The SDA Three Angels' Messages Examined
By E.S. Ballenger, Gathering Call, 1950 (formatted for the Internet by Brother Anderson)
The First Angel's Message or the Investigative Judgment Contrary to the Bible, to Reason, and the Gospel
Chapter 1. What is the First Angel's Message?
The battle of Armageddon represents the last of a series of judgments which terminate with the second coming of Christ at the beginning of the thousand years, or the millennium.
This series of judgments is announced by a solemn but joyful message recorded in Rev. 14:6, 7.
"And I saw another angel flying in mid heaven, having eternal good tidings to proclaim unto them that dwell on the earth, and unto every nation and tribe, and tongue, and people; and he said with a great voice, Fear God and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made the heaven and the earth and the sea and fountains of waters." ASV
The common version which reads, "Having the everlasting gospel to preach," is not in harmony with the original. The text has no reference to the gospel of salvation from sin through the death of Christ. This angel’s good tidings is something very different.
The word “gospel” which appears in our common version occurs seventy-seven times in the New Testament, but this is the only instance where it appears without the definite article “the” or some other definite modification like “my gospel,” “our gospel,” or “Gospel of God.” Here the Greek word “euaggelion” stands alone and is faithfully translated by the version quoted above.
If the term “eternal good news,” or gospel, does not refer to salvation from sin. to what does it refer?
Bear in mind that the Greek word from which “gospel” is translated means good news, or good tidings. There are many kinds of good news, but not all good news is the gospel of salvation from sin. David said that Ahimaaz “is a good man, and cometh with good tidings,” (2 Sam. 18:27) but he did not bring the gospel of salvation from sin. The lepers who entered the abandoned camp of the Syrian army said, "This day is a day of good tidings," but it was not the good news of salvation from sin; no, it was salvation from starving to death. (2 Kings 7:9.)
If a parent in any live Christian family should say to a child, “Bring me the book,” the child without inquiry would bring the Bible. Without the definite article “the” a child could bring any book and obey the request of the parent.
Seventh-day Adventists have a phrase which is more common to their parlance than “the gospel” is to the New Testament. "The truth" is proverbial among them in print, pulpit, and pew. It means “the third angel’s message.” If a stranger should bear testimony in one of their social meetings and use the expression. “I love truth,” would they consider him a faithful SDA? But if he said “I love the truth,” he would be classified at once as one of them.
If a man should declare that he loved and obeyed “the truth” but did not keep the seventh-day Sabbath, they would at once accuse him of bearing false testimony; but if he said “truth” they would consider him a good prospect. The omission of the definite article “the” from the expression “the truth”, is very significant to every SDA, and rightly so according to their creed. It is no less significant when omitted from before “gospel” in the first angel’s message.
The angel tells exactly what his good news is. Refer back to the scripture as quoted and it will be clear to the careful reader what the good news of the message is. No, it is not “Fear God and give glory to Him,” for that is not good news, but an exhortation in view of the good news. No, it is not “worship Him that made heaven and earth,” for that also is an exhortation. The good news is couched in seven words of everlasting glad tidings, “the hour of His judgment is come.”
This good news is not salvation from the sins of a wicked world, but from its sinners.
That the announcement, “the hour of His judgment is come” is indeed good news is abundantly shown in the same book of Revelation. Notice the following:
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held : and they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” Rev. 6:9, 10.
This loud cry of the blood of the martyrs for punitive judgment is answered with the statement that they “that dwell on the earth” will kill the brethren of these martyrs for a “little season,” yet future, and then the cry for judgment will be answered.
When the hour comes for this bloody work of killing the saints to be ended forever in the destruction of those who have drunk their blood, will not the announcement that this judgment hour has come be indeed good news to the saints of both heaven and earth? And this is the good news of the first angel's message.
Notice that the souls under the altar are not begging the Lord to start an investigation to see whether an atonement should be made at the mercy seat to silence the claims of a broken law for their death as transgressors of that law; but they are crying to God with a loud voice petitioning Him to “judge . . . them that dwell on the earth,” those who had slain them “for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.” Let us now notice those scriptures which record the answer of God to the cry of the martyrs for judgment upon their persecutors, and the joy and rejoicing which follows.
“And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous. 0 Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be. because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.” Rev. 16:4-7.
This promised judgment is pictured in the 18th chapter. Speaking to the nations whom Babylon has made drunk with the wine of her fornication. God says:
“Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is l he Lord God who judgeth her.” . . . “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.” Rev. 18:6-10.
The word “judgment” or “judgments” in Rev. 18:10 and 19:2 certainly means God’s punishment on the wicked, and not an investigation. By what authority can any one affirm that “judgment” in the first, angel’s message means something else, when they are all translated from the same Greek word?
By this time the reader must be deeply impressed with the truth that the announcement that the hour of God’s judgment is come , is indeed “eternal good tidings,” and it is good tidings because it announces the destructive judgments of God upon the persecutors of His saints and their eternal deliverance thereby. But the shouting has only begun.
“And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts [living creatures] fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Rev. 19:4-6.
Who has been reigning? “The woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” Rev. 17:18.
Notice that all this tremendous rejoicing in heaven and earth, of the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures and the saints “small and great,” is over the fact that the hour of God’s judgment has come and He has by His punitive judgments delivered His saints from those who were persecuting them.
The first angel’s message is therefore plainly, “eternal good tidings” from God, when it announces that “the hour of his judgment is come.”
The first angel will deliver his message when Babylon begins to declare “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow”; when “all that dwell upon the earth shall worship” the beast, "saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” When all the world, except the faithful “remnant,” are intoxicated with admiration for the glory of the beast and the woman seated upon him, it will be considered high treason to declare that God is about to destroy that wicked combination. It will take men of more than ordinary faith and courage to give the first angel’s message, and it will take more than human power to prevent these messengers from being wiped off the earth. But God will have faithful servants to deliver His message when the time comes and He will take care of them.
Chapter 2. The Investigative Judgment in Advent History
The first angel’s message or “judgment message,” as it is called in Advent parlance, was given by Wm. Miller and his followers prior to Oct. 22, 1844. They gave the correct interpretation of this message. The idea that a cleansing work was to take place in heaven never entered their minds. They taught that the judgment of the first message was the destruction of the wicked.
After the great disappointment of Oct. 22, 1844, they lived in almost daily expectation of the Lord’s return. As they continued to look and wait, they were plunged into deeper and deeper perplexity. Explanations of their disappointment multiplied. As new theories were advanced the Advent hand was divided into many factions. There were two outstanding differences of interpretation which resulted in parting the Advent believers into two very hostile camps. These two teachings related to the close of probation and the termination of the 2,300 days. The seventh-day Sabbath came in a little later which widened the breach between the two factions.
Early in 1845, one group began teaching that they had made a mistake in their reckoning and therefore the 2,300 days did not end in 1844. They readjusted their figures and continued to select dates for the termination of the prophetic period and the coming of the Lord. For a time, they also taught the “shut door” but in April, 1845, they met in conference at Albany, NY, and repudiated the “shut door,” and went to work to convert sinners. This group turned against the seventh-day Sabbath and were therefore called First-day Adventists.
The other group, led by James White and wife, Joseph Bates, and others, continued to stand stoutly for the termination of the 2,300 days in 1844, the “shut door” and later, for the Sabbath. They, of course, were called Seventh-day Adventists. These outstanding differences which distinguished the two groups, no well-informed, honest Adventist will deny.
Both factions continued to set time for the lord to return: the one by readjusting the time of the termination of the 2,300 days; the other by speculating on what was going on in heaven.
The followers of the Whites never varied from their teaching that the 2,300 days terminated Oct. 22. 1844. Having fixed the date their only explanation lay in the event that took place in 1844. Both groups were blessed with fertile imaginations and they made good use of them. One ran wild on shifting dates for the beginning and ending of the prophetic periods, while the other kept pace by portraying heavenly scenes, and by this means shifted dates for the Lord to come.
Early in their disappointment the SDAs taught that Christ went into the presence of the Father to receive His kingdom, and would therefore return to the earth after the coronation. This was of short life. Then He had gone into the most holy to make atonement; later they had to be sealed with the Sabbath. The last and most permanent theory, the one still taught, is known as the investigative judgment.
The investigative judgment as taught by the denomination is an invention, and not a discovery. It was the outgrowth of a series of very grievous disappointments.
The Investigative Judgment Defined
We will let James White and Mrs. E.G. White define what they mean by the investigative judgment.
“The investigative judgment takes place prior to the second advent, and the resurrection of the just, that it may be known who are worthy of the first resurrection.” James White, Life Incidents, p. 323.
Note: For brevity we will use I. J. for investigative judgment.
With these plain statements before them the Review and Herald, Oct. 29, 1931, affirms that the I. J. is not to inform God, because He knows, “because He is infinite; but men and angels do not know because they, both men and angels, are finite. The reason for a judgment, then, is that finite beings may not only believe that God is just, but that they may know both the perfection of His justice and the depth of His mercy.”
In this statement the denominational paper puts itself squarely against their own prophet in two points. First, Mrs. White and all the denominational literature teach that the I. J. is for the purpose of informing God; and second, Mrs. White repeatedly states that the angels do know as well as God. In Testimonies. Vol. 1, p. 544. she says: “Heavenly angels are acquainted with our words' and actions, and even with the thoughts and intents of the heart.” See also Vol. 2, pp. 181, 442; Great Controversy, p. 486.
The Review and Herald teaches that the dead are unconscious until the resurrection, therefore no I. J. can inform the dead till after the coming of Christ when they are returned to life. Also, the denomination, including Mrs. White, teach that the I. J. is finished before the resurrection, that God “may know who are worthy of the first resurrection.” If the I. J. is all finished before the first resurrection, then poor, finite men will never have the privilege of knowing either "the perfection of his justice" or “depth of His mercy.”
Then how inconsistent to teach that an I. J. began in 1844, if God and the angels know “every secret sin” and "the thoughts and intents of the heart" and the dead are unconscious till the I. J. is all finished.
The Investigative Judgment In Progress Eighty-Seven Years
“The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. Forty years has this work been in progress. Soon — none know how soon — it will pass to the cases of the living.” Mrs. E. G. White, Spirit of Prophecy Vol. 4, p. 315. Published 1884.
If it had been in progress for forty years in 1884, it has now [as of 1950] been in progress for over eighty-seven years.
James White stoutly opposed the Investigative Judgment
The theory of the I. J. is not only contrary to the Scriptures, but is also contrary to the teachings of the pioneers, including Mrs. White. Capt. Bates taught the I. J. not many years after the disappointment, but James White vigorously combated Bates’ theory. After quoting Matt. 25:31-33. he says:
“This scripture evidently points out the most important events of the day of Judgment. That day will be 1000 years long. — 2 Pet. 3:7, 8. The event which will introduce the Judgment Day, will be the coming of the Son of Man, to raise the sleeping saints, and to change those that are alive at that time...
I. J. Contrary to the "Visions"
This was published in May, 1847, yet Brother Bates continued to teach his theory of the I. J. To meet this heresy of Capt. Bates, Mrs. White had a vision on Jan. 5, 1849, in confirmation of her husband’s position on the judgment. In this vision she says:
“I saw that the anger of the nations, the wrath of God, and the time to judge the dead, were separate and distinct, one following the other.” Early Writings, p. 36.
