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Wednesday: The Three Angels’ Messages — 21 Comments

  1. Revelation 14:12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

    It appears that this scripture sum this lesson up well, that the best we can do is keep his commandments by loving God and loving our neighbor as our self.

  2. Is Jesus at the core of present truth? Is justification by faith in Jesus the third angel’s message in verity?

    Jesus is the creator of the universe so the call to worship him who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters is a call to worship Jesus. Worship, however, is anything that shows who has our highest allegiance. Worship can include formal or semi-formal worship services in church buildings or homes but there is danger in representing worship as limited to that only.

    In the first angel’s message, to fear God and give glory to him is mentioned before and his worship is mentioned after the judgement hour message. Would to God that the judgement hour message were always presented in that context.

    There is a “fallen” religious system that has committed “fornication” with the kings of Earth and has made all nations drink of the wine of the passion of that fornication. People need to be warned, not only about how that fall occurred historically but against attempting to create similarly unholy alliances between professed Christians and civil government in the twenty-first century.

    The thing that identified or “marked” the beast for protestantants in the sixteenth century was the use of coercion. When coercion is used again, it will still be the mark of the beast whether or not related to a weekly holy day. I think it will be but consider this: The sabbath is the rest we enter as we learn to trust the Lord. The sabbath DAY is a God-ordained symbol of that relationship of trust. The mark of the beast will be received in the forehead or in the hand. It can be received either by using coercion or by giving tacit approval of the use of coercion. The seal of God is received only in the forehead indicative of the great truth that salvation is only by grace and only through faith--salvation is no received by what not we do. Is this the way in which justification by grace through faith is the third angel’s message in verity?

  3. We Adventist are called ambassadors for Christ. We represent a far greater country then this world will ever know.
    My bible says,

    But as it is written:

    “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
    Nor have entered into the heart of man
    The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
    1 Corinthians 2:9

    He who has seen Me has seen the Father in heaven.
    May God help us to represent Him to this world. Jesus said, I am the way, truth and life.

  4. What does the 3rd angels message a d stewardship have in common? Obedience
    How much of us want to know time when Jesus will be coming back? Focus on a mission factor than a time factor! Do it now fear God now!

    • May we qualify "obedience" with the words faith and love, that is the true obedience that is the obedience motivated by faith and love for Christ and extended to our fellow beings. This is the gold that the Laodicean church lacked.

  5. We must focus daily on God's presence allowing Him to have first place in our lives..the time for His return draws near even at the door. The world will throw all it's problems at us to get our focus off the cross and looking at the waves of the storm..we must hold fast to the hope that is in us. Jesus will save to the up most. We must share the good news that God wishes that none should perish but come to the knowledge of Him who gave His all even to the shedding of blood on the cross.

  6. I have found it enlightening to consider the phenomenon behind certain words like wrath/anger and fear. With respect to fear, when you fear something, the object of your fear absorbs all your focus and attention. Every fibre of your body and mind is riveted upon the thing you are focusing so intently upon. Nothing else matters in that moment. That moment primes you to take appropriate action (hopefully) in response to that which you are focusing on.

    However, it is at this point that Godly fear and typical fear take different paths. The things we typically focus so intently upon are because we perceive that we are about to be harmed by them. But with Godly fear, the thing we are focusing on is going to bring us pure benefit and not harm (see Jer 29:11).

    I wonder if this is why the Bible writers used this term "fear" God to convey that state of focusing the fullest possible attention of our entire being upon God to the point that nothing else attracts our attention away from that... and that doing so primes us to take appropriate action for the specific situation/s we are within.

    • Phil, that is a good description of how we might relate to the word fear that is often used in the Bible. My college professor, Douglas Waterhouse, was an expert in Biblical Hebrew and Greek and he told us that the word often translated “fear” is better understood in English as respect and/or reverence. Since then I have always replaced “fear” with respect/reverence. It removes some of the image of God as only a god of law, justice, punishment and introduces His mercy and grace.

      • Hi Jim

        I agree with your professor and would go a step further if I may for the benefit of other readers who may review these posts.

