The error of assuming that “we” accepted the message of 1888 stems from a still deeper error of misunderstanding, that is, what the message really was.

The officially endorsed view that it was accepted also must assume that there was nothing uniquely Adventist about it. The message is evaluated as “the doctrine of righteousness by faith,” that is, the same “doctrine” that Protestants have believed for hundreds of years. The following from one of our esteemed authors, a General Conference vice-president, is typical of this widely accepted view of the message:

Some may ask, What was this teaching of righteousness by faith which became the mainspring of the great 1888 Adventist revival, as taught and emphasized by Mrs. White and others? It was the same doctrine that Luther, Wesley, and many other servants of God had been teaching (L. H. Christian, The Fruitage of Spiritual Gifts, p. 239).

It would be grossly humiliating to confess that “we” rejected “the same doctrine that Luther, Wesley, and many other servants of God had been teaching.” Hence we must say that we accepted “the doctrine” in and after 1888.

While another authoritative writer concedes that the 1888 message was “the third angel’s message in verity” as Ellen White characterized it (RH, April 1, 1890), he confuses the issue by insisting that many non-Adventist Evangelical leaders also proclaimed “the same general … emphasis,” having obtained their message “from the same Source.” Without exception, all these highly endorsed books of recent years logically imply that the “verity” of the third angel’s message is nothing more than popular Protestant teaching. Not one takes a consistent position to evaluate the 1888 message as Ellen White did, nor recognizes any unique Adventist element in it. Froom’s insistence is very clear:

Men outside the Advent Movement[had] the same general burden and emphasis, and arising at about the same time. … The impulse manifestly came from the same Source. And in timing, Righteousness by Faith centered in the year 1888.

For example, the renowned Keswick Conferences of Britain were founded to “promote practical holiness.”… Some fifty men could easily be listed in the closing decades of the nineteenth and the opening decades of the twentieth centuries … all giving this general emphasis (Froom, Movement of Destiny, pp. 319, 320; emphasis original).

The conclusion is logical and inescapable: we should go to these sources to get the “doctrine” and to learn how to teach righteousness by faith. And we have done so, for decades, in spite of the fact that the constant trend of this view of righteousness by faith is antinomian.

We can believe that these Evangelical leaders were good, sincere men, living up to all the light they had. But did they proclaim “the third angel’s message in verity,” as Ellen White described the 1888 message? Our author concedes that while they “did not understand our specific message,” that is, the sabbath and the state of the dead and other “peculiar” doctrines, nevertheless they did proclaim “the same …righteousness by faith” doctrine that the Lord gave us in 1888. Yet, in contrast, Ellen White insists that the 1888 message contains a unique spiritual nutriment that leads to “obedience to all the commandments of God” (TM 92).

This authoritative position logically supports our opponents' view that there is nothing special about the heart of the Seventh-day Adventist message. It encourages their view that aside from what valid gospel “doctrine” we may borrow from the Evangelicals, the essence of Seventh-day Adventism is legalism. Certainly therefore we have no mandate to call the Christian world to judgment and repentance.

What is the true evaluation of the 1888 message? Was it the “same doctrine” that the Protestant Reformers and 19th century Evangelicals taught, as our authors insist? Or was it a distinct, unique understanding of “the everlasting gospel” in relation to our special sanctuary message? Our officially endorsed authors all ignore any such special sanctuary relationship.

The truth of this is crucial to understanding our identity as a people.

If the message of 1888 was only the historic Protestant doctrine of justification by faith, we face some serious problems:

(1) Suppose we accept that Ellen White is correct in saying repeatedly that the 1888 message was resisted and rejected; it must follow logically that Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership rejected “the same doctrine” that Luther and Wesley taught concerning justification by faith.

In other words, for us to say that the message of 1888 was the “same doctrine that Luther, Wesley … had been teaching” logically requires that our 1888 forefathers rejected the historic Protestant position. Such a rejection would be as disastrous as Rome’s rejection of Luther, or the Church of England’s rejection of Wesley. This would be tantamount to a spiritual fall as bad as the fall of Babylon.

But this cannot be, for it would destroy the foundations of the church. Thus our authors are forced to assume that “we” accepted the message of 1888, and had a “great …revival.”

(2) Again, if the view is true that the message of 1888 was “the same doctrine” of the Reformers, it would require that “Luther, Wesley, and many other servants of God” from the 16th to the 19th centuries preached “the third angel’s message in verity.” Thus Seventh-day Adventists cannot logically see their identity in the three angels' messages of Revelation 14.

