Sabbath: Our Prophetic Message

Read for This Week’s Study: Revelation 10; Dan. 12:4–9; Revelation 14; 11:17-18; Revelation 13; Gen. 7:11; 11:1–9; Jeremiah 50, 51.

gless11Memory Text: “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water’” (Revelation 14:6, 7, NKJV).

The judgment message of Daniel 7 and 8 links directly

to The Great Controversy scenario depicted in Revelation 12-14. Here we find the three angels’ messages, which contain the themes of creation, judgment, and gospel (Rev. 14:6–12). These texts present God’s urgent and final call to prepare for the second coming of Jesus.

The message of the first angel is indeed the “everlasting gospel” because it’s the same truth that the apostles preached when they said that people “should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them” (Acts 14:15, NKJV; compare with Act 4:24). Highlighting the importance of the message is the fact that the word gospel itself appears only here in the book of Revelation. whatever we preach about end–time events, we must make certain that the “gospel” is at the core.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, December 14.



Sabbath: Our Prophetic Message — 22 Comments

  1. The Great Controversy scenario is vital to understanding the cleansing of the sanctuary. It helped me to picture the sanctuary as representing God's government, His way of dealing with His creation and in particular, the problem of sin. Satan has accused God's government of being defective (and implying that he could run things better) and thus making rebellion against it (which is sin) inevitable. Every time we sin, even though we may obtain forgiveness, it seconds Satan's claim that sin is inevitable due to a fault in God's government. It thus puts a blot on God's character or government. How can God disprove Satan's claim that there is fault with His government making sin inevitable? He will have a people in the day of atonement who will be living above sin through the power of His grace. This will remove the blot Satan has placed on God's character and vindicate His government, that is, His way of dealing with His creation. It will, "Cleanse the Sanctuary", in the eyes of the universe. It will allow us to sing the Song of Moses from the heart: Re 15:3* They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!

    • This is exactly what I was led to believe when I first became an Adventist.... then I heard the Gospel, the Good News that Jesus' life, death and resurrection had removed the blot and condemnation which Satan had put against God's character, and CHRIST's perfection had been accepted by the Father, vindicating God against the accusation of Satan before the universe. Now, 'simply to the Cross I cling... helpless look to Thee for grace... wash me Saviour or I die'. It's life-changing!

    • David Emerson, I have wrestled with the idea of the “perfection” of the saints for some time and have concluded that there are two ways we can look at it.

      The first is through the sanctification by the Spirit (2 Thess 2:13) which I think you are referring to in your comment. The problem that I have found with this is that none of God’s people in the entire Bible have ever claimed perfection. We could say that Job did but a closer look at the end of the book should inform us that he was a sinner just like all the rest of us. Besides his test was over faith in God not how good he was (Job 1:10-11). The fact is that there was only one born of woman that could ever claim absolute perfection and that was Christ. Even Paul near the end of his life knew that he still had a long way to go (Phil 3:12-13).

      The second is to realize that as soon as we accept Christ’s redemption that was paid for on the cross we are justified, considered perfect as though we had never sinned. To me this is the power punch and the reason Paul spent so much time in his epistles concerning salvation by grace through faith as a free gift (justification). It is something that is not based on works but on our faith concerning God’s promises.

      I think we have a very mistaken notion that somehow when probation closes we will all be perfect little saints with halos on our heads. As one pastor told me the saying, “all good children go to Heaven” is absolutely wrong theologically because “there is none who does good, no, not one” (Rom 3:12 NKJ; see the full context, Rom 3:9-26). It is repentant sinners that claim the blood of the cross that get to Heaven. It isn’t that they are literally perfect but that they have forever turned their backs on sin and have taken up the banner of God to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim 6:12; see also 2 Tim 4:7).

      This is important because Satan will always get us to look back at our many failures and sins in an effort to discourage us and to get us to the point of giving up on God. That is what he tried to do to Jesus on the cross in making victory seem so hopeless.

  2. The angels (you & i) should be ready to spread abroad the truth of the gospel, this way people will be saved from this little horn power.

  3. "The Sabbath, created in the midst of a war over God's right to rule, is invested, created, built, by God, upon God's very methods-truth, presented in love, leaving intelligent beings free to think for themselves, no threat, no coercion, no pressure. Thus the Sabbath was CREATED holy, and stands as evidence of God's government, methods and character."

