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    THE FIRST MESSAGE

    “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.LIFIN 216.2

    This is called the first angel, because it is the first of the series. See verse 9. John calls it “another angel,” from the fact that he had previously seen an angel flying in the midst of heaven.LIFIN 217.1

    This proclamation is one of pre-eminent importance. It is not a mere local judgment, but one that concerns all the inhabitants of the earth. Hence it has reference to the final Judgment scene. It is the same gospel that Paul preached that is here styled the “everlasting gospel.” But the great truth uttered by this angel would not have been a truth if uttered by Paul, for he lived at the commencement of the gospel dispensation, and this proclamation relates to its closing scenes. It seems to be the same as “this gospel of the kingdom,” that our Lord presents in Matthew 24:14, as the sign of the end of this dispensation, and which was to be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations before the end should come.LIFIN 217.2

    The truth on this point is well expressed in the following language of the late Mr. Bliss, editor of the Advent Herald, December 14, 1850:LIFIN 217.3

    “As an indication of the approach of the end, there was, however, to be seen another angel flying through 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. Revelation 14:6. The burden of this angel was to be the same gospel which had been before proclaimed; but connected with it was the additional motive of the proximity of the kingdom, ‘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.’ Verse 7. No mere preaching of the gospel without announcing its proximity, could fulfill this message.”LIFIN 217.4

    In harmony with this testimony from the editor of the Herald, I will here give another from a tract on prophecy, published by J.V. Himes about the same time, which also speaks of the character of the message and the time of its application. The title of the tract is “Our Specific Work.”LIFIN 218.1

    “the proclamation of an everlasting gospel, ‘The hour of his Judgment is come,’ Revelation 14:6, 7, is the leading Advent proclamation.LIFIN 218.2

    “The facts summed up are these: John, looking into the distant future, gazing upon the theatre of the final conflict, sees a messenger, a minister of an everlasting gospel, fly through mid-heaven, with a special, elevated, joyous, public, proclamation, requiring haste and extraordinary energy in its delivery. The proclamation contains a fact, and a command founded upon that fact. 1. The fact: ‘The hour of his Judgment is come.’ 2. The command: ‘Fear God,’ etc. These are the elements of this special commission. The work of this symbol agent is thus clearly defined; no terms more specific.LIFIN 218.3

    “Does this messenger symbolize a class of teachers? Such has been the general understanding of expositors. Mr. Wesley and Dr. Benson so interpret the passage. On this point there is great unanimity. It is plain from the fact that it is said to preach. That class of people is modern. Mr. Wesley and Dr. Benson make this messenger symbolize the Protestant reformers in the days of Luther. With their view agree a mass of expositors. This commission, however, cannot be Luther’s.LIFIN 218.4

    “That body must exist somewhere, and, in its character and in the nature of its work, it must agree with the symbol messenger. They must agree as face to face in a mirror. Can such a body be found? The proclamation above stated has been heard. The world can bear testimony to this. The cry, ‘The hour of his Judgment is come,’ sounded through all Christendom. The multitudes heard, and scoffed, or trembled. By what body of believers was this proclamation made? Not by those who taught that that Judgment was a thousand years in the future. No church which holds to the doctrine of a spiritual reign can be that body, as the elements above stated. Such a body now existing can be found alone among those who constituted the Advent believers in Europe and America.”LIFIN 219.1

    In proof that this message has not been fulfilled in the history of the church in ages past, I offer the following reasons:LIFIN 219.2

    1. No proclamation of the hour of God’s Judgment come, has ever been made in any past age.LIFIN 219.3

    2. If such a proclamation had been made many centuries in the past, as some contend, it would have been a false one.LIFIN 219.4

    3. The prophecies on which such a proclamation to men in a state of probation must be based, were closed up and sealed to the time of the end.LIFIN 219.5

    4. The Scriptures plainly locate the message of warning respecting the Judgment in a brief space immediately preceding the advent of our Lord; thus directly contradicting the view that locates these messages in past ages.LIFIN 219.6

    We now offer proof in support of the foregoing propositions. If they are sustained, they establish the fact that the present generation is that one to which the angels’ messages are addressed. We earnestly invite all who wish the truth, to weigh this part of the argument with especial care.LIFIN 219.7

    1. Has the proclamation of the hour of God’s Judgment come, been made in any past age? If such a proclamation has never been made in past centuries, there is an end to controversy on this part of the subject. No persons have ever been able to show any such proclamation in the past. The apostles did not make such a proclamation. On the contrary, they plainly inform us that the day of the Lord was not then at hand. Martin Luther did not make this proclamation; for he thought the Judgment about three hundred years in the future. And finally, the history of the church presents no such proclamation in the past. Had the first angel preached to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, that the hour of God’s Judgment had come, the publicity of such a proclamation would be a sufficient guaranty that the history of the world would contain some record of the fact. Its total silence respecting such a proclamation, is ample proof that it never was made, and should put to silence those who make such an affirmation.LIFIN 220.1

