England to be the global superpower so that His last generation church would be able to develop the message and spread it to “every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people.” (Revelation 14:6) He was working on it all the way back then.

History of the Spanish Armada [6]

The Spanish Armada [7]

More on the Spanish Armada [8]

More on the history of the Spanish Armada [9]

There is more. There was another big counteracting influence that was shifting the thinking of nations concerning liberty. The people were tired of being controlled in thought and conscience. The Bibles of the Reformation encouraged liberty. The study of the Bible always leads to liberty. After a 1000 years of Catholic and Protestant state-required religion, it was time for a change from a sacral to a composite society.

A sacral (or sacred) society is built on the principle that the church and the state are united. Everyone who is a citizen must worship in the same way. This led to many abuses and liberty, true liberty was non-existent. The people didn’t even have freedom of thought thanks to the inquisition. But the yearning for freedom was imbedded in the heart of man by God.

A composite society is one that is made up of many religions, not just one. Separation of church and state is necessary so that everyone can get along peacefully in the marketplace while worshipping in their own way, according to their own conscience, or for that matter not worshipping at all.

Without separation of church and state there could be no religious liberty. And without religious liberty, there could be no church that would discover all of God’s truth and all of God’s will for the last generation. There would be no mature message to give to the people and help them see God and His law in its true setting. There would then be no end to the reign of sin. God was working to counteract all the forces of many centuries of a church-controlled state which conquered the consciences of men and women and kept them from the light of truth.

Another very interesting counteracting influence was the American Revolution. This was important because it broke the new world from the old and created a wide separation. The hardy free-thinking pioneers established a bedrock of individual independency which was a cradle, a nursery for freedom of religion. Their entrepreneurial spirit was a powerful force, and it led to investigation and research. That separation from the old world would make it possible for God’s remnant church to grow in an environment of rugged individualism and a strong sense of freedom which would give men and women the chance to think for themselves, to investigate and discover His truth for the last days. This was part of making a composite society which guaranteed free thought. The advent movement needed free and honest thinkers.

Why did America provide an ideal seedbed for the growth of the advent movement? Those who formulated the governmental systems of the United States had seen the abuse of Rome. Though they may not have all understood the role the Bible had played, they understood that it was essential to allow people to worship as they chose. Thus the legal structure to protect religious freedom was put in place. This included freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right of public assembly, and many other aspects of the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. They protect religious liberty like shields. Today, one by one, they are being eroded so that eventually, religious liberty itself can be attacked.

The American situation (religious freedom combined with individual independency) offered a place for a distinctive, last-day Christian church to put down its roots and grow without substantial opposition, especially the magnificent engines of error and persecution that had controlled the old world for centuries. In this environment, the advent movement could develop and mature in large steps spiritually, and could get access to all the truth that God wanted them to have. It could not have happened in the old world because the old ways of thinking and doing things were still in place even though there had been great upheavals. The old social infrastructure was still stronger than would have been best to nurture a new spiritual teaching from the Bible that would have been considered to be rank heresy in the old world. In the new world, with all its principles and circumstances, the new faith could strengthen itself so that it could fulfill its destiny in God’s plan.

One more influence that must be taken into consideration is the Great Awakenings which were widespread religious revivals centered in the new world. God was at work again. The first great awakening took place in 1740 and onward, just before the American war of independence which helped to shape the American founder’s ideas of freedom of religion. The second Great Awakening took place between 1790 and 1840, right about the time of the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. This revival laid the spiritual foundation in America for the advent movement. Charles Finney, Lyman Beecher and many others led the people to a great interest in spiritual things and a renewed interest in the study of the Bible. God knew that this would inevitably lead to an interest in the study of prophecy. The second Great Awakening in particular prepared the hearts of thousands to hear the message of William Miller and other Second Advent preachers. It was again, just in time.

The First Great Awakening [10]

The Second Great Awakening [11]

Now let us look at this whole picture from a slightly different point of view. Why did God choose America as the birthplace and cradle of the advent message? Why did He create this kind of environment for its nurture and protection?

America was distant from Rome in many important ways. That distance was vital and God knew that He must develop it to protect His last message from Rome’s hostile power, at least until it reached critical mass.

First, America was geographically distant from Rome. Geography in the 19th century made more impact than it does today. To get the Advent message started, it had to have a geographical distance that was difficult to cross.

Second, America had a social distance from Rome. The new country was not entrenched in the old ways of thinking. It did not have the old social infrastructure with its stuffy ways of doing things. Because of this, opportunities in the new world were greatly expanded in every way. But most importantly, that social distance allowed for investigation of new spiritual ideas and the discovery of Bible doctrines that had been lost for ages.

Thirdly, America was a civil distance from Rome. An entirely new civil system was developed. It was modeled after the common law principles of England, not the cannon law principles of Rome, like in Spain. America was a self-governing nation that promoted freedom, especially religious freedom.

Fourthly, America was a linguistic distance from Rome. America was to be an English speaking country, not a Spanish speaking one. English was clearly a protestant language and was therefore quite distant from Rome.

Fifthly, America was a intellectual distance from Rome. Intellectual development was free and unencumbered by Rome’s control. You may remember that there were men like Galileo Gallilei, whose intellectual genius was shackled by Rome’s control over the definition of things. Galileo said that the earth went around the sun, but Rome had defined the earth as the center of the solar system, therefore the sun had to go around the earth. Galileo was even arraigned before the inquisition and forced to recant his important discovery. Today of course, Rome has had to come into alignment with reality. Galileo was right after all, and now the church wants to “rehabilitate” him. I suppose that is the only way to save face.

Sixthly, America was a legal distance from Rome. When the English nobles demanded more freedoms from King John, he was eventually forced to sign the Magna Carta (or the Great Charter) in 1215. This was not about liberties for the common people. It was for the nobles and barons. However, the Magna Carta set England on a course toward a constitutional monarchy which would eventually lead to greater freedoms for all. If the nobles could have more freedom, why not the people? It was one of those “pebble-in-the-lake” events that had ripple effects all the way down to our own times.

Lastly, America was a spiritual distance from Rome. The Advent message, the last warning message to the world, is rooted in Protestantism. Therefore, it was important that it be founded in a Protestant nation. The English Protestant Bible known as the King James Bible is also a long, long way from Rome’s corrupted bibles.

In summary, God created a place where new ideas could flourish, particularly unfamiliar or unpopular ideas such as the Bible teaching on the Sabbath, the state of the dead, the sanctuary message, obedience to God’s law and victory over sin, and other distinctive truths. God worked for centuries to make this possible. And He did it without telling anyone. He did it through all the play and counterplay of human ambition and opposition. Yet through it all we can see His guiding hand.

This gives us great courage for today. We may be troubled on every side. We may have difficulties understanding God’s will in our lives. We may have challenges that seem to overwhelm us. Yet, because of the way God has led His people in the past, we can be certain that He is leading His people today. We are sure that God has prepared the way for His church to succeed. And if we follow the truth, we can rest assured that He is working out the counsels of His will in our lives. He has a place prepared for you in His work. He also has a place prepared for you when you are tempted and pressured to do evil. He has a place prepared for you just like He had a place prepared for His last message.

My friends, don’t you want that assurance? I do. I pray that you will yield your heart to the plan that God has for you. If something doesn’t seem to go right, trust that God will work out all things for your own good and for your eternal salvation. He wants to purify you and make you ready to receive the latter rain in great measure. He wants to bring your life into harmony with His law so that you may become like Him in every aspect of your character.