VERSE 1. And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount
Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand,
having his Father's name written in their foreheads. 2. And
I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters,
and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice
of harpers harping with their harps: 3. And they sung as it
were a new song before the throne, and before the four
beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song
but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were
redeemed from the earth. 4. These are they which were not
defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they
which follow the Lamb wither soever he goeth. These were
redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God
and to the Lamb. 5. And in their mouth was found no guile:
for they are without fault before the throne of God. p.
582, Para. 2.
It is a pleasing feature of the prophetic word that the people of God are never brought into positions of trial and difficulty, and there abandoned. Taking them down into scenes of danger, the voice of prophecy does not there cease, leaving them to guess their fate, in doubt, perhaps despair, as to the final result; but it takes them through to the end, and shows the issue in every conflict. The first five verses of Revelation 14 are an instance of this. The 13th chapter closed with the people of God, a small and apparently weak and defenseless company, in deadly conflict with the mightiest powers of earth which the dragon is able to muster to his service. A decree is passed, backed up by the supreme power of the land, that they shall worship the image and receive the mark, under pain of death if they refuse to comply. What can the people of God do in such a conflict and in such an extremity? What will become of them? Glance forward with the apostle to the very next scene in the program, and what do we behold? -- The very same company standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb, -- a victorious company, harping on symphonic harps their triumph in the court of heaven. Thus are we assured that when the time of our conflict with the powers of darkness comes, deliverance is not only certain, but will immediately be given. p. 582, Para. 3.
That the 144,000 here seen on Mount Zion are the saints who were just before brought to view as objects of the wrath of the beast and his image, there are the very best of reasons for believing. p. 583, Para. 1.
1. They are identical with those sealed in Revelation 7, who have already been shown to be the righteous who are alive at the second coming of Christ. p. 583, Para. 2.
2. They are the overcomers in the sixth of Philadelphian state of the church. [See Rev. 3:11, 12.] p. 583, Para. 3.
3. They are
redeemed from among men [verse 4], an
expression which can be applicable only to those who are
translated from among the living. Paul labored, if by any
means he might attain to a resurrection out from among the
dead. Phil. 3:11. This is the hope of those who sleep in
Jesus, -- a resurrection from the dead. A redemption from
among men, from among the living must mean a different
thing, and can mean only one thing, and that is
translation. Hence the 144,000 are the living saints, who
will be translated at the second coming of Christ. [See on
verse 13, note.] p. 583, Para. 4.
On what Mount Zion does John see this company standing? --
The Mount Zion above; for the voice of harpers, which no
doubt is uttered by these very ones, is heard from heaven;
the same Zion from which the Lord utters his voice when he
speaks to his people in close connection with the coming of
the Son of man. Joel 3:16; Heb. 12:26-28; Rev. 15:17. A
just consideration of the fact that there is a Mount Zion
in heaven, and a Jerusalem above, would be a powerful
antidote for the hallucination of the doctrine known as
The Age to Come. p. 583, Para. 5.
A few more particulars only respecting the 144,000 in addition to those given in chapter 7, will claim notice in these brief remarks. p. 584, Para. 1.
1. They have the name of the Lamb's Father in their foreheads. In chapter 7, they are said to have the seal of God in their foreheads. An important key to an understanding of the seal of God is thus furnished us; for we at once perceive that the Father regards his name as his seal. That commandment of the law which contains God's name is therefore the seal of the law. The Sabbath commandment is the only one which has this; that is, that contains the descriptive title which distinguishes the true God from all false gods. Wherever this was placed, there the Father's name was said to be. [Deut. 12:5, 14, 18, 21; 14:23; 16:2, 6; etc.]; and whoever keeps this commandment has, consequently, the seal of the living God. p. 584, Para. 2.
2. They sing a new song which no other company is able to learn. In chapter 15:3, it is called the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. The song of Moses, as may be seen by reference to Exodus 15, was the song of his experience and deliverance. Therefore the song of the 144,000 is the song of their deliverance. No others can join in it; for no other company will have had an experience like theirs. p. 584, Para. 3.
3. They were not defiled with women. A woman is in Scripture the symbol of a church, a virtuous woman representing a pure church, a corrupt woman an apostate church. It is, then, a characteristic of this company that at the time of their deliverance they are not defiled with, or have no connection with, the fallen churches of the land. Yet we are not to understand that they never had any connection with these churches; for it is only at a certain time that people become defiled by them. In chapter 18:4, we find a call issued to the people of God while they are in Babylon, to come out, lest they become partakers of her sins. Heeding that call, and leaving her connection, they escape the defilement of her sins. So of the 144,000; though some of them may have once had a connection with corrupt churches, they sever that connection when it would become sin to retain it longer. p. 584, Para. 4.
4. They follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. We
understand that this is spoken of them in their redeemed state.
They are the special companions of their glorified Lord in
the kingdom. Chapter 7:17, speaking of the same company and
at the same time, says,
For the Lamb which is in the midst
of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto
living fountains of waters. p. 585, Para. 1.
5. They are
first-fruits unto God and the Lamb. This
term appears to be applied to different ones to denote
especial conditions. Christ is the first-fruits as the
antitype of the wave-sheaf. The first receivers of the
gospel are called by James [chapter 1:18] a kind of first-fruits.
So the 144,000, ripening up for the heavenly garner
here on earth during the troublous scenes of the last days,
being translated to heaven without seeing death, and
occupying a pre-eminent position, are, in this sense, as
would seem very consistent, called first-fruits unto God
and the Lamb. With this description of the 144,000
triumphant, the line of prophecy commencing with chapter 12
comes to a close. p. 585, Para. 2.
VERSE 6. 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, 7. 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. 8. And there followed
another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that
great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine
of the wrath of her fornication. 9. 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, 10. 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: 11. And the
smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever 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.
12. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that
keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. p.
585, Para. 3.
The First Message. -- Another scene and another chain of prophetic events is introduced in these verses. We know that this is so, because the preceding verses of this chapter describe a company of the redeemed in the immortal state -- a scene which constitutes a part of the prophetic chain commencing with the first verse of chapter 12, and with which that chain of events closes; for no prophecy goes beyond the immortal state; and whenever we are brought in a line of prophecy to the end of the world, we know that that line there ends, and that what is introduced subsequently belongs to a new series of events. The Revelation in particular is composed of these independent prophetic chains, as has already been set forth, of which fact, previous to this instance, we have had a number of examples. p. 585, Para. 4.
The messages described in these verses are known as
three angel's messages of Revelation 14. We are justified
in applying to them the ordinals, first second, and third,
by the prophecy itself; for the last one is distinctly
the third angel, from which it follows that the
one preceding was the second angel; and the one before
that, the first angel. p. 586, Para. 1.
These angels are evidently symbolic; for the work assigned them is that of preaching the everlasting gospel to the people. But the preaching of the gospel has not been intrusted to literal angels; it has been committed unto men, who are responsible for this sacred trust placed in their hands. Each of these three angels, therefore, symbolizes a body of religious teachers, who are commissioned to make known to their fellow men the special truths which constitute the burden of these messages respectively. p. 586, Para. 2.
But we are to consider further that angels, literally, are intensely interested in the work of grace among men, being sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. And as there is order in all the movements and appointments of the heavenly world, it may not be fanciful to suppose that a literal angel has charge and oversight of the work of each message. Heb. 1:14; Rev. 1:1; 22:16. p. 586, Para. 3.
In these symbols we see the sharp contrast the Bible draws between earthly and heavenly things. Wherever earthly governments are to be represented, -- even the best of them, -- the most appropriate symbol that can be found is a cruel and ravenous wild beast; but when the work of God is to be set forth, an angel, clad in beauty and girt with power, is taken to symbolize it. p. 586, Para. 4.
The importance of the work set forth in the verses last quoted will be apparent to any one who will attentively study them. Whenever these messages are due, and are proclaimed, they must, from the very nature of the case, constitute the great theme of interest for that generation. We do not mean that the great mass of mankind then living will give them attention; for in every age of the world, the present truth for that time has been generally overlooked; but they will constitute the theme to which the people would pay most earnest regard if they were awake to that which concerns their highest interests. When God commissions his ministers to announce to the world that the hour of his judgment is come, that Babylon has fallen, and that whoever worships the beast and his image must drink of his wrath poured out unmingled into the cup of his indignation, -- a threatening more terrible than any other which can be found in the Scriptures of truth, -- no man, except at the peril of his soul, can treat these warnings as nonessential, passing them by with neglect and disregard. Hence the necessity for the most earnest endeavor in every age, and especially in the present age, when so many evidences betoken the soon-coming of earth's final crisis, to understand the work of the Lord, lest we lose the benefit of the present truth. p. 587, Para. 1.
This angel of Rev. 14:6 is called
another angel, from
the fact that John had previously seen an angel flying
through heaven in a similar manner, as described in chapter
8:13, proclaiming that the last three of the series of
seven trumpets were woe trumpets. This was near the close
of the sixth century. [See under chapter 8:12.] p. 587,
The first point to be determined is the chronology of this
message. When may the proclamation,
The hour of his
judgment is come, be consistently expected? The bare
possibility that it may be in our own day renders it very
becoming in us to examine this question with serious
attention; but the great probability, nay, more, the
positive proof that this is so, which will appear in the
development of this argument, should set every pulse
bounding, and every heart beating high with a sense of the
thrilling importance of this hour. p. 587, Para. 3.
Three positions only are possible on this question of the chronology of this prophecy, and as might be expected, all of them are taken by different expositors. These positions are  That this message has been given in the past; as, first, in the days of the apostles; or secondly, in the days of the Reformers;  that it is to be given in a future age; or  that it belongs to the present generation. p. 588, Para. 1.
We inquire, first, respecting the past. The very nature of
the message forbids the idea that it could have been given
in the apostles' days. They did not proclaim that the hour
of God's judgment had come. If they had, it would not have
been true, and their message would have been stamped with
the infamy of falsehood. They did have something to say,
however, respecting the judgment; but they pointed to an
indefinite future for its accomplishment. In Matt. 10:15;
11:21-24, a quotation from Christ's own words, the judgment
of Sodom and Gomorrah, Tyre, Sidon, Chorazin, and
Capernaum, was located indefinitely in the future from that
day. Paul declared to the superstitious Athenians that God
had appointed a day in which he would judge the world. Acts
17:31. He reasoned before Felix
temperance, and judgment to come. Acts 24:25. To the
Romans he wrote, directing their minds forward to a day
when God would judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.
Rom. 2:16. He pointed the Corinthians forward to a time
when we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
2 Cor. 5:10. James wrote to the brethren scattered abroad
that they were, at some time in the future, to be judged by
the law of liberty. James 2:12. And both Peter and Jude
speak of the first rebel angels as reserved unto the
judgment of the great day, still in the future at that time
[2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6], to which the ungodly in this world
are also reserved. 2 Pet. 2:9. How different is all this
from ringing out upon the world the startling declaration
the hour of his judgment is come! -- a sound which
must be heard whenever the solemn message before us is
fulfilled. p. 588, Para. 2.
From the days of the apostles nothing has taken place which any one, so far as we are aware, could construe into a suggestion of the fulfilment of the message, till we come to the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Here some seem disposed to make quite a determined stand, claiming that Luther and his co-laborers gave the first message, and that the two following messages have been given since his day. This is a question to be decided by historical fact rather than by argument; and hence we inquire for the evidence that the Reformers made any such proclamation. Their teaching has been very fully recorded, and their writings preserved. When and where did they arouse the world with the proclamation that the hour of God's judgment had come? We find no record that such was the burden of their preaching at all. On the contrary, it is recorded of Luther that he placed the judgment some three hundred years in the future from his day. Such records ought to be decisive, so far as the Reformers are concerned. p. 589, Para. 1.
