SDA "Truth" Versus Bible Truth: Three Angels' Messages
In brief, SDAs...
- Teach all non-SDA churches are "fallen," "heathen," "Babylon," and under the influence/control of Satan
- Believe their mission is to call Christians to leave their churches (Babylon) and join the one and only true church, the SDA Church
- Nearly all the people they recruit to join Adventism come from other Christian churches
SDA "Truth" about Three Angels' Messages
14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, |
14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
14:8 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.
14:9 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,
14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
14:11 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.
14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
The Three Angels' messages of Revelation 14 are highly significant to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In the SDA Church's official mission statement, the Three Angels' Messages are prominent:
The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to proclaim to all peoples the everlasting gospel in the context of the Three Angels' messages of Revelation 14:6-12.1
At first glance, this almost sounds like a typical mission statement for any Christian denomination: "to proclaim to all peoples the everlasting gospel." That sounds very good. But then, there is an odd addition: "in the context of the Three Angels' messages." What does this "context" mean? Those are code words which only those familiar with the SDA sect would understand.
The "context of the Three Angels' messages" places an entirely different spin on the gospel message.
Here is what the SDA Church teaches about the Three Angels' Messages:
1. The first angel's message was proclaimed in 1843/1844 through those who were erroneously announcing the imminent return of Jesus. Ellen White, Seventh-day Adventism's prophet, wrote:
Prophecy was fulfilled in the first and second angels' messages. They were given at the right time and accomplished the work which God designed to accomplish by them.2
Thousands were led to embrace the truth preached by Wm. Miller, and servants of God were raised up in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the message. ... And as the Spirit of God rested upon them, they helped to sound the cry, Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come.3
The SDA Church traces its origins to the preaching of William Miller, a farmer-turned-preacher who pieced together various Bible texts to determine the time of Christ's return. Miller and his associates went around the Northeastern United States warning people of Christ's imminent return, gathering perhaps 50,000 followers. After Christ failed to return as predicted on October 22, 1844, William Miller admitted he was wrong and most of his followers returned to their old churches. However, some groups of "Adventists" refused to return, and instead sought to find meaning in the failure. One of these groups later developed into the SDA Church.
Initially, the Adventists thought the "judgment" of Revelation 14:6 referred to be the judgment of God upon the wicked. However, they eventually adopted a different stance, saying the "judgment" was a judgment of the righteous, not the wicked. To accomodate this new view, the SDA Church changed the meaning of the first angel's message to something entirely different. In her book Great Controversy prophetess Ellen White writes:
...the first angel's message, "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come," pointed to Christ's ministration in the most holy place, to the investigative judgment, and not to the coming of Christ for the redemption of His people and the destruction of the wicked.4
Note: To stufy the Investigative Judgment in detail, click here.