    2. We are on firm ground, also, when we say that had such a proclamation been made to the world in past ages, it would have been a false proclamation. Four reasons sustain this statement. 1. There is no part of the Bible on which such a message, centuries in the past, could have been based. Hence had such a proclamation been made, it would have been without scriptural foundation, and consequently not from Heaven, 2. It would have been in direct opposition to those scriptures which locate the Judgment, and the warning respecting its approach, in the period of the last generation. The scriptures which sustain these two reasons we shall presently cite. 3. The history of the world amply evinces that the hour of God’s Judgment had not come ages in the past. 4. Nor would it be true of past ages, if limited to Babylon. For Revelation 18:8-10, clearly shows that the hour of Babylon’s Judgment is yet in the future. It is certain, therefore, that the angel with the proclamation respecting the hour of God’s Judgment, has not given it at a time when it would be not only destitute of scriptural support, but would absolutely contradict their plain testimony.LIFIN 220.2

    3. The prophecies which give us the time of the Judgment, and which present the succession of events leading down to that great crisis, were closed up and sealed till the time of the end. We refer particularly to the prophecies of Daniel. See chap. 8:17, 26; 12:4, 9. Hence it is evident that God reserves the warning to that generation which alone needs it. Noah’s warning respecting the flood, was alone applicable to those who should witness it; thus also the warning respecting the Judgment is alone applicable to that generation which lives in the last days.LIFIN 221.1

    4. The Bible locates these messages in the period which immediately precedes the second advent, and plainly warns us against the proclamation of the Judgment at hand prior to that time. Here we join issue with our opponents. Instead of finding that the apostles gave this proclamation, as some teach, we shall find indubitable evidence that they located this warning far in the future, and that they admonished the church to heed none that should precede a given time. If we recur to the book of Acts, we shall find Paul preaching before Felix, of the Judgment to come; and before the Athenians, that God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ. Acts 24, 25; 17:31 But that book nowhere intimates that Christ was immediately coming to Judgment. Peter points his hearers to the future, saying, that the heavens which had then received Christ, must retain him until the times of restitution. Acts 3:21.LIFIN 221.2

    The first epistle to the Thessalonians may seem to teach that the apostles expected the coming of Christ to Judgment in their day. Indeed, it is evident that such an idea was received from it by the Thessalonian church. Hence it was, that in his second epistle to them, Paul found it necessary to speak explicitly on the point. He tells them that the coming of Christ to the Judgment could not take place until the great apostasy; and as the result of that apostasy, that the Man of Sin should be revealed, showing himself that he is God, or that is worshiped. That this mystery of iniquity is the great Romish apostasy, none but a Papist will deny.LIFIN 222.1

    Paul reminds the Thessalonians that he had told them of these things when he was yet with them. And where could Paul have learned this fact, which he had thus stated to them? He was accustomed to reason from the Scriptures, and not to deal in assertion. Hence it is very evident that he refers to the prophecy of Daniel, which in its seventh chapter has given the successive events which intervened between its time and the Judgment. In this series of events it has with wonderful precision described the power to which Paul has referred as the Man of Sin. No Protestant will deny the identity of Daniel’s little horn and Paul’s Man of Sin. And as Daniel has brought it into a series of events which ends with the Judgment and the setting up of the everlasting kingdom, it was an easy matter for Paul to tell where in this series of events he stood, and whether the Judgment was its next event or not. The apostle, therefore, plainly tells him that that day was not at hand. For the Man of Sin, the little horn, must arise and perform his predicted work, and when that should be accomplished, the coming of Christ should transpire, to consume “that Wicked” with its brightness.LIFIN 222.2

    Now when was the little horn to arise? Daniel was told that it should arise after the ten horns upon the fourth beast; or, in other words, after the fourth empire should be divided into ten kingdoms, which was accomplished about five hundred years after Christ. The Judgment therefore could not come prior to that time. But how long was this little horn to have power to wear out the saints? Daniel informs us that it should be for “a time and times, and the dividing of time.” How long is this period? Revelation 12 shows that it is 1260 prophetic days, or years. Verses 6, 14. It follows therefore that the apostle carries the mind forward five hundred years to the development of the Man of Sin, and thence 1260 years for his triumph, before the Judgement could be preached as an event immediately impending. Whoever will carefully read Daniel 7, will get the original of Paul’s argument in 2 Thessalonians 2, and will not fail to see the force of his statement.LIFIN 223.1