  4. "The fact the Sabbath exists proves Satan a liar. If Satan were right and God was selfish and used power to threaten and coerce, then there would be no Sabbath, God would have merely executed Satan and told the other beings to get in line or He would kill them too.

  5. I feel we are still in the dark regarding the mark of the beast. Whether you keep or don't keep the Sabbath, does not prevent you from shopping (buying and selling) during the other six days of the week. As much as the Catholic Church would like to see such a law passed they know that a Sunday law is uninforcible for several reasons and so I don't expect to see such a law passed locally or globally. I think we need to take a second look at the mark of the beast. if we do not get this thing right we are going to have the wrath of God poured out on us.

    • Hi William, I can understand your feeling of being in the dark about the mark of the beast. One of the issues that we face is that we often get ourselves confused by interpreting the symbolism and forget the big picture. The safe approach is to have a close personal approach with Jesus by thinking about his life and ministry and sharing that with both fellow believers and non-believers alike. That way I believe that if it is important to identify the mark of the beast it will be revealed to us when we need to know.

      Those who have a close personal relationship with Jesus by listening and sharing will never receive the mark of the beast. And we might just be surprised who else does not receive it either. (I have some fine Catholic friends who I know love and share Jesus) Human labels neither save nor condemn us; fortunately!

      • Hello Maurice, your comments always seem to be pertinent to the subject at hand which I really appreciate. Like you, I do think at times we have become too condemnatory in our evangelistic approach and have failed to present the loving character of God as it should be presented. At the same time, however, I don't think we should constantly clam up and say nothing. To me everything in the Bible has purpose and value and in these last days the messages of the three angels is one of them that needs to be given.

        My understanding of the mark of the beast as given in the messages of the three angels amounts to a clarion call to worship the one true God and to abandon all the others. As Joshua said, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve" (Jos. 24:15 NKJV) and again "Elijah came to all the people, and said, 'How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him'" (1 Kings 18:21 NKJV).

        Everyone receives a seal. It can be that of the world whose leader is Satan or it can be that of God. The seal of the world, the mark of the beast, can be either in thought or deed (Rev 13:16; 14:19). One can capitulate to worldly philosophy and authority without actually believing that it is correct or one can follow worldly authority because of a belief that it is correct.

        God's seal is different being only in the mind or what the Bible calls the heart (Rev 7:3; 9:4; 14:1) for it calls for a firm commitment on the part of the believer. In the words of Jesus, "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad" (Matt. 12:30 NKJV) simply means one's choice to serve God cannot be passive like it can be with the mark of the beast.

        If we accept the Sabbath with its reflection back on creation and redemption as the main call for us to choose whom we will serve than I think anything in opposition to it can rightly be called the mark of the beast. However, I don't believe that it is the only thing that comprise what we call the mark but it probably is the most visible thing. As for us, the end time church, we need to remember that there are nine other commandments that are just as important. As James said so well, "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10 NKJV). So to me the mark is a basic choice concerning who governs us and the Sabbath is merely the most visible choice concerning the lordship of our lives.

      • Maurice,
        The starting point and ending point are surely a close relationship with Jesus. Everything else is to be aligned with that. However the questions on the EGW quote under discussion questions in Friday's lesson on 12-6-13, "The Eschatological Day of Atonement," are relevant here. The SDA church believes it has a mandate to proclaim the Three Angels Messages. If we are going to occupy the position God designs us to fill then we cannot simply set aside a major element of the messages because the enemy works to confuse the issue.

        There are people who say, "Do not even think about the Sabbath, just trust God." They are comfortable where they are whether or not it fits the description of Babylon,just as long as they call on the name of the Lord. There were those in Noah's day who might have said, "Do not worry about coming out of the world and into the ark, just trust God." That certainly was not safe.

        The other sheep which are not of this fold, the 'remnant' so to speak, of Babylon are trusting in Jesus. Still they are called out.

        If we are going to exercise faith in the face of a test some knowledge is necessary. As well if we are to proclaim a message even now, at a minimum the main elements need to be understood. We cannot claim perfect understanding, but we can make some effort, and particularly because we are concerned about the salvation others, and not just our own safety.

