Sister White was asked a year after the 1888 General Conference session – What do you think of the light these brethren are presenting?
Her reply was given in a sermon, “Why, I have been presenting it to you for the last 45 years – the matchless charms of Christ… When Brother Waggoner brought out these ideas in Minneapolis, it was the first clear teaching on this subject from any human lips I had heard, except the conversation between myself and my husband.
I have said to myself, it is because God has presented it to me in vision that I see it so clearly, and they cannot see it because they have never had it presented to them as I have. And when another presented it, every fiber of my heart said, Amen.” 5 Manuscript Release p219. Ms 5, p10. Sermon – Rome. New York. June 19. 1889.
It was a “most precious message”. 9 Testimonies p91.
In the report of the Minneapolis session, the prophet stated, “I see the beauty of truth in the presentation of the righteousness of Christ in relation to the law as the doctor (E.J.Waggoner) has placed before us… That which has been presented harmonizes perfectly with the light which God has been pleased to give me during all the years of my experience.” The 1888 Materials. p164.
Notice her last words, “it harmonizes perfectly with the light which God has been pleased to give me during all the years of my experience.” (Bolding added)
Does this statement sound like Ellen White changed her beliefs?
Not at all.
In 1890, Ellet J. Waggoner printed a book entitled ‘The Righteousness of Christ’, setting forth his precise teaching and phraseology at Minneapolis. It was based on shorthand reports of Jessie F. Moser-Waggoner, taken at the General Conference session. (In the United States, it was 98 pages, printed by Pacific Press. In England it was called ‘Christ our Righteousness’, and in Australia, ‘Christ and His Righteousness’, printed in 1893)
After the session, Sister White, together with Brethren Jones and Waggoner, visited from place to place with the same message. “In every meeting since the General Conference, souls have eagerly accepted the precious message of the righteousness of Christ.” Review and Herald. July 23. 1889.
In 1892, she wrote, “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.” 1 Selected Messages p363.
Why did it not become the latter rain?
Only a few local churches received the message. A large majority of the denominational leadership at the General Conference session were unwilling to “yield up preconceived opinions… The light that is ‘to lighten the whole earth with its glory’ was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world.” 1 Selected Messages p234.235.
The message was clearly presented, but too many were not willing to accept the light.
The year before Minneapolis, Ellen White gave the warning, “The attention of the people must be gained; unless this can be done, all effort is useless; though an angel from heaven should come down to speak to them, his words would do no more good than if he were speaking into the cold ear of death.” Review & Herald. Mar 22. 1887.
With the resistance of so many leading men at the Conference, the prophet said afterwards, “What power must we have from God that icy hearts, having only a legal religion, should see the better things provided for them -- Christ and His righteousness! A life-giving message was needed to give life to dry bones.” 1888 Materials Vol 1. p229.
The life-giving power had been made available, but many ‘bones’ remained dry. In 1890, it was stated, “As a people, we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa that had neither dew nor rain. We must preach Christ in the law, and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food to the famishing flock of God.” Review & Herald. Mar 11, 1890.
In that same year, the prophet revealed a sad fact. “The prejudices and opinions that prevailed at Minneapolis are not dead by any means. The seeds there sown are ready to spring into life and bear a like harvest, because the roots are still left. The tops have been cut off, but the roots are not dead, and will bear their unholy fruit, to poison the perception and blind the understanding of those you connect with, in regard to the messengers and messages that God sends. When you destroy the root of bitterness by thorough confession, then you will see light in God's light.” Manuscript 40. 1890. 1888 Materials Chapter 115.
As a result, the prophet knew problems would arise in the future.
You will remember that Dr Kellogg and others on his medical staff at Battle Creek were seen in vision dismantling the pillars supporting the platform of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
At the time of the vision, Ellen gave the warning that if these men were successful, “Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written… Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement… Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure.” 1 Selected Messages p204.
We might think all is well, and that ‘the church is going through’, but should we not be asking if there has been a dismantling of the pillars that support the platform of truth given to Seventh-day Adventists?
The prophet warned that the devil would seek to bring about a “new organization”, not an organisation outside the church, but within. It has been called the “synagogue of Satan.” Experiences and Views p13. 1851. General Conference Bulletin Oct 22.1903. Revelation 3:9.
No matter what you think about the “new organization” or the “new books”, and whether they are now in the church, it is vital we all understand that the only way to make certain we are standing on the platform of eternal truth, is to compare what we believe with the truth given to our pioneers, Waggoner and Jones in 1888, and the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy.
