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why didn’t the events between 1864 and 1888 lead to a Sunday law?

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I do not think the time was right in God's scheme of things. 

Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. There is no day, no hour of the day, in which our Lord Jesus is not present with his churches. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counter-work His work, that He has not foreseen. All has taken place as He predicted. He has not left His church forsaken, though sometimes God that hides himself, but He is never a God at a distance. God has given prophetic declarations what would occur, and that which His Spirit inspired the prophets to foretell has been brought about. All His purposes will be fulfilled. His law is linked with His throne, and no power of evil can destroy it. Truth is inspired and guarded by God; and it will triumph over all opposition, and any attempt to counterfeit God's purpose for His church.

Or they were wrong; which is hard to admit after putting in so much time and energy.

Leon, are you trying to introduce some teachings from your brother Jesuits? 

A.T. Jones became famous for defeating a Sunday Law in congress:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alonzo_T._Jones

There are Sunday laws, today.  You can't open a store in a mall if it will be closed on Saturday, but it can be closed on Sunday.  Thus you cannot buy or sell, in that situation.  But, "The Great Controversy" says these things will happen on a much greater scale, in the future, and the plagues will be blamed on Sabbath keepers and citizens will have permission to kill Sabbath keepers.  Sounds crazy, but it's happened before.  That's what we're supposed to be getting ready for.

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