Three Angels of Revelation 14:6-12
Chapter 1
by J.N.Andrews

Time When The Proclamations Of Rev. 14 Are Made.

Importance of the Subject
Different Views of this Prophecy -
These Proclamations not applicable to the Future Age
Nor can they belong to the Past Ages
The Messages addressed to the Last Generation
Argument from 2 Thess. 2
From Daniel 12 From the Signs
From the Parable of the Supper
From Nahum 2
From the Destruction of Babylon
From the Work of the Two-Horned Beast
Nature of These Proclamations.

WHOEVER will read attentively the proclamations embraced in the fourteenth chapter of Revelation, cannot fail to notice their vast importance. At whatever period in the history of the church these proclamations are made, from their very nature they must constitute the great theme of interest for that generation. Whenever the angels of this chapter are commissioned by God to announce to the nations of the earth that the hour of his Judgment is come, or to proclaim the fall of Babylon, or to utter against the worshipers of the beast the most dreadful threatening which the Bible contains, no man can disregard their work, or treat their warnings as non-essential, except at the peril of his soul. If it were merely possible that these warnings were addressed to ourselves, it would become us to examine this subject with serious attention; but if this point can be proved by decisive testimony, it is certain that we cannot too carefully attend to the warnings here uttered.

Different Views of this Prophecy

It was but a few years ago that all advent believers were united in applying this prophecy to the present generation; but in the period of trial that has followed their disappointment, many of them have, to a great extent, lost sight of their original faith. A considerable number now contend that these angels are to utter their voices of warning in the future age; that is, in a period subsequent to the second advent. Another class attempt to show that they had their fulfillment many ages in the past, the first angel beginning in the days of the apostles, the second in the time of Luther, and the third at a period somewhat later.

Will these Angels Sound in a Future Age
After the Redeemed Stand with the Lamb on Mt. Zion?

As proof that these angels belong to the future age, the fact is adduced that John saw them flying through the midst of heaven immediately after having seen the Lamb stand upon Mount Zion with the 144, 000. As the latter event is future, it is concluded by them that the angels of this prophecy must be future also. If it were a fact that the events predicted in the book of Revelation were there given in consecutive order, there would be some force to this argument. But it is evident that that book is made up of many distinct views, usually introduced by the expression, "And I saw, " or something of that kind, as in Rev. 14:6. The series of events which begins in Chap. 12, with the dragon, evidently extends through the work of the beasts in chap. 13, and ends with a view of the remnant in their glorified state upon Mount Zion. Rev. 14:1-5. Then begins a new series of events with the angel of chap. 14:6.

The following reasons forbid the application of this prophecy to the future age:

1. This view would make the angel with the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, and tongue, an angel from heaven with another gospel (Gal. 1:8); for the apostolic commission extended only to the harvest, which is the end of the world. Matt. 28:19, 20; 24:14; 13:24-30; 36:43. Paul participated in this commission (1 Tim. 1:11), and he thus declares its import: that God "now commandeth all men everywhere to repent; because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness. " Acts 17:30, 31. The apostolic commission extended only to the end, - the day in which God shall judge the world by Jesus Christ. A gospel preached in that day would be another gospel than that preached by Paul, and one that has no Saviour in it. This would indeed show that the angel of Rev. 14:6, 7 was the very being on whom rests the curse of Paul in Gal. 1:8.

2. The second angel announces the fall of Babylon. Rev. 14:8. After this proclamation, a voice is heard from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people. " Rev. 18:1-4. That the absurdity of placing this transaction after the second advent may be seen, please read 1 Thess. 4:16, 17. It is there plainly stated that at the coming of Christ, his people shall all be caught up to meet him in the air, and thenceforward be forever with the Lord. Will the Lord take his people to Babylon when he comes?
- Never. He says, "I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. " John 14:2, 3. Then the Lord will not have occasion to call his people out of Babylon after the second advent; for from that time onward they are to be forever with him.

