Chapter 1


THE 1888 MESSAGE


This first chapter will be devoted to an in depth study of the 1888 Message: what it was, its impact, its reception and its endorsement by Ellen G. White.

This study is written by Adventists and for Adventists. Since many have not heard of the 1888 Message, the first chapter will be dedicated to explaining this message so as to lay the foundation for the following chapters. We decided to use the words of the Spirit of Prophecy to describe the Message. We will also use excerpts from the book Christ Our Righteousness, by A. G. Daniells, an Adventist Elder voted and appointed by the Ministerial Association Advisory Council to compile this work. He very effectively reports the essence, history and scope of this glorious message and we felt that our own words would not do it justice.

"In 1888 there came to the Seventh-day Adventist Church a very definite awakening message. It was designated at the time as 'the message of Righteousness by Faith.' Both the message itself and the manner of its coming made a deep and lasting impression upon the minds of ministers and people, and the lapse of time had erased that impression from memory. To this day, many of those who heard the message when it came are deeply interested in it and concerned regarding it. All these long years they have held fond hope, that someday this message would be given great prominence among us, and that it would do the cleansing, regenerating work in the church which they believed it was sent by the Lord to accomplish.

"Among the influences which have led to this conviction is the divine witness borne to the proclamation of the message of Righteousness by Faith as it was set forth at the time of the General Conference held in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the year 1888. From the very first, the Spirit of Prophecy placed the seal of approval upon the message and its presentation at that time. In the plainest and most positive language we were told that the Lord was leading and impelling men to proclaim this definite message of Righteousness by Faith.

"Of that epochal Conference, and the men who gave the specific message, E. J. Waggoner and A.T. Jones, it is declared:


EGWATJEJW


"'The Lord in His mercy sent a precious message to His people.... This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Savior, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.' -- Testimonies to Ministers, p. 91,92.

"Every sentence in this comprehensive statement is worthy of most careful study. Let us briefly analyze it:

  • A Most Precious Message. 'The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people.'
  • The Object. 'This message was to bring more prominently to the world the uplifted Savior, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.'
  • The Scope. a) 'It presented justification through faith in the Surety.b) 'It invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God.'
  • The Need. a) 'Many had lost sight of Jesus.' b) 'They needed to have their eyes directed to His Divine Person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family.'
  • The Resources. a) 'All power is given into His hands,' b) 'That He may dispense rich gifts unto men,' c) 'Imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent.'
  • Extent. 'This is the message that God commanded be given to the world.'
  • What It Really Is. 'It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.'

"It is difficult to conceive how there could be any misunderstanding or uncertainty regarding the heavenly endorsement of this message. It clearly stated that the Lord sent the message, and that He led the minds of the men who were so deeply engrossed by it and who proclaimed it with such great earnestness. "It should be borne in mind at this time that the course taken by the messengers in subsequent years has nothing to do with the positive statement, often repeated, that they were led by the Lord to declare this fundamental truth of the gospel to His people at that particular time.

"Not only was it the purpose of God to set this message of Righteousness by Faith before His church; it was to be given to the world. And finally, it is declared to be the 'third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.' It is evident that this message was not limited to the time of the Minneapolis Conference, but that its application extends to the close of time; and consequently it is of greater significance to the church at the present time than it could have been in 1888. The nearer we approach the great day of God, the more imperative will be the need of the soul-cleansing work which this message was sent to do. Surely we have every reason for a new, more whole-hearted study and proclamation of that message." -- A.G. Daniells, Christ Our Righteousness, p 23-26


THE 1888 MESSAGE TO BE REPEATED MORE FULLY


"In 1888 in the General Conference held at Minneapolis, Min.., the angel of Revelation 18:1 came down to do his work, and was ridiculed, criticized, and rejected and when the message he brings again will swell into a loud cry, it will be ridiculed, and spoken against, and rejected by the majority." -- E.G. White, "In Taking Up A Reproach".

Inspiration tells us that the message the mighty Angel of Revelation 18 brought was ridiculed, criticized and rejected. However, when he comes back a second time to do his work, the message will again be ridiculed and spoken against, and rejected by the majority, but it will do it's work.

The following quotations from the book, “Christ Our Righteousness,”-- by A.G. Daniells, reflect the reception the message was given at the time and the implications thereof.