2. The second angel's message is a call for Christians attending non-Adventist churches to leave those churches and join the one true remnant church--the Seventh-day Adventists. As Mrs. White noted above, SDAs believed this prophecy was fulfilled in 1844 when some Christians left their churches to unite with the Millerite movement:
As the churches refused to receive the first angel's message, they rejected the light from heaven and fell from the favor of God. They trusted to their own strength, and by opposing the first message placed themselves where they could not see the light of the second angel's message. But the beloved of God, who were oppressed, accepted the message, "Babylon is fallen," and left the churches.5
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, proclaiming, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Revelation 14:8. This message 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 the result, about fifty thousand withdrew from these churches.6
Those churches that rejected William Miller's message about the imminent return of Jesus were labeled "Babylon", and Mrs. White warns us they were rejected by God for rejecting Willaim Miller's message (a message that was not only incorrect, but one that the principal proponent, Mr. Miller, later admitted was wrong). Since 1844, all non-Adventist churches are "rejected" and the Holy Spirit has been withdrawn from them:
Since the rejection of the first message, a sad change has taken place in the churches. As truth is spurned, error is received and cherished. Love for God and faith in His Word have grown cold. The churches have grieved the Spirit of the Lord, and it has been in a great measure withdrawn.7
Ellen White tells us that Christians in "nominal" or non-SDA churches cannot be benefited by Christ's intercession, their prayers are useless, and Satan is now in control of them:
And by rejecting the two former messages, they have so darkened their understanding that they can see no light in the third angel's
message, which shows the way into the most holy place. I saw that as the Jews crucified Jesus, so the nominal churches had crucified these messages, and therefore they have no knowledge of the way into the most holy, and they cannot be benefited by the intercession of Jesus there. Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, they 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 to himself, working with his power, his signs and lying wonders, to fasten them in his snare. ... He also comes as an angel of light and spreads his influence over the land by means of false reformations. The churches are elated, and consider that God is working marvelously for them, when it is the work of another spirit.8
So, all of the revivals over the past 170 years, including the crusades of Dwight Moody and Billy Graham, were merely false reformations that are the work of Satan. Ellen White emphasizes this point:
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 wrapt 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.9
Mrs. White teaches that Revelation's prophecies regarding "Babylon" apply specifically to Protestant churches:
The term Babylon, derived from Babel, and signifying confusion, is applied in Scripture to the various forms of false or apostate religion. But the message announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to some religious body that was once pure, and has become corrupt. It cannot be the Romish Church which is here meant; for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries. But how appropriate the figure as applied to the Protestant churches, all professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided into almost innumerable sects. The unity for which Christ prayed does not exist. Instead of one Lord, one faith, one baptism, there are numberless conflicting creeds and theories. Religious faith appears so confused and discordant that the world know not what to believe as truth. God is not in all this; it is the work of man,--the work of Satan.10
Finally, in 1885, Mrs. White made it clear that non-SDA Christians are worse than heathen. However, for the sake of winning these non-SDA?s over to the SDA Church it was best for SDAs to publicly pretend that non-SDA?s were not heathens:
We can do nothing that would close up the way before us in this country like taking a position of superiority and putting before the people that we consider them heathen. In truth they are worse than heathen, but this we are not to tell them.11
To summarize SDA beliefs about other Christian denominations:
- Catholicism is "fallen"
- Protestant denominations are Babylon
- God does not hear the prayers of non-SDAs
- Jesus does not intercede for non-SDAs
- Non-SDA revivals are false
- Non-SDA conversions to Christ are not real
- God's Spirit is largely withdrawn from non-SDA churches
- Non-SDA Christians are worse than heathens
3. The third angel's message is a warning against receiving the Mark of the Beast, which is said to be worship on Sunday. According to the SDA end-time scenario, the last great battle between good and evil will be fought over the day of worship. Those who keep the Seventh-day Sabbath will receive the Seal of God, while those who keep Sunday receive the Mark of the Beast. According to SDA teachings, all the world will unite under the leadership of Satan to impose Sunday laws upon Seventh-day Adventists. As this frightening scenario unfolds, eventually Sunday laws will be passed requiring a death sentence for anyone who refurses to worship on Sunday. Ellen White explains:
As the Sabbath has become the special point of controversy throughout Christendom, and religious and secular authorities have combined to enforce the observance of the Sunday, the persistent refusal of a small minority to yield to the popular demand will make them objects of universal execration. ...a decree will finally be issued against those who hallow the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, denouncing them as deserving of the severest punishment and giving the people liberty, after a certain time, to put them to death. Romanism in the Old World and apostate Protestantism in the New will pursue a similar course toward those who honor all the divine precepts.12
After this death decree has been passed by the evil Catholics and wicked Protestants, Jesus will return to save the holy Seventh-day Adventists. Then, He will execute the judgment described in Revelation 14:10-11 by sending fire to destroy all Sunday-keeping Christians.
Problems with SDA "Truth" about the Three Angels' Messages
1. Ellen White claimed the first angel's message was sounded in 1844, fulfilling prophecy, but was it really fulfilled in 1844?