These quotations show that James White and his wife did not believe the I. J. would begin until after the first resurrection. Mrs. White defined the wrath of God to mean the seven last plagues. (See Early Writings, p. 64). We can therefore substitute the "seven last plagues" in the above quotation for “the wrath of God.” It would then read, “I saw that the anger of the nations, the seven last plagues, and the time to judge the dead, were separate and distinct, one following the other."
This was given Jan. 5, 1849. Therefore, the seven last plagues must have come before this date, or the I. J. had not commenced.
I. J. Without Foundation in the Word of God
But we have more positive evidence on the part of James White against the I. J. In the Advent Review of Sept., 1850, James White says:
“Some have contended that the day of judgment was prior to the second advent. This view is certainly without foundation in the word of God...
Language could not be stronger to show that the Whites did not believe in an investigative judgment up to the close of 1850, six years after the disappointment. Notice some of the strong expressions in this article: “that the day of judgment was prior to the second advent . . . is certainly without foundation in the word of God.” Notice that he also states most positively that the first angel’s message “does not prove that the day of judgment came in 1840, or 1844, nor that it will come prior to the second advent.”
Daniel 7: 9, 10, 13, 14
Also, it is worthy of note that Elder White uses Dan. 7:9-ll to prove that the judgment could not begin prior to the second coming of Christ. For seventy years this scripture has been used by the denomination to prove that the I. J. began in 1844; while Brother White uses it as forcibly to prove that it could not begin prior to the first resurrection.
Since about 1857, till a few years ago, the denomination has been united in teaching that Dan. 7:9, 10, 13, 14 announced the beginning of the I. J. Of the many proofs in support of this fact we cite but one. After quoting the above scripture Mrs. White says:
“Thus was presented to the prophet’s vision the opening of the investigative judgment.” Spirit of Prophecy Vol. 4, p. 307.
Some of the Bible students in the denomination have recognized the shallowness of such an application and have tried to correct the blunder.
In the Sabbath School Quarterly for third quarter, 1927, page 30, is found a lesson on the I. J. We reproduce two questions from this study: “Question 17. Who are to be judged after the saints are taken with Jesus to Heaven? 1 Cor. 6:2,3; 2 Pet. 2:9. Emphasis mine.
“Question 18. How is this judgment scene described? Rev. 20:4; Dan. 7:9,10.”
This is the true interpretation of Dan. 7:9,10, and agrees with the position of James White in 1850.
Another worthy effort has been made to correct this long-standing blunder. The denomination publishes a little semi-monthly known as Present Truth, intended for general missionary purposes. It is very widely circulated among the general public. In the edition of April 1st, 1929, is given a Bible reading. Question No. 3 reads as follows: “3. When the papacy falls, what will take place?” In answer they quote Dan. 7:13, 14, 27.
The SS Lesson teaches that Dan. 7:9-14 describes a judgment scene “after the saints are taken with Jesus to Heaven," and Present Truth teaches that it takes place after the "papacy falls." Did the papacy fall in 1844? Have the saints been taken to heaven yet? Then the judgment scene in Dan. 7:9-14 is still future. In spite of the honest efforts of the writers of the SS lessons and the editors of the Present Truth to correct this aged error, the editor of the Review and Herald continues to teach the old blunder.
The I. J. is based on a more palpable error than the wrong application of Dan. 7:9-14 — that is, the meaning of the term “within the vail.” This will be considered in the next chapter.
I. J. Not Indorsed for Ten Years After 1844
The investigative judgment as it is held today, was not introduced into the denominational literature aside from Capt. Bates’ privately published pamphlets, for at least ten years after the disappointment. In the spring of 1854, Elder Loughborough suggested the idea of the I. J. in a private letter. The idea seemed to strike Uriah Smith, assistant editor of the R&H, favorably, as his published comments on Elder L’s letter indicate. The idea lay dormant for about three years before it received any consideration in the R&H. Smith and Loughborough were not among the pioneers until 1852, both being too young to take any part in the '44 movement. Evidently, they were not conversant with the position taken by James White and endorsed by Mrs. White in vision regarding this subject before they connected with the work.
James White and His Wife Reverse Themselves
The strong position taken by James White and his wife against the I. J., was too fresh in their minds, and too fresh in the minds of their followers, for them to reverse their position so soon. Elder White waited therefore, for about three years, before endorsing the suggestion.
In the R&H of Jan. 29, 1857, James White reversed himself and endorsed the teaching of an I. J. For a number of years after the 1851 disappointment they floundered without any definite message regarding the advent. They felt most keenly the lack of something to mark the close of the 2300 days. Every explanation thus far had proved to be a dismal failure. The First-day Adventists were teaching that the 2300 days did not terminate in 1844. This the SDAs most stoutly combated. The people were demanding an explanation of what did take place in 1844 if the 2300 days ended at that time. They were completely without an answer. They had to find something to mark the termination of this long period, or capitulate to their most bitter enemies, the First-day Adventists. The I. J. offered their only escape. Therefore, James White shut his eyes to his former position, and enthusiastically supported the I. J. which a few years before he had stoutly combated.
After James White had reversed himself and was teaching the I. J., Mrs. White had another vision in which she was shown that the I. J. began in 1844. Her husband reversed himself in 1857, and Mrs. White followed suit in vision in 1858 (see Spiritual Gifts Vol. 1, p. 198).
It, is a notorious fact that none of the positions held by the denomination were revealed to them thru the visions of Mrs. White. In every case when she was shown any point of doctrine it was always after some of the pioneers had discovered some point of truth, or what they supposed was the truth, after which she went into vision and saw simply what her fellow-workers were teaching previous to her vision. Whatever the pioneers taught whether truth or error, if her husband endorsed it, she without exception, supported it in vision.
This fact is admitted by James White. In the R&H of Oct. 16, 1855, he says, “It should he here understood that all these views as held by the body of Sabbath-keepers, were brought out from the Scriptures before Mrs. White had any view in regard to them.”
Chapter 3. "Within the Vail"
The I. J. stands or falls on the meaning of the term "within the vail.” For over seventy years the denomination has taught that "within the vail” meant in the holy, or first apartment of the heavenly temple. Proof of this is legion, but because of limitation of space we will introduce but one testimony — but one which no SDA will dare to dispute. We quote from Great Controversy, p. 420.
"The ministration of the priest throughout the year in the first apartment of the sanctuary, ‘within the vail’ which formed the door and separated the holy place from the outer court, represents the work of ministration upon which Christ entered at His ascension.”
But if it can be shown from the Scriptures that the expression "within the vail” is applied to the most holy apartment of the sanctuary, then Christ entered the most holy at His ascension and the argument that He waited till Oct. 22, 1844, before entering the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary falls to the ground.
"Within the vail" is a Bible term, therefore we must go to the Bible to find what it means. My SDA brother, are you willing to test your interpretation by this standard and abide by the evidence?
The phrase "within the vail" is found but once in the New Testament, but it appears five times in the Old. It being a borrowed term from the time of the tabernacle service we must necessarily go to the Old Testament for an explanation of its meaning. For the convenience of the reader we reproduce every example of its use in the 0T in the order in which they appear.
Ex. 26:33. "And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayst bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.”
Here we have five verses in which “within the vail” occurs, and there are no other examples in the 0T. In every case, without a single exception, the term refers to the most holy place. We challenge any one to deny this fact.
Without the Vail
If within the vail refers to the second apartment then without the vail must apply to the first apartment in which were located the candlestick, the altar of incense, and the table of shewbread. This expression is found four times in the Bible. We reproduce them all.
Ex. 26:35. “And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.”
As truly as the term "within the vail" refers to the most holy place, the term “without the vail,” refers to the holy place. There are no exceptions.
Before the Vail
“Before the vail,” like “without the vail” always refers to the first apartment. It is used but four times, as follows:
Ex. 30:6. “And thou shalt put it [the altar of incense.] before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony.”
The word “vail” as applied to the tabernacle is found 25 times in the Old Testament, and in every case it is applied 1o the curtain between the first and second apartments. True, the door to the tabernacle was a curtain, but the 0T writers never called it a vail, much less "the vail.” It is called “the hanging for the door” or “the door of the tabernacle,” and “before the door of the tabernacle” always refers to the court in front of the tabernacle.
The Vail In the New Testament
The word “vail” (or veil, as it is spelled) referring to the temple is found six times in the New Testament. In Matt. 27:51. Mark 15:38, and Luke 23:45 we find the account of the rending of the veil at the death of Christ. That the veil in these three gospels refers to the curtain between the first and the second apartments no loyal SDA will dare deny, for Mrs. White says,
“At the moment in which Christ died, there were priests ministering in the temple before the vail which separated the holy from the most holy place. Suddenly they felt the earth tremble beneath them, and the vail of the temple, a strong, rich drapery that had been renewed yearly, was rent in twain from top to bottom by the same bloodless hand that wrote the words of doom upon the walls of Belshazzar’s palace. The most holy place, that had been sacredly entered by human feet only once a year, was revealed to the common gaze.” Spirit of Prophecy Vol. 3, pp. 166, 167. See also Desire of Ages, pp. 165. 756.
These citations show that Mrs. White taught that when the NT uses the term “the vail” without qualification, it means the curtain between the two apartments. And let no one try to dodge the force of this fact by affirming that the temple in the time of Christ had but one curtain, for Mrs. White, at least twice speaks of the curtain that was rent at the time of Christ, as “the inner veil.” See Desire of Ages, pp. 165, 765. If it was “the inner veil” then there must have been an outer veil.
The other three uses of the veil in the NT are found in the epistle to the Hebrews.
Heb. 9:3. “And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all.” All agree that this refers to the most holy place. The fact that it calls it “the second veil” has no significance whatever, only to show that there was a curtain at the door, which no one denies.
Heb. 10:20. “By a new and living way. which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” The 19th verse shows that it applies to "the holiest."
We now come to the climax of the controversy: what does “within the veil” mean in Heb. 6:19,20? It reads
“Which entereth into that within the veil: whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.”
In every other place where the phrase “within the veil” is used in the entire Bible, it always, without exception, refers to the most holy place. Wherever the word “vail” or “veil” is found in the entire Bible, used in connection with the sacrificial services, it also, without exception, means the curtain between the first and second apartment, unless it is this one in Heb. 6:19. Mrs. White herself defines “the veil” when used without qualification, as the curtain dividing the two apartments.
With all this array of evidence, what authority has anyone to teach that “within the veil” in Heb. 6:19 refers to the first apartment? There isn’t a heresy in all the religious world so hopelessly without Bible foundation as the teaching that, “within the veil” means in the first apartment. If the SDAs have a right to teach that “within the veil” means in the first apartment, then the Sunday advocate has an equal or greater right to teach that “Sabbath” in the NT means the first day of the week. And my brother, they may drive you into a very uncomfortable corner unless you correct this outstanding blunder.
What Does It Mean?
If “within the veil” means in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, then Christ was in the most holy place when Paul wrote the letter to the Hebrews. If Christ was in the most holy place in the days of Paul, then He did not move from the holy to the most holy in 1844.
