1888 – What Really Happened? A. T. Jones and Ellen White Both Tell Us What Was Really Rejected

A Special Message for Laodicea

God has given Brother Jones and Brother Waggoner a message for the people. You do not believe that God has upheld them, but He has given them precious light, and their message has fed the people of God. When you reject the message borne by these men, you reject Christ, the Giver of the message. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1353.

In the year 1893 Elder A.T. Jones said:

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. G.C. Bulletin, 1893, p. 183.

Who of those that acted a part in the meeting at Minneapolis have come to the light and received the rich treasures of truth which the Lord sent them from heaven? NOT ONE… God meant that the watchmen should arise and with united voices send forth a DECIDED MESSAGE, giving the trumpet a certain sound, that the people might all spring to their post of duty and act their part in the great work. Then, the strong, clear light of that other angel who comes down from heaven having GREAT POWER, would have filled the earth with his glory. We are years behind. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1068,1070.

Fourth Angel Turned Back

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. Rev. 18:1.

In commenting on this angel the servant of the Lord said:

I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven, descending to the earth, and again ascending to heaven, preparing for the fulfillment of some important event. 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. . . .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. 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. Early Writings p. 277.

An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord’s message through Brethren {E.J.} Waggoner and {A.T.} Jones. By exciting that opposition SATAN SUCCEEDED in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the SPECIAL POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from OBTAINING THAT EFFICIENCY which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. 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 234-235.

The following statement by the servant of the Lord shows that we did not get all the message of the Revelation 18: angel, we only got the glimmerings:

The question has been asked me, ‘Do you think that the Lord has any more light for us as a people?’ I answer that He has light that is new to us, and yet it is precious old light that is to shine forth from the Word of truth. WE HAVE ONLY THE GLIMMERINGS OF THE RAYS OF THE LIGHT THAT IS YET TO COME TO US.!!. We are not making the most of the light which the Lord has already given us, and thus we fail to receive the increased light ; if we do not walk in light already shed upon us. Selected Messages Book 1, p. 401.

Thus we see that the Revelation 18 angel came down to do his work but was rejected or resisted, and was forced turn back.

If every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind. While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us.– Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 29. (1909) Evangelism p. 694

The Spirit of Prophecy in commenting on the 1888 message and the messengers shows that the servant of the Lord more than sanctioned that message, as she says:

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. 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, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure. Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 91-92.

Elder A.T. Jones himself said this 5 years after 1888:

That (1888 experience) however, is but a sample. There will be THINGS TO COME that will be more surprising than that was to those-at Minneapolis,))) more surprising than anything we have yet seen. ((( And brethren, we will be REQUIRED TO RECEIVE and preach THAT TRUTH ! But, unless you and I have every fiber of that spirit rooted out of our hearts, we will treat that message and THE MESSENGER by whom it is sent , as God has declared we have treated this other message. General Conference Bulletin, 1893 p. 185.

In the year 1926 a little book entitled Christ Our Righteousness was compiled by Elder A. G. Daniells. He had served the denomination as President of the General Conference in the years of 1901-1922, also as Secretary from 1922-1926. In 1926 on commenting on the 1888 message, he said:

Nearly forty years ago (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.’ 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 a firm conviction, and cherished a 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. Christ our Righteousness, p. 23 (1929 edition)

The servant of the Lord in speaking of this message says:

We know that Brother Jones has been giving the message for this time, meat in due season to the starving flock of God. Those who do not allow prejudice to bar the heart against the heaven sent message, cannot but feel the spirit and force of the truth. Brother Jones has borne the message from church to church, and from state to state; and light and freedom and the out-pouring of the Spirit of God has attended the work. … BROTHER JONES SEEKS TO AROUSE THE PROFESSED PEOPLE OF GOD FROM THEIR DEATH-LIKE SLUMBER…. The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters pp. 151

Notice that time and time again it is brought out that the message Elder’s Jones and Waggoner brought was a specific message for God’s people. This message was to prepare God’s people to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in power enabling them to give the Loud cry message to the world.

1888 Message Endorsed By E. G. White

The message given us by A. T. Jones, and E. J. Waggoner is the MESSAGE OF GOD TO THE LAODICEAN CHURCH.  Manuscript Releases Volume Fifteen, pp. 92.

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, excepting the conversations between myself and my husband. Manuscript Releases Volume Five, pp. 219.

