Ellet J. Waggoner (1855-1916) was a minister in the Seventh-day Adventist church. From around 1888 onwards, he spoke and wrote very actively about “the everlasting gospel”, and the practical way to receive “Christ’s righteousness”.
He was not alone in this work. Another man, Alonzo T. Jones, also arose at exactly the same time and in many respects their messages were in harmony, although this was not planned by them. They were believed to have a special message from God to the church, as Ellen White testified:
Testimonies to Ministers, p. 91, 92 (1895):
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.
Waggoner was also trained as a doctor, but spent most of his time in the ministry. He worked with A.T. Jones for some years in the field of Religious Liberty, and also ministered in England from 1892 to 1903, editing the British Present Truth magazine. Of his conversion, he wrote:
Many years ago, the writer sat in a tent one dismal, rainy afternoon, where a servant of the Lord was presenting the Gospel of His grace; not a word of the text or texts used, nor of what was said by the speaker, has remained with me, and I have never been conscious of having heard a word; but, in the midst of the discourse an experience came to me that was the turning point in my life. Suddenly a light shone about me, and the tent seemed illumined, as though the sun were shining; I saw Christ crucified for me, and to me was revealed for the first time in my life the fact that God loved me, and that Christ gave Himself for me personally. It was all for me. If I could describe my feelings, they would not be understood by those who have not had a similar experience, and to such no explanation is necessary.
I believed that the Bible is the word of God, penned by holy men who wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and I knew that this light that came to me was a revelation direct from heaven; therefore I knew that in the Bible I should find the message of God’s love for individual sinners, and I resolved that the rest of my life should be devoted to finding it there, and making it plain to others. The light that shone upon me that day from the cross of Christ, has been my guide in all my Bible study; wherever I have turned in the Sacred Book, I have found Christ set forth as the power of God, to the salvation of individuals, and I have never found anything else.
The message of Waggoner and Jones came to be known as the 1888 Message because it really came to the forefront at the Minneapolis General Conference of 1888. Their message fell into obscurity after their death, but was recovered in the 1950’s. It was the turmoil associated with the rediscovery of that message, and the opposition it faced in the Seventh-day Adventist Church that led to the formation of the Sabbath Rest Advent Church. Since their message is the foundation of ours, it is appropriate to include some of their writings on this website.
The Promises to Israel
This booklet was taken from the last chapters of a larger work, Prophetic Lights, but is complete in itself. It deals specifically with the promises concerning Israel, the land of promise, and the blessings surrounding the chosen nation.
- The Promises to Israel
- The First Dominion
- The Call of Abraham
- The Hope of the Promise
- The Rest that Remains
- The Throne of David
- The True Israel
- The Gathering of Israel
- The Dominion Restored
Who comprises Israel? How will the promises be fulfilled? How will the throne of David be re-established? These, and other similar questions, are explored and the answers drawn from the Bible are surprising, inspiring, and uplifting. 87p
Prophetic Lights covers the foundational prophecies from the book of Daniel: the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Pagan Rome and Papal Rome; the prophecies dealing with Christ’s first and second coming; the prophecies of Matthew 24; and the promises to Israel, to show how the gospel plan is unfolding in the prophetic events.
A.T. Jones contributed two chapters: “Testimony of the Centuries”, and “The Fall of Babylon”.
- Prophecies Concerning the Messiah
- The Transfiguration
- The Sure Word
- Testimony of the Centuries
- The Kingdom of Babylon
- The Fall of Babylon
- Medo-Persia and Greece
- The Papacy
- Christ’s Second Coming
- The Promises to Israel
This version of Prophetic Lights includes the original illustrations and headings, and as of February 2016, the text has been fully reformatted for ease of reading. 296p
Christ and His Righteousness
This small book is a good place to start if you’ve never read the 1888 message. It is a beautiful and concise presentation of the way of salvation. (As of Jan. 2016, this book is completely reformatted for ease of reading).
- How Shall We Consider Christ
- Is Christ God?
- Christ as Creator
- Is Christ a Created Being
- God Manifest in the Flesh
- Important Practical Lessons
- Christ the Lawgiver
- The Righteousness of God
- The Lord Our Righteousness
- Acceptance with God
- The Victory of Faith
- Bond-servants and Freemen
- Practical Illustrations of Deliverance from Bondage
This book, and A.T. Jones’ The Consecrated Way to Christian Perfection, set forth clearly the Everlasting Gospel that they taught from 1888 onwards. 101p
The Gospel in Creation
It directs our wondering gaze to the open pages of God’s created works as the expression of the Gospel, the power of God to save from sin.