The idea that Christ waited till 1844 to go into the presence of the Father is not only an unadulterated piece of imagination, without even the shadow of support in the entire Bible, but is contrary to the united teachings of the Scriptures. Whenever the position of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary is mentioned, He is always placed in the holy of holies. Mark says, “He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God." 16:19. Peter places Him “by the right hand of God exalted.” Acts 2:33; 1 Pet. 3:22. Stephen saw Him “standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55. Paul, no less than seven times recognizes Christ at “the right hand of God.” See Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2.
No Bible student this side of John, aside from SDAs, ever thought of retaining Christ in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary a single day after His ascension. All the apostles, reformers, and Bible teachers recognized Him “at the right hand of God,” in the very presence of the Father; and there they directed their prayers. Mrs. White most certainly told the truth when she wrote that Satan answered all the prayers that were directed to the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary, (see Early Writings, p. 261) for no well-informed Christian ever thought of directing his prayers to any other place than the very presence of God, who has always been in the most holy place. To accuse anyone who has ever prayed of directing his prayers to the first apartment is an insult to his intelligence; and for anyone to teach that Christ remained in the first apartment, till 1844, and then moved into the second apartment is a disgrace to his intelligence.
Chapter 4. Use of the Books in Judgment
The Book of LifeThe “book of life” has an important bearing on the study of the investigative judgment. It is found eight times in the NT and seven of these are in the book of Revelation.
God promises the “overcomer” that He “will not blot out his name out of the book of life” (Rev. 3:5); but warns that he “will take away his part out of the book of life” whoever takes anything “away from the words of the book of this prophecy.” (22:19).
“All that dwell upon the earth shall wonder” (17:8) and “worship” the beast, “whose names are not written in the book of life” (13:8); and “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (20:15). “They which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” will have the privilege of entering into the city. (21:27). The book of life is opened at the time the dead are judged. (20:12).
The third angel’s message is a warning against “the worship of the beast and his image.” This warning is given before the close of probation. The giving of this message completes the division of the world into two classes: those whose names are written in the book of life, and those who worship the beast and his image. The book of life determines who are to be saved without any investigation.
When Are the Names Recorded in the Book of Life?
When the disciples returned from their missionary tour, they rejoiced that the devils were subject to them thru the name of Christ. He said unto them, “Rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20. When were they to rejoice? When were their names written in heaven? Surely, they were privileged to rejoice then, because their names were at that time on record in the book of life.
Paul wrote to the Philippians to “Help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life.” Phil. 4:3. When were their names written in the book of life? Evidently when they believed, before Paul wrote that letter. If they remained faithful unto death, then their names are still there. Then has God been obliged to examine every deed of their lives to determine whether they “are worthy to have part in the first resurrection?”
Daniel says. “At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” 12:1.
If the name of every one who believes is written in the book of life when he believes, and the book of life determines who shall be saved, then what is the use of God taking time to examine the record of every name, to determine who are to be saved?
“The Books Were Opened”
The Word plainly teaches that there shall be a judgment, and that books are to be used in that judgment. This fact is made plain in both the New and the Old Testaments. John gives us a picture of this judgment with associated events, in Rev. 11:18.
“And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them which destroy the earth.”
This judgment is again pictured in Rev. 20:12.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of 1ife: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
Daniel draws another picture of the same scene. See Dan. 7 :9, 10. Notice, it is the dead and the dead only that are to be judged when the books are opened. James White taught the truth when he wrote that this judgment did not begin till after the first resurrection. This judgment does not begin till after Heaven declares, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that, is holy, let him be holy still. And behold I come quickly." Rev. 22:11,12. This fiat goes forth before the return of the Master and certainly settles every case as to their salvation; therefore, when the books are opened it is not for the purpose of deciding who are to be saved.
For What Purpose Are the Books Kept?
If the books are not kept for the purpose of determining who are to be saved then what are they for? Certainly, God does not need a set of books to guide Him in making decisions, for as Elder White said. “The names of the saints are written in heaven, and Jesus and the angels will certainly know who to raise and gather to the New Jerusalem."
“We are made a theatre unto the world, and to angels: and to men.” 1 Cor. 4:9, margin. The intelligences of heaven not only understand our actions but they can read the thoughts and motives which prompt our actions. Not so with man; he is not able to go behind the actions, nor is he able to see the strivings of the spirit of God with sinful men. Many men and women appear to us as very saintly, while they are most corrupt at heart. If, when we get to heaven, some of our dear ones or friends, who seemed to us to be honest Christians, are not there, we will be perplexed to know why. If we had no means of learning the facts, we would have cause to wonder whether God was just in excluding them. The books are for the purpose of enlightening the redeemed; and when we have examined their records, and have seen how God put forth every effort to save them and they rejected all His efforts, then we will be satisfied with the justice of God and will unite in singing, “Righteous art thou. 0 Lord, and upright are thy judgments.” Ps. 119:137.
The saints are to have part in the judgment. (See 1 Cor. 6:3.) This fact forces us to one of two conclusions, either the people to whom Paul was writing went to heaven before 1844, or else the I. J. does not begin till after the resurrection.
I hear someone quote Rom. 14:10, “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ,” and from that argue that the righteous as well as the wicked must be judged. If a judgment seat had only the function of investigating or weighing evidence, such an application would be warranted; but a judgment seat is a place of sentence as well as a place of investigation. We must all stand before Christ for the purpose of receiving our sentence.
The righteous receive their crowns and the wicked their death sentence. If you object to this explanation because the two events are a thousand years apart, then explain John 5:28, 29, “The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” Here the two resurrections which are a thousand years apart, are spoken of as taking place in one hour. It is worthy of note that the word “damnation” in this text is translated from the same Greek word from which “judgment” is translated in the first angel's message.
Chapter 5. The Investigative Judgment Denatures the Gospel
One who believes the investigative judgment as taught by the denomination can have no conception of the gospel, much less can he enjoy its blessings. The two are as opposite to each other as sin and righteousness.
The gospel is the good news of salvation from sin thru faith in the redeeming merits of Christ. Every one who knows and accepts the gospel has the assurance that he is “accepted in the Beloved;” he knows that he has salvation. How can one enjoy the good news so long as he must wait till God examines the books to see whether he is worthy of salvation? If God does not know who are to be saved till He examines the books, then certainly none of His children can know it till after the I. J. makes its report.
This is one of the reasons — if not the reason— the denomination never knew anything about righteousness by faith, for forty-four years, and then when it was presented to them at the Minneapolis Conference, in 1888, they did not accept it. (That it was rejected, see “Christ Our Righteousness,” p. 86. and “Forty Years in the Wilderness,” p. 29.) Those who rejected righteousness by faith exercised good judgment so long as they believed and taught the I. J.
Reader, ask the leaders to harmonize their theory of the I. J. with the following texts:
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 Jn. 5:12.
The two verses from the American Standard Version are true to the Greek, “Condemnation” in John 5:24, in the Authorized Version is translated from the same Greek word from which “judgment” is translated in the first angel’s message.
“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life,” and “shall not come into judgment;” while “he that believeth not the Son shall not see life,” and “hath been judged already.” This is a present condition, when one “believes,” and not something to be longed for after the investigative judgment.
If the believers have “everlasting life” already, and the unbelievers are “judged already,” God must know it; then what is the use of God spending nearly a hundred years examining the books to “determine who are prepared for the kingdom of God,” as the denomination teaches?
The I. J. robs one of the joy of the gospel and belittles God, reducing Him to a mere man, and a second rate man at that, for every well-regulated business keeps the accounts of its servants or patrons strictly up to date.
Mrs. White in speaking of the I. J. says:
“As the books of record are opened in the judgment, the lives of all who have believed on Jesus come in review before God. Beginning with those who first lived upon the earth, our Advocate presents the cases of each successive generation, and closes with the living. Every name is mentioned, every case closely investigated.” Great Controversy, p. 483.
According to this the names of all the worthies from Abel to John will have to be passed on in the I. J. which began in 1844.
According to Paul, Abel knew nothing of the I. J. or else he had the wrong “witness.” Listen to Paul ’s testimony: “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous.” Heb. 11:4. In fact the same is said of the entire list mentioned in this eleventh chapter. The RV and the ASV render the 39th verse, “And these all, having had witness borne to them thru their faith.” Was that a false witness? "God forbid." How ridiculous to teach that Abel, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, the two Johns, Peter, Paul, Timothy, and all the others whom God used mightily must have their names come up in the I. J. to determine whether they are “prepared for the kingdom of God.” Even more ridiculous to think that God had to wait till after Oct. 22, 1844, to know whether Abraham, Moses and Paul were “prepared for the kingdom.”
If the Bible writers had known of the I. J. they certainly would have put a codicil to some statements. Paul should have said, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" if he doesn’t fall down in the 1. J. Rom. 10:13.
“I have fought a good fight. I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness,” if I don’t lose it in the I. J. 2 Tim. 4:7. 8.
And John should have said, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord” if they get, thru the I. J. Rev. 14:13.
“I saw under the altar the souls of them that, were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. ... And white robes were given unto every one of them” after 1844 if they pass the I. J. Rev. 6 :9,11.
No doubt some of our critics will accuse us of being sacrilegious; but if applying a dogma is sacrilegious, what about the dogma that necessitates such an application? In no other way can these and many other scriptures be made to conform to the dogma of the I. J.
If the I. J. is a fact, then Christians thru the ages have been deceived in rejoicing in God’s promises. What good are the following promises to one who believes the I. J.?
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Ps. 103:12.
“I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.” Is. 44:22.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Is. 55:7. This promise is intended to apply while the penitent is able to think, and is not restricted to the period after 1844.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Jn. 1:9. When? most certainly when one confesses, and not in the I. J. If a sinner is forgiven and cleansed when he confesses must he and God wait till after his case is decided in the I. J. before rejoicing in the fact? When is there “rejoicing in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,” when he repents or after he passes the I. J.?
Chapter 6. Conclusion
Building on a Faulty Translation
SDAs have been confirmed in their mistake by a superficial study of Acts 3:19. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Upon this unfortunate translation they have fortified their belief that the sins of the righteous were not blotted out until just before the coming of the Lord, or during the I. J. Had they consulted any [other] reliable translation they would have discovered their mistake. The RV and the ASV render it, “Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that, so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.” To this agree no less than a dozen other translations we have consulted; in fact, the Catholic translation is the only one that agrees with the Authorized Version.
“The seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord” is an immediate and frequent blessing to every Christian, and not a future event associated only with the coming of the Lord. One who has never experienced a “season of refreshing from the Lord” and is putting it off till the Master comes, knows little of the joy of the Christian life.
Mrs. White says in Gospel Workers p. 302:
“We are to be established in the faith, in the light of the truth given us in our early experience... We would search the Scriptures with much prayer, and the Holy Spirit would bring the truth to our minds... The power of God would come upon me, and I was enabled clearly to define what is truth and what is error,
Here we have a picture of the pioneers, including Mrs. White, spending as she says, whole nights in prayer and study of the Word, and then the Holy Spirit would bring the truth to their minds, and Mrs. White would go into vision and would be enabled “clearly to define what is truth and what is error.” Mr. and Mrs. White and others studied the Scriptures with much prayer, and, as they claim, the holy Spirit revealed to them that the I. J. “is certainly without foundation in the word of God;” and that those who were teaching that such a judgment began in 1840 or 1844 were mistaken; that the Holy Spirit revealed to them that it was revealed to Daniel (7:9-11) that the judgment could not begin till the saints were made immortal and the “Ancient of days came,” and the "little horn" ceased to prevail, which will not be until he is destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coining; that the Lord revealed to Paul that “the Lord Jesus Christ shall judge the quick and the dead at (not before) his appearing;” and therefore the first angel’s message “does not prove that the day of judgment came in 1840, or 1844, nor that it will come prior to the second advent.”