Some years ago Louis R. Conradi, our leader in Europe, followed this official idea to its logical end and maintained that Luther preached the third angel’s message in the 16th century. Conradi in time left the church. (He had also been an opposer of the message at the 1888 conference.) And we are today losing ministers, members and youth for the same basic reason—they see nothing unique and attractive in our gospel message. These officially endorsed views imply that there is nothing unique about it.

Have our trusted historians unwittingly short-circuited the Seventh-day Adventist movement of destiny? If so, great damage has been done, for authoritatively published ideas have a great impact on the world church.

The Re-emphasis View of 1888

Another highly endorsed view of the 1888 message is that it was a mere “re-emphasis” of what the Adventist pioneers had believed from our very beginning, a recovery of a homiletical balance in doctrine and preaching temporarily lost between 1844 and 1888. This view has come to be very widely believed. A few examples must suffice:

This conference [1888] … proved to be the beginning of a re-emphasis of this glorious truth, which resulted in a spiritual awakening among our people (M. E. Kern, RH, August 3, 1950).

The greatest event of the eighties in the experience of Seventh-day Adventists was the recovery, or the restatement and new consciousness, of their faith in the basic doctrine of Christianity, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ” (A. W. Spalding, Captains of the Host, p. 583).

There were those who accepted the [1888] emphasis on righteousness by faith; on the other extreme were those who thought this emphasis threatened the “old landmarks.”…

The reaction of the church during the nineties to the new emphasis on justification … was mixed (N. F. Pease, The Faith That Saves, pp. 40, 45; 1969).

If this “re-emphasis” (or “emphasis”) view is correct, some further questions arise:

(1) How could conscientious leaders resist, spurn, or even neglect a re-emphasis of what they themselves had always believed and had preached some twenty, thirty, or forty years before? Or if this session of 1888 included a new generation of Adventist preachers, how could they reject a “glorious truth” their immediate forebears had been preaching?

(2) Again, how could we defend ourselves against the charge that the Adventist church suffered a moral fall similar to that of Babylon if we accept the view that the 1888 brethren rejected a re-emphasis of truth that they believed at the beginning of the Advent movement? When one is climbing upwards, and suddenly goes backward, that is a “fall.”

We deplore offshoots and uncharitable critics unjustly saying that the church has fallen as did Babylon. We don’t believe it. But the official version of our 1888 history logically concedes this discouraging view. Many reasoning minds follow it to its ultimate conclusions, as did Conradi. The more we ferret out the truths of 1888, the more apparent it becomes that off-shoots, fanaticism, apostasies, and lukewarm complacency proliferate because of our long-standing failure to recognize those realities.

This chapter will present evidence that the message of 1888 was not a mere reemphasis of the doctrines of Luther and Wesley, nor even of the Adventist pioneers. Neither was it a re-play of what the Keswick speakers and popular Protestant leaders of the day taught as “the doctrine of righteousness by faith.” It was greater than these! It was the “beginning” of a more mature concept of theeverlasting gospel” than had been clearly perceived by any previous generation. It was “the beginning” of the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the latter rain. It was the initial announcement of the message of the fourth angel of Revelation 18. It was to be a blessing unprecedented since Pentecost (cf. FCE 473; RH June 3, 1890).

This is not to say that the messengers of 1888 were greater than Paul, Luther, Wesley, or any one else, nor that they were keener, brighter students. The message they brought was simply the “third angel’s message in verity,” an understanding of righteousness by faith parallel to and consistent with the “time of the end” doctrine of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary where the High Priest ministers in the antitypical Day of Atonement in the Most Holy Apartment (cf. EW 55, 56, 250-254, 260, 261). He entered upon that last phase of His work in 1844. From there He ministers true justification by faith to those who follow Him by faith. Hence there is something unique about justification by faith in the light of the Day of Atonement, and the 1888 message recognizes it.

If allowed free course for heart acceptance and theological development, the message would have prepared a people to meet the Lord “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing,” “without fault before the throne of God” (Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 14:5). It was intended by its Divine Author to ripen the “first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” If this is not true, Ellen White’s lifetime credibility must suffer, as well as our denominational self-respect.