        Falsehoods may arise within the remnant church, but they will not prevail unless the Holy Spirit quits on us. God is still in charge. We need not shrink from duty because confusion (the enemy's weapon) is at work. We surrender to the Lamb, not to the other forces.

        The book "The Great Controversy" by Ellen G. White, which is being shared with many across the world is a good source of reading.

        • To both Tyler and Hugh: I am not sure if I read you both correctly but I think that you are both just a little afraid that my comment could be taken as "soft gospel". Nothing could be further from the truth. I am sure that you know of married people who refrain from adultery, but whose marriage is anything but a loving relationship. A good marriage not only refrains from adultery but builds the relationship in such a way that the idea of adultery does not even get a consideration.
          Likewise a good relationship with God is much more than just keeping the law. God does not want law-keepers. He wants us to have a loving relationship with him where we don't even consider breaking his law. Over and over again, the Bible makes it plain that if you get the relationship right, the rest follows as a fruit of that relationship.

        • Yes Maurice, "soft gospel" is the impression that I got from your comments. To me Christianity is more than just being nice. We cannot just sit back and lead a passive life. One cannot be in a rowboat out in the middle of a stream expecting to go up stream by doing nothing. Our life in Christ needs to be active.

          You mentioned your Catholic friends. Do you really think that the theology and philosophy that they are getting from their church is going to lead them to Heaven? What is their church teaching about God? What is it teaching about man, especially those in the ministry of their church? Or how is their theology going to help them when it comes to Satan's deceptions? How is all of that going to affect them when it comes to being safe to save? Being only cordial and nice is not going to tell them what they need to know, is it.

          To me the question is not about whether we actively witness to them or not but rather how we go about doing it. So maybe we need to discuss how we can reach out to the world around us in the most effective ways. Certainly, we don't need to be in their face so to speak but we do need to lead them to more fertile ground than what they are currently on.

        • Hugh, I appreciate your reference to the Three Angels' messages. These are our "present truth" mandate. And they are first and foremost a proclamation of "the everlasting gospel." (Rev 14:6) Too often we forget that and focus on what follows, which only gives us a slant on the gospel - as in what effect this last preaching is to have. Without the good news (gospel) about Jesus, all the other messages are worthless.

          In my Sabbath School class this Sabbath, someone brought up the concern that most people in Western society don't feel they have a need for anything. Someone else suggested that people in our society have as many needs as ever, but they may not be as apparent. Watch the faces of people in the mall and see how many reflect peace or joy. (For that matter, can others tell by looking at us that we have the joy of the Lord?)

          The preaching of the gospel needs to be tailored to the ones we wish to reach, and only the methods of Jesus will have success. He mingled with men and ministered to their (felt) needs, and only then did He ask them to follow Him. That means we need to understand their needs first of all. The insight only the Holy Spirit can provide is necessary for this.

          Then we will see that for the anxious, Jesus is the one who takes care of all their needs, for the overworked, Jesus is present and eternal rest, for the depressed, Jesus is comfort and joy, etc. etc. And we need to make Jesus real to them. That involves allowing His character to shine through us. When there is a stark contrast between the character of God's people and those of the world, people will be led to fear (have reverence & awe for) God, even without a lot of preaching.

          In light of the messages, God's people need to understand for themselves that "the judgment" is always Good News (gospel) to His people. Throughout the ages, His people have looked forward to "the judgment" when God makes all things right. Of course, the reverse is that the judgment is not good news to those who reject God. But we can present the Good News that if you accept Jesus now, you will not enter into judgment. (John 3:18)

          Our keeping of the Seventh-day Sabbath arouses interest. And if our lives demonstrate the joy of the Lord, and we share that we keep the Sabbath as a memorial of creation and an affirmation of the rest we find in Christ, others will be led to worship the Creator. (I believe we should also become intelligent, according to our abilities, about the evidence for a recent creation.)

          The warning about Babylon being fallen is utterly useless, unless we present a contrast to Babylon by the love and purity evident in our own lives. Satan himself can preach that "Babylon is fallen." But only God's people can present the evidence, and it is the evidence that the Holy Spirit can use to convict the honest in heart.

          I do believe we should seek opportunities to minister to people's needs as Christ did and engage them in conversation about eternal things. But, unless we remember that we cannot share what we do not possess and that all theoretical knowledge is worthless without a love relationship with Christ, we shall but be a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.