Thus was established in the “early days of the message” by “the pioneers” under “the power of the Holy Spirit,” and was confirmed by Mrs. White in vision, as well as by Paul and by Daniel, that the I. J. “is certainly without foundation in the word of God,” and that the first angel’s message does not teach that the 1. J. will come “prior to the second advent” because such a judgment is unnecessary, for Jesus, and the angels will certainly know who to raise, and gather to the New Jerusalem, without an investigative judgment.
So it is plain to be seen from their own teachings that we are on the “firm foundation,” established by “the pioneers” in the “early days of the message” and are “contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the pioneers, while the Whites and their followers, since 1858, are the “heretics,” who have departed from the sure foundation established by the pioneers and their prophet. It is against them that a warning should be sounded for being unsound in the faith, instead of against “the Gathering Call heretics.”
According to their present-day teaching, the only event that marked the termination of the great prophetic period, the 2300 days, was the announcement of “Christ’s moving from the first to the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary to begin the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary and an I. J.
This, according to their teaching, is the most important prophetic period of the entire Bible. It inaugurated “the greatest and most important religious movement this world has ever witnessed.”
Yet the great cornerstone of this greatest movement in the history of the world was not believed or taught by the body for twelve years after the termination of this great period. This great movement had gone into history twelve years, before the body endorsed the invention of the I. J.
According to their present position, the great religious awakening which God instituted under the leadership of William Miller, the movement which God so marvelously blessed and directed, which marked the beginning of the “greatest religious movement this world has ever witnessed,” never even caught sight of the great event which marked the termination of the 2300 days until years after the movement had gone into history as a great delusion. It was not only not given to the world, but was stoutly combated by the pioneers for at least six years after 1844; and was not taught by the body for twelve years after the great event had passed into history. Could anything be more inconsistent? Could God be put in a more ridiculous position than to record in His Word the longest and most important prophetic period in the entire Bible, and then launch a great world-wide movement to proclaim the termination of that period and not reveal to His messengers who were heralding this message to the world the event which God intended to mark the close of this “greatest and most important” period for twelve years after the period terminated? Then when they did settle upon an event to mark the close of this period twelve years after the failure of the great awakening, it was “without foundation in the Word of God.” It was not only without foundation in the Word of God, but is directly contrary to the spirit of the Gospel. The fact should not be lost sight of that according to their own present teaching the only event which marks the close of the 2300 days is the I. J. It should also be remembered that James White used all of the scriptures which they now use in support of the I. J. to show that no judgment began in 1840 or 1844.
The unscriptural invention of the I. J. has led many intelligent men to the most inexcusable blunders. In fact, their position on the first angel’s message has brought forth a bountiful hatch of untenable positions. Chief among these is their position on the atonement, which leads them to teach that the day of atonement began in 1844.
“The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross.” Great Controversy, p. 489.
This list might be continued ad libitum, but our limited space forbids.
We have shown that no kind of judgment began in 1844; that no kind of angelic message was given during the Miller movement: therefore, the first angel’s message has never been given, and consequently there is nothing to mark the close of any prophetic period in 1844. If the first message has not been given then what about the second and third?
The Second Angel's Message or the Fall of Babylon
"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" (Rev. 14:8).
Chapter 1. What is the Second Angel's Message?
No one can herald the second angel’s message unless he has a right understanding of “Babylon”. In the eighteenth chapter a call is given to God’s people to come out of Babylon. How could one warn the people of God to come out of Babylon if they did not know what or where Babylon was?
Suppose Jonah had gone to Jerusalem instead of Nineveh and given the message committed to him, would it have been the message of God? San Francisco had a great destructive earthquake and fire in 1906. If God had committed a message of warning to one of His servants to give to that city before the catastrophe, would he have carried out the commission if he had sounded a warning that Los Angeles was to be destroyed? Such a message to Los Angeles would not only have been a failure but would have been an injustice to the southern city and a sin against San Francisco.
In like manner a wrong understanding of Babylon in the second message would not only be a f ailure but an injustice to some one.
What is Babylon?
Babylon is found six times in the book of Revelation, and in every case it is used as a symbol. She is also called a woman six times, and a whore four times. It is a universal principle of interpretation that when the Bible gives a definition of a symbol, that definition must be applied to every use of the symbol unless the context shows that another meaning is intended.
The seventeenth chapter of Revelation is the dictionary of the book; and no one can understand either the second or third message without accepting the definitions given in this chapter. Here is God's definition of the woman, Babylon: "The woman which thou sawest is the great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Rev.17:18 RV. The margin reads, "hath a kingdom over the kings of the earth," and such a translation is according to the Greek.
The denomination accepts this definition of Babylon of the seventeenth chapter, therefore we will not introduce evidence beyond a quotation from Mrs. White.
"The woman (Babylon) of Revelation 17...that for so many centuries maintained despotic sway over the monarchs of Christendom, is Rome. And no other power could be so truly declared 'drunken with the blood of the saints' as that church which has so cruelly persecuted the followers of Christ." Great Controversy, p. 382.
Let us compare "Babylon the great" of the 17th chapter with "Babylon the great " of the 18th chapter:
The second angel's message is repeated and enlarged in the 18th chapter. Notice the similarity of the two.
Rev.14:8. "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all  nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
Can any one deny that "Babylon the great" of the 18th chapter is the same as "Babylon the great" of the 17th chapter? God defines Babylon of the 17th chapter as "that great city, which hath a kingdom over the kings of the earth," and Mrs. White says that Babylon in the 17th chapter is the Roman Catholic Church.
Since Babylon of the 17th chapter is admitted to be Rome, and Babylon of the 18th chapter is the same as Babylon of the 17th chapter, then Babylon of the 18th chapter must also be Rome. The same announcement is made against Babylon of the 18th, chapter, and for the same cause, as is made against Babylon of the 14th chapter, and if Babylon of the 18th chapter is Rome, then Babylon of the second angel's message is also Rome, and not fallen Protestant churches.
There is but one Babylon of the book of Revelation and any one who attempts to teach otherwise is ignorant, stupid, or blinded by a creed. My brother, if you contend that Babylon of Rev. 17 represents Rome, and Babylon of Rev. 14:8 represents Protestant churches that fell morally in 1844, how can you meet the Sunday Sabbath advocate if he contends that "Sabbath" of the book of Acts, or "the Lord's day" of Rev. 1:10 means Sunday? One is no more inconsistent than the other. To contend that Babylon of the second angel's message represents fallen Protestantism, one is obliged to ignore God's definition of Babylon and violate one of the most fundamental rules of sound interpretation.
No doubt some of our readers will ask, "Who teaches that Babylon represents Fallen Protestantism?"? Seventh-day Adventists have taught it for 70 years, and some of them are still teaching it!
Chapter 2. The Fall of Babylon the Great
Having shown from the Scriptures there is but one Babylon the Great in the Book of Revelation; we will now inquire What is her fall?
Nearly all the old Protestant writers agree that Babylon the Great of Rev. 17, is Rome with its ecclesiastical kingdom which has "for many centuries maintained despotic sway over the monarchs of Christendom."
But if Babylon the Great of the fourteenth and eighteenth chapters is Rome, what is the meaning of the announcement that she "is fallen?" How can Rome backslide when she has been morally fallen to the lowest depths for centuries?
The explanation is found in the truth that the term "fallen" has no reference to the backsliding of Babylon the Great, but to her destruction, her doom.
What is meant by her fall is plainly pictured in Rev. 18:21, as rendered in the Revised Version:
"And a strong angel took up a stone as it were a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with a mighty fall shall Babylon, the great city, be cast down, and shall be found no more at all."
The word "fallen" in Rev.14:8 and 18:2 is not the word for apostasy as used in 2 Thes. 2:3, "except there come a falling away first." The word is used twenty-one times in Revelation, and in all other instances refers to a falling down and not a backsliding. "Rocks, fall on us and hide us," (6:16); "and the tenth part of the city fell," (11:13); "and the cities of the nations fell" (16:19) ; "five are fallen," (17:10) ; "I fell at his feet," (19:10).
Is the moral fall of Protestants good news?
If the "fall" of Babylon is the moral fall of the Protestant churches as formerly taught, is it good news to announce that Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians have backslidden away from God? But it is good news to announce the destruction of that apostate church system that has made herself drunk with the blood of the saints.
Now that it is clear that the fall of Babylon is her "final destruction," how is it that God's people are called out of Babylon, after the announcement of her fall? Is it not rather late to call them out after her destruction has come?
The term "is fallen" has led to the conclusion that it must mean a moral fall. For how could it refer to a "final destruction" when the call "come out of her." follows the announcement of her fall?
Had they studied the announcement of old Babylon's fall, this would have been explained.
In Jer. 51:8, we have the announcement of the fall of old Babylon, and the term "is suddenly fallen and destroyed" was used while she was in the height of her glory. The explanation of this is that the prophet sees in a vision the city in ruins, and announces what he sees, and therefore he uses the present tense.
Again in verses 41 and 43 we have the prophet's vivid description of the ruin which his prophetic eye beholds:
"How is Sheshach taken! And how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! How is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations! The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and  a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth neither doth any son of man pass thereby."
That the prophet is describing a future destruction is clear from verses 60-64.
"So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Baby]on. and shalt see, and shalt read all these words; then shalt thou say, O Lord, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate forever. And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it and cast it into the midst of Euphrates: and thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her."
Here we have a complete parallel with the announcements concerning modern Babylon. First her destruction is announced in the present tense, then the people of God are called out (v. 45). And next a stone is tied to the prophecy and it is cast into the Euphrates with the announcement that "thus shall Babylon sink."
In like manner the "final destruction of modern Babylon" is announced in the present tense, because that destruction is seen by the prophetic eye of Christ whose testimony the angel announces (Rev. 1:13), and this is followed by the call, "Come out of her my people;" and the nature of the fall is pictured by the "mighty fall" (RV) of a millstone cast into the sea, with the words announcing a future ruin.
"Thus with a mighty fall shall Babylon, the Great city, be cast down, and shall be found no more at all." Rev. 18:21 RV.
With this scriptural explanation of the use of the present tense, all is clear.
Chapter 3. The Second Angel's Message in Advent History
The followers of Miller were looking for the Lord to come in 1843, but this disappointment was soon explained to their satisfaction by a recasting of their figures. They then centered their hopes on the spring of 1844—the time of the equinox. This disappointment was felt most keenly, while the world, and particularly the Protestant churches, turned sternly against them and their time-setting failures.
When they shifted their date to the fall of 1844, the churches were so disgusted with them that they closed their doors against them and denounced their predicted advent in no complimentary language. This attitude of the churches was met on the part of the Adventists with the most severe denunciations. They declared the churches to be "the synagogue of Satan," the "cage of every unclean and hateful bird," and called on the faithful to "come out of Babylon."
