To return to
The third angel
Query for the Month
Next up-date: September 1st 2004 (God willing).
Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.
Some perpetual questions ....
Is there really an immortal soul?
Do you know the difference
between the "love" that is of Christianity
Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends. It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best on this subject that I have ever read!
Who did this angel follow, and what does his message mean?
[the Creator]." Revelation 14:6-7.
This message was a special generational addition to the everlasting gospel, which, as its name tells us, has been sounding since the entrance of sin, and which will continue till the last sinner rejects it completely. All three of the angels have the gospel of the grace of God as a natural part of their work, and it is to this that the first adds his particular message.
We have also seen that these angels represent God’s church people on earth for they are the ones who have been entrusted with the work of spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth. "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:18-20.
Last month we found that the SECOND angel raised the thought that some churches claiming to be Christian were not so in fact, and that it would be a good idea for the Christians in them to "come out" and leave them to their own devices.
Now we attend to the THIRD angel’s message (which is #3 of 7) to see what God wants us to proclaim to those who live on earth, for the main fulfilment of this warning is yet future.
Here it is:
9And the third angel followed them [the previous two], saying with a loud voice, "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name.
12Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
So here we have us as Christians warning the world (loudly) that there is a "beast" roaming the earth (a symbol of something that is worshipped), and that there will be copy of it (so there will be two of them), which will both be issuing the same "mark." This "mark" can be received either in the mind or the hand (a belief or a practice), but either way it incurs the displeasure of God. So serious is this rejection of truth (for that is what it is) that those who practise it receive the fullness of God’s "wrath" without any mixture of mercy! We should be anxious to know what God is saying then, shouldn’t we?
We should also be warning the world that the holders of the "mark" will experience the effects, or backlash, of it the whole time it exists. It must eventually cease to be, of course, for God’s new world will have nothing in it that hurts or destroys. Isaiah 11:9; 65:25.
Then the message finishes with the thought that if God’s commandment-keeping people wait in "patience" and the faith of (not in) Jesus, they will see its end.
So what does the Bible tell us about the "beast?"
We can know that Satan works through a "beast" and that it tells lies, for it is written:
1Now the serpent was more subtle [cunning] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he [under the influence of Satan] said to the woman, "Yea, has God said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?’" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest [maybe] you die’." [This is not an accurate quote. Compare Genesis 2:17.]
4And the serpent said to the woman, "You shall NOT surely die: 5 for God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods [like Him], knowing good and evil."
Satan was more accurate in his quote, but then flatly denied what God said! That’s what this "beast" did, and that’s what the "beast" of Revelation does, for both of them often quote the Scriptures. But when he interprets the Bible you can believe all you like that it is right, but that won’t make it really right, will it? A lie is a lie and can NEVER be the truth no matter how many believe in it.
What will the beast of the future be saying and doing?
First, let’s find out who it represents.
In Daniel chapter seven we are told about four "beasts" which will come into existence one after the other and fight against God’s people. They are obviously not "real" animals because they have wings and multiple heads etc. They are prophetic symbols – a winged lion, a bear with one shoulder raised, a four-headed leopard, and a horrible iron beast. The angel interpreter told Daniel that they represented four kings and their kingdoms, and forecast that the Christians would eventually outlive them. "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom[of the earth], and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." Daniel 7:17-18. The "beasts" did their dash between Daniel’s time (538BC) and the year 1798, and although they still exist today they have no power against God’s people now. That’s in the process of being picked up by another.
Although there were four animals (four great nations plus ten horns, or smaller groups) the angel’s explanation ends with one horn being singled out as the worst opponent of God (verses 24-25). This "little horn" or little "beast" tries to change God’s times and laws but does not succeed in fooling everyone. (Verse 25) Eventually the judgment sits and awards the "kingdom" of earth to God’s followers. (Verse 26-27.)
So now we have the sequence.