    The papal supremacy began 538, and ended in 1798 with the overthrow of the Pope’s temporal power. The warning of Paul against a false proclamation respecting the Judgment at hand, therefore, expires at that time, and not before. For we have then reached the point of time where the last important event in Daniel 7, before the Judgment has transpired. An angel from Heaven preaching the hour of God’s Judgment come, many years in the past, would be giving a different gospel from that preached by Paul. Those who locate the angel of Revelation 14:6, 7, in past ages, virtually place upon his head the anathema of Paul in Galatians 1:8.LIFIN 223.2

    And what is of very deep interest, the point of time at which Paul’s warning expires is the commencement of the time of the end - the very point to which the visions of Daniel were closed up and sealed. Compare chapter 11:33, 35; 7:25, and the fact that the 1260 years’ persecution of the saints terminates with the commencement of the time of the end, will appear obvious. How gloriously does this view of the subject make the truth of God shine out! For the warning of the apostle against a false proclamation of the Judgment at hand, expires at the very point where the seal is taken from those prophecies which show when the Judgment sits. And it is respecting this period, the time of the end, that it is said, Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge [on the very subject which was before concealed] shall be increased. Then the time of the end is the period in which the Judgment-hour cry, and the subsequent messages are to be given. Daniel 8:17, 26; 12:4, 9.LIFIN 224.1

    Another important argument on this point is found in what our Lord has said relative to the signs of his second advent. The church were to understand when his coming was at hand, by the fulfillment of certain promised tokens. Until these should be seen, they were not authorized to look for the immediate advent of the Lord. But when the signs which our Lord promised began to appear, his church might then know that his coming to judge the quick and the dead was at hand. It is an interesting fact that Christ has marked the time in which these signs were to begin to appear. Consequently the messages in question could not be delivered prior to that time. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” Matthew 24:29. “But in those days, after the tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall be shaken.” Mark 13:24, 25. We think there can be no mistake that in these scriptures our Lord refers to the papal tribulation of Daniel the prophet. The signs of his second coming were to commence “in those days,” but “after that tribulation.” In other words, the 1260 prophetic days should not be quite over, but their tribulation should be ended, when the sun should be darkened. The sun was darkened in 1780, and the tribulation of those days was then past, but the days did not expire till 1798. Thus we have the signs of our Lord’s immediate advent just opening upon us, as we come down to the time of the end, the period when the vision should be unsealed, and many run to and fro with the word of warning to a perishing world.LIFIN 224.2

    The extent of this proclamation is worthy of notice. An English writer, Mourant Brock, thus remarks: “It is not merely in Great Britain that the expectation of the near return of the Redeemer is entertained, and the voice of warning raised, but also in America, India, and on the continent of Europe. In America about three hundred ministers of the word are thus preaching ‘this gospel of the kingdom;” whilst in this country, about seven hundred of the church of England are raising the same cry.” - Advent Tracts, Vol 2, p. 135.LIFIN 225.1

    Dr. Joseph Wolfe traveled in Arabia Felix, through the region inhabited by the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law. In Yemen he saw a book which he mentions thus:LIFIN 225.2

    “The Arabs of this place have a book called Seera, which treats of the second coming of Christ, and his reign in glory! ’LIFIN 226.1

    “In Yemen he spent six days with the Rechabites. ‘They drink no wine, plant no vineyards, sow no seed, live in tents, and remember the words of Jonadab, the son of Rechab. With them were children of Israel, of the tribe of Dan, who reside near Tarim in Hadhramaut, who expect, in common with the children of Rechab, the speedy arrival of the Messiah in the clouds of heaven.’” — Wolfe’s Mission to Bokhara.LIFIN 226.2