          (Just some thoughts that came out in our Sabbath School class.)

    • Hi, William:
      I just want to share with you the truth about SundayBlue Laws. They do exist and in some areas in the country are enforced. In Illinois, there is a community that has all of the businesses closed on Sunday. Except for "comfort" reasons-emergencies, certain businesses are open. All other
      businesses are closed. Because this community is along a busy highway just nessary businesses are open. Once a universal law is passed, all businesses will be closed and the law strictly enforced. Even an emergency will not be tolerated. Emergencies will happen, even those set up by the enemy. Hopefully, we are learning to trust The Lord now in preparation for the end times. Sunday Blue laws are found all over this country they are just not enforced in many communities yet. We are living in the end times. God's word is true and this is coming together the way He has warned us.

      • Dear Kathryn;

        It is crucial that we understand what the mark is and I am wondering, if the mark is to be a universal Sunday law requiring everyone to observe Sunday as the Lord's Day of rest, how will that prevent us from buying and selling during the other days of the week? Even if all the stores in the world are closed on Sunday we, as Seventh Day Adventists, are still legally able to do business buying and selling along with everyone else from Monday to Friday the same as we do now. That is the point I was trying to make. Also, what about the Muslims? Will they be forced to worship in their mosques on Sunday instead of Friday because the pope tells them to?

  6. But, Tyler, I was not suggesting that Christianity was about just being nice and/or doing nothing. I mentioned the marriage relationship in my previous message. Anybody that tries to maintain a marriage by doing nothing ends up in the dog-house. A good marriage relationship is much much more than just law-keeping (Just ask Carmel, my wife), and for the record, not all of it is nice! Some of it is hard work (says me who has been working outside in the hot Australian sun all morning)

    Here is a little "catholic" experience that I had. I mentioned this in the list discussion but it it worth repeating here. Last year I was reading my iPad at a railway station and found myself sitting next to an old Catholic nun (Young nuns are very few and far between now). We fell into a conversation about reading and the nun told me that she enjoyed reading. I asked her what she enjoyed reading the most and she responded that she liked reading Pope Benedict's writings. I asked her why she enjoyed them and she said that they pointed to Jesus and provided an example for the way she should live. And so for a few minutes two fellow Christians, a "young" protestant and an old Catholic nun briefly shared an experience in Jesus. And you want me to tell her that she has got her theology all wrong? Heaven help us if we cannot share in that love for Jesus.

    There is a time to go to war and their is a time to share in peace. Discerning which time we are in is the work of the Holy Spirit.

    • Maurice, I think I am getting to understand you better and I can see your point better. Please understand that I am not at all suggesting that we go to war even though there may be times when we should. I think you are correct in saying that there is a place and a time for such things and that the Holy Spirit will lead us in those cases.

      I do want to thank you for recounting your experience with the old Catholic nun. If you don't mind I would like to use that story to clarify the point I am making by asking a simple question concerning it that I so often ask myself after an encounter with people. What more did she have after the conversation than what she had before it? I have the impression that there was more to your conversation than what you briefly tell us but I have to be honest and say that with what you said I really don't know what you meant by "an experience in Jesus".

      If the nun was antagonistic toward Protestantism and she knew you were protestant then I think no matter what your conversation was about it was very positive and helped to ease tension and she would have walked away better than she was before. But, if not then how were you a blessing to her? I ask myself such things because I think for the most part I continually fail in making life better for the people I meet and often making things better actually doesn't take much to accomplish.

      I mentioned in my comment putting people on higher ground. From what you said she told you that her favorite reading was that of Pope Benedict. In other words she valued the Pope's writings above that of the Bible which is not at all unusual for Catholics. Of course hind sight is far easier than spur of the moment decisions but I think the ideal would have been to lead her to the Bible. In a certain sense that is what Jesus did with the woman at the well. He broke down barriers but also made it clear where the truth was (Jn 4:22). Neither was His conversation idle, He was driving to an important point that He was the Messiah who was to come from the Jews.

      I think once the conversation was centered in the Bible it could have been about Jesus from that perspective. The point of all of that would be to get her back to the original source and from there a deeper understanding of what Jesus was about could have been developed.