In chapter eight Daniel is told the names of some of the nations represented by the beast symbols. The dual kingdom of Medo-Persia, which conquered the kingdom of Babylon in which Daniel lived when he had the vision, is mentioned first in this explanation, then Greece. After those three, the angel tells us that the fourth will be a mysterious kingdom which hitches up with a different aspect of the evil power to "destroy wonderfully[amazingly]". Verse 24. It is amazing to the people of the universe that humans are so gullible and still want to believe the devil and his agents with their monstrous lies. Despite being told that this professed Christian aspect of Satan’s kingdom is NOT of God, it’s "deadly wound" has been healed and it is almost back in full respect again!!! Revelation 13:1-4. (Take particular note of verses 5-9.)
From history we can see that this fourth "beast" (living creature) is indeed the "iron" kingdom of Rome. It has two phases, Pagan and Papal, and it is this latter one that the angel concentrates on. There is a saying, "the rest is history", but in this case we need to know what is present and future!
That the papal system in NOT Christian and never has been, has been publicly preached in various ways since the time of Martin Luther and the reformers in 1517, but somehow it manages to survive in the minds of its followers (and in the minds of many who are not!!) as a Christian system. But its power is based on the use of force in religion and it still maintains that no one can be saved outside of its communion. How’s that for a lie?
In that system, and in the smaller ones which follow the "Mother Church" (she is described as having impure "daughters" in Revelation 17:5) the use of force is a fact of history. And, as there is "no new thing under the sun" and "the thing that has been is that which shall be" we can be sure that there will be religious persecutions by them in the future. (Ecclesiastes 1:9.) Check Mark 13:7-10. So we should be able to see why the Son of God is so upset. He who died on a cross rather than exterminate sinners certainly doesn’t want that attitude in a church claiming to be His. When an occasion like that came up during His ministry, this is how He dealt with it.
42But Jesus called them [His disciples] to Him, and said to them, "You know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles [non-Christians] exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister [helper]: 44 and whosoever of you will be the chief, shall be servant of all.
45"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." [That’s the foundation principle of the universe.]
So, let’s think about the "mark of the beast".
The papal religion no longer has political or religious power over its opponents, or even its so-called "friends" but the scripture refers to a "copy" of that system. A "copy" may not have the same name, but "by any other name a rose smells just as sweet." In this case, the opposite applies! A stink by any other name is still a stink, so the "copy" or "image of the beast" will be just as bad. It could even be classed as worse right now, because it too is hiding behind the name of Christianity, and has not yet been widely identified as Satanic. That’s the work of the second angel. So it is an unknown force unless the Spirit can reveal it to you.
2 Thessalonians 2:
3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come [the end of the world], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God [calling himself Christian, because he THINKS he is].
5Remember you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now you know what withholds [what’s going on] that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only He who now lets [allows] will let [postpone the great destruction], until He be taken out of the way [totally rejected]. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the LORD shall consume with the spirit of His mouth [the truth], and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: 9 even Him, whose [second] coming is AFTER the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.
This "Wicked" cannot be the fallen papal system, for that church has been known to be in the fallen condition for centuries. But when the churches identified as the fallen Babylon of the SECOND angel’s message try to revive their fortune, they will follow in the footsteps of their "Mother" and drastically increase their union with the state governments of their areas, applying to them for the power to enforce their religious ideas. Prominent among these is the thought that the first day of the week, the Sun’s day should be made the universal mark of Christianity. All will be required to come into line with that idea, and as greater disasters come upon the entire world as a result of God’s distance from the people, the leaders of such churches will declare that God is angry and needs to be placated. Their congregations will agree with this and the pressure for religious laws will rapidly expand under the tidal wave of public opinion. The "beast" says to them, ". . . that dwell on the earth, that THEY should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live." Revelation 13:14.
There will be a series of laws around the world culminating with zero tolerance on the part of the public and a demand for a death decree for those who refuse to bow before the state religion. This not new: consider Daniel in the lions’ den, and his three friends in the fiery furnace.
