The Three Angels'
NATURE AND TIME OF THE MESSAGE
In the fourteenth chapter of
Revelation, there are three angels who give a final warning message to the world
just before the return of Jesus. Mankind is to make a choice between
worshipping God or the beast. Revelation 6-12, "And I saw another
angel fly in the midst of heaven, having 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 fountain of waters. And there followed another angel,
saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made
all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the
third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the
beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out
without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with
fire and brimstone in the presence of he holy angels, and in the presence of the
Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:
and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image [the
lost], and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the
patience of the saints [the saved]; here are they that keep the
commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
The First Angel's
Let us take a look at the message from
the first angel. There are three phases of the judgment mentioned in the
Scriptures: the investigative judgment, preceding the second advent; the
judgment of the lost world and wicked angels by Christ and the saints during the
one thousand years following the second advent; and the executive judgment, or
punishment of the wicked at the close of this period. The investigative
judgment takes place in heaven before Christ comes, in order to ascertain who
are worthy to be raised in the first resurrection, at His coming, and who among
the living are to be changed in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the
last trump. It is necessary for this to take place before the second
advent, as there will be no time for such a work between the coming of Christ
and the raising of the righteous dead. The executive judgment on the
wicked occurs after their cases have been examined by the saints during the
thousand years (Revelation 20:3,4; 1 Corinthians 6:1-3). The investigative
judgment is that which is announced to the world by the first angel's message.
Notice the prophetic view of the
judgment that was given to Daniel. "I beheld till the thrones were
cast down [placed], and the Ancient of days did sit: . . . thousand
thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before
Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." Daniel 7:9,10.
In Acts we read of a day in which the
world will be judged. "Because He hath appointed a day, in the
which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath
ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised
Him from the dead." Acts 17:31.
In this first angel's message we
see how extensively this message will be proclaimed, "To every nation,
and kindred and tongue and people." The world is called upon to,
"Fear God, and give glory to Him." This is done because
of a coming event, "For the hour of His judgment is come."
We are then told whom we are to worship, "Him that made heaven, and
There is only one gospel
(Romans 1:16,17; Galatians 1:8), first announced in Eden (Genesis 3:15),
preached to Abraham (Galatians 3:8) and to the children of Israel (Hebrews
4:1,2), and proclaimed anew in every generation. In its development the
gospel meets the needs of every crisis in the world's history. John the
Baptist in his preaching announced the kingdom of heaven at hand (Matthew
3:1,2), and prepared the way for the first advent (John 1:22,23). Christ
Himself, in His preaching of the gospel, announced the fulfillment of a
definite-time prophecy (the sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years, of Daniel 9:25), and
called the people to repentance, in view of the coming of the predicted Messiah
(Mark 1:14,15). So when the time of the judgment comes, and Christ's
second advent is near, a world-wide announcement of these events is to be made
in the preaching of the everlasting gospel adapted to meet the need of the hour.
There is a prophetic period which
extends to the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary, or the investigative
judgment. "And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three
hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" Daniel
8:14. This 2,300 days or actually prophetic years, ended in 1844.
The 70 weeks or 490 years prophecy, and the 2300 days or years prophecy, both
began in 457 BC with Artexerxes decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Our Lord
based His preaching of the gospel on the fulfillment of the first part of the
2,300 days, or years (Mark 1:14,15), a prophecy which determined the time of the
first advent. The whole period extends to the time of the judgment, just
preceding the second advent, and at its expiration a special gospel message is
sent to all the world, proclaiming the judgment hour at hand and calling upon
all to worship the Creator. The facts of history answer to this
interpretation of the prophecy, for at this very time, 1844, just such a message
was being proclaimed in various parts of the world. This was the beginning
of the great second advent message which is now being proclaimed throughout the
CALL TO WORSHIP THE CREATOR
In this first angel's message, we are
called upon to worship our Creator who also formed this earth. There are
other Bible texts which call for us to do the same, Jeremiah 10:11,12; Psalms
95:3-6, Revelation 4:10-11, and most importantly Exodus 20:8-11 "Remember
the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. . . For in six days the Lord made heaven and
earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore
the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." In this
message of judgment, we are called upon to worship the Creator, who also created
the Sabbath day. Note how the Sabbath has a part in salvation, "Moreover
also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and the, that they might
know that I am the Lord that sanctify them" Ezekiel 20:12.