The foregoing considerations being sufficient to forbid
utterly the application of the message to the past, we now
turn to that view which locates it in a future age. By
future age is meant a period subsequent to the second
advent; and the reason urged for locating the message in
that age is the fact that John saw the angel flying through
heaven, immediately after having seen the Lamb standing on
Mount Zion with the 144,000, which is a future event. If
the book of Revelation were one consecutive prophecy, there
would be force in its reasoning; but as it consists of a
series of independent lines of prophecy, and as it has
already been shown that one such chain ends with verse 5 of
this chapter, and a new one begins with verse 6, the
foregoing view cannot be urged. To show that the message
cannot have its fulfilment in a future age, it will be
sufficient to remark:-- p. 589, Para. 2.
1. The apostolic commission extended only to the
harvest, which is the end of the world. If, therefore,
this angel with the
everlasting gospel comes after that
event, he preaches another gospel, and subjects himself to
the anathema of Paul in Gal. 1:8. p. 589, Para. 3.
2. The second message cannot, of course, be given before
the first; but the second message announces the fall of
Babylon, and a voice is heard from heaven after that,
Come out of her, my people. How absurd to locate
this after the second advent of Christ, seeing that all
God's people, both living and dead, are at that time caught
up to meet the Lord in the air, to be thenceforth forever
with him. They cannot be called out of Babylon after this.
Christ does not take them to Babylon, but to the Father's
house, where there are many mansions. John 14:2, 3. p.
590, Para. 1.
3. A glance at the third angel's message, which must be fulfilled in a future age if the first one is, will still further show the absurdity of this view. This message warns against the worship of the beast, which refers, beyond question, to the papal beast. But the papal beast is destroyed and given to the burning flame when Christ comes. Dan. 7:11; 2 Thess. .2:8. He goes into the lake of fire at that time, to disturb the saints of the Most High no more. Rev. 19:20. Why will people involve themselves in the absurdity of locating a message against the worship of the beast at a time when the beast has ceased to exist, and his worship is impossible? p. 590, Para. 2.
In verse 13 of Revelation 14, a blessing is pronounced
upon the dead which die in the Lord
from henceforth; that
is, from the time the third message begins to be given.
This is a complete demonstration of the fact that the
message must be given prior to the first resurrection; for
after that event all who have a part therein [and this
includes all, both living and dead, who are not assigned to
the second death] become as the angels of God, and can die
no more. We therefore dismiss this view concerning the
future age as unscriptural, absurd, and impossible. p.
590, Para. 3.
We are not prepared to examine the third view, that the message belongs to the present generation. The argument on the two preceding points had done much to establish the present proposition; for if the message has not been given in the past, and cannot be given in the future after Christ comes, where else can we locate it but in the present generation, if we are in the last days, as we suppose? Indeed, the very nature of the message itself confines it to the last generation of men. It proclaims the hour of God's judgment come. But the judgment pertains to the closing up of the work of salvation for the world; and the proclamation announcing its approach can therefore be made only as we come near the end. It is further shown that the message belongs to the present time when it is proved that this angel is identical with the angel of Revelation 10, who utters his message in this generation. That the first angel of Revelation 14 and the angel of Revelation 10 are identical, see argument on the latter chapter. p. 590, Para. 4.
But the strongest and most conclusive evidence that the message belongs to the present time will consist in finding some movement in this generation through which its fulfilment has been, or is going forward. On this point we refer to a movement of which it would now be hard to find any one who is wholly ignorant. It is the great Advent movement of the last century. As early as 1831, Wm. Miller, of Low Hampton, N. Y., by an earnest and consistent study of the prophecies, was led to the conclusion that the gospel dispensation was near its close. He placed the termination, which he thought would occur at the end of the prophetic periods, about the year 1843. This date was afterward extended to the autumn of 1844. [See diagram and argument under Dan. 9:24-27.] We call his investigations a consistent study of the prophecies, because he adopted that rule of interpretation which will be found lying at the base of every religious reformation, and of every advance movement in prophetic knowledge; namely, to take all the language of the Scriptures, just as we would that of any other book, to be literal, unless the context or the laws of language require it to be understood figuratively; and to let scripture interpret scripture. True, on a vital point he made a mistake, as will be explained hereafter; but in principle, and in a great number of particulars, he was correct. He was on the right road, and made an immense advance over every theological system of his day. When he began to promulgate his views, they met with general favor, and were followed by great religious awakenings in different parts of the land. Soon a multitude of co-laborers gathered around his standard, among whom may be mentioned such men as F. G. Brown, Chas. Fitch, Josiah Litch, J. V. Himes, and others, who were eminent for piety, and men of influence in the religious world. The period marked by the years 1840-1844 was one of intense activity and great progress in this work. A message was proclaimed to the world which bore every characteristic of a fulfilment of the proclamation of Rev. 14:6, 7. The preaching was emphatically such as might be called the everlasting [age-lasting] gospel. It pertained to the closing up of this age, and the incoming of the everlasting age of the King of righteousness. It was that gospel of the kingdom which Christ declared should be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then the end should come. Matt. 24:14. The fulfilment of either of these scriptures involves the preaching of the nearness of the end. The gospel could not be preached to all nations as a sign of the end, unless it was understood to be such, and the proximity of the end was at least one of its leading themes. The Advent Herald of Dec. 14, 1850, well expressed the truth on this point in the following language:-- p. 591, Para. 1.
As an indication of the approach of the end, there was,
however, to be seen another angel flying through 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. Rev. 14:6. The burden of
this angel was to be the same gospel which had been before
proclaimed; but connected with it was the additional motive
of the proximity of the kingdom -- '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.' Verse 7.
No mere preaching of the gospel, without announcing its
proximity, could fulfil this message. p. 592, Para. 1.
The persons who were engaged in this movement supposed it to be a fulfilment of prophecy, and claimed that they were giving the message of Rev. 14:6, 7. p. 593, Para. 1.
With this movement also began the fulfilment of the
parable of the ten virgins, recorded in Matthew 25, which
our Lord uttered to illustrate and enforce the doctrine of
his second coming and the end of the world, which he had
just set forth in Matthew 24. Those who became interested
in this movement went forth to meet the Bridegroom; that
is, they were aroused to expect the coming of Christ, and
to look and wait for his return from heaven. The Bridegroom
tarried. The first point of expectation, the close of the
year 1843, which according to Jewish reckoning ended in the
spring of 1844, passed by, and the Lord did not come. While
he tarried, they all slumbered and slept. Surprised by the
unexpected doubt and uncertainty into which they were
thrown, the interest of the people began to wane, and their
efforts to flag. At midnight there was a cry made,
the Bridegroom cometh! go ye out to meet him. Midway
between the spring of 1844, where it was at first supposed
that the 2300 days would terminate, and that point in the
autumn of 1844 to which it was afterward ascertained that
they really extended, just such a cry as this was suddenly
raised. Involuntarily, this very phraseology was adopted:
Behold, the Bridegroom cometh. The cause of this sudden
arousing was the discovery that the great prophetic period
of 2300 days [years] of Dan. 8:14 did not end in the spring
of 1844, but would extend to the autumn of that year, and
consequently that the time at which they supposed they were
warranted to look for the appearing of the Lord had not
passed by, but was indeed at the door. At the same time,
the relation between the type and the antitype relating to
the cleansing of the sanctuary was partially seen. The
prophecy declared that at the end of the 2300 days the
sanctuary should be cleansed; and as in the type the
sanctuary was cleansed on the tenth day of the seventh
month of the Jewish year, that point in the autumn of 1844
was accordingly fixed upon for the termination of the 2300
years. It fell on the 22d of October. Between the mid-summer
of 1844, when the light on these subjects was first
seen, and the day and month above named when the 2300 years
terminated, perhaps no movement ever exhibited greater
activity than this respecting the soon coming of Christ,
and in no cause was ever more accomplished in so short a
space of time. A religious wave swept over this country,
and the nation was stirred as no people have been stirred
since the opening of the great Reformation of the sixteenth
century. This was called the
seventh-month movement, and
was more particularly confined to the United States and
Canada. p. 593, Para. 2.
But the general movement respecting the second advent of
Christ, and the proclamation that
the hour of his judgment
is come, was not confined to this hemisphere. It was
worldwide. It fulfilled in this respect the proclamation of
to every nation and kindred and tongue and
people. In Advent Tracts, Vol. II, p. 135, Mourant Brock,
an English writer, is quoted as saying:-- p. 594, Para. 1.
It is not merely in Great Britain that the expectation of
the near return of the Redeemer is entertained, and the
voice of warning raised, but also in America, India, and on
the continent of Europe. In America, about three hundred
ministers of the word are thus preaching 'this gospel of
the kingdom;' while in this country [Great Britain], about
seven hundred of the Church of England are raising the same
cry. p. 594, Para. 2.
Dr. Joseph Wolff traveled in Arabia Felix, through the region inhabited by the descendants of Hobab, Moses' father-in-law. In his Mission to Bokhara, he speaks as follows of a book which he saw in Yemen:-- p. 594, Para. 3.
The Arabs of this place have a book called 'Seera,' which
treats of the second coming of Christ, and his reign in
glory! In Yemen I spent six days with the Rechabites. 'They
drink no wine, plant no vineyards, sow no seed, live in
tents, and remember the words of Jonadab, the son of
Rechab.' With them were the children of Israel of the tribe
of Dan, who reside near Terim in Hatramawt, who expect, in
common with the children of Rechab, the speedy arrival of
the Messiah in the clouds of heaven. p. 594, Para. 4.
The Voice of the Church, by D. T. Taylor, pp. 342-344, speaks as follows concerning the wide diffusion of the advent sentiment:-- p. 595, Para. 1.
In Wurtemberg, there is a Christian colony numbering
hundreds, who look for the speedy advent of Christ; also
another of like belief on the shores of the Caspian; the
Molokaners, a large body of Dissenters from the Russian
Greek Church, residing on the shores of the Baltic -- a
very pious people, of whom it is said, 'Taking the Bible
alone for their creed, the norm of their faith is simply
the Holy Scriptures' -- are characterized by the
'expectation of Christ's immediate and visible reign upon
earth.' In Russia, the doctrine of Christ's coming and
reign is preached to some extent, and received by many of
the lower class. It has been extensively agitated in
Germany, particularly in the south part among the
Moravians. In Norway, charts and books on the advent have
been circulated extensively, and the doctrine has been
received by many. Among the Tartars in Tartary, there
prevails an expectation of Christ's advent about this time.
English and American publications on this doctrine have
been sent to Holland, Germany, India, Ireland,
Constantinople, Rome, and to nearly every missionary
station on the globe. At the Turk's Islands, it has been
received to some extent among the Wesleyans. p. 595, Para.
Mr. Fox, a Scottish missionary to the Teloogoo people,
was a believer in Christ's soon coming. James Mcgregor
Bertram, a Scottish missionary of the Baptist order at St.
Helena, has sounded the cry extensively on that island,
making many converts and pre-millennialists; he has also
preached it at South Africa at the missionary stations
there. David N. Lord informs us that a large proportion of
the missionaries who have gone from Great Britain to make
known the gospel to the heathen, and who are not laboring
in Asia and Africa, are millenarians; and Joseph Wolff,
D.D., according to his journals, between the years 1821 and
1845, proclaimed the Lord's speedy advent in Palestine,
Egypt, on the shores of the Red Sea, Mesopotamia, the
Crimea, Persia, Georgia, throughout the Ottoman empire, in
Greece, Arabia, Toorkistan, Bokhars, Afghanistan, Cashmere,
Hindustan, Thibet, Holland, Scotland, and Ireland, at
Constantinople, Jerusalem, St. Helena, also on shipboard in
the Mediterranean, and at New York City to all
denominations. He declares he has preached among Jews,
Turks, Mohammedans, Parsee, Hindus, Chaldeans, Yeseedes,
Syrians, Sabeans, to pashas, sheiks, shahs, the kings of
Organtsh and Bokhara, the queen of Greece, etc.' and of his
extraordinary labors the Investigator says, 'No individual
has, perhaps, given greater publicity to the doctrine of
the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ than has this
well-known missionary to the world. Wherever he goes, he
proclaims the approaching advent of the Messiah in glory.'
p. 595, Para. 3.