Further, the obvious undeniable rejection of that message did not constitute a moral or spiritual fall of the remnant church involving a repudiation of Protestant theology. It was rather an arresting of her ordained spiritual development, a pitiful blindness and inability to recognize the eschatological consummation of the love and the call of the Lord.

The rejection of that message virtually eclipsed an ethical and practical understanding of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. It left only the outward shell of doctrinal structure, such as the chronological proofs of the 2300 years, and the mechanical concept of the “investigative judgment” as preached by us before 1888. Our own retarded growth in understanding has invited the scorn of Evangelical opponents who deride this unique Adventist truth as “flat, stale, and profitless.” This is why so many of our own people, especially our youth, see the sanctuary “doctrine” as boring and irrelevant.

What Ellen White Saw in the Message of 1888

As soon as she had heard a little of Dr. Waggoner’s message at Minneapolis (for the first time, incidentally), she recognized it to be “precious light” in harmony with what she had been “trying to present” during the previous 45 years. She knew no jealousy, but welcomed the messengers and their message. It was a further development in full harmony with past light, but never clearly preached before:

I see the beauty of truth in the presentation of the righteousness of Christ in relation to the law as the Doctor has placed it before us. You say, many of you, that it is light and truth. Yet you have not presented it in its light heretofore. … 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. If our ministering brethren would accept the doctrine which has been presented so clearly … the people would be fed with their portion of the meat in due season (Ms. 15, 1888; Olson, op. cit., pp. 294, 295).

The brethren at Minneapolis themselves understood the message to be a revelation of new light, rather than a re-emphasis of what they had formerly preached. This is implied as follows:

One brother asked me if I thought there was any new light that we should have, or any new truths? … Well, shall we stop searching the Scriptures because we have the light on the law of God, and the testimony of His Spirit? No, brethren (Ms. 9, 1888; Olson, pp. 292, 293).

Thus the message of 1888 was something which the brethren had not previously comprehended. There was a failure to appreciate the heart and verity of the third angel’s message, the outward forms of which alone they understood:

There are but few, even of those who claim to believe it, that comprehend the third angel’s message; and yet this is the message for this time. It is present truth. But how few take up this message in its true bearing and present it to the people in its power. With many it has but little force. Said my guide, “There is much light yet to shine forth from the law of God and the gospel of righteousness. This message understood in its true character, and proclaimed in the Spirit will lighten the earth with its glory” (Ms. 15, 1888; Olson, p. 296).

The peculiar work of the third angel has not been seen in its importance. God meant that His people should be far in advance of the position which they occupy to-day. … It is not in the order of God that light has been kept from our people—the very present truth which they needed for this time. Not all our ministers who are giving the third angel’s message, really understand what constitutes that message (5T 714, 715).

Ellen White never at any time used the word “re-emphasis” or even “emphasis” in respect of the 1888 message. Clearly, it appeared to be new light which contradicted ideas held by the brethren, just as the Jews thought that Christ contradicted Moses when in fact His message fulfilled Moses. Her context is the message and its reception:

We see that the God of heaven sometimes commissions men to teach that which is regarded as contrary to the established doctrines. Because those who were once the depositaries of truth became unfaithful to their sacred trust, the Lord chose others who would receive the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness, and would advocate truths that were not in accordance with the ideas of the religious leaders. …

Even Seventh-day Adventists are in danger of closing their eyes to truth as it is in Jesus, because it contradicts something which they have taken for granted as truth but which the Holy Spirit teaches is not truth (May 30, 1896; TM pp. 69, 70).

There was a principle which made an advance revelation of “new light” necessary in 1888. This is stated in one of Ellen White’s sermons at Minneapolis:

The Lord has need of men who are … worked by the Holy Spirit, who are certainly receiving manna fresh from heaven. Upon the minds of such, God’s word flashes light…

That which God gives His servants to speak to-day would not perhaps have been present truth twenty years ago, but it is God’s message for this time (Ms. 8a, 1888; Olson, pp. 273, 274).

There was a distinct difference in her mind between the message of righteousness by faith as presented in 1888 and the “past message” the Lord sent prior to 1888. While there was to be no contradiction, there must be further development: “We want the past message and the fresh message” (RH, March 18, 1890). (But her appeals are not a license to fanaticism or novel ideas irresponsibly proclaimed).