The Bible clearly says the angelic messages of Revelation 14 were to be proclaimed....
"...to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people"
Was the Millerite message of the soon return of Christ delivered to every nation, kindred,
tongue, and people in 1844? Not according to Joshua V. Himes. Next to William Miller, Joshua Himes was the foremost leader of the 1844 movement. No one was in a better position to assess the progress of the 1844 movement than Elder Himes. Note carefully what Himes wrote after the Great Disappointment:
"...the cry of the seventh month was a local and partial one. It was confined to this country..."13
Himes went on in the article to say that the "cry" produced no effect in Europe whatsoever. Himes knew what he was talking about. He had directed this movement. He had traveled all over the Northeastern United States promoting the movement. He was in contact with England. If anyone was in a position to assess the progress of the movement, it was Himes.14
The historical facts show that the Millerite Movement was largely confined to the Northeastern United States. There is scant evidence that it ever made much penetration into the Southern or Western United States, let alone the entire world! There was a small interest in the message in Southeastern Canada, and perhaps 2,000 to 3,000 followers in Britain. There were a handful of believers in a few scattered places in Europe, but the message really only caught on in the Northeastern United States where it garnered perhaps 50,000 adherents.
Although the message was carried out to a few missionary stations, it is a complete falsehood to claim this was a worldwide message that went to every nation, tongue, and people! In 1844 there were approximately 1,250,000,000 people living on earth. There is little or no evidence that this message ever reached the following peoples:
- 17 Million in the Southern U.S.A. and Western U.S.A./Canada
- 110 Million in Africa (this was before David Livingstone opened Africa)
- 36 Million in Latin America and the Caribbean
- 800 Million in China, Japan, Philippines, Southeast Asia, India, Pakistan, and the Middle East
- 275 Million in Russia and the rest of Europe
Of the 1.25 billion people on the earth, only approximately 12 million in the Northeastern United States, Southeastern Canada, and London, even had the opportunity of hearing Millerite preaching, and there is no way to tell how many of them actually heard the message. Therefore, less than 1% of the world's population had a chance of hearing Miller's message--nearly all of whom spoke English! Even in the year 2020, the gospel message has not yet penetrated every language group in the world. How could a message that reached less than one percent of the world's population--mainly English speakers--be a fulfillment of a prophecy that was to go "to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people"? The 1844 Movement could not possibly have fulfilled the first and second angels' messages of Revelation 14, which describe a worldwide message reaching every nation, every language, and every ethnic group!
2. What is the Judgment of the First Angel's Message?
In 1844, the Millerites proclaimed that the hour of God's judgment, as described in Revelation 14:7, had commenced: "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come." What did they understand this judgment to be? They understood it to be the judgment of God upon the wicked. This is the only valid interpretation possible from the text of Revelation 14. The judgment of God upon the wicked is the focal point of the whole chapter.
The "judgment" announced by the first angel in Rev. 14:7 refers to the wrath of God being visited upon the wicked. The wrath of the judgment is then described potently in the subsequent verses of the chapter. This is what all the Millerites originally taught and believed.
After 1844, however, the Adventists faced a dilemma. The wrath of God did not commence as expected in 1844. How could they continue to claim the First Angel's Message had been fulfilled when the judgment upon the wicked did not occur? In order to explain away this obvious failure, they concocted a theory that the judgment referred to an investigative judgment that took place in Heaven, not upon earth. The investigative judgment, rather than being an execution of justice upon the wicked, envisions a court-room procedure where God ponders the fate of every soul and makes a decision upon each case. This "court-room" investigation is not found anywhere in Revelation 14. Nevertheless, the Adventists adopted this teaching because, even though it violated the context of the passage, it allowed them to have a "judgment" commence in 1844. At the same time, it allowed SDAs to continue claiming the first two angels' messages had already sounded.
