The Third Angel’s Message: Part 1

Sabbath school commentary for discussion alongside the Adult Bible Study Guide for June 3, 2023.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thank you, Dr Tonstad for getting me thinking. Of course, I have read the third angel’s message as if God is the agent of torture. The ‘marked’ are said to receive the wine of God’s wrath, right after they have drunk the wine of the wrath of Babylon’s fornication.

God and the holy angels are present as this painful scene continues, with the beast mentioned only ‘off-stage’ as the object of worship for the ‘marked’. As such, I have understood this torture as God’s action, either to punish the ‘marked’ or to prevent further injury against God’s people.

It is much more palatable to attribute the torture to demonic forces. You have documented how the description of the torture has precedent in the earlier attacks, but even the force behind those stinging locusts if chapter 9 is ambiguous. Is it demonic or is it God? (More motivation for me to get your book!)

I hope you are right. It makes more sense for Satan to attack his own than for God to intend endless suffering.

I am disappointed to read an interpretation of the message of the third angel that has nothing to do with what the text says. The pattern of the dragon’s actions and God’s reactions is in total contradiction to what the whole text of John the prophet at Patmos says. According to him, God is in full control of the situation and the Lamb is already sitting by the Father in the Father’s throne. That pattern was introduced by Milton and has been influential with those who read Revelation through Milton’s eyes.

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Have you read Tonstad’s entire series? There is a clear action and reaction in Revelation, but the author dealt with this several weeks ago.

…and maybe Revelation is a imaginative story-poem on the lines of Milton’s Paradise Lost, and the author never thought his/her words would be parsed and squeezed to death to eke out extraordinary meanings.

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