The First Angel’s Message was to remind God’s people fear God and worship Him as Creator, because the judgment is coming. This was the message proclaimed by the Millerite movement.
The First Angel’s Message is not only a message of judgment, but also a message of the “restoration of all things.” It is the Elijah message, the final reformation that would separate the remnant of spiritual Israel from the world, and prepare a people for the coming of the Lord.
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water” (Revelation 14:6-7 NKJV).
The angel spreads the everlasting Gospel to every nation. We see this as God using His people to be coworkers together with Him in the spreading of the Gospel around the world.
The First Angel's Message has three central themes:
The everlasting Gospel is the great theme of salvation—we are saved by the blood of the Lamb. This Gospel has never changed.
Adam and Eve were taught the lesson of salvation by grace when God covered their nakedness with the pelt of a sheep to symbolize the righteousness of Christ which would cover them.
Abel offered a lamb as sacrifice because he understood that salvation was to be found outside himself in the merits of the Lamb that was to be slain for the sins of the world. Cain, however, sought favor through the works of his hands and his offering was not acceptable to God. The great divide between salvation by grace and salvation by works was established from the very beginning.
Abraham understood the significance of the Lamb when God demonstrated the plan of salvation in miniature form through Abraham’s own son, Isaac. Isaac was a symbol of God’s Son who was to be offered. But in Isaac’s stead God provided His own lamb—a ram, a symbol of Jesus who would die for the sins of the world.
The Jews were taught the plan of salvation through the ceremonial law, and the same principles still apply today: our salvation lies in the Lamb that was slain. The Gospel has never changed, but Satan perverts the Gospel to suit his ends.
The Lamb was slain because the law could not be compromised. If the law could have been done away with, then Christ need not have died. To be saved by grace does not give a license for sin, which is transgression of the law (1 John 3:4):
For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified...Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law...How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein (Romans 2:13, 3:31, 6:2)?
Every deed will be brought into judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10). God’s grace is as great as God’s justice:
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven (Matthew 7:21 NKJV).
The Gospel rests on the twin pillars of law and grace. Satan knows this and wars against those who bring these twin pillars into a right relationship:
And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17 NKJV).
In ancient Israel, Satan exalted the law and crucified the Lamb while in spiritual Israel he exalts the Lamb and crucifies the law. Make no mistake—we cannot claim the merits of Christ while we deliberately keep on sinning:
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:26 NKJV).
We cannot accept justification before God without also accepting His work in our lives to make us holy (2 Corinthians 5:15). Without holiness, no one will see God (Hebrews 12:14).
We accept sanctification in the same way as which we accepted justification—through faith in Christ. We can’t keep the law in our own strength. It is only through Christ in us that obedience becomes possible. Sanctification is a growth in Christ and not a magic wand. Through abiding trust in God, our bent sinful nature can be overcome.
Some strive for perfection, and some even believe that they are sinless. All such striving is useless for only through Christ in us can we attain the victory. By ourselves we can do nothing.
Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us (1 John 3:24 NKJV).
You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked (2 Peter 3:17 NKJV).
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV).
The nearer we are to Christ, the more we will be humbled by His beauty. Like Isaiah of old, we will be led to exclaim, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).
The everlasting Gospel to be preached by the remnant will set the record straight and put the issues of law and grace in the right perspective:
Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water (Revelation 14:7 NKJV).
The remnant will not only preach the judgment but also exalt the Creator who made heaven and earth and the sea and the fountains of water. This is the seal of God, which is the sign of His authority. It also appears in the Sabbath commandment which emphasizes not only God’s authority over, but also His ownership of the universe.
The Sabbath is a memorial to creation and the remnant is to point to and exalt God as Creator. It is noteworthy that, at the close of the 2300-day prophecy in 1844, God sent a message into the world reminding the world of its origins while at the same time (1844), Darwin’s concept of evolution was being readied for the world.
The First Angel’s Message calls for a choice between truth and error; between the binding claims of the Gospel and popular humanism; between exalting God and exalting self.
Read about the Second Angel's Message