God Reacts: The Three Angels’ Message

I do my most mediocre work on texts I know best. Familiarity breeds contempt. Knowledge, or the illusion of knowing something, can be an obstacle to progress. I read in a book on neuroscience that the pleasure of misunderstanding is indistinguishable from the pleasure of understanding. “Misunderstanding” does not advertise itself as that — it poses as insight.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/sabbath-school/2019/god-reacts-three-angels-message


You mention Rev.16:4 and imply it is not God that turns the springs of water to blood.(Ex.7:14-24.) Or, have I misunderstood you. The angel in charge says this judgment is just. Personally, I suggest, satan is never just. he is a liar and deceiver and complicit in all that is evil.
The order to pour out these 7 bowl/plagues has come from the temple of God to pour out the 7 bowls of God’s wrath on earth. Vs.1 Is he simply following Satan’s desires and permitting them?
So, does God at his point righteously judge and destroy or is it still the deceiver of God’s character who destroys…howbeit with God’s permissive wrath?

Sigve, an inspired interpretation I believe now that I see it, built on what John has already made clear about those who keep God’s commandments.

“This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in Him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” 1 John 3:23,24.

What else can guarantee us victory in Christ over everything the mudslinger can throw at us?


Faith that expresses itself in love. John and Paul are saying essentially the same thing as the law of the kingdom, Ray.





I believe you have Sigve’s book, "The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day. The answer to your question is found in the chapter, “Confrontation of Signs”.

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Yes Richard you graciously sent me the book.

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PS. It may be of interest to you I shared it with the late Donna Heirich that use to post here often. We often disagreed and she wrote her comments after my many throughout the book.
The issue I have with Sigve and others that like his views that have similarity with Graham Maxwell is their difficulty in accepting a truly loving God does at times destroy His creation and the created.
From the flood to the Egyptian plagues, to the destruction of Aarons Sons in the tabernacle, etc etc. From Ananias and Sapphira, to Rev.19,20 there are numerous warnings in the NT of God’s righteous wrath to come.
All of these can not be of Satan or him just permitted of God to show how evil Satan is.
Neither do I accept some of the “openness of God” concepts that always have God merely reacting as he observes Satan’s moves.
The Bible I read says God knows the beginning to the end. Isa. 46:10. He is righteous, longsuffering and gracious but that by no means will acquit the guilty.(There is a means provided however) He is LOVE that destroys Satan, and those that that have clung and cling to sin. That is the Bible that I read description of the Godhead.
I can not rewrite and reframe it to say what I want it to.


PS. Can I say that is not necessarily
Things they say about God’s goodness and faithfulness but what they dont say about His righteous judgment.

My Bible says - …"who keep the commandments of God and have faith IN Jesus. This is what gives the saints perseverance.

What I’m seeing here is a reading, with a preordained SDA mandate intact. This description of the “saints” is echoed in several places in Revelation - 12:17 keep the commandments of God and HOLD to (or HAVE) the testimony of Jesus; 19:10 HOLD (HAVE) the testimony of Jesus.

The issue is - does the testimony of Jesus mean - the message OF Jesus (his life and teachings); or, a faith IN Jesus. It could be seen either way; however, the meaning of “testimony of Jesus” is not the same in both. If all we have is Jesus as our EXAMPLE, then we are left without a SAVIOR, (the LAMB).

From the same author, JOHN, in I John 5:11, John defines testimony as follows:

“The one who believes in the Son of God has the TESTIMONY in himself; the one who does not believe in God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." - This is a faith in what Jesus has accomplished; but, this is also the part that is missing in all of the SDA explanations of "testimony of Jesus”.


I understand that Dr. Tonstad is calling for a broader interpretation of “Babylon.” As the power base of Satan throughout the history. Rather then the EGW and the Great Controversy view that Babylon represents the fallen Protestant Churches. These churches have insisted on keeping Sunday, the Papal Sabbath, and thus the judgment and wrath of God is declared in the Third Angel’s message. They will be placed in the lake of fire that represents such a large number of individuals that their smoke ascends all the way up to heaven.

In this view a personal witness of–compassion, kindness and love–take a secondary place to Sabbath keeping. Sunday worship is the greatest issue that rises God’s anger and judgment–to nearly destroy humanity the second time. However does this really make sense?


The three angels’ messages are proclaimed by God’s people to counter Satan and his end-time allies—the dragon, a symbol of paganism/spiritualism; the sea beast, which signifies Roman Catholicism; and the false prophet, or lamblike beast, representing apostate Protestantism
(Revelation 13). They will operate up through the time of the sixth plague (Rev. 16:13, 14). Thus, the world is presented with two rival messages, each with the goal to win the allegiance of the people on


  1. Where do we place the orthodox churches (particularly the eastern orthodox churches who are the descendants of the 7 churches in Revelation) in the above lesson interpretation?

