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Revelation 14:6

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel - Whether this angel mean any more than a particular dispensation of providence and grace, by which the Gospel shall be rapidly sent throughout the whole world; or whether it mean any especial messenger, order of preachers, people, or society of Christians, whose professed object it is to send the Gospel of the kingdom throughout the earth, we know not. But the vision seems truly descriptive of a late institution, entitled The British and Foreign Bible Society, whose object it is to print and circulate the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, through all the habitable world, and in all the languages spoken on the face of the earth. Already they have been the instruments, by actually printing (or by affording the means to different nations to print for themselves) the Bible in a vast number of languages and dialects, so that it has been sent in hundreds of thousands of copies, in whole or in part, to almost every part of the globe: viz., in their native language to the Welsh; in Erse to the Irish; in Gaelic to the Highlands of Scotland; in Manks to the Isle of Man; in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, to those countries and Switzerland; in Low Dutch to Holland, etc.; in High Dutch to Germany, Prussia, etc. Through them a similar society has been established at St. Petersburgh, by which the Bible has been sent in Slavonic to the Russians; and in different dialects to the people of that vast empire; besides the Turkish, Tartaric, and Calmuck. They have also sent the Holy Scriptures in ancient and modern Greek to Asia Minor and the different isles of the Mediterranean Sea; in Arabic and Ethiopic to Egypt and Abyssinia; in Syriac to the Holy Land, and to the Christians at Travancore. They have also greatly and effectually assisted a very worthy society in the East Indies, whose indefatigable and incomparable missionaries, the Rev. Messrs. Carey, Marshman, and Ward, have translated the Scriptures into the principal languages of India; and they have furnished the means of printing a complete translation of the New Testament in the Chinese language at Canton, by the Rev. Mr. Morrison. In short, almost every nation in the universe has, through this society, directly or indirectly received, or is receiving, the words of eternal life; so that it appears to answer the description of the Apocalyptic "angel, flying 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."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And I saw another angel - This must, of course, mean a different one from someone mentioned before; but no such angel is referred to in the previous chapters, unless we go back to Revelation 12:7. It is not necessary, however, to suppose that John refers to a particular angel immediately preceding this. In the course of these visions he had seen many angels; and now, accustomed to these visions, he says that he saw “another” one employed in a remarkable embassy, whose message was suited to cheer the hearts of the desponding, and to support the souls of the persecuted and the sad - for his appearing was the pledge that the gospel would be ultimately preached to all that dwell upon the earth. The design of this vision is, therefore, substantially the same as the former - to cheer the heart, and to sustain the courage and the faith of the church, in the persecutions and trials which were yet to come, by the assurance that the gospel would be ultimately triumphant.

Fly in the midst of heaven - In the air; so as to appear to be moving along the face of the sky. The scene cannot be in heaven, as the gospel is not to be preached there; but the word must denote “heaven” as it appears to us - the sky. Prof. Stuart renders it correctly “mid-air.” He is represented as flying, to denote the rapidity with which the gospel would spread through the world in that future period referred to. Compare the notes on Isaiah 6:2.

Having the everlasting gospel - The gospel is here called everlasting or eternal:

(a)because its great truths have always existed, or it is conformed to eternal truth;

(b)because it will forever remain unchanged - not being liable to fluctuation like the opinions held by people;

(c)because its effects will be everlasting - in the redemption of the soul and the joys of heaven. In all the glorious eternity before the redeemed, they will be but developing the effects of that gospel on their own hearts, and enjoying the results of it in the presence of God.

To preach unto them that dwell on the earth - To all people - as is immediately specified. Compare Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15.

And to every nation, and kindred, … - To all classes and conditions of people; to all human beings, without any distinction or exception. See the notes on Revelation 7:9. The truth here taught is, that the gospel is to be preached to all people as on an equality, without any reference to their rank, their character, or their complexion; and it is implied also, that at the time referred to this will be done. When that time will be the writer does not intimate further, than that it would be after the beast and his adherents had attempted to stay its progress; and for the fulfillment of this, therefore, we are to look to a period subsequent to the rise and fall of that great anti-Christian power symbolized by the beast and his image. This is in entire accordance with the prediction in Daniel. See the notes on Daniel 7:19-22.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 585

Verse 6

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.DAR 585.4

The messages described in these verses are known as “the three angels' 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 called “the third angel,” from which it follows that the one preceding was the second angel; and the one before that, the first angel.DAR 586.1

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.DAR 586.2

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. Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 1:1; 22:16.DAR 586.3

