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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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 13, Qtr 2-06

Special Insights No. 13

Second Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Holy Spirit”

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

“The Holy Spirit in the Last Days”


The first point that strikes us as we study this last lesson of the Quarter is this: The Holy Spirit’s work will not be the same in the last days that it has been in the past 6000 years. There are several reasons:

1. The Spirit Himself of course will be the same through all ages; but it will be His manifestation that will be different. And we need to understand how.

2. It will be different even than it was at Pentecost two millennia ago. He manifested Himself then in the “early rain” outpouring; in the last days He will manifest Himself in the “latter rain” outpouring. There is great difference.

3. His manifestation in the “early rain” was a gift that prepared those who believed in Jesus to die “in Christ” and to come up in the first resurrection.

4. A preparation to die “in Christ” required that the believer overcome all known sin.

5. The “latter rain” outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a gift that prepares those who believe in Jesus to “overcome [all sin, even unknown] even as [Christ] overcame and sat down with [His] Father on His throne” (Rev. 3:20).

6. The promise to those who “overcome” in the last of the seven churches of history is a promise to sit with Christ on His throne, that is, to share with Him executive authority in concluding the “great controversy with Satan,” not merely extenuating it for centuries more.

7. Thus the “latter rain” outpouring of the Holy Spirit is not merely to enable those who believe in Jesus to overcome all known sin, but to overcome all unknown sin as well. Many of God’s dear people in all past ages have died with unknown sin still in them; for example, consider John and Charles Wesley. They were dear men living up to all the light they had at the time, but they died as devout Sunday-keepers, not keeping holy the Sabbath day. Their level of faith was sufficient for their time but would not be sufficient for the test at the close of probation. God gave them the evidence of His acceptance and we can see it in their lives and their work.

8. Now today as we face the generation in which probation is to close and the “mark of the beast” is to be enforced, the Holy Spirit’s work must go far deeper than for any generation of God’s people in past history. The Lord Jesus cannot translate anyone who has cherished sin buried deep in the heart, even if it is unknown to the believer, for if He were to do so the believer would be blotted out in the process. He loves us too much to come before we are ready!

9. In order to accomplish this once-in-history grand work, the Holy Spirit must fulfill His promise He made to the apostles long ago, to “guide [us] into all truth” (John 16:13). The “latter rain” is not emotional excitement, jumping up and down, talking in unknown gibberish, rolling on the floor, or “laughing” as the enthusiasts do in Toronto; there is a counterfeit “holy spirit” and the deception will be lethal. The “latter rain” is a message of full-blown truth that will enable the believer to “overcome even as [Christ] overcame.”

10. There is a true Holy Spirit in contrast to a counterfeit holy spirit, and we must clearly discern with that “eyesalve” the Lord wants to give.

11. In God’s infinite wisdom, He sent “the beginning” of that genuine “latter rain” of “most precious truth” to the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the 1888 General Conference Session held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. On authoritative word, the message meant “translation” to the generation who initially heard it and received it.

12. Sad to say, the elders of the church responded negatively and “in a great degree” and to “a great extent” rejected the message and “kept it away” from both our people and from the world (Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 234, 235; the author of that statement said that the church members and younger pastors would have been glad to accept it, but the influence emanating from Battle Creek discouraged them and they “did not know what to do” until the precious “beginning” was withdrawn for that generation).

13. There is no way we can receive the true Holy Spirit and at the same time reject the gift He brings.

14. Repentance is the gift that only the Holy Spirit can give. It will be as deep as was our corporate sin. He is willing to give and He gives; let us not refuse His gift.

15. Thank God for these Lessons we have had about the Holy Spirit, that “Para-kletos” whom Jesus sent to stay beside us and never leave us!

