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The Reformation Herald Online Edition

It’s Time

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
It’s Time to Know What You Believe
Cezar Pérez Díaz — Mexico

The time has come to make known the truths of the faith. There is a present truth for this time revealed in the precious light of the heavenly sanctuary.

This is how the pen of Inspiration describes it:

“The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. Every individual has a soul to save or to lose. Each has a case pending at the bar of God. Each must meet the great Judge face to face. How important, then, that every mind contemplate often the solemn scene when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened, when, with Daniel, every individual must stand in his lot, at the end of the days.

“All who have received the light upon these subjects are to bear testimony of the great truths which God has committed to them. The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. It opens to view the plan of redemption, bringing us down to the very close of time and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest between righteousness and sin. It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects and be able to give an answer to everyone that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them.”1

The time has come to know what you believe about the truth of the sanctuary, since all the truths for this time are embodied therein. The sanctuary speaks of the incarnation of Christ and His death on the cross. It reveals the truth about justification, sanctification, and redemption. It teaches the truth about baptism, the truth about the Sabbath (the sealing) and the law, as well as the truth about the laws of health reform. And as mentioned above, the truth about the investigative judgment (Christ’s ministry in the Most Holy Place), the final judgment, and other truths that we profess all are embodied in the sanctuary.

At this time, let us focus especially on the message of the three angels of Revelation 14 and that other angel of Revelation 18.

The everlasting gospel

“The third angel of Revelation 14 is represented as flying swiftly through the midst of heaven crying: ‘Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Here is shown the nature of the work of the people of God. They have a message of so great importance that they are represented as flying in the presentation of it to the world. They are holding in their hands the bread of life for a famishing world. The love of Christ constraineth them. This is the last message. There are no more to follow, no more invitations of mercy to be given after this message shall have done its work. What a trust! What a responsibility is resting upon all to carry the words of gracious invitation: ‘And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’

“Everyone who heareth is to say: Come. Not only ministers, but the people. All are to join in the invitation. Not only by their profession, but by their character and dress, all are to have a winning influence. They are made trustees for the world, executors of the will of One who has bequeathed sacred truth to men. Would that all could feel the dignity and glory of their God-given trust.”2

We need to know what is the third angel’s message that is to be given to all the world. It is the law and the everlasting gospel. Sometimes people ask why it is called the everlasting gospel. It is because the law is eternal and the gospel—the good news of salvation—is eternal, as well.

“No man can rightly present the law of God without the gospel, or the gospel without the law. The law is the gospel embodied, and the gospel is the law unfolded. The law is the root, the gospel is the fragrant blossom and fruit which it bears.”3

“The law and the gospel are in perfect harmony. Each upholds the other. In all its majesty the law confronts the conscience, causing the sinner to feel his need of Christ as the propitiation for sin. The gospel recognizes the power and immutability of the law. ‘I had not known sin, but by the law,’ Paul declares (Romans 7:7). The sense of sin, urged home by the law, drives the sinner to the Saviour. In his need man may present the mighty arguments furnished by the cross of Calvary. He may claim the righteousness of Christ; for it is imparted to every repentant sinner. God declares, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37). ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9).”4

In Revelation 14:12, we read about “the faith of Jesus.” What constitutes the faith of Jesus enshrined in the third angel’s message? Jesus bore our transgressions as the sin-pardoning Saviour. He came to our world and took our sins upon Him so that we could receive His righteousness. And faith in the power of Christ to save us fully and completely, is the faith of Jesus. But while the law reveals our sins, it does not provide the remedy. Only the gospel of Christ can offer forgiveness. To be forgiven, sinners must exercise repentance toward God, whose law has been transgressed, and to have faith in Christ and His atoning sacrifice.

The light of the message from that other angel

Sadly, “the Lord has been insulted. The standard of truth, of the first, second, and third angels’ messages has been left to trail in the dust. If the watchmen are left to mislead the people in this fashion, God will hold some souls responsible for a lack of keen discernment to discover what kind of provender was being given to His flock.”5

“We are in danger of giving the third angel’s message in so indefinite a manner that it does not impress the people. So many other interests are brought in that the very message which should be proclaimed with power becomes tame and voiceless.”6

Therefore, the Lord was kind enough to send another angel, who unites his voice with the third angel. He does not bring a new message, but rather strengthens the existing one.

“The third angel’s message is to be given with power. The power of the proclamation of the first and second messages is to be intensified in the third. In the Revelation John says of the heavenly messenger who unites with the third angel: ‘I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice.’ Revelation 18:1, 2.”7

“The third angel’s message must go over the land, and awaken the people, and call their attention to the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Another angel unites his voice with the third angel, and the earth is lighted with its glory. The light increases, and it shines out to all the nations of the earth. It is to go forth as a light that burneth. It will be attended with great power, until its golden beams have fallen upon every tongue, every people, and every nation upon the face of the whole earth. Let me ask you, What you are doing to prepare for this work? Are you building for eternity? You must remember that this angel represents the people that have this message to give to the world. Are you among that people? Do you really believe that this work in which we are engaged is truly the third angel’s message? If so, then you understand that we have a mighty work to do, and that we ought to be about it. We must sanctify ourselves by a strict obedience to the truth, placing ourselves in right relation to God and His work.”8

There are some who think that it does not matter what denomination you are in—but according to this statement, we are encouraged to be among that people represented by the angel who illuminates the earth with his glory. These are the people engaged in proclaming the precious truth for this time.

