Three Angels, Going, Going...!!!

I saw that God sent His angel to move upon the heart of a farmer (William Miller) who had not believed the Bible, and led him to search the prophecies.

Cover Image.jpgAs we come to the end of another year, it reminds us of another ending of time – that of our world. It has been coming for a long time, but still hasn't yet happened.

Many times over, we have heard that the main thrust of the end time message is to proclaim the three angels’ messages. It has just about become a ritual for us to recite over and over. We repeat it, we emphasis it, we drum it in, we memorise it, we show shame because we haven't lived it, even tell others off because they haven't been preaching it – and in so many ways, laboured to address these messages.

All said and done, even with all this emphasis, we are still here and it doesn't seem those angels have any more fulfilment than when we first heard them, and for some of us that is many years ago. Well, how many years have gone by since these three angels began to be proclaimed ? Well to our embarrassment, quite a few!

William Miller started to sound the first angel's message in 1831 in the newly established land of the United States of America.

Spiritual Gifts Vol 1.jpg “I saw that God sent His angel to move upon the heart of a farmer [William Miller] who had not believed the Bible, and led him to search the prophecies. Angels of God repeatedly visited that chosen one, and guided his mind, and opened his understanding to prophecies which had ever been dark to God's people. The commencement of the chain of truth was given him, and he was led on to search for link after link, until he looked with wonder and admiration upon the Word of God . . . Angels of God accompanied William Miller in his mission. He was firm and undaunted. He fearlessly proclaimed the message. . . Although opposed by professed Christians and the world, and buffeted by Satan and his angels, he ceased not to preach the everlasting gospel to crowds wherever he was invited, and sound the cry, 'Fear God and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.'” — Spiritual Gifts, vol.1, pp.128,132

Here, the Scriptures gave light in a new way. The first angel was to go with power and loudly. “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 fountains of waters.” —Revelation 14:6,7

Only a few short years after that, a second angel was to follow and speak out; not with such a loud voice at this point, but enough to announce that the whole Babylonian religious and secular system was collapsing and that it had influenced and poisoned every nation in the world. This message came slightly after the first angel.

“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.” — Revelation 14:8

Early Writings.jpg“Our hopes now centered on the coming of the Lord in 1844. This was also the time for the message of the second angel, who, flying through the midst of heaven, cried, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city.’ That message was first proclaimed by the servants of God in the summer of 1844. As a result, many left the fallen churches.” — Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G White, pp.50,51

These two messages went out to the world only 13 years apart. God had freed up this new land to allow His closing messages to go unhindered to the entire world. Not long after this, the third angel began to sound; “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.” — Revelation 14:9-12

This angel started to sound in October 1844, right on the heels of the second angel – a very short space of time.

“As the ministration of Jesus closed in the holy place, and He passed into the holiest, and stood before the ark containing the law of God, He sent another mighty angel with a third message to the world. A parchment was placed in the angel's hand, and as he descended to the earth in power and majesty, he proclaimed a fearful warning, with the most terrible threatening ever borne to man. This message was designed to put the children of God upon their guard, by showing them the hour of temptation and anguish that was before them. Said the angel, ‘They will be brought into close combat with the beast and his image. Their only hope of eternal life is to remain steadfast. Although their lives are at stake, they must hold fast the truth.’ The third angel closes his message thus: ‘Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place…

“After Jesus opened the door of the most holy, the light of the Sabbath was seen, and the people of God were tested, as the children of Israel were tested anciently, to see if they would keep God's law. I saw the third angel pointing upward, showing the disappointed ones the way to the holiest of the heavenly sanctuary. As they by faith enter the most holy, they find Jesus, and hope and joy spring up anew. I saw them looking back, reviewing the past, from the proclamation of the second advent of Jesus, down through their experience to the passing of the time in 1844.” — Early Writings, pp.254,255

A Lot in a Short Time

So in just 13 years, God intended for all three messages to be released to the ears of men, and to hasten the close of this world – and that is just what happened. They were to sound as Jesus was moving from the Holy to the Most Holy place in the heavenly sanctuary, when the Day of Atonement began to close the world off. The Day of Atonement was not to be long, all the sins were to be cleansed, as in the typical Day of Atonement, then Jesus would come.

Revelation 14 has all that is needed to finish the work of the gospel commission. It contains the character of the last day people, verses 1-5, the message of the last day people, verses 6-13, and the destination of the last day people –  righteous or wicked.

But as the third angel was starting to be proclaimed, something went wrong. “All heaven watched with the deepest interest the reception of the first angel's message. But many who professed to love Jesus, and who shed tears as they read the story of the cross, derided the good news of His coming. Instead of receiving the message with gladness, they declared it to be a delusion. They hated those who loved His appearing and shut them out of the churches. Those who rejected the first message could not be benefited by the second; neither were they benefited by the midnight cry, which was to prepare them to enter with Jesus by faith into the Most Holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. And by rejecting the two former messages, they have so darkened their understanding that they can see no light in the third angel's message, which shows the way into the Most Holy place.” – Story of Redemption, p.387

As all heaven was watching, it must have been so disappointing to see the message stifled and hindered from completion. Was there a reason for this pause? Could there have been a reason it could not have accomplished its end? Well, yes there was.