Robert J. Wieland


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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 12, Qtr 2-06

Special Insights No. 12

Second Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Holy Spirit”

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

“The Sin Against the Holy Spirit”



A startling fact comes to light when one studies this subject in the writings of Ellen G. White. Over and over again she speaks of this sin in connection with Seventh-day Adventist church history. She speaks of it specifically in connection with the persistent resistance against the message of righteousness by faith.


“Now, I tell you, God will not be trifled with. God is a jealous God, and when He manifests His power as He has manifested it, it is very nigh unto the sin of the Holy Ghost* to disbelieve it. The revealings of God’s power have not had any effect to move and to stir persons from their position of doubting and unbelief. God help us that we may remove ourselves out of the snares of the devil! If ever a people needed to be removed, it is those that took their position in Minneapolis at that time on the wrong side” (The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 613).


“These testimonies of the Spirit of God, the fruits of the Spirit of God, have no weight unless they are stamped with your ideas of the law in Galatians. I am afraid of you and I am afraid of your interpretation of any scripture which has revealed itself in such an unchristlike spirit as you have manifested and has cost me so much unnecessary labor. If you are such very cautious men and so very critical lest you shall receive something not in accordance with the Scriptures, I want your minds to look on these things in the true light. Let your caution be exercised in the line of fear lest you are committing the sin against the Holy Ghost. Have your critical minds taken this view of the subject? I say if your views on the law in Galatians, and the fruits, are of the character I have seen in Minneapolis and ever since up to this time, my prayer is that I may be as far from your understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures as it is possible for me to be” (1888 Materials, p. 631, 632).


It is doubtful that one can find stronger words of solemn warning in all the writings of Ellen White, specifically concerning the sin against the Holy Spirit, than those relating to the resistance manifested against the “most precious message.” Not only do they reveal the danger of committing that sin, they also reveal that there were “some” who committed that sin. Some went “too far to return and to repent” (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers [TM], p. 89). The “stand” taken at Minneapolis “proved their ruin” (1888 Materials, p. 1125).


What was the essence of the message which came to us in 1888 at Minneapolis? Why was opposition to it such a serious matter?


The message of the gospel of His grace was to be given to the church in clear and distinct lines, that the world should no longer say that Seventh-day Adventists talk the law, the law, but do not teach or believe Christ” (TM92).


“I have no smooth message to bear to those who have been so long as false guideposts, pointing the wrong way. If you reject Christ’s delegated messengers [A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner], you reject Christ. Neglect this great salvation, kept before you for years, despise this glorious offer of justification through the blood of Christ and sanctification through the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit, and there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation” (TM97).


The message which began to be proclaimed at the 1888 General Conference Session was “the gospel.... in clear and distinct lines.” To believe the gospel means to believe in Christ. During the decades leading up to the 1888 General Conference Session, Seventh-day Adventists had been so preoccupied with the objective of defending the law and the Sabbath, that “Many had lost sight of Jesus” (TM92). Thus that “most precious message,” the message of the gospel “in clear and distinct lines” was sent to bring us back to Jesus, that the “world” might know we “believe Christ.” Therefore, to reject the message inevitably involves a rejection of Christ. The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that Christ was rejected in the person of His messengers (see Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 472). Thus we conclude that what was really at stake during the 1888 era was the “sin against the Holy Ghost.” In rejecting “the message of the gospel” some were committing “the sin against the Holy Spirit,” the “unpardonable sin.”


In rejecting Christ the Jewish people committed the unpardonable sin; and by refusing the invitation of mercy, we may commit the same error (The Desire of Ages, p. 324).


The primary mission of the Holy Spirit is to lead us to Jesus. Therefore to refuse Christ is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and commit the unpardonable. Those who truly believe in Christ need never be concerned about committing the unpardonable sin.

Kelvin (Mark) Duncan


*Emphasis in quotations is that of the “Insights” author’s.


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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 11, Qtr 2-06

Special Insights No. 11

Second Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Holy Spirit”

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

“The Restorer of the Image of God in Man”

[Expanded title from the Sabbath School author’s  companion book, New by the Spirit.]