In a series of Review articles in early 1890, Ellen White discussed the cleansing-of-the-sanctuary truth in connection with the controverted 1888 message of righteousness by faith. Each truth complemented the other. There was a desperate need for a more profound understanding of the everlasting gospel in relation to the Day of Atonement:

We are in the day of atonement, and we are to work in harmony with Christ’s work of cleansing the sanctuary. … We must now set before the people the work which by faith we see our great High-priest accomplishing in the heavenly sanctuary (RH January 21, 1890).

The mediatorial work of Christ, the grand and holy mysteries of redemption, are not studied or comprehended by the people who claim to have light in advance of every other people on the face of the earth. Were Jesus personally upon earth, He would address a large number who claim to believe present truth with the words He addressed to the Pharisees: “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, or the power of God.”…

There are old, yet new truths still to be added to the treasures of our knowledge. We do not understand or exercise faith as we should. … We are not called to worship and serve God by the use of the means employed in former years. God requires higher service now than ever before. He requires the improvement of the heavenly gifts. He has brought us into a position where we need higher and better things than have ever been needed before (ibid., February 25, 1890).

We have been hearing His voice more distinctly in the message that has been going for the last two years. … We have only just begun to get a little glimmering of what faith is (ibid., March 11, 1890).

Thus it is evident:

1. The message of 1888 was “light” which the brethren had not seen or presented “heretofore.”

2. It was our “meat in due season”—food for today, not manna restored from yesterday.

3. Ellen White heard at Minneapolis for the first time a doctrinal unfolding of what she had been “trying to present” all along—the matchless charms of Christ in the light of His Day-of-Atonement ministry. No other human lips had preached it.

4. She recognized in E. J. Waggoner an agent used by the Lord for an advanced revelation of truth to His people and to the world.

5. The “verity” of the third angel’s message had not been comprehended by our ministers because they had not advanced in understanding as they should have forty-four years after the beginning of the cleansing of the sanctuary. Instead, advanced light had been kept from the people.

6. The brethren at the time understood her support of Waggoner and Jones as a recommendation of the new light which they brought. It was not a call to their original understanding of the “established doctrines.” It opposed a mere re-emphasis of old understandings. Had Brethren Butler, Smith and others so understood it, would they not have been strong to champion it instead of opposing it as they did?

7. Therefore, what the brethren rejected was the call for “most decided changes.” They did not refuse to go back; they refused to go forward. Thus they tried to stand still—a difficult thing for any army on the march.

The Light of 1888 the Beginning of Greater Light

Ellen White often spoke of the certainty of the Lord sending new light, if and when His people were willing to receive it. The tragic “if and when” are necessary only because the new wine must have new bottles, and that means a crucifixion of self (cf. Matthew 9:16, 17):

If through the grace of Christ His people will become new bottles, He will fill them with the new wine. God will give additional light, and old truths will be recovered, and replaced in the framework of truth; and wherever the laborers go, they will triumph. As God’s ambassadors, they are to search the Scriptures, to seek for the truths that have been hidden beneath the rubbish of error (ibid., December 23, 1890).

A great work is to be done, and God sees that our leading men have need of greater light, that they might unite harmoniously with the messengers whom He will send to accomplish the work that He designs they should (ibid., July 26, 1892).

Can there be any question that the message of 1888 was the beginning of that fourth angel’s message, who joins his voice with the third angel? Neither The Fruitage of Spiritual Gifts (Christian), Captains of the Host (Spalding), Through Crisis to Victory (Olson), The Lonely Years (A. L. White), nor the recent White Estate “Statement” inserted in Selected Messages, Volume 3, (pp. 156-163), makes a single allusion to this fact. The same is true of the article on the 1888 conference in the Spring 1985 issue of Adventist Heritage. Our Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia discusses the 1888 message in several articles, but never recognizes it for what it was (pp. 634, 635, 1086, 1201, 1385).

This evasion of a vital truth is amazing. It’s like the Jews' readiness to acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as a great rabbi while they evade seeing Him as the Messiah. But logic and consistency require this special maneuver by those who insist that the 1888 message was accepted. They must virtually ignore the fact that the message was the beginning of the latter rain and the loud cry, or else they must explain how a work which was to have gone “like fire in the stubble” has been dragging on for nearly a century, when it could have enlightened the world long ago if “our brethren” had truly accepted it (Letter B2a, 1892; GCB 1893, p. 419).

Note how clearly Ellen White saw the 1888 message in the light of Revelation 18:

Several have written to me, inquiring if the [1888] message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, “It is the third angel’s message in verity.” The prophet declares, “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory” [Revelation 18:1] (RH, April 1, 1890).

The loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ. … This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth (ibid., November 22, 1892).

If that wondrous message is to be proclaimed by the popular Protestant revivalists, we have no reason to exist as a people.

The Light of the Loud Cry Turned Off

The Lord is merciful and long-suffering, and ready to forgive. He restores that which was lost on condition of repentance. But we must not allow confusion to neutralize the parable of 1888.

If those who opposed the light at Minneapolis later repented truly and were forgiven, why was not the original purpose of the 1888 message fulfilled? It is certain that there was no revival and reformation consistent in scope and effect with what would have come had the light been accepted. The Lord sent no more light beyond that fateful “beginning.” We may ask, Why?1

At no time between 1888 and 1901 did the responsible leadership of the church manifest a firm purpose to rectify the tragic mistake of 1888. Doubt, suspicion, mistrust of the message and the messengers continued even for decades.

Although this tragedy occurred, there is no need to conclude that the Lord withdrew His blessings from His people. What was despised and rejected was the latter rain, but the former rain has continued to fall. Unnumbered souls have been led to the Lord during the past century—including every reader of this book. Not one person is living today who took part in the 1888 history.

God has not forsaken His people. But our attitude tied His hands, making it impossible for Him to send any more showers of the latter rain. He could not, would not, cast His choicest pearls before those who would not reverence His more abounding grace. Therefore, those showers of the latter rain ceased after the initial outpouring was persistently repulsed. He is not beyond the capacity of being grieved.

In a thought-provoking, almost cryptic sermon at Minneapolis, Ellen White spoke of Elijah fed by a widow outside of Israel because those in Israel who had light had not lived up to it. “They were the most hardhearted people in the world, the hardest to impress with the truth,” she said. The Syrian Naaman was cleansed from his leprosy while Israelite lepers remained defiled. When the inhabitants of Nazareth rose up against the Son of Mary, “some” were ready to accept Him as the Messiah, but an influence “pressed in” to counter their conviction. These were illustrations of our 1888 history:

But here a state of unbelief arises, Is not this Joseph’s son? …What did they do in their madness? “They rose up and thrust Him out of the city.” Here I want to tell you what a terrible thing it is if God gives light, and it is impressed on your heart and spirit. … Why, God will withdraw His Spirit unless His truth is accepted. But God was accepted at Nazareth by some; the witness was here that He was God; but a counter influence pressed in … that would cause the hearts to disbelieve (Ms. 8, 1888; Olson, pp. 263, 264).

That “counter influence” is a significant factor in our 1888 history. Two days before, she had warned that the steps of unbelief being taken would prove final for that generation so far as advanced light of the latter rain was concerned:

We are losing a great deal of blessing we might have had at this meeting [Minneapolis], because we do not take advance steps in the Christian life, as our duty is presented before us; and this will be an eternal loss (ibid., Olson, p. 257).

That light which is to fill the whole earth with its glory has been despised by some who claim to believe the present truth. … I know not but some have even now gone too far to return and repent (TM 89, 90; 1896).

If you wait for light to come in a way that will please every one, you will wait in vain. If you wait for louder calls or better opportunities, the light will be withdrawn, and you will be left in darkness (5T 720).

Speaking of a meeting of minister-leaders in 1890, Ellen White revealed the pathetic picture of Jesus Christ being turned away as the bride-to-be in the Song of Solomon 5:2 turned her lover away:

“Christ knocked for entrance but no room was made for Him, the door was not opened and the light of His glory, so nigh, was withdrawn” (Letter 73, 1890).

The Source of Reformationist Misunderstanding

Earnest efforts for decades to disparage the 1888 message as “new light” tend to deflect favorable attention from the message itself toward popular non-Adventist, Protestant concepts. This has been the case for some sixty years, beginning around the 1920’s. A. G. Daniells’ Christ Our Righteousness of 1926 saw nothing unique in the 1888 message, but mistakenly interpreted it as being “in perfect harmony with the best [nonAdventist] evangelical teaching” (Pease, By Faith Alone, p. 189).

This long tradition has doubtless laid the foundation for the current success of concepts of righteousness by faith similar to those held by Calvinist “Reformationist” theologians. If non-Adventists possess the truth on righteousness by faith, we must of necessity import the doctrine from them. But in the process of doing so, the 1888 truths have been neglected, and even opposed.