This call which was sounded during the summer was called the "Midnight Cry" or the second angel's message. Be it said to the credit of Miller that he never approved of this denunciation of the churches and took no part in it. The bitterness on the part of the Adventists toward the churches continued to intensify till the great disappointment of Oct. 22, 1844, and did not soften after this date for a generation or more.
The second angel's message finished in 1844
The pioneers taught that the second message was finished in the fall of 1844. Elder White taught:
"The second angel's message reached to the fall of 1844, when the cry—'Come out of her my people' closed."
The other pioneers, especially Joseph Bates, were as pronounced in their belief that the second message closed in 1844. James White also taught that no two of the messages were given simultaneously, but that they followed each other in succession. See Review and Herald Vol. 1, p. 15.
That the second message was an announcement of the fall of Protestant churches and was given in the summer of 1844 is confirmed by Mrs. White.
"When the churches spurned the counsel of God by rejecting the Advent message, the Lord rejected them. The first angel was followed by a second. . . . . This message was understood by Adventists to be an announcement of the moral fall of the churches in consequence of their rejection of the first message. The proclamation, 'Babylon is fallen,' was given in the summer of 1844, and as a result, about fifty thousand withdrew from these churches.
That Babylon represented fallen Protestant churches was the united position of the denomination until 1911. Some of the Bible teachers among them began to recognize that there was but one Babylon in the book of Revelation, and in every case it referred to the Roman church. But the "Spirit of Prophecy" had said that it could not refer to Rome, so they had to correct "inspiration" as well as their creed.
In 1888, Spirit of Prophecy Vol. 4, was revised and published as The Great Controversy. On page 383 of this edition is found the following:
"The message of Revelation 14 announcing the fall of Babylon, must apply to religious bodies that were once pure and have become corrupt. Since this message follows the warning of the Judgment, it must be given in the last days, therefore it cannot refer to the Romish, Church, for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries. Furthermore in the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation, in a message which is yet future the people of God are called come out of Babylon. According to this scripture, many of God's people must still be in Babylon. And in religious bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith."
In 1911, Great Controversy was again revised and an attempt was made to bring it into harmony with the Bible. Besides a few unimportant alterations, two major changes were made to the above paragraph under the approval of Mrs. White herself.
The more important change was made by the insertion of the word "alone," making it read, "therefore it cannot refer to the Roman Church alone, for that church has been in a fallen condition many centuries." The second is the omission of the words, "in a message which is yet future."
If anyone of normal intellect will carefully read this doctored paragraph and note how inconsistently silly it now reads, further comment would be unnecessary. Yet the defenders of inspiration (?) contend that the insertion "alone" does not alter the meaning in the least, but only makes her meaning plainer.
If you were tried for a capital crime and the jury brought in a verdict, "We find that the accused is not guilty of the crime charged against him," would it make any difference to you if the clerk read and recorded the verdict, "We find that the accused is not guilty alone of the crime charged against him?"
Read Rev. 14:8 and 18:1-5 and you will see at once that one is but the enlargement of the other. The 18th chapter only brings out the details of the second angel's message. The brethren saw this, so when they revised Great Controversy, Mrs. White consented to leave out the statement that the message of the 18th chapter was still future. Why? Because if the message of the 18th chapter is still future then the second angel's message is still future.
Which is inspired, the editions of 1884 and 1888, or the edition of 1911? One says the Roman church cannot be Babylon; the other says it is Babylon. One says the second angel's message is still future; the other says it was given in 1844. Both cannot be inspired. If both are inspired, some one will have to manufacture a new name for this brand of inspiration.
The insertion of "alone" in Great Controversy paved the way for the denomination to put itself right on the second angel's message. In 1913, the Sabbath School lessons for the second quarter taught that the second message is still future and is an announcement of the destruction of "Modern Babylon, the Church of Rome." It also calls it a "gospel message."
When Bible Readings was revised in 1916, it was made conformable to the previously published SS lessons. In speaking of the second message a note says, "The gospel message announcing her final overthrow should be a cause of rejoicing to every lover of truth and righteousness." The three closing questions of the study on the second angel's message are as follows:
This same Bible Readings, slightly abbreviated, was again published in "Present Truth," Dec. 1, 1929.
The denomination has put itself right on the second angel's message, it is now in harmony with the Bible; but from 1844 to 1913, it was completely out of harmony with God's word. That is, for nearly seventy years they taught a message that was not the second angel's message; was not a message of the Bible at all, but of merely human invention. It was not merely a false message but was a gross injustice to the Protestant world.
Again, the true second message has never been given to the world; then how about the third? Is the third angel's message to be given to the world before the second? Some more revising seems to be necessary. Some more very radical modifications must be made in Mrs. White's writings before the second message can be given by the denomination.
Chapter 4: When it was right to be wrong and wrong to be right
As previously stated, when the churches refused to allow the Millerites to no longer teach their mistaken predictions in their assemblies, the Adventists turned most bitterly against these churches and abused them in the most shocking language. In this abuse Mrs. White had no peers, as the following quotations will show.
The Devil answers the prayers of all other church members
"Those who rejected the first message could not be benefited by the second; neither were they benefited by the midnight cry, which was to prepare them to enter with Jesus by faith into the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary." Early Writings, p. 260.
Again, on page 22 of "Present Truth," published in August, 1849, we find the following:
"I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders, and false reformations would increase, and spread. The reformations that were shown me, were not reformations from error to truth; but from bad to worse; for those who professed a change of heart, had only wrapped about them a religious garb, which covered up the iniquity of a wicked heart. Some appeared to have been really converted. so as to deceive God's people; but if their hearts could be seen, they would appear as black as ever." (Note: A part of the above quotation will be found on page 45 of Early Writings).
Their prayers an abomination to God
"Satan has taken full possession of the churches as a body." Early Writings, p. 273.
Members of other churches are children of the Devil
"I saw that if the false covering could be torn off from the members of the churches, there would be revealed such iniquity, vileness, and corruption that the most diffident child of God would have no hesitancy in calling these professed Christians by their right name, children of their father, the devil; for his works they do." Early Writings, Old Edition, p. 93. (Note: It is found on page 228 of the new edition where they have tried to soften it down by putting it in the past tense).
The period covered by the Miller movement was marked with many outstanding characters, such as Alexander Campbell, Charles G. Finney, Albert Barnes, Adoniram Judson, John G. Paton, Robert Moffat and David Livingstone, none of whom ever accepted Miller's teachings.
Alexander Campbell was in the prime of his power during the 1844 movement. He was the editor of a religious paper known as the "Millennial Harbinger." No religious journal could ignore the excitement of the years from 1842 to 1844. Alexander Campbell in his publication frequently dealt with the Millerite movement. In a very kind and convincing manner he pointed out Miller's mistakes. He showed that Miller's chronology was faulty.
He also pointed out the fact that Babylon must fall before the coming of the Lord. Everybody could see that Babylon, which they all agreed was Rome, had not fallen. He also tried to convince the Millerites that the earth was not the sanctuary.
Dr. Campbell was not a scoffer. He spoke very highly of Miller and of many of his followers, and disapproved in very emphatic terms of the popular method of meeting Miller with ridicule and abuse.
Charles G. Finney
Charles G. Finney was one of the greatest, if not the most successful evangelists that the 19th century produced. Wherever he went, people of all classes and all professions were turned from their wicked ways to be faithful obedient servants of God. His whole active life reads almost like one continuous miracle of salvation.
He was a man given to much prayer, spending whole nights and sometimes, day and night in succession in private prayer.
This good servant of God, after he had been conducting these mighty revivals for twenty years, had the privilege of hearing William Miller in the great tabernacle at Boston. He listened to him a number of times carefully, and then invited Miller to his room for a personal interview. In a kindly spirit he showed Miller his mistake, and told him plainly that he would be disappointed. Miller acknowledged some of the arguments of Brother Finney, but his warning had no visible effect.
These were mighty men of God, leading sinners to repentance in this period but they did not endorse Miller's position. Can anyone doubt that these men were men of God, men that God used mightily in His kingdom? They passed thru the great '44 experience and all the time were working diligently with marked success for the conversion of sinners. This was as true after the 1844 period as it was before.
Charles Finney was conducting many of his revivals in the neighborhood where James White and his wife were laboring in northern New York, and were publishing the Review and Herald. So it is certain that Mrs. White came in contact with Finney's revivals near the time she wrote these condemnations. Whether this were true or not, Finney was included in the general denunciation of the revivals of that day.
Let us paraphrase one of these denunciations: "Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, (Finney and his followers) offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character, and leads the minds of these professed Christians (Like Finney and Moody) to himself, to fasten them in his snare."
Such outstanding men as Moffat and Livingstone, laboring in the jungles of Africa, Judson in Burma, and Paton among the cannibals of the islands, were faithfully sticking to their posts unmindful of the Miller movement, and God was blessing their labors. Yet, according to Mrs. White, they were among those who were "rejected by God," and their "prayers and exhortations" were an "abomination to God." She says, "I saw false reformations everywhere," not here and there, but "everywhere." "Everywhere" includes the foreign as well as the home field. You cannot escape it, brethren; you cannot explain it away; the only way out is to acknowledge the shame and suppress the book.
Yes, we are aware that Mrs. White says "I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches, and will gladly receive the truth." Early Writings, p. 261. None of these men of God were "called out from these churches," and they are all dead; therefore, they cannot be called out "before the plagues shall be poured out;" therefore, they are all included among those whom God rejected, and whose prayers were "an abomination to God."
Rejected of God for refusing to believe an error
Now, what was the great sin which led these men to be captured by Satan, and made their prayers an abomination to God? It could not have been the Sabbath question, for the test on the Sabbath, according to Mrs. White, did not come until after the disappointment. Proof:
"I saw that the present test on the Sabbath could not come until the mediation of Jesus in the holy place was finished, and He had passed within the second veil." Early Writings, p. 42.
Then what could it be that would cause these great servants of God to become agents of the devil? One of the above quotations explains the matter. It is because they rejected what Adventists were teaching as the first angel's message of the proclamations of the second coming of Christ in 1844.
In other words, these earnest, praying, Bible students saw that Miller was mistaken and refused to accept his mistake. Therefore for refusing to accept an error they were rejected of God. On the other hand those who accepted this error, this false teaching, this misinterpretation of the Word, were blessed of God and were made His favorite, chosen people.
Another sin, according to the teachings of this denomination, which was sufficient to turn these men over to be led of the devil, was the sin of not knowing that Jesus moved from the first to the second apartment of the heavenly sanctuary on the 22nd day of October, 1844.
Finney and all the Christians, except the followers of Mrs. White, believed that Christ entered "within the veil" into the second apartment at His ascension, instead of waiting till 1844 (Heb. 6: 19,20). These godly people who refused to believe a mere supposition, without a scintilla of evidence—yes, plainly contradicted by the Word—were rejected of God, and their prayers which were offered with simplicity and faith—with the same faith with which they were offered before the advent movement was started—never reached the Father, but were answered by Satan, simply because they did not know that Mrs. White, James White, and Joseph Bates had moved the Saviour into the Most Holy Place on Oct. 22, 1844.
