At various times throughout the history of our world, God has raised up a special message to meet the peculiar issues of the hour. Noah warned of a world-wide destruction by a flood to the doomed inhabitants of his day. John the Baptist announced the first advent of our Lord to an unbelieving people. The apostles of Christ preached the gospel of a crucified and risen Savior to all the people of their time. Today, the great threefold messages of Revelation 14:6-12, which contains the “everlasting gospel,” is the last message of mercy given to our world in the final hours of earth’s history. It describes the present-day world condition and is a message that will never be eclipsed by some greater message of religious truth. No matter the rapid and extensive changes that we see taking place in our world, the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14 cannot become obsolete or out of date; because they reach to the close of probation and culminate with the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven.
No other Warning after This
The very next event after the prophecy of Revelation 14:6-12 is the coming of the Lord Jesus to reap the harvest of the earth (Revelation 14: 14-16). This shows that this threefold message is what ripens the world for the harvest. It will bring every individual in the world to a decision either for Christ or against Christ. It will draw a dividing line between all the people of the earth, which will separate them into just two classes,—those who follow the truth, and those who follow error; those who obey God, and those who disobey Him.
These messages will seal the eternal destiny of every living soul before the return of Christ. Those who accept this message of truth will be prepared to meet the coming Christ, and will be gathered to heaven as wheat for God’s heavenly garner. Those who reject this message will be on the side of the Antichrist, the beast and his image and will be burned up in the fire of the last day.
Our Eternal Destiny
Our eternal destiny will be decided by how we relate ourselves to this threefold message. Surely we ought to be deeply interested to learn the meaning and heed the truth of this divine message for our day. It is the most vital truth for our time. Its importance cannot be exaggerated; for it is a life-and-death question for every man, woman, and child on earth. This threefold message is not a new gospel, or a modern gospel, or a revised gospel, but it is the eternal, everlasting gospel, in which there is no change even as history develops. This threefold message contains the truth that people at this time, and from now on till the very end of time, need to know and heed above every other religious creed, dogma or idea in the world. There is nothing more important, and there cannot be anything more vital, than this special message from God for this hour.
The First Angel
“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, He said in a loud voice, Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” (Revelation 14:6, 7).
The distinguishing features of the First Angel’s Message is a call to (1) preach the everlasting gospel (2) a call announcing the hour of God’s judgment (3) a call to fear God (4) a call to give Him glory (5) and a call to worship Him as Creator of heaven and earth.
This significant message is given in view of the fact that practically the entire world is drifting towards humanism, secularism, godlessness and evolution. The skeptics and unbelievers are found both in the world and in the church. The world today is repudiating the divinely inspired truth of God’s word and replacing them with human theories and man-made traditions and doctrines. The first angel’s message counters the popular sentiments being taught today.
“Worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” (Revelation 14:7). It calls for the repudiation of the theory of evolution, and the recognition of God through His Son as the Creator of all. The call to the recognition of God as the direct Creator of all, is at the same time a call to the observance of the true seventh-day Sabbath, for the observance of the Sabbath is an acknowledgment of the recognition of God as the Creator of all things in six days. The “everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6) of God’s love is also brought to view in this message reminding us that it is only by God’s grace and love that we can even worship Him. Thus the first angel’s message is an appropriate, all-encompassing, world-wide message for this hour.
The Second 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).
The Second Angel’s Message is given because the people of the world have rejected the First Angel. Instead of embracing the truths of God’s word, they have embraced the intoxicating deceptions and man-made inventions of Babylon. Again, we are warned of Babylon in Revelation 18:
“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen…” (Revelation 18:1).
Babylon is a world-wide phenomena and epidemic. Babylon comes from the word babel and originated from the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:9) and means confusion. People in Babylon are confused. They think they are right when they’re wrong. And the majority of God’s people are still in Babylon. Notice what God’s word says:
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her [Babylon], my people…” (Revelation 18:4).
The wine of Babylon represents the doctrines that originated from Babylon and describes the apostasy found in both the world and church through the embracement of false doctrines in place of God’s word. What a fitting description of the popular churches who have opened wide its doors to the world. Many churches are lifting the ban against sin and immorality to its members. No messages could be more appropriate than the message that Babylon has truly fallen in this time of lawlessness and vice.
The Third Angel
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 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).
The third angel’s message is a warning cry against the apostasy which was introduced by Babylon. Apostasy in the church led to the development of the Papacy which has formulated the doctrines for all of Christianity. The ancient teachings of Babylon have been firmly embedded into the teaching and practices of the modern Christian Church. These doctrines include sun worship (Ezekiel 8:16) and spiritualism (Psalm 106:28). Today these doctrines have been repackaged and embraced by the church and are now called Sunday sacredness and the doctrine of the immortal soul. By these two great errors the whole world has been made drunk on the wine of Babylon.
The third angel’s message is a call to forsake these and all the other errors of Babylon and to take a stand and allegiance to God. It is a call to forsake this great counterfeit of Christianity and to forsake the commandments of men. It is a call to embrace the truth of the Holy Scriptures and to take a stand on the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
It is plain that the direct issue of the Third Angel’s Message is over “the commandments of God” (Revelation 14:12). How evident is God’s wisdom to foresee the issues of this hour in the wording of these messages! No other message could be so remarkably applied to the world conditions in the realm of religion as they actually exist at this very time. This is clearly seen by a glance at the description of the people God has called out of the world to give these messages: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14: 12).