This attitude of religious intolerance will find an answering chord within the people of the Pagan religions also and they will all fall into line for their "salvation" from the woes of the world.
The "mark" is basically the use of force in religion to bend men’s minds to religious authority. However and whenever it is used it rejects God’s way so much that He cannot protect the perpetrator for long. That’s why He says that He will pour out His "wrath" upon such people, male or female. At the same time, while the Spirit is bringing a great convicting power against them, He will be trying a last ditch effort to get them to change their mind and behaviour, so great torment will be the outcome!
To Christ the Lamb and His helpers the sight of such agony will be devastating, but what else can they do? They cannot allow the holders of the "mark" to perish without trying to save them. So the fact that the gospel ruins where it does not save (when it is rejected) will be amply demonstrated at that time. The struggle in the mind of a professed Christian to accept that he or she is NOT one will indeed be horrific. Rather than accept such a truth most will react as the high priest did in the case of Jesus, and believe that "one man should die" rather than many. John 11:49-50. In this case, they will reason that it’s the minority, "the troublers in Israel" who must go. See 1 Kings 17:18.
4And Jesus answered and said to them, "Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in My name, saying, ‘I am Christ [Christian];’ and shall deceive many.
6"And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in different places.
8"All these are [only] the beginning of sorrows [for they are of the earth].
9"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you [in religious fervour]: and you shall be hated of all nations for My name's sake [a worldwide persecution]. 10 And then shall many be offended [in God’s church], and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound [in the church], the love of many shall wax cold [they’ll give up]. 13 But he that shall endure to the end [has patience], the same shall be saved."
At the very end of time this force will be directed only at the people of God, who in the simplicity of their faith, want to follow Him "whithersoever He goes." Revelation 14:4. All the other original dissenters will have fallen into line throughout the world. At that time there will be great unrest among those who have the mark of the beast, for "iron" and "clay" cannot really mix. This will last until the second coming of Christ which is described in verse 14.
In this way, a GREAT tribulation will come upon the world.
Forces that have never been seen clearly before will come out, and great terror "such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be," will be unleashed onto the people of the world (Matthew 24:21).
There was a time similar to this once before, but it has been largely forgotten now. "And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation[just after the Flood] even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book [of life]." Daniel 12:1. Only those Christians who cling to a God of love and mercy will survive. Many will die as martyrs as the world goes mad, and an even greater number will give up! God’s "anger without mercy" (a TOTAL lack of protection for the rejecters of grace) will envelop every living creature which does not follow the Lamb.
The scenes to be enacted are so horrible that only one portion of recorded history can even BEGIN to illustrate them – the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution in 1793 to 1797. At that time the Bible and its God was rejected by a whole civilised nation and anarchy prevailed. But this was in one country and concentrated mainly in one area of that country, around Paris. What will it be like when it is universal?
That’s what our message is all about – how can we get this across to professed Christians while there is still an opportunity for them to change?
Those who follow the Lamb will have no fear for their own lives because of His promise.
3Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome [extremely hurtful] pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings shall you trust: His truth shall be your shield and buckler [armour].
5You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; 6 nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come nigh you. 8 Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked [rejecters].
9Because you have made the LORD, which is My refuge, even the most High, your habitation; 10 there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come nigh your dwelling. 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
But they will have a great sorrow for those who are not so protected and this will compel them to go out and warn!
The third angel’s message is a warning of the terrible times which lie ahead for the people of the world when the religious forces of this earth attack God’s church. Those whose lives are not hid in Christ will not be able to stand alone at that time and they will eventually give in to the "image of the beast." They will either wholeheartedly believe the lies or else accept that it is best to go along with the majority for their safety’s sake. Either way they will lose out, for Jesus has told us:
25For whosoever will save his life [by his own efforts] shall lose it: and whosoever will lose [give up the responsibility for] his life for My sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
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