The following is typical of this widely held view. It seriously confuses Reformationist views with the 1888 message. Here is an example of the venerable foundation on which rests the phenomenal confusion of recent decades:

[The 1888] righteousness by faith was not new light. There are those who have entertained the mistaken idea that the message of the righteousness of Christ was an unknown truth to the advent movement up to the time of the Minneapolis meeting, but the fact is that our pioneers taught it from the very beginning of the advent church. As a young preacher, I often heard our veterans, such as J. G. Matteson and E. W. Farnsworth, declare that justification by faith was not a new teaching in our church (Christian, The Fruitage of Spiritual Gifts, pp. 225, 226).

Sad to say, some of those “veterans” were not receptive to the increased 1888 light. This insistence that the 1888 message was not new light was the familiar insignia of the opposition of that time. Not long after the Minneapolis meeting, R. F. Cottrell wrote an article for the Review attacking the 1888 message, asking, “Where is the New Departure?” (RH April 22, 1890). W. H. Littlejohn likewise attacked the message with an article, January 16, 1894, entitled, “Justification by Faith Not a New Doctrine.” Both failed to recognize what was happening in their day—the onset of the latter rain.

Some writers have cited isolated, wrested Ellen White statements in support of the same opposition thesis—that it was not new light. But she did not contradict herself on this important point. Let us examine the statements used in support of the “re-emphasis” view. We must give them a fair hearing:

Elder E. J. Waggoner had the privilege [at Minneapolis] granted him of speaking plainly and presenting his views upon justification by faith and the righteousness of Christ in relation to the law. This was no new light, but it was old light placed where it should be in the third angel’s message. … This was not new light to me, for it had come to me from higher authority for the last fortyfour years (Ms. 24, 1888; 3 SM 168; Olson, p. 48).

Laborers in the cause of truth should present the righteousness of Christ, not as new light, but as precious light that has for a time been lost sight of by the people (RH March 20, 1894; Olson, p. 49).

These statements do not say that the 1888 message in its fulness was not the new light of the latter rain and the loud cry. In context, the Ms. 24, 1888 statement was written to refute the prejudice of opposing brethren who disparaged the message as merely human novelty. All light is eternal; none is ever strictly “new.” But it was certainly new to our brethren in 1888 and to our congregations. And it would have been new to the world if we had proclaimed it!

And whatever the 1888 light was, new or old, it is obvious that no one else had preached it among us during those “last forty-four years” (Ms. 5, 1889; MS. 15, 1888, Olson p. 295). Further on in the 1889 manuscript, Ellen White stated that the entire 1888 message would indeed prove to be “new light” if the gospel commission was to be finished in that generation:

Questions were asked at that time, “Sister White, do you think that the Lord has any new and increased light for us as a people?” I answered, “Most assuredly. I do not only think so, but can speak understandingly. I know that there is precious truth to be unfolded to us if we are the people that are to stand in the day of God’s preparation (3 SM 174).

Seventh-day Adventists are not to cultivate the reputation of being inventors of new doctrines, but repairers of the breach, the restorers of paths to dwell in, the discoverers of the old ways. Such a presentation will disarm prejudice, whereas presenting truth as something newly invented will arouse opposition.

But this does not deny that the 1888 message was an advanced revelation to the church. While Ellen White’s conviction gradually deepened that it was the fulfillment of the Revelation 18 prophecy, she saw how it harmonized with the unique concept of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. This was the genius of the message.

This is truth that sincere fellow Protestants have never comprehended. Could one reason be that we have never made it clear to them?

It is shocking to orthodox Jews who have been praying for the coming of their Messiah to realize that He came long ago but was rejected by their forefathers. It is no less shocking to Seventh-day Adventists who keep praying for the outpouring of the latter rain to realize that the blessing came a century ago, but was rejected by their forefathers.


1 There is no evidence that Ellen White took over Jones' and Waggoner’s mission, thus making them redundant. Yet the common idea prevalent today is that their message is redundant because Ellen White wrote out after 1888 the light they were commissioned to bring to the church and to the world. She supported their message because it was what she had been “trying to present,” that is, “the matchless charms of Christ.” But she never claimed that the Lord had laid on her the burden of proclaiming the loud cry message. Most of Steps to Christ was written before 1888 and compiled later. To say that we do not need the 1888 message because we have her writings is to contradict her own message. [return to text]