Return to Ancient SDA's top Summary





Part One of Three

Pics of the actual book pages mentioned in this history are available at various Appendices.

If you find any links that don't work, will you please let me know and I will endeavour to reconnect them.  I promise that you will not receive any unwanted emails from me except to let you know when the link is up again.



Dear Reader,

This history is NOT written to accuse or condemn any individual, but simply to draw attention to the fact that the "Third Angel's Message" has not done the work that God intended it to do since its beginning. [To see Wieland and Short's (1950) thoughts on this].

It IS written to emphasise and make as clear as possible the reason for this failure, for God tells us that Laodiceans do NOT KNOW their problem. Why not? Because they do not believe there is one!

"I am commissioned now to say to our brethren, Humble yourselves, and confess your sins, else God will humble you. The message to the Laodicean church comes home to those who do not apply it to themselves. They are neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm". Counsels to Writers and Editors, page 99 (DocID: 15897).

It is prayerfully hoped that by the time you have read all the evidence presented here you will seek the LORD yourself for information on how you may help Him to clear up this problem in your life, for you have it, as well as I! We are both members of the last church which will exist before the second coming of Jesus and thus have the God-given ability to "hasten" that event as Peter tells us.

  • "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto [or hastening on] the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" 2 Peter 3:9-12.

    It is already more than 150 years overdue!

    (EGW quotes with DocID identification are taken directly from the EGW computer disk.)






    1833 - 1844

    Speaking of William Miller and the messages he brought to the falling churches, the testimony of Jesus says:-

  • "As his work tended to build up the churches, it was for a time regarded with favour. But as ministers and religious leaders decided against the advent doctrine and desired to suppress all agitation of the subject, they not only opposed it from the pulpit, but denied their members the privilege of attending preaching upon the second advent, or even of speaking of their hope in the social meetings of the church. Thus the believers found themselves in a position of great trial and perplexity. They loved their churches and were loathe to separate from them; but as they saw the testimony of God's word suppressed and their right to investigate the prophecies denied they felt that loyalty to God forbade them to submit. Those who sought to shut out the testimony of God's word they could not regard as constituting the church of Christ, 'the pillar and ground of the truth'. Hence they felt themselves justified in separating from their former connection. In the summer of 1844 about fifty thousand withdrew from the churches". The Great Controversy, page 376.
  • We are told on the same page that there was at this time "a sudden and marked declension [backsliding]" in the behaviour of the Protestant churches, and they now left God as finally and completely as had the Jews in 34AD. Those Christians who separated from them at this time did so because God called them by the second angel's message.

    In the earlier edition of Great Controversy (1884), also known as Spirit of Prophecy Vol 4, there is this sentence in the middle of the paragraph just quoted:

  • "In the days of the reformation, the gentle and pious Melancthon declared, 'There is no other church than the assembly of those who have the word of God, and who are purified by it'".
  • Then these words follow, "…. and as the message, 'Babylon is fallen' began to be proclaimed, they felt themselves justified in separating ..." S of P Vol 4, Page 237. See Appendix A for the full pages

    (If you would like to know why they "felt... justified in separating" and WHY they were correct AT THIS TIME while subsequent offshoots from the church are not right, check out the overlapping dispensations of Crozier's book, "The Sanctuary" on this site.)

    Those who left the Protestant churches were so sure and full of faith that they could easily choose between the true church and the religious "organisations" of that time (that is, between the true God and Baal).

    But, unfortunately, after the great disappointment came on 22 October 1844, very few of these were willing to go on with the new light that God revealed in the third message regarding the "mark of the beast". Only a few hundred of that great number accepted the third message and proclaimed the Sabbath to the world - these then must surely have been the most sure and faithful!

    How the angels of heaven must have regarded those souls! How Jesus must have smiled on them! They went forth as "Philadelphians" to proclaim a warning to the world. Revelation 3:7-13.

    But, alas, how soon is the fine gold dimmed.



  • "As I have of late looked around to find the humble followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, my mind has been much exercised. Many who profess to be looking for the speedy coming of Christ are becoming conformed to this world and seek more earnestly the applause of those around them than the approbation of God. They are cold and formal like the nominal churches from which they but a short time since separated. The words addressed to the Laodicean church describe their present condition perfectly. [See Revelation 3:14-20]. They are 'neither cold nor hot', but 'lukewarm'. Unless they heed the counsel of the 'faithful and true Witness' and zealously repent and obtain 'gold tried in the fire', 'white raiment', and 'eyesalve', He will spew them out of His mouth". [Review & Herald 10 June, 1852] Early Writings pages 107-108.
  • The warning of the true Witness was that they had become such as are described in those verses, thereby rejecting Him and making Him stand "at the door and knock". The awful part of His admonition is that He says those addressed do not believe their condition and therefore refuse to hear the desperate pleas sent to them by a loving God.

