The Three Angels Messages found in Revelation 14:6-12 is so foundational to the Seventh-day Adventist Church that it is a part of the Church’s mission statement. This year's Annual Council included the presentation of the Three Angels Messages Project, a project focused on encouraging and empowering the spreading of the Three Angels Messages by every church member and department of the world church.
The Importance of the Project
Special Assistant to the president, and former vice-president of the global Adventist Church, Mike Ryan, is serving as the chair of the Three Angels Messages Project Committee and began the presentation by acknowledging that the Adventist Church has an “excitement that surrounds the proclamation of the Three Angels Messages, and rightfully so as we have [been raised] up to proclaim this message.” Ryan emphasized that it is important to have a consistent, very clear, biblical definition of the messages. As such, to provide a blueprint for the Church, Angel Rodriguez, former director of the Biblical Research Institute (BRI) of the global Adventist Church, presented a most compelling message outlining the prophetic definition of the Three Angels Messages.
Rodriguez began his presentation by reminding listeners that, “The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light that streams from the cross of Calvary.” —Evangelism, page 190. Rodriguez urged that the Three Angel’s Messages are all about the gospel, the lamb of God being sacrificed for the redemption of the human race.
The First Angels Message
“…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.” – Revelation 14:7
The First Angel’s Message centers around the fact that the judgment hour has come, and we are living in the day of atonement. During this hour, there is still a chance to repent and come to the Lord. In this message, God is calling us to do three things:
· Fear God, which means to choose Him as our God and submit to His will
· Give Glory to God, which ascribes to the justification of God. Giving Him glory means to be willing to proclaim Him as a righteous judge and accept His justification for our lives
· Worship Him, which means to “surrender our life to the Source of life”
In sum, when we invite people to the gospel, we are inviting them to these three imperatives. Rodriguez highlighted that in the first angels message, we find the fourth commandment almost verbatim. Thus, it is a call to keep the Sabbath as a way of showing that we worship the Creator, God.
The Second Angel’s Message
“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.” – Revelation 14:8
The Second Angel's Message is a simple message. When we look at the ancient city of Babylon in the Old Testament, it is associated with human pride and self-sufficiency. It is, plain and simple, a false gospel that centers around the creature trying to take the place of the Creator (see Isaiah Chapter 14). Rodriguez explained that Babylon in the end time is formed by three elements: 1) The sea beast of Revelation 13 (Christianity from the Middle Ages), 2) The beast from the earth (Protestantism in America), and 3) The dragon, or Satan. The plan of the enemy is to unify these three to promote his false gospel. It will be composed of those who failed to accept the Laodicean message.
The Third Angels Message
“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 for ever 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.” – Revelation 14:9-11
The Third Angel’s Message seeks to awaken humanity to refuse to adopt the identity of the beast or show loyalty to him, and thus not receive the wrath of God by doing so. Sunday worship is the identifying mark of the beast. Sunday worship allows Satan to accomplish two things: change the law of God and receive worship.
The wrath of God mentioned in the message of the third angel, results in the second death. However, Rodriguez highlighted that the torment received by those who have the mark of the beast, will come from their own self-guilt after they see the cross of Calvary and realize God’s amazing love for humanity, while being separated from Him because of their own sin (see Great Controversy page 664-665). In the end, “the gospel will bring the cosmic conflict to an end.”
Rodriguez concluded his presentation by encouraging the church to “present the lamb on the cross. Everything we talk about has to be touched by the cross…we have to take every doctrine and frame them around the cross, the sacrifice of Christ.”
The Project in Action
There are several projects, dedicated to the proclamation of the Three Angel’s Messages, by several different departments of the Church that have begun as a result of the Three Angel’s Messages Project Committee.
Evangelist and special assistant to the president, Mark Finley described a series titled “Three Cosmic Messages” that he has developed examining the Three Angel’s Messages in depth. It includes videos, prepared sermons, scripts, graphics, and a book that can be used by pastors and church members to present the messages.
Sam Neves, associate director of communication for the global Adventist Church, explained that writers, artists, graphic designers, and other artistic talent from all around the Adventist Church are being recruited to use different technologies to spread the message.
President of Hart Research Center, Dan Haughton, stated there is work being done with Hope Channel. Also, in the North American Division (NAD), a curriculum has been created for children that attend Seventh-day Adventist schools, starting with kindergarten, to help them understand these messages.
Linda Koh, director of the global Adventist Church’s children’s ministry’s department, presented that animated books are being designed in Spanish, English, German and French, tying the Three Angels Messages to creation.
Finally, director of (BRI) Elias Brasil de Sousa reported that the upcoming Week of Prayer and Sabbath School quarterly will focus on the Three Angel’s Messages.
Church members all around the world are encouraged to utilize these resources to do their part in the solemn work of preaching these messages. Ryan ended the session by saying, we are living in a time in the world where every Seventh-day Adventist needs to understand their role.