The Three Angels’ Message|
by E.H. Jack Sequeira
We have a mission for the world, and that mission is to proclaim the Three Angels’ Message.
In the last study, I introduced you to the Three Angels’ Message. The first thing that we saw is that the Three Angels’ Message is not three messages, it is one message in three settings. And we saw that this message is the everlasting or eternal gospel. That word, “everlasting,” or eternal, means that from the beginning to the end God has only one way of saving man. Only one way.
We saw in Revelation 13:8 that Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. And in Ephesians 1:4 we saw that God has chosen us in Christ from the foundation of the world. So please, folks, we have one message. It is presented in a different way in the Old Testament, compared to the New Testament. And we may have to use a different approach in this country, but the message must be the same. It must be the everlasting gospel, which Ellen G. White defined as righteousness by faith. And I will tell you why, because the word, “gospel,” which means, “good news,” is defined by the apostle Paul, and we saw it in Romans 1:16,17 and Romans 3:21 as the righteousness of God. It is God’s righteousness obtained in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, made available to the human race, and made effective by faith. That is the everlasting gospel.
Our study today will center on only the first angel. And I want you to turn to Revelation 14 and we’ll read those two verses which are loaded with significance, verses 6 and 7 of Revelation 14, which is the first angels message. And the second angel joins the first angel, and the third angel joins the other two. The word, “followed,” as I showed last time, means, “to go with” or “to join,” “to accompany.” They are all preaching the everlasting gospel but from different angles.
Now the first angel’s message we will discover is preaching the everlasting gospel in the setting of God’s judgment. Let’s read verses 6 and 7:
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...
Not only does God have one message for all time, but God has one message for all people. It doesn’t matter what part of the world you come from. This message has to go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Let’s look at verse 7 now:
...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.
That is the first angel’s message. Okay, let’s look at it now in detail. First of all, what does John see? He sees an angel. What does the word “angel” mean? Messenger. “Fly in the midst of heaven.” This is a messenger from who? From God. So the message is not a horizontal message; it is a vertical message from God. That’s what it means, “In the midst of heaven.” God commissions the angel, “You go, and proclaim this message.”
Now the angel doesn’t do it by himself; he does it through the church. But the message is from heaven; it’s from God. And the message, as we saw, is the everlasting gospel. It is the righteousness of God made effective by faith, therefore, in verity, it’s righteousness by faith. And it is to be preached to “every nation and kindred and tongue and people.” In other words, this is the message that is the fulfilment of Matthew 24:14, where Jesus said that one of the events that will take place before the end comes is that “this gospel will be preached unto all nations, and the end will come.” This is God’s final plea to the human race to accept this gift of salvation.
Now I want to give you several texts, because a great number of Christians are Calvinists, and Calvinists believe that the gospel is not for all people; it is only for the elect: God has predetermined some to be saved and some to be lost. Now we need to lay the foundation as there is much confusion on this. The basis of this message is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God: what God decides will happen. Now if God decides to save all people, then all people will be saved. But we know from the New Testament that all people will not be saved. Therefore, they reason that God did not decide all people to be saved; He chose only some. And we call that limited atonement or double predestination. He chose some to be saved and some to be lost.
But nowhere in Scripture is this taught. The message is for all people, from the least to the greatest. But because God is love, He will not force this gift upon you. It has to be received or accepted. So, therefore, I want to give you several texts from the New Testament that clearly teach that the everlasting gospel is a universal message, which means that it applies to every human being. The first one you are familiar with: John 3:16:
God so loved [not the elect] the world that He gave His only Son...
He gave His Son for the whole world. Will all people be saved? No, because it adds, “whosoever believeth” will be saved.
And you have the same commission given by Jesus to the disciples in Mark 16:15,16. “Go and preach the gospel to all people (all creatures). He who believes and is baptized will be saved. He who does not believe will be condemned.”
And in John 3:17,18,36, Jesus makes it clear that the reason man is lost is not because he is bad but because he has rejected the Gift.
Let me give you some other texts now that you may not be too familiar with. Let me give you one more from the Gospel of John, John 12:32,47:
I, if I be lifted up [folks, let us lift up Christ] from the earth, will draw [how many men?] all men....
There is a drawing power in preaching the gospel, in preaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Now the idea of “lifted up” doesn’t mean putting Him on a soap box. Verse 33 explains what Jesus meant when He said, “If I be lifted up”:
This He said, signifying what death He should die.
