Meaning Of Seven Years Of Plenty And Seven Years Of Famine Found Only One Way
When the perplexing subject is made clear, then we must believe that the time is here, but this as all Bible truth, is found only one way, and in one place; namely, the storehouse (the Bible). Bear in mind that as Joseph of ancient days controlled the storehouse, even so Christ controls the Scriptures and the times. Many godly men in the past went to Christ (Joseph) and got all the present truth (corn) for that particular time that they could assimilate. While He (Christ) is liberal, He is also careful, and therefore has nothing to waste. When Joseph gathered the corn in Egypt and stored it in the storehouses, he did it not for wealth, but to sustain life in the next seven years of famine. The corn was a symbol of Christ's Word as we shall endeavor to prove.
Reasons for believing that the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine in the days of Joseph in ancient Egypt represent the world's history in two sections of time are as follows:
In Volume 3, page 369, we read, "Isaac was a figure of the Son of God, who was offered a sacrifice for the sins of the world." Again we read in Desire of Ages, page 112, "And in the ram divinely provided in the place of Isaac, Abraham saw a symbol of Him who was to die for the sins of men." Thus Isaac and the ram are symbols of Christ's submission, death, and sacrifice.
Of Jonah, we read in Desire of Ages, page 406, "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, Christ was to be the same time 'in the heart of the earth.' And as the preaching of Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so Christ's preaching was a sign to His generation." See also Prophets and Kings, page 274.
Elisha was a symbol of Christ. Prophets and Kings, page 240: "Like the Saviour of mankind, of whom he was a type, Elisha in his ministry among men combined the work of healing with that of teaching." These are the reasons why Isaac, Jonah, and Elisha are types of Christ, representing the different phases and imports of the work of Christ.
Of Joseph we read in Patriarchs and Prophets, page 369: "Joseph was a representative of Christ. In their benefactor to whom all Egypt turned with gratitude and praise, that heathen people were to behold the love of their Creator and Redeemer." Egypt was an idolatrous nation, and is a symbol of the world in sin. Joseph was a type of Christ, the sovereign of the world. As Joseph was sent into Egypt to preserve life; just so Christ was sent into the world (Egypt) to preserve life. Quoting from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 231, we read: "And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance." Thus it is written that these deliverances were an object lesson of spiritual blessing. But how did Joseph bless the ancient world? Was it not by the corn he preserved in the seven years of plenty? Had it not been for the immense storehouses full of life-giving energy, what blessing could Joseph have been to the ancient world were it not for his God-given wisdom to gather the corn with which to feed the world in the time of its great need? The corn which Joseph preserved is the blessing as it is written, the corn represents spiritual blessing (the Word of God). God's Word is spiritual bread and men have lived on it.
"Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel." Ezek. 3:1. "Thy words were found, and I did eat them and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: For I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts." Jer. 15:16. "And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven." Ps. 78:24. "Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread [corn] from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven." John 6:31, 32. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna." Rev. 2:17. "And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: And as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter." Rev. 10:10.
The latter prophecy has been applied to William Miller after he had studied the book of Daniel and accepted its teaching. Symbolically speaking, he ate the little book, which became a part of him and his co-workers. Had this not been true, he would not have proclaimed the message with such enthusiasm as he did. As the expected event failed to transpire in 1844, to them it was a bitter experience, thus fulfilling the Scriptures that men have eaten the Word of God.
If the corn does not represent the Word as in the Bible, then the question may be asked, Of what is Joseph a type? Isaac, Jonah, and Elisha each represent a certain phase of Christ's work, and if Joseph represents Christ; the food gathered,--the Word; the storehouse,--the Bible, then the seven years of plenty, during which time the food was gathered must be a symbol, otherwise the picture could not be perfect; and if the years of plenty are a type, then the years of famine must be taken into consideration. Each of these two sections of time bear the number "seven," meaning "perfect", fullness of time (entire, or all of the time).
The symbol can represent only one thing, and that is the world's history in two great divisions of time; namely B.C. and A.D. with the cross (Christ), the dividing line. "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." It is for this reason Jesus made the statement for we have no other thus far. The years of plenty is B.C. in which time God gave plenty to supply the world's need for the years of famine (New Testament time, A.D.). As Joseph gathered the corn into storehouses by his servants,--the Egyptians, just so Christ gathered the Word of God (spiritual food) in the Bible (the storehouse) by His servants, the prophets. "God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds." Heb. 1:1, 2. Had it not been for this purpose then we ask, what could it have been for? God who was responsible for the event did it not to bring hardships to His subjects, or to starve the world, as the famine was not in Egypt only, for we read, "And the famine was over all the face of the earth." Gen. 41:56. Had this not been the symbol, why would God have brought the famine over all the earth? Some people may have difficulty in being convinced, and others can never be convinced, but the harmony of the lesson can hardly be questioned.
If the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine are not a type of the world's history; Joseph's immense storehouses not a type of the Bible; the corn gathered in the seven years of plenty not a type of the Word in the Bible; the feeding of the world not a type of the New Testament time consuming the Scriptures gathered in the Old Testament time; then we ask, Where are the types for all these events? Has not God given the gospel in types as well as in prophecy? "Christ was the foundation of the Jewish economy. The whole system of types and symbols was compacted prophecy of the gospel, a presentation in which were bound up the promises of redemption.'' Acts of the Apostles, page 14. If the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine did not represent the world's history, the coincidents as well shall endeavor to bring forth could hardly have been possible by an accident. Jesus said, "Gather up the crumbs that there be no waste." It was His Word that multiplied the loaves and fishes; these crumbs represent the very words He spoke.
