The Third Angel’s Message is the most fearful message ever given to the world.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. 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 ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:9-12 NKJV).
It was only after the Great Disappointment in 1844 that the message of the Third Angel began to be understood.
The Third Angel’s Message is the final message of warning to the world. It is filled with power and deep spiritual truths. As its significance came to be understood, the symbolism of the entire book of Revelation was unfolded.
Consider these elements of the Third Angel’s Message:
Accepting the authority of the counterfeit religious system instead of God's authority is the same as worshiping the Beast system rather than God. Accepting the first-day Sabbath means accepting of the authority of the Beast in the place of the authority of God. As the Beast obtains his authority from the Dragon (Revelation 13:2), acknowledgment of that authority is worship of the Dragon—Satan himself. Revelation 13:4 NKJV explains:
So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"
To worship the counterfeit system, one must not only accept its authority but follow its principles. For example, end-time Babylon teaches that in Christ all are free to do as they please.
For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be (Matthew 24:38-39 NKJV).
Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have put no difference between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them (Ezekiel 22:26).
Those that are in Christ, on the other hand, will align themselves with the principles of Christ (Romans 12:1-2). They will strive for holiness and stay away from things that separate them from Christ:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial?
...Wherefore, Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 6:14-15, 17-18; 7:1).
The whole lifestyle of believers in Christ must reflect this relationship. Babylon is in enmity with God, and teaches a doctrine of compromise, but compromise with sin is impossible.
The Third Angel's Message puts our relationship with Christ in its right perspective. It is a message that brings about lifestyle changes necessary for those who want to stand in the presence of a holy God.
Separating from the world does not mean retiring to solitary confinement. We are to labor in the world as Christ labored, but we are not to be trapped by the ways of the world. It will take courage for us to stand for truth, but we know that Christ has overcome the world. The Bible tells us the consequences of following Babylon:
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 (Revelation 14:10).
When Revelation says "poured out without mixture" it means not watered down. This wrath of God will contain no mercy or grace:
Anyone who has rejected Moses' law die without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay" says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a fearful things to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:28-31 NKJV).
In ancient Israel, the enemies of God were to be totally destroyed (Deuteronomy 7:2; 20:16-18). The false prophets that led Israel astray were to be executed without mercy (Deuteronomy 13:7-10). This typology is applicable also to the enemy of God in the last days.
But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:8-11 NKJV).
We can see the Third Angel's Message coming to fruition today. Spiritualism is making inroads into the Christian Church, the Papacy is making stealthy but rapid progress towards global control, and the observances of the Catholic Church are being enforced by civil authority. It is crucial that God's people cling to the truth and do not become overtaken by these happenings.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:18-19 NIV).
We are heading for perilous times, a time such as never was. But be encouraged:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Romans 8:35-37).
In Scripture, those who accept the mark of the Beast are set in sharp contrast with those that receive the seal of God. In Revelation 7, John sees the 144,000 who receive the seal of God. These 144,000 have a number of identifying characteristics, given in Revelation 14:
- They have the name of the Lamb and His Father written on their foreheads (Revelation 14:1).
The name stands for their character. They have a share in the nature and character of God.
- They are redeemed from the earth (Revelation 14:3). They stand in sharp contrast to those who receive the mark of the Beast—they are a called out people.
- They have not defiled themselves with women, and they are chaste virgins (Revelation 14:4). They refuse to be defiled by women, which means that they refuse to become involved with idolatrous practices.
- They follow the Lamb wherever he goes (Revelation 14:4). They remain faithful to Jesus.
- There is no lie found in their mouths and they are blameless (Revelation 14:5). Their character has been investigated, and they have been found justified.
We should be holy and without blame before Him (Ephesians 1:4, Philippians 2:15, Colossians 1:22, 2 Peter 3:11).
This is not a message of legalism or perfectionism, since without Jesus
we can do nothing. It is a recognition of the power of Christ.
Christ depicts His bride dressed in spotless white, covered with the righteousness of Christ. We should never dare to utter “I am sinless,” but Christ can write that very truth in His book, because His forgiveness not only removes the stain of sin, but also the record of sin.
In the book of Leviticus we read that priests were only permitted to marry virgins, a type of Christ and His bride. The priests were not even permitted to marry chaste widows, because they had previous relationships. Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, all of us fall into the category of having had previous relationships with evil. To fulfill the requirements of the typology, the forgiveness of God has to be so complete that not even the record of the previous unfaithfulness of God’s people will remain. Only then can they qualify as the chaste virgin, pure and undefiled.
All the honor and glory belong to God. This leaves no room for legalism or salvation by works. There is nothing we can do to earn forgiveness.
We cannot receive a more emphatic warning than the one we find in the Third Angel’s Message. God wants everyone to know the result of following the Deceiver’s rationale. God wants everyone to choose Him and His grace.
The Three Angels' Messages in Revelation 14 also relate to the prophecy in Revelation 10. Learn the significant connections in our next article.