        I have often heard the terms "respect/reverence" (in regard to 'fear God') used from a 'should' perspective - in that we 'should' give God respect/reverence. However, the actuality of how this plays out is that the respect/reverence is a reactionary response that we can't help. It is a 'reaction' - if you like - to encountering something that is so 'Awesome' that we cannot but respond in that way because we are (to use a common term) 'blown away'.

        Exodus 34:5-8 actually 'portrays' this beautifully if you settle into the experience of what is actually occurring. God display's His nature and character to Moses - and then in verse 8, Moses says nothing in response but is 'compelled' from within to essentially instantly fall on his face and worship! Not because Moses felt he 'should', but because the revelation of God was so 'Awesome'/Awe-inspiring in a 'breath-taking' way that his whole being was driven to respond in worship. The closest example I can think of is, for example, climbing a mountain, and then on the very last step suddenly beholding a grand panorama before you, perhaps with the perfect sunset taking place at the same time. That sense of "Wow"!

        An appreciation of this experience also reveals the experiential link in the Three Angels Messages between "Fear God and give glory to Him" (with the Greek word concept for glory actually also being the same compelling 'breath-taken' reaction) and "Worship Him...". They are describing the same reactionary experience that I have outlined above.

        Unfortunately the typical translation and understanding of Ex 34:7 regarding God "by no means clearing the guilty and visiting iniquity of the father's upon the children..." is way out of harmony with (actually opposite to!) the original Hebrew meaning. I only mention that as this typical (mis)rendering of Hebrew hampers our ability to truly 'see/feel' and appreciate what Moses experienced and therefore to 'feel' the overwhelming sense of Awesome/breath-taking that propelled him (and us) to 'fear God' in the way it actually is meant to be.

        • Notice that the NLT reads thus for Ex 34:7:

          "I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations.*
          I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
          But I do not excuse the guilty.
          I lay the sins of the parents upon their children and grandchildren;
          the entire family is affected—
          even children in the third and fourth generations.”

          The translation seems to softens the language a bit, but the bottom line is that God takes responsibility for the inherent consequences of violating His Law. He designed the universe and life on it to operate on the principle of self-renouncing love, and any violation of His design has negative consequences - sooner or later.

          • Thanks again Inge.

            The important points you make in your last 2 sentences sentences are essentially along the lines of principles about the nature and character of God and reality that I keep in mind as my frame-of-reference when doing word/concept searches such as in Ex 34:7 where the typical translation doesn't quite match/'hit the nail on the head'.

            In regard to the phrase 'not clearing the guilty', the use of the same core Hebrew word (with slight variation between the two usages: wenaqqeh and yenaqqeh respectively, both being verbs) essentially translates "I will not utterly clean/clear-out to the point of desolation (verb phrase) those that are being utterly cleaned/cleared-out to the point of desolation (verb phrase). This concept of cleaning/clearing out is a phrase that is sometimes used today when someone has been robbed - and the additional to the point of desolation well describes the nature and character of sin (and hence the description in Jn 10:10). Matthew Poole's commentary was the best commentary on this that I found in this instance.

            In regard to the accompanying (?parallel perhaps) following phrase, "visiting (paqad) the iniquity...", the Hebrew means to number or appoint.

            Putting these word pictures/meanings together with the conceptual principles you have touched on, it would appear that God is saying that while he does not stop the inherent negative consequences of violation of His/reality Law (because if He did, I believe that reality would cease to exist instantaneously), He does/will in compassion and mercy intervene to modulate those consequences so that they do not wreak their full impact - for the purposes of 2 Pet 3:9b. And furthermore, God also intervenes to modulate the impacts even further by working to reduce the magnitude of intergenerational transmission. Hence, while God will support the intergenerational transmission of life-promoting activites to "a thousand generations", He will at the same time work to modulate the life-destroying activities/consequences to the smallest possible number of generations.

            Now we have a total description of God in Ex 34:7 where each element is in perfect synchronous harmony (ie compassionate and merciful rather than merciful on the one hand and punishing/vengeful on the other) and in perfect harmony with His nature and character of "self-renouncing love" or beneficence.

            How can God be both just and merciful? Because His justice is what I would term Beneficent Justice (which I would propose is conceptualised by the principles embedded within 2 Pet 3:9b) - as opposed to retributive justice. Beneficent justice is something Satan couldn't comprehend and hence, I would suggest, why Satan proposed to God that He couldn't be a God of truth and justice unless he administered punishment for sin/s (Desire of Ages, p761).

