Reading 5 – Wednesday, December 12, 2007
By Idel Suárez Jr., USA
While standing before the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Othodox Jews pray and recite the promises of the coming Messiah. There they cry and sigh and plead with God to remember His promise to send the Messiah. They still await the Messianic age, or kingdom of glory, to be established in Jerusalem.
As a Christian, one might want to run up and touch all these Jews and tell them that God did not forget His promise. The Messiah came 2,000 years ago, and this Messiah is Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.
How would each rabbi and other Jews reply to this message of comfort? They would probably say, “Your Jesus did not fulfill all the prophecies in the Old Testament. He did not become the ‘king upon my holy hill of Zion.’ He did not conquer ‘the heathen …
Now what would one say? Is it true that Jesus Christ did not fulfill all the Messianic prophecies? The Old Testament actually spoke of three comings of the Messiah. Thus, He would have three phases to fulfill.
His first coming was like a “Joseph Messiah.” He was betrayed by His own and sold for thirty pieces of silver. Then He suffered upon the cross as the Lamb of God and was buried in someone else’s tomb.
His second coming will be like a “David Messiah.” He will come as the King of kings and Lord of lords. He will gather His own.
Yet it will not be till His third coming that He shall reign on “the holy hill of Zion” from the New Jerusalem. He shall then shower fire and brimstone from heaven to destroy the “heathen.” This fire will consume “the uttermost parts of the earth.” He will then utterly “dash [the wicked] in pieces like a potter’s vessel” in the lake of fire, which is the second death. Revelation 20:9, 10, 14.
Likewise, many nominal and independent Adventists, just like the Orthodox Jews, deny that the Reform Movement is the complete fulfillment of Revelation 18. Where are the miracles? Where is the prophesied unity? Where is the power to shake the world?
As rabbis speak of a two-phase Messiah, so there are two phases in the Reform Movement. The first is in the past; the second is still in the future. There was a reformation in time of war; there will be a reformation in the time of the Sunday Law. As the Messiah is one, so is the reformation. If we can understand this, then the Biblical and Testimony prophecies fall into place like a big puzzle, revealing a beautiful scene of salvation in the last days.
The other angel is a movement
First, we need to clarify that when the Bible speaks of an angel, it refers to a “messenger,” or a “people with a message.”
“The three angels of Revelation 14 represent the people [throughout this article, emphasis is by the author] who accept the light of God’s messages and go forth as His agents to sound the warning throughout the length and breadth of the earth.”1
“Christ is coming the second time, with power unto salvation. To prepare human beings for this event, He has sent the first, second, and third angels’ messages. These angels represent those who receive the truth, and with power open the gospel to the world.”2 “The third angel of Revelation 14 is represented as flying swiftly through the midst of heaven crying: ‘Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Here is shown the nature of the work of the people of God.”3
Hence, if each angel represents “the people of God,” or “those who receive” and proclaim “the truth,” then who was the “other” angel? It must be a movement that still bears the name and credentials of the Seventh-day Adventist Church but that has also adopted the name “Reformers.” This movement must undergo different phases, like the Messiah’s comings to earth—first as a humble carpenter and meek lamb, but thereafter as a mighty warrior.
A divine messenger
The angels in Revelation 14 and 18 remind us of the messenger pigeons that were sent from one place to another, with messages attached to their legs. The birds were envoys of news to those who read the messages.
There was once an Arab guide who took tourists into the Sahara Desert. A reporter interviewed him to find out why he never got lost. The reporter was invited to take a tour into the Sahara to learn the secret firsthand.
Once in the Sahara, when there was nothing but scorching sun and dry sand, the guide took out a white messenger pigeon and threw it high into the open air. The pigeon circled two or three times in the air, and then headed home. The Arab guide then followed the direction the pigeon took.
The true leader of our work on earth is the Holy Spirit. He, like a messenger pigeon, points home to the New Jerusalem. He guides us into all truth. He is the promised Comforter. He is to lead the remnant church through the last great desert storm before the return of the Messiah.
“By the Spirit of God a revolution is brought about. The Holy Spirit enlightens, renews, and sanctifies the soul. Angels behold with inexpressible rapture the results of the working of the Holy Spirit in man.”4
“There is a work to be done among the churches of Seventh-day Adventists that has not yet been done. Ministering angels are waiting to see who will take up this work in the right spirit. You may ask, ‘Where must we change? What have we done?’ It is not my work to enter into details. Let all humble themselves before God, asking for grace and wisdom, that they may see wherein they have violated His holy law. Unless His Spirit enlightens them, they will never know, even though it is set before them by their brethren. Those who refuse to come into right relation with God, who will not obey the rules of His government, can not bear His sign.
“No one need walk in darkness. No one need say, ‘Specify to me the precise wrongs of which I am guilty,’ To all who say this I give the word of the Lord, ‘Search prayerfully, and you will know.’
“Let all who claim to be reformers be such in the fullest sense of the word.”5
It is the outpouring of the Spirit of God that the church needs so that the “earth [can be] lightened with [God’s] glory.” We need the divine messenger to lead us and others to the true light.
The light of the other angel (1888)
The Testimonies are clear that the first phase of Reformation was within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The fulfillment of the prophecy of Revelation 18 started at the conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the United States, in 1888. Read the following statements:
“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.”6
Notice that the message of “the righteousness of Christ … is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth,” the angel of Revelation 18. This other angel is also called “the loud cry of the third angel.”
“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.”7
The light of the angel of Revelation 18 started with the presentation of the beautiful message of “the righteousness of Christ” by God’s messengers Dr. Ellet J. Waggoner and Alonso T. Jones, who were both pastors.
