The question of which law was the Law in Galatians was the focal point of the doctrinal battle that took place during the 1888 Bible conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Why is it so vital for us to understand the central points related to this question? The Law in Galatians reveals whether we understand the Everlasting Covenant correctly in the details of Scripture. While it is possible to grasp the central theme of the everlasting covenant, this theme must be understood in the details of Scripture to be truly appreciated and taught from Scripture. This is particularly true concerning the writings of Paul.
As history records the issues in Galatians 3 are directly related to understanding justification by faith.
At 9 a.m. Elder Waggoner continued his lessons on the law and gospel. The Scriptures considered were the fifteenth chapter of Acts and the second and third of Galatians, compared with Romans 4 and other passages in Romans. His purpose was to show that the real point of controversy was justification by faith in Christ, which faith is reckoned to us as to Abraham, for righteousness. The covenant and promises to Abraham are the covenant and promises to us. “Third Day’s Proceedings, Friday, Oct. 19, 1888,” General Conference Daily Bulletin 2, 1 (Oct. 21, 1888), p. 1.
Ellen White confirmed that this message was justification by faith in verity.
Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message, and I have answered, "It is the third angel's message, in verity."-- The Review and Herald, April 1, 1890.
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. TM 91,92
This message was suppressed within the church as much as possible by the majority of leaders who rejected this message and controlled the mediums of communication with the church at large. When A.T Jones was given the position of editor of the Review and Herald he was given the opportunity to express a carefully reasoned explanation of the 1888 message understanding of the Law in Galatians. We are reproducing his commentary on Galatians 3:19 here as much of the conflict centred around this verse and when would be the fulfilment of the phrase “till the seed should come.”
I encourage the reader to study this commentary on Galatians 3:19 carefully. Elder A.T. Jones under the inspiration of the Spirit of God uses his characteristic razor sharp logic to present the Bible evidence that helps to underpin the key points of the 1888 message. This commentary lays the ground work to shatter the chains of the long held protestant view regarding the covenants that short circuits the power of righteousness by faith that is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God.
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, [message] and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Rev 1:3