When I stated before my brethren that I had heard for the first time the views of Elder E. J. Waggoner, some did not believe me. I stated that I had heard precious truths uttered that I could respond to with all my heart, for had not these great and glorious truths, the righteousness of Christ and the entire sacrifice made in behalf of man, been imprinted indelibly on my mind by the Spirit of God? Has not this subject been presented in the testimonies again and again? When the Lord had given to my brethren the burden to proclaim this message I felt inexpressibly grateful to God, for I KNEW IT WAS THE MESSAGE FOR THIS TIME. Selected Messages Book 3, pp. 172.

I have travelled from place to place, attending meetings where the message of the righteousness of Christ was preached. I considered it a privilege to stand by the side of my brethren, and give my testimony with the message for the time; and I saw that the power of God attended the message wherever it was spoken. Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, March 18, 1890.

From just these few excerpts taken from the Spirit of Prophecy can one readily ascertain the Spirit of Prophecy’s overwhelming approval of the 1888 message as brought by brethren Jones and Waggoner.

The Beginning of The Loud cry

IN SEVERAL PLACES THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY SPEAKS OF THE 1888 MESSAGE AS BEING THE BEGINNING OF THE LOUD CRY OR THE BEGINNING OF THE LATTER RAIN. IN SOME INSTANCES SHE CALLS IT THE WORK OF THE FOURTH ANGEL.

The servant of the Lord said, concerning the message of Jones and Waggoner: 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. Selected Messages Book 1, pp. 362.

Elder A. G. Daniells commenting on this statement, that the Loud cry of the Third Angel has already begun, says:

“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.” A G Daniells.

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. The fulfillment will be witnessed by someone. Why may we not see it and be in it?  Should we not seek most seriously and earnestly to know what may be hindering the fulfillment in all its 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. 79 (1929 edition).

The Spirit of Prophecy says concerning the 1888 message:

This message, understood in its true character, and proclaimed in the Spirit, will lighten the earth with its glory. Manuscript Releases Volume Two, pp. 58.

The servant of the Lord tells us what the purpose of this message was for: Light is flashing from the throne of God, and what is this for?

It is that a people may be prepared to stand in the day of God. Review & Herald, March 4, 1890.

Not a soul of us has ever been able to dream yet the wonderful blessings that God had for us at Minneapolis, and which we would have been enjoying these four years, if hearts had been ready to receive the message which God sent. We would have been four years ahead. WE WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE MIDST OF THE WONDERS OF THE LOUD CRY ITSELF, TONIGHT. Did not the Spirit of Prophecy tell us here at that time that the blessing of God was hanging over our heads? Well, brethren, you know. General Conference Bulletin, 1893.

It was evident that the Spirit of God was preparing these two young men to be the agents in heralding to the remnant church that message which was to have been the beginning of the long awaited Loud-Cry.

First-Phase of the Latter Rain

We must not fail to realize that the latter rain or the beginning of the Loud cry in its FIRST-PHASE came in the form of a message to prepare God’s people for the outpouring of the HOLY SPIRIT IN POWER. We must have the message first to prepare us to be channels through whom the Holy Spirit can work.

The Holy Spirit is waiting for channels through whom to work. . . . Satan will not always triumph. The Spirit of God will be poured out upon the church just as soon as the vessels are prepared to receive it. That I May Know Him, pp. 330.

Floods of spiritual power are to be poured forth upon those prepared to receive it.  8 Testimonies p. 46.

The greatest praise that men can bring to God is to become CONSECRATED CHANNELS through whom He can work. Acts of the Apostles, p. 566.

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. . . . Evangelism p. 702.

In the days of the apostles, Christ Himself taught the disciples before the first Pentecost took place. So it was that in 1888 God in His infinite wisdom saw fit to bring to His church a message to prepare them for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in power. The following are two quotations by Elder A. T. Jones at the General Conference Session of 1893:

He (God) has been trying these four years to have us receive the latter rain, how much longer is He going to wait before we receive it?….General Conference Bulletin, 1893 p. 377.

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. Ibid. p. 183.

The Scriptures point out that rain is doctrine. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: Deut. 32:2. (people are grass, Isa . 40:7)

Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. Zech. 10:1.

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. Joel 2:23.

These figures of speech, you know, are not used by inspiration promiscuously, the term latter rain must have its special and accurate significance. Inspiration chose to use the term rain, because rain makes things grow and brings abundant harvest. The term latter denotes the last rain before the harvest, the rain that completes maturity and that ripens the grain.