Who is the Beast of Revelation?
Revelation chapter 13 gives us all the identifying characteristics of the beast. This power is the same working principle of that false system of worship which Paul called in his day “the mystery of iniquity” and that would later develop from among the Christian Church into the “man of sin” (2 Thess. 2:1-7). It is only in the Roman Papacy that we see all these principles exemplified.
- This beast power would rise up out of the sea (Rev. 13:1) and the seas represent populated areas (Rev. 17:15). The papacy arose in Europe.
- The beast received its power (seat) and authority from the dragon (Rev. 13:2). Satan’s power is described as the dragon that used the ancient Roman Empire to persecute and eventually crucify Christ (Rev. 12:7-9). Satan used the Roman government to accomplish its persecution against Jesus and the early Christian Church. It was the Roman Emperor Constantine that established the authority of the Roman Church and establish the papacy by state decree. All of the pagan Roman traditions were absorbed into the church at that time.
- The Beast would receive a deadly wound (Rev. 13:3). This deadly wound was fulfilled when Napoleon’s general, Alexander Berthier, marched into Rome and took Pope Pius VI captive in 1798 and declared the papacy dead. The United Nations, The European Union, and all these other organization today have never received a deadly wound. This point and every other point in Revelation 13 can apply only to the papacy.
- The Beast’s deadly wound be healed (Rev. 13:3) and the entire world would give honor to it. Today the pope has become the most influential and popular leader worldwide and alone draws the masses whenever he travels the world.
- The beast would be a strong political power (Rev. 13:3, 7). The papacy has diplomatic relations with 180 nations through its ambassadors.
- The beast would be a very powerful religious organization (Rev. 13:3, 8). The papacy has ecumenical and interfaith relationships with all the major religions in the world.
- The beast is guilty of blasphemy (Rev. 13:5, 6). The priest of the Roman Church claim they have power to forgive sins which is a definition of blasphemy according to the Bible (Mark 2:7).
- The beast would persecute the saints (Rev. 13:7). During the Roman inquisition it is estimated that about 100,000,000 Bible-believing Protestant Christians were martyred for their faith by the Roman Catholic Church.
These are the words of God and He put them there to be interpreted. The words of prophecy point to only one power and that is the seat or office of the papacy – the bishop of Rome or the pope.
What is the Mark of the Beast?
The mark of the beast is some distinguishing token of its authority. As the beast is in opposition to God, the mark of its power would consist of some doctrine or institution, some attempted change in the law of God, whereby it would seek to set itself above Christ or in opposition to His authority. Such a mark or token of authority the papal church claims to possess. Notice the following statements coming from Roman Catholic Sources:
“The OBSERVANCE of SUNDAY by the Protestants is an HOMAGE THEY PAY in spite of themselves to the AUTHORITY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.” Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk about Protestantism of Today, page 213.
“The Catholic Church, for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.” The Catholic Mirror, September, 1893.
“Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act… And the act is a MARK of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things.” H.F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons. Nov 11, 1895.
“The Church is above the Bible, and this transference of the Sabbath observance is proof positive of that fact.” The Catholic Record, London, Ontario, September 1, 1923.
“We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” Peter Geiermann, CSSR, A Doctrinal Catechism, 1957 Edition, page 50.
“We all gather on the day of the SUN…Sunday on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in the light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal church.” New Catholic Catechism (1993), pages 582, 583.
So the papacy is saying here that it changed Sabbath to Sunday and that virtually all churches accepted the new holy day by virtue of her own authority. Thus, the papacy claims that Sunday as a holy day is the mark, or symbol, of her power and authority.
What is the Seal or Mark of God?
“I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them” (Ezekiel 20:12).
“And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God” (Ezekiel 20:20).
“It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth” (Exodus 31:17).
God’s word tells us that His Sabbath is a glorious sign of His power to create and His power to sanctify us. This represents the creative and redemptive work of God for us and in us. It is a sign that He is the Creator and Savior (Rev. 7:1-3; Rev. 14:7). The completed work of salvation is sanctification, and the sign that this work of sanctification is being done for us by Christ, our Creator and Redeemer, is the observance of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is thus, to those who understandingly and happily observe it, a blessed assurance of that eternal rest which our loving heavenly Father has promised. This, then, is the origin and meaning of the seventh-day Sabbath. True Sabbath-keeping signifies that a person has surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and is willing to follow wherever Jesus leads.
Our Lord Jesus declared that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore He is Lord of the Sabbath day (Mark 2:27, 28).
God’s sign of creation and redemption cannot be transferred by any man or by any church organization from the seventh day to the first day, or to any other day. Only God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and the Redeemer of all who are saved. Our Savior said: “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46). Our love for Him is indicated by our willingness to obey His commandments (John 14:15; 15:10).
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Revelation 13:18).