Elder J. N. Andrews, in his work on The Three Messages of Revelation 14:6-12, pp. 32-35, speaks as follows concerning the message under consideration:-- p. 596, Para. 1.
None can deny that this world-wide warning of impending
judgment has been given. The nature of the evidence adduced
in its support now claims our attention, as furnishing the
most conclusive testimony that it was a message from
Heaven. p. 596, Para. 2.
All the great outlines of the world's prophetic history
were shown to be complete in the present generation. The
great prophetic chain of Daniel 2, also those of chapters
7, 8, 11, and 12, were shown to be just accomplished. The
same was true of our Lord's prophetic description of the
gospel dispensation. Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21. The
prophetic periods of Daniel 7, 8, 9, 12; Revelation 11, 12,
13, were shown to harmonize with, and unitedly to sustain,
this great proclamation. The signs in the heavens and upon
the earth and sea, in the church and among the nations,
with one voice bore witness to the warning which God
addressed to the human family. Joel 2:30, 31; Matt. 24:29-31;
Mark 13:24-26; Luke 21:25-36; 2 Tim. 3; 2 Pet. 3; Rev.
6:12, 13. And besides the mighty array of evidence on which
this warning is based, the great outpouring of the Holy
Spirit in connection with this proclamation set the seal of
heaven to its truth. p. 596, Para. 3.
The warning of John the Baptist, which was to prepare the
way for the first advent of our Lord, was of short
duration, and limited in its extent. For each prophetic
testimony which sustained the work of John, we have several
which support the proclamation of Christ's near advent.
John had not the aid of the press to disseminate his
proclamation, nor the facility of Nahum's chariots; he was
a humble man, dressed in camel's hair, and he performed no
miracles. If the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel
of God against themselves in not being baptized of John,
how great must be the guilt of those who reject the warning
sent by God to prepare the way of the second advent! p.
597, Para. 1.
But those were disappointed who expected the Lord in 1843
and 1844. This fact is with many a sufficient reason for
rejecting all the testimony in this case. We acknowledge
the disappointment, but cannot acknowledge that this
furnishes a just reason for denying the hand of God in this
world. The Jewish church was disappointed when, at the
close of the work of John the Baptist, Jesus presented
himself as the promised Messiah. And the trusting disciples
were most sadly disappointed when he whom they expected to
deliver Israel was by wicked hands taken and slain. And
after his resurrection, when they expected him to restore
again the kingdom to Israel, they could not but be
disappointed when they understood that he was going away to
his Father, and that they were to be left for a long season
to tribulation and anguish. But disappointment does not
prove that God has no hand in the guidance of his people.
It should lead them to correct their errors, but it should
not lead them to cast away their confidence in God. It was
because the children of Israel were disappointed in the
wilderness that they so often denied divine guidance. They
are set forth as an admonition to us, that we should not
fall after the same example of unbelief. p. 597, Para. 2.
But it must be apparent to every student of the
Scriptures that the angel who proclaims the hour of God's
judgment does not give the latest message of mercy.
Revelation 14 presents two other and later proclamations
before the close of human probation. This fact alone is
sufficient to prove that the coming of the Lord does not
take place until the second and third proclamations have
been added to the first. The same thing may also be seen in
the fact that after the angel of chapter 10 has sworn that
time shall be no longer, another work of prophesying before
many people and nations is announced. Hence we understand
that the first angel preaches the hour of God's judgment
come; that is, he preaches the termination of the prophetic
periods; and that this is the time which he swears shall be
no longer. p. 597, Para. 3.
The judgment does of necessity commence before the advent
of Christ; for he comes to execute the judgment [Jude 14,
15; Rev. 22:12; 2 Tim. .4:1]; and at the sound of the last
trumpet he confers immortality upon every one of the
righteous, and passes by all the wicked. The investigative
judgment does therefore precede the execution of the same
by the Saviour. It is the province of the Father to preside
in this investigative work, as set forth in Daniel 7. At
this tribunal, the Son closes up his work as high priest,
and is crowned king. Thence he comes to earth to execute
the decisions of his Father. It is this work of judgment by
the Father which the first angel introduces. p. 598, Para.
The great period of 2300 days, which was the most
important period in marking the definite time in that
proclamation, extends to the cleansing of the sanctuary.
That the cleansing of the sanctuary is not the cleansing of
any part of the earth, but that it is the last work of our
great High Priest in the heavenly tabernacle before his
advent to the earth, has been clearly shown. [See on Dan.
8:14.] And we understand that it is while the work of
cleansing the sanctuary is taking place, that the latest
message of mercy is proclaimed. Thus it will be seen that
the prophetic periods, and the proclamation which is based
upon them, do not extend to the coming of the Lord. p.
598, Para. 2.
That the mistake made by Adventists in 1844 was not in the
time, has been shown by the argument on the seventy weeks
and twenty-three hundred days in Daniel 9; that it was in
the nature of the event to occur at the end of those days,
has been shown in the argument on the sanctuary in Daniel
8. Supposing that the earth was the sanctuary and that its
cleansing was to be accomplished by fire at the revelation
of the Lord from Heaven, they naturally looked for the
appearing of Christ at the end of the days. And through
their misapprehension on this point, they met with a
crushing disappointment, though everything which the
prophecy declared, and everything which they were warranted
to expect, took place with absolute accuracy at that time.
There the cleansing of the sanctuary began; but this did
not bring Christ to this earth, for the earth is not the
sanctuary; and its cleansing does not involve the
destruction of the earth, for it is accomplished with the
blood of a sacrificial offering, not with fire. Here was
the bitterness of the little book to the church. Rev.
10:10. Here was the coming of one like the Son of man, not
to this earth, but to the Ancient of days. Dan. 7:13, 14.
Here was the coming of the Bridegroom to the marriage, as
set forth in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25.
We have spoken of the midnight cry of that parable in the
summer of 1844. The foolish virgins then said to the wise,
Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone [margin,
going] out. The wise answered,
Go and buy for
yourselves. And while they went to buy, the Bridegroom
came. This is not the coming of Christ to this earth; for
it is a coming which precedes the marriage; but the
marriage, that is, the reception of the kingdom [see on
chapter 21], must precede his coming to this earth to
receive to himself his people, who are to be the guests at
the marriage supper. Luke 19:12; Rev. 19:7-9. This coming,
in the parable, must therefore be the same as the coming to
the Ancient of days spoken of in Dan. 7:13, 14. p. 598,
And they that were ready went in with him to the marriage,
and the door was shut. After the Bridegroom comes to the
marriage, there is an examination of the guests to see who
are ready to participate in the ceremony, according to the
parable of Matt. 22:1-13. As the last thing before the
marriage, the King comes in to see the guests, to ascertain
if all are properly arrayed in the wedding garment; and
whoever, after due examination, is found with the garment
on, and is accepted by the King, never after loses that
garment, but is sure of immortality. But this question of
fitness for the kingdom can be determined only by the
investigative judgment of the sanctuary. This closing work
in the sanctuary, therefore, which is the cleansing of the
sanctuary, and the atonement, is nothing else than the
examination of the guests to see who have on the wedding
garment; and consequently until this work is finished, it
is not determined who are 'ready' to go in to the marriage.
They that were ready went in with him to the marriage. By
this short expression we are carried from the time when the
Bridegroom comes to the marriage, entirely through the
period of the cleansing of the sanctuary, or the
examination of the guests; and when this is concluded,
probation will end, and the door will be shut. p. 599,
The connection of the parable with the message under
examination is now apparent. It brings to view a period of
making ready the guests for the marriage of the Lamb, which
is the work of judgment to which the message brings us when
The hour of his judgment is come. This
message was to be proclaimed with a loud voice. It went
forth with the power thus indicated between the years 1840-44,
more especially in the seventh-month movement of the
latter year, bringing us to the end of the 2300 days, when
the work of judgment commenced as Christ began the work of
cleansing the sanctuary. p. 600, Para. 1.
But, as has been already shown, this did not bring the close of probation, but only the period of the investigative judgment. In this judgment we are now living; and during this time other messages are proclaimed, as the prophecy further declares. p. 600, Para. 2.
The Second Message. -- This message, following the first,
is announced [verse 8] in these few words:
followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is
fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink
of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. The
chronology of this message is determined, to a great
extent, by that of the first message. This cannot precede
that; but that, as has been shown, is confined to the last
days; yet this must be given before the end, for no move of
this kind is possible after that event. It is therefore a
part of that religious movement which takes place in the
last days with especial reference to the coming of Christ.
p. 600, Para. 3.
The inquiries therefore naturally follow: What is meant by
the term Babylon? what is its fall? and how is it
fulfilled? As to the etymology of the word, we learn
something from the marginal readings of Gen. 10:10 and
11:9. The beginning of Nimrod's kingdom was Babel, or
Babylon; and the place was so called because God there
confounded the language of the builders of the tower; and
the word means confusion. The word is here used
figuratively to designate the great symbolic city of the
book of Revelation, probably with special reference to the
signification of the term, and the circumstances from which
it originated. It applies to something on which, as
specifying its chief characteristic, may be written the
confusion. p. 601, Para. 1.
There are but three possible objects to which the word can be applied; and these are  the apostate religious world in general,  the papal church in particular, and  the city of Rome. In examining these terms, we shall first show what Babylon is not. p. 601, Para. 2.
1. Babylon is not confined to the Romish Church. That this
church is a very prominent component part of great Babylon,
is not denied. The descriptions of chapter 17 seem to apply
very particularly to that church. But the name which she
bears on her forehead,
Mystery, Babylon the Great, the
Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth, reveals
other family connections. If this church is the mother, who
are the daughters? The fact that these daughters are spoken
of, shows that there are other religious bodies besides the
Romish Church which come under this designation. Again,
there is to be a call made in connection with this message,
Come out of her, my people [Rev. 18:1-4]; and as this
message is located in the present generation, it follows,
if no other church but the Romish is included in Babylon,
that the people of God, as a body, are now found in the
communion of that church, and are to be called out. But
this conclusion, no Protestant at least will be willing to
adopt. p. 601, Para. 3.
2. Babylon is not the city of Rome. The argument relied
upon to show that the city of Rome is the Babylon of the
Apocalypse runs thus:
The angel told John that the woman
which he had seen was the great city which reigned over the
kings of the earth, and that the seven heads of the beast
are seven mountains upon which the woman sitteth. And
then, taking the city and the mountains to be literal, and
finding Rome built upon just seven hills, the application
is made at once to literal Rome. p. 602, Para. 1.
The principle upon which this interpretation rests is the
assumption that the explanation of a symbol must always be
literal. It falls to the ground the moment it can be shown
that symbols are sometimes explained by substituting for
them other symbols, and then explaining the latter. This
can easily be done. In Rev. 11:3, the symbol of the two
witnesses is introduced. The next verse reads:
the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing
before the God of the earth. In this case the first symbol
is said to be the same as another symbol which is elsewhere
clearly explained. So in the case before us.
heads are seven mountains, and
The woman is that great
city; and it will not be difficult to show that the
mountains and the city are both used symbolically. The
reader's attention is asked to the following points:-- p.
602, Para. 2.
 We are informed in chapter 13 that one of the seven heads was wounded to death. This head therefore cannot be a literal mountain; for it would be folly to speak of wounding a mountain to death. p. 602, Para. 3.
 Each of the seven heads has a crown upon it. But who ever saw a literal mountain with a crown upon it? p. 602, Para. 4.
 The seven heads are evidently successive in order of
time; for we read,
Five are fallen, and one is, and the
other is not yet come. Revelation 17. But the seven hills
on which Rome is built are not successive, and it would be
absurd to apply such language to them. p. 602, Para. 5.
