This relates partly to the trials when searching for truth, but also to the trial of two disappointments in the three angels' messages.
It is clear this refers to the foundation and pillars of our faith, as summarized in the three angels' messages.
Next in her vision, Sister White saw “individuals approach the platform and examine the foundation. Some with rejoicing immediately stepped upon it. Others commence to find fault with the foundation. They wish improvements made, and then the platform would be more perfect, and the people much happier.” Ibid.
If ‘the faith’ was non-Trinitarian, which it was, the church could not receive the full blessing of God while leading men were not in harmony. Little blessings perhaps, but not the full blessing of the latter rain.
How then can we as a church today expect success and the latter rain when all the leaders believe in the Trinity? It is a serious question because the Adventist Church is praying for the Holy Spirit to fall as the latter rain as part of its Revival and Reformation program.
She also warned. “God says, Beware of the leaven of those who have stepped off the platform of truth… Beware of the leaven that some who have lost their connection with God will introduce, declaring their theories to be in harmony with that which Sister White has written.” 10 Manuscript Release. p48.
There is much warning on this subject. Note the varying ways the prophet has spoken about the same thing in the quotations below.
Platform of Truth
“I know from the light that God has given me that there should be a revival of the messages that have been given in the past, because men will seek to bring in new theories... We are not to accept these suppositions and pass them along as truth. No, no; we must not move from the platform of truth on which we have been established.” Paulson Collection p61.
Great Waymarks -- Pillars of truth
“The great waymarks we have passed are immovable. Although the hosts of hell may try to tear them from their foundation, and triumph in the thought that they have succeeded, yet they do not succeed. These pillars of truth stand firm as the eternal hills....” Review and Herald. Nov. 27. 1883.
Pillars of our faith – Principles of truth -- Fundamental principles
“The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization.
Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error.” 1 Selected Messages p204.
Pillars of the faith – The truths
“We are now to understand what the pillars of our faith are -- the truths that have made us as a people what we are, leading us on step by step.” Review and Herald. May 25. 1905. CW 29.
Foundation of our faith – Great principles of truth
“In the place of being confused in regard to the foundation of our faith, which has been confirmed by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the place of building flimsy foundations upon the sands of error, let us hold fast to the great principles of truth given us, refusing to be moved.” Paulson Collection p256.
“As a people, we are to stand firm on the platform of eternal truth that has withstood test and trial. We are to hold to the sure pillars of our faith. The principles of truth that God has revealed to us are our only true foundation. They have made us what we are. The lapse of time has not lessened their value.” 1 Selected Messages p201.
Over the years, Ellen White used different words to mean the same thing – foundation and platform – both speaking of the base upon which the Seventh-Adventist Church is built. She also used a number of words to denote the pillars of the structure -- landmarks, pillars, principles, waymarks. All refer to the same distinctive doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and they are also called the foundation upon which the church was built.
Our prophet wrote:
In 1906, Sister White wrote warning Elders of the Battle Creek Church and ministers and physicians. “Listen not a moment to the interpretations that would loosen one pin, remove one pillar, from the platform of truth. Human interpretations, the reception of fables, will spoil your faith, confuse your understanding, and make of none effect your faith in Jesus Christ. Study diligently the third chapter of Revelation. In it is pointed out the danger of losing your hold upon the things that you have heard and learned from the Source of all light.”Letter 230. 1906. p4. 1 Manuscript Release p54.55.
Are you willing to stand on the platform of truth?
Are you willing to hold fast to the pillars of our faith?
Are you willing to believe the great waymarks given to us as a people?
Are you willing to rise up for the great principles of truth that were confirmed by the Holy Spirit?
Are you willing to stand firmly on the foundation built by God one hundred and sixty eight years ago?
Or would you rather stay on the flimsy sands of error and be swept away?
The Foundation of Truth
The message is very clear. The platform is eternal truth; the pillars are sure pillars of our faith; the principles of truth are revealed by God; and they are our only true foundation.
In 1858, the prophet was given a vision of men and women who stood firm and strong, refusing to listen to those who sought to unsettle their faith. She stated,
“I was shown three steps – the first, second and third angels’ messages. Said my accompanying angel, ‘Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received.’
I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. God had led them along step by step, until He had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform.” Early Writings 259.
Apparently the ministers did not understand what was going on.“In a representation which passed before me, I saw a certain work being done by medical missionary workers. Our ministering brethren were looking on, watching what was being done, but they did not seem to understand.” Upward Look p152.
There are two important points to consider.
Our prophet wrote,“I was shown a platform braced by solid timbers – truths of the Word of God. Someone in high responsibility in the medical work (Dr Kellogg)was directing this man and that man to loosen the timbers supporting this platform. Then I heard a voice saying, ‘Where are the watchmen that ought to be standing on the walls of Zion? Are they asleep? This foundation was built by the Master worker, and will stand storm and tempest. Will they permit this man to present doctrines that deny the past experience of the people of God?” 1 Selected Messages p204.
During this time, when Kellogg was removing pillars, the Lord instructed her to meet “the iceberg” of error so “that the principles for which we fought in the early days, and which were brought out in the power of the Holy Spirit, would be maintained.” 1 Selected Messages p206.
Honestly, there is just as much confusion in this whole scenario as in the doctrine of the Trinity itself. No wonder men say it is a mystery.
Our prophet asked, “What influence is it that would lead men at this stage of our history to work in an underhand, powerful way to tear down the foundation of our faith – the foundation that was laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation?” 1 Selected Messages p207.
It is a good question.
She continued, “Upon this foundation we have been building for the past fifty years. Do you wonder that when I see the beginning of a work that would remove some of the pillars of our faith, I have something to say? I must obey the command, ‘Meet it…” 1 Selected Messages p208.
And meet it she did.
“Lastly the prophet said, “I saw that nearly all stood firm upon the platform and exhorted those who had stepped off to cease their complaints; for God was the Master Builder, and they were fighting against Him. They recounted the wonderful work of God, which had led them to the firm platform, and in union raised their eyes to heaven and with a loud voice glorified God.” Ibid.
Sister White ended her recording of the vision by saying that some who had stepped off the platform, when they heard the rejoicing, “they, with humble look, again stepped upon it.” Ibid.
In 1864, she said, “God has blessed his people who have moved forward following his opening providence. He has brought out a people from every class upon the great platform of truth. Infidels have been convinced that God was with his people of a truth, and have humbled their hearts to obey it. The work of God progresses and moves steadily on.” 1 Testimonies p337.
In 1885, Ellen White gave very important counsel relating to our foundation. “Those who have the truth as it is revealed in that holy Word, must stand fast on the platform of truth, relying on, ‘It is written’.” Signs of the Times. Feb 26. 1885.
Then in 1888, she stated that “…after the lapse of nearly half a century, all who shared in that (1844) movement and who have stood firm upon the platform of truth, still feel the holy influence of that blessed work, and bear witness that it was of God.” The Great Controversy 1888. p401.
In 1904, the church was going through a crisis and our prophet warned, “Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith – the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work, by prayerful study of the Word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for the last fifty years. Men may suppose that they have found a new way, and that they can lay a stronger foundation than that which has been laid. But this is a great deception.” Review & Herald. 1904-03-03. 013.
The crisis was this very situation – Dr Kellogg had begun working with others to tear down the pillars of the church.