Worship: Revelation 13-14;The Three Angels Message and the Gospel’s Triumph Over Babylon’s Legalsim


Cruise Ship 002I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The Three Angels’ Messages in Light of the Cross

 

Thoughts on this week’s SS lesson.  Download App. for cell phone here. 

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,  Revelation 14:6 

Who is this first angel and who are the three angels? Revelation 1:20 says that the seven stars are the seven angels of the seven churches. So an angel would be like a leader or messenger to a church. Therefore an angel according to Revelation could be extra-terrestrial or terrestrial. I believe the three angels in Revelation 14 are terrestrial and even more specifically they make up the message that the Seventh-day Adventist church has to give to the world. These angels are sent out after the rise of the United States in Revelation 13, so this would also fit the time prophecy. The Seventh-day Adventist church has a very important message to give to the world so let’s see what it is.

 

The first angel has the everlasting gospel. Now don’t all churches have the gospel? Yes they do. Many people will be in the kingdom because a Baptist, Methodist, Catholic or Lutheran etc. missionary shared the love of God with them. However, as the book of Revelation changes scenes from the dark ages to the earth being “lightened with His glory” the gospel will be shining brighter than ever before. The brightness of the gospel casts away the shadows of legalism. The everlasting gospel which the Seventh-day Adventist church shares, overcomes the legalism of Babylon as it is filled with grace and the glory of God and not the works of man. It is void of man’s traditions and inventions and shows the love of God more clearly than the gospels presented by most other churches. First of all many churches preach that Jesus died for us then turn around and tell us you don’t really die. If that is the case then Jesus did not die for us. Many churches preach that sinners will be eternally tormented in hell while John 3:16 which is the crux of the gospel says, no, sinners will perish. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, not eternal torment in hell. Its hard to fall in love with a God who has a love me or I’ll kill you or torment you for eternity in hell mentality. While sin and those who cling to it at any cost must perish, God will not be delighting in their eternal torture. The punishment, which is death is eternal, the punishing is not.

 

Many churches focus on the physical torture Jesus endured which was terrible, but do not realize that Jesus endured way more than a six hour pain endurance marathon. Hebrews 2:9 tells us Jesus tasted death for all men. It obviously was not the death of the righteous that He tasted, we all taste that first death for ourselves. Obadiah 16 tells us the wicked will be as though they never were. Jesus faced more than nail scared hands and feet on the cross. He tasted the death of the wicked which means He was facing going into total oblivion and being as though He had never existed. This could be why He was crying out, “My God My God why have You forsaken me” instead of singing hymns of praise while He died like John Huss did. You see, Jesus died a totally different death than John Huss. John Huss died the death of the righteous while he burned at the stake for his faith. Jesus was dying the death of the wicked.

 

Many teach that Jesus saves us in our sins while Matthew 1:21 tells us clearly that Jesus will save us from our sins. We can’t call Jesus a Savior unless He actually saves us, and according to Ephesians 2:1-10 we are saved by grace. What His grace saves us from is our sinful lifestyle.

 

So we see, Seventh-day Adventists not only teach a different day of worship, we teach the fullness of the cross. 

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 14:7

 

This angel is telling us of the judgment which began in 1844. Interestingly the angel says the hour of His judgment has come. What does this mean? It means God is the one being judged! The judgment is not to see if God will accept us, Ephesians 1:6 tells us we are already accepted in Beloved. The judgment is to see if we will accept God. Seventh-day Adventists preach a time of probation, but many do not realize that it is actually God who is on probation. He is being judged by the world. Is God a mean control freak tyrant that Satan makes Him out to be or He is a God of love? Is God a good God or some psychopath saying “love me or I’ll kill you”?