3. Let us now see whether the third Angel's Message can be applied to the future age with any propriety. Those who will compare Rev. 14:9-12 and 13:11-17, will see at once that the warning voice of the third angel relates to the fearful scene when the two-horned beast is to act its part in oppressing 8 the saints of the Lord. But if the third angel's proclamation relates to the period which follows the second advent, then the work of the two-horned beast must also transpire in the future age. And what a scene must the future reign of the saints present, if Rev. 13:11-17 is to be fulfilled in that time! But by turning to Rev. 20:4-6 it will be seen that the period for the triumph of the beast and his image, and for the reception of his mark, precedes the thousand years' reign of the saints. And when the reign of the saints commences, the triumph of the beast is past.

The beast doubtless represents the papal power. Rev. 13:1-10; Dan 7:8, 20, 21, 25, 26. But by turning to 2 Thess. 2, we learn that the papacy is to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming. Further, we learn from Rev. 19:19-21 that the final overthrow of the beast and the false prophet, or the two-horned beast, takes place in the battle of the great day of God Almighty, in immediate connection with the second advent. By these plain testimonies we establish the fact that the beast will be destroyed at the second advent. Therefore we ask, What danger will there be that men will worship the beast at a time when there will be none for them to worship? God will never send an angel to warn men against the worship of the beast when the beast does not exist.

The language of verse 12, "Here is the patience of the saints, " is sufficient of itself to overthrow the application of these messages to the future age. The following scriptures clearly teach that the patience of the saints refers to the present time, and not to the period of their future glorious reward: "Ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. " Heb. 10:36. "In your patience possess ye your souls. " Luke 21:19. Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. " James 5:7. Will the saints have need of patience in the kingdom of God? Will they have to possess their souls in patience after they have received the promise, even life everlasting? 1 John 2:25. It is tribulation that worketh patience. Rom. 5:3 James 1:2, 3. Are the saints in tribulation after they are made immortal and crowned with everlasting joy?
-No, never. Isa. 25:8 9; 35:10; Rev. 7:13-17. But the saints are in their patience when the Third Angel's Message is given, hence that message does not belong to the future age.

But verse 12 concludes thus: "Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. " It is evident that this refers to the period when the remnant are keeping the commandments of God while exposed to the wrath of the dragon (Rev. 12:17), and that it does not refer to the period 9 when the commandment-keepers shall have entered in through the gates into the holy city (Rev. 22:14); and that it refers to the period when the saints are living by faith (Heb. 10:38, 39), and not to the period when they shall have received the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls. 1 Pet. 1:9.

But verse 13, which pronounces a blessing on the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth, that is, from a point of time as late, at least, as the third Angel's Message, presents a testimony which cannot be evaded. It demonstrates that this part of John's vision relates to a period prior to the first resurrection; for the saints cannot die after being made immortal. 1 Cor. 15:51-56. Our Lord testifies that they can die no more, but are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Luke 20:36. If any are still disposed to locate these angels' messages in the day of God itself, let them carefully read the following Scriptures: Matt. 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-30; Gen. 7:21, 22; Luke 21:35; Ps. 2:6-9; Rev. 2:26, 27; 19:11-21; 22:11, 12; 2 Thess. 1:6-10.

Have These Messages met their Fulfillment in the Past?
Before 1844?

The next inquiry relates to the past. Have not these messages met their fulfillment in the history of the church in past ages? - We think not. Our reasons for this conclusion are, in part, the following:-

1. No proclamation of the hour of God's Judgment come, has ever been made in any past age.

2. If such a proclamation had been made many centuries in the past, as some contend, it would have been a false one.

3. The prophecies on which such a proclamation to men in a state of probation must be based, were closed up and sealed to the time of the end.

4. The scriptures plainly locate the message of warning respecting the Judgment in brief space immediately preceding the advent of our Lord, thus directly contradicting the view that locates these messages in past ages.

The Message Addressed to the Last Generation

We now offer proof in support of the foregoing propositions. If they are sustained, they establish the fact that the present generation is that one to which the angels' messages are addressed. We earnestly invite all who wish to find the truth, to weigh this part of the argument with special care.

