1889 HSDA

Christians of 1889 Historic Seventh-Day Adventism

The Three Angels of Revelation 14 and the Fourth are not Simply Messages but Prophecies

They prophesy of movements, groups of people raised up at a particular time and place to give the Messages.

"These messages were represented to me as an anchor to the people of God. Those who understand and receive them will be kept from being swept away by the many delusions of Satan." {Early Writings 256.2}

The Vision of the Three Angels -

  1. "First Angel"
  2. “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, 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." Revelation 14:6, 7

    The first angel announces the arrival of the judgment. In light of that, it directs people to observe the first commandment and worship the one true and living God. This involves a rejection of idols, both physical and philosophical, and is a direct rebuke of the belief in and worship of a Trinity, whether a "Triune" God, or a Tritheist God, neither of which are taught in Scripture.

  3. Second
  4. "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

    This message announces the spiritual fall of those churches which reject the first angel's message.

  5. Third
"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. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:9-12

This message directs us to the keeping of all God's commandments, especially the fourth, which contains God's seal or Mark, which will fortify us against receiving the Mark of the Beast.

Revelation of Future Events Not Simply Messages

But these angels are not simply signifying the existence of these messages, but are a prophesy of the time of the giving of these messagesi and of the messengers/people who will be giving these messages, for Revelation begins with the statement that the things John would see were prophecies of future events.

"... Satan is constantly seeking to cast a shadow about these messages, so that the people of God shall not clearly discern their import, their time and place; but they live and are to exert their power upon our religious experience while time shall last." Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church vol 6, p. 17.4
"... There are those who are searching the Scriptures for proof that these messages (the first, second and third angels' messages) are still in the future. They gather together the truthfulness of the messages, but they fail to give them their proper place in prophetic history. Therefore such are in danger of misleading the people in regard to locating the messages. They do not see and understand the time of the end, or when to locate the messages. The day of God is coming with stealthy tread; but the supposed wise and great men are prating about "Higher Education." They know not the signs of Christ's coming, or of the end of the world" Ellen White, Testimony dated December 20, 1896 {Paulson Collection 424.1}

The Angels in Revelation 14 Signify People

Angels in prophecy often signify people. It is thus in Revelation 14. It is translated from the Greek word "ἄγγελος" pronounced "ang’-el-os", Strongs number 32. It is translated in the KJV - "angel" 179 times, and "messenger" 7 times. It means - a messenger, envoy, one who is sent. It can refer to heavenly beings of the angelic nature, or humans acting as messengers. Seven times it clearly refers to human messengers. Here are two of these.

“For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger (ἄγγελος / angelos) before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.” Matthew 11:10
“And when the messengers (ἄγγελος / angelos) of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?” Luke 7:24

The commission of preaching the Gospel to the human race, was given to human beings not to angels.

"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" Matthew 28:19

And since the angel of Rev 14:6 is said to have the everlasting gospel to preach to those on the earth, and announces the hour of His judgement is come, we conclude the angel represents the body of people preaching the Gospel and the "hour of his judgement is come" at the time when it can truthfully be proclaimed. One of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist church, also recognized that in Revelation 14 these "angels" represent the people who accept the light and in turn give it to others.

"… The three angels of Revelation 14 represent the people who accept the light of God's messages and go forth as His agents to sound the warning throughout the length and breadth of the earth. ..." Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church vol 5, 455.2
"The three angels of Revelation 14 are represented as flying in the midst of heaven, symbolizing the work of those who proclaim the first, second, and third angels' messages. All are linked together. The evidences of the abiding, everliving truth of these grand messages, that mean so much to the church, that have awakened such intense opposition from the religious world, are not extinct. ..." Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church vol 6, p. 17.4

Time and Place of First and Second Angels

The time for the first message is said to be when the judgment was to begin. “... for the hour of his judgment is come ...” Revelation 14:7

The time of the judgement was prophesied in the following prophecy.

"And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Daniel 8:14

The service of cleansing the sanctuary spoken of in this verse, is described in Leviticus 16. The Day of Atonement mentioned there was a type of the Investigative Judgement also mentioned in Daniel 7:10 ("the judgement was set and the books were opened"). It is also described in the parable of the marriage in Matthew 22, when the king comes in to examine the garments of the guests. This prophesy brings us to 1844 as the time when the judgement would begin. See explanation in the endnote.ii, iii

In 1843 and 1844, the people known at that time as Millerites or Adventists, preached that Jesus was coming in 1844. They understood that the judgment was to begin in 1844, but did not understand its nature, that it would be investigative, not executive at that time. They were right about the time, but wrong about the event. Nevertheless, the message of the judgment, together with the Gospel was preached and sinners were warned and brought to Christ.