 According to Dan. 7:6, compared with Dan. 8:8, 22,
heads denote governments; and according to Dan. 2:35, 44;
Jer. 51:25, mountains denote kingdoms. According to these
facts, the version of Rev. 17:9, 10 given by Professor
Whiting, which is a literal translation of the text,
removes all obscurity:
The seven heads are seven mountains
on which the woman sitteth, and they are seven kings. It
will thus be seen that the angel represents the heads as
mountains, and then explains the mountains to be seven
successive kings, or forms of government. The meaning is
transferred from one symbol to another, and then an
explanation is given of the second symbol. p. 603, Para.
From the foregoing argument, it follows that the
cannot represent a literal city; for the mountains upon
which the woman sitteth being symbolic, a literal city
cannot sit upon symbolic mountains. Again, Rome was the
seat of the dragon of chapter 12, and this was transferred
to the beast [Rev. 13:2], thus becoming the seat of the
beast; but it would be a singular mixture of figures to
take the seat, which is sat upon by the beast, and make
that a woman sitting upon the beast. p. 603, Para. 2.
 Were the city of Rome the Babylon of the Apocalypse,
what nonsense should we have in chapter 18:1-4; for in this
case the fall of Babylon would be the overthrow and
destruction of the city, in fact, its utter consumption by
fire, according to verse 8. But mark what takes place after
the fall. Babylon becomes a habitation of devils, the hold
of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and
hateful bird. How can this happen to a city after that city
is destroyed, even being utterly burned with fire? But
worse still, after all this a voice is heard, saying,
out of her, my people. Are God's people in Rome? -- Not to
any great extent, even in her best estate. But how many can
we suppose to be there, to be called out, after the city is
burned with fire? It is not necessary to say more to show
that Babylon cannot be the city of Rome. p. 603, Para. 3.
3. Babylon signifies the universal worldly church. Having
seen that it cannot be any one of the only other three
possible objects to which it could be applied, it must mean
this. But we are not left to this a priori kind of
reasoning on this subject. Babylon is called a woman. A
woman, used as a symbol, signifies a church. The woman of
chapter 12 was interpreted to mean a church. The woman of
chapter 17 should undoubtedly be interpreted as signifying
also a church. The character of the woman determines the
character of the church represented, a chaste woman
standing for a pure church, a vile woman for an impure or
apostate church. The woman Babylon is herself a harlot, and
the mother of daughters like herself. This circumstance, as
well as the name itself, shows that Babylon is not limited
to any single ecclesiastical body, but must be composed of
many. It must take in all of a like nature, and represent
the entire corrupt or apostate church of the earth. This
will perhaps explain the language of Rev. 18:24, which
represents that when God makes requisition upon great
Babylon for the blood of his martyrs, in her will be found
the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that
have been slain upon the earth. The Greek Church is the
established church of Russia and Greece; the Lutheran
Church is the established church of Prussia, Holland,
Sweden, Norway, and a part of the smaller German states;
England has Episcopacy for her state religion, and other
countries have their established religions, and zealously
oppose dissenters. Babylon has made all nations drunken
with the wine of her fornication, that is, her false
doctrines; it can therefore symbolize nothing less than the
universal worldly church. p. 603, Para. 4.
The great city, Babylon, is spoken of as composed of three divisions. So the great religions of the world may be arranged under three heads. The first, oldest, and most wide-spread is paganism, separately symbolized under the form of a dragon; the second is the great Romish apostasy, symbolized by the beast; and the third is the daughters, or descendants from that church. Under this head comes the two-horned beast, though that does not embrace it all. War, oppression, conformity to the world, the worship of mammon, the creed-power, pursuit of pleasure, and the maintenance of very many errors of the old Romish Church, identify, with sad and faithful accuracy, the great body of the Protestant churches as an important constituent part of this great Babylon. p. 604, Para. 1.
A glance at some of the ways in which the Protestant church has deported herself will still further show this. Rome, having the power, destroyed vast multitudes of those whom she adjudged heretics. The Protestant church has shown the same spirit. Witness the burning of Michael Servetus by the Protestants of Geneva with John Calvin at their head. Witness the long- continued oppression of dissenters by the Church of England. Witness the hanging of Quakers and whipping of Baptists even by the Puritan fathers of New England, themselves fugitives from like oppression by the Church of England. But these, some may say, are things of the past. Very true; yet they show that when persons governed by strong religious prejudice have the power to coerce dissenters, they cannot forbear to use it -- a state of things which we look for in this country under a further fulfilment of the closing prophecy of chapter 13. p. 605, Para. 1.
Mark also how far they have departed from the teachings of
Christ in other respects. Christ forbade his people to seek
after the treasures of this world. But the popular church,
as a body, exhibits greater eagerness for wealth than do
worldlings themselves. In how many churches does mammon
bear rule! Christ says,
Be not ye called Rabbi, that is,
master, or doctor;
for one is your Master, even Christ.
To do this is to partake of the same spirit which has lead
aspiring men to assume to be the head of the church, the
successor of St. Peter, the vicegerent of Christ, and a god
upon earth. Yet how many in the Protestant church, in
imitation of the Romish, adopt the title of
which in our version of the Scriptures is applied to God
Holy and reverend is his name. But not content
with this, some become
Very Reverend, and
Doctors of Divinity. The New Testament
speaks in the most decided terms against adornments and
extravagance in dress; yet where shall we look for a
display of the latest fashions, the most costly attire, the
most gaudy adornments, the richest diamonds, and the most
dazzling jewelry, except in a fashionable assembly in a
Protestant church on a pleasant Sunday? Such is now the
state of the religious world, that many, in pursuit of
their vocation as lawyers, doctors, politicians, merchant
kings, etc., seek through the avenue of church connection
success in business, honor in society, high offices in the
nation, and lucrative positions everywhere. And much more
of this will be seen, when, as already explained, church
and state shall be united in America, and a religious
profession shall become a qualification for political
office. To adopt the form of godliness from such motives
must be most abominable in the sight of God; yet these very
classes are welcomed by the churches, because it will make
them still more popular. p. 605, Para. 2.
Babylon is represented as trafficking in the souls of men. A custom common in the Church of England would seem to come under this head. There, vacant livings are sometimes set up for sale, and the highest bidder, regardless of his moral qualifications or religious standing, becomes the possessor of the revenue belonging to the position, and the pastor of the people of that parish. To come to the United States, look at all the arts and devices resorted to draw the multitude, not to convert and save them, but to gain their patronage and influence. The most disastrous result of all this is that the minister must preach smooth things, and tickle fashionable ears with pleasing fables. p. 606, Para. 1.
It was the will of Christ that his church should be one. He prayed that his disciples might be one, as he and the Father were one; for this would give power to his gospel, and cause the world to believe in him. Instead of this, look at the confusion that exists in the Protestant world, the many sectional walls that divide it up into a network of societies, and the many creeds, discordant as the languages of those who were dispersed at the tower of Babel. God is not the author of all these. It is just this state of things which the word Babylon, as a descriptive term, appropriately designates. It is evidently used for this very purpose, and not at all as a term of reproach. Instead of being stirred with feelings of resentment when this term is mentioned, people should rather examine their position, to see if in faith or practice they are guilty of any connection with this great city of confusion, and if so, separate at once therefrom. p. 606, Para. 2.
The true church is a chaste virgin. 2 Cor. 11:2. The church that is joined with the world in friendship, is a harlot. It is this unlawful connection with the kings of the earth that constitutes her the great harlot of the Apocalypse. Revelation 17. Thus the Jewish Church, at first espoused to the Lord [Jeremiah, chapters 2, 3, and 31:32], became a harlot. Ezekiel 16. This church, when thus apostatized from God, was called Sodom [Isaiah 1], just as "the great city" [Babylon] is so called in Revelation 11. The unlawful union with the world of which Babylon is guilty, is positive proof that it is not the civil power. That the people of God are in her midst just before her overthrow is proof that she is professedly a religious body. For these reasons, is it not very evident that the Babylon of the Apocalypse is the professed church united with the world? p. 607, Para. 1.
The fall of Babylon will next claim attention. Having now
learned what constitutes Babylon, it will not be difficult
to decide what is meant by the declaration that Babylon is
fallen. As Babylon is not a literal city, the fall cannot
be a literal overthrow. We have already seen what an
absurdity this would involve. And besides, between the fall
and the destruction of Babylon, the clearest distinction is
maintained by the prophecy itself. Babylon
it is with violence
thrown down, as a millstone cast into
the sea, and
utterly burned with fire. The fall is
therefore a moral fall; for after the fall, the voice is
addressed to the people of God who are still in her
Come out of her, my people; and the reason is
immediately given, --
that ye be not partakers of her
sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. Babylon
therefore still exists to sin, and her plagues are still
future, after the fall. p. 607, Para. 2.
Those who make Babylon apply exclusively to the papacy, claim that the fall of Babylon is the loss of civil power by the papal church. But such a view would be inconsistent with the prophecy in several particulars:-- p. 607, Para. 3.
1. Babylon falls because she makes all nations drink of her wine, or instills among them her false doctrines. But this by no means caused the loss of the pope's temporal power; on the contrary, it was the very means by which he so long maintained his supremacy. p. 608, Para. 1.
2. Because of the fall of Babylon, she becomes the hold of foul spirits and hateful birds; but such is not at the result to Rome of the loss of civil power. p. 608, Para. 2.
3. The people of God are called out of Babylon on account of her increasing sinfulness resulting from the fall; but the loss of the temporal power of the papacy constitutes no additional reason why the people of God should leave that church. p. 608, Para. 3.
The reasons given why Babylon meets with this moral fall
because she made all nations drink of the wine of the
wrath [not anger, but intense passion] of her fornication.
There is but one thing to which this can refer, and that is
She has corrupted the pure truths of God's word, and made
the nations drunken with pleasing fables. Among the
doctrines she teaches contrary to the word of God, may be
mentioned the following:-- p. 608, Para. 4.
1. The doctrine of a temporal millennium, or a thousand years of peace and prosperity and righteousness all over the earth before the second coming of Christ. This doctrine is especially calculated to shut the ears of the people against the evidences of the second advent near, and will probably lull as many souls into a state of carnal security which will lead to their final ruin as any heresy which has ever been devised by the great enemy of truth. p. 608, Para. 5.
2. Sprinkling instead of immersion, which is the only Scriptural mode of baptism, and a fitting memorial of the burial and resurrection of our Lord, for which purpose it was designed. Having corrupted this ordinance, and destroyed it as a memorial of the resurrection of Christ, the way was prepared for the substitution of something else for this purpose, which she attempted in -- p. 608, Para. 6.
3. The change of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment,
the seventh day, into the festival of Sunday as the rest-day
of the Lord and a memorial of his resurrection, a
memorial which has never been commanded, and can by no
possible means appropriately commemorate that event.
Fathered by heathenism as
the wild solar holiday of all
pagan times, Sunday was led to the font by the pope, and
christened as in institution of the gospel church. Thus an
attempt was made to destroy a memorial which the great God
had set up to commemorate his own magnificent creative
work, and erect another in its stead to commemorate the
resurrection of Christ, for which there was no occasion, as
the Lord himself had already provided a memorial for that
purpose. p. 609, Para. 1.
4. The doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul.
This also was derived from the pagan world. As
distinguished converts from heathenism entered the ranks of
Christians, they soon became
Fathers of the church, and
foster-fathers of this pernicious doctrine as a part of
divine truth. This error nullifies the two great Scripture
doctrines of the resurrection and the general judgment, and
furnishes a well-laid track for the car of modern
Spiritualism with its load of pollution. From it have
sprung such other evil doctrines as the conscious state of
the dead, saint-worship, Mariolatry, purgatory, reward at
death, prayers and baptisms for the dead, eternal torment,
and Universalism. p. 609, Para. 2.
5. The doctrine that the saints, as unclothed,
immaterialized spirits, find their eternal inheritance in
far-away, indefinable regions,
beyond the bounds of time
and space. Thus multitudes have been turned away from the
Scriptural view that this present earth is to be destroyed
by fire at the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly
men, and that from its ashes the voice of Omnipotence will
evoke a new earth, which will be the future everlasting
kingdom of glory, and which the saints will possess as
their eternal inheritance. p. 609, Para. 3.
