The Three Angels' Messages
Frequently Asked Questions:
Isn’t the book of Revelation a “sealed book,” and not intended to be understood?
No, in fact the very name of the book “Revelation” means “unveiling.” It is by definition something “revealed.” Some times we hear of the book being called the Apocalypse. That is because the word in the original is apocalypses, built on the root calypse, which means “covering” and the prefix apo, which means “from” or “away.” Hence, an apocalypses is the removal of a covering, a “revelation.” The book of Revelation is not a sealed book. At the very beginning we're told, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it.” Revelation 1:3. Revelation is not closed up; on the contrary, a specific blessing is given to the one who reads or hears and applies the words of this prophecy. It is a book which is meant to be understood!
Isn’t the book of Revelation intended only for the church following the rapture?
No, John was told to, “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” Revelation 1:19. In other words, the subject matter of the book of Revelation concerns things which stretch from John’s day to ours; from the first advent (the “things which are”) to the second advent and beyond. That's exactly what the great outline prophecies of Daniel do, such as the statue dream of chapter 2. It covers material from the “now” (Daniel's day; remember, the head of gold stood for Babylon, the kingdom in power at that time) until the “end,” when God's kingdom will be established, represented by the stone that struck the image. Think what a great coup the devil could pull off if he could persuade people that one of the most important books in all the Bible was either closed up and not intelligible, or was not relevant to today’s world! That would be quite an accomplishment, in a very evil sense. But for many people, he has done just that!
So much of Revelation is given through symbols. Can we really understand what these symbols mean?
Yes, it's true that God has given much of the information concerning the war between Christ and Satan through symbols. In the very first verse of that book we are told that this was God’s intention. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.” Revelation 1:1. In Greek, the word “signified” is a word which contains the root of our word “semaphore,” which means to “convey by signs.” Indeed, much of the information is given just that way. Notice that God gave this Revelation “to show” His servants. Throughout the book John then relates the things he “saw.” It was an audio and a video presentation.
While symbols and codes are used to convey this information, through the study of the Scriptures and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit the information can be made understandable; it can be deciphered. The code can be broken. In fact, God invites us to study these messages so that we can know about His plan, what we can expect in the future and most importantly, how to prepare for it. However, the Bible makes it clear that only the “wise” will understand. Daniel 12:10. This is a message given to “His servants,” that is, those who love and serve Him; those who have given their hearts to Him in sincere humility. If we comply with His requirement, we can be assured that wisdom will be given to us to understand.
To Whom Are These Messages Directed?
Notice that these messages precede the description of Jesus returning to this earth as He promised. We know that because just after the three angels deliver their messages we read, “And I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him Who sat on the cloud, ‘Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.’ So He Who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.” Revelation 14:14-16.
That this is a portrayal of Christ’s second advent there can no doubt, since the Lord Himself said, “the harvest is the end of the age.” Matthew 13:39. Therefore the messages that precede this grandest of all events, Jesus’ return to earth in glory, must constitute Heaven’s last warning, God’s last call to Planet Earth. Could there possibly be anything of more importance than this? Could there possibly be anything of which we should be more familiar? Is there any doubt but that we are living in the time the Bible describes as the “last days”? These messages most certainly are meant for us!
Is it really important to know what these seven verses mean?
Without knowing “what’s going on,” life on this planet can appear confusing and perplexing, like the “wheels within wheels” that Ezekiel saw in vision. Habakkuk was told to, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” Habakkuk 2:2. The idea conveyed in the Hebrew of that text is not that a person who is jogging can understand or share it, but “that a person may read it fluently,” that is, smoothly and easily. The Bible is the Book that opens our minds to see what is happening behind the scenes. The Scriptures explain why this sad and troubled world appears as it does today. Thankfully, it also reveals to us that God has a plan for this planet. It tells us how we may receive salvation by grace and through faith, and one day be taken to heaven when Jesus comes. God loved us so much that He sent His divine Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. He really wants us to be saved and live with Him!
These seven verses in Revelation 14 outline the important message God wants the world to know before He comes back. They are particularly geared for the period just prior to the return of our Lord to this earth. There could be nothing of greater and more urgent meaning to our world right now, nothing of which we should have a clearer understanding, than the messages of these three angels. But if you were to go out on the street and ask those who passed by, “Do you know what the messages of the three angels are?” how many would have any clue what you are talking about? How many preachers today could give you an answer?
Will understanding these verses have any effect on my life?
Understanding these messages will give us a different way of thinking; a different way of looking at life. These messages make it clear that God has an agenda for this world. He has a plan for Planet Earth. We therefore have a choice. We can live our lives based on the visible, tangible world and pack as much pleasure into our lives as we can, pursuing our own wants and desires, without any regard to a divine design. Or, we can learn about and accept God’s plan for this planet and choose to accept His will in the world and in our lives. We can focus on His agenda and make all of our plans subservient to His will. These two concepts for living are literally worlds apart.
The Christian who understands what God is about to unfold will have his eyes trained upward, looking for His cloud to break the sky. That mental outlook predominates the thinking of the true believer. Everything else is subordinate to God’s agenda. And yet, how many in this world give no thought to what God’s plan is for this earth! Today’s world is no different than when Noah preached that the earth back then was going to be destroyed by a flood. Nearly everyone paid him no mind, but went about their lives as if they would continue indefinitely.
Is this really a “life and death” situation?
Soon God's plan for this planet will come to completion, and those who have committed their hearts to Him will enjoy the eternity that He has in store for those who love Him and follow Him. Life is not just going to continue on indefinitely here on earth; the Lord has a design for Planet Earth and it will come to pass. When He comes back, as He has promised, life here as we know it will come to an end. All of man’s projects and enterprises, into which he has invested time, money, sweat and energy will cease. It will all come to a climactic end. Oh, how differently things will look in the light of His coming! But God has graciously allowed us to know the basics of His plan, and how we can fit into it. To live life without an interest in or knowledge of His plan is to make the ultimate mistake; a mistake that will lead to eternal death. We must study the three angels’ messages!