"The Three Angels' Messages.--The proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages has been located by the word of Inspiration. Not a peg or pin is to be removed. No human authority has any more right to change the location of these messages than to substitute the New Testament for the Old. The Old Testament is the gospel in figures and symbols. The New Testament is the substance. One is as essential as the other. The Old Testament presents lessons from the lips of Christ, and these lessons have not lost their force in any particular. The first and second messages were given in 1843 and 1844, and we are now under the proclamation of the third; but all three of the messages are still to be proclaimed. It is just as essential now as ever before that they shall be repeated to those who are seeking for the truth. By pen and voice we are to sound the proclamation, showing their order, and the application of the prophecies that bring us to the third angel's message. There cannot be a third without the first and second. These messages we are to give to the world in publications, in discourses, showing in the line of prophetic history the things that have been, and the things that will be." Ellen White, --Manuscript 32, 1896. Counsels to Writers and Editors 26.2
"The second angel's message of Revelation 14 was first preached in the summer of 1844, and it then had a more direct application to the churches of the United States, where the warning of the judgment had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected, and where the declension in the churches had been most rapid. But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844. The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time they have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however, can it be said that "Babylon is fallen,... because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." She has not yet made all nations do this. The spirit of world conforming and indifference to the testing truths for our time exists and has been gaining ground in churches of the Protestant faith in all the countries of Christendom; and these churches are included in the solemn and terrible denunciation of the second angel. But the work of apostasy has not yet reached its culmination." Ellen White, Great Controversy, p. 389.2

Time of the Third

The third angel follows the first and second, and we have seen that the time of the first and second was 1843, and 1844. Thus the time of the third angel must be 1844 or later. The third angel identifies the people of God as those that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

"Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12

December of 1844, is when the light of the Sabbath began to be understood by those who had given the first and second angels messages. The Sabbath is in the heart of the ten commandments, and there could be no keeping of them without the keeping of the Sabbath. Thus we are pointed to December of 1844 as the time for the beginning of the third angel.

The third angel warns against receiving the Mark of the Beast "... If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,..." and then it identifies God's servants in contrast, as those who keep His commandments. Thus worshiping the beast and receiving its mark, must be in violation of God's commandments. The commandment above all others that most of even the Christian world violates is the fourth, concerning the Sabbath. It follows that keeping the law of God, including the Sabbath would keep one from receiving the Mark of the Beast. Keeping the Sabbath holy is His sign or mark in contrast to the Mark of the Beast.

"13Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you. "17It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." Exodus 31:13, 17
"12Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I [am] the LORD that sanctify them. 20And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I [am] the LORD your God." Ezekiel 20, 12, 20
"Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads." Revelation 7:3
"And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads." Revelation 14:1
"4And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. 5And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: 6Slay utterly old [and] young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom [is] the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which [were] before the house." Ezekiel 9:4-6

The Sabbath containing the Name, Title and Jurisdiction of God seals up God's law in us (see also the study called the "Seal of God").

"Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples." Isaiah 8:16

This all confirms that the people who gave the first and second angel's message and then accepted the Sabbath and thus commenced keeping the whole law of God are symbolized by the third angel. They are the ones who receive the sign and seal of God, and are protected in the time of trouble, and refuse the mark of the beast. Since the observance of the Sabbath began (by very few at first) in December of 1844, that is the time when the third angel began its work.

"As the ministration of Jesus closed in the holy place, and He passed into the holiest, and stood before the ark containing the law of God, He sent another mighty angel with a third message to the world." Ellen White, Early Writings p. 254.1
"After Jesus opened the door of the most holy, the light of the Sabbath was seen, and the people of God were tested, as the children of Israel were tested anciently, to see if they would keep God's law. I saw the third angel pointing upward, showing the disappointed ones the way to the holiest of the heavenly sanctuary. " Ellen White, Early Writings p. 254.2