The latter rain of Truth, therefore, is the very last, the one that is to develop the people of God for the harvest, for the time in which God separates the wheat from the tares (Matt. 13:30). This spiritual latter rain is, therefore, to do to the church just what the natural latter rain does to the field. Without this latter rain the saints could not develop for the heavenly garner, neither could the tares for the fire. By the latter rain, therefore, is illustrated the last shower of Truth. Just as soon as this final touch of development is accomplished, the sickle is to be put to the precious golden grain. What is symbolized by the latter rain? Is it miracle-working Truth, or is it miracle working power?-The prophet Joel explains that the miracle-working power comes AFTER both the former and the latter rain. He says:

And it shall come to pass afterward (after the former and the latter rain-Joel 2:23), that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit. Joel 2:28,29.

Plainly then, the latter rain is miracle-working truth that causes the saints to mature for the harvest of which the 144,000 are the first fruits (Rev. 14:4). Then, in order to quickly gather the second fruits, God pours His Spirit upon every first fruit saint, (upon every one grass) old or young, boy or girl-not upon one here and upon another there.

Elder A. T. Jones made an interesting comment regarding Joel 2:23;

Concerning the latter rain. We have been praying here for the latter rain. Now there is the connection. The testimonies tell us what it is and Joel tells us what it is. I simply ask now, Are you ready to receive the latter rain? That is, are you ready to receive God’s message of righteousness, according to righteousness? Let us look at that a little further. Joel says, according to the margin, that it is a TEACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS that which brings the teaching of righteousness…. General Conference Bulletin, 1893, p. 243

We would understand the message that the apostles received from Christ, just prior to the first Pentecost, which prepared them to receive the power and the enlightenment as found in the Spirit of Prophecy would compose the FORMER RAIN for today. The message that Jones and Waggoner brought was the beginning of the LATTER RAIN in its first phase, the phase of the message which would have prepared the church for the second Pentecost had she accepted it in its fullness. The work will be similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. As the ‘former rain’ was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the upspringing of the precious seed, so the ‘latter rain’ will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest.

The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Great Controversy pp. 611, 612.

The Spirit of Prophecy tells us:

It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now. Then the human agent had only to ask for the blessing, and wait for the Lord to perfect the work concerning him. It is God who began the work, and He will finish His work, making man complete in Jesus Christ. But there must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain. Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the LATTER RAIN. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall NOT DISCERN OR RECEIVE IT. Testimonies to Ministers p. 507.

This could not be speaking of the latter rain in power as all would know it and discern it if we had the Pentecostal power as the Disciples had it at the time of the first Pentecost. See Acts chapter two. It is through the medium of the Holy Spirit that we are led into all truth.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13.

We are not making the most of the light which the Lord has already given us, and thus we fail to receive the increased light; we do not walk in light already shed upon us. Selected Messages Book 1, pp. 401.

The parable of the Ten Virgins gives us a little insight into the seriousness of the situation. The five foolish were content with the light they already had. The five wise saw the necessity of an additional amount of light giving oil. Those who did not receive the extra oil obtained it after it was too late. Solemn thought indeed! Thus when we pray for the latter rain in power, instead of the latter rain message we are praying amiss.

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, James 4:3.

What Was The General Attitude Of Our Church Concerning The 1888 Message?

For nearly two years we have been urging the people to come up and accept the light and the truth concerning the righteousness of Christ, and they do not know whether to come and take hold of this precious truth or not. They are bound about with their own ideas. They do not let the Saviour in. Review and Herald, March 11, 1890.

In the year 1901 the servant of the Lord said:

I feel a special interest in the movements and decisions that shall be made at this Conference regarding the things that should have been done years ago, and especially TEN YEARS ago, when we were assembled in Conference, and the Spirit and power of God came into our meeting, testifying that God was ready to work for this people if they would come into working order. The brethren assented to the light God had given, but there were those connected with our institutions, especially with the Review and Herald Office and the Conference, who brought in elements of unbelief, so that the light that was given was not acted upon. It was assented to, but no special change was made to bring about such a condition of things that the power of God could be revealed among his people. General Conference Bulletin, 1901

You have turned your back, and not your face, to the Lord. The Spirit of God is departing from many among His people. Many have entered into dark, secret paths, and some will never return. They will continue to stumble to their ruin. They have tempted God, they have rejected light. All the evidence that will ever be given them they have received, and have not heeded. . .they have not only refused to accept the message, but they have hated the light. . . . They have trampled upon the word of God and are doing despite to His Holy Spirit. Testimonies to Ministers pp. 89, 90, 91.

