Our Past History – The Third Angel

We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 196. This quotation has been the theme of the last two Bible studies (LandMarks July 2011, September 2011). The subject we have been contemplating is the Three Angels’ Messages. So far we have looked at the first two angels, and in this article we will look at the third angel’s message. “The unlearned as well as the educated are to comprehend the truths of the third angel’s message, and they must be taught in simplicity.” Medical Ministry, 299. With this in mind, let us begin.

“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.” Revelation 14:9–12.

There are five characteristics of the message to be noted:

  • the third angel followed them
  • the worship of the beast and his image
  • receiving the mark of the beast
  • receiving the wrath of God
  • the patience of the saints

Because this message is very broad, here we will study only the last aspect, that which has to do with the patience of the saints (Revelation 14:12). As for the first description, whom the third angel followed, we have already touched upon this over the first two parts. The third angel follows the first and second angels of Revelation 14. The three are united in proclaiming the last message of mercy to a perishing world. In this study we will reflect upon the solution rather than the problem and more upon the protagonist than the antagonist.

Recall the great disappointment we studied in part two (LandMarks, August 2011). The early Adventist Christians believed that the earth was the sanctuary and that the year 1844 was the end of the 2,300 symbolic days. Therefore, they thought that Jesus was going to return in 1844 and bring an end to sin. But after the passing of October 22, 1844, the Adventist believers became greatly disappointed when Jesus did not return to this earth to cleanse it as they expected. At the time, these believers needed great patience. One can only imagine the pain they felt not only by the disappointment, but also by the scorn, ridicule, and mocking they received from the whole world. Without patience they could have easily lost their souls, but they exhibited the patience of the saints. Patience is for all who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. In order to do this, there is only one place in the entire universe where we must abide; there is only one place wherein we can become saints.

“Jesus did not come to the earth as the waiting, joyful company expected, to cleanse the sanctuary by purifying the earth by fire. I saw that they were correct in their reckoning of the prophetic periods; prophetic time closed in 1844, and Jesus entered the Most Holy Place to cleanse the sanctuary at the ending of the days. …

“He sent His angels to direct their minds that they might follow Him where He was.” Early Writings, 243, 244. The third angel was to direct the minds of the believers to where Jesus was, namely, the Most Holy Place. “As the ministration of Jesus closed in the holy place, and He passed into the holiest, and stood before the ark containing the law of God, He sent another mighty angel with a third message to the world.” Ibid., 254. The Most Holy Place is the only place wherein we can become saints. And what significant articles do we find in there?

“And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.” Exodus 25:21. Here we learn that the mercy seat is found above the ark, and the testimony (the ten commandment law) is found inside the ark. But where is the ark? “And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.” Exodus 26:33, 34. The ark itself is found in the Most Holy Place of God’s Temple. So, the mercy seat and the ark of the testimony are the two articles found in the Most Holy Place representing grace and law.

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10. Therefore, in order for us to keep the commandments of God, we must look into the ark that contains the commandments, and in order to look into the ark we must first enter into the Most Holy Place. There is only one way to enter into that sacred place. “I saw the third angel pointing upward, showing the disappointed ones the way to the holiest of the heavenly sanctuary. As they by faith enter the most holy, they find Jesus, and hope and joy spring up anew.” Early Writings, 254, 255.

The question must be asked, How do we enter into the Most Holy Place? We enter by faith, and not just by any faith. Ephesians 4:5 says there is only “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Emphasis added.) The only faith by which we can enter the Most Holy Place is the all-sufficient faith of Jesus. Only by this faith can we enter into the Most Holy where Jesus is and behold the precious law of liberty. Let’s conclude by examining three characteristics of this faith:

The object of our faith is the power of God alone

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” I Corinthians 2:4, 5. And what is the power of God? “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” I Corinthians 1:24. Do you have faith in the power of God? Do you believe He can save you from sin?

Faith must be united with works

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” James 2:21, 22. It is not enough to say we believe; we must show we believe by obedience to present truth. Faith without works is dead.

Faith enables us to overcome the sin that is of this world

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” I John 5:4.

“The divine Intercessor presents the plea that all who have overcome through faith in His blood be forgiven their transgressions, that they be restored to their Eden home.” The Great Controversy, 484.

Do you want to overcome? If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believes.

Are you praying for victory over sin? Do you truly believe that God will grant you this request? “True faith lays hold of and claims the promised blessing before it is realized and felt. We must send up our petitions in faith within the second veil and let our faith take hold of the promised blessing and claim it as ours. We are then to believe that we receive the blessing, because our faith has hold of it, and according to the Word it is ours.” Early Writings, 72. If we have been praying for victory, then we must take hold of the promised blessing and believe that we have received it. And what will be the results of such blessing?

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people … For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Hebrews 8:10, 12. Notice, the law of God will be engraved into our characters, and our sins will never again be remembered.

This is the goal of the New Covenant; this is character perfection. This is how we “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” May the three angels help us to reach this standard! In the meanwhile, remember, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 31.

Demario Carter is currently working as a Bible worker for Steps to Life.