Sabbath, February 6, 2016
“To prepare a people to stand in the day of God, a great work of reform was to be accomplished. God saw that many of His professed people were not building for eternity, and in His mercy He was about to send a message of warning to arouse them from their stupor and lead them to make ready for the coming of the Lord.
“This warning is brought to view in Revelation 14. Here is a threefold message represented as proclaimed by heavenly beings and immediately followed by the coming of the Son of man to reap ‘the harvest of the earth.’ ” –The Great Controversy, p. 311.
The first message
1. Whom did God’s servant see flying in the midst of heaven? What great message did the first angel proclaim?
Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the ever-lasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
“John in the Revelation foretells the proclamation of the gospel message just before Christ’s second coming. He beholds an angel flying ‘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.’ Revelation 14:6, 7.
“In the prophecy this warning of the judgment, with its connected messages, is followed by the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. The proclamation of the judgment is an announcement of Christ’s second coming as at hand. And this proclamation is called the everlasting gospel. Thus the preaching of Christ’s second coming, the announcement of its nearness, is shown to be an essential part of the gospel message.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 227, 228.
2. What compelling invitation did he extend to the earth’s inhabitants? What hour has this earth’s history reached?
Revelation 14:7 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 fountains of waters.
“By the first angel, men are called upon to ‘fear God, and give glory to Him’ and to worship Him as the Creator of the heavens and the earth. In order to do this, they must obey His law. Says the wise man: ‘Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.’ Ecclesiastes 12:13. Without obedience to His commandments no worship can be pleasing to God. ‘This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.’ ‘He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.’ 1 John 5:3; Proverbs 28:9.
“The duty to worship God is based upon the fact that He is the Creator and that to Him all other beings owe their existence.” –The Great Controversy, p. 436.
The second message
3. What shocking message did this messenger proclaim? What power can be identified as “Babylon,” that has made all the nations drink of its wine?
Revelation 14:8 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.
“In Revelation 14 the first angel is followed by a second proclaiming: ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ Revelation 14:8. The term ‘Babylon’ is derived from ‘Babel,’ and signifies confusion. It is employed in Scripture to designate the various forms of false or apostate religion. In Revelation 17 Babylon is represented as a woman–a figure which is used in the Bible as the symbol of a church, a virtuous woman representing a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church.” –The Great Controversy, p. 381.
“I saw that since the second angel proclaimed the fall of the churches, they have been growing more and more corrupt. They bear the name of being Christ’s followers; yet it is impossible to distinguish them from the world.” –Early Writings, p. 273.
The third message
4. Is there a difference between worshiping God and worshiping the beast? What will those who support the worship of the beast and its image receive?
Revelation 14:9 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.
“This angel is seen flying in the midst of heaven… This is the people that are repairing the breach in the law of God. They see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment has been supplanted by a spurious sabbath, a day that has no sanction in the Word of God. Amid great opposition they become loyal to their God, and take their position under the standard of the third angel.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1152.
“The third angel’s warning is: ‘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.’ ‘The beast’ mentioned in this message, whose worship is enforced by the two-horned beast, is the first, or leopard-like beast of Revelation 13–the papacy.” –The Great Controversy, p. 445.
5. What will be the consequence of staying in Babylon and accepting its mark?
Revelation 14:10, 11 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: 11And 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.
“The world and the churches are breaking God’s law, and the warning must be given, ‘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.’ With such a curse hanging over the transgressors of God’s holy Sabbath, should we not show greater earnestness, greater zeal? Why are we so indifferent, so selfish, so engrossed in temporal interests? Is our interest separated from Jesus?…
“All should have a living faith–a faith which works by love, and purifies the soul. Men and women are ready to do anything to indulge self, but how little are they willing to do for Jesus, and for their fellow men who are perishing for the want of the truth!” –Counsels on Stewardship, p. 51.
6. While the beast will force people to drink of its cup, who will refuse to do so? What will they steadfastly uphold, despite persecution?
Revelation 14:12; 12:17 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus…. 12:17And 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.
“The third angel is flying in the midst of heaven, heralding the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This represents the work which is to be done in these last days. The message loses none of its power in its onward flight. John sees the work increasing in power till the whole earth is filled with the glory of God. The message, ‘Fear God and keep His commandments; for the hour of His judgment is come,’ is to go with a loud voice. With intensified zeal and energy human beings are to carry forward the work of the Lord. In the home, in the school, and in the church men, women, and youth are to be prepared to give the message to the world…. Now, just now, we need Calebs and Joshuas. We need strong, devoted, self-sacrificing young men and young women, who will press to the front.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 207.
7. What is said of those who die from henceforth in the Lord? What blessing will those who pass through the great conflict and gain the victory receive?
Revelation 14:13; 21:7 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…. 21:7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
“There are living upon our earth men who have passed the age of fourscore and ten. The natural results of old age are seen in their feebleness. But they believe God, and God loves them. The seal of God is upon them, and they will be among the number of whom the Lord has said, ‘Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.’ With Paul they can say, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also which love His appearing.’ There are many whose grey hairs God honors because they have fought a good fight and kept the faith.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 982.
“If we would be overcomers, we must search our hearts to be sure that we are not cherishing anything that is offensive to God. If we are, we cannot wear the white raiment that is here promised. If we would stand before God in the white linen, which is the righteousness of the saints, we must now do the work of overcoming.” –Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, p. 138.
For additional study
“With the issue thus clearly brought before him, whoever shall trample upon God’s law to obey a human enactment receives the mark of the beast; he accepts the sign of allegiance to the power which he chooses to obey instead of God.” –The Great Controversy, p. 604.
“The third angel’s message is to be proclaimed with a loud voice. Tremendous issues are before us. We have no time to lose. God forbid that we should allow minor matters to eclipse the light which should be given to the world.
“The warning message is to be carried to all parts of the world. Our books are to be published in many different languages. With these books, humble, faithful men are to go forth as colporteur evangelists, bearing the truth to many who otherwise would never be enlightened.” –Colporteur Ministry, p. 120.