    We have also been told:-

  • "The history of ancient Israel is a striking illustration of the past experience of the Adventist body". GC 457.
  • and

  • "If all who had laboured unitedly in the work in 1844, had received the third angel's message and proclaimed it in the power of the Holy Spirit, the LORD would have wrought mightily with their efforts. A flood of light would have been shed upon the world. Years ago the inhabitants of the earth would have been warned, the closing work completed, and Christ would have come for the redemption of His people.

    "It was not the will of God that Israel should wander forty years in the wilderness; He desired to lead them directly to the land of Canaan and establish them there, a holy, happy people. But 'they could not enter in because of unbelief'. Hebrews 3:19. Because of their backsliding and apostasy they perished in the desert, and others were raised up to enter the Promised Land. In like manner, it was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be so long delayed and His people remain so many years in this world of sin and sorrow. But unbelief separated them from God [also]. As they refused to do the work which He had appointed them, others were raised up to proclaim the message". Great Controversy, page 458.

  • How are the mighty fallen! The little flock had become lukewarm though wilful ignorance, and to protect and preserve the people and the message, God now sent testimonies on organisation.



  • "The result was that in 1860 a church name, Seventh-day Adventist, was chosen and a legal body created to hold church property. This was followed, in 1861, by the organisation of our first conference, Michigan". Church Manual, page 18. See Appendix B for this.
  • So the Laodicean "organisation" came into being due to the rejection of the three angels' messages some time after 1844, and the fall into the Laodicean condition. This state of affairs continued for many years while God prepared "the others" who were to be raised up to proclaim the warning. Then, when the time was right, God brought again the three-fold message to His people.



  • "The LORD in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones... It presented justification by faith in the Surety [the gold tried in the fire]; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ [the white raiment]; which is made manifest in obedience [the eyesalve] 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 ... 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". Testimonies to Ministers, pages 91-92.

    "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 fibre of my heart said, Amen". Ms 5, 19 June 1889, page 10 (DocID 188985). See also Appendix M.

  • Thus the message of God came to the church through His ministers at a General Conference session held in Minneapolis in the year 1888. Further comment says:-

  • "For years the church has been looking to man, and expecting much from man, but not looking to Jesus, in whom our hopes of eternal life are centred. Therefore God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message, in clear, distinct lines". Testimonies to Ministers, p93.

    "There was but little love for God or man [in the church], and God gave to His messengers just what the people needed ... The LORD would have these grand themes studied in our churches, and if every church member shall give entrance to the word of God, it will give light and understanding to the simple". ibid pages 95-96.

  • Note the references on page 96 to the prophecies which will be fulfilled, especially the latter part of Isaiah 43.

    This message was just what was needed by Laodicea because it was the very counsel given by the true Witness. Justification through faith is "gold tried in the fire;" righteousness is "white raiment;" and obedience to all the commandments is only possible through the "eyesalve" of the Holy Spirit's conviction: and they are all the gospel of salvation. The first angel's warning of "judgment now" needed to be underpinned by the everlasting gospel as it written:-

  • "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having [by their actions] the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters". Revelation 14:6-7
  • But how was this message received by the ministry?

  • "I would speak in warning to those who have stood for years resisting light and cherishing the spirit of opposition. How long will you hate and despise the messengers of God's righteousness? God has given them His message. They bear the word of the LORD ... Light and power from on high have been shed abundantly in the midst of you. Here was evidence, that all might discern whom the LORD recognised as His servants. But there are those who despised the men and the message they bore. They have taunted them with being fanatics, extremists, and enthusiasts ... I have no smooth message to bear to those who have been so long as false guideposts, pointing the wrong way. If you reject Christ's delegated messengers, you reject Christ". Testimonies to Ministers, pp 96-97.
  • For three years after the majority of the ministers turned them down at the 1888 conference, the battle raged and Waggoner, Jones, and Sister White tried hard to reach the people with the truth. Among the congregation some accepted, some rejected, and many sat on the fence, neutral in a time of religious crisis. But as we are told,

  • "If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God". 3T 281.


