“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7.
In the Bible, more prophecies are given for the time of the end, the time in which we are living today, than for any other era. This is the time when the enemy of truth is trying to deceive, if possible, even the very elect. It is for this reason especially that in this last time the people of God are equipped with the Bible as well as the Testimonies to guide them and to help them distinguish between good and evil. The company that will stand prepared when Jesus comes will have the two prominent characteristics, keeping the commandments of God and having the faith of Jesus.
In Revelation 14 we find three angels described as they fly in the midst of heaven proclaiming the messages from heaven. And in Revelation 18 we find one more angel, who comes down from heaven. This is the last angel we find in prophecy, and it is he who will complete the work of God on earth.
As we study the previous angels in Revelation 14, we find that each represented a special group of people with a specific message and with leaders of its own. William Miller led out in the first angel’s message, but in the second angel’s message he was not so prominent, and in the midnight cry of 1844 he joined only in the very end. Different leaders took hold of the work each time and carried it forward. Thus the third angel was again a group of people with new leadership, new organization, and a new message. Every new angel brought a shaking and new light. This caused a separation; and it was always the remnant of the previous angel that joined in the work of the new angel. Those who were shaken out usually opposed the work of the new movement, for they did not recognize its divine origin.
THE ELIJAH MESSAGE
Several testimonies were given by Sister White concerning the coming of this angel in Revelation 18, which would bring God’s people not only a reformation and a revival but also a shaking and a separation. This mighty shaking was brought about by the tests and trials during World War I. At that time the people of God had to make a decision between life and death. This other angel is also compared with the Elijah message, which was to come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Mal. 4:5,6).
“The Lord says: ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.’ Somebody is to come in the spirit and power of Elijah, and when he appears, men may say: ‘You are too earnest, you do not interpret the Scriptures in the proper way. Let me tell you how to teach your message.'” – Testimonies to Ministers, p. 475.
In the Southern Watchman of March 21, 1905, Sister White wrote the following in an article entitled, “In the Spirit and Power of Elias”:
“The closing words of Malachi are a prophecy regarding the work that should be done preparatory to the first and the second advent of Christ. The work of those who in the last days go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to arouse the people from apathy, are in many respects the same. His work is a type of the work that must be done in this age. Christ is to come the second time to judge the world in righteousness. The messengers of God who bear the last message of warning to the world, are to prepare the way for Christ’s second advent, as John prepared the way for His first advent.” (Emphasis ours).
This testimony shows that the prophecy of Elijah does not refer to an individual but to a group of people, called messengers, who bear the last message of warning to be given to the world.
In Prophets and Kings, pp. 186-188, we read:
“In the closing work of God in the earth, the standard of His law will be again exalted. False religion may prevail, iniquity may abound, . . . but in the hour of greatest peril, the God of Elijah will raise up human instrumentalities to bear a message that will not be silenced. . . .
“The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The observance of the false sabbath will be urged upon us. The contest will be between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. Those who have yielded step by step to worldly demands, and conformed to worldly customs, will then yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. At that time the gold will be separated from the dross. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliance will then go out in darkness. Those who have assumed the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will then appear in the shame of their own nakedness.”
A further description of the “Elijah Message,” or of the last messengers of God to the world, is given in Temperance, p. 91:
“John separated himself from his friends, and from the luxuries of life, dwelling alone in the wilderness, and subsisting upon a purely vegetable diet. The simplicity of his dress – a garment woven of camel’s hair – was a rebuke to the extravagance and display of the people of his generation, especially of the Jewish priests. His diet also, of locusts and wild honey, was a rebuke to the gluttony that prevailed everywhere.
“The work of John was foretold by the prophet Malachi: ‘Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet. . . .’ He was a representative of those living in the last days, to whom God has entrusted sacred truths to present before the people, to prepare the way for the second appearing of Christ. And the same principles of temperance which John practiced should be observed by those who in our day are to warn the world of the coming of the Son of man.” (Emphasis ours.)
In this statement we are told that the last messengers will be vegetarians and will dress plainly, just as John the Baptist subsisted on a purely vegetarian diet and wore simple clothing.
“Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God’s people to walk no more with them.” – Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 382.
REVIVAL AND REFORMATION
Just as the Jewish people have all through the centuries even down to our time been waiting for the Messiah to come, without realizing that He came nearly 2,000 years ago, so the Seventh-day Adventists are waiting for the revival and reformation to take place within their ranks, without realizing that it occurred at the correct, prophesied time, when the test and shaking came to God’s people during the First World War.