          • Not sure that I understand what you are saying in this Phil:
            "while God will support the intergenerational transmission of life-promoting activites to "a thousand generations", He will at the same time work to modulate the life-destroying activities/consequences to the smallest possible number of generations."

            While it is true that the sacrifice of Jesus would propitiate every sin if repented of, the Bible indicates it will be very few that will take hold of this gift through faith. Few will find this path to eternal Life because few are actually seeking it, though the grace of God has "appeared to all men".

            Passages such as Ps 37, Rev 19-20, Eze 18, etc, reveal that the wicked will perish and be no more. This execution involves a "lake of fire" that comes from God. This is NOT God's choice of outcome, but it is the choice of sinners exercising their free will.

            "Thousand [generations] = all generations that will live upon the earth. In other words: "For God so loved the world...".

            unto the 3rd and 4th generation = Our sinful influence will reach to our great grand children. Doesn't this cause one to consider their ways more solemnly? It is a fair warning from God who is seeking to save, yet does not remove our free-will choice.

            Out of all the ["thousand"] generations that will live in this world, most will choose to infect their families to the 3rd and 4th generations. Sin will make us that blind, selfish, and uncaring if we allow it to remain in our heart.

            As for Satan's proposal, God DID administer punishment for all sin in Christ. Those left out of this just substitution choose to be, like Satan and his angels. Satan might falsely charge God with being unfair, but he knows it is just and will one day acknowledge it openly.

          • Thanks Robert

            My combined use of the terms 'modulate' and 'to the smallest possible number of generations' is to convey that God will always try to counter the activity of sin - apparently until the point where a person has, of their own will, hardened their heart to the point where there is no turning back. 2 Pet 3:9 conveys God's preference for how things would turn out. Yet, in His omniscience, God also knows who will and won't come to repentance - yet in His abundant compassion and grace/mercy, He keeps trying to intervene until the point of each person's 'no-return'.

            So, a person at generation 1 may well harden their heart against God - and that will unfortunately 'naturally' (under sin) have impacts on their children at generation 2 and so on. However, it doesn't match with God's nature and character for Him to say to his angels, sorry guys, we can't try and assist the children at generation 2 towards salvation and restoration - we've got to wait until 3 or 4 generations have passed.

            Rather, I believe God tries to intervene with generation 2 - and maybe it is successful and maybe it isn't. And God tries to intervene at generation 3 and maybe it is successful and maybe it isn't. And so on. But God keeps on trying to modulate the life-destroying activities/consequences so that its impact is contained to the smallest possible number of generations.

            Hope that makes my perspective clearer to understand...

      • The original word (Hebrew: yare) often used for "fear" of the Lord is the same used to mean frightened.

        We, as sinners, would have extreme "fear" if brought near enough to the presence of God(notice how Israel reacted to God's voice from Sinai). Fear from our vantage point is what we need in order to have a proper respect/reverence and desire to obey, not for fear of punishment, but for fear of violating the pureness and holiness that pleases God, which is often beyond our ability to comprehend if we are not acquainted with Him intimately.

        Notice Joseph's "fear" to offend God, not because he was afraid, but because he loved Him. Most of us(hopefully) feared to offend our parents or lose their trust. Maybe you had a kind, Godly teacher you never wanted to disappoint.

        The fear in the Bible is healthy and beneficial for sinners, but only works to this end IF realizing the true character and purposes of God towards sinners in Christ. With such mercy and grace exercised in our favor, shouldn't we fear to offend such a kind, loving Being?

        As an example, my "fear" of the ocean's power kept me from venturing where I didn't belong years ago when surfing large waves. I had a healthy respect which was well-deserved and wise to observe. One foolish neglect could end up NOT in my best interest or safety. I wouldn't have been out there if it wasn't an enjoyable experience, made safer with a healthy fear/respect.

        Lastly, Balaam suddenly had a healthy fear of God when confronted with the heavenly messenger sent to destroy him, but forgot that fear when helping Israel's enemies to entice them to sin against God, which resulted in Balaam's ruin. The fear of God would have given him a much needed wisdom.