6. That the coming of Christ is a spiritual, not a literal event, and was fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem, or is fulfilled in conversion, in death, in Spiritualism, etc. How many minds have by such teaching been forever closed against the Scriptural view that the second coming of Christ is a future, definite event, literal, personal, visible, resulting in destruction to all his foes, and everlasting life to all his people! p. 609, Para. 4.
7. Trailing the standard of godliness into the very dust.
Men are made to believe that a form of godliness is all-sufficient,
and that the words,
Lord, Lord, though
repeated as an empty formula, will be a safe passport to
the kingdom of heaven. If any one doubts this statement,
let him listen to the next funeral discourse, or visit the
cemetery, and mark what the tombstones say. p. 610, Para.
The world has gone almost stark mad in the pursuit of riches and honor; but in these things the church takes the lead, and thus openly sanctions what the Lord strictly forbade. If the churches were united as they should be, what a stumbling-block would be taken out of the way of sinners! And if it were not for the false doctrines which she has instilled into the minds of all men, how the plain truths of the Bible would move the world! But people are held by these, as under the stupefying influence of the most powerful intoxicant. p. 610, Para. 2.
To come now more particularly to the application of the prophecy concerning the fall of Babylon, let us see how the religious world stood with reference to the possibility of such a change, when the time came for the proclamation of this message, in connection with the first message, about the year 1844. Paganism was only apostasy and corruption in the beginning, and is so still; and no moral fall is possible there. Catholicism has been for centuries about as low in the scale as it is possible for a church to sink. No room for a moral fall in that church. Two great branches of Babylon were, therefore, when the second message became due, in so low a condition morally that a further declension with them was scarcely possible. Not so, however, with the Protestant branch of this great city. These churches, which commenced the great work of reformation from papal corruption, had done some noble work. They had run well for a season. They reached a moral plane vastly higher than that of the other divisions named. They were, in a word, in such a position that with them a moral fall was possible. The conclusion is therefore inevitable that the message announcing the fall had reference almost wholly to the Protestant churches. p. 610, Para. 3.
The question may then be asked why this announcement was
not made sooner, if so large a portion of Babylon, the
pagan and papal divisions, had been so long fallen. And the
answer is at hand: Babylon, as a whole, could not be said
to be fallen so long as one division of it remained
unfallen. It could not be announced, therefore, till a
change for the worse came over the Protestant world, and
the truth, through which alone the path of progress lay,
had been deliberately discarded. But when this took place,
and a moral fall was experienced in this last division,
then the announcement concerning Babylon as a whole could
be made, as it could not have been made before, --
is fallen. p. 611, Para. 1.
It may be proper to inquire further how the reason
assigned for the fall of Babylon, namely, because she made
all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her
fornication, could apply to the Protestant churches at the
time in question. And the answer is, It would apply most
pertinently. The fault with Babylon lies in her confusion
and false doctrines. Because she industriously propagates
these, clinging to them when light and truth which would
correct them is offered, she falls. With the Protestant
churches, the time had come for an advance to higher
religious ground. They could accept the proffered light and
truth, and reach the higher attainment, or they could
reject it, and lose their spirituality and favor with God,
or, in other words, experience a moral fall. The truth
which God saw fit to use as an instrument in this work was
the first message. The hour of God's judgment come, and the
approximate second advent of Christ was the doctrine
preached. After listening long enough to see the blessing
that attended the doctrine, and the good results that
flowed from it, the churches, as a whole, rejected it with
scorn and scoffing. They were thereby tested; for they then
plainly betrayed the fact that their hearts were with the
world, not with the Lord, and that they preferred to have
it so. But the message would have healed the evils then
existing in the religious world. The prophet exclaims,
perhaps with reference to this very time,
We would have
healed Babylon, but she is not healed. Jer. 51:9. Do you
ask how we know this would have been the effect of
receiving the message? We answer, Because this was the
effect with all who did receive it. They came from
different denominations, and their denominational barriers
were leveled to the ground; conflicting creeds were
shivered to atoms; the unscriptural hope of a temporal
millennium was abandoned; false views of the second advent
were corrected; pride and conformity to the world were
swept away; wrongs were made right; hearts were united in
the sweetest fellowship; and love and joy reigned supreme.
If the doctrine did this for the few who did receive it, it
would have done the same for all, if all had received it.
p. 611, Para. 2.
But the message was rejected; and what was the result? The
result upon those who rejected it will be spoken of by and
by; and the result upon those who received it, demands
mention here. Everywhere throughout the land the cry was
Babylon is fallen, and, in anticipation of the
movement brought to view in Rev. 18:1-4, they added,
out of her, my people; and about fifty thousand severed
their connection with the denominations where they were not
allowed to hold and proclaim their views in peace. p. 612,
A marked change then came over the churches in respect to
their spiritual condition. On the hypothesis that the
proclamation of the second coming of Christ was in the
order of prophetic fulfilment, and that the message was the
present truth for that time, the result could not have
been different. When a person refuses the light, he
necessarily puts himself in darkness; when he rejects
truth, he inevitably forges the shackles of error about his
own limbs. Loss of spirituality -- a moral fall -- must
follow. This the churches experienced. They chose to adhere
to old errors, and still promulgate their false doctrines
among the people. The light of truth must therefore leave
them. Some of them felt and deplored the change. A few
testimonies from their own writers will describe their
condition at that time. p. 612, Para. 2.
The Christian Palladium of May 15, 1844, spoke in the
following mournful strain:
In every direction we hear the
dolorous sound, wafted upon every breeze of heaven,
chilling as the blast from the icebergs of the north,
settling like an incubus on the breasts of the timid, and
drinking up the energies of the weak, that lukewarmness,
division, anarchy, and desolation are distressing the
borders of Zion. p. 613, Para. 1.
In 1844 the Religious Telescope used the following
We have never witnessed such a general
declension of religion as at the present. Truly, the church
should awake, and search into the cause of this affliction;
or as an affliction every one that loves Zion must view it.
When we call to mind how 'few and far between' cases of
true conversion are, and the almost unparalleled
impenitence and hardness of sinners, we almost
involuntarily exclaim, 'Has God forgotten to be gracious?
or is the door of mercy closed?' p. 613, Para. 2.
About that time, proclamations of fasts and seasons of
prayer for the return of the Holy Spirit were sent out in
the religious papers. Even the Philadelphia Sun of Nov. 11,
1844, had the following:
The undersigned ministers and
members of various denominations in Philadelphia and
vicinity, solemnly believing that the present signs of the
times -- the spiritual dearth of our churches generally and
the extreme evils in the world around us -- seem to call
loudly on all Christians for a special season of prayer, do
therefore hereby agree, by divine permission, to unite in a
week of special prayer to Almighty God, for the outpouring
of his Holy Spirit on our city, our country, and the
world. p. 613, Para. 3.
Professor Finney, editor of the Oberlin Evangelist, in
February, 1844, said:
We have had the facts before our
minds, that, in general, the Protestant churches of our
country, as such, were either apathetic or hostile to
nearly all the moral reforms of the age. There are partial
exceptions, yet not enough to render the fact otherwise
than general. We have also another corroborative fact, --
the almost universal absence of revival influence in the
churches. The spiritual apathy is almost all- pervading,
and is fearfully deep; so the religious press of the whole
land testifies. Very extensively, church-members are
becoming devotees of fashion, joining hands with the
ungodly in parties of pleasure, in dancing, in festivities,
etc. But we need not expand this painful subject. Suffice
it that the evidence thickens and rolls heavily upon us, to
show that the churches generally are becoming sadly
degenerate. They have gone very far from the Lord, and he
has withdrawn himself from them. p. 613, Para. 4.
Should it be said that our views of the moral fall and spiritual dearth of the churches are shown to be incorrect by the great revivals of 1858, the testimony of the leading Congregational and Baptist papers of Boston relative to these revivals would correct that impression. p. 614, Para. 1.
The Congregationalist, November, 1858, said:
piety of our churches is not such that one can confidently
infer, from its mere existence, its legitimate, practical
fruits. It ought, for example, to be as certain, after such
a shower of grace, that the treasuries of our benevolent
societies would be filled, as it is after a plentiful rain
that the streams will swell in their channels. but the
managers of our societies are bewailing the feebleness of
the sympathy and aid of the churches. p. 614, Para. 2.
There is another and sadder illustration of the same
general truth. The Watchman and Reflector recently stated
that there had never been among the Baptists so lamentable
a spread of church dissension as prevails at present; and
the sad fact is mentioned that this sin infects the very
churches which shared most largely in the late revival. And
the still more melancholy fact is added that these
alienations date back their origin, in most cases, to the
very midst of that scene of awakening. Even a glance at the
weekly journals of our own denomination will evince that
the evil is by no means confined to the Baptists. Our own
columns have, perhaps, never borne so humiliating a record
of contentions and ecclesiastical litigations as during the
last few months. p. 614, Para. 3.
A Presbyterian pastor of Belfast, Ireland (1858), used the following
language respecting the then recent revivals in America, according to
the New York Independent
of December, 1859 :
The determination to crush all ministers who say a
word against their national sin [slavery], the determination to
suffocate and suppress the plain teachings of Scripture, can be
persisted in and carried out at the very time these New York Christians
are expecting the religious world to hail their revivals. Until the
wretchedly degraded churches of America do the work of God in their own
land, they have no spiritual vitality to communicate to others; their
revivals are in the religious world what their flaunted cries of
liberty, intermingled with the groans of the slave, are in the
political. p. 614, Para. 4.
During the time of the great Irish revival in 1859, the General
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland held its session in
Belfast. Of a strange scene that occurred in that Assembly the Belfast News Letter
of September 30, said :
Here in this venerable body of ministers and
elders, we find two ministers openly giving each other the lie, and the
whole General Assembly turned into a scene of confusion bordering upon
a riot. p. 615, Para. 1.
This is a sad and deplorable picture; and what has been the course of events, and the tendency in the deportment of professed Christians, since that time? There is considerable spasmodic action in some localities, and much effort put forth by sensational revivalists to excite the emotions, but no permanent good seems to be accomplished, and the standard of godliness sinks lower and lower. p. 615, Para. 2.
Some new features have been added to the facilities for church work,
and have now come to be considered almost indispensable appendages to
the house of worship; and one of these is nothing less than a
well-appointed kitchen, where the feasts can be made ready, and dainty
delicacies prepared for the most perverted appetite. One instance may
serve as an illustration of all in this line. When the
Methodist Episcopal Church was erected in Chicago, the Tribune, of that city, in its description of the building, made particular mention of the following features:- p. 615, Para. 3.
Beneath the vestibule and parlors is a basement, consisting of a large dining-hall, furnished with table accommodations for one hundred and fifty persons; a kitchen, with cooking apparatus,
sinks, closets, dressing-rooms, etc. The basement, under the vestibule
and parlors, secure some desirable advantages; the social gatherings
can be made agreeable and pleasant without introducing the refreshments
into the lecture room or parlors. p. 615, Para. 4.
Think of a kitchen as being considered a necessary apartment in a house of worship! What would the venerable and godly church fathers and mothers of a generation ago have thought of this? The Scriptures declare that eating and drinking and pleasure-seeking, instead of God-serving, even on the part of professed Christians, will characterize the last days as a sign of the times. Luke 17:26-30; 2 Tim. 3:4, 5. Have we not reached the time when this is fulfilled? What indulgence is there in the whole catalogue of worldly pleasures which is not openly tolerated in the church - nay, which is not largely fostered by the church? Dancing, card-playing, theater-going, horse-racing, gambling, lotteries, festivals, fairs, and all forms of gluttony, are freely patronized in religious circles, and many of these things for so-called religious purposes. p. 616, Para. 1.
Not many years ago, an entertainment was devised for the benefit of a church in New Orleans, of such a nature that it required a handbill to describe it, reading as follows :- p. 616, Para. 2.