THE STANDARD FOR ALL
Here we are told who will be judged,
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every
one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done,
whether it be good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10. The standard by
which we will be judged is also given, "For whosoever shall keep the
whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that
said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit
no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty."
We are told what the whole duty of man
is, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God, and keep
His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring
every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or
whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13,14.
Friend, we will all be judged according
to the light of truth that we have come in contact with, in relation to our
obeying the Ten Commandments. By Jesus coming into our heart and living
through us, we are capable of obeying Him.
The Second Angel's
"And there followed another
angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made
all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
THE FALL OF ANCIENT BABYLON
In the old testament we are given a
prophetic warning regarding the fall of ancient Babylon, "Flee out of
the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul; be not cut off in her
iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance; He will render unto her
recompence." Jeremiah 51:6.
At the time of the fall of the Babylonian
Empire to the Medes and Persians, we are told how Belshazzar and his court
defied the true God, "They brought the golden vessels that were taken
out of the temple of the house of god which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and
his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine,
and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of
stone." Daniel 5:3,4.
The gospel of the kingdom was preached
in Babylon through Daniel, and Nebuchadnezzar was brought to acknowledge and to
worship by his experience. But after Nebuchadnezzar's death his successors
failed to profit by his experience. The climax was reached when Belshazzar
used the sacred vessels from the house of God, dedicated to His worship, in
which to drink the Babylonian wine of idolatrous worship. Then came the
handwriting on the wall, the fall of ancient Babylon, and the death of
Belshazzar. See the Steps to Life Bible studies.
Notice how Babylon had caused the whole
earth to become, "Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand,
that made all the earth drunken; the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore
the nations are mad." Jeremiah 51:7. Through the centuries
the astrological beliefs of the Chaldeans of Babylon eventually "penetrated
as far as India, China, and Indo-China, where divination by means of the stars
is still practised. . . In the opposite direction they spread to Syria, to
Egypt, and over the whole Roman world." Franz Cumont, Astrology
and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans.
In the visions of John there were
interpretations given of the impure woman with a golden cup in her hand, seated
on a seven-headed beast, "And the woman which thou sawest is that great
city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Revelation
17:18 (See verses 3, 4, 9.) The great city which reigned over the kings of
the earth in John's time was Rome; and that seven-hilled city has given its name
to the power which succeeded to its dominion--the organization which is
represented by the woman, the Church of Rome, ruled by the Papacy.
In this same prophecy, this religio-political
power, the Roman Church, or the Papacy, is designated as the counterpart of
ancient Babylon. "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY
BABYLON THE GREAT." Verse 5. The parallels between the Roman Church
and ancient Babylon are striking, as we view the pagan Babylonian state religion
with its wealthy and politically powerful hierarchy, its elaborate temple
ritual, its priestly monopoly of learning, its liturgy performed in an ancient
language unknown to the common people, its processions of divine images, its
great spring festival in which mourning is followed by rejoicing, its ubiquitous
virgin mother goddess who intercedes for her worshipers. But there is even
more than a parallel; there is a genuine line of inheritance, from Babylon
through the Roman Empire to the Roman Church, of many religious elements.
"The mighty Catholic Church was
little more than the Roman Empire baptised."--A. C. Flick, The Rise of
the Mediaeval Church (Putman's, 1909 ed.), p. 148. Cardinal Newman
lists many examples of things admittedly "of pagan origin" which that
church introduced "in order to recommend the new religion to the
heathen"; "the use of temples, and these dedicated to particular
saints, and ornamented on occasions with branches of trees; incense, lamps, and
candles; votive offerings on recovery from illness; holy water; asylums;
holydays and seasons, use of calendars, processions, blessings on the fields;
sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure, the ring in marriage, turning to the East,
images at a later date, perhaps the ecclesiastical chant, and the Kyrie Eleison."