Seventh-day Adventists the one object on earth dear to the heart of God
Of what gross unrighteousness does this make a just God guilty? It makes God condemn His faithful servants who diligently studied His Word. And because they were familiar with His Word and therefore detected the errors in the teachings of the Millerites and refused to accept these errors, and continued to do the work of their Master as they had done before, God rejected them but blessed with His richest blessings those who taught these errors and made them "a people in which all heaven is interested, and they are the one object on earth dear to the heart of God." Testimonies to Ministers, Ellen White, p. 41.
Speaking of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Mrs. White says: "The church, enfeebled and defective, needing to be reproved, warned, and counseled, is the only object upon earth upon which Christ bestows His supreme regard." Ibid., p. 49.
The position taken by these pioneers would necessitate recasting 2 Thes. 2:10-13. It should read somewhat as follows: They, Finney, Judson, Livingstone, and others, received the love of the truth that they might be saved. For this cause God sent them strong delusions that they might believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not this error, but had pleasure in righteousness: but we are bound to give thanks to God for you, Seventh-day Adventists only, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God from 1844 hath chosen you to salvation thru the Spirit of Prophecy and the belief of Miller's mistakes.
We do not wish to cast any reflections on Wm. Miller. He was a godly man, and honestly believed the message he gave. He was mistaken and after the time passed he acknowledged his mistake as all honest men should.
Any number of quotations could be produced from Mrs. White, James White, Joseph Bates, and the other pioneers to show that they considered revivals in other churches the work of the devil.
Moody was included
Such men of God as Moody were also included in these awful denunciations. In 1884, the denomination published "Synopsis of the Present Truth: a Brief Exposition of the Views of S. D. Adventists, by Uriah Smith." On page 45 is found the following question and answer regarding the fallen condition of the Protestant churches, "What can be said, of the efforts of modern revivalists?"
"Their condition in this respect has not improved since; and the spasmodic and emotional efforts of a Knapp, Hammond, Moody, and other modern revivalists, are not affording any permanent improvement. There is an advance truth for this age, and no permanent work of religious reform can be accomplished except in connection therewith."
Any one who is familiar with the moral corruptions of some of the ministers among Seventh-day Adventists, wonders that they should use such language as the above in describing other churches. Immorality manifested itself so much among their leaders that the general conference council was forced to take action to stem the growing sin.
The title to this chapter may have sounded strange to many readers, but it is confirmed in every jot and tittle by the teachings of the denomination. Every thinking man and woman familiar with the facts will say, "Shame!" And will continue to say, "Shame!" until the publishers correct this shameful teaching.
Strange as it may seem, Seventh-day Adventists still teach that it was wrong for Finney, Paton, Moffat and a host of others, to be right and it was right for James White, Mrs. White, and Joseph Bates, and their followers to be wrong, to teach error, and to lead people to believe that which was contrary to the Bible. They are the only people known to history who ever taught that it was wrong to be right and right to be wrong.
Early Writings a Disgrace to the Church
Early Writings is a disgrace to the denomination, and not a few of the leaders share this conviction. I appeal to you, brethren, as individuals and as a body, in the name of the God of Justice; in the name of common honesty and decency; acknowledge these mistakes and indecent abuses by your prophet and cast this book to the limbo of theological gibberish. Christian courtesy demands it; common decency demands it; the Bible truths for which you stand demand it, and all heaven will approve it. Will you do it or will you continue to merit the just indignation of all fair minded people?
The Third Angel's Message
Chapter 1: What is the Third Angel's Message?
The third angel's message is a most solemn warning against the worship of "the beast and his image," and receiving his mark in the forehead, or in the hand (Rev.14:9-11).
No one can understand, much less give, this message unless he knows what constitutes the beast and the image; and it is impossible for one to understand the third message unless he accepts the definitions of these symbols as given in God's Word.
What is the Beast?
The beast of the third angel's message is found 35 times in the book of Revelation. It is called "the beast" 32 times, "a beast" once, and "the first beast" twice. It is found in every chapter from the 11th to the 20th except the 12th and the 18th. The frequency of its use would indicate that the Spirit expected every reader to understand its meaning. God never uses a symbol of which He does not explain the meaning some place in His Word. As the judgment against those who worship the beast is the most solemn to be found in the Bible, therefore we have reason to expect to find it so minutely described that no child of God will be in doubt as to what it represents.
Its rise and part of its description is found in the 13th chapter; but is explained only in the 17th. We must therefore go to the 17th chapter to get God's interpretation of what "the beast " represents.
We have already shown in the study of the second angel's message that the "woman," "Babylon the great" of Revelation, is the Roman Catholic system. The beast had seven heads, and we are told that "The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth: and they are seven kings." (Rev. 17-9-10, ASV). "King" and "kingdom" are synonymous terms in Bible prophecy. See Dan. 7:17,23. Therefore, the seven heads, or mountains, are seven kingdoms, on each of which the Roman church sat as director or controller. This being true, all of the heads of the beast must be found during the period covered by the history of the Catholic Church. This excludes all kingdoms existing before the cross.
The territory over which the Roman Church exercised a controlling power for so many centuries must be the territory in which the beast with all his heads is located. Every student of history will recognize this field in Europe.
The Beast Explained
Said the angel to John:
"Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters. ... So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. ... And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns" (Rev. 17:1,3,7).
In explaining the seven heads of the beast, the angel says:
"The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth: and they are seven kings" (verses 9-10 RV).
We have now a divine explanation of the seven heads. They are seven kings. But as "king" and "kingdom" are used interchangeably in the Scriptures (see Dan. 7:17 and 23), we can correctly state, the seven heads are seven "kingdoms."
Next the angel explains that the seven kingdoms on which the woman sits do not exist at the same time, but appear one at a time, in succession.
"Five are fallen, and one is (the sixth), and the other is not yet come (the seventh); and when he cometh, he must continue a short space" (verse 10).
Since the beast appears under seven successive phases, or since seven successive kingdoms appear in the same territory and among the same people (for that, is what a number of heads on the same body symbolizes), and the symbolical woman controls each kingdom in its day, and since the angel shows John a vision of the woman sitting on the "beast," an important question is, Which one of these kingdoms is shown to John in the vision?
A clear-cut answer to this question is given to John by the angel, as follows:
"I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest (pictured in verse 3) was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition" (verses 7-8).
The angel has not yet told John the number of the head or kingdom which he showed him, but he does this later. He has, however, stated four important facts concerning the kingdom which he showed him in vision:
In verse 11 the angel tells John the number of the kingdom which he showed him in the vision with the woman seated on it.
"The beast that was, and is not, (this is the one he saw, v. 8) even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."
Next, at what time, is it said of this kingdom, it "was and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit and go into perdition?" Plainly it is at the time the sixth kingdom is reigning, for at the same time the angel says the eighth head "was and is not," he also says, "five are fallen and one (the sixth) IS." Therefore, at the time the sixth kingdom is reigning, the one that comes up, and is numbered 8, is in the bottomless pit or place of death. And since this kingdom is numbered 8, it must come up out of the bottomless pit after number seven. And thus it is clear that the eighth kingdom is a revival of one of the first five kingdoms that carried the woman and is in the bottomless pit (Greek, abussos, abyss) at least during the reign of the sixth and seventh kingdoms. The eighth, therefore, is not a revival of either the sixth or the seventh, as some teach, but is the revival of one which reigned prior to the sixth.
Neither is the eighth a revival of all seven, as some have taught. The expression "is of the seven," v. 11, is identical in the Greek, with the expression "one of the seven" spoken of Philip the deacon in Acts 21:8. The Greek in this text is "of the seven," as in Rev. 17:9, and no more means that Philip was composed of all seven deacons than the same expression in the previous text declares that the eighth kingdom was made up of all the seven. The expression in Acts, "one of the seven," is properly rendered, and the same Greek expression in Revelation could be just as properly rendered "one of the seven," and is so rendered by some translations. This rendering is the more evident from the fact that in Rev. 13:3 it is said, speaking of the same head, "I saw one of his heads as though it had been smitten unto death; and his death-stroke was healed" (RV). It is evident that the same one that was smitten to death, is the one that revives as number eight. The reason the expression "of the seven" is used, is that we might understand that it, is not a new kingdom, but a revival of one of the seven fallen ones. And that is the reason why there is an eighth when the beast only has seven heads. One kingdom arises, reigns, carries the harlot, is counted as one of the seven, falls, revives again after the seventh, reigns and carries the harlot again, is counted again, the eighth, fights the battle of Armageddon, and goes into perdition. "The beast that was, and is not, ('and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit') even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."
Chapter 2: The "Beast" a Federation of Nations
We have already learned that the "beast" is a kingdom. But it is more. In Rev. 17:1 we find the following:
"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment (destruction) of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters."
These many waters are clearly explained in the 15th verse thus:
"The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
The angel, therefore, promised to show John the destruction of the woman which is visited upon her at the time when she is sitting on "many waters," or, dropping the symbol, sitting on many nations, speaking many tongues or languages. That the angel fulfilled his promise and showed John the woman sitting on many nations speaking many languages, is seen in the 15th verse.
"The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
Where did John see the woman sitting on many nations which speak many languages?
"So be carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast...having seven heads and ten horns" (verse 3).
And now since the angel promised to show John the woman sitting on many waters or nations, speaking different languages; and since he fulfilled his promise, and John saw the woman sitting on many waters or many nations speaking many languages; and since the only thing the angel showed John on which the woman sat was a beast; it follows that the beast must represent a kingdom composed of many nations speaking different languages.
No, it does not take all of the seven heads and ten horns to compose the many waters or many nations. The woman did not sit on the seven heads at one time for the beast never had but one head at a time, and the one on which John saw the woman sitting is plainly declared to be "the eighth."
"I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest (carrying the woman) was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition," (as a result of the battle of Armageddon, Rev 19:20). "And the beast that was, and is not, (the one he saw carrying the woman, the one that went into the bottomless pit and comes up again) even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition" (verses. 7-8,11).
Therefore, the beast which John saw carrying the woman is the eighth and last kingdom to carry her, and is itself a combination of many nations speaking many languages.
Neither do the kings make up the many nations which compose this eighth and last kingdom. This eighth and last kingdom which we have found to be a combination of many nations, existed before the ten kings joined the combination.
"The ten horns...are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; (at the time the sixth kingdom is carrying the woman, and after 'five are fallen and one-the sixth-is') but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. ... For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled" (verses 12-13,17).
Thus, it is seen that the "beast" is not a combination of the ten kings, but is a combination of nations which exist before the ten kings give their kingdoms to this beast or combination of nations.
And the "words of God" which they fulfill by their federation with this first federation, is found in verse 16:
"And the ten horns which thou sawest, and the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her utterly with fire" (RV).
Again, it will be noticed that they give their power to the beast, (not to the woman) for the brief prophetic period of "one hour"; and for the purpose of destroying the woman which they accomplish under the seventh plague (Rev. 16:17-19). They, with the beast, then fight the battle of Armageddon and are destroyed in that battle.
" These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords and King of kings" (verse 14).
Chapter 3: The Image of the Beast
No man can know what the "image of the beast" will be until he knows what the "beast" was, when he "was" and what he will be when he shall "come again." If there is a mistake in the interpretation of the beast, there will be a corresponding mistake in the interpretation of the image. Nearly all commentators have blundered in their conclusions as to what the beast symbolizes. This mistake has been the result of a failure to see that the explanation of the seven-headed and ten-horned beast of Rev. 17 is the explanation of the seven-headed and ten-horned beast of Rev. 13.
