This book, Waggoner’s magnum opus upon the subject of the covenants, traces the gospel through the Old Testament with special attention to God’s promises to Abraham, and their fulfillment down through the ages and to the time yet to come. Waggoner clearly demonstrates from the scriptures that God’s plan has ever been, and ever will be, the same; that there is one unifying “everlasting gospel” from Genesis to Revelation.
Key thoughts in relation to the covenants contained within this thoroughly interesting book were presented previously by E. J. Waggoner at the Minneapolis General Conference of 1888, and were shortly afterward incorporated into the Sabbath School Lessons for 1889-1890, and also into the 1889 edition of Bible Readings for the Home.
Around that time, in March of 1890, Mrs. Ellen G. White bore the following testimony:
I am much pleased to learn that Professor Prescott is giving the same lessons in his class to the students that Brother Waggoner has been giving. He is presenting the covenants. … Since I made the statement last Sabbath that the view of the covenants as it had been taught by Brother Waggoner was truth, it seems that great relief has come to many minds.—Letter 30, March 10, 1890, par. 7, 8 (Letter of Ellen G. White to W.C. & Mary White)
Later, by May of 1896, Waggoner completed a larger and expanded work on this theme, however it was turned down by the Book Committee in America. Waggoner published the forty chapters of his draft manuscript as a series of articles in the Present Truth periodical magazine in England over the span of about one year until May 1897. By 1900, Waggoner’s manuscript, essentially verbatim from his Present Truth series of articles, plus another two additional chapters, was at last published in a proper book format, not in America, but in England, via the Seventh-day Adventist arm of the publishing work, the International Tract Society, in London.
A. G. Daniells, General Conference President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from 1901 to 1922, not only highly recommended the book for its teachings on the covenants, but hoped that it might break up the darkness caused by those who were still opposed to the light that came to Minneapolis in 1888:
A great blessing would come to our people from reading the book. I do not know whether you have ever given this book a careful examination or not. Its name, The Everlasting Covenant, suggests its scope. It leads us to the very heart of the great gospel of Christ. It opens up God’s plan of saving the world by grace through faith in Christ. It strikes that great key-note of the Reformation; namely, justification by faith. It shows weakness and folly of the covenant of works.
The book really deals with the great question that so agitated our people at Minneapolis, and so far as I know, is the only Masterpiece that has been written on this subject since the Minneapolis meeting. Much has been written on this subject for our papers by Sister White, Brother Waggoner, Brother Jones and Brother Wilcox, but The Everlasting Covenant is the only large work dealing with the great theme that has been produced.
The book has been printed about two years, but it has never been circulated among our people outside of England. A few copies have been sent to the United States, but only a few. Those who have read the book agree in pronouncing it a most excellent production.
This morning Brother Olsen told me that next to the Bible, and your mother’s works, this book had done him more good than any other he had ever read…I talked with Brother Prescott about this before leaving and he was pleased with the suggestion.
I feel very anxious about this and want to earnestly request you give the plan serious consideration. Please talk it over with your mother [Ellen G. White] and also with Brethren A. T. Jones and W. T. Knox. I think Brother Jones has gone through the book … Last evening, I talked the matter over with Dr. Waggoner, and he, of course, would be delighted if this plan could be carried out. He feels a great burden to have this light go to the world…
[P.S.] I failed to refer to the fact that there is more or less influence being exercised in the central and western states against the light that came to us in Minneapolis. I believe we are doing our people a positive injury by keeping light away from them. They are not reading on this subject, and ministers in whom they suppose they should have confidence are giving them error and darkness for truth and light. There is no question about this.
Some of them are strongly arrayed on the side of those who opposed the light at Minneapolis. It is a fact that some of our younger ministers are not free to preach righteousness by faith as fully as they desire to. They have told me this. I am deeply convinced that something ought to be done to place a flood of light in the homes of our people. I know of no better book to do this, outside of the Bible, than Brother Waggoner’s book.—Letter to W.C. White, May 12, 1902.