 

Satan first attacked the character of God in heaven. Revelation 12 says there was war in heaven, but not with machine guns and tanks, it was a battle of the minds. Satan wanted God’s power but not his character. I can see Satan playing mind games with the angels. I can see him going up to one of the other angels and saying, “You did a great job on that project God gave you. Did God give you any special recognition for it? He didn’t? Why that’s too bad. You know if I was God I would have thrown a banquet in your honor.” And so Satan started these mind games trying to make the angels believe that he should be God and that God was not a God of love who was interested in their welfare. Satan gets a third of the angels to buy his lie. There may have been some angels who stayed in heaven but were not convinced who was right or wrong, until the cross, where the whole universe saw the true character of Satan who was willing to kill anyone who got in his way of being number one, and the true character of God who was willing to die on a cross and say goodbye to life forever is He could save others.

 

This is why Satan does not want us to understand the everlasting gospel. The everlasting gospel tells the truth about the character of God and the character of Satan. In the hour of His judgment those who clearly understand the everlasting gospel, free of legalism will be able to judge that God is indeed a God of love and accept Him. By the way, when we accept God we accept more than eternal life, we accept God Himself along with all of His righteousness and goodness and power to live a victorious life.

 

The second half of this verse, “: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters” reminds us of the language used in the fourth commandment about the Sabbath. Many times we quote the fourth commandment from Exodus 20: 8-11 but let’s take a look at it in this formant from Deuteronomy 5:12-15. “Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee. Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and [that] the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.” God is reminding Israel that He saved them from the slavery of the Egyptians and that it was not their works that saved them. Likewise God Himself will save us from the slavery of sin, by His grace and not by our works. The Sabbath is clearly a sign that it is God who sanctifies us and not our own works. We see this also in Exodus 31:13. We rest from our works on the Sabbath remembering that our salvation comes from resting our faith in His amazing grace and not in trusting our works to save us.

 

The Sabbath also reminds us of our Ceator whom Satan wants us to forget. If the Sabbath had never been forgotten atheism would never exist. For example we use the sun to mark a year, the moon marks a month and the earth’s rotation marks a day, but what do we have to mark a week? The only thing we have to mark a week by is the creation week which ends with the seventh day Sabbath. So how do atheists explain the seven day week?  During the reign of terror the French tried to do away with the seven day week and replace it with a ten day week. This did not work. The Sabbath reminds us that we have a Creator who did all the work in creating us and that we did not make ourselves by our own works. The Sabbath even more so reminds us that we were redeemed by the works and sacrifice of our Creator and not by our own works.

 

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

 

Many say that Babylon means confusion. Well it may, but it is not so much confusion about certain doctrines as much as it is about the gospel itself. Legalism mixes our works with God’s grace and it gets confusing. In Galatians 2:20 Paul gives us the pure gospel when he says, “NOT I but Christ.” So many of us want to make it a combination of me plus Christ. Problem is, anytime I make “me” a part of the gospel I have a corrupt gospel because “me” is corrupt. Does this mean doing away with good works? Not at all! It just means realizing that it is God who is working in us and not us. Philippians 2:13

 

Babylon actually means “gate to God” or works, or better yet legalism. Seventh-day Adventists often teach that Babylon is a religious system which it is, but it is more than that, it is an attitude, and attitude that can be found in any system. Babylon is the attitude that I can save myself by my own works. It began with the tower of Babel. Babe meaning gate and El meaning God. At the tower of Babel man decided they could work and build their own way to heaven. They did not think they could trust God to save them from another flood so they decided to build a tower and by their works save themselves. Cain had the attitude of Babylon when he brought the works of his field and offered them as a system of worship while God could only accept Abel’s sacrifice which was a lamb, pointing to the Lamb of God who could only save. Since then man has been presenting his own system of worship and even day of worship thinking he can save himself by inventing his own religion instead of accepting the gospel.

 

Years later Daniel chapter one tells us that God gave Jerusalem into Nebuchadnezzar’s hands, but in Daniel Chapter four Nebuchadnezzar says “is this not Babylon which I have made?” And God says, “No! I made it and gave it to you.” But here is the attitude of Babylon again that it is my works that are saving me. During the dark ages people were taught that their works would save them instead of the gospel. People were taught they could buy and work their way to heaven. They were also given a work day to worship instead of the Sabbath day of rest. So they were like Cain, worshiping their works instead of our Creator and Redeemer. When the everlasting gospel is proclaimed in all its glory Babylon will fall! Man will see that we are not saved by our own religious works and inventions but rather are saved by the grace of God alone!