In other words, the gospel should be preaching, “Behold the Saviour of the world, God’s Gift to all men.” Look at verse 47:
And if any man hear my words, and believes not [any man who hears the gospel and refuses to be drawn],...
Please remember the gospel draws every person. The gospel doesn’t force every individual, but it draws. The Holy spirit convicts the people and says, “Don’t be a fool, this is your only hope! Accept it!” I know, for I’m talking from experience. The Lord pulled me and pulled me and I fought against it. And finally I said, “God, if You want me to accept this message You will have to lift me up.” Because the evangelist wanted those who accepted to stand up. And after I made that decision, I felt a powerful force, and I was standing up. And that was something that I have never forgotten. God gave me the strength to stand up. But I had made the decision to accept Him, the problem was I did not have the power to stand up, because nobody in the crowd was standing up. And you know, it is hard to stand up alone. Am I correct? It’s hard, especially when you’re an introvert.
...I judge him not: for I come not to judge the world, but to save the world.
Okay, now let’s go on to some of the following statements: 2 Corinthians 5, and this is in the context that the everlasting gospel is for every human being. Because if anybody asks you, “How do I know if I am among the elect?” give them this text, “All men are called to be saved.” And if somebody gives you the text, “Many are called but few are chosen,” I will help you there: the text is in the passive, so that in English it should be really translated, “Many are called and few are the choosing ones.” It isn’t God that does the choosing, it is the individual who does the choosing; it’s in the passive. You’ll find it, folks. It’s a very common text. I’m not going to give you all the texts. Learn to use a concordance. You don’t have to get Strong’s, because that’s for the strong. You can get Young’s. And if you’re crude you can get Cruden’s. But use a concordance. 2 Corinthians 5:14:
For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead...
Not the elect but all died in Christ in order to be justified. Verse 19:
And to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world [the human race] to Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
What is he saying? He says, “Please, go tell the world that God has done it. He has legally justified all men.” And then he adds in verse 20:
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ.
And after 160 years in this country, the nation doesn’t know that we are Christians. Or they are not sure we are Christians. That’s a tragedy. Something has gone wrong somewhere.
You know, Sister White tells us that when John the Baptist was preparing for his mission, he mingled among the people to see how they were so that he knew how to approach them. This is why they did the survey [of different denominations to see what they knew about Seventh-day Adventists], to mingle among the Americans to see how we are doing. In Africa they don’t use electric irons, they put charcoal in the iron, and they fan it, and then they put their hand in their mouth and they touch it. If it sizzles, it’s ready. And we put out our finger to see whether the world is sizzling. And it’s ice cold, folks. They don’t even know that we are God’s messengers with a special message. So we are ambassadors for Christ. But let’s go on. I want to turn to 1 Timothy 2:6. Now I’m only giving you some key texts, there are many more, but I’m giving you the key texts so that you have an answer to give to those whom you witness to. Let’s read verses 5 and 6 to get the full sentence:
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus [a good text for Roman Catholics, only one Mediator, folks, between a sinful race and a holy God. Who is He? Jesus Christ];
Who gave Himself a ransom [a payment] for all, to be testified in due time.
Christ did not come to preach the gospel to the world, He came to be the gospel. He limited Himself only to the Jews, but His mission was not for the Jews only, but for all men, and that He commissioned to the church. “You must take this to all the world. I came here that there might be good news to be preached.” But it is the church that has been commissioned.
Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [And then Paul adds...] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher...
And God has ordained all of us to preach, not from the pulpit, but at least through witnessing. Now look at 1 Timothy 4:10. When you preach the gospel, when you witness, you are going to have opposition, folks, let’s face it. Because we are preaching good news in enemy territory. The world is still under the evil one. Therefore in 1 Timothy 4:10 he says:
For therefore we both labour [i.e., we work] and suffer reproach because we trust in the living God [not in our performance], who is the Saviour of all men,...
Then turn a few pages to Titus, it’s a little book after 2 Timothy. Titus 2:11:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared [please notice the past tense; it’s already here folks] to all men.