There is no explanation of the beast of Rev. 13 in that chapter. And if the explanation of the beast of the 17th chapter is not the explanation of the beast of the 13th chapter, then there is no explanation of this beast.
The beast is not explained in the 13th chapter, but is explained in the 17th. From this explanation it would follow that the seven-headed and ten-horned beast of the 13th chapter is identical with the seven-headed and ten-horned beast of chapter 17.
There are at least five points of identity:
All commentators, Protestant and papal, are agreed that the beast of the 13th chapter is the same as the beast of the 17th chapter, but few have reaped the harvest of truth that is the fruit of that fact.
The two symbols being the same, it follows that whatever is written of the beast of the 13th chapter is true of the beast of the 17th, though it be not written of the 17th chapter beast in that chapter, and vice versa.
Of the seven heads of the 17th chapter it is declared that "they are seven kings" or kingdoms. It therefore follows that the seven heads of the 13th chapter represent seven kings or kingdoms.
It is stated of the seven heads of the 17th chapter that a symbolic, fallen woman called "Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots," sits on all these seven heads or kingdoms; therefore, the same symbolic woman sits on all the seven heads of the 13th chapter beast.
And since the woman is explained to be "the great city, which hath a kingdom over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17:18 RV), and since this evidently refers to Rome, the headquarters of that great ecclesiastical kingdom, the Roman Church; it follows that the same Roman Church sits on all the seven successive heads or kingdoms of the 13th chapter.
And since the Roman Church sits on all the kingdoms symbolized by the seven heads of the 13th chapter, it follows that no one of these seven heads of the 13th chapter can represent the Roman Church. For since the Roman Church sat on all the seven heads or kingdoms, that would make the Roman Church sit on herself, which is unreasonable and unscriptural.
Whatever is spoken of a particular head of the beast of the 17th chapter is true of that same head of the 13th chapter. Of the last head of the 17th chapter it is written that it represents a combination of many nations speaking many tongues.
"Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment (destruction) of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters" (Rev. 17:1).
That the angel showed John the woman sitting on the "many waters" is proven by verse 15.
"The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues."
But when John was shown the woman sitting on the "many waters," he was shown the woman sitting on the last head of the beast.
"So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns" (verse 3).
Thus is it proven that the beast upon which the harlot sits when her judgment or destruction comes, is a kingdom composed of many nations speaking many languages.
The woman is destroyed while sitting on this last league of nations and it must therefore be the last kingdom of a series of eight. There are eight because one that was smitten to death and went into the bottomless pit lives again and carries the woman the second time. Therefore, because one of the seven kingdoms carries the woman twice, the woman has eight successive sittings, although there are but seven heads.
That the woman is seen sitting on the eighth and last kingdom in the vision is emphatically stated. Compare Rev. 17:8 and 11.
And now, since we have found that the eighth or last head or kingdom of the 17th chapter, that carries the woman, is a league of many nations speaking many languages, it follows infallibly that the last head or kingdom of the 13th chapter is a league of many nations carrying the Roman Church.
The image of the beast is an image of this last head that carries the woman. "And" he, the two-horned beast, "deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying 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" (Rev. 13:14).
And since the beast of which an image is made is a league of nations carrying the Roman Church, it follows beyond denial that the image of the beast is an image of a league of nations carrying the Roman Church, and not an image of the Roman Church that will sit on that league of nations.
Since the beast, or kingdom, which will constitute the last throne on which the Roman Church will sit is a league of many nations speaking many languages, and one that carried her before, and fell, it follows that the kingdom must have been in Europe where history tells us the Roman Church did sit on just such a league of nations, blasphemously calling itself "The Holy Roman Empire." And it follows also that the image of the beast must be another league of nations outside the territory occupied by the first league, or outside of Europe.
The beast of the third angel's message, is a federation of nations; therefore the image must be another federation of nations, else it would not be an image of the beast. They are coexistent, therefore cannot, occupy the same territory.
The two-horned beast (United States) is the moving spirit in the formation of the image, and is the power which makes it effective (Rev. 13:11-17). The United States has been planning and working for many years to bring about a federation of the nations of the western hemisphere. The framework is already prepared in the Pan-American Union of the 21 republics of North and South America with headquarters at Washington, D. C.
The machinery of the League of Nations, centered at Geneva, Switzerland, is likewise perfected but thus far has had little or no power of control over its members. The lack of power in the European league has retarded the perfection of the American union, the image. But let a Napoleon come to the front and he will find the machinery ready for his use. When such a leader appears the revived wounded head, "The Holy Roman Empire" which was smitten to death by the preaching of the pure gospel during the great reformation under Luther, will spring into action; the Roman church will again take her place in the saddle; the Pan-American Union will then be quickened with power, and the stage will be set for the closing scene of this world's tragedy.
When this combination of the beast and his image springs into action, God's loyal servants will go forth in the power of the Spirit to give the third angel's message. When all the world is wondering after the beast and his image, it will mean something to face a united world and declare their great monument for the perfection of universal peace and the establishment of the kingdom of God, is the work of the Devil and is doomed to go to utter destruction under the speedy curse of God.
Are we ready for the battle? It will be intensive but short; and as sure as there is a God, His spirit-filled people will triumph gloriously.
Chapter 4: The Third Angel's Message in Advent History
When the Advent believers came to the 22nd day of October, 1844, they were confident they had given every message God intended to go to the world.
In the early days, some of the believers taught that the second angel's message was an announcement of the fall of Babylon; and the third message was a call to God's people to come out of Babylon; the fallen Protestant churches. This position had a short life.
Elder White defines the third angel's message thus:
"The third angel's message was, and still is, a WARNING to the saints to 'hold fast,' and not go back, and 'receive' the marks which the virgin band got rid of, during the second angel's cry.
The pioneers were teaching at this time that the mark of the beast was a connection with the fallen Protestant churches. They got rid of the mark by leaving the fallen churches, and therefore a return to these churches would be receiving the mark of the beast against which the third angel's message was a warning. For a couple of years after the disappointment, the third angel's message to them was a warning against going back into the churches and thus receiving the mark of the beast, and exhorting the believers to be patient and watch.
The Sabbath and Shut Door, the Third Angel's Message
In 1846, Mrs. White accepted the Seventh-day Sabbath. For the next five years the third angel's message consisted of keeping the seventh-day Sabbath and holding strictly to the shut door. In proof of this we quote from Capt. Bates.
"These in the seventh chapter [Revelation] are some of the same messengers that have continued to pass on thru the three messages in xiv: and are now 'keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.' 12th verse, the present truth of which is the keeping the seventh day Sabbath, and believe the door is shut." (Seal of the Living God, p. 17, 1849)
In No. 9 of Present Truth, published in April, 1850, James White devotes five of the eight pages to a discussion of the "Third Angel's Message". This article introduces the seventh-day Sabbath as the cornerstone of the third angel's message. We will introduce a few quotations from this article:
"All Advent believers agree that the first angel's message, (Rev. xiv, 6, 7) was to be fulfilled in the proclamation of the second advent of Christ to the church and world. If this position which is so generally taken, is correct then the other angels' cries certainly represent so many distinct messages to be proclaimed to God's people in this mortal state," (p. 65)
The Third Angel's Message Not for the World
The second angel's message reached to the fall of 1844, where the cry— 'Come out of her my people' closed when the time for the third came. A part of the third angel's message— 'Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God.' &c. We know that the saints' patient waiting time has been since their disappointment in 1844. Well here it is, and we all know it. We cannot be mistaken here. We know then that the time for this third message is now." (p. 68)
After quoting the first angel's message he says:
"This angel's message represents the last mission of mercy to the world; and it has been fulfilled." (p. 65)
In speaking of the third angel, he says:
"This angel delivers the last message of mercy to the scattered flock; therefore it is the sealing message." (p. 69)
In the Review and Herald of December, 1850, Elder Bates has an article covering four pages in which he discusses the present position of Advent believers. The title of the article is "Midnight Cry in the Past." In this article he teaches that the third angel's message will last about seven years and that "during all this time the door was shut."
According to the teaching of these pioneers, the first angel's message was to be given "to the church and the world." But the other two messages were to be given to "God's people." The first angel's message was "the last mission of mercy to the world." But the third angel "delivers the last message of mercy to the scattered flock."
The phrase "the scattered flock" is a very common expression in all of these early documents, and is always used to designate "the Advent believers," especially those who accepted the seventh-day Sabbath and the shut door.
After they ceased to teach the shut door they, concentrated their efforts on proclaiming the seventh-day Sabbath as the seal of God, and the observance of Sunday as the mark of the beast. For many years these two doctrines constituted the third angel's message among them.
Righteousness by Faith Added in 1888
At their General Conference held in Minneapolis in 1888, Elder A. T. Jones and Dr. E. J. Waggoner introduced the Bible teaching of righteousness by faith. This was a new doctrine among them and it met with very pronounced opposition from many of the leaders.
In Testimonies To Ministers and Gospel Workers, Mrs. White records the fact that Jones and Waggoner brought to the denomination the truth of righteousness by faith. In emphasizing the importance of this message, she says: "It is the third angel's message." (p. 92) In 6T 241, Mrs. White says: "The third angel's message is the gospel message for these last days." And on page 288, she declares that the medical missionary work is the right arm of the message.
In speaking of the Minneapolis Conference and the introduction of the truth of righteousness by faith at this Conference, Elder A. G. Daniells says:
"It should be borne in mind at this time that the course taken by the messengers in subsequent years has nothing to do with the positive statement, oft repeated, that they were led by the Lord to declare this fundamental truth of the gospel to His people at that particular time."
Jones was dismissed from the church by A. G. Daniells and his followers, and Waggoner likewise was separated from the denomination.
According to these quotations this, truth was brought to the denomination in 1888 and Mrs. White declares that, this truth "is the third angel's message."
Without the Third Angel's Message for Forty Four Years
If righteousness by faith is the third angel's message, then they were without the third angel's message until 1888; thus, for forty four years they were giving something to the world which they called the third angel's message, but which was not the third angel's message at all. For forty four years they were giving a false message to the world.
Yet, while they were barren of the truth of righteousness by faith—without which all other truths are vain—Mrs. White wrote: "It is as certain that we have the truth as that God lives." (4T 595)
Mrs. White wrote: "The Lord has singled us out, and made us subjects of His marvelous mercy." (4T 595) Published in 1881, seven years before they received righteousness by faith. Think of it! Here are a people who claim they are God's favorites, and are as sure that they have the truth as that God lives, when they did not know the truth at all; yet teaching that the people who did have the truth of righteousness by faith, were cursed of God, their prayers were an abomination to God, and were answered by Satan.
And these claims were not made by an obscure preacher, or a layman; but by their prophet whom they still claim was as much inspired when she made these statements as was Samuel, or Jeremiah, or John the Baptist. Was ever a people more deceived?
The Third Message Is a Warning 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 ascended 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" (Rev. 14:9-12).