1. Has the proclamation of the hour of God's Judgment come, been made in any past age? If such a proclamation has never been made in past centuries, there is an end to controversy on this part of the subject. No person has ever been able to show any such proclamation in the past. The apostles did not 10 make such a proclamation; on the contrary, they plainly inform us that the day of the Lord was not then at hand. Martin Luther did not make this proclamation; for he thought the Judgment about three hundred years in the future. And finally, the history of the church presents no such proclamation in the past. Had the first angel preached to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, that the hour of God's Judgment had come, the publicity of such proclamation would be a sufficient guaranty that the history of the world would contain some record of the fact. Its total silence respecting such a proclamation is ample proof that it was never made, and should put to silence those who make such an affirmation.

2. We are on firm ground, also, when we say that had such a proclamation been made to the world in ages past, it would have been false. Four reasons sustain this statement:
(1. ) There is no part of the Bible on which such a message, centuries in the past, could have been based; hence, had such a proclamation been made, it would have been without scripture foundation, and consequently not from Heaven;
(2. ) It would have been in direct opposition to those scriptures which locate the Judgment, and the warning respecting its approach, in the period of the last generation. (The scriptures which sustain these two reasons we shall presently cite. );
(3. ) The history of the world amply evinces that the hour of God's Judgment had not come ages in the past;
(4. ) Nor would it be true of past ages, if limited to Babylon; for Rev. 18:8-10 clearly shows that the hour of Babylon's Judgment is yet in the future. It is certain, therefore, that the angel with the proclamation respecting the hour of God's Judgment has not given it at a time when it would be not only destitute of scriptural support, but would absolutely contradict their plain testimony.

3. The prophecies which give us the time of the Judgment, and which present the succession of events leading down to that great crisis, were closed up and sealed till the time of the end. We refer particularly to the prophecies of Daniel. See Dan. 8:17, 26; 12:4, 9. Hence it is evident that God preserves the warning for that generation which alone needs it. Noah's warning respecting the flood was alone applicable to those who should witness it; thus also the warning respecting the Judgment is alone applicable to that generation which lives in the last days.

4. The Bible locates these messages in the period which immediately precedes the second advent, and plainly warns us against the proclamation of the Judgment at hand prior to that time. Here we join issue with our opponents. Instead of finding that the apostles gave this proclamation, as 11 some teach, we shall find indubitable evidence that they located it far in the future, and that they admonished the church to heed none that should precede a given time. If we recur to the book of Acts, we shall find Paul preaching before Felix of the Judgment to come; and before the Athenians, that God hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ. Acts 24:25; 17:31. But that book nowhere intimates that Christ was immediately coming to judgment. Peter points his hearers to the future, saying that the heavens which had then received Christ, must retain him until the times of restitution. Acts 3:21.

Evidence from Thessalonians

The first Epistle to the Thessalonians may seem to teach that the apostles expected the coming of Christ to judgment in their day. Indeed, it is evident that such an idea was received from it by the Thessalonian church. Hence it was, that in his second Epistle to them, Paul found it necessary to speak explicitly on the point. He tells them that the coming of Christ to the Judgment could not take place until the great apostasy; and as the result of that apostasy, that the man of sin should be revealed, showing himself that he is God, and exalting himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped. That this mystery of iniquity is the great Romish apostasy, none but a papist will deny.

Paul reminds the Thessalonians that he had told them of these things when he was yet with them. And where could Paul have learned this fact which he had thus stated to them?

Evidence from the Book of Daniel

Paul was accustomed to reason from the Scriptures, and not to deal in assertion. Hence it is very evident that he refers to the prophecy of Daniel, which in its seventh chapter has given the successive events which intervened between its time and the Judgment. In this series of events it has with wonderful precision described the power to which Paul has referred as the man of sin.

No Protestant will deny the identity of Daniel's little horn and Paul's man of sin. And as Daniel has brought it into a series of events which ends with the Judgment and the setting up of the everlasting kingdom, it is an easy matter for Paul to tell where in this series of events he stood, and whether the Judgment was the next event or not. The apostle, therefore, plainly tells them that that day was not at hand. For the man of sin, the little horn, must arise and perform his predicted work; and when that should be accomplished, the coming of Christ should transpire, to consume "that Wicked" with its brightness.

