Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 1, Q3-06

Special Insights No. 1

Third Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Gospel, 1844, and Judgment”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“Principalities and Powers”



At one time these lessons would have been boring to me. I had been through numerous “Evangelistic Campaigns” where we heard Daniel’s prophecies over and over. The “sanctuary message” was a dim shadow of something important, but what did it have to do with life here and now? Something was happening millions of light years away, but what, nobody made clear to me.


Then two things happened: (a) the Lord’s providence brought The Glad Tidings, Galatians verse-by-verse, to me; I saw that the heart of the Seventh-day Adventist message is the much more abounding grace of the Savior —clearer than I had ever heard in any churches I had ever attended. What Christ accomplished on His cross fascinated me for it was beyond anything I had been told. Yes, there is power in understanding that love (agape).


(b) But the “sanctuary message” was still boring, even after I had been preaching to the Africans for years. Then a visiting pastor came to our camp meetings in Uganda and Kenya; seeing my interest in Galatians, he gave me an out-of-print copy of The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection. I had never seen that book in college, yet it was the clearest “sanctuary” book I had ever read; the “sanctuary message” became 2 + 2 = 4.


The dreaded “investigative judgment” was precious good news; the books of heaven were merely faithful reflections of our hearts; their “cleansing” in the sanctuary could not be done until first our hearts down here could be cleansed. And there the circle came full—Waggoner’s insight into Galatians was the message to do that work. Further, in reading Jones, I saw that the Lord would perform it if we would stop hindering Him! There was no need for the second coming of Christ to be further delayed century after century. It was like a jig-saw puzzle coming together.


When I turned to see what Ellen White had to say about all this, the truth leaped at me: “the Lord in His great mercy sent” that two-pronged message by those very two “messengers” whose books had been given me to read!


The message was the “beginning” of the Loud Cry and the latter rain. Now at last, for me, “the Gospel, 1844, and Judgment” (the topics of this new Quarter’s Lessons) came into sharp focus, and my life work came into view: I was to spend my life telling how simple, clear, and beautiful the message is. It’s nothing I might write or preach: I am nobody. I was to point to the actual “most precious message” as the Lord “in His great mercy sent” it. That’s why we begged the General Conference to print an anthology of Jones’ and Waggoner’s writings as Ellen White endorsed them; they were streams of fresh water in a dry land. We were nothing; let that message be something!


The “Introduction” to our 14 new Lessons tells how “the 1844 pre-Advent judgment” is our one unique doctrine, and it marvels why no other Christian people “see” it. There’s a reason! If “we” had received what the dear Lord tried His best to give us, the world ere now would have seen it, for “the third angel’s message in verity” is the most striking, compelling message to reach the world since Pentecost. God “commanded” that “we” pass it on; yet the Lord’s servant had to confess at the close of the “latter rain” era that “in a great measure” and “in a great degree” “we” had blocked it from going either to “our people” or to “the world.”[1] The message would have outshone the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.


Outstanding elements included: (a) the Father sent His Son “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” not the sinless flesh taught in the “Immaculate Conception” dogma; the Savior will save His people from sinning if they understand His gospel as “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). The Savior is closer to us than Christianity has known. Then His people can glorify Him!


(b) The death that Jesus “died” on His cross was the real thing, the “second death” (Rev. 2:11; 20:14); this again contradicts the teaching borrowed from paganism of natural immortality of the soul. The “objective gospel” of what Christ accomplished (not simply what He wanted to accomplish!) will motivate those who believe to “overcome even as [He] overcame” (Rev. 3:20). His righteousness will be imparted, not merely imputed. It works!


If, by the grace of the Lord, we may relate those 1888 concepts to our 14 new lessons, they will become the most memorable and precious in your experience. Pray for us, please, that we may follow the Lord’s leading.

Robert J. Wieland

[1] Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 234, 235 (1896).





1. The Glad Tidings: Galatians Made Clear, Ellet J. Waggoner, originally published in 1900; edited by Robert J. Wieland and re-published in 1972 by Pacific Press Publishing Association. A verse-by-verse study of the heart-warming message of Galatians (paperback, 144 pp.).


2. The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, Alonzo T. Jones. Presents Christ in His three offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, and challenges the Christian with questions, such as, is Christian perfection of character even possible for us mortals born in sin? (paperback, 132 pp.).


Both books are available from Glad Tidings Publishers, 8784 Valley View Dr., Berrien Springs MI 49103. (269) 473-1888, www.1888msc.org


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