Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
Revelation 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Revelation 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Armageddon is a combination of two words, Har, and Megeddon. The Mountain at the place of slaughter. I have been to that mountain, Mt. Carmel, at which Elijah encountered the engagement with the prophets of Baal. As in the type, the final "battle" will be over true vs. false worship. The enemy will have his Three Demons Messages, to counter the Three Angels Messages, coming from his false trinity. Miracles, as in Revelation 13, are a major part of the enemy's strategy to deceive. If we "watch and keep our garments", we will have protection, discernment, and a deep loving loyalty already demonstrated in the mark of the beast issue.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Isaiah 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
Isaiah 1:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
As Joshua 24:15 says, "Choose you this day whom you shall serve." The Seven Last Plagues fall on those who chose poorly. The Seal of God is experienced by those who chose to follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
"The Third Angel's Message is to keep men from the worship of the Beast and his Image, and so to save them from the wrath of God. And the way in which men escape the worship of the Beast and his Image, and so escape the Seven Last Plagues, is by keeping the Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus; for the closing words of the Third Angel's Message are: "Here are they that keep the Commandments of God, and the Faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12. "
AT Jones, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Vol. 78, No. 5, January 29, 1901, p. 72.
Revelation sixteen describes the seven last plagues (Revelation 15:1) of earth's history. Included in these plagues is the only mention of the word "Armageddon" in the Bible. This section (Revelation 15-16) begins with the end-time people of God standing by the sea of glass singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, an allusion to the Exodus (Revelation 15:1-4). Then the seven plagues are introduced with a vision of the heavenly temple emptied because of the glory of God, a reversal of the original inauguration of the Mosaic sanctuary (Revelation 15:5-8; Exodus 40:34-35). This is close of probation imagery. Seven angels were then told to pour out bowls of wrath upon the earth one by one (Revelation 16:1-21). The Sanctuary Message shows us how God deals with the sin problem without the sinner being destroyed, by presenting a substitute, and a cleansing from all iniquity.
The 7 Last Plagues should always be viewed in relation to Revelation 15, and the Final Remnant who have seen victory over the Beast, the Mark, the Image, and the number of His name. As Revelation 12:11 says, they overcame by the Blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they loved their lives not until death. The Blood of the Lamb was and is available to all, through the redemption accomplished for all humanity in Christ. Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. No one has to be lost, and thus, no one has to experience the Seven Last Plagues.
God promises to place love in our hearts. Romans 5:5. Satan's effort is to have people angry, like him. Revelation 11:18. It is up to us to decide whom will control our mind and heart.
The Book of Revelation presents us with two sets of Seven Blessings for Obedience, and 7 Promises for Overcoming. Then it presents us with two sets of Seven presentations of New Testament history, the Seven Letters and the Seven Seals, showing God's work in history with His people, His concerns, and His dealings with those who reject His love. Then in contrast to the two sets of blessings, we see two sets of judgments, the preliminary judgments of the Trumpets, and then the final Seven Last Plagues. These all result in two groups, the Righteous and the Lost, seen at the end in the Remnant who do not receive the Mark, and then in Revelation 20, the saved and lost from all time. Those who are lost had ample opportunity to fall in love with Jesus, to appreciate, and receive by living faith the gift of His righteousness, and the promise of eternal life. God wishes that all be saved.
The Seven Last plagues are called "last" for several reasons. They are the final judgments on the wicked. Also, in Exodus, the 7 "last" plagues of the ten fell on Egypt only, and Goshen was protected. Those who believe in the Secret Rapture say the church must be raptured because, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:9, they say the church is not "appointed to wrath", and thus the plagues could not fall on them. But as we see in Psalms 91 and the type of the plagues in Egypt, the 7 last plagues do not fall on God's people, while they are on earth during the final tribulation period.
The end time remnant are praising God for the fairness and justice of the fate of all. Revelation 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.
Revelation 15:4 Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest.
The significance of the Song of Moses AND the Song of the Lamb is that in it, one understands why the remnant are saved, and others are lost. The righteous had the "Faith of Jesus", the faith that led to obedience, even the death of the cross. The Song of Moses, seen in Exodus 15, was a shallow faith that was easily shaken by trials, and thus murmuring against God when they faced, immediately, the waters of Mareh. The righteous have a faith that is not based merely on the miraculous, the positive, but a faith as that of Daniel and his friends, who purposed in their hearts not to defile themselves, or not to be disloyal to God.
