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    THE THREE ANGELS OF Revelation 14:6-12

    At the present time, no portion of the Holy Scriptures more deeply concerns the church of Christ than Revelation 14. At whatever period in the history of the church, the proclamations contained in this chapter are made, they must from their very nature constitute the grand, absorbing theme of that generation. Whenever the angels of this chapter are commissioned by God to announce to the nations of the earth that the hour of his judgment is come, or to proclaim the fall of Babylon, or to utter against the worshipers of the beast the most dreadful threatening which the Bible contains, no man can disregard their work, or treat their warnings as nonessential, except at the peril of his soul. If it were merely possible that these warnings were addressed to ourselves, it would become us to examine this subject with serious attention. But if this point can be proved by decisive testimony, it is certain that we cannot too carefully attend to the warnings here uttered.TAR 3.1

    It was but a few years since all Advent believers were united in applying this prophecy to the present generation. But in the long period of trial and patience that has followed their disappointment, many of them have, to a great extent, lost sight of their original faith. A considerable number now contend that these angels are to utter their voices of warning in the future age; that is, in a period subsequent to the Second Advent. Another class attempt to show that they had their fulfillment many ages in the past: the first angel beginning in the days of the apostles, the second in the time of Luther, and the third at a period somewhat later.TAR 3.2

    As proof that these angels belong to the future age, the fact is adduced that John saw them flying through the midst of heaven immediately after having seen the Lamb stand upon mount Zion with the 144,000. As the latter event is future, it is concluded by some that the angels of this prophecy must be future also. If it were a fact that the events predicted in the book of Revelation were there given in consecutive order, there would be some force to this argument. But it is evident that that book is made up of many distinct views, usually introduced by the expression, “And I saw,” or something of that kind, as in Revelation 14:6. The series of events, which begins in chapter 12, with the dragon, evidently extends through the work of the beasts in chapter 13, and ends with a view of the remnant in their glorified state [Revelation 14:1-5] upon mount Zion. Then begins a new series of events with the angel of chapter 14:6.TAR 4.1

    The following reasons forbid the application of this prophecy to the future age:TAR 4.2

    1. This view would make the angel with the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred and tongue, an angel from heaven with another gospel. Galatians 1:8. For the apostolic commission extended only to the harvest, which is the end of the world. Matthew 28:19, 20; 24:14; 13:24-30, 36-43. Paul participated in this commission, [1 Timothy 1:11,] and he thus declares its import: that God “now commandeth all men everywhere to repent; because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness.” Acts 17:30, 31. The apostolic commission extended only to the end-the day in which God shall judge the world by Jesus Christ. A gospel preached in that day, would be another gospel than that preached by Paul, and one that has no Saviour in it. This would indeed show that the angel of Revelation 14:6, 7, was the very being on whom rests the curse of Paul in Galatians 1:8.TAR 4.3

    2. The second angel announces the fall of Babylon. Verse 8. After this proclamation a voice is heard from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people.” Revelation 18:1-4. Now that the absurdity of placing this transaction after the Second Advent may be seen, please read 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. It is there plainly stated that at the coming of Christ, his people shall all be caught up to meet him in the air, and thenceforward be forever with the Lord. Will the Lord take his people to Babylon when he comes? Never. He says, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2, 3. Then the Lord will not have occasion to call his people out of Babylon after the Second Advent; for from that time onward they are to be forever with him.TAR 5.1

    3. Let us now see whether the third angel’s message can be applied to the future age with any propriety. Those who will compare Revelation 14:9-12; 13:11-17, will see at once that the warning voice of the third angel relates to the fearful scene when the two-horned beast is to act its part in oppressing the saints of the Lord. But if the third angel’s proclamation relates to the period which follows the Second Advent, then the work of the two-horned beast must also transpire in the future age. And what a scene must the future reign of the saints present, if Revelation 13:11-17, is to be fulfilled in that time! But by turning to Revelation 20:4-6, it will be seen that the period for the triumph of the beast and his image, and for the reception of his mark, precedes the thousand years’ reign of the saints. And when the reign of the saints commences, the triumph of the beast is past.TAR 6.1

    The beast doubtless represents the Papal power. Revelation 13:1-10; Daniel 7:8, 20, 21, 25, 26. But by turning to 2 Thessalonians 2, we learn that the Papacy is to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming. Further, we learn from Revelation 19:19-21, that the final overthrow of the beast and false prophet, or two-horned beast, takes place in the battle of the great day of God Almighty, in immediate connection with the Second Advent. By these plain testimonies we establish the fact that the beast will be destroyed at the Second Advent. Therefore we ask, What danger will there be that men will worship the beast at a time when there will be none for them to worship? God will never send an angel to warn men against the worship of the beast when he does not exist.TAR 6.2