- The 1st Day: Creation and Redemption
- The 2nd Day: “Clouds are the Dust of His Feet.”
- The 3rd Day: The Fullness of the Sea
- The 4rth Day: The Firmament Shows His Handiwork
- The 5th Day: Birds, Fishes, and Beasts
- The 6th Day: What is Man?
- The 7th Day: Resting with the Lord
Those who thoughtfully and prayerfully study the contents of this book will see this other revelation of the Gospel, the one written large in earth, and sea, and sky; a manifestation so alive and vast that it will elevate the beholder to advanced levels of faith and will strengthen the mighty workings of God’s omnipotent power within him. 123p
The Gospel in the Book of Galatians: A Review
When E.J. Waggoner was first called by God to bring the message of righteousness by faith to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he found himself opposed by many of the church leaders and ministers, especially concerning his teachings regarding the law and the gospel in the book of Galatians.
The problem was caused because Adventists, who believed and taught that the Ten Commandments were still to be obeyed (including the Sabbath), found themselves faced with some difficult scriptures in the book of Galatians which seemed to say that the Law had passed away. In order to deal with these statements, they developed a (seemingly logical) argument that the Law referred to in Galatians was the Ceremonial Law, not the Moral Law. They sometimes had public debates with Protestant ministers, where they would use these arguments to support their position.
Then along came Waggoner and declared that the Law referred to in Galatians was the Moral Law! Many rashly assumed that Waggoner was “throwing out the Law”. The leader in opposing Waggoner was the then General Conference president, George Butler. Of course, Waggoner was not setting aside the Law, but arguing for a different gospel, one in which the Law, in a certain role, did cease at the new birth. But because many Adventists at that time did not understand the gospel, they misunderstood Waggoner.
This publication is Waggoner’s letter to Butler, giving the reasons and arguments to support his position. It covers the controverted points and reveals how many Adventists were in danger of building on the shaky foundation of the “righteousness which is of the law” (Romans 10:5). 90p
- The Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Real Gospel
- Life by the Faith of Christ, the Truth of the Gospel
- Redeemed from the Curse, to the Blessing of Abraham
- The Adoption of Sons
- The Spirit’s Power over the Flesh
- The Glory of the Cross
The Epistle to the Galatians, together with its companion, the Epistle to the Romans, was the source, through the Spirit, of the Reformation of the sixteenth century, the key-note of which was, “The just shall live by faith”.
The Reformation then begun is not yet complete, and the same watchword needs to be sounded now as then. If the people of God will become filled with the truth so vividly set forth in this epistle, both the church and the world will be stirred as profoundly as in the days of Luther.
This is a verse-by-verse commentary on the book of Galatians. 144p
Bible Studies in Romans
But Waggoner’s view of the gospel contained in these books was distinctly Adventist. He saw not only forgiveness, but cleansing power. And because he was an Adventist, he saw an end of the gospel work, in the finishing of the work of sanctification for those believers who lived to see Christ come in the clouds.
Unlike the Protestants of his day, he did not set aside the Law nor seek to excuse disobedience. But he understood that the Law in the form of stony tablets, had a certain role, to convict of sin and bring the sinner to Christ. After Christ was formed within, the believer had a heart in harmony with the principles of the Law, and did not need to continually struggle and fail over the same temptations. Christ’s yoke is “easy” and His burden is “light”.
It was with these ideas that Waggoner wrote out his views on Romans which are contained in this book.