    “In Württemberg there is a Christian colony numbering hundreds, who look for the speedy advent of Christ; also another of like belief on the shores of the Caspian; the Molokaners, a large body of Dissenters from the Russian Greek church, residing on the shores of the Baltic - a very pious people, of whom it is said, ‘taking the Bible alone for their creed, the norm of their faith is simply the Holy Scriptures’ - are characterized by the ‘expectation of Christ’s immediate and visible reign upon earth.’ In Russia the doctrine of Christ’s coming and reign is preached to some extent, and received by many of the lower class. It has been extensively agitated in Germany, particularly in the south part among the Moravians. In Norway, charts and books on the Advent have been circulated extensively, and the doctrine received by many. Among the Tartars in Tartary, there prevails an expectation of Christ’s advent about this time. English and American publications on this doctrine have been sent to Holland, Germany, India, Ireland, Constantinople, Rome, and to nearly every missionary station on the globe. At the Turks Islands, it has been received to some extent among the Wesleyans. Mr. Fox, a Scottish missionary to the Telugu people, was a believer in Christ’s soon coming. James McGregor Bertram, a Scottish missionary of the Baptist order at St. Helena, has sounded the cry extensively on that island, making many converts and premillennialists; he has also preached it at South Africa, at the missionary stations there. David N. Lord informs us that a large proportion of the missionaries who have gone from Great Britain to make known the gospel to the heathen, and who are now laboring in Asia and Africa, are Millenarians; and Joseph Wolfe, D.D., according to his journals, between the years 1821 and 1845, proclaimed the Lord’s speedy advent in Palestine, Egypt, on the shores of the Red Sea, Mesopotamia, the Crimea, Persia, Georgia, throughout the Ottoman Empire, in Greece, Arabia, Turkistan, Bokhara, Afghanistan, Cashmere, Hindostan, Thibet, in Holland, Scotland and Ireland, at Constantinople, Jerusalem, St. Helena, also on shipboard in the Mediterranean, and at New York city, to all denominations. He declares he has preached among Jews, Turks, Mohammedans, Parsees, Hindoos, Chaldeans, Yesedes, Syrians, Sabeans, to Pachas, Sheiks, Shahs, the kings of Organtsh and Bokhara, the queen of Greece, etc. And of his extraordinary labors the Investigator says: ‘No individual has, perhaps, given greater publicity to the doctrine of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, than has this well-known missionary to the world. Wherever he goes, he proclaims the approaching advent of the Messiah in glory.’” — Voice of the Church, pp. 342 - 344.LIFIN 226.3

    The following, from the pen of the editor of the Voice of Truth for January, 1845, fairly represents the position of all American Adventists at that time:LIFIN 227.1

    “We are doubtless near that auspicious hour when the harvest of the earth will be reaped, as described in Revelation 14:14-16. The history of God’s people in this mortal state, as given in that chapter, before being glorified, is nearly complete. The everlasting gospel, as described in verses 6 and 7, has been preached unto every nation, kindred, 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. No case can be more clearly demonstrated with facts than that this message has been borne to every nation and tongue under heaven, within a few past years, in the preaching of the coming of Christ in 1843, or near at hand. Through the medium of lectures and publications the sound has gone into all the earth, and the word unto the ends of the world.”LIFIN 228.1

    But those were disappointed who expected the Lord would come in 1843 and in 1844. This fact, with many, is sufficient reason for rejecting all the testimony in the case. To them the position that the Advent movement was in fulfillment of prophecy, when at the same time those who took part in the movement were sorely disappointed, is an absurdity. We acknowledge the disappointment, but cannot acknowledge that this furnishes a just reason for denying the hand of God in that work. It is a fact that God’s people have fulfilled prophecy, and at the same time been disappointed in their hopes. This was the case with the disciples and the shouting multitude on the occasion of our Lord meekly riding into Jerusalem, when they cried, “Hosannah to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosannah in the highest.” The prophet of God had said, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Zechariah 9:9. And his words must be fulfilled. That which inspired the shouts of the disciples was the expectation that their Master would then ascend to the throne of David and reign among them. But in this they were disappointed. In a few days their hopes died, as he expired upon the cross. Did they fulfill prophecy? No one will deny that they did. Were their expectations which moved them to fulfill the prophecy realized? They were utterly disappointed.LIFIN 228.2

    And while those were disappointed in every particular, Adventists, in 1844, were right in three of the four leading points of the Advent faith. These points were, first, the manner and object of Christ’s second advent; second, the application of the prophetic symbols of the book of Daniel; third, prophetic time; and fourth, the event to take place at the end of the prophetic periods. In respect to the first three points, the Adventists of 1844 were right. As to the fourth, they were mistaken. The angel did not tell Daniel that Christ would come at the end of the 2300 days. His words to the prophet are: “Unto two thousand and three hundred days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” The subject of the cleansing of the sanctuary of Daniel 8:14, is now understood, and seen to be quite another thing than the second coming of Jesus Christ in the clouds of heaven, to redeem his people and destroy his enemies by the fires of the last day.LIFIN 229.1

    Disappointment by no means proves that God has no hand in the guidance of his people. It should lead them to correct their errors, but it should not lead them to cast away their confidence in God. It was because the children of Israel were disappointed in the wilderness that they so often denied divine guidance. They are set forth as an admonition to us, that we should not fall after the same example of unbelief.LIFIN 229.2

    But it must be apparent to every student of the Scriptures, that the angel who proclaims the hour of God’s Judgment, does not give the latest message of mercy. Revelation 14, presents two other and later proclamations, before the close of human probation. This fact alone is sufficient to prove that the coming of the Lord does not take place at the close of the first angel’s proclamation.LIFIN 230.1

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