In these symbols we see the sharp contrast the Bible draws between earthly and heavenly things. Whenever 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.DAR 586.4

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 non-essential, 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.DAR 587.1

This angel of Revelation 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.)DAR 587.2

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.DAR 587.3

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 (1) 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; (2) that it is to be given in a future age; or (3) that it belongs to the present generation.DAR 588.1

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 Matthew 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 “of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come.” Acts 24:25. To the Romans he wrote, directing their minds forward to a day when God should judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. Romans 2:16. He pointed the Corinthians forward to a time when we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. 2 Corinthians 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 Peter 2:4; Jude 6), to which the ungodly in this world are also reserved. 2 Peter 2:9. How different is all this from ringing out upon the world the startling declaration that “the hour of his Judgment is come!” — a sound which must be heard whenever the solemn message before us is fulfilled.DAR 588.2

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 fulfillment 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 colaborers 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.DAR 589.1

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 this 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 fulfillment in a future age, it will be sufficient to remark: —DAR 589.2

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 Galatians 1:8.DAR 589.3

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, saying, “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 thenceforward 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.DAR 590.1

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. Han. 7:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:8. He goes into the lake of fire at that time, to disturb the saints of the Most High no more. Revelation 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?DAR 590.2

In verse 18 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.DAR 590.3

We are now prepared to examine the third view, that the message belongs to the present generation. The argument on the two preceding points has 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.DAR 590.4

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 fulfillment 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 present 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 Daniel 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 religions awakenings in different parts of the land. Soon a multitude of colaborers 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 then 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 fulfillment of the proclamation of Revelation 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. Matthew 24:14. The fulfillment 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: —DAR 591.1

“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. Revelation 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 fulfill this message.”DAR 592.1

The persons who were engaged in this movement supposed it to be a fulfillment of prophecy, and claimed that they were giving the message of Revelation 14:6, 7.DAR 593.1

With this movement also began the fulfillment 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, “Behold, 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 Daniel 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 midsummer 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.DAR 593.2

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 the angel “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: —DAR 594.1

“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.”DAR 594.2

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: —DAR 594.3

“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.”DAR 594.4

The Voice of the Church, by D. T. Taylor, pp. 342-344, speaks as follows concerning the wide diffusion of the advent sentiment: —DAR 595.1

“In Wurtemburg, 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.DAR 595.2

“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 premillennialists; 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 now 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, Bokhara, Afghanistan, Cashmere, Hindostan, 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, Parsees, Hindoos, 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.'”DAR 595.3

Elder J. N. Andrews, in his work on The Three Messages of Revelation 1432-35:6-12, speaks as follows concerning the message under consideration: —DAR 596.1

“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.DAR 596.2

“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; Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-26; Luke 21:25-36; 2 Timothy 3; 2 Peter 3; Revelation 6:12, 13. And besides the mighty array of evidence on which this warning was based, the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in connection with this proclamation set the seal of Heaven to its truth.DAR 596.3

“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!DAR 597.1

“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 work. 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.DAR 597.2

“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 latest 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.DAR 597.3

“The Judgment does of necessity commence before the advent of Christ; for he comes to execute the judgment (Jude 14, 15; Revelation 22:12; 2 Timothy 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.DAR 598.1

“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 Daniel 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.”DAR 598.2

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. Revelation 10:10. Here was the coming of one like the Son of man, not to this earth, but to the Ancient of days. Daniel 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; Revelation 19:7-9. This coming, in the parable, must therefore be the same as the coming to the Ancient of days spoken of in Daniel 7:13, 14.DAR 598.3

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 guests to see who are ready to participate in the ceremony, according to the parable of Matthew 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, hut 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.DAR 599.1

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 it declares, “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.DAR 600.1

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.DAR 600.2

The Second Message. — This message, following the first, is announced (verse 8) in these few words: “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.” 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.DAR 600.3

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 Genesis 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 word “confusion.”DAR 601.1

There are but three possible objects to which the word can be applied; and these are (1) the apostate religious world in general, (2) the papal church in particular, and (3) the city of Rome. In examining these terms, we shall first show what Babylon is not.DAR 601.2

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” (Revelation 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 commission of that church, and are to be called out. But this conclusion, no Protestant, at least, will be willing to adopt.DAR 601.3

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 reigneth 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.DAR 602.1

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 Revelation 11:3, the symbol of the two witnesses is introduced. The next verse reads: “These are 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. “The seven 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: —DAR 602.2

