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The Advent Movement | Survey 14, Part 1

We will begin our study with two sentences from Selected Messages. There’s a very interesting and significant statement here regarding the message of righteousness by faith in which Elders Waggoner and Jones were leading out in presenting from 1888 on, and the relationship between that message and the loud cry.

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. – Selected Messages, Book 1, pg. 363

I don’t pretend to know all that means; but I submit that, however men may discuss and explain it, there is a plain statement here that the loud cry of the third angel has already begun. It is a most interesting and significant statement. You will notice the date of it is 1892. There was something very important about that message of righteousness by faith, wasn’t there? Something was happening back there in 1892.

Having introduced that, I lay it aside and come to some other statements. We need to have clearly in our minds that the fullness of the loud cry message comes after certain events in the religious and political world. For instance, Sister White, writing in 1904 (that’s 12 years after the other statement) says:

“The prophecies in the eighteenth of Revelation will soon be fulfilled. During the proclamation of the third angel’s message, “another angel” is to “come down from heaven, having great power,” and the earth is to be “lightened with his glory.” The Spirit of the Lord will so graciously bless….” – S.D.A. Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, pg. 984

Notice the future tense in speaking of it. So, while in 1892 the statement is made that the loud cry has begun, she says in the next sentence,”This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.” So, there is a fullness of glory coming in the final loud cry work. We must not become confused over that. If you look at the message in Revelation 18:1-4, the Scripture itself makes clear that the fullness of that message can be given only when the fall of Babylon is complete.

The complete fulfillment of Revelation chapter 18 is in the future, after the churches of Protestantism have united with one another and with the papacy in enthroning Sunday, the idol sabbath, and enforcing it by union with the state. This completes the fall of Babylon and thus makes relevant and timely the total message of the loud cry. I repeat, the fullness of the loud cry obviously still lies ahead of us, and has always been ahead. This is not in any way contradictory to the statement we have just read about the loud cry beginning in the righteousness by faith message. In what sense did the loud cry begin in that message? Let us notice in Revelation chapter 18 what it says about that:

I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen. – Revelation 18:1-2

You notice that it’s a burst of glory. But what is the glory of our Lord? His character. A revelation of that character is another way of speaking of His righteousness, for His righteousness is His character. You cannot separate them. It is as the character of God is revealed to the world fully in the loud cry that the glory of God is seen as it has never yet before been seen in and upon His people.

Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, ‘Behold your God!’ The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. – Christ’s Object Lessons, pg. 415

That second sentence would be worth committing to memory. That is what God was seeking to lead His people into in the 1888 message, and as it was given from place to place after that conference. He was seeking to lead His people into an appreciation of, and an acceptance of, the righteousness of Christ, that the character of God might be seen in their lives.

I want to ask you something: Can we ever impart these things to the world until we’ve received them ourselves? No. Merely preaching a sermon on the glory of God, or the law of God, or the character of God, or the righteousness of God, or the love of God, will not in itself produce any particular results. The power of the message comes by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who are giving the message. As their lives come into harmony with the message, there is tremendous power. That’s the power of the loud cry. And insofar as some among God’s people were beginning to receive that message and the fruits of that message were being seen in their lives, to that degree the loud cry was beginning back there.

Let’s notice the sentence again in Selected Messages:

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. – Selected Messages, Book 1, pg. 363

Sister White speaks more than once of the message swelling into the loud cry. We are not to think of the loud cry simply as something that we come up to and then all of a sudden there is a great burst with nothing before that and everything after that date. Rather, we want to get the picture of the message swelling into the loud cry.

I want to ask you a meaningful question: If this is so, was it God’s plan that the message of 1888 should continue to swell by acceptance by more people and by all those who accepted it more fully until it should eventually reach the fullness of glory that Revelation 18:1 speaks of? Apparently. Otherwise there’s no point to the use of the expression, “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.”

I ask you: Was it the Lord’s plan that it should take all these years since 1888? No. As Elder Daniels, who for many years was president of the General Conference, says in his book Christ Our Righteousness, written over 30 years after the 1888 Conference, “This message has never yet had full course as it should have had.” As we review what was given back there and the glorious light that God gave His people all through the 1890s and after in the books of the Spirit of Prophecy on this subject, I don’t think we need to believe that there is some little twist of theology (or some big twist of theology) that if everyone had accepted back there (or if everyone would accept today) would end the work in a blaze of glory. It is the experience of entering into the righteousness of Christ which constitutes the focal point of all the preaching. And unless that takes place, the best preaching in the world won’t accomplish it.

Certainly we must give the Lord credit for giving us, in the inspired writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, the very light that He wanted us to have on righteousness by faith. Don’t you think so? The Spirit of Prophecy plainly states that if all who had worked in the Advent movement of 1844 had accepted the third angel’s message and united in proclaiming it, we could have been in the kingdom even before 1888. We can see that what is needed all the way along is a heart acceptance.

With those thoughts before us, in our next study, we will look at several statements showing how this message was received back there. We’ve looked at some statements in our last two lessons, but there are some more we will want to study. I want to study it for two reasons: first, that we may get a bit of an idea why the message didn’t swell fully into the loud cry; second (and perhaps more important for you and me), if that was the beginning of the loud cry, and yet the fullness of the loud cry has not developed yet, will those who enter into the loud cry experience and give the loud cry message have to succeed where others have failed? You can see that, can’t you?

Whatever the difficulty was back there in the 1890s, you and I must meet it in our own experience, and the church must meet it!

-Continue on to the next study-

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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.