In ancient times, God's people, the Israelites, were slaves in Egypt. God wanted to take them out but Pharaoh hardened his heart. When Egypt's pharaoh refused to let God's people go and instead took away their right to a Sabbath rest, God struck Egypt with plagues (Exodus 5). These events symbolize what will happen in the final days. The circumstances will be similar, and the application will be universal.
Because Moses reestablished the Israelites' Sabbath, Pharaoh increased their workload, making it impossible for the Israelites to keep the Sabbath. When this law was enacted and God's people could no longer worship according to their consciences, God intervened. The plagues came and Israel was freed from slavery and taken to the Promised Land.
In Revelation, John describes the seven last plagues that will fall at the end of the world's probation. This close of probation, just like in Egypt, will come after the mark of the Beast is enforced, depriving God's people of their freedom to worship Him according to the dictates of their conscience. In the end times, the Sabbath will once again be the issue.
I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God (Revelation 15:1).
In Revelation, John sees the heavenly temple fill with smoke. The heavenly temple service ends and probation is closed: "And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled" (Revelation 15:8).
First Plague: And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth. And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image (Revelation 16:1-2).
In this text, the first plague falls on those who have the mark of the Beast; God's people are divinely protected. In Egypt, God separated the Egyptians and the Israelites so that His people were not affected by the last seven plagues.
Later in Revelation, before Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, God warned His people about the coming destruction. He pointed them to the prophecies of Daniel and urged them to study and understand them. Those who listened to His counsel escaped with their lives, but those who did not perished. They suffered the consequences of their choice. God had pleaded long and it was only with aching heart that He gave them up.
Just as Pharaoh did not relent when the plagues fell, so the unrepentant will not cease in their endeavors to destroy God's people. The crisis will escalate until it climaxes in the death decree against those who refuse to honor the Antichrist. The promises of God are, however, sure:
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it will not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plagues come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways (Psalms 91:5-11).
This should be to us a comforting thought—angels will protect those who have the seal of God.
He is our refuge and my fortress, He will save you; you will not fear the terror by night, no harm will befall you.
What assurance does God give that He will feed us during this time? Isaiah 33:16
Answer: His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him.
Where do we find our refuge or security in the time of trouble? Psalm 46:1, 2
Answer: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.
Second Plague: And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea (Revelation 16:3).
Third Plague: And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments (Revelation 16:4-7).
In this passage, while those who turned against God continue in their determination to shed the blood of those who love Him, the waters turn to blood. But the promise for the people of God is that "bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure" (Isaiah 33:16).
Just as Elijah was taken care of in his calamity, so God will take care of His children in their calamity. The prophet Elijah serves as a type of the end-time people of God. Elijah did not see death, but was translated and taken to heaven. Similarly, those that receive the seal of God will also be translated without seeing death.
Just as Elijah was persecuted by the church-state alliance of his day, so God's people will suffer a similar persecution at the end of time. God provided Elijah's needs, and God will also provide the needs of the faithful at the end of this great drama of rebellion against His government.
Fourth Plague: And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory (Revelation 16:8-9).
During the fourth plague, the sun's radiation will not only scorch the earth, but will also scorch people. With the destruction of the ozone layer, ultraviolet radiation has increased dramatically and some countries have introduced dress codes for school children to avoid exposure.
Weather patterns have changed dramatically over the last decades. Changing weather patterns have resulted in unprecedented droughts in some areas and massive floods in others. The droughts, often associated with the Él Niño phenomenon, have caused raging fires that have swallowed up millions of acres of forests and grazing.
What is being witnessed today is merely a foretaste of worse things to come. The prophet Joel foresaw this plague and had this to say:
How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate. O LORD, to Thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and flames hath burned all the trees of the field (Joel 1:18-19).
In the same way that God protected the Israelites from the plagues that smote the Egyptians (Exodus 11:4-8), God's people will be protected from this plague. "The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night" (Psalm 121:6).