"How sad, how deeply regrettable, it is that this message of righteousness in Christ should, at the time of its coming, have met with opposition on the part of earnest, well-meaning men in the cause of God! The message has never been received, nor proclaimed, nor given free course as it should have been in order to convey to the church the measureless blessings that were wrapped within it. The seriousness of exerting such an influence is indicated through the reproofs that were given. These words of reproof and admonition should receive most thoughtful consideration at this time:

"'God has raised up men to meet the necessity of this time who will 'cry aloud and spare not,' who will lift up their 'voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.' Their work is not only to proclaim the law, but to preach the truth for this time, - the Lord our righteousness... 'But there are those who see no necessity for a special work at this time. While God is working to arouse the people, they seek to turn aside the message of warning, reproof, and entreaty. Their influence tends to quiet the fears of the people, and to prevent them from awaking to the solemnity of this time. Those who are doing this, are giving the trumpet an uncertain sound. They ought to be awake to the situation, but they have become ensnared by the enemy.' -- Review and Herald, Aug. 13, 1889.

"'Some of our brethren are not receiving the message of God upon this subject. They appear to be anxious that none of our ministers shall depart from their former manner of teaching the good old doctrines. We inquire, Is it not time that fresh light should come to the people of God, to awaken them to greater earnestness and zeal? The exceeding great and precious promises given us in the Holy Scriptures have been lost sight of to a great extent, just as the enemy of all righteousness designed that they should be. He has cast his own dark shadow between us and our God, that we may not see the true character of God.' -- Ibid. April 1, 1890

"'God has sent to His people testimonies of truth and righteousness, and they are called to lift up Jesus, and to exalt His righteousness. Those whom God has sent with a message are only men, but what is the character of the message which they bear? Will you dare to turn from, or make light of, the warnings, because God did not consult you as to what would be preferred? God calls men who will speak, who will cry aloud and spare not. God has raised up His messengers to do His work for this time. Some have turned from the message of the righteousness of Christ to criticize the men.' -- Ibid. Dec. 27,1890.

"'The Lord has sent a message to arouse His people to repent, and do their first works; but how has His message been received? While some have heeded it, others have cast contempt and reproach on the message and the messenger. Spirituality deadened, humility and childlike simplicity gone, a mechanical, formal profession of faith has taken the place of love and devotion. Is this mournful condition of things to continue? Is the lamp of God's love to go out in darkness?' -- Ibid. Extra, Dec. 23, 1890.

"Lest we miss the force of these heart-searching messages and sleep through their proclamation today, let us recount these prominent points and apply them to the situation that exists in the church today:

  • God raised up men to meet the necessity of the time.
  • Some sought to turn aside the message, and to prevent an awakening among the people.
  • Such persons were ensnared by the enemy, and gave the trumpet an uncertain sound.
  • These men declared that the law should be preached, not the righteousness of Christ.
  • The exhortation is to preach Christ in the law.
  • Some were fearful of a departure from the former manner of preaching the good old doctrines.
  • God raised up men to herald the message of Righteousness by Faith.
  • The challenge: 'Will you dare to turn from, or make light of, the warnings?
  • The twofold result of rejecting the message. a) Deadening of spirituality. b) Influx of a mechanical, formal profession of faith.
  • The climactic question: 'Is this mournful condition of things to continue?" 

                                                                          -- A.G. Daniells, Christ Our Righteousness, p 47-50

"God's messages and providences are always great with meaning. They are always necessary for the accomplishment of the particular work with which they are connected. He orders them for the fulfillment of His purposes. They cannot be set aside. They cannot fail. Sooner or later they will be understood, accepted, and given their proper place. Therefore it must be expected that the message of Righteousness by Faith, which came so definitely to the church in 1888, will be accorded a dominant place in the closing work of the great movement with which we are connected." -- Ibid. p 26

dan 8


THE ANGEL WHO JOINS THE THIRD ANGEL

"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 penetrated everywhere, as he cried mightily, with a strong voice, 'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit..' 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." -- E.G. White, Early Writings, p 277.

"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. The glory of God rested upon the patient, waiting saints, and they fearlessly gave the last solemn warning, proclaiming the fall of Babylon and calling upon God's people to come out of her that they might escape her fearful doom.