- Romans 1 – Man’s Need of the Gospel
- Romans 2 – Genuine Righteousness
- Romans 3:1-24 – The Law and the Gospel
- Romans 3:19-31 – Justification
- Romans 4:1-15 – Illustrated by Abraham
- Romans 4 (continued) – The Promise
- Romans 5:1-5 – The Fruit of Faith
- Romans 5:6-9 – The Unspeakable Gift
- Romans 5:10-21 – The Law and Grace
- Romans 6 – Connected with Christ
- Romans 7 – Deliverance from Bondage
- Romans 8:1-16 – The Evidences of Faith
- Romans 8:17-31 – The Glory of His Grace
- Romans 8:28-39 – Fullness of Blessing
- Romans 13:1-8 – Relating to Authorities
- A Review – The Everlasting Gospel
I have recently reformatted this book and added meaningful titles and subtitles to make it more accessible. 204p
Sunday – The Origin of Its Observance in the Christian Church
Catholics, historically, have no problem with Sunday being a replacement for the Biblical Sabbath. “The Church changed the day,” they say, and that settles it for them. Protestants, on the other hand, who claim to believe in Sola Scriptura (The Bible and the Bible only), must either admit that the seventh-day Sabbath is God’s designated time for rest and worship, or find a Bible reason for the change.
Some resort to throwing out the whole Law entirely. “We are not ‘under the Law’!”, they exclaim. This does not really solve the matter, as Jesus’ kingdom is one of righteousness, and how can righteousness be established by throwing out the standard of righteousness?
One other popular explanation is to say that the Apostles, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, changed the day to Sunday. They would have us believe that the change happened right away in the early Church, and was consistently followed thereafter. It is this excuse that this book was designed to deal with.
Waggoner digs into the historical records, using sources written by Sunday-keepers, to show that the change from Sabbath to Sunday was slow and gradual, and was facilitated by the Church’s increasing adoption of paganism: pagan philosophy, pagan ideas, pagan rites and ceremonies.
- Antiquity, Universality, and Nature of Sun Worship
- Apostasy from Jehovah Worship to Sun Worship
- Apostasy Leads to Sabbath Desecration
- Heathen Influences in the Church
- The Eclectic Philosophy
- Origen’s Part in Paganizing the Church
- Results of the Philosophical Handling of the Bible
- The Church Completely Paganized
- Pagan Response to the Church’s Advances
- Constantine, the Church and Sunday
For those who have never studied this history, the book provides a good overview of the forces that were at work to cause this “breach” in the Law. 102p
The Divinity of Christ
- The Words of Christ and Others Claim His Divinity
- The Works of Christ Prove His Divine Nature
- His Pre-Existence and Equality with the Father
- Christ as Lawgiver
- Lawgiver and Redeemer
It is the divinity of Christ that:
- exalts the Father’s love (for the Father gave not just a created being, but one of himself for us);
- upholds the sacredness of God’s law (transgression of the law required the death of one who was equal to God);
- shows the awful nature of sin (only one equal with God could pay the price); and
- reveals the awesome heights to which redeemed sinners will be lifted by partaking of Christ’s divine seed (to sit with Him in His throne, and hold open communion with the Father himself).
For these reasons, it is good to remind ourselves of the Scriptural evidences for Christ’s divinity, which are laid out in this booklet. 24p
The Honor Due to God
The subject of “tithes and offerings” was also the theme of the Adult Sabbbath School Lessons for the third quarter of 1889, so this booklet may have been released as an aid to, or as a result of, those studies.
- The Honor Due to God
- A New Covenant Ordinance
- God’s Promises
- Looking Beyond the Temporal
- Systematic Giving
- Wholehearted Consecration
It explains the details of Tithes and Offerings, as well as the privileges and promises associated with generosity and cultivation of a spirit of self-sacrifice. 62p
A Witness to All Nations
This series of articles appeared in The Present Truth, in the fall of 1903, and was the last larger written work by Waggoner. He continued writing health and devotional articles for The Medical Missionary magazine until 1909, but apparently not at such length, nor on this theme.
The theme of this work is the Three Angel’s Messages of Revelation 14. It starts with explaining the “everlasting gospel” and progresses through the judgment, the beast and his image, and the fall of Babylon.
It is, as expected, a wonderful blend of gospel, prophecy, and law, with many precious insights into the spiritual nature and meaning of the prophetic word. 52p
- The Everlasting Gospel
- The Hour of Judgment
- The Judgment of the Wicked
- Babylon is Fallen
- The Beast and His Mark
- Worshiping the Beast
Baptism: Its Significance
This small work explores Baptism: it’s meaning, when to do it, what it symbolizes, the mode, but especially does it dwell on the spiritual experience.
It’s a very nice summary for anyone who is contemplating baptism, or would like to know more about it. 12p
- Joined to Christ and the Church
- When Should it be Done?