      I don't think hammering her on the Sabbath or the mark of the beast is what we should be doing with people like that - such things only alienate them. We need to be gently lifting them up on higher ground, always meeting them where they are without being so critical of their denomination or beliefs. I also strongly believe in what Ellen White says about making friends first but in your case that was not possible due to the short time involved.

      "And you want me to tell her that she has got her theology all wrong?" Not at all, but if it was just idle conversation what good did it do? "Heaven help us if we cannot share in that love for Jesus." True, but I can talk all day about love and not move a person one iota closer to Jesus than where there they were to begin with. It just amounts to pure devotional non-directional nothingness. There are some very serious issues at stake and somewhere along the line I think we have to get there and deal with them.

      I hope that what I have said here clarifies where I am at. Hopefully, we are not that far apart but if we are then we need to have a better understanding of one another.

      • I think that the experience with the old nun was a surprise to both of us. A surprise for me in that I fully expected something about Mary and I got Jesus instead. And a surprise for her in that a complete stranger actually knew what she was talking about. In a secular country, finding another Christian is really something worth commenting on. The moment of shared surprise about something we had in common was encouraging to both of us.

  7. Sister Inge,
    Much of what you said I may concur with. However the messages of the last two paragraphs seem to suggest (possibly my misinterpretation) that evangelism is valueless without a personal experience of love or firm connection to Christ. It may be the case it is without benefit to the evangelist, but not necessarily to the hearers. A great number have been brought to the SDA church (God will judge the genuineness) through means other than the personal experience of others ("theoretical" one might say) .

    A certain author we both subscribe to...(okay EGW) was a big supporter of the publishing ministry, as well as other forms of evangelism. While we wait to get close to people, some of whom will not allow us anyway, people are dying (not to Christ). How many of us know well and spend time with half the non-adventists (non-SDA) on our street or apartment, especially in Western society? And what is the effect on those who already profess Christianity, and may actually be better practical models, but not according to the truth as we understand it?

    3ABN, Hope TV, Voice of prophecy radio, internet and email ministry, literature distribution, tent meetings, mingling, SSNET and other forms have done much to advance the cause of the Gospel. Even if or when we are not spirit-filled the Lord works inspite of us and through us to move the gospel forward (1 Corinthians 9:27). Love is other-centered. We may spend a lot of time trying to make sure things are right with ourselves, instead of just doing what the Lord says because we love the Lord and have a burden for souls.

    While mingling is absolutely recommended and is to be practised there is a risk we could start displaying our works before others to impress them with a beauty that we think will convert them. We should invite the Holy Spirit to direct us, and not prescribe limits for the Spirit to work with, not if we are surrendered and submitted. There will be unpleasant tasks, which may not arise with 'chummy' mingling, but this is where dying to self as opposed to self preservation comes in. The 'self' factor is perhaps more far reaching than we imagine.

    Thanks for the opportunity to expand.

    • Hugh, I totally agree when you write, "Love is other-centered. We may spend a lot of time trying to make sure things are right with ourselves, instead of just doing what the Lord says because we love the Lord and have a burden for souls."

      The inward focus - including a focus on getting ourselves ready for heaven - is essentially a self-focus. It is as we actively seek to demonstrate the love of God to others that our own lives are changed. And the methods of reaching out are varied. There are other means besides one-on-one contact, but that does not lessen the importance of one-on-one sharing.

      Thank you for adding this focus which supplements my original comment in which I roughly echoed the following:

      Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.” The Ministry of Healing, 143.

      • Inge,
        I like your last comment. Especially in the light of what Jesus said to Peter after he had denied Jesus. Is that possibly the worst thing you could do? Deny Jesus? And what did Jesus give Peter as remedy for such selfishness? "...feed my sheep"

  8. I really like this quarter's Sabbath School lessons. If only this were taught in the public schools here in Canada. So many young people are being drawn into witchcraft and horror instead of the truth of the gospel. The only comment I would make on this week's lesson is that it is because of marriage (Adam and Eve being one) that we are saved and are able to enter heaven. There is a transformation that takes place when the church, as the bride, accept's Jesus' proposal of marriage and gives up her old life to become Christ's helpmeet. She is given his name and inherits his kingdom. She is accepted in heaven because she and God's Son are now one. Truth is so beautiful.


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