What is the 1888 Message?

Click to go to our Home Page


What is the 1888 Message?
Dennis Priebe

Now, if it is really true that God was going to finish His work on earth through the 1888 message, and if it is true that we have never really heard the message since that time, with isolated exceptions; what is the message that could have produced the latter rain and the loud cry then, and will produce it today if we will accept it? The message can be summed up in one Bible verse--Christ in you, the hope of glory. The 1888 message was focused on preparing God's people for translation; thus it had much to say about how to be perfect in Christ and thus ready for the close of probation. The message was not about personal assurance of salvation, but about vindicating and glorifying God's name.

Perhaps some brief excerpts from the messages of Jones and Waggoner might be helpful. "Christ took upon Himself the flesh, not of a sinless being, but of sinful man, that is, that the flesh which He assumed had all the weaknesses and sinful tendencies to which fallen human nature is subject." (Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, pp. 26, 27) "In all of our Christian experience we have left little loopholes along here and there for sin. We have never dared to come to that place where we would believe that the Christian life should be a sinless life. We have not dared to believe it or preach it. But in that case we cannot preach the law of God fully. Why not? Because we do not understand the power of justification by faith." (Waggoner, G. C. Bulletin, 1891, pp. 156, 159) Right here is the difference between justification as taught by Evangelicals and justification in the 1888 message. Only in the 1888 message do we hear about power to keep from sinning, and this victory over sin is always linked with the fallen nature of Christ.

"Christ is to be in us, just as God was in Him, and His character is to be in us, just as God was in Him... It is the cooperation of the divine and the human--the mystery of God in you and me--... that is the third angel's message." (Jones, G. C. Bulletin, 1893, p. 207) "In Jesus Christ as He was in sinful flesh, God has demonstrated before the universe that He can so take possession of sinful flesh as to manifest His own presence, His power, and His glory, instead of sin manifesting itself... Then God will so take us, and so use us, that our sinful selves shall not appear to influence or affect anybody; but God will manifest His righteous self, His glory, before men, in spite of all ourselves and our sinfulness... And that is the mystery of God, 'Christ in you, the hope of glory,'--God manifest in sinful flesh." (Jones, G. C. Bulletin, 1895, p. 303)

"Now the flesh of Jesus Christ was our flesh, and in it was all 'that is in our flesh,--all the tendencies to sin that are in our flesh were in His flesh, drawing upon Him to get Him to consent to sin." (Jones, G. C. Bulletin, 1895, p. 328) "Perfection, perfection of character, is the Christian goal--perfection attained in human flesh in this world. Christ attained it in human flesh in this world, and thus made and consecrated a way by which, in Him, every believer can attain it." (Jones, The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, p. 84) "But before probation ends, there will be a people so complete in Him that in spite of their sinful flesh, they will live sinless lives. They will live sinless lives in mortal flesh, because He who has demonstrated that He has power over all flesh lives in them lives a sinless life in sinful flesh." (Waggoner, G. C. Bulletin, 1901, p. 146)

Don't you agree that this is a rare message today? Instead of studying this message and learning how to live this message, we are very divided on whether Christ took our fallen or Adam's unfallen nature. We are even advising our people not to discuss it at all. We are pretty sure that perfection is a bad word, and that sinless living is a fanatical extreme. Satan has done a masterful job of closing our minds to the only message which can prepare us for the second coming. But Satan hasn't done his job well enough. In spite of his best efforts to destroy this message, it is alive and well, and more and more people are waking up to its importance.

I believe that God's people will not let this golden opportunity pass them by again. I see an awakening among church members, and I don't think that Satan will be able to put them all to sleep again. But mark one thing. This awakening is happening among a small minority of church members. The majority continue to sleep on in a death sleep, assuming that, as long as they keep coming to church, they are safe. What a tragic awakening it will he when, too late, most Seventh-day Adventists will realize that they have the mark of the beast. If you want to avoid this tragedy, and if you want to see Christ return to this earth very soon, then I plead with you to reorder your lives if necessary. Make the study of the 1888 message your top priority, and spend more time in study and prayer than ever before in your lives.

Listen to God's appeal to us through His inspired messenger. "Light is flashing from the throne of God. And what is this for--It is that a people may he prepared to stand in the day of God. You who have devoted time and money to the adornment of your apparel and to the decoration of your homes, I would ask you, 'Is Christ formed within you the hope of glory?' It's too late in the day to he taken up with the frivolous things of the world too late for any superficial work to be done. It is too late in the day to cry out against men for manifesting too much earnestness in the service of God; to say, 'You are excited; you are too intense, too positive.'" (RH March 4, 1890)