    The language of verse 12, “Here is the patience of the saints,” is sufficient of itself to overthrow the application of these messages to the future age. The following scriptures clearly teach that the patience of the saints refers to the present time, and not to the period of their future glorious reward. “Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Hebrews 10:36. “In your patience possess ye your souls.” Luke 21:19. “Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.” James 5:7. Will the saints have need of patience in the kingdom of God? Will they have to possess their souls in patience after they have received the promise, even life everlasting1 1 John 2:25. It is tribulation that worketh patience. Romans 5:3; James 1:2, 3. Are the saints in tribulation after they are made immortal, and crowned with everlasting joy? No, never. Isaiah 25:8, 9; 35:10; Revelation 7:13-17. But the saints are in their patience when the third angel’s message is given. Hence that message does not belong to the future age.TAR 7.1

    But verse 12 concludes thus: “Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” It is evident that this refers to the period when the remnant are keeping the commandments of God, while exposed to the wrath of the dragon, [Revelation 12:17,] and that it does not refer to the period when the commandment-keepers shall have entered in through the gates into the Holy City; [Revelation 22:14;] and that it refers to the period when the saints are living by faith, [Hebrews 10:38, 39,] and not to the period when they shall have received the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls. 1 Peter 1:9.TAR 7.2

    But verse 13, which pronounces a blessing on the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, that is, from a point of time as late at least as the third angel’s message, presents a testimony which cannot be evaded. It demonstrates that this part of John’s vision relates to a period prior to the first resurrection; for the saints cannot die after being made immortal. 1 Corinthians 15:51-56. Our Lord testifies that they can die no more, but are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Luke 20:36. If any are still disposed to locate these angels’ messages in the day of God itself, let them carefully read the following scriptures. Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-30; Genesis 7:21, 22; Luke 21:35; Psalm 2:6-9; Revelation 2:26, 27; 19:11-21; 22:11, 12; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.TAR 8.1

    The next inquiry relates to the past. Have not these messages met their fulfillment in the history of the church in past ages? We think not. Our reasons for this conclusion are, in part, the following:TAR 8.2

    1. No proclamation of the hour of God’s judgment come, has ever been made in any past age.TAR 8.3

    2. If such a proclamation had been made many centuries in the past, as some contend, it would have been a false one.TAR 8.4

    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.TAR 8.5

    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.TAR 8.6

    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. No truths of greater moment than God’s voice to us at the present time, can engage our attention.TAR 9.1

    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 affirm that it has been made.TAR 9.2

    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 not only be destitute of scriptural support, but would absolutely contradict their plain testimony.TAR 9.3

    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 reserved the warning to that generation who alone need it. Noah’s warning respecting the flood, was applicable to those only who should witness it; thus also the warning respecting the judgment is applicable to that generation only which lives in the last days.TAR 10.1

    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 the 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 now received Christ, must retain him till the times of restitution. Acts 3:21.TAR 10.2

    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, and exalting himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped. That this mystery of iniquity, is the great Romish apostasy, none but a Papist will deny.TAR 11.1

    Paul reminds them that he had told the church of these things when he was yet with them. And where could Paul have learned this fact, which he had thus conversed upon to the Thessalonians? 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, who in his seventh chapter has given the successive events which intervened between his time and the judgment. In this series of events he 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 them that that day was not at hand. For the man of sin, or 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.TAR 11.2

    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 judgment 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 without fail see the force of his statement.TAR 12.1

    The Papal supremacy began in 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.TAR 13.1

    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 chap 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 off 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.TAR 13.2

    Another important argument on this point is found in what our Lord has said relative to the signs of his Second Advent. The church was to understand when his coming was at hand, by the fulfillment of certain promised tokens. Until these should be seen, the church was 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 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 that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in 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.TAR 14.1

    The parable in Matthew 22:1-14; Luke 14:16-24, furnishes an important testimony on this subject. Matthew gives a particular account of the first part of this parable, but merely states in a word the final calls to the guests. Luke on the contrary omits the first part of the parable, but gives its concluding features with peculiar distinctness. We think the identity of the parable in Matthew 22, and Luke 14 will be seen by every one who will compare those scriptures together. It is evident that Matthew by the calls to dinner, represents the calls which were made to the Jews at the First Advent. It is to be observed that the general work of inviting the guests had preceded these calls. For these are a special announcement to those that had been bidden, that the dinner is ready. These we understand to refer to the work of John the Baptist and others at the time of the First Advent. And we understand that the destruction of the city and people in the parable refers to the destruction of Jerusalem and the rejection of the Jews.TAR 15.1