"The light that was shed upon the waiting ones penetrated everywhere, and those in the churches who had any light, who had not heard and rejected the three messages, obeyed the call and left the fallen churches.-- Ibid. p 278.

"Servants of God, endowed with power from on high with their faces lighted up, shining with holy consecration, went forth to proclaim the message from heaven.... God's people were strengthened by the excellent glory which rested upon them in rich abundance and prepared them to endure the hour of temptation."  -- Ibid. p 279

"I was pointed down to the time when the third angel's message was closing. The power of God had rested upon His people; they had accomplished their work and were prepared for the trying hour before them. They had received the latter rain, or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and the living testimony had been revived. The last great warning had sounded everywhere, and it had stirred up and enraged the inhabitants of the earth who would not receive the message." -- Ibid. p 279

The above statements from the pen of inspiration present a panorama of events so extensive and so full of meaning that it would be helpful to note each event:

  • Another mighty angel with a message joins the third angel.
  • He joins at the right time - the voice of the seventh angel.
  • He gives power and force to the third angel's message.
  • He repeats the second angel's message with additional mention of the corruptions which entered the SDA churches since 1844.
  • His message seemed to be an addition (additional truth).
  • He lightens the whole earth with His glory.
  • He proclaims the fall of Babylon the Great.
  • The power of God had rested upon His people.
  • They received the latter rain (extra oil-truth), the refreshing (revival) from the presence of the Lord (Holy Ghost).
  • The Living Testimony (Spirit of Prophecy) is revived.
  • Those who would not receive the message were enraged.
  • The culmination of all these events is a united people, fearlessly proclaiming the third angel's message.


THE MESSAGE OF 1888 MARKS A NEW ERA IN THE PROCLAMATION OF THE THIRD ANGEL'S MESSAGE

"Careful study of the instruction given by the Spirit of Prophecy leads to the deep conviction that the coming of the message of Righteousness by Faith at the Minneapolis Conference, was a signal providence of God - designed to initiate the beginning of a new era in the finishing of His work. The following statement, written just four years after the Minneapolis Conference in 1888, affords basis for this conclusion:

"'The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.' -- R.H., Nov. 22, 1892."  -- A.G. Daniells, Christ Our Righteousness, p 56.

Inseparably connected with this program of great events is the visitation of the "latter rain" upon the remnant church. Note the following paragraph:

"While the work of salvation is closing, trouble will be coming on the earth, and nations will be angry, yet held in check so as not to prevent the work of the third angel. At that time the 'latter rain' or refreshing from the presence of the Lord, will come, to give power to the loud voice of the third angel, and prepare the saints to stand in the period when the seven last plagues shall be poured out." -- Early Writings, p 85,86.

This places the latter rain visitation with the loud cry, the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, and the flooding of the earth with the glory attending the Revelation 18:1 Angel. The presence of the Lord will be felt and His glory seen when the Lord pours out His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, on all flesh and lightens the whole earth with His Own Righteousness and Glory.

This is a plan of truly exciting events. It was outlined by the Spirit of prophecy at the beginning of the SDA movement. And then, to awaken and arouse us to its serious import, a most solemn and impressive message regarding the same events was given us following the memorable Conference of 1888.

"The following vital statements taken from that message will give emphasis to the subject under consideration:

1.  An Eventful Period of Time. 'The days in which we live are eventful and full of peril. The signs of the coming of the end are thickening around us, and events are to come to pass that will be of a more terrible character than any the world has yet witnessed.'

2. The 'Loud Cry' Begins. 'The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.'

3. The Essential Preparation to Stand in the Time of Trouble. 'If you would stand through the time of trouble, you must know Christ and appropriate the gift of His righteousness, which He imputes to the repentant sinner.'

4. The Message to Be Preached. 'A work is to be accomplished in the earth similar to that which took place at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the days of the early disciples, when they preached Jesus and Him crucified. Many will be converted in a day; for the message will go with power.'

"'The theme that attracts the heart of the sinner is Christ, and Him crucified. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus stands revealed to the world in unparalleled love. Present Him thus to the hungering multitudes, and the light of His love will win men from darkness to light, from transgression to obedience and true holiness. Beholding Jesus upon the cross of Calvary arouses the conscience to the heinous character of sin as nothing else can do.'