    Therefore, after the three years, the LORD took a hand and allowed His servant to labour in another part of the world. The eyes of the church, the Seer, (1 Samuel 9:9) were taken away when Sister White came to Australia and New Zealand for the next ten years because God did not want her to "see" with her physical eyes what His people were going to do. During her absence she wrote many letters and testimonies and received calls to return to America, but in a letter written to the President of the church in 1896, after five years of absence, she refused to return and gave the reasons.

  • "Brother Olsen,

    You speak of my return to America. For three years I stood in Battle Creek as a witness for the truth. Those who then refused to receive the testimony given me by God for them, and rejected the evidences attending these testimonies, would not be benefited should I return". Special Instruction relating to the R&H Office, and the work in Battle Creek, page 16. (DocID 179350).

    "I shall write to you but should I return to Battle Creek and bear my testimony to those who love not the truth, the ever-ready words would arise from unbelieving hearts. 'Somebody has told her'.

    "Even now unbelief is expressed by the words, 'Who has written these things to Sister White? But I know of no one who knows them as they are, and no one who could write that which he does not suppose has an existence. Some One has told me, He who does not falsify, misjudge, or exaggerate any case. While in Minneapolis He bade me follow Him from room to room, that I might hear what was spoken in the bedchamber. The enemy had things very much his own way. I heard no word of prayer, but I heard my name mentioned in a slurring, criticizing way". Special Instruction relating to RH Office (DocID 179351)

  • For several years after her move to the southern continent it was a mystery to Sister White why the LORD had not given specific light to her on the matter of the request of the General Conference that she go to Australia. While she recognised that the work there had certainly benefited by her presence, there were some questions that again and again came to her mind. Now, the situation opened up to her and the picture grew clearer. On 1st December 1896, in writing to the head of the church she spoke of God's intent:

  • "That the people of Battle Creek should feel that they could have us leave at the time we did was the result of man's devising, and not the LORD's. The sum of the matter is proved, and its figures are laid before you. We are here. The Battle Creek matters have been laid before me at this great distance, and the load I have carried has been very heavy to bear ...

    "There was so great a willingness to have us leave [America] that the LORD permitted this thing to take place. Those who were weary of the testimonies borne were left without the persons who bore them. Our separation from Battle Creek was to let men have their own will and way, which they thought superior to the way of the LORD.

    "The result is before you. Had you stood in the right position, the move would not have been made at that time. The LORD would have worked for Australia by other means, and a strong influence would have been held at Battle Creek, the great heart of the work. There we should have stood shoulder to shoulder, creating a healthful atmosphere to be felt in all our conferences.

    "It was not the LORD who devised this matter. I could not get one ray of light to leave America. But when the LORD presented this matter to me as it really was, I opened my lips to no one, because I knew that no one would discern the matter in all its bearings. When we left, relief was felt by many, but not so by yourself, and the LORD was displeased, for He had set us to stand at the wheels of the moving machinery at Battle Creek.

    "He [God] understands all about the mistakes of the past, and He will help you. But wherever you may be, never, never tread over the same ground". The Australian Years, Vol 4:258-259 (DocID 233053-233058)

  • And later she wrote:

  • "Dear Brother Olsen,

    I have not, I think, revealed the entire working that led me here to Australia. Perhaps you may never fully understand the matter. The LORD was not in our leaving America. He did not reveal that it was His will that I should leave Battle Creek. The LORD did not plan this, but He let you all move after your own imaginings. The LORD would have had W. C. White, his mother, and her workers remain in America. We were needed at the heart of the work ... But the LORD reads the hearts of all. There was so great a willingness to have us leave, that the LORD permitted this thing to take place. Those who were weary of the testimonies borne were left without the persons who bore them. Our separation from Battle Creek was to let men have their own will and way, which they thought superior to the way of the LORD". Manuscript Releases Vol 10 p392 (DocID 195808).

  • Battle Creek being at that time the denominational headquarters, it is obvious that many of the leaders did not accept Sister White as a messenger from God. Continuing on in her letter she says, "I do not suppose I shall ever revisit America. I shall be seventy years old next November [1897]". (DocID 195812)

    This same period is mentioned in many other places in the book "Testimonies to Ministers". e.g. Pages 76-77; 63; 69; 465-7.

    Again, in another testimony written in 1895:

  • "Some have been cultivating hatred against the men whom God has commissioned to bear a special message to the world. They began this satanic work at Minneapolis. Afterward, when they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more, because it was a testimony against them. They would not humble their hearts to repent, to give God the glory, and vindicate the right. They went on in their own spirit, filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings, as did the Jews. They opened their hearts to the enemy of God and man. Yet these men have been holding positions of trust, and have been molding the work after their own similitude, as far as they possibly could ..." Testimonies to Ministers, 79-80.