The scenes which took place at this meeting (Minneapolis) made the God of heaven ashamed to call those who took part in them, his brethren. All this the heavenly Watcher noticed, and it is written in the book of God’s remembrance. The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, pp. 351

What is the message to be given at this time? It is the third angel’s message. But that light which is to fill the whole earth with its glory has been despised by some who claim to believe the present truth. Be careful how you treat it. Take off the shoes off your feet; for you are on holy ground. Beware how you indulge the attributes of Satan, and pour contempt upon the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. I know not but some have even now gone too far to return and to repent! Testimonies to Ministers pp. 89-90.

Light has been shining upon the church of God, but many have said by their indifferent attitude, ‘We want not thy way, O Lord, but our own way.’ The kingdom of heaven has come very near , and they have caught glimpses of the Father and the Son, but they have barred the door of the heart, and have not received the heavenly guests; for as yet they know not the love of God! Review & Herald, April 11, 1893.

Brother Jones seeks to arouse the professed people of God from their death-like slumber… The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, pp. 151

They (the opposers) will be asked in the Judgment, ‘Who required this at your hand, to rise up against the message and the messengers I sent to My people with light, with grace and power? Why have you lifted up your souls against God? Why did you block the way with your own perverse spirit? And afterward when evidence was piled upon evidence, why did you not humble your hearts before God, and repent of your rejection of the message of mercy He has sent you?’ The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, pp. 154

When you are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, you will see all that wickedness at Minneapolis as it is, as God looks upon it. . . .You had all the evidence that you needed that the Lord was working through Brethren Jones and Waggoner; but you did not receive the light; . . .you did not feel ready to confess that you had done wrong, that these men had a message from God, and you had made light of both message and messengers. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1066.

Some Think the Message Was Accepted By the Majority

Some think the message was accepted by the majority. If this was the case then how can we harmonize the following statements?

Not a soul of us has ever been able to dream yet the wonderful blessings that God had for us at Minneapolis, and which we would have been enjoying these four years, IF HEARTS HAS BEEN READY TO RECEIVE THE MESSAGE which God sent. We would have been four years ahead. WE WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE MIDST OF THE WONDERS OF THE LOUD CRY itself TONIGHT. Did not the Spirit of Prophecy tell us here at that time that the blessing of God was hanging over our heads? Well, brethren, you know. General Conference Bulletin, 1893.

Now, let us read some statements of what the loud cry will be like and see if we have seen anything that compares to that experience.

Mighty miracles were wrought, the sick were healed, and signs and wonders followed the believers. God was in the work, and every saint, fearless of consequences, followed the convictions of his own conscience and united with those who were keeping all the commandments of God; and with power they sounded abroad the third message. I saw that this message will close with power and strength far exceeding the midnight cry. Servants of God, endowed with power from on high with their faces lighted up, and shining with holy consecration, went forth to proclaim the message from heaven. Souls that were scattered all through the religious bodies answered to the call, and the precious were hurried out of the doomed churches, as Lot was hurried out of Sodom before her destruction. 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. I heard everywhere a multitude of voices saying, Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Early Writings pp. 278-279.

…when the decree shall go forth enforcing the counterfeit sabbath, and the LOUD CRY of the third angel shall warn men against the worship of the beast and his image, the line will be clearly drawn between the false and the true. Then those who still continue in transgression will receive the mark of the beast. Evangelism, pp. 234-235.

Notice, it is when the decree enforcing the counterfeit Sabbath is in force that the Loud cry is sounding to warn the world against the mark of the beast or his image. All enlightened SDAs know this has not happened yet. If the Loud cry angel was not turned back, then why are we still here so very many years later? Where are the signs and wonders of the Loud cry as mentioned in the foregoing inspired statements?

According to some who attended the Minneapolis meeting, fully TWO-THIRDS of those present, either opposed the message of righteousness by faith, or, were afraid of it. They felt that it was a form of fanaticism, a departure from the good old method of preaching the message. The teaching sounded new and strange and seemed to cast a reflection upon the message as it had been preached in the past and upon those who preached it. The opposition of some became very bitter and they not only ridiculed and criticized those who led out in preaching the message of righteousness by faith, but they even accused Sister White for standing with them. Scenes were enacted at the Minneapolis Conference and afterwards that were very similar to those enacted by the faithless Israelites at Kadesh-barnea. The Exodus in Type and Antitype, by Taylor G. Bunch, p. 94.