  2. Does it mean that the SDA church and the Eastern Orthodox church, are the only true churches of God?


Good question regarding the Eastern Orthodox church. We have a large community
here in Macon who attend there. I enjoy their food and entertainment celebration
every year.
The Orthodox Study Bible – Old Testament Text: St. Athanasius Academy
Septuagint. New Testament Text: The New King James Version.

For Information about the Orthodox Church I would recommend this book–
“The Orthodox Church [new edition]”, by Timothy Ware.
A clear, detailed introduction to the Orthodox Church written for the non-
Orthodox as well as for Orthodox Christians who wish to know more about
their own traditions.

I believe you will find THIS look at Revelation a REFRESHING LOOK at the
MEANING of Revelation.
“Reading Revelation Resposibly – uncivil worship and witness. Following the
Lamb into the New Creation,” by Michael J. Gorman.

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I view the contest of Rev 14 as similar to the Three worthies of Daniel. It maybe The worship of the Creator ie.the Sabbath or the,Impostor ie Sunday. which is the basic Adventist View. I see the mark in the forehead as mental consent and the mark in the hand as material support. The problem I face is the baggage that Adventism, particularly under the Wilsons et al. Such ego centric self congratulatory is a turn off.,We really need to know what Paul meant about Sabbath day’s. Or what John meant by the Lords Day. Frankly the SDA Church in Augusta is so off the mark as to be intolerable.

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Thanks, for your book recommendations

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Thanks for this study! I always come up against the Sabbath/Sunday worship thing, much more so this month when I am the SS leader in our church’s one and only class, which uses the quarterly . The Sabbath commandment only says to stop your daily work - nothing about worshiping only/at all on that day. I know lots of Sabbath “keepers” who don’t work then and also go to church. I know lots of Sunday churchgoers (not “keepers”) who attend church then go home and mow the lawn. I ask: if the Beast mandates worshiping on Sunday, where is the problem? I still wouldn’t work on Saturday, and worshiping God is good at any time. Or, if Sunday was declared to be the Day of No Work and the Day of Going to Church too, that still doesn’t affect my Saturday No Work and Going to Church Day. It just means that I considerately mow my lawn Monday-Friday. The law would have to be that the world under the Beast’s control would mandate Saturday WORK in order to break the commandment. I still have a very hard time believing that all other world religions (except the Roman group and the “Apostates”, and they would be outnumbered) would tune in to this at all. Though it sounds odd to me, it’s a big deal in orthodox SDA congregations. Personally, my preference for the Mark as “the lovers of money” = Babylon - it touches everybody everywhere, and looks like Rev 18 altogether…

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Carolyn –
If you read and understand the requests of God regarding the Sabbath is that
this is to be a time when EVERYONE in the Family Grouping, whether biological
or in employ are to celebrate time together.
NOT in individual activities, but enjoying eating together, praising God together,
celebrating together for 24 hours. Even the animals are to have this day to “rest and relax”.
It is my understanding from reading Jewish literature, this is also a time that as
part of celebrating the beginning of the Sabbath husbands and wife are to “celebrate”
together, alone.
However, there is nothing wrong with Celebrating together with the Larger Community
on that day, as Jews were doing long before the arrival of Christ in the local Synagogues.

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My orientation to Sabbath/Shabbat is to simply accept as a Gift. No rules. A little preparation, yes: get house and self ready in expectation of a Special Visitor at sunset. Most importantly, I mentally shut down and shut out the frenzy and the frustrations of the ending week.

I have a rather ornate box that I take down and show the g-kids on Friday evenings. They marvel at its beautiful, spectacular decorations. When taking off the top and showing the inside, they see it’s empty! I explain: “imagine this as your Sabbath Gift Box. Yes, it’s empty… but it’s ready for you to fill, by focusing on ways to enjoy YOUR Sabbath, finding rest and restoration for body, mind, and soul. Fill the hours by renewing your faith experience, embracing peacefulness, and having fun! No rules… enjoy a wonderful 24-hr walk with your Creator!”


Mel –
We are 3 thousand, 5 hundred years from the 50 days when the Israelites
came out of Slavery. THEY are NOW their OWN Masters. They had to
No. 1. Learn HOW to transition from Slave mentality to Master mentality and
to be able to Govern their own lives without someone telling them what to do.
No, 2. They had to learn HOW to love a wonderfully, new, and yet STRANGE
type of God. They had to have INSTRUCTION HOW to “rest” on Sabbath.
It was to be a FAMILY event. NOT each one going off and doing their own
thing. No taking care of animals. Mother NOT cooking over an open fire all
day, away from family. Even hired help were to be part of the family activities.
As Carolyn mentioned – Father is NOT to be out there by himself cutting the
grass. Away from family activities. TV, cooking, cleaning take family members
away from each other, away from interacting with each other emotionally,
The Israelites [and many of us today’s society] had to LEARN HOW to do that
by written instruction before it could become Automatic response and planning.