Now, when was the little horn to arise? Daniel was told that it should arise after the ten horns upon the fourth beast; or, in other words, after the fourth empire should be divided into ten kingdoms, which was accomplished about 12 five hundred years after Christ. The Judgment, therefore, could not come prior to that time. But how long was this little horn to have power to wear out the saints? - Daniel informs us that it should be for "a time, and times, and the dividing of time. " How long is this period? - Rev. 12 shows that it is 1260 prophetic days, or years. Verses 6, 14. It follows, therefore, that the apostle carries the mind forward five hundred years, to the development of the man of sin, and thence 1260 years for his triumph, before the Judgment could be preached as an event immediately impending. Whoever will carefully read Dan. 7, will get the original of Paul's argument in 2 Thess. 2, and will not fail to see the force of his statement.

The papal supremacy began in 538, and ended in 1798 with the overthrow of the pope's temporal power. Therefore the warning of Paul against a false proclamation respecting the Judgment at hand, expires at that time, and not before; for we will then have reached the point of time when the last important event in Dan. 7, before the Judgment, has transpired.

An angel from heaven, preaching the hour of God's Judgment come many years in the past, would be giving a different gospel from that preached by Paul. Those who locate the angel of Rev. 14:6, 7, in past ages, virtually place upon his head the anathema of Paul in Gal. 1:8. And, what is of very deep interest, the point of time at which Paul's warning expires, is the commencement of the time of the end, - the very point to which the visions of Daniel were closed up and sealed.

Compare Daniel 11:33, 35 and 7:25, and the fact that the 1260 years' persecution of the saints terminates with the commencement of the time of the end, will appear obvious. How gloriously does this view of the subject make the truth of God shine out! for the warning of the apostle against a false proclamation of the Judgment at hand, expires at the very point where the seal is taken from those prophecies which show when the Judgment sits. And it is respecting this period, the time of the end, that it is said, Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge (on the very subject which was before concealed) shall be increased. Then the time of the end is the period in which the Judgment-hour cry, and the subsequent messages, are to be given. Dan. 8:17, 26; 12:4, 9.

Evidence from the Signs Foretold

Another important argument on this point is found in what our Lord has said relative to the signs of his second advent. The church were to understand when his coming was at hand, by the fulfillment of certain promised tokens. Until these should be seen, they were not authorized to look for the immediate advent of the Lord. But when the signs which our Lord promised began to appear, the church might then know that his coming to judge the quick and dead was at hand.

It is an interesting fact, that Christ has marked the time in which these signs were to begin to appear. Consequently, the messages in question could not be delivered prior to that time. "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. " Matt. 24:29. "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. " Mark 13:24, 25.

We think there can be no mistake that in these scriptures our Lord refers to the papal tribulation of Daniel the prophet. The signs of his second coming were to commence "in those days, " but after that tribulation. " In other words, the 1260 prophetic days would not be quite over, but their tribulation would be ended, when the sun should be darkened. The sun was darkened in 1780, and the tribulation of those days was then past, but the days did not expire till 1798. Thus we have the signs of our Lord's immediate advent just opening upon us, as we come down to the time of the end, the period when the vision should be unsealed, and many run to and fro with the word of warning to a perishing world.

Evidence from the Parables

The parable recorded in Matt. 22:1-14 and Luke 14:16-24, furnishes an important testimony on this subject. Matthew gives a particular account of the first part of this parable, but merely states in a word the final calls to the guests. Luke, on the contrary, omits the first part of the parable, but gives its concluding features with peculiar distinctness. We think the identity of the parables in Matt. 22 and Luke 14 will be seen by every one who will compare those scriptures. It is evident that Matthew, by the calls to dinner, represents the calls which were made to the Jews at the first advent. It is to be observed that the general work of inviting the guests had preceded these calls; for these are a special announcement to those that had been bidden, that the dinner is ready. These we understand to refer to the work of John the Baptist and others at the time of the first advent. And we understand that the destruction of the city and people in the parable refers to the destruction of Jerusalem and the rejection of the Jews.

The call to the dinner proving of no effect, the king turns to another people. We understand this as we do the text in which our Lord tells the Jews that the kingdom should be taken from them, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Matt. 21:43. This part of the parable Matthew has given in a word, that the servants in obedience to the command of their Lord were enabled to furnish the wedding with guests.

