The second and third angels’ messages of Revelation are a warning to all who do not heed the divine call of the first angel’s message. If people continue on their wrong path, they will partake of God’s seven last plagues, which are seen as “the wine of the wrath of God” (Rev. 14:10), and this wine will be poured out on those who remain in Babylon.
In the Bible, Babylon stands for rebellion against God (Gen. 11:1–9; Jeremiah 50, 51). Babylon arrogantly assumes the place of God and is the enemy of God’s people. By the time of the New Testament, Babylon has become a code word for Rome (1 Pet. 5:13). In the book of Revelation, the harlot Babylon is a religious-political power in opposition to God and to His people, and, as such, attempts to control the world. Revelation 13:15–17 describes the “Babylonian crisis” when the beastly powers of Revelation 13 join forces to persecute the remnant of God. Babylon is thus a symbol of the end-time alliance of apostate churches together with the corrupt political powers of the world.
The message of the three angels calls God’s followers in Babylon to come out and join the faithful and visible end-time remnant of God (Rev. 18:4-5). Yes, there is still a faithful remnant in Babylon, and they need to hear the Seventh-day Adventist end-time message.
As we saw yesterday, Revelation 14:12 clearly depicts God’s faithful remnant. The “perseverance,” or “patience,” of the saints does not describe so much a passive endurance of hostile activities but rather a steadfast awaiting of Christ. The believers not only follow the commandments, but also proclaim them to the world.
At the same time, the “faith of Jesus” can refer to the believers’ “faith in Jesus” (NASB) and also to Jesus’ loyalty that carries the believers faithfully through. The end of the third angel’s message, directs our eyes to Christ. Through His merits and His loyalty, God’s people are able to persevere and keep His commandments. “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.’ ”—Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, p. 372.
However central the commandments of God are to the final crisis, Ellen G. White says that justification by faith is the three angels’ message “in verity.” How does this help us to understand why, first and foremost, we must rely only on Jesus and His merits for salvation, as the great hope that will get us through the final crisis?