Benefit of Christ's Church Parochial School. Near the dancing platform
are a splendid booth and a large canvas tent, with seats reserved for
the accommodation for ladies and children. The patrons of this church,
as well as the public, will here find a soda-water stand and
confectionery, a restaurant filled with everything to satisfy the
appetites of epicureans; and also A SPLENDID BAR, stocked with the
choicest kinds of liquors, cigars, etc. p. 616, Para. 3.
The New York Observer copies this, with the following remarks :- p. 616, Para. 4.
This is a copy of a handbill conspicuously posted in New Orleans at
the present time. the church for which this splendid bar is to be
opened is called Christ's
church; but our private opinion is, if Christ attends the fair, he will
come with a scourge of large cords, and drive out every man and woman
who dishonors his house and name with such things as these. Call it a
church if you will; but for Christ's sake, O New Orleans people, don't
call it Christ's church. Anything but that! p. 616, Para. 5.
To whatever denomination this church belonged, it shows just the same what is done in these days in the name of religion. p. 617, Para. 1.
As an illustration of the effect of church lotteries, the Watchman relates the following :- p. 617, Para. 2.
A member of a church went to his pastor, and entreated his personal
intercession with his favorite son, who had become ruinously addicted
to the vice of gambling. The pastor consented, and seeking the young
man, found him in his chamber. He commences his lecture; but before he
concluded, the young man laid his hand upon his arm, and drew his
attention to a pile of splendid volumes that stood upon the table.
'Well,' said the young man, 'these volumes were won by me at a fair
given in your church; they were my first venture. But for that lottery,
under the patronage of a Christian church, I should never have become a
gambler. p. 617, Para. 3.
A minister, B.F. Booth, speaks as follows in the Golden Censer :- p. 617, Para. 4.
I hid my face in shame, when I hear of a governor of a State being
compelled to call upon the law-making department of his State to pass
laws to counteract the swindling carried on under the auspices of the
church, under the name of church fairs, festivals, and other forms of
'pious' church gambling. p. 617, Para. 5.
Pages might be filled with statements from leading men and papers in the religious world, acknowledging the low condition of the churches generally, and the many evil practices of which they are unblushingly guilty; but it is unnecessary to multiply testimony of this point. The sad and deplorable fact is too evident to be denied. p. 617, Para. 6.
The leading Methodist paper, the Christian
Advocate, of Aug. 30, 1883, contains an article headed
Greatest of Questions, from which we copy these
statements:-- p. 617, Para. 7.
1. Disguise it as you like, the church, in a general
sense, is spiritually in a rapid decline. While it grows in
numbers and money, it is becoming extremely feeble and
limited in its spirituality, both in the pulpit and the
pew. It is assuming the shape and character of the church
at Laodicea. p. 618, Para. 1.
2. There are thousands of ministers, local and
conference, and many thousands of the laity, who are as
dead and worthless as barren fig-trees. They contribute
nothing of a temporal or spiritual nature to the progress
and triumphs of the gospel throughout the earth. If all
these dry bones in our church and its congregations could
be resurrected, and brought into requisition by faithful,
active service, what new and glorious manifestations of
divine power would break forth! p. 618, Para. 2.
The New York Independent of Dec. 3, 1896, gave an article from D. L. Moody, from which the following is an extract:-- p. 618, Para. 3.
In a recent issue of your paper I saw an article from a
contributor which stated that there were over three
thousand churches in the Congregational and Presbyterian
bodies of this country that did not report a single member
added by profession of faith last year. Can this be true?
The thought has taken such hold of me that I can't get it
out of my mind. It is enough almost to send a thrill of
horror through the soul of every Christian. p. 618, Para.
If this is the case with these two large denominations,
what must be the condition of the others also? Are we all
going to sit still and let this thing continue? Shall our
religious newspapers and our pulpits keep their mouths
closed like 'dumb dogs that cannot bark' to warn people of
approaching danger? Should we not all lift up our voice
like a trumpet about this matter? What must the Son of God
think of such a result of our labor as this? What must an
unbelieving world think about a Christianity that can't
bring forth any more fruit? And have we no care for the
multitudes of souls going down to perdition every year
while we sit and look on? And this country of ours, where
will it be in the next ten years, if we don't awake out of
sleep? p. 618, Para. 5.
The second angel's message is addressed to those organizations where the people of God are mainly to be found; for they are specially addressed as being in Babylon, and at a certain time are called out. The message applies to the present generation; and now God's people are to be looked for, certainly, in the Protestant organizations of Christendom. But as these churches depart farther and farther from God, they at length reach such a condition that true Christians can no longer maintain a connection with them; and then they will be called out. This we look for in the future, in fulfilment of Rev. 18:1-4. We believe it will come, when, in addition to their corruptions, the churches begin to raise against the saints the hand of oppression. (See further under the chapter last named.) p. 619, Para. 1.
The Third Message. -- Commencing with verse 9, the third
message reads as follows:
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 forever 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. p. 619,
This is a message of most fearful import. No severer threatening of divine wrath can be found in all the Bible. The sin against which it warns must be a terrible sin, and it must be one so plainly defined that all who will may understand it, and thus know how to avoid the judgments denounced against it. p. 619, Para. 3.
It will be noticed that these messages are cumulative; that is, one does not cease when another is introduced. Thus, for a time the first message was the only one going forth. The second message was introduced, but that did not put an end to the first. From that time there were two messages. The third followed them, not to supersede them, but only to join with them, so that we now have three messages going forth simultaneously, or, rather, a threefold message, embracing the truths of all three, the last one, of course, being the leading proclamation. Till the work is done, it will never cease to be true that the hour of God's judgment has come, nor that Babylon has fallen; and these facts still continue to be proclaimed in connection with the truths introduced by the third message. p. 619, Para. 4.
There will also be noticed a logical connection between the messages themselves. Taking our stand just before the first message was introduced, we see the Protestant religious world sadly in need of reformation. Divisions and confusion reigned among the churches. They were still clinging to many papal errors and superstitions. The power of the gospel was impaired in their hands. To correct these evils, the doctrine of the second coming of Christ was introduced, and proclaimed with power. they should have received it, and been quickened by it into new life, as they would have been had they received it. Instead of this, they rejected it, and suffered the consequences spiritually. Then followed the second message, announcing the result of that rejection, and declaring what was not only a fact in itself, but a judicial judgment of God upon them for their recreancy in this respect; namely, that God had departed from them, and they had met with a moral fall. p. 620, Para. 1.
This did not have the effect to arouse them, and lead them to correct their errors, as it was sufficient to do, had they been willing to be admonished and corrected. And now what follows? -- The way is open for a still further retrograde movement, -- for deeper apostasy and still greater evils. The powers of darkness will press forward their work, and if the churches still persist in this course of shunning light and rejecting truth, they will soon find themselves worshiping the beast and receiving his mark. This will be the logical sequence of that course of action which commenced with the rejection of the first message. And now another proclamation is sent forth, announcing in solemn tones that if any man shall do this, he shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation. That is to say, you rejected the first message, and met with a moral fall: continue to reject truth and disregard the warnings sent out, and you will exhaust God's last means of grace, and by and by meet with a literal destruction for which there will be no remedy. This is as severe a threatening as God can make to be inflicted in this life, and it is the last. A few will heed it, and be saved; the multitude will pass on, and perish. p. 620, Para. 2.
The proclamation of the third message is the last special religious movement to be made before the Lord appears; for immediately following this, John beholds one like the Son of man coming upon a great white cloud to reap the harvest of the earth. This can represent nothing else than the second coming of Christ. If, therefore, the coming of Christ is at the door, the time has come for the proclamation of this message. There are many who claim the name "Adventist," and who with voice and pen are earnestly teaching that we are in the last days of time, and that the coming of Christ is at the door; but when we remind them of this prophecy, they are suddenly at sea, without anchor, chart or compass. They know not what to do with it. They can see as well as we that if what they are teaching respecting the coming of Christ is true, and the Lord is at hand, somewhere -- yes, all over the land -- should be heard the warning notes of this third message. It is now due; and if it is not now going forth, it follows that we are not in the last days, or that this prophecy is a failure; but this they cannot consistently admit. At the same time, they know that they are not giving it, and they do not claim to be giving it; and they can point to none who are giving it, except it be a certain class who profess that that is the very work they are doing. But to admit the claims of this class would be to condemn themselves. Their perplexity would be deserving of commiseration, were it not that those who will accept an embarrassing dilemma rather than acknowledge the truth, are not justly entitled to much sympathy. p. 621, Para. 1.
The arguments on the two preceding messages fix the chronology of the third, and show that it belongs to the present time; but, as in the case of the former, the best evidence in behalf of the proposition that the message is now going to the world, is to be able to point to events which demonstrate the fulfilment. Having identified the first message as a leading proclamation with the great Advent movement of 1840-44, and having seen the fulfilment of the second message in connection with that movement in the latter year, let us look at what has transpired since that time. p. 621, Para. 2.
When the time passed in 1844, the whole Adventist body was
thrown into more or less confusion. Many gave up the
movement entirely; more jumped to the conclusion that the
argument on the time was wrong, and immediately went to
work to readjust the prophetic periods, and set a new time
for the Lord to come -- a work in which they have continued
more or less to the present time, fixing a new date as each
one passed by, to the scandal of the Advent movement, and
the discredit, so far as their limited influence extended,
of all prophetical study; a few, searching closely and
candidly for the cause of the mistake, were confirmed in
their views of the providential character of the Advent
movement, and the correctness of the argument on the time,
but saw that a mistake had been made on the subject of the
sanctuary, by which the disappointment could be explained.
They learned that the sanctuary was not this earth, as had
been supposed; that the cleansing was not to be by fire;
and that the prophecy on this point did not involve the
coming of the Lord at all. They found in the Scriptures
very clear evidence that the sanctuary referred to was the
temple in heaven, which Paul calls
the sanctuary, the
true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man; and
that its cleansing, according to the type, would consist of
the final ministration of the priest in the second
apartment, or most holy place. They then saw that the time
had come for the fulfilment of Rev. 11:19:
And the temple
of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his
temple the ark of his testament. p. 622, Para. 1.
Having their attention thus called to the ark, they were
naturally led to an examination of the law contained in the
ark. That the ark contained the law was evident from the
very name applied to it. It was called
the ark of his
testament; but it would not have been the ark of his
testament, and it could not have been so called, had it
not contained the law. Here, then, was the ark in heaven,
the great antitype of the ark, which, during the typical
dispensation, existed here on earth; and the law which this
heavenly ark contained must consequently be the great
original of which the law on the tables in the earthly ark
was but a transcript, or copy; and both must read precisely
alike, word for word, jot for jot, tittle for tittle. To
suppose otherwise would involve not only falsehood, but the
greatest absurdity. That law, then, is still the law of
God's government, and its fourth precept, now as in the
beginning, demands the observance of the seventh day of the
week as the Sabbath. No one who admits the argument on the
sanctuary pretends to dispute this point. Thus the Sabbath
reform was brought to view; and it was seen that whatever
had been done in opposition to this law, especially in the
introduction of a day of rest and worship which destroyed
the Sabbath of Jehovah, must be the work of the papal
beast, that power which was to oppose God, and try to exalt
himself above him. but this is the very work in reference
to which the third angel utters his warning; hence it began
to be seen that the period of the third message
synchronizes with the period of the cleansing of the
sanctuary, which began with the ending of the 2300 days in
1844, and that the proclamation is based on the great
truths developed by this subject. p. 622, Para. 2.
Thus the dawning light of the third message rose upon the church. But they say at once that the world would have a right to demand of those who professed to be giving that message, an explanation of all the symbols which it contains, -- the beast, the image, the worship, and the mark; hence these points were made subjects of special study. The testimony of the Scriptures was found to be clear and abundant; and it did not take a great while to formulate from the truths revealed, definite statements and propositions in explanation of all these points. p. 623, Para. 1.