God protected the Israelites from the heat of the day by being a pillar of cloud for them, and protected them from the cold of the night by being a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21). He will also protect His people when this fourth plague comes to fruition.
Fifth Plague: And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven (Revelation 16:10-11).
This plague will strike at the throne of the Beast in particular. The Papacy has kept the people of the world in darkness, and so darkness will be their portion. With their tongues they deceived the nations, and they will gnaw their tongues in agony.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
Light emanates from God, and in Him there is no darkness. The Papacy replaced Jesus, the Light of the world, with its own systems. This system slights Christ's role as Mediator and crucifies Him again and again in the mass. Instead of the Word, Rome feeds the people on liturgies and earthly commandments.
The Word of God, which had been withheld and distorted by the Papacy, could have cured Rome's malady, had it been willing to listen. "The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple" (Psalm 119:130).
But instead of heeding God's Word, Rome tampered with God's law and changed His ordinances:
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant (Isaiah 24:5).
If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever (Jeremiah 31:36).
The fifth plague will bring about a turning point. The inhabitants of the earth, already reeling under the effects of the previous plagues, will witness the agony of the Beast (the papal system) and begin to doubt its credentials. Just as Egypt's support for Pharaoh waned when the plagues hit (Exodus 10:7), so support for the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and its water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared (Revelation 16:12).
Sixth Plague: Two issues are brought forward in this passage: the Euphrates river dries up and this prepares the way for the kings of the East. The Euphrates was the river that fed into Babylon. This verse reminds us of this city's ancient fall when the river dried up to prepare the way for the conquerors to enter the city. One hundred fifty years before Cyrus, the conqueror of Babylon, was born, the prophet Isaiah mentioned his name:
Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates, and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron (Isaiah 45:1-2).
This is an amazing prophecy. Cyrus is here a type of Christ who will one day come and rescue His children from mystic Babylon and take them to the heavenly Jerusalem.
That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is My shepherd, and shall perform all My pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid (Isaiah 44:27-28).
Isaiah 44:27 says that God Himself will dry up the waters of the Euphrates and this will cause Babylon's fall by opening the way for Cyrus to enter the city. History reveals that Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 BC because the waters of the Euphrates stopped flowing. Cyrus is called a shepherd, and in Isaiah 45:1 he was called the Lord's anointed. Just as Cyrus set Israel free without price, Jesus will set His people free without price.
Just as the waters of literal Babylon dried up, so the waters of spiritual Babylon will dry up. The waters, according to Revelation 17, are the nations that support Rome. This support will begin to crumble.
And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues (Revelation 17:15).
Cyrus and his father-in-law Darius, a type of father and son, were the kings of the East who conquered Babylon in 539 BC when the waters of the Euphrates dried up. Who are the kings that will come to our rescue once the antitypical Euphrates dries up? If Cyrus was a type of Christ, then the antitypical kings of the East must be Christ and His Father. The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel speak about Christ's Second Coming:
Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow (Isaiah 41:2).
Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and His voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with His glory (Ezekiel 43:1-2).
Jesus will come in His glory, His Father's glory, and the glory of all the holy angels:
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels (Mark 8:38). The papal system will begin to wane, opening the way for the sixth plague.
Seventh Plague: And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great (Revelation 16:17-21).
The final plague of hail will destroy the nations of the earth. Babylon will disintegrate into its three components. The greatest earthquake in history will destroy the last life on earth. Huge blocks of hail weighing over 100 pounds will end the rebellion. No one will be left. In the midst of this confusion, Christ's people will be taken away.
In Job 38:22-23, we have a reference to this war of hail:
Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
Christ is the victor in this conflict:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:11-16).
The redeemed will shout for joy when their conflict ends, because they will be taken to the heavenly Canaan.
And it shall be said in that day, 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).
God's sole interest is twofold – the salvation of man, and the protection and reconciliation of the entire universe. His plagues demonstrate that the hearts of some would never repent, no matter what the experience. But they also demonstrate the hearts of the others who are saved, for we will be weeping, grieving, and saddened by the loss of so many that Jesus died to save. The plagues will show that the righteous are ready for heaven, for they have heaven in their hearts. Duty has become a delight, and sacrifice a pleasure. Love springs forth spontaneously. They are walking in the light, as Christ is the light.