We read the following in Volume 2, page 606: "I am authorized from God to tell you that not another ray of light through the Testimonies will shine upon your pathway, until you make a practical use of the light already given." But now we must have corn or else we shall die. As a people we have much boasted that we have all the truth, but such a statement can not be found between the pages of the Spirit of Prophecy. "Not another ray of light will shine upon your pathway until you make a practical use of the light already given." These words suggest that there is more light to shine, and light is truth. Again, quoting from Testimonies to Ministers, page 107: "No one should claim that he has all the light there is for God's people. The Lord will not tolerate this. He has said, 'I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.' Even if all our leading men should refuse light and truth, that door will still remain open. The Lord will raise up men who will give the people the message for this time."
Seven Years Of Plenty, And Seven Years Of Famine
The seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in the days of Joseph in ancient Egypt represent the world's history in two sections of time as previously explained; namely B.C. and A.D. Each one of these sections bears the Biblical number seven" (meaning complete). The seven years of plenty is B.C. Though one may doubt the application made here, the lesson we receive from it is true. In the Old Testament time, God gave plenty through His prophets, and Christ (Joseph) stored it in the storehouse (Bible), but as we have no record that there was any of the corn left when the seven years of famine had passed, neither was there any shortage. Therefore it is plain, that all the Scriptures are to be understood (used up) before the second coming of Christ.
Pharaoh's dream recorded in Gen. 41:17-20, reads as follows: "In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: And, behold, there came up out of the river seven kine, fat-fleshed and well favored; and they fed in a meadow: And, behold, seven other kine came up after them, Poor and very ill favored and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in all the land of Egypt for badness: And the lean and the ill favored kine did eat up the first seven fat kine." Note that the seven lean and ill favored kine did eat the fat-fleshed kine. By reading Gen. 41:21, we find the seven lean kine did not put on flesh after consuming the seven fat kine, which indicates that there will be no scriptures in reserve, but that all will be brought to light. The thought is that the seven years (A.D.) will consume all the corn (Word) in the seven years (B.C.) as represented also by the ears of corn in Gen. 41:22-24. Is this not clear that all the writings in the Old Testament will be fulfilled and understood before the end of A.D. (the second coming of Christ)? But is it not true that the biggest part or portion is not yet understood? How can one say that he has all the truth and does not and cannot explain a large portion of the Bible? Shall we pray to God to open our eyes that we may see and arise from this Laodicean lethargy into which we have fallen?
Who Are The 144,000?
The subject is, "Who are the 144,000?" First mention of this number in the Bible is in Rev. 7:4: "And I heard the number of them which were sealed: And there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel." Rev. 7:2. "And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea." Note that this angel is ascending and not descending. In contrast to this, Rev. 18:1 says, "And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory." This mighty angel is not ascending, descending, nor coming, but "come." If the angel made the trip from heaven to earth in less than 15 minutes in answer to prayer (Dan. 9:4-23), while it takes light millions of years to travel part of the distance, we can easily understand why the expression "but come" is used, meaning suddenly appearing without warning. This angel is the Loud Cry angel, an addition to the third angel and the message of the fall of Babylon as given by the second angel is repeated, as foretold in the 18th chapter of Revelation. The people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet.
Early Writings, page 277: "Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. Great power and glory were imparted to the angel, and as he descended, the earth was lightened with his glory. The light which attended this angel penetrated everywhere, as he cried mightily, with a strong voice, 'Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.' The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844. The work of this angel, comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel's message, as it swells to a loud cry. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet. I saw a great light resting upon them, and they united to fearlessly proclaim the third angel's message...This message seemed to be an addition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel's message in 1844."
Of the three angels of Rev. 14:6-11, John writes: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven,...and the third angel followed them." These angels, following each other, were seen flying in the midst of heaven where the sun would be at mid-day, in its full strength. There is a difference between these angels and the ones in Revelation 7 and 18:1. These angels are neither "ascending" nor "come," but continue to "fly in the midst of heaven." The meaning is that these angels' messages are not as powerful as the one of Rev. 18:1, for John says he saw the angel "come," that is, stand upon the earth. The angel mentioned here is near by, but the other three angels are at a distance. This symbol shows that they could not be as powerful as the one that is close by, but these three angels are flying and continue to fly. The meaning is that while they are not as powerful, they continue a long time until this other angel of Rev. 18:1 joins in with them, as it has been with the first, second, and third angel's messages until now.
We go back to the angel of Revelation 7, the one in which we are most interested at the present time. This particular angel is ascending from the east. "Ascending" here could not mean departing or flying away, but simply coming, or advancing. For example, in the morning while the sun is rising or ascending, the temperature gains in heat as it nears mid-day, just so with this angel that is to seal the 144,000. The angel was seen coming, but he is taking time. The sealing cannot begin until after he arrives, for the seal of the living God is in his possession. If we can locate the time when he arrives we may know the beginning of the sealing time of the 144,000. Did we know the time when the first second, and third angel's messages began? Our answer is: Yes.
There is no reason for not knowing the definite time when this angel of Revelation 7 arrives. If we did not know the time, we would have no message, and if Satan can deceive us from present truth, he has won with his deceptive powers. John's prophecy in Revelation 7, of this ascending angel was only a vision of something to come, and the fulfillment of this prophecy was realized when Sister White was given her first vision in 1844, which was a vision of the 144,000. Read Early Writings, pages 13-20. John prophesied of this movement and the scene of the angel ascending in the east (John's vision) became a reality in 1844, but the angel is in the east, and we must await his arrival, for when he arrives, the sealing begins.