        I believe that rightly understood in a proper relationship, "fear" is a proper word as used in the Hebrew text, as in Solomon's "conclusion" of the whole matter"(Eccl 12:13,14). Notice the reason for this healthy "fear".

        • You raise some good points Robert that got my grey matter churning over...

          I am by no means a Greek or Hebrew expert - just someone who likes to dig to understand better as per 2 Tim 2:15. I have found that I need to go beyond a word for word translation in many instances because the word for word translation at times doesn't quite conceptually match/make sense in the particular context. Therefore I use a range of concordances along with review of verses containing the same word, explore the root words, and also consider the phenomenon/concept behind the English word that has been proposed as the equivalent. From what I can see, Hebrew and Greek words have a broader and richer range and scope of meaning behind them that English words - even to the point of explaining the progression of a process. Brown-Driver-Briggs concordance displays this better that Strongs. Greek and Hebrew words appear to be considerably more dynamic than relatively static English words.

          In reflecting upon your statement "The fear in the Bible is healthy and beneficial for sinners, but only works to this end IF realizing the true character and purposes of God towards sinners in Christ", I would completely agree that the way in which a person realises/understands the character and nature of God will reflect in how they experience 'fear'. As an illustration of this, you mentioned how the Israelites recoiled at Sinai - but Moses didn't. The Israelites did have a frightened fear, Moses had a different kind of 'fear' - which was what I was unpacking in my post.

          • Only as we see God as He is for ourselves will we have the appropriate "fear of the Lord" that leads to willing repentance and obedience.

            Notice the fear of the worlds great men(and all others) at the appearance of the Lamb of God to earth in Revelation 6:15-17. Is that the fear we want?!!
            Then notice the "exceeding joy" of the redeemed in the very presence of God's glory in Jude 24.

            Same God, different type of "fear" wouldn't you say? Again the 1st angel is calling to all(in a loud voice) to "fear God....", but not in order to be afraid OF Him, but to experience that "exceeding joy" in His very presence.

          • Forgot to mention....Moses actually did "fear and quake"(Heb 12:21).(notice the greek "ekphobos" = terrified), but it lead to a healthy reverence revealed in his holy character of obedience.

            Back to that 1st angel's message: the proper fear results in obedience which glorifies God(Matt 5:16), and the only true worship is "in the beauty of holiness"(Ps 29:2). So the first angel is calling all to that "holiness, without which no man will see the Lord"(Heb 12:14).

          • Thanks again Robert.

            "Same God, different type of "fear" wouldn't you say?" - Absolutely!

            And in regard to Moses, yes he did have a strong bodily reaction - but it didn't lead him to recoil like the Israelites. Therefore, as you say, different type of 'fear'.

            I remember as a youngster being taken a couple of times to a drag racing meeting that had top-fuel dragsters and funny-cars. And I remember my body being filled with (what I now know to be) adrenaline to the point that my whole body was "trembling" just from being in the presence of those high-powered cars doing their run down the track at full noise. The sound is so 'powerful' and 'huge' that I could literally feel it vibrate through my entire body. I wasn't frightened by these, but it was such a powerful and all-encompassing experience that it obviously elicited a full-on adrenaline-based response within my being. Same 'symptoms' as 'fear', but I wasn't afraid.

    • Thanks Phil. I never thought of "fear" in the way of total focus. But it's appropriate with God, isn't it, combined with the fact that the original word means something closer to supreme regard.

  7. When reading Bible texts to apply understandings,I have to question a text just because it is in the Bible. Often a text will be used that isn't related to the context of a chapter or verse. It seems to color an opinion, just because it is handy. Does anyone else agree?

    • Good point to raise Paul.

      Sometimes a verse states/reflects/exemplifies a broader principle and therefore can be validly used in support another application of that same principle which may not directly relate to the original chapter/verse context of the quoted text. Not sure if your question is including or excluding such instances...

      I would, however, invite you (or others) to challenge me on the point you raise regarding 'handy-texting' and 'coloured opinions' if you believe I do/have done this in my posts because I want to 'rightly divide the word of truth' 2 Tim 2:15 and want to be held accountable to doing so...


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