Our topic this week, God's Everlasting Gospel, is an exciting topic to study at this point in Earth's history. Why? --- Because, as scripture tells us in Matthew 24:14, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations: and then shall the end come." "Adventist" means the soon coming of Christ and so as Adventists we believe that His second coming is near at hand.
Two key parts to that scripture verse are that it is the "gospel of the kingdom" that is to be preached which is telling us that it is indeed God's Everlasting Gospel which in Matthew 28:19 Christ tells His disciples (both then and now) we are to teach all nations. Secondly, God's gospel is to be preached "in all the world".
One issue that I struggled with as a new Adventist was why has Christ not already come to take us home? A logical follow-up question to this is: Is it because He is not ready or is it because His last day church (His bride) is not ready? Generally, most Christians including many Adventists will tell you that Christ is not ready and provide a variety of reasons why.
Let's now look briefly at the Spirit of Prophecy and see what EG White has to say on this topic as we look back at our history. Multiple times she states that Christ would have come prior to 1900.
For example, in 1900 we see the following statement:
"Had the purpose of God been carried out by His people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God." 6T 449.4 (1900)
Note that "would have" suggests that Christ was indeed ready to come as opposed to "might have" or "wanted to". This all ties in with her statements that we had the beginning of the Loud Cry and the Latter Rain in the 1890's as well. The Groom has been ready and waiting on His bride, the last day church for a long time.
This causes us to turn to the "message of mercy", God's Everlasting Gospel that we are to give to the world! Are we sharing the true everlasting gospel? Most Christian churches believe they are sharing God's gospel and even in Adventism there are different perspectives on the gospel we are preaching but there can only be one true Everlasting Gospel.
Some additional EG White quotes might give us more guidance on this issue:
"The church of God is to shine as a light to the world, but Jesus is the illuminator, and He is represented as moving among His people. No one shines by his own light. The Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the lights thereof. The message given us by A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner is the message of God to the Laodicean church, and woe be unto anyone who professes to believe the truth, and yet does not reflect to others the God-given rays. Letter 24, 1892. Par. 36
"Wherever this message comes, its fruits are good. A vigor and a vital energy are brought into the church, and where the message is accepted, there hope and courage and faith beam in the countenances of all those who open their eyes to see, their understanding to perceive, and their hearts to receive the great treasure of truth." —Manuscript 24, 1888.
Spirit of Prophecy tells us repeatedly that we are the Laodicean church, God's last church, and the above quotes further state that we have been given a "message of God" by Waggoner and Jones so that our church may "shine as a light to the world with Jesus as the illuminator." Also, where the message is accepted hearts will be open to "receive the great treasure of truth!"
However, at the same time as we can see below there has been resistance to truth that has hindered the sharing of this message to the world:
"I state truth. The souls who love God, who believe in Christ, and who eagerly grasp every ray of light, will see light, and rejoice in the truth. They will communicate the light. They will grow in holiness …..The word of God speaketh truth, not a lie. In it is nothing strained, nothing extreme, nothing overdone. We are to accept it as the word of the living God …..The world is polluted, corrupted, as was the world in the days of Noah. The only remedy is belief in the truth, acceptance of the light. Yet many have listened to the truth spoken in demonstration of the Spirit, and they have not only refused to accept the message, but they have hated the light. These men are parties to the ruin of souls. They have interposed themselves between the heaven-sent light and the people. They have trampled upon the word of God and are doing despite to His Holy Spirit." TM 90.3
To further clarify the message that we as Seventh-Day Adventists are to share with the world let's look at another well-known EG White quote:
"The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family.
All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.
The uplifted Saviour is to appear…, sitting upon the throne, to dispense the priceless covenant blessings…Christ is pleading for the church in the heavenly courts above….
God gave to His servants a testimony that presented the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the third angel's message in clear, distinct lines…. This testimony…presents the law and the gospel, binding up the two in a perfect whole. (See Romans 5 and 1 John 3:9 to the close of the chapter).
This is the very work which the Lord designs that the message He has given His servant shall perform in the heart and mind of every human agent. It is the perpetual life of the church to love God supremely and to love others as they love themselves." TM pgs.91-92.