At Minneapolis, it was a “most precious message” to Ellen White and the two young men God chose to share it at the 1888 General Conference session.
Ask yourself – Is the 1888 message most precious to me?
Imagine yourself sitting among the delegates. What would your reaction have been to Brother Waggoner’s presentation? Think about it as you listen to his words.
“The Word was ‘in the beginning’. The mind of man cannot grasp the ages that are spanned in this phrase. It is not given to men to know when or how the Son was begotten; but we know that He was the Divine Word, not simply before He came to this earth to die, but even before the world was created… We know that Christ ‘proceeded forth and came from God’ (John 8:42), but it was so far back in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man.” Christ and His Righteousness p16.
At the same time, the prophet said, “And although we may try to reason in regard to our Creator, how long He has had existence, where evil first entered into our world, and all these things, we may reason about them until we fall down faint and exhausted with the research when there is yet an infinity beyond.” 7 Bible Commentary p919. 1888.
At Minneapolis, this part of the message was believed by the majority of those present.
Would it have been difficult for you to listen to it?
Waggoner continued, “It is true that there are many sons of God; but Christ is the ‘only-begotten Son of God’, and therefore the Son of God in a sense in which no other being ever was, or ever can be. The angels are sons of God, as was Adam by creation; Christians are the sons of God by adoption, but Christ is the Son of God by birth.” Christ and His Righteousness p19. 1890. Job 38:7. Luke 3:38. Rom 8:14.15.
No doubt Sister White had heard Brother Waggoner say these words many times, and when she spoke of the same subject, the words came naturally.
“A complete offering has been made; for ‘God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son’ -- not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Father's person, and in all the brightness of His majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Signs of the Times. May 30. 1895.
Listen as Elder Jones speaks. Christ, “who was born in the form of God, took the form of man.” The General Conference Bulletin. 189. p449. 1895.
Later he said, “He came from heaven, God's first-born, to the earth, and was born again… He whose goings forth have been from the days of eternity, the first-born of God, was born again in order that we might be born again.” Christian Perfection, Par 53. (At Bethlehem Christ was born a second time, ‘in a new sense’)
These statements were all given in the years following the 1888 General Conference when the churches were being visited. If Ellen White and the two brethren had not been in harmony, it would have been impossible for drops of the latter rain to fall.
Of course, the message covered more than the origins of the Saviour, but these details would strengthen the faith of his listeners in the ability of the Son to grant righteousness.
Christ was shown to be the divine, omnipotent Son, having full power as Creator, Mediator, Lawgiver, Redeemer, and Judge.
Sister White said, “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, 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… 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.” Testimonies for Ministers p91.
It is a message that bears the “divine credentials”. Review & Herald. Sep 3. 1889.
Five years later, in 1893, Elder Jones queried the delegates assembled at the General Conference session.
“Now brethren, when did that message of the righteousness of Christ begin with us as a people?” (One or two in the audience: Three or four years ago)
“Which was it, three or four?” (Congregation: Four)
“Yes four. Where was it?” (Congregation: Minneapolis)
“What then did the brethren reject at Minneapolis?” (Some in congregation: The loud cry)
“What is the message of righteousness? The Testimony has told us what it is: the loud cry – the latter rain. Then what did the brethren in that fearful position in which they stood, reject at Minneapolis? They rejected the latter rain – the loud cry of the third angel’s message.” General Conference Daily Bulletin. 1893. No.11. p68.
The dew drops of the latter rain began to fall in 1888, but the blessing was blocked. Years have come and gone. One hundred and twenty five years have passed!
How long before the Revelation 18 angel will return?
The prophet gives three essential ingredients for receiving the latter rain.
* The message.
The message of righteousness, according to God’s understanding of righteousness, must be presented, as it was in 1888. “This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message…” Testimonies to Ministers p91.
“Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message, and I have answered, ‘It is the third angel's message in verity’.” Review & Herald. April 1. 1890.
* Personal readiness.
We must be purified from jealousy, evil surmising, self-indulgence and all that defiles. The character of Christ must be “perfectly reproduced” in God’s people. Christ’s Object Lessons p69.
“Today you are to have your vessel purified that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord--fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” God’s Amazing Grace p205.
* Working for souls.
“The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with His glory, will not come until we have an enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God… but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God.” Review & Herald. July 21. 1896.
If these three areas are not a reality in our lives, the Holy Spirit “may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.” Testimonies to Ministers p507.