Preparing For Eternity The Story of Redemption


Home

Books

Bible Tracts

Our Beliefs

Site Search

Links

Site Map

Comments

 

The Story of Redemption

Chapter 54

The Third Angel's Message

WHEN Christ entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to perform the closing work of the atonement, He committed to His servants the last message of mercy to be given to the world. Such is the warning of the third angel of Revelation 14. Immediately following its proclamation, the Son of man is seen by the prophet coming in glory to reap the harvest of the earth.

As foretold in the Scriptures, the ministration of Christ in the most holy place began at the termination of the prophetic days in 1844. To this time apply the words of the Revelator, "The temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament." Rev. 11:19. The ark of God's testament is in the second apartment of the sanctuary. As Christ entered there, to minister in the sinner's behalf, the inner temple was opened, and the ark of God was brought to view. To those who by faith beheld the Saviour in His work of intercession, God's majesty and power were revealed. As the train of His glory filled the temple, light from the holy of holies was shed upon His waiting people on the earth.

They had by faith followed their High Priest from the holy to the most holy, and they saw Him pleading His blood before the ark of God. Within that sacred ark is the Father's law, the same that was spoken by

Page 380

God Himself amid the thunders of Sinai, and written with His own finger on the tables of stone. Not one command has been annulled; not a jot or tittle has been changed. While God gave to Moses a copy of His law, He preserved the great original in the sanctuary above. Tracing down its holy precepts, the seekers for truth found, in the very bosom of the Decalogue, the fourth commandment, as it was first proclaimed: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou 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, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." Ex. 20:8-11.

The Spirit of God impressed the hearts of these students of His Word. The conviction was urged upon them that they had ignorantly transgressed the fourth commandment by disregarding the Creator's rest day. They began to examine the reasons for observing the first day of the week instead of the day which God had sanctified. They could find no evidence in the Scriptures that the fourth commandment had been abolished, or that the Sabbath had been changed; the blessing which first hallowed the seventh day had never been removed. They had been honestly seeking to know and do God's will, and now, as they saw themselves transgressors of His law, sorrow filled their hearts. They at once evinced their loyalty to God by keeping His Sabbath holy.

Many and earnest were the efforts made to overthrow their faith. None could fail to see that if the

Page 381

earthly sanctuary was a figure or pattern of the heavenly, the law deposited in the ark on earth was an exact transcript of the law in the ark in heaven, and that an acceptance of the truth concerning the heavenly sanctuary involved an acknowledgment of the claims of God's law, and the obligation of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.

Those who had accepted the light concerning the mediation of Christ and the perpetuity of the law of God, found that these were the truths brought to view in the third message. The angel declares, "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:12. This statement is preceded by a solemn and fearful warning: "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." Rev. 14:9, 10. An interpretation of the symbols employed was necessary to an understanding of this message. What was represented by the beast, the image, and the mark? Again those who were seeking for the truth returned to the study of the prophecies.

The Beast and Its Image

By this first beast is represented the Roman Church, an ecclesiastical body clothed with civil power, having authority to punish all dissenters. The image to the beast represents another religious body clothed with similar powers. The formation of this image is the work of that beast whose peaceful rise and mild professions render it so striking a symbol of the United States. Here is to be found an image of the Papacy. When the churches of our land, uniting upon such points of faith as are held by them in common, shall

Page 382

influence the State to enforce their decrees and sustain their institutions, then will Protestant America have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy. Then the true church will be assailed by persecution, as were God's ancient people.

The beast with lamblike horns commands "all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." Rev. 13:16, 17. This is the mark concerning which the third angel utters his warning. It is the mark of the first beast, or the Papacy, and is therefore to be sought among the distinguishing characteristics of that power. The prophet Daniel declared that the Roman Church, symbolized by the little horn, was to think to change times and laws (Dan. 7:25), while Paul styled it the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3, 4), who was to exalt himself above God. Only by changing God's law could the Papacy exalt itself above God; whoever should understandingly keep the law as thus changed would be giving supreme honor to that power by which the change was made.

The fourth commandment, which Rome has endeavored to set aside, is the only precept of the Decalogue that points to God as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and thus distinguishes the true God from all false gods. The Sabbath was instituted to commemorate the work of creation, and thus to direct the minds of men to the true and living God. The fact of His creative power is cited throughout the Scriptures as proof that the God of Israel is superior to heathen deities. Had the Sabbath always been kept, man's thoughts and affections would have been led to his Maker as the object of reverence and worship,

Page 383

and there would never have been an idolater, an atheist, or an infidel.

That institution which points to God as the Creator is a sign of His rightful authority over the beings He has made. The change of the Sabbath is the sign, or mark, of the authority of the Romish Church. Those who, understanding the claims of the fourth commandment, choose to observe the false in place of the true Sabbath, are thereby paying homage to that power by which alone it is commanded.

A Solemn Message

The most fearful threatening ever addressed to mortals is contained in the third angel's message. That must be a terrible sin which calls down the wrath of God unmingled with mercy. Men are not to be left in darkness concerning this important matter; the warning against this sin is to be given to the world before the visitation of God's judgments, that all may know why they are to be inflicted, and have opportunity to escape them.

In the issue of the great contest, two distinct, opposite classes are developed. One class "worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark," and thus bring upon themselves the awful judgments threatened by the third angel. The other class, in marked contrast to the world, "keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:9, 12.

Such were the momentous truths that opened before those who received the third angel's message. As they reviewed their experience from the first proclamation of the second advent to the passing of the time in 1844, they saw their disappointment explained, and hope and joy again animated their hearts. Light from the sanctuary illuminated the past, the present,

Page 384

and the future, and they knew that God had led them by His unerring providence. Now with new courage and firmer faith, they joined in giving the warning of the third angel. Since 1844, in fulfillment of the prophecy of the third angel's message, the attention of the world has been called to the true Sabbath, and a constantly increasing number are returning to the observance of God's holy day.

Copyright 1974
The Ellen G. White Estate, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

Preparing For Eternity
Home   
•    Bible Articles    •    Our Beliefs        Site Search    •    Links    •    Site Map    •    Contact Us