The argument showing what constitutes the beast, the image, and the mark, has already been given in chapter 13; and it has been shown that the two-horned beast, which erects the image and enforces the mark, is our own country, now in mid-career, and hastening forward to perform the very work assigned it in the prophecy. It is this work, and these agents, against which the third message utters its warning, which is still further proof that this message is now in order, and shows the most conclusive harmony in all these prophecies. The arguments we need not here repeat; it will be sufficient to recapitulate the points established. p. 624, Para. 1.
beast is the Roman Catholic power. p. 624, Para.
mark of the beast is that institution which this
power has set up as proof of its authority to legislate for
the church, and command the consciences of men under sin.
It consists in a change of the law of God, by which the
signature of royalty is taken from the law, -- the seventh-day
Sabbath, the great memorial of Jehovah's creative work,
is torn from its place in the decalogue, and a false and
counterfeit Sabbath, the first day of the week, is set up
in its stead. p. 624, Para. 3.
image of the beast is some ecclesiastical
combination, which will resemble the beast in being clothed
with power to enforce its decrees with the pains and
penalties of the civil law. p. 624, Para. 4.
4. The two-horned beast, by which the image, after being made by the people, is given power to speak and act, is the United States; and all but the final steps toward the formation of the image are already seen. p. 624, Para. 5.
5. The two-horned beast enforces the mark of the beast; that is, he establishes by law the observance of the first day of the week, or Sunday-sabbath. What is being done in this direction has already been noticed. The movement is urged on by individuals, by organized Sabbath committees, by politicians, indirectly by the infidel element, by the National Reform Association, by the American Sabbath [Sunday] Union, by the W. C. T. U., and by the Christian Endeavorers, with their Good Citizenship Leagues, etc. p. 624, Para. 6.
But the people are not to be left in the dark in this matter. The third message utters a solemn protest against all this evil. It exposes the work of the beast, shows the nature of its opposition to the law of God, warns the people against compliance with its demands, and points out to all the way of truth. This naturally excites opposition; and the church is led so much the more to seek the aid of human authority in behalf of its dogmas as they are shown to lack the divine. p. 625, Para. 1.
In the interests of these messages, the publication of a paper called the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, was commenced in 1850, which has continued to the present time, circulating in every State and Territory of America, and in many other countries. The Signs of the Times, published weekly in California, has attained a still larger circulation. Liberty, published in Washington, D.C., devoted more especially to the subject of Religious Liberty, discussed in previous pages of this book, has a large and growing subscription list. The Present Truth, published in London, England, the Signs of the Times published at Warburton, Victoria, and the South African Sentinel, published in Cape Town, South Africa are devoted to the advocacy of the same views. Other periodicals have been established in different places, and in different languages, to the number of ninety-nine. Besides the Central Publishing House at Washington, D.C., publishing houses have been established in California (with branch offices in various other States and Canada); Nashville, Tenn.; London, England; Christiania, Norway; Warburton, Victoria; Avondale, New South Wales; Cape Town, South Africa; Hamburg, Germany; Basel, Switzerland; and Oshawa, Canada. The catalogue of books comprises a long list, from the penny tract to the thirty-five shilling volume; and the total number of pages printed and circulated amounts to several thousand million. The list comprises books and papers in ninety-one different languages. One hundred and thirty-four conferences have been organised in the American Union, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa. In all these conferences, tracts and missionary societies are organized and operating. hundreds of ministers and evangelists are proclaiming the principles of this message all around the world. This is a beginning, and promise of greater things. p. 625, Para.2.
[In a later American edition of this book the following information has been added.]
What has this message accomplished, and what showing does it make in the world today? In answer to this query, some striking facts may be presented. The first publication in its interests was issued in 1850. Today this message is proclaimed by books, tracts, and periodicals in sixty-seven different languages, and maintains twenty-eight publishing houses scattered throughout both hemispheres, in which are published one hundred and twenty- six periodicals, in twenty-eight languages. The value of its literature sold during 1910 amounted to $1,560,000. Its evangelical work is carried forward in forty-six countries, both civilized and savage. p. 669, Para. 1.
This movement is at least a phenomenon to be explained. We have found movements which fulfil most strikingly and accurately the first and second messages. Here is another which now challenges the attention of the world as a fulfilment of the third. It claims to be a fulfilment, and asks the world to examine the credentials on which it bases its right to such a claim. Let us look at them. p. 626, Para. 1.
The third angel followed them. So this movement
follows the two previously mentioned. It takes up and
continues the promulgation of the truths they uttered, and
adds to them what the third message involves besides. p.
626, Para. 2.
2. The third message is characterized as a warning against the beast. So this movement holds prominent among its themes an explanation of this symbol, telling the people what it is, and exposing its blasphemous claims and works. p. 626, Para. 3.
3. The third message warns all against worshiping the
beast. So this movement explains how this beast-power has
brought into Christendom certain institutions which
antagonize the requirements of the Most High, and shows
that if we yield to these, we worship this power.
not, says Paul,
that to whom ye yield yourselves servants
to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey? Rom. 6:16.
p. 626, Para. 4.
4. The third message warns all against receiving the mark of the beast. so this movement makes it the burden of its work to show what the mark of the beast is, and to warn against its reception. It is the more solicitous to do this, because this antichristian power has worked so cunningly that the majority are deceived into making unconscious concessions to its authority. It is shown that the mark of the beast is an institution which has been arrayed in Christian garb, and insidiously introduced into the Christian church in such a way as to nullify the authority of Jehovah and enthrone that of the beast. Stripped of all disguises, it is simply setting up a counterfeit sabbath of its own on the first day of the week, in place of the Sabbath of the Lord on the seventh day, -- a usurpation which the great God cannot tolerate, and from which the remnant church must fully clear itself before it will be prepared for the coming of Christ. Hence the urgent warning, Let no man worship the beast or receive his mark. p. 626, Para. 5.
5. The third message has something to say against the worship of the image of the beast. So this movement speaks of this subject also, telling what the image will be, or at least explaining the prophecy of the two-horned beast, which makes the image, showing that it is our own government; that here the image is to be formed; that the prophecy concerns this generation; and that it is evidently on the very verge of fulfilment. p. 627, Para. 1.
There is no religious enterprise going forward in the land except this by the Seventh-day Adventists, which claims to be a fulfilment of the third angel's message, -- no other which holds forth, as its prominent themes, the very subjects of which this message is composed. What shall we do with these things? Is this the fulfilment? -- It must so stand, unless its claims can be disproved: unless it can be shown that the first and second messages have not been heard: that the positions taken in reference to the beast, image, mark, and worship are not correct; and that all the prophecies, and signs, and evidences which show that the coming of Christ is near, and consequently that this message is due, can be wholly set aside. But this the intelligent Bible student will hardly undertake. p. 627, Para. 2.
The result of the proclamation, as declared in verse 12,
still further proves the correctness of the positions here
taken. It brings out a company of whom it can be said,
Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the
faith of Jesus. In the very heart of Christendom this work
is done; and those who receive the message are rendered
peculiar by their practice in reference to the commandments
of God. What difference is there in practice, and what only
difference, among Christians, in this respect? -- Just
this; some think that the fourth commandment is kept by
devoting the first day of the week to rest and worship;
others claim that the seventh day is the one set apart to
such duties, and accordingly spend its hours in this
manner, resuming on the first day their ordinary labor. No
plainer line of demarcation could be drawn between two
classes. The time which one class regard as sacred, and
devote to religious uses, the other look upon as only
secular, and devote to ordinary labor. One class are
devoutly resting, the other zealously laboring. One class,
pursuing their worldly vocations, find the other class
withdrawn from all such pursuits, and the avenue of
commercial intercourse abruptly closed. Thus for two days
in the week these two classes are kept apart by difference
of theory and practice in regard to the fourth commandment.
On no other commandment could there be so marked a
difference. p. 627, Para. 3.
The message brings its adherents to the seventh day; for in this way only are they made peculiar, inasmuch as an observance of the first day would not distinguish a person from the masses who were already observing that day when the message was introduced. And in this we find still further evidence that Sunday-keeping is the mark of the beast; for the message, presenting as its chief burden a warning against receiving the mark of the beast, will of course bring its adherents to discard that practice which constitutes the mark, and to adopt the opposite. It does lead them to discard the observance of the first day of the week, and adopt that of the seventh day. In view of this, it is at once seen that there is here more than an inference that Sunday-keeping is the mark of the beast against which it warns us, and the observance of the seventh day, to which it leads us, is its opposite. p. 628, Para. 1.
This is in harmony with the argument on the seal of God, as given in chapter 7. It was there shown that sign, seal, mark, and token are synonymous terms, and that God takes his Sabbath to be his sign, mark, or seal, in reference to his people. Thus God has a seal, or mark, which is his Sabbath. The beast also has a seal, or mark, which is his Sabbath. One is the seventh day; the other is just as far removed from it as possible, even to the other extremity of the week, namely, the first day. Christendom will at last be divided into just two classes; to wit, those who are sealed with the seal of the living God -- that is, have his mark, or keep his Sabbath -- and those who are sealed with the seal of the beast -- that is, have his mark, or keep his Sabbath. In reference to this issue, the third angel's message both enlightens and warns us. p. 628, Para. 2.
As so much importance, according to this argument, attaches to the seventh day, the reader may ask for some evidence that a person cannot be said to keep the commandments of God unless he does keep the seventh day. This would involve a discussion of the whole Sabbath question, which it is not the province of this work to give. Though it may be proper to present here, as this much perhaps is called for in this connection, the leading facts connected with the Sabbath institution, -- facts which are fully sustained in the works referred to in the note below.  p. 629, Para. 1.
[ As a standard work on the question, we refer the reader to theHistory of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week.by Elder J. N. Andrews (Signs Publishing Company, Ltd, Warburton, Victoria, Aust.), in which the question as related to the two days is thoroughly discussed from both a Biblical and a historical standpoint. But many less exhaustive works are issued at the Office above named, according to its catalogue, and at other offices herein named, which are conclusive, so far as they carry the argument.] p. 629, Para. 2.
1. The Sabbath was instituted in the beginning, at the conclusion of the first week of time. Gen. 2:1-3. p. 629, Para. 3.
2. It was the seventh day of that week, and was based on facts which are inseparably connected with its very name and existence, -- facts which never can become untrue, and never can be changed. God's resting on the seventh day made it his rest- day, or the Sabbath [rest] of the Lord; and it can never cease to be his rest-day, as that fact never can be changed. He sanctified, or set apart, the day then and there, the record states; and that sanctification can never cease, unless it is removed by an act on the part of Jehovah as direct and explicit as that by which he placed it upon the day in the beginning. No one claims that this has ever been done, and he could not prove it if he did so claim. p. 629, Para. 4.
3. The Sabbath has nothing in it of a typical, shadowy, or ceremonial nature; for it was instituted before man sinned, and hence belongs to a time when, in the very nature of things, a type, or shadow, could not exist. p. 629, Para. 5.
4. The laws and institutions which existed before man's fall were primary in their nature; they grew out of the relation between God and man, and man and man, and were such as would always have remained if man never had sinned, and were not affected by his sin. In other words, they were, in the very nature of things, immutable and eternal. Ceremonial and typical laws owed their origin to the fact that man had sinned, as they never would have existed had this never been a fact. These were from dispensation to dispensation subject to change; and these, and these only, were abolished at the cross. The Sabbath law was a primary law, and therefore immutable and eternal. p. 630, Para. 1.
5. The sanctification of the Sabbath in Eden renders its existence certain from creation to Sinai. Here it was placed in the very bosom of the decalogue as God spoke it with an audible voice, and wrote it with his finger on tables of stone, -- circumstances which forever separate it from ceremonial laws, and place it among the moral and eternal. p. 630, Para. 2.