The Failure of the Third Angel

"It is a solemn and terrible truth that many who have been zealous in proclaiming the third angel's message are now becoming listless and indifferent! The line of demarcation between worldlings and many professed Christians is almost indistinguishable.
"Many who once were earnest Adventists are conforming to the world--to its practices, its customs, its selfishness. Instead of leading the world to render obedience to God's law, the church is uniting more and more closely with the world in transgression. Daily the church is becoming converted to the world. How many professing Christians are slaves of mammon! Their indulgence of appetite, their extravagant expenditure of money for selfish gratification, greatly dishonors God." Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church vol 8, p. 118.4
"The third angel's message is to be given with power. The power of the proclamation of the first and second messages is to be intensified in the third. In the Revelation John says of the heavenly messenger who unites with the third angel: "I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice.'' Revelation 18:1, 2. We are in danger of giving the third angel's message in so indefinite a manner that it does not impress the people. So many other interests are brought in that the very message which should be proclaimed with power becomes tame and voiceless. At our camp meetings a mistake has been made. The Sabbath question has been touched upon, but has not been presented as the great test for this time. While the churches profess to believe in Christ, they are violating the law which Christ Himself proclaimed from Sinai. The Lord bids us: "Show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.'' Isaiah 58:1. The trumpet is to give a certain sound." Ellen White, Testimonies for the Church vol 6, p. 60.1}
"Message Not Muffled.--Satan has devised a state of things whereby the proclamation of the third angel's message shall be bound about. We must beware of his plans and methods. There must be no toning down of the truth, no muffling of the message for this time. The third angel's message must be strengthened and confirmed. The eighteenth chapter of Revelation reveals the importance of presenting the truth in no measured terms but with boldness and power.... There has been too much beating about the bush in the proclamation of the third angel's message. The message has not been given as clearly and distinctly as it should have been." Ellen White, --Manuscript 16, 1900. {Evangelism p. 230.2}

These facts concerning the Seventh-day Adventist Church and its relationship to the third angel's message, are too clear to be ignored. The adjectives used are "tame and voiceless", "indefinite a manner", "beating about the bush", "listless and indifferent", etc. This is why God foresaw and prophesied that there would another body of people who would be raised up to give the third angel's message with power.

That Other Angel, the Fourth

"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory." Revelation 18:1
"I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven, descending to the earth, and again ascending to heaven, preparing for the fulfillment of some important event. Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. Great power and glory were imparted to the angel, and as he descended, the earth was lightened with his glory. The light which attended this angel penetrated everywhere, as he cried mightily, with a strong voice, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844. The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel's message as it swells to a loud cry. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet. I saw a great light resting upon them, and they united to fearlessly proclaim the third angel's message." Ellen White, Early Writings p. 277.1}

Thus we see in Revelation 18:1, a prophecy of yet another body of people raised up to give the same message that the first body of people failed to give. We believe that 1889 historic Seventh-day Adventists meet that description.

Three Angels Messages in Figure

An Anchor

"Many who embraced the third message had not had an experience in the two former messages. Satan understood this, and his evil eye was upon them to overthrow them; but the third angel was pointing them to the most holy place, and those who had had an experience in the past messages were pointing them the way to the heavenly sanctuary. Many saw the perfect chain of truth in the angels' messages, and gladly received them in their order, and followed Jesus by faith into the heavenly sanctuary. These messages were represented to me as an anchor to the people of God. Those who understand and receive them will be kept from being swept away by the many delusions of Satan." Early Writings p. 256.2

A Cleaver

"God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth, the messages of the first, second, and third angels, He has separated them from the churches and from the world to bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself. He has made them the depositaries of His law and has committed to them the great truths of prophecy for this time. Like the holy oracles committed to ancient Israel, these are a sacred trust to be communicated to the world." Testimonies for the Church vol 5, p. 455.2

A Firm Immovable Platform

"I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps-- the first, second, and third angels' messages. Said my accompanying angel, "Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance. The destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received." I was again brought down through these messages, and saw how dearly the people of God had purchased their experience. It had been obtained through much suffering and severe conflict. God had led them along step by step, until He had placed them upon a solid, immovable platform. I saw individuals approach the platform and examine the foundation. Some with rejoicing immediately stepped upon it. Others commenced to find fault with the foundation. They wished improvements made, and then the platform would be more perfect, and the people much happier. Some stepped off the platform to examine it and declared it to be laid wrong. But I saw that nearly all stood firm upon the platform and exhorted those who had stepped off to cease their complaints; for God was the Master Builder, and they were fighting against Him. They recounted the wonderful work of God, which had led them to the firm platform, and in union raised their eyes to heaven and with a loud voice glorified God. This affected some of those who had complained and left the platform, and they with humble look again stepped upon it." Early Writings p. 258.3