So what are some of the things we can learn from this inspired passage?
-First, the Lord sent us this message and He sent it "in His great mercy" because we desperately needed it both then and now.
- "most precious message" suggests it was the most precious gift He could send us, having already sent His Son to redeem us, "this message points us back to God's agape love and Christ's infinite sacrifice on the cross: "to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour".
-This message was sent to "His people", His last day church both then and now. Why? –because in our Laodicean condition, we need it! We think we are rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing spiritually. (Revelation 3:17). The truth is that we need Christ, our Saviour. We need His faith and His righteousness to take us through the times ahead!
-We are told this message presents "justification through faith in the Surety". This genuine faith is the faith of Jesus and it's His gift to us—we are all given the "measure of faith."(Romans 12:3). It is what we need and when exercised, we receive the "priceless gift of His own righteousness". Righteousness by faith, Christ our righteousness—the core of this most precious message!
-Sanctification--Christ as our High Priest, is "pleading for the church in the heavenly courts above". This is also a key aspect of this message as our Saviour cleanses His people and "dispenses the priceless (new) covenant blessings" as hearts are changed and the law is written on the heart. Having been justified by faith and received the gift of Christ's righteousness, both of which are an ongoing experience, we are no longer motivated by fear of punishment or hope of reward. In response to His love and His gifts, our desire is "to love God supremely and to love others as they love themselves."
-We are told "This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice." First, note that God did not suggest but commanded, that we His people give this message to the world suggesting that this is indeed The Everlasting Gospel and the third angel's message that we and the world need to hear!
Let's now take a look at some insights on God's everlasting gospel from the messengers themselves starting with two quotes from A.T. Jones:
"This word is spoken of the people of God at the time when the church is to be clothed with the "beautiful garments" of His righteousness and endued with His power (Isaiah 52:1); when she is entirely separated from the world and all worldliness; and when she is entirely loosed from the captive bonds of sin (verse 2); and when she is to know the full redemption of the Lord. verse 3. It is the time when, again, as in Egypt, His people will be "oppressed without cause" (verse 4); when "they that rule over them make them to howl," and themselves "continually every day blaspheme" the name of the Lord. verse 5. It is at such a time as this, and "therefore" that the Lord declares, "My people shall know My name." verse 6. ARSH September 24, 1895, p. 618.1
And that time is now…. And now God will be revealed in power as He was then. Now as then the Lord will make "bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God." verse 10. "Therefore my people shall know My name; therefore they shall know in that day that I am He that doth speak; behold, it is I." ARSH September 24, 1895, p. 618.2
His name is "merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." To know His name is to know all this. It is not merely to know about it, but it is to know it; it is to know it, by the "hearing of faith"—to know it with the heart. As His name expresses what He is, to know His name is to know Him—not merely to know about Him; but to know Him. His name expresses His nature, and to know His name is to know His nature. ARSH September 24, 1895, p. 618.3
He is merciful. This is His name; and to know His name is to know mercy. It is to know what it is always to manifest from the heart treatment better than they deserve to all offenders. It is only by knowing Him, the fountain of mercy that this can be done. "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful." Luke 6:36. ARSH September 24, 1895, p. 618.4
He is gracious. This is His name; and to know His name is to know what it is to be extending favor always to all people. Not favor for favor; but pure favor. Not selfishness; but graciousness. ARSH September 24, 1895, p. 618.5
He is long-suffering. His name, even as He says, is continually every day blasphemed; His law is trampled underfoot; His authority is defied; He Himself is abused and outraged; yet He suffers it long, He endures it long, and is still abundant in goodness and truth even toward all those who are doing all these evil things. He is long-suffering thus toward all, because He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. This is His name; and to know His name is to know what it is wrongfully and unjustly to suffer contempt, injury, abuse, and outrage, to suffer these things long and still manifest abundance of goodness and truth to all, that if by any means they may be brought to repentance. "Charity suffereth long, and is kind." And "if I have not charity, I am nothing." "Charity is the bond of perfectness." ARSH September 24, 1895, p. 618.