There is still a people who set aside their own will and seek to do God’s will, a people in whose heart and life the divine law is written.

“Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6–12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that ‘believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:12), shall be left to receive strong delusion and to believe a lie, then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call: ‘Come out of her, my people’ (Revelation 18:4).”9

The message brought by the fourth angel is based on Revelation 3:18, 19. This is how the pen of Inspiration describes it:

“Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, ‘It is the third angel’s message in verity.’ ”10

A work of purification, preparation, reform

The prophecies of Revelation chapter 18 will soon be fulfilled. During the proclamation of the third angel’s message, that other angel who descends from heaven, fills the earth with the glory of God and through the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Saviour, the Holy Spirit will conclude His work of purification on the minds and hearts of all believers. The Lord declares, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them” (Ezekiel 36:25–27). This is the work of the Holy Spirit sent by God to do a special work. It began in 1888.

All of Revelation 18 will be accomplished at the glorious conclusion of this work, which is not yet finished. The light of the fourth angel’s message began to shine in that impressive movement in Minneapolis in 1888. The only reasonable conclusion is that the light has been hindered by human instruments.

“The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth. For it is the work of every one to whom the message of warning has come, to lift up Jesus, to present Him to the world as revealed in types, as shadowed in symbols, as manifested in the revelations of the prophets, as unveiled in the lessons given to His disciples and in the wonderful miracles wrought for the sons of men.”11

The message of hope brought by this angel (Revelation 18:1) is the message of the faithful witness to the church in Laodicea, symbolizing the movement of reformation.

This angel who unites his voice to the proclamation of the third message, will lighten the whole earth with his glory. This is how a work of universal extent and extraordinary power is predicted. All obstacles will be overcome by the powerful movement developed under the proclamation of the last warning of the third angel. Some do not realize that this is a religious movement, but the following reference clarifies this for us:

“Of Babylon at this time it is declared, ‘Her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’ [Revelation 18:5.] She has filled up the measure of her guilt, and destruction is about to fall upon her. But God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of His judgments, these faithful ones must be called out, that they ‘partake not of her sins, and receive not of her plagues.’ Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from Heaven, lightening the earth with his glory, and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard, ‘Come out of her, my people.’ As these warnings join the third angel’s message, it swells to a loud cry.”12

“The question of most vital importance for this time is, ‘Who is on the Lord’s side? Who will unite with the angel in giving the message of truth to the world? Who will receive the light that is to fill the whole earth with its glory?”13

Denying self and living for Christ

The third angel, flying in the midst of heaven and proclaiming the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus, is a representation of our work. The message loses nothing of its strength as the angel advances in its flight, and John the Revelator sees it increasing in strength and power until the whole earth is illuminated with his glory. The path of God’s commandment-keeping people is forward, always forward. The message of truth that we carry has to go to every nation, tongue, and people, until the earth is filled with its glory. Are we preparing for this great outpouring of the Spirit of God?

“We need not worry about the latter rain. All we have to do is to keep the vessel clean and right side up and prepared for the reception of the heavenly rain, and keep praying, ‘Let the latter rain come into my vessel. Let the light of the glorious angel which unites with the third angel shine upon me; give me a part in the work; let me sound the proclamation; let me be a colaborer with Jesus Christ.’ Thus seeking God, let me tell you, He is fitting you up all the time, giving you His grace.

“You need not be worried. You need not be thinking that there is a special time coming when you are to be crucified. The time to be crucified is just now. Every day, every hour, self is to die; self is to be crucified; and then, when the time comes that the test shall come to God’s people in earnest, the everlasting arms are around you. The angels of God make a wall of fire around about and deliver you.

“All your self-crucifixion will not do any good then. It must be [done] before the destiny of souls is decided. It is now that self is to be crucified—when there is work to do; when there is some use to be made of every entrusted capability. It is now that we are to empty and thoroughly cleanse the vessel of its impurity. It is now that we are to be made holy unto God. This is our work, this very moment. You are not to wait for any special period for a wonderful work to be done; it is today. I give myself to God today. . . .

“Are you ready to make the surrender now? You are to put away your sin right now when you see it. . . . Do not make leeway [that] you are going to overcome by degrees; you are going to try little by little to give up sin. Now, while it is called today, heed the invitation and harden not your hearts.

“Oh, my soul, why not leave the cursed thing today? Sin crucified my Lord. Why not turn from it with loathing? Why not love the things that Christ loved, and hate the things that Christ hated? He has made provision ample enough for you that you can, through Him, be more, yea, more than overcomers.”14

Conclusion

“Our time is precious. We have but few, very few days of probation in which to make ready for the future, immortal life. We have no time to spend in haphazard movements. We should fear to skim the surface of the word of God.”15

May the Lord Jesus guide your life always, may you be a bearer of the precious truths of this time, and may the Lord bless you abundantly! Amen.

References:
1 The Great Controversy, pp. 488, 489.
2 Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 206, 207.
3 Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 128.
4 Selected Messages, bk. 1, pp. 240, 241.
5 Ibid., bk.2, p. 394.
6 Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 60.
7 Ibid.
8 The Review and Herald, August 18, 1885.
9 The Great Controversy, p. 390.
10 Evangelism, p. 190.
11 Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 363.
12 The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 422.
13 The Review and Herald, November 5, 1889.
14 The Upward Look, p. 283.
15 Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 407.