Sabbath, March 29, 2014
“We are to bear the third angel’s message to the world, warning men against the worship of the beast and his image, and directing them to take their places in the ranks of those who ‘keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Revelation 14:12. God has not revealed to us the time when this message will close, or when probation will have an end…. It is our duty to watch and work and wait, to labor every moment for the souls of men that are ready to perish.” –Maranatha, p. 107.
The loud cry begins
1. What does prophecy affirm concerning the manner in which the message of the third angel will be proclaimed? When did the first phase of the loud cry begin?
Revelation 14:9-13 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 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. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
Revelation 18:1, 2 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.
Revelation 18:4 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.
“As the members of the body of Christ approach the period of their last conflict, ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble,’ they will grow up into Christ, and will partake largely of His spirit. As the third message swells to a loud cry, and as great power and glory attend the closing work, the faithful people of God will partake of that glory. It is the latter rain which revives and strengthens them to pass through the time of trouble. Their faces will shine with the glory of that light which attends the third angel.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 353.
“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.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 363.
2. In 1888, through whom did the Lord manifest Himself to initiate the work of the angel whose glory will fill the whole earth? According to the holy Scriptures, what does He expect of His people?
Isaiah 60:1, 2 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
“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.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 91, 92.
“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. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet.” –Early Writings, p. 277; The Story of Redemption, p. 399.
3. What happened with the message of justification by faith in 1888 at the General Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota? Did the spirit that was demonstrated in those meetings resemble the attitude of ancient Israel?
Ezekiel 20:13, first part But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them;…
1 Samuel 8:7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
“An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord’s message through Brethren
“The reactions to the emphasis on this vital truth were mixed. At the 1893 General Conference Session, A.T. Jones, speaking of the reception of the truths set forth at Minneapolis, reported: ‘I know that some there accepted it; others rejected it entirely. You know the same thing. Others tried to stand half way between, and get it that way.’ ” –(General Conference Bulletin, 1893, p. 185) Selected Messages, book 3, pp. 158, 159.
A purified people
4. What deep experience is necessary for us to become God’s instruments?
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.
“We are to strive to enter in at the strait gate. But this gate does not swing loosely on its hinges. It will not admit doubtful characters. We must now strive for eternal life with an intensity that is proportionate to the value of the prize before us. It is not money or lands or position, but the possession of a Christlike character, that will open to us the gates of Paradise. It is not dignity, it is not intellectual attainments, that will win for us the crown of immortality. Only the meek and lowly ones, who have made God their efficiency, will receive this gift.” –(Southern Watchman, April 16, 1903) Christian Service, p. 247.
5. What will happen to our faults and weaknesses after we experience a true conversion?
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Micah 7:18, 19 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
“All who have truly repented of sin, and by faith claimed the blood of Christ as their atoning sacrifice, have had pardon entered against their names in the books of Heaven; as they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life.” –The Great Controversy, p. 483.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit and the latter rain
6. In nature, what does the Lord give regularly for the seed to sprout? What does this mean in spiritual life?
Joel 2:23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.
Jeremiah 5:24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
“The latter rain, ripening earth’s harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man. But unless the former rain has fallen, there will be no life; the green blade will not spring up. Unless the early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection….
“There must be a constant development of Christian virtue, a constant advancement in Christian experience….
“Every individual must realize his own necessity. The heart must be emptied of every defilement, and cleansed for the indwelling of the Spirit.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 333; Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 506.
“The breach in the law of God must be made up. The message must be proclaimed with a loud voice, that all the inhabitants of earth might receive the warning. The people of God must purify their souls through obedience to the truth, and be prepared to stand without fault before Him at His coming.” –Maranatha, p. 61.
7. What wonderful promise has been given concerning the completion of the gospel work? Who will receive this special grace?
Zechariah 10:1 Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.
James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
“But near the close of earth’s harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain; and it is for this added power that Christians are to send their petitions to the Lord of the harvest ‘in the time of the latter rain.’ In response, ‘the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain.’ ‘He will cause to come down … the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain.’ Zechariah 10:1; Joel 2:23.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 56.
“Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 188.
8. What will distinguish God’s true children in the battle against the beast and its image?
Isaiah 8:16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
“ ‘To the law and to the testimony.’ While conflicting doctrines and theories abound, the law of God is the one unerring rule by which all opinions, doctrines, and theories are to be tested. Says the prophet: ‘If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Isaiah 8:20.” –The Great Controversy, p. 452.
“… The conscience should not be compelled even for the observance of the genuine Sabbath, for God will accept only willing service.” –(Review and Herald, April 15, 1890) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 977.
“So it may be now. Let Christians put away all dissension and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them ask in faith for the promised blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was ‘the former rain,’ and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant.” –Counsels for the Church, pp. 98, 99.