For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.... (Romans 8:29).



This lesson covers the entire Bible—from beginning to end. Sunday’s lesson asks us to read Genesis 1, in which God emphatically said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.... So God created man [Adam] in His own image” (vss. 26, 27). In Revelation 19:7, John heard the “voice of a great multitude” “saying.... Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Over thousands of years, the great “Restorer” in His mercy and patience, through insult and rejection, has wooed His Bride-to-be. But in the last book in the Bible, in one small verse, we see that the Lamb’s Bride is finally ready for the wedding—her image has been restored as it was on the day of Creation.


Author Wallenkampf states: “Young people are commonly advised not to marry anyone in order to change the character of the spouse..... But God’s plan is diametrically different. He marries all who come to Him through the forensic declaration of justification by faith.....  and through the power of the Spirit, He sets about to change them..... All who accept His plan of salvation he plans to restore ‘to the image of His Son.’.... to recreate everyone who is willing” (op cit., p. 101, 102). And these are the “operative” words: “who is willing.”


What are the characteristics of “Our image”? One study Bible states that in one view, based on Hebrew grammar and other factors, God created man as “statues” or “living symbols of Himself to represent His reign,” as did the emperors of old. But what kind of “symbol” would every human (except One) be as a representation of God? Sin came into the world with the first Adam and continues it’s wicked work to this day. There must be something else. Ellen White says that “in order to work the restoration of the fallen, it was necessary that man’s will should come into harmony with the divine will. God purposed that men should conform to the divine Model..... from the manger to Calvary [Jesus] represent[ed] the character of God before the world! It was by fulfilling the law that Christ made known the Father to the world” (Sabbath-School Worker, Nov. 1, 1895). God did not make us as “statues,” but He gave us the freedom to choose—to allow His Spirit to work within us, or to reject His wonderful gift of salvation that He has given to the whole world, to “all.”


If, at the 1888 General Conference Session, the delegates had accepted the message of restoration presented by two young ministers, E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones, the Bride (the Church) would have been equipped to make herself ready for the wedding. But before the next year’s General Conference Session rolled around, it was clear that the message, which Ellen White referred to as the “third angel’s message in verity,” was opposed by the brethren. In her closing remarks at the 1889 Session she had sad, but strong words for the delegates:


“There has been a departure from God among us, and the zealous work of repentance and return to our first love essential to restoration to God and regeneration of heart has not yet been done. Infidelity to God has been making its inroads in our ranks; for it is the fashion to depart from Christ, and give place to skepticism. The cry of the heart has been, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” Baal, Baal, is the choice..... The true religion, the only religion of the Bible,.... that advocates righteousness by the faith of the Son of God, has been slighted, spoken against, ridiculed. It has been denounced as leading to enthusiasm and fanaticism. Take it back while it is not too late for wrongs to be righted; for you have sinned against God..... The love of Christ is the force and power of every message that ever fell from human lips. What kind of future is before us, if we shall fail to come into the unity of the faith.” (You may read her entire talk in the 1888 Materials, pp. 439-446.)


Wallenkampf, in his book, What Every Adventist Should Know About 1888, sums up the restoration process: “Fellowship* with God is based on faith—on complete confidence or trust in Him. Such trust leads to wholehearted commitment, just as a loving wife commits herself to her husband and vice versa. This surrender brings the most exhilarating pleasure and joy to both.


“As spiritually alive members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we will today enjoy, or at least seek, such a sweet and peace-imparting fellowship with Jesus. Then the experience of righteousness by faith is ours, and only then have you and I in reality accepted, and not rejected, the 1888 message” (pp. 88, 89).


“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’.... Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17).

Carol Kawamoto


*Wallenkampf preferred the word “fellowship” rather than “relationship” when referring to a “Christian’s connection with God.” If you would like a short article explaining his reasoning write to me at: sabbathschool@1888message.org.


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