"'Christ has not been presented in connection with the law as a faithful and merciful high priest, who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He has not been lifted up before the sinner as the divine sacrifice. His work as sacrifice, substitute, and surety, has been only coldly and casually dwelt upon; but this is what the sinner needs to know. It is Christ in His Fullness as a sin-pardoning

Savior, that the sinner must see; for the unparalleled love of Christ, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, will bring conviction and conversion to the hardened heart.'

5. The Power That Gives Efficiency to the Preaching. The work of the Holy Spirit is immeasurably great. It is the source that power and efficiency come to the worker for God; and the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul.'

"'When the earth is lightened with the glory of God, we shall see a work similar to that which was wrought when the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed the power of a risen Savior.'

"'The revelation of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit brought to them (the disciples) a realizing sense of His power and majesty, and they stretched forth their hands unto Him by faith, saying, 'I believe.' Thus it was in the time of the early rain; but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Savior of men will be glorified, and the earth will be lightened with the bright shining of the beams of His righteousness.' The foregoing five quotations are from the R.H., Nov. 22, and 29, 1892; article entitled, 'The Perils and Privileges of the Last Days.'

"It will be seen that all these events are associated together to be in operation at the same time. placed in their natural order, they stand as follows:

  • The revelation and appropriation by faith of the righteousness of Christ.
  • The bestowal of the latter rain.
  • The impartation of great power to the receivers.
  • The swelling of the third angel's message into the ' loud cry.'
  • The enlightening of the earth with the 'bright shining of the beams of righteousness.'
  • "It is evident that the beginning, or opening, of all these events is at the same time. 
  • The appearance of one is a signal for all to appear.

"And now mark the positive declaration: 'The loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.' -- R.H., Nov. 22,1892.

"This was declared in 1892. What marked the fresh, or new, revelation of the righteousness of Christ and the beginning of the loud cry? As the statement itself points out, it was the 'revelation of the righteousness of Christ' as set forth at the Minneapolis Conference.

"Now these important manifestations are ordained of God for the finishing of His work in the earth. When they began, they marked the starting point for that closing work. That place, that hour, was reached in 1888.

"This is a tremendous conclusion, but what other conclusion can be reached with all the statements before us? Why should this conclusion be thought incredible? We believe the statements to be true. We have looked for their fulfillment. Our waiting for the fulfillment has been anxious and long. Why may we not see it and be in it?

"Should we not seek more seriously and earnestly to know what may be hindering the fulfillment in all it's power? And why should we not pray for a yearning desire to co-operate fully with the Lord in hastening His work to its close?" -- Christ Our Righteousness, p 59-63.

Speaking of that message in 1888, Sister White said, "This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth."Review & Herald, Nov. 22, 1892. Because of ridicule, rejection and unbelief, the Lord could not give us all the truth in 1888. He just gave us the beginning of it, or just one side of it. Had that message been accepted in 1888, the rest of the truths pertaining to the closing work of the Atonement would have been revealed, and the whole message would have been complete.

Then it stands to reason that when the angel of Rev. 18 comes back, his message will not be a repetition only, but will be a revelation of Christ's Righteousness that has not been dealt with at any time previously. He will utter again the seven thunders that John was told not to write (Revelation, chapter 10) and when these seven (complete) thunders are spoken again, the "mystery of God will be finished as He hath declared through his servants the prophets."

In 1888 he came barehanded so to speak, but now he will come equipped with the divine gospel in its fullness, clothed with the fullness of the Godhead. "In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored." -- Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 678Armed with the ammunition of the seven thunders gospel, he will be fully equipped and qualified for the great closing work, and he will take charge and direct the whole third angel's message.

The Revelation 18 Angel's Message is the seven thunders of Revelation chapter 10 as well as the Third Angel's Message in verity. Under his direction, the Revelation 18 Message, in its fullness, will embrace every phase of the gospel truth. "The mystery of God will be finished" and understood, "so that we are without excuse" (Rev 10:7; Romans 1:20).