If our denomination as a body did accept the 1888 message then why did Elder A.G. Daniells in 1926, in his book entitled Christ our Righteousness p. 35, say;

To this day, many of those who heard the (1888) message when it came are deeply interested in it and concerning it. All these long years they have held a firm conviction, and cherished a 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. Christ our Righteousness, pp. 35, 1929 Ed.

The following are two recent articles published in two of our denominational publications regarding our denomination’s stand today, on the 1888 message.

In reviewing the history of the 1888 era, we are led to the conclusion that it was a time of unparalleled opportunity for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Lord actually gave His people the ‘beginning’ of the latter rain and the loud cry in ‘the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer.’ The attitudes and spirit manifested by too many at that time made it necessary for God to withdraw special blessing. While nothing is gained by disputing over the actual number of those who accepted or rejected this blessing in 1888, we recognize that those who then heard the message of righteousness by faith were divided in their response. It is clear that the fullness of the marvellous blessing God wanted to bestow upon the church was not received at that time nor subsequently! In the light of these facts of history, our special concern now must be to remove every barrier that holds back the promised power, and by repentance, faith, revival, and reformation clear the way so that the Lord can do His special work for us and through us. We recognize that a primary responsibility in this respect lies with the leadership of the church. Review & Herald, May 27, 1976 p. 6.

In the book, Movement of Destiny, by Dr. LeRoy Edwin Froom, a statement was made that anyone who attempted to cast the church in a bad light over the 1888 message, owed the church an explicit confession. In the August, 1976 issue of The Ministry magazine, the following apology appeared;

We sincerely regret that that element of the book Movement of Destiny which so publicly demanded an explicit confession from those who saw the 1888 experience in a different light from that in which the leadership of the church viewed it was allowed to slip into print. We would recommend that this element be removed from any future printings of the book. The Ministry magazine, August,1976.

What Might Have Been

St. Helena, California, January 5, 1903.

To the Battle Creek church;

One day at noon I was writing of the work that might have been done at the last General Conference if the men in positions of trust had followed the will and way of God. Those who have had great light have not walked in the light. The meeting was closed, and the break was not made. Men did not humble themselves before the Lord as they should have done, and the Holy Spirit was not imparted! I had written thus far when I lost consciousness, and I seemed to be witnessing a scene in Battle Creek. We were assembled in the auditorium of the Tabernacle. Prayer was offered, a hymn was sung, and prayer was again offered. Most earnest supplication was made to God. The meeting was marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The work went deep, and some present were weeping aloud. One arose from his bowed position and said that in the past he had not been in union with certain ones and had felt no love for them, but that now he saw himself as he was. With great solemnity he repeated the message to the Laodicean church: ‘Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.’ In my self-sufficiency this is just the way I felt, he said. ‘And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’ I now see that this is my condition.

My eyes are opened. My spirit has been hard and unjust. I thought myself righteous, but my heart is broken, and I see my need of the precious counsel of the One who has searched me through and through. Oh, how gracious and compassionate and loving are the words, ‘I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.’ Revelation 3:17, 18.  The speaker turned to those who had been praying, and said: We have something to do. We must confess our sins, and humble our hearts before God. He made heartbroken confessions and then stepped up to several of the brethren, one after another, and extended his hand, asking forgiveness. Those to whom he spoke sprang to their feet, making confession and asking forgiveness, and they fell upon one another’s necks, weeping. The spirit of confession spread through the entire congregation. 

IT WAS A PENTECOSTAL SEASON. God’s praises were sung, and far into the night, until nearly morning, the work was carried on. The following words were often repeated, with clear distinctness: As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. Verses 19, 20.  No one seemed to be too proud to make heartfelt confession, and those who led in this work were the ones who had influence, but had not before had courage to confess their sins.  There was rejoicing such as never before had been heard in the Tabernacle.  Then I aroused from my unconsciousness, and for a while could not think where I was. My pen was still in my hand. The words were spoken to me: THIS MIGHT HAVE BEEN. All this the Lord was waiting to do for His people. All heaven was waiting to be gracious. I thought of WHERE WE MIGHT HAVE BEEN HAD THOROUGH WORK BEEN DONE AT THE LAST GENERAL CONFERENCE, and agony of disappointment came over me as I realized that what I had witnessed WAS NOT A REALITY. 8 Testimonies pp. 104-106

This was a vision of Sister E.G. White, 15 years after the 1888 message.