Like the first angel’s message, the first phase of the “other angel” was a call to return to the Creator and to repent because of the coming judgment.
It is sad to say that the message of 1888 was rejected by the church. Nearly all who attended were either indifferent or in some way opposed to the message of “justification by faith.”
“That which was presented to me at Minneapolis opened to me the true state of many conference [workers]…. I told them plainly [that] the position and work God gave me at that conference was disregarded by nearly all. Rebellion was popular. Their course was an insult to the Spirit of God.8
Because of that rejection, both the Scriptures and the Testimonies foretold that the children of the unbelieving Adventists would “leave a heritage of shame” and be “lost.”
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. As they were increased, so they sinned against me: [therefore] will I change their glory into shame.” Hosea 4:6, 7.
“The children of Sabbath-keeping parents, who have had great light, who have been the objects of the tenderest solicitude, may be the ones who will leave a heritage of shame, who will sow to the wind and reap the whirlwind. In the judgment the names of those who have sinned against great light, will be written with those who are condemned to be separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power. They will be lost, lost, and will be numbered with the scorners of the grace of Christ.”9
The Testimonies state that it was God’s desire to pour out the latter rain during the Minneapolis Conference. This outpouring was to be the power that would lighten the whole earth with its glory. But that light was lamentably resisted.
“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.”10
Interestingly, in an earlier article cited above, Sister White foretold World War I and its tempest. Because the leaders of the work in 1888 at the Minneapolis Conference rejected the message of Revelation 18, God would send a tempest to earth—and the children of those who rejected the message would “leave a heritage of shame” and be lost in the “whirlwind” of war.11 In the same Minneapolis, twenty-nine years later, one hundred leaders of the General Conference and the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met to commission their youth to enlist in World War I.12
“The prophecy of Isaiah 3 was presented before me as applying to these last days, and the reproofs are given to the daughters of Zion who have thought only of appearance and display. Read verse 25: ‘Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.’ I was shown that this scripture will be strictly fulfilled.”13
Can you see the light of the message?
Surprisingly, few understand even today the meaning of the message of Christ our Righteousness. It is the central message of the “other angel,” and it is the needed preparation to receive the latter rain. Jesus is the “light of the world.” John 8:12.
“The present message—justification by faith—is a message from God; it bears the divine credentials, for its fruit is unto holiness….
“There is not one in one hundred who understands for himself the Bible truth on this subject that is so necessary to our present and eternal welfare.…
“Many are in a lukewarm condition, because they do not live by faith, increasing in the knowledge of the truth, going on from light to greater light. Such have need to be greatly alarmed lest that which the Lord has placed within their reach at infinite cost, should be taken away, and given to others who will prize the gift and use it for his glory.…
“The Lord can do little for his people, because of their limited faith. The ministers have not presented Christ in his fullness to the people, either in the churches or in new fields, and the people have not an intelligent faith. They have not been instructed as they should have been, that Christ is unto them both salvation and righteousness.…
“Our present position is interesting and perilous.”14
Yet this is the message that His messengers must study, live, and share. To be righteous is “to right.” We need to be right with God, and He needs to be right with us. We can be right with God only through faith in Christ. It is His perfect obedience to the holy law that is accepted by God on our behalf. Only by faith can today’s reformers obtain the precious garments of Jesus’ merits, His good works, and right standing with God’s holy law and with God. The righteousness of Christ is free – a gift that, when received in the soul, produces works of love for God’s glory. The fruit of Christ’s righteousness is holiness and a missionary zeal.
We all need a new revelation of the Messiah, of Jesus Christ, the “light of the world,” if we wish to be anointed by His Spirit, and participate in the final evangelization of the planet. Jesus, and He alone, is our surety, our right to heaven, and our hope of salvation.
If we neglect to understand and live the new revelations of Christ our righteousness, then we too run the risk of losing not only our souls, but also the souls of our children as “a heritage of shame.”
Let the holy Shekinah, which shone in the Most Holy Place over the mercy seat, shine in your heart and mine today. Let His Spirit revive His church—or else our spiritual candlestick will be removed. Let the message of Christ enlighten me first, then my family, and then my local church. We have a great commission: “the earth” is to be “lightened with [God’s] glory.” This will never happen until it starts with each of us individually.
The Native Americans recite a legend about a conversation between an Indian chief and the Great Spirit when the Europeans came to the New World. The chief inquires of the Great Spirit, “What can we do to stop the white man from polluting our rivers, cutting down our forests, killing our buffalo, and destroying our land?” The Great Spirit responds, “To make a better world, begin by making a better you.”
Paul clearly presented the secret of making a better person, a perfect person, when he penned these words:
“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:26–28. Amen.
References, all by Ellen G. White, except item 12.
1 Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 455, 456.
2 Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 978, 979 (Letter 79, 1900).
3 Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 206.
4 Signs of the Times, June 9, 1890, par. 10.
5 Pacific Union Recorder, August 14, 1902, pp. 9–11.
6 Review and Herald, Nov. 22, 1892, par. 7.
7 Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 91, 92.
8 Reflections on the Minneapolis Conference. Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, p. 19, par. 2 and 3.
9 Signs of the Times, April 21, 1890, par. 8.
10 Selected Messages, vol. 1, pp. 234, 235.
11 Signs of the Times, April 21, 1890, par. 11.
12 Fall Council. Review and Herald, November 15, 1917, p. 24.
13 Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 270.
14 Review and Herald, September 3, 1889.