The Third Angel’s Message
Stanmore, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
December 17, 1897
Portions of this manuscript are published in 7BC 981; 7ABC 471; LDE 136; 5MR 102-103.
“Ye are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry: ye are God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. Our building may be erected upon the true foundation, and composed of the most precious material—gold, silver, and precious stones. These are as durable as eternity. But though unseen influences guide the current of the life, there is still need of the co-operation of the human agency in his individual action with the divine. The Lord is pleased to honor men in making them fellow workers with Himself, that humanity may touch humanity, and the divine Worker, with man, lay hold upon infinity. Thus the structure goes up. The forces are working, and the enlightened perception of man recognizes a power working within him that is subduing him, soul, body and spirit, the results of which are to last not only for time, but for eternity.
The warfare of the Prince of life with the prince of darkness is very trying and humiliating to the conscientious soul, but if God’s plans are prayerfully and carefully carried out, those who have the light and a knowledge of the Word of God, in this age when such open and universal contempt is placed upon His law, when it is frowned upon by priests and rulers and despised as was Christ when He was upon earth, rise with the loyal and proclaim the third angel’s message.
John was directed by the “Alpha and Omega” Revelation 1:11 to a people who in the last days were making void the law of God. But these churches, who have drank deeply of the wine of Babylon are to receive a startling message of truth which will reveal to them their true position. The loud cry, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,” has been, and will again be, given. Revelation 14:8.
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his make 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 forever 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.” Verses 9-11.
This is the judgment appointed in that great day to be executed upon all who have deceived the inhabitants of the earth and caused them to believe the fatal lies that have been presented as truth. This is plainly brought to view in Revelation 13. Let all, who will, read this definite explanation of the apostate power against the law of God: “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword, must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Verses 6-10. Read to the close of the chapter.
In (Revelation 14) John beholds another scene. He sees a people whose fidelity and loyalty to the laws of God’s kingdom, grow with the emergency. The contempt placed upon the law of God only makes them reveal more decidedly their love for that law. It increases with the contempt that is placed upon it. This commandment-keeping people place in song the declaration of their faith as did the psalmist: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Verse 12. Their happy voices are upraised as they echo the words of the psalmist, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity, they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes. Then shall I not be ashamed when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned all thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes, O forsake me not utterly.” Psalm 119:1-8.
“Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word. So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. So shall I keep thy law continually forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty; for I seek thy precepts. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved: and I will meditate in thy statutes.” Verses 41-48.
“O how love I thy law, it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste, yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.” Verses 97-104.
“It is time for thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void thy law Therefore I love thy commandments above gold, yea, above fine gold. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right: and I hate every false way. Thy testimonies are wonderful, therefore doth my soul keep them. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. I opened my mouth, and panted; for I longed for thy commandments. Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. Order my steps in thy word. Let not any iniquity have dominion over me. Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.” Verses 126-136.
Thus all can proclaim the third angel’s message with heart and voice.By the Lord’s appointment, all the evil that is countenanced and vindicated by a nation—all the injustice and oppression practiced against God’s people for the truth’s sake, all the devices made to hinder and oppress them—will return upon themselves. Mark God’s dealings with nations, as recorded in His Word. Selfishness and oppression practiced by one nation on another has always brought the sure result. That oppression which they have made others to suffer has come upon the oppressors themselves. One part of the nation rises up against the other part, and God allows that nation to destroy itself.
The most cruel despotism has been practiced by men against his fellow man, even in 1897. Those who have allowed officers to rule and govern by despotic power have created a spirit of retaliation, and this will react upon those who have caused pain and suffering to their fellow men. Those who for many years have been breaking down the commandments of God, trample God’s law under their unholy feet, are being educated to despise everything like human law and restraint. Sin and violence and crime have created a condition of lawlessness that causes iniquity to abound.
Men who claim to be preaching the gospel of Christ teach that the law of God is not valid. The strive to make it void, and teach the churches the law of God, the foundation of His government in heaven and in earth, was crucified with Christ. A more fatal error could not be brought into existence. The curse of God, pronounced upon the transgressor of His law, will rebound upon those who have ventured to do wickedly. The eternal justice of God is working with an unseen power, bringing about events which, were men half intelligent in regard to the Word of God, they would recognize.
The transgressors of the fourth commandment have made the Sabbath to fit their own maxims and teachings. They declare that the first day of the week is the Sabbath, and are now making wonderful restrictions to show their reverence for a day that is but a common working day and has not one thread of sanctity in it. The observance of this day originated with the Catholic church, which has set aside the day that God gave to the world as a memorial of creation, and which defines who its Author is—the living God, who created the world in six days, who rested on the seventh day, and who sanctified and blessed the day of His rest.
The Protestant world has taken this child of papacy, and cherished it, and called it Christ’s day—the Christian Sabbath. But it is a spurious sabbath, an idol, placed where the Lord’s day should be. And, like Cain, the transgressor is exceedingly angry because the whole world does not regard it with the sacredness of the Sabbath of the Lord.
God’s people must awake. Young men need to enter more deeply into the study of the Word. Obedience to the Word will follow. Probationary time is given us, not to secure our own pleasures, ease, and the praise of human beings. It is given us to honor and glorify God. We are to overcome selfishness. We are instructed in the Word to consider our eternal interests. Allegiance to God will impress upon each Christian his duty to humanity. All who love God will keep His commandments, for this is the sign God’s children bear to distinguish them from the world.