A FUNDAMENTAL, ALL-EMBRACING TRUTH

"In studying into the subject of Righteousness by Faith, as set forth in the Spirit of prophecy, it is important that there should be a clear understanding of its scope. This is not a doctrine of limited intent or minor consequence. It is not a subject with which one may or may not be familiar and fare as well. Righteousness by Faith, in its larger meaning, embraces every vital, fundamental truth of the gospel. It begins with man's moral standing when created, and deals with :

  • The law by which man is to live.
  • Transgression of that law.
  • Penalty for transgression.
  • Problem of redemption.
  • Love of the Father and Son which made redemption possible.
  • Justice in accepting a substitute.
  • Nature of the atonement.
  • The Incarnation. Sinless life of Christ.
  • The Vicarious death of the Son of God.
  • Burial, resurrection, and ascension.
  • The Father's assurance of a satisfactory substitution.
  • The coming of the Holy Spirit.
  • Ministry of Jesus in the Heavenly Sanctuary.
  • The part required of the sinner in order to be redeemed.
  • Nature of faith, repentance, confession, obedience.
  • Meaning and experience of regeneration, justification, and sanctification.
  • Need and place of the Holy Ghost and the Word of God in making real to men what was made possible on the cross.
  • Victory over sin through the indwelling Christ.
  • Place of works in the life of the believer.
  • Place of prayer in receiving and holding the righteousness of Christ.
  • The culmination and deliverance in the return of the Redeemer." 

                                                                      -- A.G. Daniells, Christ Our Righteousness, p 71-73.

This is the great sweep of truth embraced in the short phrase "Righteousness by Faith." It opens the door to all the priceless store of the wealth and glory of the gospel in Christ Jesus our Creator and Recreator, Lord and Savior.


NOT A THEORY; BUT AN EXPERIENCE

In it's truest sense, righteousness by faith is not a theory; it is an experience, a vital change which takes place in the believer in Christ. It gives the sinner a new standing before God. It is the essence of Christianity, for we read:

"The sum and substance of the whole matter of the Christian grace and experience is contained in believing on Christ, in knowing God and His Son whom He has sent.... Religion means the abiding of Christ in the heart, and where He is, the soul goes on in spiritual activity, ever growing in grace, ever going on to perfection." Review & Herald, May 24, 1892.

To lose sight of this wonderful, fundamental, all-embracing truth is to miss that which is vital in the plan of redemption.


THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST, ADAM AND EVE'S GLORIOUS COVERING

In essence, the Message of the Righteousness of Christ as brought by the Revelation 18 Angel reveals the nature of Christ in its fullness. The Son of God became the Son of man. The Creator, as the Second Adam, came to reveal the "fullness of the Godhead bodily". At His death the Second Adam brought forth His Glory and power that He might recreate His Image in the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve and restore to them their glorious and righteous covering.

Before Adam and Eve sinned, man communicated with the Creators face to face. Man and woman not only looked upon Their glory, but they wore that garment of glory as long as they were in harmony with the Law of the Righteousness of their Creators. When Adam and Eve sinned and lost their covering of the Righteousness of the Law, they were given the skins of a pair of sheep that Their Creators had slain for them, foreshadowing the sacrifice to be made for them by their Creators. Wearing the skins of dead animals became their righteous covering and was a substitute, a symbol and a type to them of the garment of light they had lost in disobedience, which would one day be restored to them through faith in the righteousness of their Recreators.

The Creators no longer communicated with man or woman face to face, but They established the ceremonial or sacrificial system consisting of types and symbols that pointed fallen man to the cloud, where the glory of God was hidden from full view.

"In all these revelations of the divine presence the glory of God was manifested through Christ. Not alone at the Savior's advent, but through all the ages after the Fall and the promise of redemption, "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." 2 Cor. 5:19. Christ was the foundation and center of the sacrificial system in both the patriarchal and the Jewish age. Since the sin of our first parents there has been no direct communication between God and man. The Father has given the world into the hands of Christ, that through His mediatorial work He may redeem man and vindicate the authority and holiness of the law of God. All communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ. It was the Son of God that gave to our first parents the promise of redemption. It was He who revealed Himself to the patriarchs. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses understood the gospel. They looked for salvation through man's Substitute and Surety. These holy men of old held communion with the Savior who was to come to the world in human flesh; and some of them talked with Christ and heavenly angels face to face." -- Patriarchs and Prophets, p 366.

We, as Sabbath-keeping Advent believers, need to deeply examine the subject of the Nature of the Second Adam. It not only reveals to us the Creators and Their Creation Story, but the Recreation Story of Adam and Eve and their children in the perfect image and likeness of their Creators.

© Charles Pace 2016