The Three Angels’ Messages Study No. 223
here are three messages that will be given to the world, just before the world ends. See Revelation 14:6-12, cited below. Immediately following the preaching of these messages, the world will be ready for the final harvest of both good and evil, Revelation 14:14-20.
There is a parallel between the three temptations of Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-10), the three angels’ messages (Revelation 14:6-12) and the three frog-like spirits that John saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, Beast, and false prophet (Revelation 16:13, 14).
I will explain these parallels. There should be no reason for confusion as to which is which. The three demons’ messages, and the three angels’ messages, are remarkably distinct.
Just as Jesus countered Satan’s three temptations in the wilderness, the three angels’ messages, Revelation 14:6-12, oppose the three relentless spirits that are urging conformity to the sentiments of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet.
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty,” Revelation 16:13, 14.
Obey God, or Obey the Self?
Satan’s first message is that there is no judgment. There are no restraints. We are to serve ourselves and put ourselves first (Isaiah 14:12-14, cf. Ezekiel 28:1-19). It’s like what the serpent said to Eve in the garden. “Ye shall not surely die!” Look at the great reward for disobedience, Genesis 3:4-6.
The greatest conveyer of the “live as you please, live for yourself,” message today is television. We may overcome this sentiment easily because of the precept and example and atonement of Christ. Consider Christ’s defense to Satan’s first temptation in the desert:
Matthew 4:1-4, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
This parallels the theme in the first angel’s message that we are to absolutely put God first in everything:
“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.
This message was anticipated in Old Testament times and is still true. Consider the first edition: What is the whole duty of man? Solomon wrote, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil,” Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.
Presumption: Is it Justifiable?
The second demon’s message is that presumption is justifiable, permissible, and holy. Consider the second temptation:
Matthew 4:5-7, “Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the Temple, And saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
Babylon is a kingdom of presumption. The word, “presumption,” means: (1) Behavior or attitude that is boldly arrogant, audacious, or offensive; effrontery; (2) The act of venturing beyond due bounds; an overstepping of the bounds of reverence, respect, or courtesy; forward, overconfident, or arrogant opinion or conduct; presumptuousness; arrogance; effrontery; (3) The act of presuming, or taking for granted; belief upon incomplete proof.
The second angel’s message strikes against this confidence by announcing, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies,” Revelation 18:2-3. See also Revelation 14:8. Much of the character of Babylon is vividly exposed there.
The Beast is the true representative and visible ruler of Babylon, Revelation 16:10. That means that the presumption of the beast is answered in the second angel’s message.
Worship the Beast — or Worship God
The third demon’s message is that this world is wonderful and that to be successful you must compromise integrity and strict obedience.
Matthew 4:8-10, “Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”
The false prophet power uses coercion and deception to compel the world to worship the Beast, Revelation 13:11-17. And to worship the beast is to worship the dragon, Revelation 13:4.
The parallel is complete. The third angel is directly opposed to the false prophet’s command that we worship the Beast and explicitly says that worshiping the Beast is a bad idea.
Then another angel, a third, 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,” Revelation 14:9-11. As the saying goes, “there is no rest for the wicked.”
Now, where does one find rest for his soul? “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein,” Jeremiah 6:16. How about you? Which way are you going to walk? It is hard for us to kick against the pricks (goads), Acts 9:5. However, it is easy to follow the Eternal.
That Old Serpent, Satan the Devil
Satan is perhaps the least original being in the universe. In his folly, he keeps trying the same old failed tactics to deceive and destroy. He cannot come up with anything new.
Lucifer wanted to ascend to Heaven, to exalt himself rather than serve others. Yet, he fell in ignominious shame, Isaiah 14:12-17. Like Babylon, which he inspired, Satan’s doom is to be miserably fallen. He was presumptuous; his heart was lifted up in vanity because of his transitory beauty, Ezekiel 28:17. In the Temptation of Christ, Satan tried to get Christ to be like himself.
In contrast, the Almighty, although He is the “Ancient of Days,” Daniel 7:9, is constantly fresh and new, brimming forth with new, exciting, ideas. The time will come when He will wipe away all tears, cause the old former, wicked, things to pass away, when, as He says, “Behold, I make all things new,” Revelation 21:4-5.
Remember the Almighty’s admonishment, “Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God; and the faith of Jesus,” Revelation 14:12.
— based on an article by Eugene Shubert, expanded by Richard C. Nickels. W
Satan’s Three Temptations of Christ
Three Angels’ Messages
Make the stones into bread; serve yourself.
Worship and fear the Creator God.
Throw yourself down; God will protect you.
Babylon has fallen from her lofty position.
Worship Satan, and he will give you glory, power over the nations.
Worship Satan, and you will receive the wrath of God.
Question: If we understand the three angels’ messages, shouldn’t we be preaching those messages now? — E-mail from E.S.
Answer: Many SDAs falsely believe that the Three Angel’s Messages have already been given in the 1840s, by the Church. However, the Bible says three angels will deliver these messages, in the future.
We should preach the entire Bible. Revelation 14:6-12 (the Three Angels’ messages), is part of the Bible, and we should preach it.
We should preach the everlasting gospel to the whole world. However, you cannot “fly in the midst of heaven,” and preach the gospel to the whole world with a loud voice, like the first angel will do in the future.
Babylon has not yet fallen, but it will fall in the future. So, you cannot say that Babylon is fallen, is fallen, like the second angel will say in the future, because Mystery, Babylon the Great, still rules the world, and will do more so in the coming Great Tribulation. We should, and do, warn people to come out of this Babylonish system of pagan holidays and pagan doctrines falsely masquerading as Christianity.
The wrath of God, in the form of the seven last plagues, has not yet been poured out by God. This will happen in the future, at a time as yet unknown by us. We must identify the Beast system, and warn people not to worship it, but instead, to worship God and keep His commandments. The third angel will preach with a loud voice to the entire world just before the judgment of the Beast and those who worship him, will be meted out.
The Church, since its founding, has had and still has, a commission to preach the Gospel to the world. But, the three angels at the end of time, have a major role to perform, and that is what the prophecy of Revelation 14 tells us.
Let’s get busy on our role in God’s plan!