    The call to the dinner, proving of no effect, the king turns to another people. We understand this as we do the text in which our Lord tells the Jews that the kingdom should be taken from them and given to a nation bringing forth the fruit thereof. Matthew 21:43. This part of the parable Matt. has given in a word, that the servants in obedience to the command of their Lord were enabled to furnish the wedding with guests. But Luke has taken up this part of the parable with minute accuracy. The dinner indeed was past and the people to whom it was offered unworthy of sharing it as guests, but the purpose of the king was not to be made void. At supper time, says Luke, a message was sent forth to announce to those that had been bidden that supper was ready. We understand that this call to the supper is made to the Gentiles and that it is in immediate connection with the Second Advent. For we think that none will deny that the supper of Luke 14:16 and that of Revelation 19:9, is the same. Thus we see that there was to the Jews the general work of bidding the guests, and the special call at dinner time; and that to the Gentiles there is the general work of the gospel in bidding, and then at supper time the special call to the marriage supper.TAR 15.2

    These three calls to the marriage supper [Luke 14:16-24] we understand to be the same as the three messages of Revelation 14:6-12. The first call to the supper is “at supper time,” and the first angel announces that “the hour of his judgment is come.” None will dispute the fact that the judgment and the marriage supper are in immediate connection with each other. Revelation 19:20. The three calls are not the general work of the gospel in bidding; they are made at supper time, that is, at the close of the day. And the three proclamations in Revelation 14, in like manner are not the general work of the gospel, but special warnings addressed to the world as the great work of our High Priest is closing up.TAR 16.1

    The book of Nahum furnishes a very striking testimony on this subject. The chariots are to seem like torches, and to run like the lightnings, in the day of God’s preparation. Chap. 2. Now we may learn the event for which this day of preparation is appointed, by reading the first chapter of this prophet. That the sublime scenes of the Second Advent and the day of God are there portrayed, we think few will be disposed to deny. The day of God’s preparation is therefore, for this very event. Now it is evident that the hour of God’s judgment cannot precede the day of his preparation for the judgment. Hence the day of God’s preparation, is the time for the warning respecting the judgment, and the associated proclamation to the inhabitants of the earth. And how strikingly have we seen the sign which marks the day of God’s preparation fulfilled before our eyes! Since the time of the end commenced, in which the prophecies relative to the judgment were to be unsealed, and many were to run to and fro, and knowledge to be increased, chariots running like the lightnings have made their appearance in almost every part of the civilized world. We think this a demonstration that we are now in the day of God’s preparation, and that consequently this is the period of time in which the three proclamations of Revelation 14, are to be made. For the day of God’s preparation for the Second Advent, must be the time for the world to be warned respecting that event.TAR 17.1

    If we read the message of the second angel with care, and the more full reference to the subject in Revelation 18, we may also gather some important ideas relative to the chronology of these messages. The people of God are called out of Babylon, that the plagues which God is about to inflict upon her, may not fall upon them also. These plagues are enumerated as, death, mourning and famine, and utter destruction by fire. And it is said that these shall come upon her in one day. It is evident that these plagues have not yet come upon her. The hour of Babylon’s judgment, when the kings shall mourn over her for fear of her torment, is yet future. The warning therefore respecting Babylon must of necessity relate to that generation that shall live when her plagues shall come upon her. The warning respecting the flood, or the destruction of Sodom, belonged to that time which should witness those events. And the warning respecting the judgments on Babylon must relate to that generation that shall be alive when these judgments shall be inflicted.TAR 17.2

    The third angel presents a fearful warning against the worship of the beast and his image and the reception of his mark. It must be evident to every person that this warning must relate to the time when men shall be required to worship the image on pain of death. That this work of the two-horned beast, as recorded in Chap. 13, has as yet been accomplished but in part, is certain. See verses 13-15. Hence it is a great error to locate this proclamation in any past age.TAR 18.1

    We have, as we trust, established the fact that these three proclamations are addressed to the last generation of men. Let us now consider the nature of these proclamations. It is evident that they are addressed to men in a state of probation. But it is contrary to the economy of grace that angels should visibly engage in the preaching of the gospel. These angels must, therefore, symbolize a body of men proclaiming the messages in question, or we may understand that literal angels have the oversight of this work, and that it is carried out through the agency of men. The first proclamation of Revelation 14, will now claim our attention.TAR 18.2

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