It is impossible for a person to sit down with their Bible, read Revelation 14, and come up with an investigative judgment. If there is any doubt, read the following quotes and ask yourself this question: Do these verses describe a courtroom-like investigative judgment of the righteous or do they describe the execution of a judgment of wrath upon sinners?
- vs. 10 - "drink of the wine of wrath"
- vs. 10 - "cup of His indignation"
- vs. 10 - "shall be tormented with fire and brimstone"
- vs. 11 - "smoke of their torment shall ascend"
- vs. 19 - "threw it into the great winepress of God's wrath"
- vs. 20 - "winepress was trampled"
- vs. 20 - "blood came out of the winepress"
How could these verses possibly be describing an investigative judgment? The fact that Revelation 14 is describing a judgment upon the wicked is yet another proof that the first and second angels' messages were not fulfilled in 1844.
3. Are all the Protestant Churches Babylon?
The most appalling aspect of Seventh-day Adventism is its treatment of other Christian denominations. According to Adventism, non-Adventist churches made the dreadful mistake of rejecting William Miller. Therefore, God has rejected them, their prayers are "useless", and they are under the influence of Satan. It is mind-boggling to try and understand the total lack of common sense in this philosophy! First, the Protestant churches were absolutely correct in rejecting Miller's setting of times for Christ's return. These Christians did not reject William Miller because they did not love Christ or want Him to return. They rejected William Miller for four very good reasons:
- Christ stated plainly, "But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matt. 24:36)
- Time-setting is a device the devil uses to stir up fanaticism, and it always ends in disappointment and failure.
- Jesus had said, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matt. 24:14) The gospel message had not yet penetrated even half of the world in 1844. Therefore, the end could not be imminent.
- Many other Bible prophecies had not yet come to fulfillment in 1844.
Those are very strong Biblical reasons for rejecting Millerism! Protestants were absolutely right in rejecting Miller. So, why would God punish them for being correct? Why would God reject Protestant churches when they were right and the Adventists were the ones who were wrong?
For the last 175 years, Adventists have spent the vast majority of their efforts and resources aimed at recruiting members from other Christian churches. On more than one occasion it has been reported that SDA missionaries, rather than attempting to convert the heathens, will try to win converts from natives that have already been converted to Christianity through the efforts of other non-SDA missionaries. This is because Adventists view all other churches as "fallen" or "Babylon" and they see it as their special mission to call people out of "Babylon." This teaching seriously distorts the purpose of the gospel message.
4. What is the Third Message?
Ellen White makes it very clear that the mission of the SDA Church is to recruit believers from the Sunday-keeping churches so that they will not receive the Mark of the Beast. Mrs. White writes,
...the churches were left as were the Jews; and they have been filling up with every unclean and hateful bird. I saw great iniquity and vileness in the churches; yet they profess to be christians. Their profession, their prayers and their exhortations, are an abomination in the sight of God. Said the angel, God will not smell in their assemblies. Selfishness, fraud and deceit are practiced by them without the reprovings of conscience. And over all these evil traits they throw the cloak of religion. I was shown the pride of the nominal churches. God was not in their thoughts; but their carnal minds dwell upon themselves. They decorate their poor mortal bodies, and then look upon themselves with satisfaction and pleasure. Jesus and the angels looked upon them in anger. Said the angel, Their sins and pride have reached unto heaven. Their portion is prepared. Justice and judgment have slumbered long, but will soon awake. Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, saith the Lord. The fearful threatenings of the third angel are to be realized, and they will drink the wrath of God. An innumerable host of evil angels are spreading themselves over the whole land. The churches and religious bodies are crowded with them.15
Notice Ellen White's assessment of non-SDA Churches:
- They were rejected by God just as the Jews were rejected
- They are full of vileness
- Their prayers are an abomination
- God's presence is gone from their assemblies
- Jesus and the angels are angry with them
- They will suffer the wrath of God
- They are crowded with evil angels
Instead of viewing communism, atheism, heathenism, paganism, and Islam as being major threats to their religious liberty, Seventh-day Adventists view other Christians as the main threat to their liberty and consider them to be under the influence of Satan. Many unsuspecting individuals are not told this up front during SDA evangelistic crusades. Only later do they find out the incredible bigotry and animosity of a sect that holds every other Christian church in the utmost contempt. For fear of bad publicity, these teachings are not prominently promoted by the SDA Church today, but they are nevertheless the underpinning of the sect's philosophy. It is this "context" that warps and distorts the SDA presentation of the gospel message.