In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it! Because the Lord does not work according to their ideas and expectations they will oppose the work. ‘Why,’ they say, ‘should not be know the spirit of God when we have been in the work for so many years?’ The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, pp. 342.

Message to Come Back Again, In Its Fullness

Nearly forty years ago (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 has not 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 a firm conviction, and cherished a 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.  The nearer we approach the great day of God, the more imperative will be the need of the soul-cleansing work which that message was sent to do. 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 PERIOD OF THE GREAT MOVEMENT with which we are connected. Christ Our Righteousness pp. 35-39.( 1929 Edition)

I must repeat again here, what Elder A.T. Jones, one of the men through whom the Lord used to bring this message said: That (the 1888 experience) however, is but a sample. There will be THINGS TO COME that will be more surprising than that was to those-at Minneapolis,) more surprising than anything we have yet seen. (And brethren, we will be REQUIRED TO RECEIVE and preach THAT TRUTH ! But, unless you and I have every fiber of that spirit rooted out of our hearts, we will treat that message and THE MESSENGER by whom it is sent , as God has declared we have treated this other message. General Conference Bulletin, 1893 p. 185.

In a message addressed to the President of the General Conference, dated Oct. 1, 1885, Mrs. White warns him that unless he and some others …are aroused to a sense of their duty, they will not recognize the work of God WHEN THE LOUD CRY OF THE THIRD ANGEL SHALL BE HEARD. WHEN light goes forth to lighten the earth, instead of coming up to the help of the Lord, they will want to bind about His work to meet their narrow ideas. Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning…. The workers will be surprised by the SIMPLE MEANS that He will use to bring about and make perfect His work of righteousness. Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300.

It is interesting to note that there were some in the leadership at the time of the 1888 message that discerned that a message must come to Laodicea before the loud cry could be given. The following is a statement by Elder Brunson in the year 1902.

‘The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted and those who were once converted but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?’ 6 Testimonies p. 371

Please, dear reader, consider prayerfully the appalling statement that the condition of church members is now hindering the Lord from bringing many souls into the truth. Are you one of those stumbling-blocks? Examine yourself in the light of the exhortation, ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. ‘ Achans in camp are cowards in action, and the defeat of all will surely follow. The selfishness of Babylon in the heart effectually disqualifies one for the unselfish work of Christ.

Now we can clearly see why there must be a sifting of God’s people BEFORE THE LOUD CRY CAN BE GIVEN, The cause of weakness must first be removed before valiant service can be expected in the field. A Gideon’s band (144,000) is mightier than the hosts of Midian. God’s people will never be prepared to attack the sins of Babylon as long as the principle of Babylon is in their heart THEREFORE THE GIVING OF THE LOUD CRY MUST BE PRECEDED BY A MESSAGE TO GOD’S PEOPLE, which will accomplish an entire separation from Babylon…

The messenger must unite the fervor of Jeremiah with the Fearlessness of Elijah. Review & Herald, Feb. 4, 1902.

This goes right along with what the Spirit of Prophecy said in 1908:

Only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it, the third angel’s message, when it shall have swelled into the loud cry. Review & Herald, Nov. 19, 1908.

Had the whole Adventist body united upon the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, how widely different would have been our history!

It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed. God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached, went not in ‘because of unbelief.’ Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them. For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.–Manuscript 4, 1883.

CHARGE IT NOT TO GOD.–We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel; but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action.–Letter 184. Evangelism pp. 695-696

I saw that many who profess to believe the truth for these last days think it strange that the children of Israel murmured as they journeyed; that after the wonderful dealings of God with them, they should be so ungrateful as to forget what He had done for them. Said the angel: ‘YE HAVE DONE WORSE THAN THEY.’ 1 Testimonies p. 129

If type meets antitype in this case, then as a denomination we should have expected a revival and the completion of the 1888 Message in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. Can we not see how we have done worse than they (Ancient Israel)? They wandered 40 years. How long will Modern Israel wander?

Elder A.T. Jones in 1893 at the General Conference made this statement: He (God) has been trying these four years to have us receive the latter rain, how much longer is he going to wait before we receive it?.. General Conference Bulletin, 1893 p. 377.