There is no gospel in this message, neither is there any medical missionary work in it. Neither is there any righteousness by faith in this message. It was never intended to contain any of these. This message is a most solemn warning, the most solemn to be found in the entire Bible. It is a warning against worshipping the beast and his image, and receiving his mark. It delineates the awful punishment that will follow the neglect of this warning. The twelfth verse is no part of this message, but was made the third angel's message following the disappointment. Again we say, this message was never intended to be a gospel message. It is a warning pure and simple. It was intended to point out a sin which God considered most grievous. It is recorded for the purpose of warning people against falling into this sin. True, this message will lead many to seek a way of escape, and to recognize their need of help to escape the sin and its punishment. The gospel provides a way of escape, and the people whom God calls to give this message will have an experimental knowledge of the gospel, and unquestionably will be able to lead many to accept the gospel.
A mirror was never intended as an instrument with which to wash a man's face, and no one ever thinks of using it as a wash rag. If a man's face is dirty, it will point out that fact, but does not offer a remedy. It should stimulate the man to seek a sponge, some water, and probably a cake of soap.
In like manner, the third angel's message shows a man his need, and the same spirit which impresses the message, suggests the gospel as the only remedy or avenue of escape. It is quite as sensible to contend that a lighthouse is a lifeboat as to teach that righteousness by faith is the third angel's message.
We agree with Mrs. White that the truth of righteousness by faith is the most essential truth for this or any other generation. It is the great truth that has moved men to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. It has been the cornerstone of every revival this side of the birth of Christ: yea, ever since Eve ate the forbidden fruit. No truth will ever occupy a more prominent place in any reform or spiritual awakening from now till the return of the Master. But to hook this great truth to the third angel's message and call the combination the third angel's message is no less absurd than to tie an overland express train to a wheelbarrow and call the combination a wheelbarrow. And we are not trying to belittle the wheelbarrow; it has its place, and a very important place; but attaching an express train to it does not increase its importance. We are not trying to belittle the third angel's message; on the contrary, we recognize it as a most important message. And when God endows a people to give that message, it will stir the world, and many will flee for refuge to the promise of the gospel of righteousness by faith. The third angel's message is a warning message and a very solemn one; but it is not righteousness by faith.
These facts should lead Seventh-day Adventists to some serious reflections and deep humility. For forty four years they were claiming that they were the only people of God; that God had rejected all other churches and had committed to them the last closing message to the world. They were declaring that members of other churches were "children of their father, the devil; for works they do." (1SG 127) They were teaching that their churches had become the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul and unclean spirit. They were teaching that they themselves were "the one object on earth dear to the heart of God." (TM 41) All this time they had a prophet who claimed to be a messenger of God to guide them in their work, and reprove them when they went astray. Yet all this time they knew nothing of the great fundamental truth—the most important truth of all God's Word. They were, during this time, giving what they considered the third angel's message which their prophet in after years declared was righteousness by faith; and yet they nor their prophet knew anything about this fundamental truth of righteousness by faith until it was brought to them in 1888 by two men whom they cast out for refusing to accept the writings of Mrs. White as inspired messages from God.
For forty four years they were teaching that Methodists and Baptists and all other Protestant churches were "children of their father the devil" yet these people whom "God had rejected" were teaching this fundamental truth of righteousness by faith, while Seventh-day Adventists knew nothing about it.
Where in the history of the church can anything more absurd be found?
How Came the Blunder
The inquiry will naturally arise in the minds of many readers: What ever led Seventh-day Adventists into such an absurd position? It is a very easy matter to explain why they tacked righteousness by faith on to the third angel's message. From their very beginning they have claimed that they were the people of God. Bear in mind, they were not teaching that they were one of God's churches, but they were the church of God. And they were emphasizing that part of their creed which taught that God had rejected all other churches. They taught that God had committed to them the saving truths for the entire world in this last generation. They claimed to have a "corner " on the third angel's message, in the sense at least, that, they were the only people who were giving the message to the world. Any amount of evidence could be produced in support of this statement. We will cite one from the writings of Mrs. White:
"God has a people in which all heaven is interested, and they are the one object on the earth dear to the heart of God. Let every one who reads these words give them thorough consideration; for in the name of Jesus I would press them home upon every soul." (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 41)
Being the church entrusted with the great closing message, which is shared by no other church, they believe that all truth which God wishes to communicate to this generation must come thru them. This necessitates the position that no truth essential to the closing work will be lacking among them. Therefore, to acknowledge that other churches had been teaching such an important truth as righteousness by faith, while they knew nothing of this truth, would be admitting that God was using other churches to a greater extent than He was using Seventh-day Adventists. This of course would never do. The only way they could save their face was to take the position that righteousness by faith was a part of the third angel's message, and therefore they had this truth all these years, but had simply failed to stress it.
No new truth will be unearthed from now till the end, that will not be made to do duty as a part of the third angel's message. Such a course is essential to their present creed.
A Summary of the Above Facts
The Third Angel's Message, Still Future
From these facts it will be seen that the leaders from the very beginning have simply floundered from one guess to another in the fundamental teachings of their creed.
They have been blind guides. This is not only true of the third message, but has been just as strikingly true of the other two messages. They were not simply mistaken in their interpretation of the three angels' messages but were without the most essential truth in the entire Bible for a whole generation. They were worse than without this essential message of righteousness by faith, for they bitterly opposed it when it was presented to them; and according to their own testimony this grand truth was never accepted in reality by many of the leaders who continued to be leaders.
Brethren, face these facts and then ask yourself what warrant have you to believe they are any nearer the truth now than they were forty years ago. Isn't it time for you to begin to study and think for yourself? The Holy Spirit will not lead you into any such a maze of blunders.
Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusion
"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" (Rev. 14:9-11)
This is the most awful pronouncement of judgment to be found in the sacred writings. It is a warning, pure and simple, and is intended to shock men into serious reflections. It is the last warning message; no other will follow. It divides the entire world into two camps; the righteous and the wicked. There will be no neutrals.
It follows two other messages, and therefore will not be given till the other two are proclaimed to the entire world. If given before the first and second messages it will be as powerless as the ark in the hands of Hophni and Phinehas before the armies, of the Philistines. See 1 Sam. 4:1-11.
The third angel's message is a warning against the worship of a beast. A beast in prophecy always represents a civil government; therefore it is a warning against the worship of a civil government.
This beast is a civil government made up of many "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues," and therefore is a league of nations (Rev. 17:15).
This beast was wounded "by a sword," and his deadly wound was healed." It existed before the sixth, did not exist during the reigns of the sixth and the seventh, and when it reigns again it is number eight (Rev. 17:8,11). It is the eighth head of the beast against which the third message is a warning.
It is also a warning against the worship of the image of the beast. If the beast is a federation of nations, then the image can be nothing but another federation of nations. It is the two-horned beast that 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." The image is a model of the beast after its wounded head is healed, or is an image of the eighth head, that "goes into perdition." We believe the two-horned beast represents the United States; therefore, the United States is the moving spirit in forming and giving power to the image: a federation of the twenty-one republics of North and South America.
Every beast power of prophecy that came to its end was overthrown by the sword; then why should the prophet single out a beast and make special mention of its being wounded by a sword? Inspiration makes no mistakes, neither does it use any vagaries; therefore, we are warranted in believing that one of the heads of this beast was wounded in a different manner from any other head, or with a different kind of sword. And this fact we find very specifically recorded in history.
One of the heads of the beast was wounded as no other beast was ever wounded; it was wounded by "the sword of the spirit." The "Holy Roman Empire" in the time of Luther was the richest and most powerful federation of nations in Europe since the time of the Czars. Its coffers were overflowing with ship-loads of the gold of Peru and Mexico, and were all but invincible during the infancy of the Reformation. Charles the Fifth was an exceptionally strong leader, yet his empire crumbled to nothingness in the face of the simple gospel as proclaimed by Luther and his followers.
The reformation was the sword of the Spirit which wounded the head of the beast. That wounded head will never come to power again till the principles of the Reformation are repudiated. Every student of current events is aware of the fact that the two strongholds of Protestantism, Germany and England, are vying with each other in their strides Romeward. This is all preparing the minds of the people for a renewal of the medieval form of government.
Rome is losing no opportunity to impress the world with the necessity of coming back to the "bosom of the church" if they want a return of peace. The chaotic condition of the entire world is providing a fertile soil for such a propaganda.
When the European league is clothed with power and the Pan-American union is perfected, and they both unite to compel all to conform to their dictates on matters of conscience, then the time will be ripe for giving the third angel's message in the power and demonstration of the holy Spirit.
It was one of the heads of the beast that was wounded, and not the head of the woman that sat on the beast. The image is an image of the beast, and not of the harlot that rode the beast. It is the beast that bears the number 666, and not the Catholic Church.
A part of the third angel's message is a warning against receiving a mark; and that mark is the mark of the beast and not the mark of the harlot. We will have a better understanding of the mark when the beast and the image get into action. Then there will be no speculation about it.
Yes, the woman will not be forgotten.
She will be riding the beast and directing the persecuting activities of the combination, and will receive her punishment at the hands of the beast and the ten kings. The beast, however, will continue a warfare against the kingdom of God after the woman is destroyed.
James White rightly taught that the third angel's message was to be given to the "last generation; not the next to the last."
The third message will not be given till the other two go to the world.
It is not due till the eighth head appears, together with the image. Therefore, this message has never been given and is a future event. World events indicate that the time is near at hand. God will have a people to give this message, and they will give it with power. They will be a clean, Spirit-filled people; a people who will be as fearless, as the three Hebrew children who faced the fiery furnace.
The stage of the world is set for the last act. The head of the beast that was wounded is already revived in the League of Nations, with headquarters at Geneva, Switzerland, where a staff of 500 workers are employed. The machinery for quick action is perfected, but power to compel is lacking. The social unrest, so threatening, especially in the courts of Europe, is preparing the minds of men to pool their interests in a strong central government. Let some outstanding leader, like Napoleon, come to the front and he will find the stage all set for him to move in and quicken the League to mighty power.
While the Papacy was on the wrong side of the late war, she has never made such progress toward world control as she has since the World War. While she has had some slaps in the face from some of her old supporters, such as Spain and Mexico, yet she has made tremendous gains in the strongholds of Protestantism, such as Germany, England, and the United States. She has regained her civil power, which she mourned for sixty years. In her settlement with Italy when her civil power was restored she received $144,750,000 in cash and $193,000,000 in 5%, government bonds. These bonds will bring the pope an annual interest of over nine and a half million dollars. With this, together with an immense income from her 331 million supporters, she is putting on a propaganda campaign never before equaled. When power is restored to the healed head she will be the power behind the throne.
The American league of twenty-one republics is not so far developed as the Geneva league; yet they have a well defined organization for commercial intercourse, with headquarters at Washington, D.C. Efforts are being made to perfect a strong executive union. At present the two leagues overlap all the republics of America except U. S. and Brazil belonging to the European league. We claim no prophetic gift, but we are confident that the New World governments will sever their connection with the Geneva combination before the end. The two are to be distinct, but are to work together.
It is a fact worthy of note that all the republics of America are wholly Catholic except the United States, and she is largely dominated by that church. It is quite evident, that the Catholic Church will dominate both leagues when they get into action; but thank God, her power will be cut short while she boasts "I sit a queen...and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her" (Rev. 18:7,8).
The conflict is near, and it will be fierce for a time, but a glorious victory awaits all who faithfully follow the Lamb. Read Rev. 18 and praise God for the soon-coming victory.