In fact, one might question how committed the SDA Church is to the gospel message. By the sect's own admission, the organization was caught up in the chains of legalism for the first 25 years of their existence. One Adventist scholar laments:
In early Seventh-day Adventist sermons, books, and periodicals there is but scant mention of justification by faith and salvation by grace."16
It was not until 1888, that the message of Justification by Faith was prominently taught in the SDA Church by A.T. Jones and E.J. Waggoner. Even then, some of the leading brethren fought against the message, and even today it is still being debated as to whether or not the church ever fully accepted it. It is astonishing that the SDA Church can claim that all other churches are led by Satan, when those very churches were the ones preaching a true understanding of the foremost Christian doctrine--Justification by Faith--for a quarter of a century while the SDA Church was caught up in the chains of legalism!
Bible Truth about the Three Angels' Messages
1. The Bible truth about the Three Angels' Messages is quite simple. First, these messages are delivered by angels. There is no reason to believe these messages are delivered by a group of humans, or by radio, short-wave, satellite, or any other human methods.
The first message announces that the ever-lasting good news goes to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. The gospel message started during the life of Christ and has been spreading throughout the world to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. At the end of time, this angel announces that the judgment hour has arrived, but this is not a judgment of the righteous. There is not a hint anywhere in Revelation 14 of a judgment upon the righteous. The judgment is a judgment of vengeance and punishment. In the book of Revelation the souls of the martyrs are heard crying out for vengeance:
How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Rev. 6:10)
The wicked are about to fill up their cup of wrath, and the Lord Jesus will return to earth to punish the inhabitants for their wickedness and to obtain vengeance for the blood of the martyrs.
2. The second message tells us that Babylon is fallen. The Bible very clearly identifies who Babylon is. In Revelation 18, Babylon is described as a female who commits fornication with the kings of the earth (Rev. 18:3). This could only refer to the "whore" of Revelation 17. Rev. 17:18 says the "whore" is "that great city."17 The "great city" is identified in Rev. 11:8 as the city where "our Lord was crucified." All Christians agree that Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. Therefore, Jerusalem and Judaism is fallen.
In Revelation 18:4, a voice is heard saying, "Come out of her [Babylon], my people." Who are the "my people" in this verse? Yahweh identified the Israelites as His people. Throughout Scripture He repeatedly refers to them as "my people" (Ex. 3:7,10; 5:1; 7:4,16; 8:1,8,20-23; 9:13; 10:3-4; 12:31; 20:25; Lev. 26:12; 1 Chron. 17:7-10; 2 Chron. 11:1; 2 Chron. 6:5-6; 2 Chron. 7:13-14; Isa. 1:3; 3:12,15; 5:13; 10:2; 10:24; 22:4; 26:20; 32:13,18; 40:1; 43:20; 47:6; 51:4,16; 52:4-6; 53:8; 57:14; 58:1; 65:19; Jer. 2:11,13,31,32; 4:22; 5:26,31; 6:14,27; 7:12,23; 8:7,11,19,21,22; 9:2,7; 11:4; 12:14,16; 15:7; 18:15; 23:13,22,27,32; 24:7; 30:3,22; 31:1,14,33; 32:38; 33:24; 51:45; Lam. 2:11; 3:48; 4:3,6,10; Eze. 11:20; 13:9,10,18,19,21,23; 14:8,9,11; 21:12; 25:14; 34:30; 36:8,12,28; 38;14,16; 39:7; 45:8,9,18; Hos. 4:6,8,12; 6:11; 11:7; Joel 2:26,27; 3:2,3; Amos 7:8,15; 8:2; 9:10,14; Oba. 1:13; Mic. 1:9; 2:4,8,9; 3:3,5; 6:3,5,16; Zep. 2:8,9; Zec. 2:11; 8:7,8; 13:9; Mat. 2:6; Acts 7:34). Paul wrote of the Jewish people: "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid...God hath not cast away his people" (Rom. 11:1-2). God's people, the Jews, are to "come out" of Babylon (Judaism) and join the Christian faith. To review more evidence proving this point, click here.
