HISTORY WILL BE REPEATED
A recent article in the New York Times particularly attracted my attention because of my Jewish descent. The title: "Erasing the Past, Europe’s Amnesia About the Holocaust." The article has lessons for us as we discuss the question, Why talk about 1888?
The article states that with the passing of the present generation "collective memory is about to become history." Therefore a full, truthful rendering of the past is essential, lest the lessons be lost. Already there is a group of historians who are rewriting the history of the war. The very existence of the gas chambers and concentration camps is being challenged. This, although an extreme position, is an example of the rewriting of history.
We all can agree on the importance of understanding accurately what occurred during the war, that we might not lose the lessons. The author writes that "indifference presents a danger as great" as that posed by the revisionist historians. We lose the memory, we lose the lessons, we lose the key to healing.
To neglect the history of WW II is to allow its repeating. The same is true of the history of 1888. Not to understand that the message that came at that time was the beginning of the latter rain is to open the door for continued resistance.
"Every time the same spirit awakens in the soul, the deeds done on that occasion are endorsed and the doers of them are made responsible to God." (Letter 5/31/96) "In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they [those who have not humbled themselves] will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous. . . . and they will brace themselves to resist it." (Letter 8/30/92)
To be indifferent to the atrocities of WW II is minor compared to apathy regarding the rejection of the loud cry and the latter rain. "The conference at Minneapolis was the golden opportunity for all present to humble the heart before God and to welcome Jesus. . . . The Lord . . . designed that they should be baptized with the Holy
Spirit and . . . communicate the light to the world." (Letter 1/9/93)
"This message was to bring before the world the uplifted Saviour." (TM 91) "Now at the present time God designs a new and fresh impetus shall be given to His work. Satan sees this and he is determined it shall be hindered. Heaven is looking upon us all and what can they think of recent developments?" (CWE 31; Ms. 13, 1899)
"The third angel's message in the place of swelling into a loud cry is being smothered." (Ms. 177, 1899)
Here the Lord tells us that the message given in the 1888 era was to be given to the world. Instead, however, of lightening the earth, the message was "hid under a bushel." That we might see the immensity of that action! It was not merely a theological argument. Nor was it merely the clashing of personalities. It was "resistance" to the Holy Spirit, "rejection" of Christ. (See TM 89-98) To leave the Minneapolis meeting to the past is to continue the rejection.
"The prejudices and opinions that prevailed at Minneapolis are not dead by any means." "You cannot neglect God's messages of warning and cannot reject them or treat them lightly but at the peril of infinite loss." (TM 467, 466)
The remedy for today is the same as it was 100 years ago. "There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance" (Letter 30, 1892).
"Let every heart now seek the Lord. Let self be crucified, for rich and glorious blessings are awaiting all who shall maintain contrition of soul." (Quoted by S. N. Haskell, R & H 7/26/92)
Our precious Saviour is extending yet another opportunity for His Bride "to make herself ready." Let us not repeat the mistakes and attitudes of our spiritual forefathers. Let us plead together for the heavenly eyesalve that would enable us to learn the lessons from the past.
"Again and again I have been shown that the past experiences of God's people are not to be counted as dead facts. We are not to treat the record of these experiences as we would treat last year's almanac. The record is to be kept in mind; for history will repeat itself." (Ms Release No. 346)
WW II and 1888? Drawing comparisons is not so unrealistic. Especially when we consider that the former would never have occurred without the latter. —Steven Grabiner
(All quotes are from Ellen G. White.)