 

The third angel’s message assures us of the victory of grace over the legalism of Babylon.

 

Christ’s humble servant writes: Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, “It is the third angel’s message, in verity.”– The Review and Herald, April 1, 1890. {1SM 372.2}

If you are like me, your first glance at the third angel’s message does not make you think of justification by faith. As a matter of fact many people get wrapped up in works over this passage. Let’s take another look and see why Its not about works but rather justification by faith.

 

Revelation 14:9-12 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.

 

The beast is the papacy. The mark is Sunday observance as opposed to the seal of God, which is Sabbath observance. The third angel’s message is justification by faith in verity because those who refuse the mark of the beast will not be allowed to buy or sell or do any business to provide for themselves or their families. They will be resting on the Sabbath and not working. Therefore they trust God to provide for them, and not their own works. This is justification by faith. Those who accept the mark so that they can buy and sell are not resting in Jesus or trusting Him to provide for them. Rather they are saying, “I do not trust Jesus to provide for me, so I am accepting the mark so that I can work and provide for myself. This is salvation by works.

 

It is very important to notice that the ones who accept the mark and are trying to be saved by their works are rejecting the cross of Christ. The “cup of His indignation” is the cup that Jesus asked to be passed from Him, in Gethsemane. However, He drank that cup for us, at Calvary. Those who reject the seal of God, and the Sabbath are really rejecting the cross. They say, “I will accept the mark of the beast and provide my own salvation.” When they do this they reject the Salvation provided at Calvary, and instead of letting Jesus drink that cup for them, they must drink it themselves!

 

After all, if you do not trust Jesus enough to provide your daily bread, but rather accept the mark so that you can do business and put bread on the table yourself, how can you trust Him to provide for your eternal salvation? On the other hand, by rejecting the mark (works) and keeping the Sabbath and seal of God we are accepting the cross and justification by faith. Jesus drinks the cup mentioned in the third angel’s message so we don’t have to! We can all exclaim with Abraham at Moriah, “Jehovahjireh” My Lord Will provide!”

 

The third angel’s message is the climax of the battle between faith and works. For centuries man has been taught by tradition to save himself by worshiping a man made religion and even a man made Sabbath which is Sunday. Those who put their faith in Jesus triumph over the legalism of man made religions as they rest their faith in the One who gave all to save them. They cherish His Sabbath which is a sign that we are not saved by works but rather by His amazing grace!

10 thoughts on “Worship: Revelation 13-14;The Three Angels Message and the Gospel’s Triumph Over Babylon’s Legalsim”

  1. Sometimes I think I would rather go to a church that is loving but doesn’t have the “right” doctrines than to attend a church that has the “right” doctrines but doesn’t care whether you’re there or not. I wish your statement were true “shows the love of God more clearly than the gospels presented by most other churches” but I have not found that to be the case MOST of the time.

    Many of our churches are dying — there is no relationship with God to quicken their souls to love others. A smile is not enough to bring a visitor back MOST of the time. People look for connection and a lot of people don’t want to be bothered.

    My life and work in this world is to make sure that I have a relationship with God that others can see — actions before doctrine.

    1. Love is the greatest doctrine there is. A church should always show this love. You cannot tell on Sabbath if a church is friendly or not. You can tell how friendly a church is by how much they reach out to you during the week.

  2. God is a God of love, and we do need love, which can make our evangleistic ooutreach more effective. Having said this, evangel is all about the gospel. We do not need another gospel, and the idea of an ever burning hell is not a loving one. Neither is the idea sinners should be tortured so they can recant and rejoin your church. While we do not see this today, the book of Revelation says that those who do not toe the line doctirnally will have a death decree against them, certainly not an act of love. So while we absolutely do need to be kind and loving to one another, and this is even how all men will know we are His disciples, this is not a substitute for having the correct ideas about God His love and the future He has for us.

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