The tragedy is that all people don’t know it. And do you know why? We have failed. One more text, and a good one. 1 John 2:2. By the way, whenever you read any of these texts, if you really want to be honest with any text, you must always find out what is the context of the book, of the chapter, and the unit. Because people read 1 John, especially chapter 3, and they miss the boat. Both John in his first epistle, and James in his epistle, are fighting one of the enemies of the gospel. The gospel has two enemies. One is legalism it’s an enemy of the gospel, it’s a counterfeit, it looks right but it is wrong. The other one is antinomianism: “Christ did it all, it doesn’t matter how we [act].” And both James and John are condemning this.
But John makes a statement in chapter 2. To understand verse 2, you also need to read verse 1. In chapter 1 he says,
If we are walking in the light...
Who is the light? Jesus Christ. If we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour (that’s what he’s saying in chapter 1, especially verse 7) then we have two things:
...we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin.
And by the way, when he says, “If we confess our sins...,” a legalist doesn’t confess his sins, a legalist says, “I thank you God, that I’m not like that publican. I’m such a good fellow.” But a gospel person says, “Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15. But now in 1 John 2, he begins with this:
My little children [now he’s talking to Christians], these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.
In other words, the gospel must not allow you to condone sin. The same statement is made by Paul in Romans 6. He is dealing with the same issue. “Shall we keep on sinning that grace may abound?” So John is saying, “Look Christians, I’m not telling you this Good News, I’m not reminding you of this Good News which you already know, that you may condone sin.” He’s using the present continuous tense, “keep on sinning.” But he’s aware that Christians still have sinful natures and are still struggling, and so he says:
And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
That is wonderful! But now look at verse 2:
And He is the propitiation [or the mercy seat or the covering] for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
So Paul is making a distinction between believers and nonbelievers. The difference, of course, is that believers know this. The unbelievers do not know. They see a storm there; they don’t realize there’s an umbrella already provided under which they can take shelter.
Okay, now this is what the Three Angels’ Message is saying. It’s saying that God has provided salvation, full and complete to the whole human race. This message is from God. It must not be mixed with any human invention or philosophy. It’s all from God. That’s why the angel is flying from heaven. Okay, let’s go on now. Go back to Revelation 14 and I want you to notice something else in verse 7:
Saying with a loud voice...
This message is to be preached with a loud voice. When you have the words “loud voice,” you must not take these words literally, because Revelation is a symbolic book. It means it’s a solemn message. The word “loud” means it is solemn. Today, in the Middle East, when they want to give a solemn message, they use loud speakers. But they didn’t have loudspeakers then. It simply means, “It’s a solemn message. Take a serious look at it. Do not treat it lightly.” And what is the solemn message saying?
Now that text has been misunderstood, folks. You see the word “fear” does not mean tremble. Don’t be scared. It’s not saying that. It means two things: God is serious, and we need to take Him seriously. But what does it really mean to fear God? Well, keep your finger here, and let me give you a text which will help you, Proverbs 8:13:
The fear of the LORD [the word “LORD” in capitals always means Jehovah or Jahweh in the Old Testament] is to hate evil: pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Now, why should we hate evil? It is because God hates evil. Now, let us be very clear. Why does God hate evil? I’ll tell you why: because God loves us. God cannot love us and not hate evil. Do you know why? Because evil hurts us. Evil kills. Sin kills. If there is something that kills one of your loved ones, you will hate it. Am I correct? And I’m sure there are people today who hate the person or persons who planted that bomb in PanAm [Flight] 103 because they lost a love one. God hates evil, because He loves us. We must hate evil because it hurt God. It cost God the cross, folks, to save us. It hurt God. God could not say, “I am sovereign. I am the Boss of the universe. I can do what I like. Nobody can challenge Me. I will forgive you.” No. God is also a just God. And when Christ prayed three times, “Please, is it possible to remove the cup?” What did God say? “No!” And Romans 8:32 says:
He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all [here’s another universal text]...
But please remember, when it says here, “Fear evil,” what the Three Angels Message is saying is that evil which may give you pleasure for a moment will make you end up in the lake of fire. Don’t be deceived by the Devil; don’t be deceived by sin. Sin and the Devil are liars. You must fear God in the sense that you must hate evil because He hates evil.