6. The Sabbath is not indefinite, any seventh day after six of labor. The law from Sinai [Ex. 20:8-11] makes it as definite as language can make it; the events that gave it birth [Gen. 2:1-3] confine it to the definite seventh day; and the 6,240 Sabbath miracles in the wilderness, three each week for forty years; namely,  a double portion of manna on the sixth day,  the preservation of the sixth-day manna on the seventh day, and  none on the seventh day [See Exodus 16], show that it is one particular day, and not simply a proportion of time. To claim otherwise would be like claiming that the King's birthday or Trafalgar day was only a 365th part of a year, and might be celebrated on any other day as well as the day upon which it occurred. p. 630, Para. 3.
7. The Sabbath is a part of that law which our Lord openly declared that he came not to destroy. On the other hand, he most solemnly affirmed that it should endure in every jot and tittle while the earth should continue. Matt. 5:17-20. p. 630, Para. 4.
8. It is a part of that law which Paul declares is not made void, but established, by faith in Christ. Rom. 3:31. The ceremonial or typical law, which pointed to Christ and ceased at the cross, is made void, or superseded, by faith in him. Eph. 2:15. p. 631, Para. 1.
9. It is a part of that royal law, a law pertaining to the King Jehovah, which James declares is a law of liberty, and which shall judge us at the last day. God does not have different standards of judgment for different ages of the world. James 2:11, 12. p. 631, Para. 2.
10. It is the
Lord's day of Rev. 1:10. [See argument on
that verse.] p. 631, Para. 3.
11. It appears as the institution in reference to which a great reform is predicted in the last days. Isa. 56:1, 2 compared with 1 Pet. 1:5. Under this head would also come the message under consideration. p. 631, Para. 4.
12. And in the new creation, the Sabbath, true to its origin and nature, again appears, and will thenceforward shed its blessings upon God's people through all eternity. Isa. 66:22, 23. p. 631, Para. 5.
Such is a brief synopsis of some of the arguments to show that the Sabbath law has been in no wise relaxed, and the institution in no way changed; and that a person cannot be said to keep the commandments of God unless he keeps it. To have to do with such an institution is a high honor. To pay heed to its claims will prove an infinite blessing. p. 631, Para. 6.
The Punishment of Beast-worshipers. -- These shall be
tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the
holy angels and of the Lamb. When is this torment
inflicted? Chapter 19:20 shows that at the second coming of
Christ there is a manifestation of fiery judgments which
may be called a lake of fire and brimstone, into which the
beast and false prophet are cast alive. This can refer only
to the destruction visited upon them at the commencement,
not at the end, of the thousand years. Again, there is a
remarkable passage in Isaiah to which we are obliged to
refer in explanation of the phraseology of the threatening
of the third angel, and which unquestionably describes
scenes to take place here at the second advent, and in the
desolate state of the earth during the thousand years
following. That the language in the Revelation was borrowed
from this prophecy can hardly fail to be seen. After
describing the Lord's anger upon the nations, the great
slaughter of their armies, the departing of the heavens as
a scroll, etc., the prophet says:
For it is the day of the
Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the
controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be
turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and
the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not
be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up
forever; from generation to generation it shall lie waste;
none shall pass through it forever and ever. Isa. 34:8-10.
And since it is expressly revealed that there is to be a
lake of fire in which all sinners perish at the end of the
thousand years, we can only conclude that the destruction
of the living wicked at the commencement of this period,
and the final doom of all the ungodly at its close, are
very similar. p. 631, Para. 7.
Duration of the Punishment. -- The expression
ever cannot here denote eternity. This is evident from the
fact that this punishment is inflicted on this earth, where
time is measured by day and night. This is further shown
from the passage in Isaiah already referred to, if that is,
as above suggested, the language from which this is
borrowed, and applies to the same time. That language is
spoken of the land of Idumea; but whether it be taken to
mean literally the land of Edom, south and east of Judea,
or to represent, as it doubtless does, this whole earth at
the time when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven
in flaming fire, and the year of recompenses for the
controversy of Zion comes, in either case the scene must
eventually terminate; for this earth is finally to be made
new, cleansed of every stain of sin, every vestige of
suffering and decay, and to become the habitation of
righteousness and joy throughout eternal ages. The word
here translated forever, Schrevelius, in his Greek Lexicon,
An age; a long period of time; indefinite
duration; time, whether longer or shorter. (For a
discussion of the meaning of this term, see the work
entitled, Here and Hereafter, Signs Publishing Company, Ltd., Warburton,
Vic., Aust.) p. 632, Para. 1.
The period of the third message is a time of patience with the people of God. Paul and James both give us instruction on this point. Heb. 10:36; James 5:7, 8. Meanwhile this waiting company are keeping the commandments of God -- the ten commandments, and the faith of Jesus -- all the teachings of Christ and his apostles as contained in the New Testament. The true Sabbath, as given in the decalogue is thus brought out in vivid contrast with the counterfeit sabbath, the mark of the beast, which finally distinguishes those who reject the third message, as already set forth. p. 633, Para. 1.
VERSE 13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me,
Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from
henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from
their labors; and their works do follow them. 14. And I
looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one
sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden
crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15. And another
angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to
him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap:
for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of
the earth is ripe. 16. And he that sat on the cloud thrust
in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. p.
633, Para. 2.
A Solemn Crisis. -- Events grow solemn as we near the end. It is this fact which gives to the third angel's message, now going forth, its unusual degree of solemnity and importance. It is the last warning to go forth prior to the coming of the Son of man, here represented as seated upon a white cloud, a crown upon his head, and a sickle in his hand, to reap the harvest of the earth. We are fast passing over a line of prophecy which culminates in the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven in flaming fire, to take vengeance on his foes, and to reward his saints. Not only so, but we have come so near its accomplishment that the very next link in the chain is this crowning and momentous event. And time never rolls back. As the river does not flinch and fly as it approaches the precipice, but bears all floating bodies over with resistless power; and as the seasons never reverse their course, but summer follows in the path of the budding fig-tree, and winter treads close upon the falling leaf; so we are borne onward and onward, whether we will or not, whether prepared or not, to the unavoidable and irreversible crisis. Ah! how little dream the proud professor and the careless sinner of the doom that is impending! And how hard for even those who know and profess the truth to realize it as it is! p. 633, Para. 3.
A Blessing Promised. -- John is commanded by a voice from
heaven to write,
Blessed are the dead which die in the
Lord from henceforth; and the response of the Spirit is,
Yea, that they may rest from their labors; and their works
do follow them.
From henceforth must signify from some
particular point of time. What point? -- Evidently from the
commencement of the message in connection with which this
is spoken. But why are those who die after this point of
time blessed? There must be some special reason for
pronouncing this benediction upon them. Is it not because
they escape the time of fearful peril which the saints are
to encounter as they close their pilgrimage? And while they
are thus blessed in common with all the righteous dead,
they have an advantage over them in being, doubtless, that
company spoken of in Dan. 12:2, who are raised to
everlasting life at the standing up of Michael. Thus,
escaping the perils through which the rest of 144,000 pass,
they rise, and share with them in their final triumph here,
and occupy with them their pre-eminent place in the
kingdom.  In this way, we understand, their works follow
them: these works are held in remembrance to be rewarded at
the judgment; and the persons receive the same recompense
that they would have had, had they lived and faithfully
endured all the perils of the time of trouble. p. 634,
[ Those who die after having become identified with the third angel's message, are evidently numbered as a part of the 144,000; for this message is the same as the sealing message of Revelation 7, and by that message only 144,000 were sealed. But there are many who have had their entire religious experience under this message, but have fallen in death. they die in the Lord, and hence are counted as sealed; for they will be saved. But the message results in the sealing of only 144,000; therefore these must be included in that number. Being raised in the special resurrection [Dan. 12:2; Rev. 1:7] which occurs when the voice of God is uttered from the temple, at the beginning of the seventh and last plague [Rev. 16:17; Joel 3:16; Heb. 12:26], they pass through the period of that plague, and hence may be said to comeout of great tribulation[Rev. 7:14] and being raised from the grave only to mortal life, they take their stand with believers who have not died, and with them receive immortality at the last trump [1 Cor. 15:52], being then, with the others, changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Thus, though they have passed through the grave, it can be said of them at last, that they areredeemed from among men[Rev. 14:4], that is, from among the living; for the coming of Christ finds them among the living, waiting for the change to immortality, like those who have not died, and as if they themselves had never died.] p. 634, Para. 2.
It will be noticed that in this line of prophecy, three
angels precede the Son of man on the white cloud, and three
are introduced after that symbol. The opinion has already
been expressed that literal angels are engaged in the
scenes here described. The first three have charge of the
three special messages, and may also symbolize a body of
religious teachers. The message of the fourth angel is
evidently to be uttered after the Son of man, having
finished his priestly work, takes his seat upon the white
cloud, but before he appears in the clouds of heaven. As
the language is addressed to Him who is seated upon the
white cloud, having in his hand a sharp sickle ready to
reap, it must denote a message or prayer on the part of the
church, after their work for the world is done and
probation has ceased, and nothing remains but for the Lord
to appear and take his people to himself. It is doubtless
the day-and-night cry spoken of by our Lord in Luke 18:7, 8
in connection with the coming of the Son of man. And this
prayer will be answered; the elect will be avenged; for
does not the parable read,
And shall not God avenge his
own elect, which cry day and night unto him? He that is
seated upon the cloud will thrust in his sickle, and the
saints, under the figure of the wheat of the earth, will be
gathered into the heavenly garner. p. 635, Para. 1.
The Wheat Garnered. --
And he that sat on the cloud,
says the prophecy,
thrust in his sickle on the earth; and
the earth was reaped. By this language we are carried down
past the second advent, with its accompanying scenes of
destruction to the wicked and salvation to the righteous.
Beyond these scenes we must therefore look for the
application of the following verses:-- p. 635, Para. 2.
VERSE 17. And another angel came out of the temple which
is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 18. And
another angel came out from the altar, which had power over
fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp
sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the
clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully
ripe. 19. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the
earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into
the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20. And the
winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out
of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space
of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. p. 635, Para. 3.
The Winepress of God's Wrath. -- The last two angels have to do with the wicked, -- the wicked, most fitly represented by the bloated and purple clusters of the vine of the earth. May it not be that the closing doom of that class at the end of the thousand years is here presented, the prophecy thus making a final disposition of both the righteous and the wicked; the righteous clothed with immortality, and safely established in the kingdom, the wicked perishing around the city at the time of its ultimate location upon the earth? p. 636, Para. 1.
This can hardly be applied at the time of the second
advent; for events are here given in chronological order;
and the destruction of the wicked would be contemporaneous
with the gathering of the righteous. Again, the living
wicked at Christ's coming drink of the
cup of his
indignation; but this passage brings to view the time when
they perish in the
winepress of his wrath, which is said
to be trodden
without the city answering completely to
the description of Rev. 20:9; and this latter expression
would more naturally denote their complete and final
destruction. p. 636, Para. 2.
The angel comes out of the temple, where the records are kept and the punishment is determined. The other angel has power over fire. This may have some connection with the fact that fire is the element by which the wicked are at last to be destroyed, although, to carry out the figure, the wicked, having been likened to the clusters of the vine of the earth, are said to be cast into the great winepress, which is trodden without the city. And blood comes out of the winepress, even to the horses' bridles. We know that the wicked are doomed to be swallowed up at last in a flood of all-devouring flame descending from God out of heaven; but what preceding slaughter may take place among the doomed host, we know not. It is not improbable that this language will be literally fulfilled. As the first four angels of this series denoted a marked movement on the part of the people of God, the last two may denote the same: for the saints are to have some part to act in meeting out and executing the final punishment of the wicked. 1 Cor. 6:2; Ps. 149:9. p. 636, Para. 3.
The Saints Triumphant. -- Thus closes this chain of prophecy -- closes as others close, with the complete triumph of God and Christ over all their foes, and with the glorious salvation that awaits the faithful followers of the Prince of life, for ever secured. p. 637, Para. 1.
© by S. D. Goeldner,