Reading 6 – Friday, December 14, 2007
By Tzvetan Petkov, USA
I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven, descending to the earth, and again ascending to heaven, preparing for the fulfillment of some important event. 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. Great power and glory were imparted to the angel, and as he descended, the earth was lightened with his glory. The light which attended this angel penetrated everywhere, as he cried mightily, with a strong voice, ‘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.’” —Early Writings, p. 277.
Why is the call “Babylon is fallen” repeated?
We know of two main reasons: the first one is the increase of Babylon’s sins, the impurity existing in all of Christianity as well as the rest of the world.
“The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches
“Angels were sent to aid the mighty angel from heaven, and I heard voices which seemed to sound everywhere, ‘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.’ 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.” —Ibid.
The increase in knowledge and technology has contributed to the spread of sin over the world as never before. The mass media not only benefits man but also appeals to the sinful tendencies of the fallen race. Ninety-eight percent of worldwide television productions, which enter almost every home, portray murder, bloodshed, adultery, and spiritualism. TV and computer games feature weapons, killing, monsters, and spiritualistic rites. Criminality increases alarmingly, among not only men and women but also children, teenagers, and young adults. The Holy Spirit, grieved and rejected, is withdrawing His protection from sinners.
Today’s apostate Christianity has not only kept its relationship with the world and with Babylon (the Catholic Church), but it has gone even further. Specifically, through the influence of the modern religious politics of the Catholic Church, the whole of Protestantism has fallen at the feet of the pope—as, for example, at the funeral of Pope John Paul II. The mass was attended by representatives of all Protestant churches, including the Adventists. Their attendance demonstrated not only their loyalty to the papacy but also their willingness to pray for the forgiveness of the dead, according to Catholic doctrine. Baptists, Methodists, and other Protestant denominations thus officially repented of having worked for the conversion of the Catholics. The Protestant Church of Finland even declared her adherence to Catholicism, saying there is no longer a need to “reform.” Truly, “Babylon is fallen.”
Our question is, how do we fulfill God’s commission? Have we also been influenced by the blindness of the world? Today more than ever, the truth about the fall of Babylon should be preached. We must know the last warning message and proclaim it in the power of the Lord. Are we using all our strength now to preach the third angel’s message?
The second reason for the repetition of the announcement of Babylon’s fall is the terrible apostasy among the professed people of God. The chosen people of the time of the judgment, who have received special light, should proclaim not only the first and second angels’ messages, but also the third one, with great power. Instead, formalism, legalism, and pride have conquered the hearts of professed Christians.
God wants to grant His children extraordinary power. Christ our Righteousness should be the message that will transform the three angels’ messages into a loud cry. That message was given to heal and save the people of God. A people who do not know God cannot introduce Him to others. Only when this message is understood and experienced by God’s children are they able to take part in the loud cry. “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:18. Unfortunately, this great privilege was not understood in 1888, in Minneapolis. The Holy Spirit was rejected.
As a consequence of this blindness, the world exerted such an influence upon the Seventh-day Adventist church that during the First World War, the leaders of that church stretched out their hands to the political powers of the world and joined the alliance of apostate churches. Shortly afterwards, the faithful remnant, who had accepted the 1888 message and prepared for imminent crisis, was persecuted, disfellowshiped from churches, and reported to the political powers. The following sad prophecy was fulfilled:
“Those who have had opportunities to hear and receive the truth and who have united with the Seventh-day Adventist church, calling themselves the commandment-keeping people of God, and yet possess no more vitality and consecration to God than do the nominal churches, will receive of the plagues of God just as verily as the churches who oppose the law of God. Only those that are sanctified through the truth will compose the royal family in the heavenly mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him and keep His commandments.” —Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 176.
