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of the time. The hope and faith had been to them an anchor in the storm, a shield in the fight, and their exceeding joy all the day long; and as they drew near the point of expectation, their hopes grew brighter, their faith stronger, and their joys were complete. The time passed; and only those who felt it can form any idea of the bitterness of that disappointment. Probably there never has been a time since the crucifixion, that the high expectations and bright hopes of the disciples of Jesus, have been so completely crushed as at the passing of the time in 1844. And the feelings of the many thousands of disappointed ones were like those expressed by Mary: "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him."
A good degree of relief, however, very soon came in the well-defined position that there was a time of waiting for the Lord, and trial of faith, after just such a disappointment as believers had experienced. And with it came also the general impression that our work, in bearing testimony to the world, was finished. The solemn announcement of the hour of God's Judgment, in the first message of Rev. xiv, had been made. The stirring testimony in reference to the condition of those who rejected this message, and still clung to a corrupted Christianity, symbolized by the second message, had been borne. Everywhere among believers had been heard the solemn cry, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen." "Come out of her my people." And these messages were clearly seen to be in the past.
But when was the third message to be given? This is one of the series, all of which are to be given in the history of God's people in this mortal state. This is as distinctly marked in the prophetic sketch of Rev. xiv, as the first and second messages are. And although
the disappointed ones felt for a time that their work in warning the world was done, yet God designed to roll upon them again the burden of his work, and they go forth and proclaim the third message. This work, dear reader, is most clearly pointed out in the remaining verse of the chapter upon which I have been commenting: "And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples and nations and tongues and kings."
To prophesy sometimes means simply to teach, as in 1 Cor. xi, 4, 5; xiv, 3, 24; Matt. vii, 22. In the first and second messages the prophecies had been opened to the people, and they had been taught the solemn and stirring truths relating to the Judgment. Believers had come up to the time of expectation with a testimony for the people, and the burden of the work upon them. The time passed, and with it also passed from them the burden of the work, and they suddenly found themselves destitute of any message for the people. They felt that their work was done for the world. In that position they should have waited until the great truths connected with the third message were seen by the light of the heavenly sanctuary, and the Spirit of God impressed them with the new work before them, to proclaim the third message, expressed by the prophetic words, "Thou must prophesy [teach the people] again." This brings me to consider briefly the three messages of Rev. xiv.
THE FIRST MESSAGE.
“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, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his Judg
ment is come; and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Rev. xiv, 6, 7.
This is called the first angel, because it is the first of the series. See verse 9. John calls it "another angel," from the fact that he had previously seen an angel flying in the midst of heaven.
This proclamation is one of pre-eminent importance. It is not a mere local judgment, but one that concerns all the inhabitants of the earth. Hence it has reference to the final Judgment scene. It is the same gospel that Paul preached that is here styled the "everlasting gospel." But the great truth uttered by this angel would not have been a truth if uttered by Paul, for he lived at the commencement of the gospel dispensation, and this proclamation relates to its closing scenes. It seems to be the same as "this gospel of the kingdom," that our Lord presents in Matt. xxiv, 14, as the sign of the end of this dispensation, and which was to be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations before the end should come.
The truth on this point is well expressed in the following language of the late Mr. Bliss, editor of the Advent Herald, December 14, 1850:
"As an indication of the approach of the end, there was, however, to be seen another angel flying through 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. Rev. xiv, 6. The burden of this angel was to be the same gospel which had been before proclaimed; but connected with it was the additional motive of the proximity of the kingdom, 'saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give 15
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.' Verse 7. No mere preaching of the gospel without announcing its proximity, could fulfill this message.
In harmony with this testimony from the editor of the Herald, I will here give another from a tract on prophecy, published by J. V. Himes about the same time, which also speaks of the character of the message and the time of its application. The title of the tract is "Our Specific Work."
"The proclamation of an everlasting gospel, 'The hour of his Judgment is come,' Rev. xiv, 6, 7, is the leading Advent proclamation.
"The facts summed up are these: John, looking into the distant future, gazing upon the theatre of the final conflict, sees a messenger, a minister of an everlasting gospel, fly through mid-heaven, with a special, elevated, joyous, public, proclamation, requiring haste and extraordinary energy in its delivery. The proclamation contains a fact, and a command founded upon that fact. 1. The fact: The hour of his Judgment is come.' 2. The command: 'Fear God,' &c. These are the elements of this special commission. The work of this symbol agent is thus clearly defined; no terms more specific.
"Does this messenger symbolize a class of teachers? Such has been the general understanding of expositors. Mr. Wesley and Dr. Benson so interpret the passage. On this point there is great unanimity. It is plain from the fact that it is said to preach. That class of people is modern. Mr. Wesley and Dr. Benson make this messenger symbolize the Protestant reformers in the days of Luther. With their view agree a mass of expositors. This commission, however, cannot be Luther's.
"That body must exist somewhere, and, in its character and in the nature of its work, it must agree with the symbol messenger. They must agree as face to face in a mirror. Can such a body be found? The proclamation above stated has been heard. The world can bear testimony to this. The cry, 'The hour of his Judgment is come,' sounded through all Christendom. The multitudes heard, and scoffed, or trembled. By what body of believers was this proclamation made? Not by those who taught that that Judgment was a thousand years in the future. No church which holds to the doctrine of a spiritual reign can be that body, as the elements of their proclamation flatly contradict those elements above stated. Such a body now existing can be found alone among those who constitute the Advent believers in Europe and America.”
In proof that this message has not been fulfilled in the history of the church in ages past, I offer the following reasons:
1. No proclamation of the hour of God's Judgment come, has ever been made in any past age.
2. If such a proclamation had been made many centuries in the past, as some contend, it would have been a false one.
3. The prophecies on which such a proclamation to men in a state of probation must be based, were closed up and sealed to the time of the end.
4. The Scriptures plainly locate the message of warning respecting the Judgment in a brief space immediately preceding the advent of our Lord; thus directly contradicting the view that locates these messages in past ages.
We now offer proof in support of the foregoing propositions. If they are sustained, they establish the fact