In Revelation 6, the seals are being opened. Six of the seven are opened and the contents revealed. With theseventh seal.jpg sixth seal opened, the world has experienced the events up until verse 13; “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”  

From verse 14 onwards, we haven't experienced; “And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”  

Another Priority

Before the seventh seal is released in chapter 8, another priority takes place, and it is the answer to the question in chapter 6:17, “and who shall be able to stand?” The purpose of chapter 7, is to seal those who will be able to stand through the trauma ahead.

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.  And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,  Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” – Revelation 7:1-3

Simply put, those who were to go through the closing scenes of this world, were not ready when the three angels started to proclaim their message, and Jesus couldn't bear to let them be destroyed without giving time to settle into the truth and be sealed. So He asked His Father to hold a little longer.

“I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it. Jesus was clothed with priestly garments. He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried, ‘My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!’ Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus. Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice, ‘Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.

I asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He said to me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on the earth; that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads.” —Early Writings, p.38

As one continues to read Revelation 7, John beholds the number who are sealed, “And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” — Revelation 7:4.

Selected messages vol 1.jpgNot only that, John then identifies in verses 5-8 who that one hundred and forty four thousand are. Then, he identifies more saved ones – a great multitude that no man could number. Jesus just could not bear to see all these people lost, so He asked for some time to at least let the one hundred and forty-four thousand be sealed. But it has taken a lot longer than heaven planned.

“Had Adventists, after the great disappointment in 1844, held fast their faith, and followed on unitedly in the opening providence of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward.” — Selected Messages, vol.1, p.68

Think about this! In just thirteen years, the first, second and third angel's messages were sounding to close this world off. Jesus, in His great mercy wanted His people sealed before He let the plagues loose on this earth. So He petitioned His Father to hold just a little longer, but 180 odd years later, we are still on 'Hold'. This was not in God's plan, as the quote above says, it could have been completed long ago, but we are still here!

So Why the Wait?

What is God waiting for? Is it perhaps because He has not been able to complete His sealing of His 144,000 as in Revelation 7? Could it possibly be that it is us who are holding the coming of Jesus up?

“The angels of God in their messages to men represent time as very short. Thus it has always been presented to me. It is true that time has continued longer than we expected in the early days of this message. Our Saviour did not appear as soon as we hoped. But has the word of the Lord failed? Never!” —1 Selected Messages, vol.1, p.68

“But in the period of doubt and uncertainty that followed the disappointment, many of the advent believers yielded their faith. Dissensions and divisions came in... Thus the work was hindered, and the world was left in darkness. Had the whole Adventist body united upon the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, how widely different would have been our history!  

“It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed. God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people...

“But those to whom it was first preached, went not in 'because of unbelief' —Hebrews 3:19. Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them. For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan.  The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan.

“In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord's professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.” — 1 Selected Messages, vol.1, p.68

Just bear in mind this quote is dated 1883 – and already the delay was way longer than God planned, now we are 2023 – and still here! What was the problem in 1883? It was unbelief, worldliness, unconsecration and strife – not necessarily in the world, but she writes it is among the Lord's professed people! There are some other thoughts to add here too. Same problem, worded differently.

Rev 3.18.jpg“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked…” —Revelation 3:14-17

When the first, second and third angel's were sounding in the mid 1800's, they were sounding in the time of Philadelphia. But sadly, Philadelphia – a church really going places – was replaced with Laodicea – not a good report for this church.

In Conclusion

There was to be a pause in the progress of Revelation 14 to prepare the last of God's true people to be sealed – for a short time only, but it has gone much longer because of our unbelief and indolence. But God has not left us destitute, He has given plenty of counsel to get it right;

“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 eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” — Revelation 3:18  

Here is the answer to the problem; “Many are included in the Saviour's message to the church at Laodicea. No man should keep his foot on the brake to hinder the advancement of the Lord's work. The time has come for the people of God to take their light from under the bushel, and place it where it will shine forth in clear, distinct rays. Let the Lord's workers go forward, and let those who would hinder, stand out of the way. In our social relations with one another, we are to work on Christ's principles. Honesty, true courtesy, kindness, and gentleness are to be seen in our dealings with one another. But there is more than this. We are to exhort one another daily, while it is called today. True faith is not narrow or selfish. We need to be actuated by a strong, living piety, which draws us to God and leads us to work earnestly to correct our errors. Let all Christians take Christ's yoke upon them. The wearing of this yoke means the doing of the duties that Christ has enjoined. If we refuse to perform these duties, we are not Christians.” —Manuscript Release 18, p.337

Can we do it? Yes we can! “Let us strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand... He came to this world to be tempted in all points as we are, to prove to the universe that in this world of sin human beings can live lives that God will approve.” — Review and Herald March 9, 190

So where to from here? Firstly, we must make a decision to follow Jesus Christ come- what-may, more than that, strive daily to be among the one hundred and forty-four thousand. It is my personal belief that the three angels will sound again, one after the other, and will include the forth angel of Revelation 18. There will not be another 180-year wilderness experience this time. No hold, hold, hold this time, but in quick succession, the messages will go loudly and quickly. They will do their work; the latter rain will fall and do its work; probation will close and Jesus will come.

Will you be one of them that make it through? Let's plan to meet Him on that resurrection morning, to look up and say, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” —Isaiah 25:9

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