Okay, go back to Revelation 14:7. We have a negative and we have a positive. If you fear evil, it means you hate sin for what it is, that’s negative. But the positive is “Give glory to God.” Give glory to Him. “Fear God and give glory to Him.” Now what does it mean to give glory to Him? I want to give you some texts to show you what it means. First of all, turn to 1 Corinthians 1. I want to look at two verses, one is telling us how we are saved, and the second one is telling us who gets the credit. 1 Cor 1:30 says:
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God [now please notice, not of man plus God, but who of God] is made unto us [God made Christ to be] our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, our redemption,
It’s all of God. Now look at verse 31:
That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Give Him the praise, the credit, or, if you want to put it another way, the word “glory” also means boasting.
You know, some time ago my family and I were traveling. We had a “campers’ campmeeting” in Frazier Park in California [U.S.A.]. We had taken our car. And we stopped at a family that were missionaries with us. And their son who was a little boy in Kenya was now a big, young, strapping kid. He had bought an Italian sportscar. He had bought it as a wreck, but he had fixed it, he had painted it, and it looked brand new. And he said to me, “Do you want to see my sportscar?” He was glorying in his sportscar.
So I said, “Sure.” So I went and I saw this shiny, metallic paint, and I wanted to see how it felt.
And he said, “Please don’t touch it!”
I said, “Why, is it still wet?”
He said, “No, no, no, you will leave fingerprints.” And he took out his handkerchief and polished it. Now he was “glorying” in his sportscar. That car meant everything to him. And the gospel must mean everything to us. It’s our only hope. Give Him glory.
Okay, let me give you a couple of texts. Philippians 2. Please remember, it’s glory to God, not glory for you. It’s probably just me, the songwriter did not mean what he says, but I cringe when I hear “When I go to heaven it will be glory for me.” I have difficulties with that after reading this text. It will be glory for Jesus Christ. I will take my crown, I don’t know how many stars there will be, I don’t care if there’s no stars, and I will put it at the feet of Jesus and say, “You deserve the glory.” Philippians 2:11. Listen to the great apostle Paul. He is discussing Jesus Christ. By the way, verses 6-8 is talking about the emptying of Christ to save us. And in verse 9, because of what He has done...
God also hath exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
“I love You, My Son, for what You did!” What did His Son do? He redeemed the world. Now verses 10 and 11:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow [give Him honour, worship Him], of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Please remember, the Father is on your side; He so loved the world that He sent His Son. Jesus did not have to plead with the Father, “Please, can I go?” Yes, there was a struggle. The struggle is not because the Father did not love us. The struggle was because God knew how much it would cost His Son. And it was very painful to Him. “But Son,” He said, “I love the world, just as You love it. We are one in this mission, with the Holy Spirit. And go, You have My blessing.” And when Jesus went and fulfilled the mission, perfectly, successfully, God exalted Him. And we thank God. Give Him glory. One more text, Revelation 5:11,12:
I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels ’round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;...
Now please remember these are angels, with a few elders inbetween. The beasts represent Cherubim, they had the faces of beasts. Did Christ save the angels? No, He saved us. But listen to what the angels do in verse 12. These are angels...
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory...
“Jesus, you are the only One Who deserves to be worshipped. You’re the only One Who deserves to be praised. No other person.” Give glory to Him.
That is what will happen when we realize that the gospel is God’s everlasting Good News, that in His Son He redeemed us. He’s not asking us to contribute towards that righteousness. It’s a gift from beginning to end. It’s all of God. Therefore who gets the credit? Christ. Okay, let’s go on to Revelation 14:
Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of his judgment is come:...
Now the word “is come” means “this is the final message.” The gospel has been preached many times, but this is the final call to the world. Now, we normally take this phrase, “his judgment has come” and apply it to the investigative judgment. We have gotten into trouble with that. Because you see, the investigative judgment is for those who are already believers. The investigative judgment is not for the unbelievers. What this text is saying is “Please, don’t refuse this message because probation is going to close.” And I’ll give you a text that may help you. Folks, the moment the gospel is preached in it’s clarity, every human being has to make a decision, either for God or against God. You see, what does the word “witness” mean? When you have a court case who do you bring? Witnesses. Am I correct? And the jury decides on the basis of the witnesses whether you’re guilty or not. Now, God doesn’t have too many witnesses in the judgment, only one witness. Look at Matthew 24:14:
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness...
