Power to Finish the Work: Proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages
By Ted N. C. Wilson
We are living in amazing times. Those who are in tune with Bible prophecy and events both inside and outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church realize that God is doing something unusual. I believe with all my heart that Jesus is coming soon! While no one should ever predict any specific date, we have been given signs in the Bible that point to the time just before the Lord’s return, and that time is now!
As you know, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy call for revival and reformation, which means fulfilling God’s instructions for preparation to receive the latter rain of the Holy Spirit as predicted in Joel 2, Hosea 6, and Acts 2. His instructions are nicely outlined in
2 Chronicles 7:14. He speaks to us today when He says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
When we humble ourselves before God through the power of the Holy Spirit, earnestly praying for His guidance, seeking His Word and giving up our own personal agendas, allowing God to lead us to truth, then He will hear, forgive, and heal us. He will bring us into a much closer relationship with Him so we can help finish His work here on earth.
Pray as you have never prayed before. God is calling us to a revived and reformed relationship with Him, so that we will be prepared to proclaim the prophetic messages He has entrusted to us as His remnant church. The Seventh-day Adventist prophetic understanding of the books of Daniel and Revelation help hold together our theological framework, giving us purpose, identity, and a clear vision of our worldwide mission.
God is calling us to share the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 at this time. If there was ever a time for that uniquely understood prophetic Seventh-day Adventist message in a secular age, it is now.
Receive. Believe. Revive.
In order to proclaim them, however, we must first internalize these messages for ourselves by receiving them, believing them, and being revived by them. How do these special messages revive us?
They change us as we internalize them. The messages are full of light, and as they become a part of us, they shine through us as a light to others. We then understand how vitally true these messages are, and because we love God we want to share this life-changing truth with others.
This is our commission from Jesus Himself, as given in Revelation 14. It’s a commission to His remnant people, and is a work given to no one else.
We are told in Testimonies for the Church that “in a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.”1
The Three Angels’ Messages
Early Advent believers preached the message of Jesus’ return in 1844 and faced the Great Disappointment as prophesied in Revelation 10. Their work, however, was not yet complete. There was an additional message that God wanted them to give to the whole world. This message is divided into three parts and is outlined in Revelation 14:6-12.
First Message: The first angel’s message (verses 6, 7) proclaims the everlasting gospel, salvation through Christ’s righteousness and grace—His justifying and sanctifying power. The angel announces that the time of judgment has come and calls people back to the true worship of God and to recognize Him as Creator.
The call to worship God as Creator automatically places upon people the responsibility to observe the day that honors His creative act. Created beings cannot honor their Creator while defying the command to keep holy the Sabbath—the seventh day of the week—which God Himself set aside as a memorial of His creation.
During the time of trouble immediately preceding Jesus’ return, the seventh-day Sabbath will be the central issue of conflict. Ellen White writes, “The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not.”2
To worship God as the Creator means there must be a willingness to reject false theories about the origin of life, including evolution. It is impossible to believe in theistic or general evolution while saying that God is Creator of heaven and earth and all the life they contain. Stand firm for God’s creation of this world by His Word in six literal, consecutive days of recent origin, capping that week with the same wonderful Sabbath we enjoy every seven days.
Second Message: The second angel’s message, found in verse 8, announcing the fall of Babylon, was first presented in the summer of 1844. Because this announcement follows chronologically in the prophecy with the preaching of the judgment, and because the churches to which this message applies were once pure, Babylon here refers to churches that rejected the warning of the judgment.
The second message, “Babylon is fallen,” is repeated in Revelation 18:1-4. God’s people who are still in Babylon are called out so that they will not be guilty of participating in her sins and will not receive the plagues that are to be poured out upon her. Therefore, Babylon is constituted by churches that teach many of the theological errors passed down through the church of the Middle Ages.
Third Message:The third angel’s message, found in verses 9-11, contains a clear warning: don’t worship the beast and its image, or receive its mark. To do so will result in annihilation. The content of the third message is based on the prophecy of the preceding chapter, Revelation 13. The beast represents the apostate church. The second animal in this chapter, which represents the United States, creates the image of this beast. A definition of the image is given on page 443 of The Great Controversy.
