Who are the three angels of God
2. Does God have a special message for our time?
Yes, God has a special message for end-time Christians. This particular message is found in Revelation 14: 6-16. According to verses 14-16, following the preaching of this threefold message, Jesus will return around the world bringing in the “harvest” of the redeemed:
“Then I saw someone who looked like the Son of Man sitting on a white cloud. He had a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. An angel came out of the temple and called out to him who was sitting on the cloud in a loud voice: 'Use the sickle, for now the time has come to reap. The harvest on the earth is ripe! ‘Then he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.” - Revelation 14: 14-16
The proclamation of the three angels' messages culminates in the return of Jesus. Although the Bible depicts these three messages very dramatically in the symbol of the three angels, it is actually God's people who are spreading these messages all over the world. Now let's look carefully at each of these three messages.
1) The first angel's message
“And I saw another angel flying through heaven carrying the eternal message of God to preach it to the people who dwell on the earth - all nations and tribes, all languages and peoples. "Have respect for God and give him honor!" He cried, because the hour has come when he will judge. Worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and all sources of water! ”- Revelation 14: 6.7
God's people do not proclaim a new gospel, but “the eternal message of God” to the whole world - “to all nations and tribes, to all languages and peoples”. Although God has a special message for this last time, we must be careful not to neglect or even distort the “eternal gospel” of Jesus Christ. It is the same message of salvation that people received “by faith” in Old Testament times (Hebrews 3:16–19; 4: 2; 11: 1-40); the same doctrine that Jesus himself preached; the same gospel that the apostles preached to conquer the world for Christ; the same gospel that sounds like thunder through the centuries of the Christian era.
It is the simple, saving gospel of Jesus Christ, which was almost completely obliterated by the church for more than 1000 years during the “dark Middle Ages”, but was revived by the reformers. Today it is being proclaimed by God's people around the world. The first angel preaches exactly this gospel message, but this happens in a new, worldwide context, because this message applies to all people who are living in these last days of world history immediately before the return of Jesus.
All who accept them are called to: “Have respect for God and give him glory [reflect his character in your life]!” They show the world the loving character of God, not only through their words, but above all through their lived testimony of faith. Their example shows in an exciting way what God can do through people who allow themselves to be filled by the Holy Spirit.
When were these three angels' messages preached around the world? When the hour came "when he will judge". Study Letter 13 stated that Jesus began his Pre-Coming Judgment work in 1844. That same year, 1844, Jesus inspired people around the world to begin preaching the message of Revelation 14.
This message calls us to worship Him “who made heaven and earth” (Revelation 14: 7). God asks us: "Remember the Sabbath and sanctify it ... For in six days the Lord created heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in and on it" (Exodus 20: 8-11 ). When Charles Darwin established the theory of evolution, God called people to worship him again as the Creator. At the same time as evolutionary science, atheism, modern theology, communism, and spiritualism began to oppose the authority of the Word of God, those who preached the threefold angelic message discovered the seventh-day Sabbath from God's Word and began to use it in honor of the Holy creator of heaven and earth.
2) The second angel's message
"Then another angel followed him and cried: 'Babylon - the great city - has fallen because it has seduced the peoples of the world to drink of the wine of their fornication."
As a result of the confusion of languages on the occasion of the Tower of Babel, the name Babylon was combined with the Hebrew term “balal”, which means “to confuse”. In biblical prophecy, "Babylon" is often used as a symbol of religious confusion.
The second special message of God speaks out very clearly against a religion of compromise. Revelation 17 describes spiritual Babylon - apostate Christianity - as an immoral woman (verse 5). She is in sharp contrast to the pure woman of Revelation 12, who represents the true Christian church.
The second angel warns: "Babylon - the great city - has fallen." The woman who stands for Babylon is a fallen woman who "has seduced the peoples of the world to drink of the wine of their fornication". The wine of false teachings has completely permeated these corrupt forms of Christianity. The message of the second angel calls God's people to resist the false teachings of an apostate Christianity that obscure the truths of God's word.
Babylon represents a mixture of many different forms of spiritual apostasy. A falsification of the gospel that has permeated large parts of Christianity is legalism, i.e. the belief that we can contribute something to our salvation through our own good works. At the other extreme are those who believe in so-called “cheap grace”. They separate the gospel from its natural effect: a life of obedience to Christ.
God calls people to “go out” from Babylon (Revelation 18: 4; Luther) and to surrender themselves to Christ with all their hearts. He wants a people who exemplarily demonstrate the power of the obedience of faith. The Lord calls his people from spiritual Babylon to make all who belong to him true followers of Jesus, who fully rely on him and follow his biblical teachings. He asked us to obey God's commandments by believing in Jesus (Revelation 14:12).
Without any biblical authority, Babylon offers a seductive alternative: for example, religious groups who choose biblical teachings according to which one should heed and which one can safely ignore. Many today also choose a “Christianity lite” by saying: “Give me a few greeting card sayings and otherwise let me go my own way. Don't burden my lifestyle with any of these non-negotiable commandments from Mount Sinai. "
One of the main reasons Babylon is so dangerous is that it spreads misconceptions about God. It distorts the image of God into a caricature. Either he appears as a vengeful, unyielding "Heavenly Policeman," or he is the sentimental grandfather who is far too dear to hold anyone accountable for sin. A healthy church, on the other hand, will always offer a balanced picture of God's character traits and show how his justice and grace, his sovereignty and willingness to serve, his omnipotence and his reluctance to come together in the one truth that God is love. Those who “go out” from Babylon reject all unscriptural teachings and worship God as he revealed himself in His Word.
3) The third angel's message
“Then followed a third angel, who called out in a loud voice: 'Whoever worships the beast and its statue and accepts its mark on the forehead or on the hand must drink the wine of God's wrath, which is poured undiluted into the divine cup of wrath ... and they will find no relief day or night because they adored the animal and its statue and accepted the sign of its name. This is to encourage those who belong to God to endure everything patiently and to stand firm until the end, all who keep God's commandments and trust in Jesus. ”- Revelation 14.9-12
The message of the third angel calls for a decision. It divides the entire world population into two groups. On one side are the apostate Christians who worshiped “the beast and its statue” and accepted “its mark on the forehead or on the hand”. On the other hand are all who reject the authority of the beast. These are "those who belong to God ... who keep God's commandments and trust in Jesus".
Notice the contrast between these two groups. Those who receive the mark of the beast are compromise worshipers who follow whatever ideas and practices come up with. Those “belonging to God” identify themselves by three essential characteristics: patient endurance, keeping the commandments of God, and trusting in Jesus.
Our follow-up course "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" offers an in-depth study of the identity of Babylon as well as the beast, its image and its sign. Within this study letter we can only shed light on the vital importance of this third message.
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