The whole of Revelation 18: will be fulfilled in the glorious closing of this work. It hasn’t yet been fulfilled, and yet the light of the fourth angel’s message began to shine in that strange and impressive way at Minneapolis. The only reasonable conclusion is that the light was put out by human instrumentalities. E.G. White, Letter 106.

It is evident that the completion of the 1888 message would contain enlightenment for us concerning our preparation for the Loud cry and subsequent events.

Unexpected Channels

We are told that A Revival of true godliness among us is the greatest of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work. Christ Our Righteousness p. 146 (1929 edition) If a message of Revival and Reformation should come to God’s people today, would we recognize it? Would it come though the expected channels? Let us see what the more sure word of Prophecy says: I have been shown that Jesus will reveal to us precious old truths in a new light, if we are ready to receive them; but they must be received in the very way in which the Lord shall choose to send them. With humble, softened hearts, with respect and love for one another, search your Bibles. The light may not come in accordance with plans that men may devise. The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 167.

Light must come to the people through agents whom God shall choose, who will give the note of warning, that none may be in ignorance of the purposes of God or the devices of Satan. At the great heart of the work, Satan will use his hellish arts to the utmost. He will seek in every possible way to interpose himself between the people and God,and shut away the light that God would have come to his children. Review & Herald, Dec. 24, 1889.

The Jews were looking for the Messiah; but He did not come as they had predicted that He would, and if He were accepted as the Promised One, their learned teachers would be forced to acknowledge that they had erred. These leaders had separated themselves from God, and Satan worked upon their minds to lead them to reject the Saviour. Rather than yield their pride of opinion, they closed their eyes to all the evidences of His Messiahship, and they not only rejected the message of salvation themselves, but they steeled the hearts of the people against Jesus. Their history should be a solemn warning to us. We need never expect that when the Lord has light for His people, Satan will stand calmly by and make no effort to prevent them from receiving it. He will work upon minds to excite distrust and jealousy and unbelief. Let us beware that we do not refuse the light God sends, because it does not come in a way to please us. Let not God’s blessing be turned away from us because we know not the time of our visitation. If there are any who do not see and accept the light themselves, let them not stand in the way of others. Let it not be said of this highly favored people, as of the Jews when the good news of the kingdom was preached to them: Ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.’ We are taught in God’s word that this is the time, above all others, when we may look for light from heaven.

To souls that are earnestly seeking for light and that accept with gladness every ray of divine illumination from His holy word, to such alone light will be given. It is through these souls that God will reveal that LIGHT AND POWER which will lighten the whole earth with His glory. 5 Testimonies pp. 728, 729.

Those who allow prejudice to bar the mind against the reception of truth cannot receive the divine enlightenment. Yet, when a view of Scripture is presented, many do not ask, Is it true–in harmony with God’s word? but, By whom is it advocated? and unless it comes through the very channel that pleases them, they do not accept it. The Lord often works where we least expect Him; He surprises us by revealing His power through instruments of His own choice, while He passes by the men to whom we have looked as those through whom light should come. God desires us to receive the truth upon its own merits–because it is truth. T.M. pp. 105,106.

When a new view is presented, the question is often asked, “Who are its advocates? What is the position or influence of the one who would teach us, who have been students of the Bible for many years?” God will send His words of warning by whom He will send. And the question to be settled is not what person is it who brings the message; this does not in any way affect the word spoken. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”–Letter 19d, 1892, pp. 7, 8. (To Elder O. A. Olsen, September 1, 1892.)  {5MR 351.1}

…there are good things to come to the people of God in a way that we had not discerned; and that there will be resistance from the very ones we expected to engage in such a work. {16MR 106.4} 

We must not trust to others to search the Scriptures for us. Some of our leading brethren have frequently taken their position on the wrong side; and if God would send a message and wait for these older brethren to open the way for its advancement, it would never reach the people. Gospel Workers p. 303.

THAT 4TH ANGEL HAS COME BACK TO DO HIS WORK NOW, WHO WILL LISTEN THIS TIME? THE TRUTH: IT IS WRITTEN AND IT’S OUT THERE!

AMEN.

Further reading: The Fourth Angels Message

Posted on March 22, 2011, in Short Studies, The 1888 Message and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on 1888 – What Really Happened? A. T. Jones and Ellen White Both Tell Us What Was Really Rejected.

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