- Sharing His Death and Resurrection
- The Steps in Conversion
- Trading the Old Life for the New
- How to Submit
- An Exchange of Life
- Living by Faith
- The Age for Baptism
- The Mode of Baptism
The Rock and the Keys
This small work discusses Matthew 16:15-19, where Jesus told Peter that “upon this rock will I build my church,” and then said that He would give him the “keys of the kingdom”.
The Roman Catholic church uses these verses to support her claim that Peter was the rock, and the one who had the “keys” and therefore was the first in the line of popes in the church.
This booklet puts those claims to the test of “the Bible and the Bible only” and then goes on to explain what those verses actually mean. 11p
- Who is the Rock?
- How to Build on the Rock
- We are Living Stones
- The Gates of Hell
- What are the Keys?
- Binding and Loosing
- What about Peter?
Under the Law
Here are a collection of articles from E.J. Waggoner on the theme of Law and Grace. In particular, there are two series that cover the texts with the phrase “under the law”, and one series about the text that “Christ is the end of the Law”.
Both of these phrases are commonly used by modern Christians to excuse themselves from being accountable to the Law of God for their behavior. Especially do they wish to avoid the Sabbath commandment, and so, discarding the whole law is an easy way to accomplish that.
But Waggoner shows in these dissertations, that such a view is contrary to the real meaning of Scripture, and that such a false view ends up throwing away the ministry of the Law as a God-given agency to lead to the knowledge of sin, repentance, and salvation. 148p
Under the Law (1886)
- Life or Death
- The Galatian Problem
- Old and New Covenant
- In the Law
Christ: The End of the Law
- An Important Question
- Nature of the Law
- Condemned and Justified
- A New Creature in Christ
- Christ the End of the Law
- All Things Through Christ
Under the Law (1884)
- Righteousness and Grace
- Righteousness is Obedience
- The Role of the Law
- The Law and Christ
- Relation of the Law and Grace
- Logical Antinomianism
- The Relation of the World to God
- Not Under the Law
- Common Sense in Religion
Spiritualism is the belief that people have immortality in them and therefore live on after death, and can therefore be communicated with, or invoked. It was a foundation in heathen religions, and finds it’s way into various forms of Christianity through the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul.
This book traces the connection between the immortality of the soul, self-exaltation, and the development of immorality. There are sections dealing with the rise of spiritualism (in Waggoner’s day, which now finds more popular acceptance in teachings such as “New Age”), sections on Protestantism and Spiritualism, and sections on Catholicism.
Certainly since this book was written (1888), Spiritualism has made huge strides into the so-called Christian churches through Pentecostalism. But as always, the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul lays the foundation for this, as Waggoner carefully points out in this important study. 99p
- The Spirit of Antichrist
- Natural Immortality
- The Cause of Sin
- The Source of Idolatry
- The Spirits of Devils
- Using Good Works to Deceive
- Christian Spiritualism
- Communication with the Dead
- Preparing the Way
- Calling Evil Good
- Imitating the Second Advent
- Purgatory and Indulgences
- Mary in the Place of Christ
- Encouraging Wickedness
- Let Them Laugh
The Law of Life
From Sinai came lightnings, thunderings, and the threat of death. From the Rock that Moses spoke to came the water of life. These are the two ministrations that God gives, through His Law, to remedy man’s sinful condition. They work in perfect harmony.
The Law of Ten Commandments and the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus, both represent God’s perfect righteousness: one applied to convict, the other applied to heal.
These precious studies open up some of the exceeding broadness of the Law. The Spirit uses the Law to search the deep things of the heart. By the law comes the knowledge of sin. And then through Christ, a life that is in harmony with those precepts is offered, so that the commands come to us as promises.
These are some of the most practical writings Waggoner ever produced. Highly recommended. 161p
- The First Commandment
- The Second Commandment
- The Third Commandment
- The Fourth Commandment
- The Fifth Commandment
- The Sixth Commandment
- The Seventh Commandment
- The Eighth Commandment
- The Ninth Commandment
- The Tenth Commandment
- The Law of the Spirit of Life
The Lord’s Day
John was in the Spirit on “the Lord’s Day” when he was given the visions that comprise the book of Revelation. Sunday-keeping Christians have seized on this phrase to support the idea that the apostolic church kept Sunday instead of Sabbath, to honor Christ’s resurrection.