He is forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. This is His name; and to know His name is to know the forgiveness of iniquity and transgression and sin. It is to know this, each one for himself in his own, individual case; and then because of this, manifesting it to all people always. "Condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." Luke 6:37. It is not condemnation that men in this world need. They have that already in abundance. It is not condemnation but salvation that the people of this world need. "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." And "as my Father sent Me, so send I you." He does not send us to condemn anybody; but that they may be saved. His name is "forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin," and His people are to know His name—they are to know what it is to be this to all. ARSH September 24, 1895, p. 618.8
God is love. This is His name; and to know His name is to know love—His love. It is to know Him as He is Himself. And "he that loveth not, knoweth not God." ARSH September 24, 1895, p. 618.9
This promise that the Lord's people shall know His name, is therefore in reality a promise that they shall know another nature. His name expresses His nature. To know His name is to know His nature. Therefore the promise that we shall know His name, is a promise that we shall know and be partakers of—and know by being partakers of—the divine nature. ARSH September 24, 1895, p. 618.11
"My people shall know My name." His name shall be manifest in His people. His nature shall be manifest in His people. Divinity and humanity shall again be united. God will again be manifest in the flesh. This is the mystery of God that in these days of the voice of the seventh angel is to be finished. Revelation 10:7. This is the everlasting gospel, and thus it is to be preached with a loud voice to every nation and kindred and tongue and people." ARSH September 24, 1895, p. 619.2
"Now let us glance again at a summary of the lessons we have had. We have found that there is nothing that will hold us up in this time but the power of God. We have found that nothing will satisfy us, nothing will do for us, but the character of God. We have found in the matter of means and business affairs so far as this world is concerned, that we cannot depend upon any of these any more, but only upon the things that God gives. We have found that as to life itself, we cannot count on that anymore; the only thing that will satisfy, the only thing that we can depend upon, the only thing that will meet our demand—the demand of the people who will now stand for the Lord—is that life that is better than this one—the life that is eternal, the life of God. GCB/GCDB 1893, p. 147.2
Well, then, first, nothing will support us but the power of God. And where do we find the power of God? In Jesus Christ. "Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God"; that is what He is. Where do we find the character of God? In Christ. Where do we find all things, the great things of God? In Christ. Where do we find a better life than this? The life of God, in Christ. GCB/GCDB 1893, p. 147.3
Well, then, what in the world have we to preach to the world, but Christ? What have we to depend upon but Christ? Then what is the third angel's message but Christ? Christ the power of God; Christ the unsearchable riches of God; Christ the righteousness of God; Christ the life of God; Christ is God! That is the message that now we are to give to the world. Is it not? Then what does the world need? Christ. Do they need anything else? No. Is there anything else? No. "In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and ye are complete in Him." GCB/GCDB 1893, p. 147.4
Well, then, Christ the power of God; Christ the wisdom of God; Christ the unsearchable riches of God, and Christ the life of God. That is what we are to preach. Well, what is that all summed up in one thing? What expresses it? The Gospel. What is it to preach the gospel? It is to preach the mystery of God, which is Christ in men the hope of glory. What has God given to us to give to the world but "the everlasting gospel to preach unto every kindred and nation and tongue and people"? Revelation 14:6. Is not that what the message starts with? And then, when men will not receive the everlasting gospel nor worship Him who made heaven and earth and the sea and the fountains of waters—whom did they worship? The beast and his image. "Babylon is fallen, is fallen"; and then the third angel's message says they will worship the beast and his image. So that now, men worship the beast and his image, or else they will worship God. That is settled. According to the message as it is, and the time in which we are, the only thing that people in this world can worship is Him that made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of water, or else the beast and his image; there is no half-way place. The three messages are simply one three-fold message. In the special testimonies, is one that is addressed, "To Brethren in Responsible Positions," we read on page 15: GCB/GCDB 1893, p. 147.7
"While you hold the banner of truth firmly, proclaiming the law of God, let every soul remember that the faith of Jesus is connected with the commandments of God. The third angel is represented as flying through the midst of heaven, symbolizing the work of those who proclaimed the first, second, and third angel's messages; all are linked together." GCB/GCDB 1893, p. 148.1
So that the opening thing, and the one thing of all, that which covers all of these messages, is the everlasting gospel." GCB/GCDB 1893, p. 148.2
Just looking at these samples from A.T. Jones, we see the everlasting gospel pointing to God's love, His character and His sacrifice, all in Christ. Continuing on, we have two quotes from E.J. Waggoner that also share this most precious message:
"The first thing to be thought of in every case is the message. In fact, we may say that the only thing that we as Seventh-day Adventists need to know is what is termed among us the third angel's message, which is but another name for the closing up of the everlasting gospel. Paul determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified; and that was what gave him success. ARSH January 2, 1894, p. 4.1
Even so will it be in these days. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. All men are in the same condition, having the same need; for God "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26), and hath fashioned all their hearts alike. Psalm 35:15. "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and all who believe are alike justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Since there is no difference in men, no matter in what part of the earth they dwell, God puts no difference between them in the matter of salvation, but purifies the hearts of all alike, by faith. ARSH January 2, 1894, p. 4.2
What is known as the third angel's message, or, better still, the threefold, closing message of the gospel, is simply the announcement that the Lord is soon coming, and of the power of God to prepare men for that event…. This is the message: Man is nothing, but God is everything; man is weakness, but God is strength; man is sinful, but God is righteousness; man is ignorant, but God is wisdom; man is as frail as the grass, but God is wisdom; man is as frail as the grass, but God has life in Himself; and all that God is, He gives to everyone who will accept Him; for He "gave Himself for us." ARSH January 2, 1894, p. 4.3
The message, then, is the announcement of the power of God, as contrasted with the weakness of men, and as working in weak and sinful men. It is the setting forth of the mind of Christ, and showing that as God was manifest in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, Who emptied Himself that the Father alone might be revealed in Him, so He will reveal Himself in the flesh of every one who will yield himself to God, that he may be emptied of self. Now the power of God is always the same. It cannot be measured, for it is infinite. To create the smallest thing, or to cleanse the least sin, requires nothing less than the power of God, and to create the entire universe, or to save the world, requires nothing more than that same power. All things are alike to God. Nothing is too hard for him.Jeremiah 32:17-19. With a word all things are accomplished by Him, and it requires no more effort for Him to speak the word that brings the universe into existence than to speak the word that causes a single blade of grass to grow. The same word that cast the devil out of Mary, a Jewess, also cast the devil out of the daughter of the Syro-phenician woman. "The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him." Romans 10:12. ARSH January 2, 1894, p. 4.4
"That is to say, ever since the creation of the world, men have been able to see the eternal power of God, if they would use their senses, for it is clearly to be discerned in the things which He has made. Creation shows the power of God. So the power of God is creative power. And since the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, it follows that the Gospel is the manifestation of creative power to save men from sin. EVCO 21.3
But we have also learned that the Gospel is the good news of salvation through Christ. The Gospel consists in the preaching of Christ and Him crucified. The apostle says: "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel; not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:17, 18. EVCO 21.4
And still further: "We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1:23, 24. EVCO 21.5
This is why the apostle did as he says: "And I brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:1, 2. EVCO 22.1
The preaching of Christ and Him crucified is the preaching of the power of God, and therefore it is the preaching of the Gospel, for the Gospel is the power of God. And this is exactly in harmony with the thought that the preaching of the Gospel is the setting forth of God as the Creator; for the power of God is creative power, and Christ is the one through Whom all things were created. No one can preach Christ without preaching Him as the Creator. All are to honour the Son even as they honour the Father. Whatever preaching fails to make prominent the fact that Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things, is not the preaching of the Gospel. EVCO 22.2
Creation and Redemption
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth." John 1:1-14. EVCO 22.3
"In Him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things have been created through Him, and unto Him; and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." Colossians 1:16, 17 EVCO 22.4
Let us give particular attention to the last text, and see how creation and redemption meet in Christ. In the verses just before it we read that God "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." And then, after a parenthetical remark as to who Christ is, the apostle tells us how it is we have redemption through His blood. This is the explanation: "For in Him were all things created," etc." EVCO 23.1
Our apologies for the length this week, but we felt a burden to share this most precious message which is indeed The Everlasting Gospel, as expressed by God's messengers, Jones and Waggoner, and Spirit of Prophecy. It is a message of hope, redemption and love for God's last day people to give to the world. The world and our church need this message. Our Saviour is waiting to take us home!