    "I call upon God's people to open their eyes. When you sanction or carry out the decisions of men who, you know, are not in harmony with truth and righteousness, you weaken your own faith, and lose your relish for communion with God. You seem to hear the voice which was addressed to Joshua: 'Wherein liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them ... There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel'. 'Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you'. Christ declares, 'He that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad'". Testimonies to Ministers, page 91.

  • The whole purpose of the book "Testimonies to Ministers" was summed up in the opening words of the preface of the 1923 edition, but these were dropped in the 1944 printing.

  • "The General Conference held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1888, marked a crisis in the work of the great threefold message. From the wrong side of that crisis back to the heaven-born principles of the Bible the spirit of prophecy brought us". See page in Appendix C.


    Then, at the General Conference held in 1901 after her return to America, the servant of the LORD came to bear His testimony, and at a meeting held in the library at Battle Creek College, these words were spoken.

  • "I would prefer not to speak today, but still not because I have nothing to say, because I have; I have something to say ... The work has been increasing; it has been growing; and from the light that I have had for some time, and has been expressed over and over again, not to all there are here, but has been expressed to individuals, and the plans that God would have all to work from, that never should one mind or two minds or three minds nor four or a few minds I should say, be considered of sufficient wisdom and power to control and mark out plans ....

    "And in reference to our Conference, it is repeated o'er and o'er again, that it is the voice of God, and therefore everything must be referred to the Conference, and have the Conference voice in regard to permission or restriction for what shall and what shall not be done in the various fields ...

    "There was a narrow compass here; there within that narrow compass is a king-like, kingly ruling power. [Comment]. Here the outlets are blocked. And the work all over our field demands an entirely different course of action than we have had. We have heard enough, abundance, about that 'Everything must go around in the regular way'. When we see the regular lines are altered and purified and refined, and the God of heaven's mold is upon the regular lines, then it is our business to establish the regular lines.

    "But when we see message after message that God has given has been accepted, but no change, just the same as it was before, then it is evident that new blood must be brought into the regular lines. The leaders of the regular lines, they must have an entire change, an entire new organisation, and to have a committee that shall take in not merely half a dozen ...

    "To have this Conference pass on and close up as the Conferences have done, with the same manipulating, with the very same tone, and the same order - God forbid! (Voices "Amen") God forbid, brethren. (Voices, "Amen") ... And this thing has been continued, and renewed for the last fifteen years or more [1901-15=1886], and God calls for a change ...

    "Let me tell you that the enemy is getting the victory all the time ... Now God wants a change ... But God is going to have a change ... God means what He says, 'I want a change here'. Will it be the same thing - going over and over the same ideas, the same committees - and here is the little throne, the king is in there ... I feel intensely in this matter. I do not want to talk here, but I dare not hold my peace ... Now the LORD wants His Spirit to come in. He wants the Holy Ghost king". Spaulding and Magan collection, pages 162-166 (DocID 221165-221177)

  • Some of the wrong principles that had come into the organisation are revealed in a message given about 1907, for they were still present then.

  • "A strange thing has come into our churches. Men who are placed in positions of responsibility that they may be wise helpers to their fellow workers have come to suppose that they were set as kings and rulers in the churches, to say to that brother, Do this; to another, Do that; and to another, Be sure to labour in such and such a way. There have been places where the workers have been told that if they did not follow the instruction of these men of responsibility, their pay from the Conference would be withheld ... In my earlier experiences in the message, I was called to meet this evil. During my labours in Europe and Australia, and more recently at the San Jose camp meeting in 1905, I had to bear my testimony of warning against it, because souls were being led to look to man for wisdom, instead of looking to God, who is our wisdom, our sanctification, and our righteousness. And now the same message has been given me, more definite and decisive, because there has been a deeper offense to the Spirit of God". Testimonies to Ministers, page 477.
  • In a letter to Pastor Daniells the following comment was penned.

  • "Divine wisdom must have abundant room in which to work. It is to advance without asking permission or support from those who taken to themselves a kingly power. In the past one set of men have tried to keep in their own hands the control of all the means coming into the churches, and have used this means in a most disproportionate manner, erecting expensive buildings where such large buildings were unnecessary and uncalled for and leaving needy places without help or encouragement". MR Vol 14:203, 28 JUNE, 1901 (DocID 199805-806)
  • For five days the Spirit laboured among the delegates at this Conference of 1901, and then an apparent change came about. The inspired comment on this was:

  • "I was never more astonished in my life than at the turn taken at this meeting. This is not our work. God has brought it about". General Conference Bulletin 1901, page 464 (DocID 117284)
  • A new constitution was brought into being and under this one of the changes was that the position of General Conference President was abolished, and provision made for a chairman of the General Conference Committee. This was done to escape the possibility of another kingly power arising in that Committee, for in America the title of president carries with it unlimited power while a chairman can be removed very easily by his committee.



