Sabbath school commentary for discussion alongside the Adult Bible Study Guide for April 22, 2023.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/sabbath-school/2023/first-angels-message-part-1
Sabbath school commentary for discussion alongside the Adult Bible Study Guide for April 22, 2023.
Whether the eternal gospel proclaimed by the first angel is the gospel of any other author of the New Testament is not the point. The point is that his message, to which he gives ultimate significance, is that the hour of his god’s krisis has arrived. The krisis has come about because his elect people have been persecuted and martyred by the surrogates of the Dragon, thus placing his power and divinity in doubt. So, what is this god going to do in reaction to what is happening to those who remain faithful to him? The third angel provides the answer. He is going to exercise sadistic vengeance watching them suffer in fire and brimstone for ever and ever. The god of this message is not one I am inclined to worship. Learning that those who cause me to suffer now will suffer even more severely for eternity under god’s supervision is not “good news” of any kind. Vengeance does not prove the justice of God.
The pictures of the gods provided by both the OT and NT are so capriciously horrific, and blatantly contradictory, that to worship either of them would seem to be prima facie evidence of a profound psychosis or a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome .
Fortunately, there is no tangible evidence to suggest that either perspective is logically compelling and no real reason (other than an overarching credulity, or an intense desire to believe in some sort or certainty) to believe either of these monsters actually exists.
I appreciate the corrective to the position of so many Bible students. You have expressed it so perfectly. We must not jump immediately at the mention of ‘the everlasting gospel’ and suppose that this is a reference to the Pauline gospel. Afterall, the angel flying in midheaven proclaims ‘the everlasting gospel’ saying “Fear God, give glory to Him for the hour of his judgement is come, and worship Him.”
Could it be that the term ‘the everlasting gospel’ should be understood by reference to ‘the everlasting covernant?’
Perhaps Dr Reimar Vetne, a fellow Norwegian, has provided another valuable insight into the meaning of the term ‘the everlasting gospel.’ In his book Jesus in the Book of Revelation p. 96,97 Vetne suggests that in Greco-Roman society the word ‘gospel’ was a technical term used about good news from the war front when dispatch runners or riders would skippingly glide over the mountains and valleys back to the capital and the king, announcing that peace had been won and that the King is still on his throne. Isa 52:7 seems to capture this thought well - “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news …”
Perhaps a more modern story will serve to illustrate the role of the dispatch runner and the dispatch rider.
The Year was 1815! After Wellington had won the Battle of Waterloo against Napoleon Bonaparte. The battle took place just outside Brussels. Wellington spent many hours writing the official account of the battle. In 1815 the telegraph had been invented but was not much used.
After completing the dispatch Wellington dispatched his trusted aide, Major Henry Percy, to be the dispatch rider. He was on the road for three days having riden on a horse to the shore of the English Channel, next being becalmed in the Channel before reaching England and riding into London in a coach and six [horses].
When Percy arrived in London he went first to the office of the Cabinet Secretary of War to deliver the great news of victory. News had been anticipated! But victory, even on that Sunday of the Battle, was not assured to the British forces and their European allies against the French. Everyone in London was waiting for news.
Percy then made his way to the ballroom where the Prince Regent (later King George IV) was making merry as this flamboyant scounrel was want to do. Percy bounded up the stairs and rushing into the ballroom, fell to his knees before the Prince Regent crying “Victory, Sir, Victory.”
Could it be that the three angels of Revelation 14 are the cosmic dispatch riders of the end times?
If this is correctly interpreting the tone of this message and paying due attention to its context, as students must, then surely this passage just adds to the understanding of the victory of the slain lamb of the Book of Revelation and of these middle chapters of the Book of Revelation in particular.
It may also go a long way to helping the reader understand the message of the second angel who announces the “Fall of Babylon.” The great religio-political colossus of history and the end times is truly in free fall today. Perhaps, its total collapse can be seen now, more clearly than ever.
Re: “Could it be that the term ‘the everlasting gospel’ should be understood by reference to ‘the everlasting covenant?”
I believe you are on the money here. I also believe Sigve appears to be s missing the boat, if as I suspect, the third story refers to the third angel’s message, when he said, “One of the most shocking things about this third story is that God is no longer the main actor,”. This could possibly be right if we stop at verse 18, but is not the case in the light of verses 19 and 20.
When the books of Daniel and Revelation are interpreted and applied in a strict and consistent manner, it is obvious Christ as opposed to the Papacy is the climax of the book of Daniel and Revelation, not the Papacy.
In Daniel 8 it is little more than a supposition that the Papacy could take away the daily of Daniel, Christ’s ministry on earth or in heaven. As it appears most if not all scholars agree the continual of Daniel 8,11, and 12, represents something that continues, in the context of Daniel and Revelation, it is obvious the Papacy could not and did not take away Christ’s ministry on earth or in heaven.
In Revelation 14:6, we are told the the first angel has the everlasting gospel and it is also generally accepted John provides the information that reveals those portions of Daniel that were sealed up till the time of the end.
Consequently it is logical the identity and application of the daily of Daniel, is confirmed in Rev. 14:6. This being the case then it is clear the Papacy has not taken away Christ’s ministry in heaven, as the official teachings over the last 42 years would have us believe. Cf. just one of the Church’s current teachings regarding the Papacy’s supremacy in heaven today, as it relates to Daniel 8:9-14.