We are so grateful for the religious freedom guaranteed by so many countries, including the United States. According to Bible prophecy, however, the time is coming when our religious freedom will be reduced and churches will so control the government that the government will pass laws that will fulfill the wishes of the apostate churches.3
The mark of the beast—observance of a day other than the seventh-day Sabbath—is an institution that clearly sets forth the authority of the beast. One world church boldly boasts that it has changed the seventh-day Sabbath instituted at Creation from Saturday to Sunday. Other churches indicate that they worship on Sunday as a memorial of Christ’s resurrection. Neither assertion is found in Scripture. As a result, the recognition due the Creator is removed.
A Powerful Effect
Apostate religious leaders will not be able to refute scriptural evidence for the sacredness of Saturday as the Sabbath, and this fills them with anger. As a result, Sabbathkeepers will be persecuted and imprisoned. Amid all these events, the proclamation of the third message will have an effect that has not been seen before. People will see that prophecies in Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Revelation, and elsewhere in Scripture are being fulfilled exactly as commandment keepers said they would. The formation of the image of the beast and the enactment of the Sunday law will lead to national and international ruin.
Those who hold fast to their Savior and refuse to abandon the truths found in the three angels’ messages realize that they must perform their duty in presenting these messages and leave the results with God. We read that they will have “faces lighted up” and will “hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. . . . Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. . . . Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.”4
An Exciting Future
Biblical students of Daniel and Revelation, this is the exciting future to which you and I have been called in helping to finish God’s great work by proclaiming these mighty messages! Only by relying completely on Jesus and His righteousness and the power of the Holy Spirit will we be able to accomplish anything! God is preparing you and me for something unusual that will soon happen—the outpouring of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit—so that we will be revived and ready to boldly proclaim these amazing messages!
God is changing the hearts of those who hear this marvelous prophetic message, those who need to make a decision for Christ. What a privilege to share this prophetic message and humbly ask God for revival and reformation through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are We Willing?
As believers of prophecy, of Christ’s righteousness, and of His soon coming, are we willing to renew our commitment to Christ by following His example of warning the world and sharing His love? Are we willing to share the distinctive, prophetic three angels’ messages? Are we willing to be used by God in these last days of earth’s history to lovingly and powerfully share His final message of redemption, love, and judgment?
Then let’s first receive and believe these messages for ourselves, allowing them to revive, reform, and transform us, so that the light of truth will shine through us to a world in darkness.
One day very soon we will look up and see a small, dark cloud about half the size of a man’s hand. It will grow larger and larger, brighter and brighter. Millions of angels will make up that marvelous cloud with a brilliant rainbow above and lightning beneath. Right in the middle of that incredible cloud will be the One we have waited for: our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, coming as the King of kings and Lord of lords. What a day that will be!
If you wish to humbly submit to the Lord, the One who inspired the writing of the books of Daniel and Revelation, the One who gave and invites us to be revived and proclaim the three angels’ messages, and the One who can save you through His robe of righteousness and His sanctifying power to become more and more like Him—if you want to ask Him to use you in sharing His prophetic messages in this momentous end-time hour of earth’s history, I invite you right now, as you read this, wherever you may be, to bow your head and make a commitment to Christ, asking Him to revive you through an understanding and acceptance of His powerful three angels’ messages. Then may He give you the courage and strength to share these astounding messages with the world.
Jesus is coming soon!
Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Questions for Reflection and Sharing
- What does it mean to live in patient expectation of Jesus’ coming?
- Why would Sabbath be “the great test of loyalty” in the end-times? Is the fourth commandment the most important one?
- What should be our focus as we anticipate the soon return of Jesus? Developing our personal relationship with Him? Helping others? Studying Bible doctrine? Explain.
This article was originally published in the Adventist Review and is being reprinted with permission. To view the original article click here.
Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 9, p. 19.
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 605.
Ibid., p. 445.
Ibid., p. 612.