In this collection of articles, Waggoner investigates the arguments used support Sunday-keeping, and brings them to the test of “the Bible and the Bible only”. He also uses Scripture to define exactly which day is the “Lord’s day”.
These were originally published in Signs of the Times magazine, from 1883 to 1884. The first two are independent articles, and the last six are part of a series. But they are all on the same theme, so I have put them all together. 49p
- An Authoritative Statement
- Reasons for Not Observing Saturday
- The Early Church Customs
- Which Lord?
- Which Day?
- The Example of Jesus Christ
- In the New Testament
- The First Day of the Week
The Everlasting Gospel
“Worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” This command, part of the everlasting gospel message of Revelation 14:6-7, points to God’s power as revealed in the creation. This book (subtitled: “God’s Saving Power in the Things That Are Made”) delves into that topic, showing that the same power of God which is all around us every day, is available to work in us, to remove sin and keep us from sinning.
Waggoner wrote on the same topic many years prior to these studies, in a book called “The Gospel in Creation” (published in 1893). These presentations are more mature and developed.
These articles were all taken from the 1898 Present Truth magazine, which Waggoner published in England. There are 27 studies on the main topic, but along with these were other studies included in the same issues of each magazine, which were related. I have included these 47 articles in a section called “Related Articles”, after the main theme (these are not shown in the Contents listing below, but are included in the Contents pages of the book itself). 424p
- Why Was the Creation Story Written?
- The Beginning
- Power and Wisdom
- Power and Mercy
- The Spirit’s Work
- The Power That Draws
- The Light
- The Light of Life
- Clouds and Rain
- Rain and Righteousness
- The River of Life
- The Air
- The Seas
- Sowing the Seed
- The Seed Quickened
- All Flesh Is Grass
- The Power of Growth
- Intelligent Action in Plants
- The Glory of the Heavens
- The Animal Creation
- The Dust of the Earth
- Man’s Dominion
- Food Out of the Earth
- His Commandment is Life Everlasting
- God’s Rest
- The Beauty of the Lord
- The Fullness of God
Leaves from the Tree of Life
Waggoner wrote these articles between the years 1897 and 1909, for The Medical Missionary magazine. These articles therefore constitute some of the last known written material from the pen of E.J. Waggoner.
They are significant for a number of reasons. First, they include many articles on the topics of health and healing, which is the “right arm” of the Gospel work. Secondly, there are some rare commentaries on well-known Scriptures such as Psalm 23, 1 Corinthians 13, The Lord’s Prayer, etc., included in the “Daily Bread” section: a series of daily readings for many of the months of 1904.
The work of a Gospel Doctor is clearly displayed in these writings. Waggoner had a wonderful gift from the Lord for revealing the closeness of God’s working in the world of nature, and the application of spiritual Laws in the physical realm. This is particularly apparent in the last chapter of this book, “Spiritual Law in the Natural World.” 388p
- Himself He Cannot Save
- The Light and Life of Men
- The Spirit of Wine versus the Spirit of God
- Thoughts on Health and Healing
- Co-Workers with God
- Present Truth, part 1
- Present Truth, part 2
- Present Truth, part 3
- The Common Life
- Healing through Faith, part 1
- Healing through Faith, part 2
- Healing through Faith, part 3
- Eat That Which Is Good
- The True Priesthood
- Back to Nature
- Saving, Not Stoning, Sinners
- A Lesson for All Workers
- He Bore Our Sicknesses
- New Light and New Sight
- Looking Forward
- Workers Together with God
- Preparation for Service
- Has God Arbitrarily Limited Man’s Age?
- Why the Japanese Succeed
- Tired of Life
- An Incentive to Thoroughness
- My Life Work
- The Lord’s Prayer
- Is Any Afflicted? Let Him Pray
- Our Father
- The Holy Name
- After Us—What?
- Thanks for All Things
- Comfort from Adversity
- God’s Case in Court
- Justification in Condemnation
The Full Length Articles
- The Sufficiency of God
- Thankfulness and Praise
- Our Creator is Our Saviour
- Psalm 23, 27, 16 & 17
- Psalm 30, 31, 33, 35 & 37
- Psalm 20, 116 & 121
- The Word of God
- Health of Body and Soul
- Spiritual Law in the Natural World
The Daily Bread Articles