“The tāmîd, “the continual,” designates the daily work of the priest in the holy place. Since the “Prince of hosts” is a heavenly being (cf. Joshua 5:14) the sanctuary in Daniel 8:9–14 must be the heavenly one.*
*The main concern of this vision is the attitude of the little horn toward the sanctuary and the priestly work of the Prince (verses 11, 12). It attacks the host of heaven, defeats them (verse 10), and goes after the Prince and the sanctuary. — Then, in a spirit of rebellion/transgression (verse 12), the little horn sets up its own force to control the “tāmîd.”.
12BC 394-395, see also 2002 Teachers SS Quarterly, p. 41, 44, 48: Stefanovic, Wisdom to the wise, p. 306-307, 310-311; 319-320; 12BC394-395. etc.
If God is no longer the main actor in Daniel 8:9-14 and or Rev. 14:6-14 then we all may as well go home and stop wasting out tithe and offerings.
I struggle to find good news in any of this. The whole tenor of the three creatures’ cries is commands and warnings and destruction. You have to hunt around to find something that sounds warming. You have to read between the lines and make extrapolations to come up with the happy stuff. The funny thing is to seek understanding of how Adventists came to be the stand-ins for the angels. Apparently, it is thought that Adventists are the playback mechanism for the angels.
Revelation about me: this makes my head ache…
this point may be a bit banal, but Paul does seem to assert that there were actually two gospels in apostolic times, the gospel of the circumcision, spearheaded by Peter, and the gospel of the uncircumcision, which he spearheaded…if this was a common NT perception - and why wouldn’t it have been - perhaps Revelation’s gospel implies that both gospels were misrepresenting or only partially representing God, and that it was necessary to avoid taking sides in a sectarian battle and present something separate in the interest of fundamental spirituality…
it seems the absence of the definite article must mean something…certainly the use of “the gospel” would have meant different, possibly conflicting, things to different readers, which it seems the writer of Revelation would be interested to avoid…
If only it were only that…
Perhaps this is another revelation about why so many have opposed Revelations inclusion in the canon….it hurts your brain and your mental health:
Jeremy, absolutely there were two approaches to the gospel from day one. Just read Acts 21:17-22. The brothers in Jerusalem meet Paul and tell him there will be trouble when the Jewish Christian believers there, “all zealous for the law,” find out that Paul is in town. And the two approaches continue to this day.
By my count there are many more than two…
I commiserate with you. What I find incredible is that the leaders and scholars
continue to expect the members to believe the current teachings regarding the covenants or that a Papal host controls the ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, Daniel 8:14, today.
Consequently, it is little wonder surveys over the last 20 + years continue to reveal 70% of the membership are unsure of their salvation.
However Bruce, may I assure you there is a way forward, when we allow the plain word of the Bible and the plain reading of the prophetic books to explain themselves.
it’s interesting that egw prophesied about the development of two parties in the Church…the context is divisions, and the ultimate separation of wheat from the tares…but it isn’t entirely clear that the wheat and tares come only from one or the other of the two parties…
i think our reality now suggests that unity between progressives and conservatives should be maintained as much as possible, since both have the potential to hone one another ultimately for the better…this certainly seems to be the lesson taught by the two apostolic gospels…
If I believed that god stop communicating with his creatures two thousand years when the Bible was canonized, or even two minutes ago when I was urged to edit this comment, I would feel lost.
Fortunately, I’m convinced that I was born okay the first time and do not need to somehow mysteriously go through that process again.
To paraphrase Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins, I still believe that I don’t need to be saved.
I was with you until you wrote this, unless it’s tongue in cheek? Or are you serious?
I disagree. Who is this “judgment hour” message not given or addressed to? Not believers, who have been justified by faith, for they are under no judgment or condemnation. The angel is only speaking the world of unbelievers.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:1
For in Christ… set you free from the law of sin and deathh. Rom 8:2
Who is there to condemn us? No one… Rom 8:34
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Rom 5:1
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become [it is ours] the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21).
Thus, there cannot be any condemnation or judgment for sins lodged against the believer who has been given the righteousness of God, for they are under no condemnation, no judgment while they are “in Christ Jesus.”
I am quite serious, the Bible is meant to be understood by the people in spite of the false teachers, or those who deceive, Matt 24:4-11.
If you want to know where I am coming from ask the Editors to send you my rudimentary study that considers the church teachings over the last 50 years or so. “The Alpha and the Omega: Christ or the Papacy: Job 11:6a,” sent to Spectrum on the 18/04/23, in response to the Ministry magazine interview with Pastor Mark Finlay. The church has attempted to disfellowship me four times over the last 43 years for asking questions they will not discuss, consequently I took the counsel of Acts 17:11, I highly recommend it.
Have you considered the messages are universal in order that all are warned and have the opportunity to make themselves right with God. It appears these messages especially apply to those in the church, Matt 7:22; 25:1-10. The 10 virgins are all dressed in white. Studies reveal less than 30% of Adventists are sure of their salvation.
Matthew 24 makes no clams that the bible is meant to be understood by the people. Or that it is clear and explains itself.
The very idea that it is clear is 100% rebuffed by the fact that there are huge theological arguments about what it says & means, and thousands of disparate churches with different teachings, all claiming to be based on it, on its supposed clear meaning.
If it was clear and easy to understand, there would be only one worldwide church. Or, at least, all the churches would teach the same theology.