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations: that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore: for it is holy unto you: everyone that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the Sabbath of rest holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for it is a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh he rested, and was refreshed.” Exodus 31:12-17.
The everlasting gospel is to be proclaimed. “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to 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 the heavens, and earth, and the sea, and the fountain of waters.” Revelation 14:6, 7. The attention of the people is to be called to the long neglected oracles of God. All kindreds and nations and people are to be aroused. Their minds are to be stirred, their attention called to the Word of God. Men are to hear the message that proclaims the soon coming of Christ. All are to open their eyes, and unstop their ears, and hear the message of the first angel, “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.”
That God who made the world is the only object to whom human beings should bow. God has not given to human beings, the power to claim homage to themselves. He has given to none the power to become an object of worship. “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and he saith unto him, All these will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then said Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” Matthew 4:8-11.
Here we are taught that finite man is not to be placed where God should be. He is not to be honored as a god, or to be bowed down to. “Worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:7. The man of sin is worshiped in the person of the pope, and his representative, the cardinal. But God has not given this power to pope or prelate. The pope is not regarded by God as anything more than a man who is acting out in our world the character of the man of sin, representing in his claims that power and authority which Satan claimed in the heavenly courts.
Satan inspires these men who claim to be Christ’s vicegerents upon earth. Prayers are offered to private saints in heaven for many favors. But these men are not in heaven. They lie in their graves until the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. Mary, the mother of our Lord, has not been raised. She is waiting the sould of the trump of God that shall call the dead from their prison house. All the prayers offered to Mary fall to the ground. Mary’s ears have not yet been pierced by the sound of the trump of God.
The question has been asked, Do you not believe that we should pray to the dead apostles and saints? No; for this would teach for doctrine not a “Thus saith the Lord,” but the thus saith of the man of sin, “the son of perdition; who opposeth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.
“The mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Verses 7-12.
Read chapters four and six of the prophet Hosea. Those who trample upon God’s law make human laws which they will force the people to accept. Men will devise and counsel and plan what they will do. The whole world keeps Sunday, they say, and why should not this people, who are so few in number, do according to the laws of the land? Because they are blinded by error, because they take their words from the lips of the priests and the human law makers, they suppose that it does not matter if they do not keep the law of God instituted in Eden, when the foundations of the earth were laid, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. God’s memorial was then given to man, that he might honor the name of the living God who made the world in six days and sanctified and blessed the day of His rest.
God proclaimed the Sabbath made in Eden as the Sabbath that was to endure forever. Exodus 31:12-18. “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people. But because the Lord love you, and because he would keep the oath which he swore unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:6-9.
The Sabbath is to be a sign between God and His people. “Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it as a sign between me and you throughout your generations: that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” Exodus 31:13. This is Bible sanctification.
Those who teach for doctrines the commandments of men make void the law of God through their tradition. Said Christ, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put in under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, until all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:14-18.
Just as long as the heavens remain above us, and the earth is beneath our feet, there can be no semblance of excuse for any power in heaven or earth to change the law of God. “Whosoever therefore,” continued Christ, “shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, the same shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Verses 19, 20.
“As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good; no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips. Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitternness: their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace they have not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-18. The eye of Him who sees the present condition of things has portrayed the state of things existing in the world and the church today. Psalm 14:1-4. And what has brought about this terrible condition? It is the making void of the law of God.
The men who have the oracles of God, not only break the law themselves, but teach those who would investigate and obey the light to do the same. The men who claim to be teachers deceive the people as did the leaders in Israel in Christ’s day. He, the great Teacher, was in the world; He was the light of the world; but Satan interposed his hellish shadow between Him and the souls whom Christ came to save. When accused by the Pharisees, He said, “Ye make void the law of God by your tradition.” “Ye teach for doctrine the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:6, 9. Again He said to those so-called teachers, “Ye are both ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God.” Matthew 22:29.
Satan is continuing the work on earth that he commenced in heaven. He leads men to transgress the commandments of God. The plain “Thus saith the Lord” is put aside for the thus saith of men. The whole world needs to be instructed in the oracles of God, to understand the object of the atonement, the atonement, with God. The object of this atonement was that the divine law and government might be maintained. The sinner is pardoned through repentance toward God and faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. There is forgiveness of sin, and yet the law of God stands immutable, eternal as His throne.
There is no such thing as weakening or strengthening the law of Jehovah. As it has always been, so it is. It cannot be repealed or changed in one principle. It is eternal, immutable as God Himself. To “honor” or “dishonor” it is but the speech of men. The law is to awaken respect and honor in the minds of the human family. Christ honored the law of Jehovah by giving it His implicit obedience. The law of Jehovah was always holy, just, and good, and complete in itself. The law is altogether a different thing from what men in their ignorance have considered it. It is because of Satan’s falsehoods that such blindness exists in regard to the law.
The law of God was given for the human family, and in punishing sin, Christ reveals His holiness, and His love even for those whom He has punished. Men did not obey the Word of God in this world, and because He loved them, He gave them a probation; He gave them His only begotten Son to bear all the guilt of their transgression. If they refuse the expensive offering of heaven, and will not obey His commandments in their life-time, while wholly dependent upon God; if they show no gratitude and love by keeping His commandments, Christ can do no more for them. But if they will receive the Son of God, believe in Him, they will find their way back, through Jesus Christ’s own merits, to the place of sons and daughters of God. 12LtMs 1.1897116300 – 12LtMs, Ms 163, 1897, par. 33