The Lord warns His people through a vision given to His prophetess that the faithful ones will make the same experience when the Sunday law crisis starts. The Lord showed her a group of Adventists that she calls “nominal Adventists,” who keep Sunday instead of the Sabbath day. “I saw [that] the nominal church and nominal Adventists, like Judas, would betray us to the Catholics to obtain their influence to come against the truth. The saints then will be an obscure people, little known to the Catholics; but the churches and nominal Adventists who know of our faith and customs (for they hated us on account of the Sabbath, for they could not refute it) will betray the saints and report them to the Catholics as those who disregard the institutions of the people; that is, that they keep the Sabbath and disregard Sunday.” —Spalding and Magan Collection, p. 1. Think about this. There will be Adventists who will receive the mark of the beast and persecute the followers of Christ. That is why the Lord sends another angel, who repeats the message against Babylon. This angel from Revelation 18 works with the faithful remnant. Do you believe you are a part of this remnant?
The sweet message of false prophets
“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. Ministers take their texts from the Word of God, but preach smooth things. To this the natural heart feels no objection. It is only the spirit and power of the truth and the salvation of Christ that are hateful to the carnal heart. There is nothing in the popular ministry that stirs the wrath of Satan, makes the sinner tremble, or applies to the heart and conscience the fearful realities of a judgment soon to come. Wicked men are generally pleased with a form of piety without true godliness, and they will aid and support such a religion.” —Early Writings, p. 273.
To proclaim the message of warning against Babylon is not a simple commission. Therefore many choose not to do it. “Peace, peace; there is no danger” is what the world wants to hear. Many do not want to call sin by its name. The apostate churches preach a Christ who does not respect God’s law. They sell a “cheap gospel,” “salvation” that is accepted in the head but not within the heart, that does not set the soul free from sin.
God’s true messengers are not influenced by false prophets. On the other hand, the message of Revelation 18 cannot be proclaimed with only human power. Those who receive the Spirit of God will be endowed with power and courage to preach the truth of the three angels’ message. Christ our Righteousness is the experience of the remnant. “Babylon is fallen, is fallen” must be preached with great power. “‘When He [the Spirit of truth] is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment’ [John 16:3]. The preaching of the word will be of no avail without the continual presence and aid of the Holy Spirit.” —The Desire of Ages, p. 671. Do you want to be part of this message that will enlighten the world? Surrender your heart to Jesus, and He will work in you.
Preparation for the loud cry
“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God.… I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing’ unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle of the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.” —Early Writings, p. 71.
The light of the angel of Revelation 18 began in 1888 with the message of Christ our Righteousness. The outpouring of the latter rain will follow the necessary spiritual preparation. In order to warn others about sin, we ourselves must be purified and sanctified. Before calling others to leave Babylon, we must have left it. The message of the Faithful Witness to the church of Laodicea represents a work that must take place in our churches, in our families, and in our own hearts. The only solution for Laodicea is Christ our Righteousness. We must wear white raiment and buy gold tried in the fire. As long as we do not understand this message and make of it a personal experience, our soul cannot be in harmony with God.
“Thus will the message of the third angel be proclaimed. As the time comes for the loud cry to be given, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of his Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of a union of Church and State, the inroads of Spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power—all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred.” —The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 424.
God raised up a Reform Movement, mainly to keep the truth pure, so as to have a people ready for the latter rain. The work of Elijah and John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the first coming of the Messiah. God’s people at the end of times will have the same privilege, but this time for the second coming of Christ.
The call “Babylon is fallen” will shake up the whole world.
“Thousands upon thousands have never listened to words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from Heaven. The people go to their former teachers with the eager inquiry, Are these things so? The ministers present fables, prophesy smooth things, to soothe their fears, and quiet the awakened conscience. But many refuse to be satisfied with the mere authority of men, and demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ The popular ministry, like the Pharisees of old, are filled with anger as their authority is questioned; they denounce the message as of Satan, and stir up the sin-loving multitudes to revile and persecute those who proclaim it.” —Ibid.
“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.
The glorious work of the third angel, with the help of the angel of Revelation 18, will prepare the whole world for the coming of the Messiah. These are the last rays of grace and love to shine upon fallen humanity, the last chance before the King of kings proclaims, ‘It is done.’ God’s angels rush to and fro looking for faithful believers to be used as instruments.
“To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 3:15. Let us say “yes” to the Lord’s call. May the Lord bless His children!