The Pioneers: Hiram Edson

The Pioneers Presentation on HIRAM EDSON

“In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled astonishment, and with confidence in Christ as leader. We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” (White, 1922, p. 204)

Early Childhood: Hiram Edson was born in Jefferson county, NY on January 1, 1806. He was 24 when he got married in 1830, and bought a 55-acre farm in Port Gibson, NY. In May 1839, his wife died, leaving him to raise their 3 little children alone. By October 1839, he remarried and had 3 more children; with his firstborn of that marriage dying in infancy.

The Millerite Movement and Great Disappointment: On June 23, 1843  when Edson was 37 years old, he attended the meetings in Rochester under the Great Millerite tent. There were thousands that could gather under this tent, and it was said to be the largest tent in the United States at the time. The meetings continued for two weeks, and afterwards, they continued with Brothers Charles Fitch and T.F. Barry in a rented hall. During those meetings, Edson (a Methodist at the time) embraced the Advent message, and his home became a meeting place for believers in his area.

When October 22, 1844 came, passed, and nothing happened, many hearts were utterly broken by this great disappointment. In J.N. Loughborough’s book “Heavenly Visions” he, quoting Edson said:

“Our expectations were raised high, and thus we looked for our coming Lord until the clock tolled twelve at midnight.  The day had then passed, and our disappointment had become a certainty.  Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before.  It seemed that the loss of all earthly friends could have been no comparison.  We wept and wept, till the daydawned. . . .”  (Loughborough, pg 133)

The True Sanctuary Revealed:

“After breakfast I said to one of my brethren, ‘Let us go to see and encourage some of our brethren.’  We started, and while passing through a large field, I was stopped about midway in the field.   Heaven seemed open to my view, and I saw distinctly and clearly that instead of our High Priest coming out of the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days, He, for the first time, entered on that day into the second apartment of that sanctuary, and that he had a work to perform in the most holy place before coming to the earth”(mentioned in Loughborough, pg 133)

Edson along with two of his friends, Dr. Franklin B. Hahn (a neighbor) and Brother Owen Crosier (a young preacher) studied the matter in detail. They realized that the end of the 2300 day prophecy meant the beginning of The LORD’s work in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary. This was the fulfillment of Daniel 8:14 which says “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”.  Becoming excited about this message, the three men decided to share it with the body of believers. Edson and Hahn agreed that Crosier should write the study, and on February 7th 1876, an “extra” was published in the Day Star paper located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Edson also financed the publication by encouraging his wife to sell some of her wedding gift silver to pay for it. Ellen White read the article in the Day Star while visiting friends in Massachusetts and she was convinced of it (she also had a vision soon-after confirming what Edson revealed was true).

**Side Note: Doctrines were never added to the church through any of Sister White’s visions, but her visions confirmed what was studied out by the church.**

Acceptance of The Sabbath Truth: A year later, Captain Joseph Bates traveled to Port Gibson to share the doctrine on the Sabbath with the believers there. Edson gladly accepted the biblical Sabbath teaching, and Dr. Hahn joined him also, but Brother Croiser was cautious about it.

Contributions To The Faith

Hiram Edson has two contributions to the Adventist Movement:

1) He donated funds to purchase the first Seventh-day Adventist press .

2) He helped introduced the Sanctuary Doctrine to the church. Here is a snapshot of this doctrine.

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THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY (A SNAPSHOT) 

During this period of great religious awakening, it was a commonly held belief that the Sanctuary was the earth. This was a part of the reason why the fervent belief that Christ was coming back was easily and also solemnly accepted.

The word “sanctuary” is first mentioned to Moses in Exodus. It is also commonly called the Tabernacle. Exodus 25:8-9 reads ” And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. [verse 9]. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

Even before these texts, in Moses’s Triumph Song in Exodus 15, he, Moses, mentions a sanctuary. Exodus 15:17 says “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.”

Now the plan for the sanctuary as seen in Exod 25:9 and also in verse 40, is after the pattern which already existed in Heaven. If it already existed, that means that there was a heavenly design that we humans were able to be blessed by, through just beholding it.

(Other verses that repeat the words “after the pattern that was shewed thee in the mount: Exodus 25:9,40, 26:30., 27:8, Acts 7:44)

The Sanctuary consists of three parts:

  1. The Outer Court
  2. The Holy Place and
  3. The Most Holy Place

 

Tenth Day of the Seventh Month: Leviticus 16 describes the Day of Atonement service, or Yom Kippur; the only day The earthly High Priest was granted access to the Most Holy Place. For the Israelites, that solemn day took place on the 10th day of the Seventh month annually. In the typical service, the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but in the Heavenly Service, heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus, Our High Priest. Daniel 8:14 pointed towards this cleansing.

It is in the Sanctuary we see Christ in his role as the perfect and only Mediator betwixt God and man.

Psalm 77:13 reads “Thy way O God is in the Sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?” God’s plan of salvation is revealed in the earthly sanctuary. The Bible teaches that everything in the sanctuary or connected with its service was a symbol of something Jesus would do in saving us. This means that we can fully comprehend the plan of salvation when we understand the beautiful symbolism connected with the sanctuary.

The Sanctuary is an amazing, inspiring, solemn and foundational doctrine that is Jesus-Saturated: All the furniture of The Outer Court, The Holy Place, The Most Holy Place, the veils, the lambs, rams and bullocks all represent Jesus: you can’t help but see Christ all over.

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Conclusion

Edson served as a local church elder for many years. Following the Great Disappointment, he continued in the faith as a lay preacher and worked with other pioneers, namely Joseph Bates,  J. N. Andrews, and J. N. Loughborough. In January of 1882, Edson died at the age of 76. His contribution of the sanctuary doctrine has been paramount to our faith: “The correct understanding of the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary is the foundation of our faith.”—Evangelism, 221.

 

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