    But by the General Conference of 1903 that decision had been reversed!

    How this came about is best described by Pastor Daniells!

  • "Soon after the Executive Committee had been elected [in 1901] they met to organise themselves. They elected a chairman, a secretary, a treasurer, and an auditor. They also appointed some department committees and officers.

    "The Executive Committee elected me as chairman. It was a very busy time. Everybody was pressed with the closing work of the Conference. My term of office and my duties as chairman were not defined by the committee. As time passed on and I got to know the real work of the conference, I found myself at a loss sometimes to know just how to apply the title 'chairman'. In doing business with the railway associations, in signing documents sent to our office by Government statisticians, and in other matters, I was supposed to sign the blanks as president, and I did so. Sometime during the year, I do not remember just when, in making up the letterhead for the General Conference stationery, I had the word 'president' attached to my name. In calling the General Conference session to be held in Oakland in April 1903, I attached the word 'president' to my name.

    "I have never denied having assumed the title 'president'. I have never apologised for having done so. I have never known that I committed any great wrong in using that title. I did not see any great difference between the words 'chairman' and 'president'.

    "Although the title 'president' was attached to my name on the General Conference letterhead, and I was generally designated by that title at camp meetings and elsewhere, no member of the General Conference Committee ever reproved me for this, nor criticised me to my face for it". Quoted in Through Crisis to Victory, pages 317-8.

    For more on this, and why the change was necessary, see Appendix D

  • At that later Conference [1903] Sister White said,

  • "Today God is watching His people. Let us not move along as if there were nothing wrong ... This is the message, that, at the last General Conference, I bore as the word of the LORD. At that meeting I carried a heavy burden and I have carried it ever since. We did not gain the victory that we might have gained at that meeting". General Conference Bulletin 1903, page 32 (DocID 235333-235336)
  • She also said sadly,

  • "Brethren and Sisters, from the light given me, I know that if the people of God had preserved a living connection with Him, if they had obeyed His voice, they would today be in the heavenly Canaan"! id page 9 (DocID 22914)
  • Thus we see again the results of refusing to receive the counsel of the true Witness which He tries so hard to bring to us. This state of affairs continued for many years after Sister White died in 1915 and the next milestone in this short history is:-



    In this year Pastor Daniells, who had been elected the president in 1903 against the plain testimony of the LORD, published a book regarding the third angel's message and its reception, based on studies of the Spirit of Prophecy writings from 1887 to 1912. This volume is called "Christ our Righteousness" and has been readily available through Seventh-day Adventist Book and Bible Houses.

  • "So vast was the field of study opened up, so marvellous and illuminating the hidden gems of truth which came to light that I became amazed and awed at the solemn obligation resting upon me, of rescuing these gems from their obscurity, and placing them, in a cluster of brilliance and beauty, where they would win rightful recognition and acceptance in the glorious finishing of the work entrusted to the remnant church". Page 5.

    "In our blindness and dullness of heart, we have wandered far out of the way, and for many years have been failing to appropriate this sublime truth [written in 1924] ". Page 6. Appendix E. .................................... [Back to "New Theology]

  • The reason for his use of the title of president - in spite of the new constitution of 19001, is made plain by his own statement which we have read above. Now he tells us that he found, for the first time, the great amazing fact that sinners may receive the righteousness of God. This in 1924, twenty-one years after his acceptance of the presidency!!!

    If he himself, the head of the church, did not know this fundamental FACT of Christianity (and of Christ our Righteousness), how could it be expected that the majority of the church would know it? And if they did not know it, how could they tell the world the solution to its problems?

    He wrote:

  • "A careful, connected study of the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy regarding the subject of righteousness by faith, has led to the settled conviction that the instruction given presents two aspects:

    primarily, the great, amazing fact that BY FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD, SINNERS MAY RECEIVE THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD [emphasis his], and

    secondarily, the purpose and providence of God in sending the specific message of receiving the righteousness of God by faith to His people assembled in General Conference in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the year 1888.

    "This latter aspect cannot be disregarded by Seventh-day Adventists without missing a most important lesson that the LORD designed to teach us". Pages 6-7. See Appendix E 2nd time for the original pages.

  • To Part Two


    Back to Ancient SDA's