3. The third message is a warning against receiving the Mark of the Beast. Contrary to SDA teachings, this has nothing to do with a day of worship.
Conclusion - Seventh-day Adventism has elevated an obscure and easily-misunderstood passage in the book of Revelation to a position of prime importance to their church. Unfortunately, they have misinterpreted the meaning of this passage, resulting in a twisted and warped understanding of their relationship to other Christian churches. Realizing the absurdity of their position, SDA evangelists are reluctant to reveal their understanding of the meaning of this passage to other Christians whom they are recruiting to join the sect. However, once they are in the sect, new Seventh-day Adventists are indoctrinated to view other Christian churches as "Fallen," "Babylon," or "Apostate Protestantism." While Jesus prayed for unity between believers (John 17:22), Adventists seek to drive a wedge between Christian faiths. For example, some follow Ellen White's example in claiming that the prayers of non-Adventists are not heard by Jesus, because non-Adventist prayers are ascending to the Holy Place, whereas Jesus has moved into the Most Holy Place. Such vicious sectarianism is contrary to both the gospel and the Spirit of Christ.
The Gospel that Peter proclaimed in the book of Acts was to all the world. For the Bible says very plainly,
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. (Acts 2:5)
You have all of the people that come to your website thinking that "world" in this context means the geographical space instead of the people. I know that there were people from every part of the world in the Northeastern United States at the time of the proclamation of the First Angel's message. I don't base this on an assumption but on immigration records. America is the great melting pot. So I believe you have failed in trying to paint Ellen White out to be a false prophetess. Paul must have lied to because he said that the gospel had been preached to all the world in Colossians 1:5, 6,
For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
We know Paul wasn't including India, China, and what today is Russia, now don't we? (Pastor T.)
Pastor T: There are two parts to your question. First, let me deal with your assumption that because Peter and Paul used the terminology "every nation under heaven" and "all the world" to refer to mere parts of the world (and not the whole), then it is acceptable for Seventh-day Adventists to claim the first angel's message went to all the world (when in fact it went to less than one percent of the world.)
In order to prove that assumption, one must prove that John really meant the first angel's message would only go to a tiny sub-section of the world, and that Seventh-day Adventists understood it as such.
First, there are times when the world or nations was used in the New Testament in reference to the Roman Empire, or what we might call the "civilized world" (see Luke 1:2; Acts 11:28; 17:6; 24:5). This is the usage of Peter and Paul as noted in your question. Secondly, there are times when world or nations actually meant the entire world and every nation on earth. For example,
- ...in all the world for a witness unto all nations... (Matt. 24:14)
- And before Him shall be gathered all nations... (Matt. 25:32)
- Go ye therefore, and teach all nations... (Matt. 28:19)
- Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mk. 16:15)
- And the gospel must first be published among all nations. (Mk. 13:10)
- ...he...shall gather together his elect...from the uttermost parts of the earth... (Mk. 13:27)
- ...remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations... (Lk. 24:27)
- For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son... (John 3:16)
- ...ye shall be witnesses...unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
- Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Rom. 10:18)
In every case above Seventh-day Adventist interpret these as references to the entire globe. The question is, what was the first angel referring to? The nations of the Roman Empire, or the entire world?