This is one of the most heavily debated texts in all the Bible. This verse clearly identifies who the beast is and how to compute this number. We are told that the number is made up by calculating the numerical value of each of the letters to which the name is composed of and bringing it to a total sum.
It is very clear and evident that this number refers to the papacy alone whose chief claim is to be the Vicar (representative) of Christ. That is the official role of the pope to be the Vicar of Christ, the Son of God here on earth. In Latin, the official language of the Papacy, this title is translated as “Vicarius Filii Dei” and the numerical value from the Roman numeral system calculates to 666.
V = 5
I = 1
C = 100
A = 0
R = 0
I = 1
U = 5
S = 0
F = 0
I = 1
L = 50
I = 1
I = 1
D = 500
E = 0
I = 1
The title of the pope is found in several catholic sources. One of the most authoritative and reliable sources is found in the Decretum Gratiani, a collection of canon laws that govern the Roman Catholic Churches sacraments, activities, and mission. Notice the following excerpt:
“Beaus Petrus in terris Vicarius Filii Dei videtur esse constitutes.” [Blessed Peter seems to have been appointed the Vicar of the Son of God on earth] (Decretum of Gratian,” part one, division 96) Source: https://books.google.com/books?id=YCRKAAAAcAAJ (page 461).
Here we see Roman Catholic Canon Law establishing the official title of Peter, their first Pope, as the Vicarius Filii Dei. This is the number of the beast. The important questions are these: Does the pope, the head of the papal system, bear a name or title that has a numerical value of 666 and is this in addition to all the other characteristics pointed out in prophecy? If so, there can be no mistake in asserting that the name or title is Vicarius Filii Dei, and that the papacy is the system described as the beast in the thirteenth chapter of the book of Revelation.
Image to the Beast
“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (Revelation 13:11, 12).
Notice that this second beast comes to full strength and power after the papacy’s deadly would is healed. This means that this new world power doesn’t come up during the Dark Ages but at a much later time. In fact, the papal’s deadly wound is healed when the nations once again begin to recognize the one who sits on the throne in Rome as the chief arbiter in religious and political questions.
The recent re-emergence of influence and power on the part of the papacy has not just been spectacular but also prophetic. Yet prophecy also says that it is a second beast or power that will cause the world to be brought back into obedience to the first beast or the papacy. God’s word doesn’t say that the whole world would join the Roman papal church but rather the whole world will become subservient to its authority by giving their allegiance and worship to man-made doctrines and traditions above the word of God.
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast” (Revelation 13:3).
This second beast will be instrumental in causing the world to give homage and worship to the first beast or the papacy.
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15).
Now if, as we have seen, the beast is the apostate ecclesiastical system of Rome, the image to the beast must be some other ecclesiastical system, apparently independent of Rome, but, in reality, a replica of the essential features of that apostate church; in other words, a Protestantism which has abandoned its protest and become an echo of the church from which it separated in the great Reformation movement. Are there then any signs of the formation of such an image among the Protestant churches, and especially among the American Protestant churches of today? Without doubt, the Great Protestant Churches are following in the footsteps of Rome, especially here in America.
The only nation that has developed into a power of world wide dominance and that is engaged in every part of world affairs is the United States. Clearly the Vatican and the United States are the two last great superpowers this world has. The United States is unquestionably the greatest military power on the planet and the Vatican is the greatest religious power. Both of these are internationally engaged and help to influence and shape politics on a global scale.
However, the Bible predicts that these two great powers would unite in purpose to oppose God’s law and enact laws to persecute those who do not honor its Sunday Laws [See AdventMessenger.com/category/sundaylaws]. As the Protestant Churches draw closer together in fellowship with the Roman Catholic Church, they are forming an image to the beast. Which will dramatically result in the United States developing religious legislation that will enforce Sunday worship and will eventually lead to persecution for those who refuse to honor this day. Then will Protestant America have formed an image to the papal beast when that time comes.
We are in the midst of the last great conflict between truth and error. Between these two opposing principles the line of distinction will be drawn. The issue will be between the worship of God or the worship of the beast. Will we render allegiance and loyalty to Christ or to Antichrist? Will we obey the commandments of God or the commandments of men? Will we receive the seal of the living God or the mark of the beast? Will we keep God’s true Sabbath or will we keep the Sabbath that was changed by a power that is opposed to God? These issues involve the eternal destiny of the children of men. For that reason Heaven is sending to the world today the great judgment-hour message. We cannot ignore its clear, incisive teaching, or minimize its solemn importance. The manner in which we relate ourselves to its requirements will determine our destiny for life or for death.
The proper preaching of these truths found in the three angels’ messages is the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ for these last days in which we are living. As this threefold message is Christ’s everlasting gospel for this era, it is self-evident that Christ has no other gospel for this time apart from this threefold message. There is not and cannot be any other, for there is only one true gospel. How eager people should be to understand the truths found in these messages! How imperative it would seem to the people that they should heed the warnings given from heaven!
When accepted, it means eternal life, which is worth more than all the world (Matt. 16: 26). If rejected or ignored, it means eternal loss. How diligent, then we ought to be to search out and learn its meaning. It will give us an understanding of our times and of what we ought to do at this hour.
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