J. H. Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, 373
The Roman Empire was heir not only to
the territories but also to the religions of Greece and the East. Later
Roman paganism was orientalized through the adoption of eastern deities, all
influenced by astrology and many of them transformed into sun gods, such as, for
example, Mithra, who combined Persian and Chaldean elements. (See Franz
Dumont, Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans [1912 ed.],
"With whom the kings of the
earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been
made drunk with the wine of her fornication." Rev. 17:2. (See verse
Ancient Babylonian religion had immoral
features, but modern Babylon commits spiritual fornication, polluting the church
with false doctrines and pagan practices, and having illicit connection with the
secular powers to enforce her teachings; and like her ancient namesake, Roman
Babylon has made many nations drink impure wine from her cup.
THE CUP OF CHRIST AND THE CUP OF BABYLON
Notice the cup Jesus offers in the
Lord's supper. "This cup is the new covenant in My blood."
Luke 22:20, R.V. The new covenant is described with an essential teaching,
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, saith the Lord; I will put My laws into their mind, and write
them in their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a
people." Hebrews 8:10. The heart makes a true
transformation when Christ ministers the law within, "For the law of the
Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and
death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the
flesh, God sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,
condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled
in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Mankind has substituted a different
teaching in an attempt to made void the law of God. "Howbeit in
vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. . . .
And He said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may
keep your own tradition." Mark 7:7-9.
There are two cups, the cup of the Lord
and the cup of Babylon. The Lord's cup contains the living truth "as
the truth is in Jesus"; the cup of Babylon, her false doctrines--her human
tradition substituted for the living word and law of God, and her unlawful union
with the secular power, upon which she depends to enforce her teachings rather
than upon the power of God. Thus, while maintaining a form of godliness,
she denies the power thereof. (2 Timothy 3:1-5.)
The Roman Church says of the Bible and
tradition, "Though these two divine streams are in themselves, on account
of their divine origin, of equal sacredness, and are both full of revealed
truths, still, of the two, TRADITION is to us more clear and safe."
(emphasis supplied) Catholic Belief, p. 45, 1884.
Notice how Babylon's daughters reveal
their mother's characteristics, "And upon her forehead was a name
written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF
THE EARTH." Revelation 17:5. The authoritative Creed of
Pope Pius IV says in Article 10: "I acknowledge the Holy Catholic Apostolic
Church for the mother and mistress of all churches." When professed
Protestant churches repudiate the fundamental principle of Protestantism by
accepting human speculation, tradition, or political power, in place of the
authority and power of God's word, they may be regarded as daughters of
Babylon. Their fall is then included in hers, and calls for a proclamation
of the fall of modern Babylon.
The extent of the apostasy, or fall, of
modern Babylon, the mother, and of her daughters, will reach a certain low
point. "And after these things 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, saying, Babylon the great is fallen,
is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul
spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have
drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth
have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed
rich through the abundance of her delicacies." Revelation 18:1-3.
GOD'S CALL TO COME OUT
Modern Babylon will meet its end
through vengeance from a Holy God. "And a mighty angel took up a
stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with
violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no
more at all. . . . And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints,
and of al that were slain upon the earth." verses 21-24
There will be a certain final call to
come out of Babylon that will sound forth. "And I heard another
voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers
of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have
reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities."
Those who come out of Babylon will sing
a certain song of triumph, "Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him." Revelation
Third Angel's Message
A WARNING AGAINST FALSE WORSHIP
Notice how these messages fit together
into a threefold message, "And the third angel followed them, saying
with a loud voice." Rev. 14:9, first clause. Their
apostasy from the true worship of God is then described, "If any man worship
the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his
hand." (Same verse, last part.)
What is to be the fate of those who,
instead of worshiping God, engage in this false worship? "The same
shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture
into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and
brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb;
and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no
rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth
the mark of his name." Rev. 14:10,11. (See Isaiah 33:13; 34:1-10;
How are those described who heed this
warning? "Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that
keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:12
WHO IS THE BEAST POWER?
What description is given of the beast
against whose worship this closing warning message is given? "And
I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having
seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the
name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and
his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion; and
the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority."