But Luke has taken up this portion with minute accuracy. The dinner indeed was past and the people to whom it was offered were unworthy of sharing it as guests; but the purpose of the king was not to be made void. At supper time, says Luke, a message was sent forth to announce to those that had been bidden, that supper was ready. We understand that this call to the supper is made to the Gentiles, and that it is in immediate connection with the second advent. For we think that none will deny that the supper of Luke 14:16 and that of Rev. 19:9 are the same. Thus we see that there was to the Jews the general work of bidding the guests, and the special call at dinner time; and that to the Gentiles there is the general work of the gospel in bidding, and then at supper time the special call to the marriage supper.

These three calls to the marriage supper (Luke 14:16-24) we understand to be the same as the three messages of Rev. 14:6-12. The first call to the supper is "at supper time, " and the first angel announces that "the hour of His judgment is come. " None will dispute the fact that the judgment and the marriage supper are in immediate connection with each other. Rev. 19:20. The three calls are not the general work of the gospel in bidding; they are made at supper time, that is, at the close of the day. And the three proclamations in Rev. 14, in like manner, are not the general work of the gospel, but special warnings addressed to the world as the great work of our High Priest is closing up.

Evidence From the Book of Nahum

The book of Nahum furnishes a very striking testimony on this subject. The chariots are to seem like torches, and to run like the lightnings, in the day of God's preparation. Chap. 2. We may learn the event for which this day of preparation is appointed, by reading the first chapter of this prophet. That the sublime scenes of the second advent and the day of God are there portrayed, we think few will be disposed to deny. The day of God's preparation is, therefore, for this very event. Now, it is evident that the hour of God's Judgment cannot precede the day of his preparation for the Judgment.

Hence the day of God's preparation is the time for the warning respecting the Judgment, and the associated proclamations to the inhabitants of the earth. And how strikingly have we seen the sign which marks the day of God's preparation fulfilled before our eyes! Since the time of the end commenced, in which the prophecies relative to the Judgment were to be unsealed, and many were to run to and fro, and knowledge to be increased, chariots running like the lightnings have made their appearance in every part of the civilized worlds. We think this a demonstration that we are now in the day of God's preparation, and that, consequently, this is the period of time in which the three proclamations of Rev. 14 are to be made; for the day 15 of God's preparation for the second advent must be the time for the world to be warned respecting that event.

Evidence From the Destruction of Babylon

If we read the message of the second angel with care, and the more full reference to the subject in Rev. 18, we may also gather some important ideas relative to the chronology of these messages. The people of God are called out of Babylon, that the plagues which God is about to inflict upon her may not fall upon them also. These plagues are enumerated as death, mourning, and famine, and utter destruction by fire. And it is said that these shall come upon her in one day. It is evident that these plagues have not yet come upon her. The hour of Babylon's judgment, when the kings shall mourn over her for fear of her torment, is yet future. The warning, therefore, respecting Babylon, must of necessity relate to that generation which shall live when her plagues shall come upon her. The warning respecting the flood, or the destruction of Sodom, belonged to that time which witnessed those events. And the warning respecting the judgments on Babylon must relate to that generation which shall be alive when these judgments are to be inflicted.

Evidence from the Work of the Two Horned Beast

The third angel presents a fearful warning against the worship of the beast and his image, and the reception of his mark. It must be evident to every person that this warning must relate to the time when men shall be required to worship the image on pain of death. That this work of the two-horned beast, as recorded in Chap. 13, has as yet been accomplished but in part, is certain. See verses 13-15. Hence it is a great error to locate this proclamation in any past age.

Such are the reasons, in brief, which establish the fact that these proclamations are addressed to the last generation of men.

The Nature of These Proclamations

These messages are addressed to men in a state of probation. But it is contrary to the economy of grace that angels should visibly engage in the preaching of the gospel; therefore these angels must symbolize a body of men proclaiming the messages in question; or we may understand that literal angels have the oversight of this work, and that it is carried out through the agency of men.

J.N. Andrews, "Three Messages of Rev. 14" Table of Contents
Index for Seventh-day Adventist Pioneer Writings