In the judgment, God is going to ask the unbelievers, “What did you do with My Son Whom I gave you at infinite cost to Me?” It is the gospel which will condemn the unbeliever, because the gospel will say, “I was offered to you as a gift, and you deliberately, persistently, wilfully said, ‘No!’” And God will say, “What more could I do? I did everything for you. Therefore I leave you desolate.” (And that is the Third Angel’s Message.) If you reject this gospel, you are going to experience the wrath of God without mixture (that means, “without any protection”). The only shield that I gave you, the gospel, you refused. The only thing that could save you, you refused.”
But folks, as long as the gospel is not preached clearly, the hour of judgment is not come for the unbelieving world. If you tell them, “In order for you to be saved you must keep the Sabbath,” you’re not preaching the gospel, folks. The keeping of the Sabbath is an outworking of accepting the gospel; it is a by-product.
Okay, let’s go on because I want to give you one text which clearly brings this out, and these are the words of Jesus Christ in John 16. I’ll give you a quick rundown so that you see that the work of the Holy Spirit in this New Testament dispensation is to convince the world of three things through our preaching. In verse 8, He has to convince (the word “reprove” in the Greek means convince or convict) the world of three things: of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.
In verse 9, “of sin,” not because they are transgressing the law, but because “they believe not on me.” Does the gospel forgive all sins committed against the law? Is there any sin that you commit against the law that God cannot forgive? No, otherwise the gospel does not “establish the law,” Romans 3:31. But the gospel does not forgive the sin of unbelief, that is unforgivable. And He’s not dealing with a sin that can be forgiven, He’s dealing here with a sin that cannot be forgiven. In other words, the world needs to know that they are lost, not because they are bad, they are lost because they are without Christ. Verse 9 is clear, “Of sin, because they believe not on me.” When the people heard the first sermon preached by the Christian church in Acts, they said, “What shall we do? Must we pay some money to make up for what we did, crucifying the Saviour?” No. They had to repent, they had to believe, and be baptized. And you may want to look at Acts 7:51. “What must I do to be saved? Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Okay. Number two, “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father....” Please remember, Who sent Christ here? His Father. To do what? Visit America? No, He didn’t come here for that. To visit the Holy Lands? No, the Holy Lands were not a tourist attraction in those days. Why then did He send His Son to this world? Not to condemn, but to save. He sent Christ here to be our righteousness. Do you know, Christ could not return back until He finished His job. There was no furlough, there was no home leave for Christ until He finished His task. When He said, “Father, I have finished the work you have given Me,” and when He said on the cross, “It is finished,” then the Father said, “Son, you may come back home. Your job is finished as far as obtaining salvation for the whole world.”
But now look at verse 11. The third thing that the Holy Spirit will convince the world of is judgment. “Of judgment because the prince of this world is judged.” At the cross, Satan and His kingdom received the verdict of eternal death. Not the unbelievers, but Satan and his angels. If you reject this gift, do you know what God will say? And you’ll find this in Matthew 25:41:
Depart from Me into everlasting fire [i.e., fire that will destroy you forever, without mixture], prepared for the devil and his angels [‘Not for you, but you chose to be in his camp’].
And so going back to Revelation 14, the world needs to be warned with a solemn message, “Please turn your backs to that which will kill you. Give God the glory, He has obtained salvation full and complete. The hour of judgment has come, this is the final message.” And finally in Revelation 14:7:
And worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
Now folks, we have somehow said, “This means, keep the Sabbath.” Well, this phrase means worship the true God in contrast to the false god. Turn to Acts 14. While we are doing that, let me say that today, many Christians are admitting that the law was not done away with. But what they teach is this, that when Christ came He did away with all the Ten Commandments and He restored only nine. Have you faced this? It’s becoming more and more common.
This is not new. Luther said it, but he used a different argument. He said the Ten Commandments could be divided into natural and ceremonial. Just like we take the Torah, and divide it into moral and ceremonial, Luther took the Ten Commandments and said this is natural and ceremonial. The word “natural” means, “We know without being told what is wrong and what is right. To kill is wrong. I don’t have to know the Ten Commandments. That’s natural, it’s in the conscience.” And he used Romans 2. But Luther said that only one of them was ceremonial, and that was the fourth commandment. And he was attacking Carlstadt who was an Anabaptist and he said, “If we are to follow Carlstadt to his logical conclusion then we would have to keep Saturday instead of Sunday.” And he condemned it. Will he go to heaven, by the way? Sister White says so. Did she make a mistake? It wasn’t that he didn’t know. I didn’t know if he was convicted. Carlstadt made it clear, the Sabbath is still holy.