In this composite beast from the sea
are combined the symbols of the seventh chapter of Daniel, representing Rome,
Greece, Medo-Persia, and Babylon. Its blasphemous words, its persecution
of the saints, and its allotted time (verses 5-7) show that his beast, under one
of its seven-headed manifestations, is identical with the little horn of the
vision of Daniel 7, modern Babylon, the Papacy. The worship of the beast
is the rendering of that homage to the Papacy which is due to God alone.
The system of religion enforced by the Papacy contains the paganism of Babylon,
Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, indicated by the beast's composite character
(verse 2), disguised under the forms and names of Christianity.
The Roman Ponitfex Maximus was
continued in the pope, who is the head of the Roman priesthood. In pomp
and pride he claims to be the representative of the meek and lowly Jesus.
But this scripture in Revelation shows that the pope's power and his seat and
his great authority do not come from Christ.
What challenge is made by those who
worship the beast? "And they worshipped the dragon which gave
power unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto
the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" Rev. 13:4
Whose sovereignty is thus
challenged? "Forasmuch as there is none like unto Thee, O Lord;
Thou art great, and Thy name is great in might." Jeremiah
10:6. (See Psalms 71:19; 86:8, 89:6,8.)
What specifications of the "man
of sin" are thus met? "Let no man deceive you by any
means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and
that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth
himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God
sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." 2
Thessalonians 2:3,4. (Read Earth's Final Warning on this web site.)
What did Babylon give the nations to
drink? "She made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her
fornication." Revelation 14:8, last part.
What are those to drink who accept the
teachings of Babylon, and thus render homage to the beast? "The
same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without
mixture into the cup of His indignation." Verse 10, first part.
The cup of the Lord, which contains the
new covenant in the blood of Christ, and the cup of the wine of the wrath of
Babylon are both offered to the world. To drink of the former, that is, to
accept the true gospel, is to receive everlasting life; but to drink of the wine
of Babylon, that is, to accept the false gospel taught by the Papacy, will
result in drinking of the wine of the wrath of God from the cup of His
indignation. The true gospel means everlasting life; the false gospel,
FALSE WORSHIP ENFORCED
Under what threatened penalty is the
worship of the image of the beast enforced? "And he had power to
give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both
speak, and cause [decree] that as many as would not worship the image of
the beast should be killed." Rev. 13:15
What universal boycott is to be
employed, in an attempt to compel all to receive the mark of the beast?
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,
to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; and that no man
might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the
number of his name." Verses 16, 17.
SATAN, OR GOD?
Who is the real power operating through
the beast? "The dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great
authority." Rev. 13:2
Who is the dragon? "And
the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan,
which deceiveth the whole world." Rev. 12:9.
How did the devil seek to induce Jesus
to worship him? "And the devil, taking Him up into an high
mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of
time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give Thee, and
the glory of them; for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I
give it. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine."
How did Jesus show His loyalty to
God? "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind Me,
Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only that
thou serve." Verse 8.
The threefold message of Revelation
14:6-12 is proclaimed in connection with the closing scenes of the great
controversy between Christ and Satan. Lucifer has sought to put himself in
the place of God (Isaiah 14:12-14), and to secure to himself the worship which
is due God alone. The final test comes over the commandments of God.
Those who acknowledge the supremacy of the beast by yielding obedience to the
law of God as changed and enforced by the Papacy, when the real issue has been
clearly defined, will, in so doing, worship the beast and his image, and receive
his mark. Such will take the side of Satan in his rebellion against God's
How many will yield to the demand to
worship the beast? "And all that dwell upon the earth shall
worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain
from the foundation of the world." Rev. 13:8.
In the judgment-hour message, whom are
all called upon to fear, glorify, and worship? "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." Rev.
Who will sing the victor's song on the
sea of glass? "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with
fire; and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image,
and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass,
having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of
God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord
god Almighty; just and true are They ways, Thou King of saints. Who shall
not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy; for
all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for They judgments are made
manifest." Rev. 15:2-4.
(From Bible Readings For The Home, pp. 245-259.