NEW SDAs are in the same position as the Israelites 50 days from Slavery. HOW
to have a Sabbath.
For many SDAs, Sabbath is the time to come home and “take a nap”.

@tjzwemer, Thomas, thank you for your repeated “refocus” on the global message within Revelation, I find that the IJ restricts and tunnels (from the SDA viewpoint, to a doctrine/sect perspective which is not in the text. Something bothered me about this article and it took some time for me to think thru it.

Here are my thoughts:

One of the lessons or viewpoints I’ve picked up along the way is the valuation of things. Having been Adventist from age 12 onward, and was for about 40 years…, I discovered that self-worth (value) is not worth much value if it is not relation-ally tied to some faith relationship with God.

In 2009 I was on a long trip to the beach on vacation, my wife and I were listening to a cd and to a presentation/sermon/play entitled the Bema Judgment — (in SDA speak this would refer to the marriage supper of the LAMB (when the crowns are handed out)).

What I found most shocking in the presentation was not the theology of it, or whether or not the rapture happened … all that was in the past. It was the time when God wipes all tears from our eyes - INDIVIDUALLY

In this presentation, Jesus presented each with their “own crown”… some didn’t get a crown, some crowns shone brighter than others… then the presenter mentioned the “currency of heaven”… it is not money, it is not works… it is not obedience, it is not law keeping,… it is… when this person that is getting their crown stands up… were you an instrument that actively worked with heavenly agencies to spread the “good news” … in that what you did or didn’t do was in honor or connection with Jesus. Each person was totally OK with their reward, and the rewards of others - anything that is not of faith is sin.

It was kinda like a pyramid sales convention… how many people did Jesus influence through your connection with him? So – you get credit in your “so called” crown… based on your connection with God’s Spirit and Jesus leading in your life. No more, no less… period. (Said a different way, if your step/action/interaction with a person was a “moment of faith” and dependence in God’s grace - it’s part of your character/crown

Then the answer I always asked… how could there be no jealousy in heaven? The answer… we see the character of the individual when they receive their crowns and there are 5 possible in scripture.
Each person that receives a crown is totally OK with the number of gems in it… because it uniquely represents them - you can’t really disagree with the true character of someone… Why would you want to? Especially since you are happy with your crown !!!

God wants our love for him because of who HE is. And He alone is worthy of our worship. The book of Revelation is a global book, it’s audience is the entire world, it sets the stage and describes the necessity of God’s holiness, It reminds us that God’s provisions for our tribulation, journey, and walk are sufficient.

The audience to which the book speaks is the remnant (Those in the world at the end that choose “true worship”), in context, not a specific sect (SDA or otherwise).

One of the key points of article above is “faith in Jesus”, it reads in context, due to the active state of the book.

"This translation affirms one thing, not two; it speaks of the constancy of God that was demonstrated in Jesus" Sigve K. Tonstad

I am still reviewing Revelation from this POV. and I really makes sense to me that the Book of Life has our names written IN IT… we choose to NOT choose God and He blots them out.

God’s pen does the writing… think about it…

with kind regards,


Once again, spot on Sigve.

I am finding that keeping the biggest context in mind when interpreting scripture is really helping. That context is the Great Controversy where, since the fall of Lucifer, two Kingdoms are on display for all to experientially witness and to select the one that resonates with their heart’s desire (eg Gen 6:5). While there are two Kingdoms to choose from for now, ultimately only one Kingdom is actually viable despite the self-promoted deception of the second which would deceitfully claim otherwise.

The Kingdom of God is founded on the law/principle (constant) of self-renouncing/beneficent love (Agape) and operates with total transparency (via revelation). Each person is free to decide whether they will embrace or reject membership to that Kingdom via embracing or rejecting the nature and character of that Kingdom. The inherent outcome of embracing the nature and character of this Kingdom is abundant zoe (Jn 10:10). It can be/do nothing else due to its inherent nature being the “law of the Spirit of life” (Rom 8:2).

The kingdom of darkness is founded on the principle of self-exaltating/seeking/gratifying/indulgent lust. This kingdom operates on deceit (that is deliberately designed to mislead via misrepresentation and misportrayal of the true nature and character of both kingdoms) and where that fails, coercion. The inherent outcome of this kingdom is steal, kill and destroy (Jn 10:10). It can be/do nothing else due to its inherent nature being “the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2).