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“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. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel’s message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.” {Lt57-1895.43}

“I have had the question asked, What do you think of this light that these men are presenting? Why, I have been presenting it to you for the last forty-five years—the matchless charms of Christ. This is what I have been trying to present before your minds. When Brother Waggoner brought out these ideas in Minneapolis, it was the first clear teaching on this subject from any human lips I had heard, excepting the conversations between myself and my husband. I have said to myself, It is because God has presented it to me in vision that I see it so clearly, and they cannot see it because they have never had it presented to them as I have. And when another presented it, every fiber of my heart said, Amen.” {Ms5-1889.38}

It has been 130 years since the message of Righteousness by Faith was given to God’s people. A message that was intended to finish the work and prepare a people to stand through the time of trouble. However, this message has been opposed by many over the years and most Christians today have lost sight of what it truly means to uplift Jesus and receive the priceless gift of His own righteousness. This message, as it is with any other Biblical teaching, is interwoven with countless other teachings in Bible. In this short series, we are going to explore some of the ideas presented by Ellen White, AT Jones and EJ Waggoner and see how Christendom has opposed them. We are going to look at who Jesus Christ is, what sin in, what does it mean to be on probation, the natures of Christ, and other subjects that are directly related to righteousness and justification. We are going to allow these three messengers to speak and see how their scriptural teachings differ with other ideas within Christianity today.

With this thought in mind, let us turn to the foundational teaching upon which everything mentioned until now will be based, and without which we cannot properly understand any of the righteousness by faith truths and that is the truth about who Jesus Christ is. How is Jesus Christ presented today?

God the Son (Greek: Θεός ὁ υἱός) is the second person of the Trinity in Christian theology. The doctrine of the Trinity identifies Jesus as the embodiment of God the Son, united in essence (consubstantial) but distinct in person with regard to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (the first and third persons of the Trinity). The term “God the Son” is not found in the Bible, but is found in later Christian sources.

“the father-son image cannot be literally applied to the divine Father-Son relationship within the Godhead. The Son is not the natural, literal Son of the Father … The term ‘Son’ is when applied to the Godhead. It conveys the ideas of distinction of persons within the Godhead and the equality of nature in the context of an eternal, loving relationship.”

Consequently, the indivisibility of God‘s works in history is not conceived by Adventists as being determined by the oneness of essence—as taught in the Augustinian classical tradition—but rather by the oneness of the historical task of redemption (Dederen 20). The danger of Tritheism involved in this position becomes real when the oneness of God is reduced to a mere unity conceived in analogy to a human society or a fellowship of action. Beyond such a unity of action, however, it is necessary to envision God as the one single reality which, in the very acts by which He reveals Himself directly in history, transcends the limits of our human reason (Prescott 17).Handbook of SDA Theology pg. 172

According to most Christians today, Jesus is not the literal Son of the living God, but rather the second of three coeternal persons, who together make up the God of the Bible. As a logical conclusion this God has no Son, thus Christ is only called a Son in a metaphorical sense. But is this what the 1888 messengers taught and published in their writings? We can only determine that if we allow them to speak for themselves. Here is what Ellen White, Jones and Waggoner believed and taught.

“The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times. God had promised to give the first-born of heaven to save the sinner.” (Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 51)
“Who is Christ?–He is the only begotten Son of the living God.” (E.White, Sons and Daughters of God, p.21)

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,–not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a son begotten in the express image of the Father’s person.” (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895)

“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, ‘Let us make man in our image’.” (E.White, The Spirit of Prophecy, Vol.1, p.24)

“Satan was well acquainted with the position of honor Christ had held in Heaven as the Son of God, the beloved of the Father. And that he should leave Heaven and come to this world as a man filled him with apprehension for his own safety.” (Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, March 3, 1874)

“Modern spiritualism, resting upon the same foundation, is but a revival in a new form of the witchcraft and demon worship that God condemned and prohibited of old …. Peter, describing the dangers to which the church was to be exposed in the last days, says that as there were false prophets who led Israel into sin, so there will be false teachers, ‘who privily shallbring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them … And many shall follow their pernicious ways.’ [2 Peter 2:1-2]. Here the apostle has pointed out one of the marked characteristics of spiritualist teachers. They refuse to acknowledge Christ as the Son of God. Concerning such teachers the beloved John declares: ‘Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.’ [1 John 2:22-23]. Spiritualism, by denying Christ, denies both the Father and the Son, and the Bible pronounces it the manifestation of antichrist.” (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p.686)

“Giving Christ, God has given everything. Nothing greater, nothing more costly, could He bestow. In giving His Son, He gave all heaven, not because of any goodness or righteousness that we possess, but because He loved us.” (E.White, Manuscript Releases, Vol.18, pgr.337)

“When I read in the Bible of how many refused to believe that Christ was the Son of God, sadness fills my heart. We read that even His own brethren refused to believe in Him.” (E.G. White, Letter 398, To Dr. & Mrs. D.H. Kress, December 26, 1906)

“In arguing the perfect equality of the Father and the Son, and the fact that Christ is in very nature God, we do not design to be understood as teaching that the Father was not before the Son. It should not be necessary to guard this point, lest some should think that the Son existed as soon as the Father; yet some go to that extreme, which adds nothing to the dignity of Christ, but rather detracts from the honor due him, since many throw the whole thing away rather than accept a theory so obviously out of harmony with the language of Scripture, that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. He was begotten, not created. He is of the substance of the Father, so that in his very nature he is God; and since this is so “it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.” Col. 1:19 … While both are of the same nature, the Father is first in point of time. He is also greater in that he had no beginning, while Christ’s personality had a beginning” (E. J. Waggoner, The Signs of the Times, April 8, 1889)

“As to when He was begotten, it is not for us to inquire, nor could our minds grasp it if we were told. The prophet Micah tells us all that we can know about it in these words, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2, margin. There was a time when Christ proceeded forth and came from God, from the bosom of the Father (John 8:42; 1:18), but that time was so far back in the days of eternity that to finite comprehension it is practically without beginning” (E. J. Waggoner, Christ and His Righteousness, p. 21, 22).

“He was born of the Holy Ghost. In other words, Jesus Christ was born again. He came from heaven, God’s first-born, to the earth, and was born again. (A. T. Jones, Christian Perfection, paragraph 53)

“He who was born in the form of God took the form of man” (A. T. Jones, The General Conference Bulletin, 1895, p. 449)

It is evident from the writings of the three messengers that Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God, just as the Bible describes Him to be. He was not the second person of a triune God. In fact, you will not find a single reference in their writings where they teach that Jesus is the second person of a triune God. This was a foreign teaching to them. Rightfully so, for He was the literal Son of the Living God and in Him is found eternal life.

“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:11-13

May God help us to lay our foundation right, for without the chief corner stone, no building can be erect. I encourage you to study the scriptures for yourselves and I pray that you will come to understand what Ellen White, Waggoner and Jones understood and taught.

“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2