Down through the ages, the beginning of every new church or movement was always small and unnoticed by many. This has also been true of this work of Reformation. The beginning of this angel’s work was at the 1888 conference in Minneapolis, when the message of Christ and His righteousness was proclaimed by Elders A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner. That this message was indeed the work of this other angel is confirmed in the following statement:
“The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.” – Review and Herald, November 22, 1892.
As we have seen in our studies, this angel could not continue his work at that time. His message was ridiculed and rejected by the majority. The Holy Spirit was insulted, and Sister White said in her letter addressed to Elder O. A. Olsen, September 1, 1892:
“The time will come when they will be willing to do anything and everything possible in order to have a chance of hearing the call which they rejected at Minneapolis. . . . Better opportunities will never come, deeper feelings they will not have. . . . God will not be trifled with.”
The following years have seen many attempts to bring about a revival and reformation but without success.
THE OTHER ANGEL
The servant of the Lord was shown that revival and reformation would come only in connection with, and under the leadership of, this other angel of Revelation 18. It is clearly stated that when this work would begin it would be rejected by the majority. Please note the following statements:
“In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their
ideas and expectations, they will oppose the work.” – Review and Herald, Dec. 23, 1890.
“In doing this work we are sounding the first, second and third angel’s messages, and are thus being prepared for the coming of that other angel from heaven who is to lighten the earth with his glory.” – Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 406.
This other angel, the Elijah Message, would come and prepare God’s people for the outpouring of the latter rain.
“Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. . . . The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message as it swells to a loud cry. . . .
“This message seemed to be an addition to the third message, joining it as the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844.” – Early Writings, p. 277.
COMPARED TO THE MIDNIGHT CRY
Let us now study how the midnight cry joined the second angel’s message in 1844. In Early Writings, p. 238, we read:
“Near the close of the second angel’s message, I saw a great light from heaven shining upon the people of God. The rays of this light seemed bright as the sun. And I heard the voices of angels crying, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him!’
“This was the midnight cry, which was to give power to the second angel’s message. . . . The most talented men were not the first to receive this message.”
Those who led out in the second angel’s message were not the ones who led out in the midnight cry. The Lord raised up men to proclaim this message with new power and with added light and understanding. These were not literal angels; this work was given to human beings who were led by the Spirit of God.
“I saw that this message will close with power and strength far exceeding the midnight cry.” – Early Writings, p. 278.
In this last statement, we are of course brought back to the angel of Revelation 18. While the beginning of this work may be small, we are assured that the finish will be glorious.
The second angel in 1844 proclaimed the fall of all the existing churches. He stated that they had become Babylon, which means confusion. This message will be proclaimed continually until the end of time. Yet the angel of Revelation 18 repeats the same message. We ask, Why is this necessary? The answer is, Because something that had not yet fallen in 1844 is now declared fallen. The community which is called Babylon in the second angel’s message is apparently increased or enlarged. It is not simply that their fall had not yet reached its peak, but mainly that some bodies of Christians that were not included in the message of denunciation by the second angel in 1844 are now included in this company by strength of the message of this other angel. (See Early Writings, p. 277.)
In the Review and Herald, October 13, 1904, Sister White wrote:
“The prophecies in the eighteenth chapter of Revelation will soon be fulfilled.”
It did not take too many years from the time when she wrote these lines for the test about which she spoke and wrote so much to come. Let us see how the second angel and the last Loud Cry, or the other angel of Revelation 18, are related to each other:
“I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches and will gladly receive the truth. Satan knows this; and before the loud cry of the third angel is given, he raises an excitement in these religious bodies, that those who have rejected the truth may think that God is with them. He hopes to deceive the honest and lead them to think that God is still working for the churches. But the light will shine, and all who are honest will leave the fallen churches, and take their stand with the remnant.” – Early Writings, p. 261.
Additional Thoughts from the Spirit of Prophecy
“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.” “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.” Revelation 18:1,2,4.