To begin, the first angel had a message to preach "unto them that dwell on the earth" (Rev. 14:6). How do Seventh-day Adventists interpret this? According to the SDA Bible Commentary:
...a worldwide proclamation of the gospel is here envisioned... The universality of the message is emphasized by this... (p. 827)
There is no doubt among Seventh-day Adventists that the three angels' messages are to literally be preached to every "nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people."
Furthermore, Seventh-day Adventists repeatedly interpret similar language in the book of Revelation to indicate the entire world, not a subset of it. In each of the passages below, Adventists interpret these as the whole earth, not a part:
- ...redeemed...of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. (Rev. 5:9)
- ...I beheld a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues... (Rev. 7:6)
- ...and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Rev. 13:7)
- ...for all nations shall come and worship before thee... (Rev. 15:4)
- ...For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication... (Rev. 18:3)
The bottom line is that from their inception Seventh-day Adventists have understood that the three angels' messages were to go into the entire world (not just Northeastern USA), and into every language (not just English). The fact that Peter and Paul used the terms "world" or "every nation" does not justify Adventists in claiming the Millerite message went into all the world, because Adventists fully understood the first angel's message was to go to every human on the planet. Adventists have intentionally cast the Millerite movement as a worldwide fulfillment of the first angel's message even when they knew full well that it did not even begin to fulfill the scope or nature of that message.
Second, you claim that because the Millerite message was preached in the Northeastern USA, and that because many people of different Europoean nationalities lived in the Northeastern USA, that this is an acceptable fulfillment of the first angel's message.
First, immigration to the Northeastern USA was primarily from Western Europe during the 1800s, and I have seen no proof that any more than a dozen nationalities actually heard the message. Furthermore, I have seen no proof that it was preached anywhere in the USA in any language other than English. This pales in comparison to the message described in Revelation, that was to go to "every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people."
Again, let it be stated, that Seventh-day Adventists have never understood the first angel's message as only going to English-spreaking people of different national origins living in a single nation. If they believed that, they would have stopped evangelizing the world as soon as they had evangelized the Northeastern USA! How could a message preached in English be construed as a message that went to "every language?"
Pastor T., I have no doubt you sincerely believe the Millerite fiasco was a fulfillment of the first angel's message, because you are looking at the event through the eyes of your prophetess Ellen White, and not through an objective analysis of Scripture and history.
1. SDA Mission Statement as of Dec. 21, 2008, http://www.adventist.org/world_church/name_mission/index.html.en.
2. Ellen White, Early Writings, p. 235.
3. Ellen White, Spiritual Gifts, vol. 1, p. 134.
4. Ellen White, The Great Controversy (1911), p. 424. See also Life Sketches Manuscript, p. 112.
5. Ellen White, Early Writings (1882), p. 237.
6. Ellen White, Ellen White, The Story of Redemption (1947), pp. 364-65.
7. Ibid., p. 366.
8. Ellen White, Early Writings (1882), p. 260.
9. Ellen White, The Present Truth, August 1, 1849.
10. Ellen White, The Spirit of Prophecy Volume 4 (1884), pp. 232-233.
11. Ellen White, Manuscript Releases, Volume 17, p. 334 (1885).
12. Ellen White, The Great Controversy (1911), pp. 615-616.
13. Joshua V. Himes, The Morning Watch, Feb. 20, 1845, emphasis supplied.
14. Ibid. Note: His testimony is certainly more reliable than that of Ellen White, who was, after all, only a sickly 17-year-old teenager in 1844.
15. Ellen White, Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 1 (1858), pp. 190-191.
16. Arnold Valentin Wallenkampf, What Every Adventist Should Know About 1888, (Washington, DC, 1988), p. 10.
17. The Apostle Peter may also be alluding to Rome, when he uses the term "Babylon" in 1 Peter 5:13.