(1.) 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.DAR 602.3

(2.) Each of the seven heads has a crown upon it. But whoever saw a literal mountain with a crown upon it?DAR 602.4

(3.) 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.DAR 602.5

(4.) According to Daniel 7:6, compared with Daniel 8:8, 22, heads denote governments; and according to Daniel 2:35, 44; Jeremiah 51:25, mountains denote kingdoms. According to these facts, the version of Revelation 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 given of the second symbol.DAR 603.1

From the foregoing argument, it follows that the “woman” 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 (Revelation 13:2), thus becoming the seat of the beast; but it would be a singular mixing of figures to take the seat, which is sat upon by the beast, and make that a woman sitting upon the beast.DAR 603.2

(5.) 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, “Come 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.DAR 603.3

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 Revelation 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.DAR 603.4

The great city, Babylon, is spoken of as composed of three divisions. So the great religions of the world

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The progress of the Reformation appears to be here set forth. The four proclamations are plain in their meaning; that all Christians may be encouraged, in the time of trial, to be faithful to their Lord. The gospel is the great means whereby men are brought to fear God, and to give glory to him. The preaching of the everlasting gospel shakes the foundations of antichrist in the world, and hastens its downfal. If any persist in being subject to the beast, and in promoting his cause, they must expect to be for ever miserable in soul and body. The believer is to venture or suffer any thing in obeying the commandments of God, and professing the faith of Jesus. May God bestow this patience upon us. Observe the description of those that are and shall be blessed: such as die in the Lord; die in the cause of Christ, in a state of union with Christ; such as are found in Christ when death comes. They rest from all sin, temptation, sorrow, and persecution; for there the wicked cease from troubling, there the weary are at rest. Their works follow them: do not go before as their title, or purchase, but follow them as proofs of their having lived and died in the Lord: the remembrance of them will be pleasant, and the reward far above all their services and sufferings. This is made sure by the testimony of the Spirit, witnessing with their spirits, and the written word.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 51

“Beloved, I wish above all things
that thou mayest prosper and be
in health, even as thy soul
prospereth.” 3 John 2.

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 215

The laws of Christ's kingdom are so simple, and yet so complete, that man-made additions will create confusion. And the more simple our plans for work in God's service, the more we shall accomplish. To adopt worldly policy in the work of God is to invite disaster and defeat. Simplicity and humility must characterize every effective effort for the advancement of His kingdom. 7T 215.1

In order that the gospel may go to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples, self-sacrifice must be maintained. Those in positions of trust are in all things to act as faithful stewards, conscientiously guarding the funds that have been created by the people. There must be care to prevent all needless outlay. In erecting buildings and providing facilities for the work, we should be careful not to make our preparation so elaborate as to consume money unnecessarily; for this means in every case inability to provide for the extension of the work in other fields, especially in foreign lands. Means are not to be drawn from the treasury to establish institutions in the home field, at a risk of crippling the advancement of truth in regions beyond. 7T 215.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 79

Can Christians, who boast of a broader light than had the Hebrews, give less than they? Can Christians living near the close of time be satisfied with their offerings when not half so large as were those of the Jews? Their liberality was to benefit their own nation; the work in these last days extends to the entire world. The message of truth is to go to all nations, tongues, and people; its publications, printed in many different languages, are to be scattered abroad like the leaves of autumn. 4T 79.1

It is written: “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.” And again: “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” Let us inquire: What would our Saviour have done in our circumstances? what would have been His efforts for the salvation of souls? This question is answered by the example of Christ. He left His royalty, laid aside His glory, sacrificed His riches, and clothed His divinity with humanity, that He might reach men where they were. His example shows that He laid down His life for sinners. 4T 79.2

Satan told Eve that a high state of felicity could be gained through the gratification of unlicensed appetite, but the promise of God to man is through denial of self. When upon the shameful cross Christ was suffering in agony for man's redemption, human nature was exalted. Only by the cross can the human family be elevated to connect with heaven. Self-denial and crosses meet us at every step on our heavenward journey. 4T 79.3

The spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven; the spirit of selfishness is the spirit of Satan. Christ's self-sacrificing love is revealed upon the cross. He gave all He had, and then gave Himself, that man might be saved. The cross of Christ appeals to the benevolence of every follower of the blessed Saviour. The principle there illustrated is to give, give. This, carried out in actual benevolence and good works, is the true fruit of the Christian life. The principle of worldlings is to get, get, and thus they expect to secure happiness; but, carried out in all its bearings, the fruit is misery and death. 4T 79.4

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