In this scripture the announcement of the fall of Babylon, as made by the second angel (Revelation 14:8), is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844. A terrible condition of the religious world is here described. With every rejection of truth, the minds of the people have become darker, their hearts more stubborn, until they are entrenched in an infidel hardihood. In defiance of the warnings which God has given, they continue to trample upon one of the precepts of the decalogue, and they persecute those who hold it sacred. Christ is set at naught in the contempt placed upon His word and His people. As the teachings of Spiritualism are accepted by the churches, no real restraint is imposed upon the carnal heart, and the profession of religion becomes a cloak to conceal the basest iniquity. A belief in spiritual manifestations opens the door to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. The influence of evil angels is felt in the churches throughout the land.
Of Babylon at this time it is declared, “Her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:5. She has filled up the measure of her guilt, and destruction is about to fall upon her. But God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of His judgments, these faithful ones must be called out, that they “partake not of her sins, and receive not of her plagues.” Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from Heaven, lightening the earth with his glory, and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard, “Come out of her, My people.” As these warnings join the third angel’s message, it swells to a loud cry.
Fearful is the issue to which the world is to be brought. The powers of earth, uniting to war against the commandments of God, will decree that no man may buy or sell, save he that has the mark of the beast, and finally, that whoever refuses to receive the mark of the beast shall be put to death. Revelation 13:15,17. The work of God declares: “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.” Revelation 14:9,10. But not one is made to feel the wrath of God until the truth has been brought in contact with his mind and conscience, and has been rejected. There are many in the churches of our country who have never, even in this land of light and knowledge, had an opportunity to hear the special truths for this time. The obligation of the fourth commandment has never been set before them in its true light. Jesus reads every heart, and tries every motive. The decree is not to be urged upon the people blindly. Every one is to have sufficient light to make his decision intelligently. The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty; for it is the point of truth especially controverted. – Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, pp. 421-423.
The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The mark of the beast will be urged upon us. Those who have step by step yielded to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will not find it a hard matter to yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death. The contest is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. In this time the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ’s righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness.
When trees without fruit are cut down as cumberers of the ground, when multitudes of false brethren are distinguished from the true, then the hidden ones will be revealed to view, and with hosannas range under the banner of Christ. Those who have been timid and self-distrustful will declare themselves openly for Christ and His truth. The most weak and hesitating in the church will be as David – willing to do and dare. The deeper the night for God’s people, the more brilliant the stars. Satan will sorely harass the faithful; but, in the name of Jesus, they will come off more than conquerors. Then will the church of Christ appear “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.”
The seeds of truth that are being sown by missionary efforts will then spring up and blossom and bear fruit. Souls will receive the truth who will endure tribulation and praise God that they may suffer for Jesus. “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” When the overflowing scourge shall pass through the earth, when the fan is purging Jehovah’s floor, God will be the help of His people. The trophies of Satan may be exalted on high, but the faith of the pure and holy will not be daunted.
Elijah took Elisha from the plow and threw upon him his mantle of consecration. The call to this great and solemn work was presented to men of learning and position; had these been little in their own eyes and trusted fully in the Lord, He would have honored them with bearing His standard in triumph to the victory. But they separated from God, yielded to the influence of the world, and the Lord rejected them.
Many have exalted science and lost sight of the God of science. This was not the case with the church in the purest times.
God will work a work in our day that but few anticipate. He will raise up and exalt among us those who are taught rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the outward training of scientific institutions. These facilities are not to be despised or condemned; they are ordained of God, but they can furnish only the exterior qualifications. God will manifest that He is not dependent on learned, self-important mortals.
There are few really consecrated men among us, few who have fought and conquered in the battle with self. Real conversion is a decided change of feelings and motives; it is a virtual taking leave of worldly connections, a hastening from their spiritual atmosphere, a withdrawing from the controlling power of their thoughts, opinions, and influences. The separation causes pain and bitterness to both parties. It is the variance which Christ declares that He came to bring. But the converted will feel a continual longing desire that their friends shall forsake all for Christ, knowing that, unless they do, there will be a final and eternal separation. The true Christian cannot, while with unbelieving friends, be light and trifling. The value of souls for whom Christ died is too great.
He “that forsaketh not all that he hath,” says Jesus, “cannot be My disciple.” Whatever shall divert the affections from God must be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. Its golden chain binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others. These are Satan’s snares, set for unwary feet. But these slavish bands must be broken; the flesh must be crucified with the affections and lusts. We cannot be half the Lord’s and half the world’s. We are not God’s people unless we are such entirely. Every weight, every besetting sin, must be laid aside. God’s watchmen will not cry, “Peace, peace,” when God has not spoken peace. The voice of the faithful watchmen will be heard: “Go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 81-83.