The 1888 Message From the 1898 General Conference Bulletin #1

by Laval Picard

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The latter rain is a message, a message which uncovers various facets of the Gospel which has been lost sight of since its rejection in 1888. For the last 25 years I have searched and searched to unravel the mystery surrounding 1888. To begin with there is the Laodicean message which was repeated by A.T. Jones at the 1893 General Conference with "added power and glory." No one can say that we have no record of that message. It is recorded in the 1893 Bulletin. This message must be proclaimed again and again in the power of the Holy Spirit. I don't know of anyone who understood the Laodicean message and who could present it better than brother Jones. It is indeed a straight testimony but it is also a message of hope.

Generally speaking, we believe that once we are "in Christ" we no longer need to acknowledge ourselves as wretched, miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and that we don't know it. The fact is, we are not "in Christ" unless, moment by moment, we acknowledge ourselves to be exactly that! We are not "in Christ" unless, moment by moment, we acknowledge that we are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and that we don't know it as we ought to know it! There is no condemnation for those who continually acknowledge that, trusting wholly in the all-sufficient merits of Christ for their salvation.

"Any moment that I do not confess that I am blind and have Him as my sight, I am in sin; He says so." A.T. Jones, 1893 General Conference, p.167.

Any moment that I do not confess that I am wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked, and that I don't know it as I ought to know it, and have Him as my comfort, my joy, my sight, my riches, I am in sin. He says so!

"Are you in Christ? Not if you do not acknowledge yourselves erring, helpless, condemned sinners." E.G. White, Testimony No.31, p.44; 1893 General Conference Bulletin, p.178.

There is no condemnation for those who confess that they in themselves they are condemned sinners! Insn't that a beautiful Christian paradox! :)

This is the essence of the Laodicean message.


"The message given by A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner is the message of God to the Laodicean church." E.G. White, Letter S-24, 1892.

The following is taken from lecture #8 brother Jones gave at the 1893 General Conference. May God be our Teacher that we may come to the true understanding of this message is my prayer today!  

A.T. Jones:

"Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." John 9:41.

When Jesus tells you and me we are blind, (Rev.3:17) the thing for us to do is to say, "Lord, we are blind." He told those folks they were blind, and they were blind; but they said it was not so. It was so. Well, then, brethren, the thing for us to do is to come square up to that Laodicean message, and say that every word He says is so!

When He says you and I are wretched, tell him, "It is so, I am wretched; miserable, it is so, I am miserable; poor, it is so; I am poor, a perfect beggar, I shall never be anything else in the world; blind, I am blind, and shall never be anything else; naked, that is so; and I do not know it; that is so too. I do not know it at all, as I ought to know it." (1 Cor.8:2)

And then I will say to Him every day and every hour, "Lord, that is all so; but, oh, instead of my wretchedness, give me Thine own satisfaction; instead of my misery, give me Thine own comfort; instead of my poverty, supply all Thine own riches; instead of my blindness, be Thou my sight; instead of my nakedness, oh do Thou clothe me with Thine own righteousness; and what I know not, Lord, teach Thou me."

Brethren, when we come with one heart and one mind to that place, we shall have no difficulty at all in repenting. It will not be difficult to repent, and there will be no lack of repentance. The difficulty about our not being able to repent is that we have not confessed that what the Lord has told us is the truth." A.T. Jones, 1893 G.C. Bulletin, p.186, 187

The next day, brother Jones addressed the delegates saying,

"Some have said they cannot see how a man can acknowledge himself to be wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and don't know it, and at the same time be rejoicing in the Lord." 1893 General Conference Bulletin, p. 178.

"Well," he said, "I would like to know how any one else can! I would like to know how a man is going to rejoice in the Lord when he thinks he is all right himself. Can you tell? I can't imagnine. Why, brethren, the Lord does not save us because we are so good but because He is so good. Do not forget that." Ibid, 178.

"There is none good but one, that is, God." Mark 10:18.

"Every moment that I do not see and confess that I am blind, and have not Him as my sight, I am in sin; He says so. 'Now you say you see; therefore your sin remains.' And every moment that I do not see and confess my nakedness and depend only and absolutely upon Him and His righteousness to clothe me, why so certainly I am ruined, utterly ruined, and every moment that I begin to say, 'Now I know so much,' no, I do not know that at all. Well, then, the thing that I am to do is to say, 'Lord, I do not know it; I depend upon You to teach me everything, even to teach me that I am wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and that I need all these things. And when I tell Him all that, He will give all I need. He will do it. That is our situation." Ibid, 187.

And now about that thought last night--some thought that I was going entirely too far. They could say, it is well enough when He says, 'You are wretched,' I say I am wretched. When He says, 'You are poor,' I say I am poor. When He says, 'You are blind,' I say I am blind. When He says, 'You are naked,' I say, I am naked. And when He says, 'You don't know it, then I am to say, "I know it!'? No, no. When He says, 'You don't know it,' I am to say, 'I don't know it.' Do not go to putting constructions upon His way. When I say I am wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and on top of it He says that I don't know it, I say, "Lord, I dont' know it.' That brings us right to the text we started with that night,--'If any man thinks he knows anything, he does not know anything yet as he ought to know it.' 1 Cor.8:2. I do not know yet, as long as I have been acknowledging that thing, I know not how wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked I am.

Just as certainly as we take that Laodicean message as He speaks it, we shall receive all He has in it for us. Then brethren, that is what it is intended for. That is just what the Laodicean message is intended to do. Let it do its own work in His own way." Ibid, 178,179.


"Those who live nearest to Jesus discern most clearly the frailty and sinfulness of humanity, and their only hope is in the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour." The Great Controversy, p.471.

Now, brother, sister, is this not the Laodicean message in clear, distinct lines? Is not this message heavenly illumination? Let me ask you this: Have you ever heard it in this fashion before? When was the last time you heard it preached just this way in your local church or in camp-meetings? Have you ever come across it in any book you have read? Have you seen it posted on any adventist forum?

Whenever I read it, I marvel at its simplicity and yet I find it to be so profound, so inspiring! It is simple as ABC and yet we don't understand it as it is our privilege to understand it. Because we don't understand it, we can't appreciate it for what it is and, therefore, we can't share it. But if we would take that message and apply it to ourselves personally just as it reads and begin to share it with our loved ones and brothers and sisters, I believe the Holy Spirit would put His seal upon it and there would be a revival among us! One of the reasons we have not appreciated that message is because over the years we have heard so many false or incorrect interpretations of it, leaving us with a bad taste in the mouth. We have been left with the impressioin that it was a very negative message. But I firmly believe that if we would receive it, believe it, and act upon it just as brother Jones presented it, it would have its effect upon our hearts and we would be led to exalt and pour forth the straight truth! See E.W.270.