After the end of the 1,260 years, the
termination of the 2,300 years and the great increase in the circulation of the
Scriptures, we enter the time of the end when Jesus will return to this earth
the second time. All of these things are calling the attention of the world to
the opening of the great second-advent movement and the final judgment of the
world just prior to His return to earth.
Prophecy does not identify any dates for
events after October 22, 1844. But there is much information,
which helps us to understand this period of time—the beginning of the
second-advent movement to the end of the millennium.
The first text about the great second-advent
movement is found in Revelation 10:1–3, 5–7:
“Then I saw another mighty angel coming down
from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face
was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. He was holding a little
scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and
his left foot on the land, and he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion.
When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. …
“Then the angel I had seen standing on the
sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who
lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and
all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that
is in it, and said, ‘There will be no more delay! But in the days when the
seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be
accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.’ ”
Notice the mighty angel in verse 1 was robed
in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his
legs were like fiery pillars. Compare this description with the one given in
Revelation 1:13, 15, 16 at the time when Jesus was
inaugurated as our High Priest in the sanctuary in heaven.
“Among the lampstands
was someone ‘like a son of man,’ dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet
and with a golden sash around his chest. ... His feet were like bronze glowing
in a furnace ... . His face was like the sun shining
in all its brilliance.”
The weight of evidence from the comparison of
these scriptures says that the Mighty angel in Revelation 10 is none other than
Another evidence that this is Jesus
is found in verse 6: “And he swore by him who lives forever and ever, who
created the heavens … and said, ‘There will be no more delay!’ ”
Only One who was
equal with the Creator could make an oath with Him. Jesus is the only One who
is equal with the Ancient of Days. The following reference is specific
concerning this angel’s identification:
“The mighty angel who instructed John was no
less a personage than Jesus Christ.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary,
vol. 7, 971.
These statements leave us in no doubt as to
who is in charge of the whole second-advent movement and guiding it with His
supreme power and authority. This is a very comforting message for all true
In Revelation 10:2, He was holding a little
scroll, which lay open in his hand. The book being open means that the contents
of the book can be read and understood. Daniel was informed in chapter 12:9
that the words were closed up and sealed until the time of the end. This refers
to that portion of the book of Daniel that speaks about the sanctuary in heaven
and events transpiring in the last days. The following statement is quite
“The book that was sealed was not the book of
Revelation, but that portion of the prophecy of Daniel which related to the
last days. The Scripture says, ‘But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal
the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge
shall be increased’ (Daniel 12:4).” Selected Messages, Book 2, 105.
The most important part of the book of Daniel
that was sealed was that part of chapter 8 referring to the attack of the small
horn against the ministry of Jesus in the sanctuary in heaven during the 1,260
years and following to the present time.
The following is an explanation of the
significance of Jesus planting “his right foot on the sea and his left foot on
“The mighty angel who instructed John was no less
a personage than Jesus Christ. Setting His right foot on the sea, and His left
upon the dry land, shows the part which He is acting in the closing scenes of
the great controversy with Satan. This position denotes His supreme power and
authority over the whole earth. …
“The angel’s position, with one foot on the
sea, the other on the land, signifies the wide extent of the proclamation of
the [first angel’s] message. It will cross the broad waters and be proclaimed
in other countries, even to all the world.” “Ellen G.
White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist
Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 971.
In Revelation 10:6 it says, “There will be no
more delay!” This angel, who is Christ, is announcing that there will be no
“This time, which the angel declares with a
solemn oath, is not the end of this world’s history, neither of probationary
time, but of prophetic time, which should precede the advent of our Lord. That
is, the people will not have another message upon definite time. After this
period of time, reaching from 1842 to 1844, there can be no definite tracing of
the prophetic time. The longest reckoning reaches to the autumn of 1844.” Ibid.
God is telling us that there will be no more
time prophecies like the 70 weeks, the 2,300 years and the 1,260 years.
“ ‘And the angel which I saw stand upon the
sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware
by Him that liveth forever and ever, … that there
should be time no longer’ [Revelation 10:5, 6]. This message announces the end
of the prophetic periods.” Manuscript
Releases, vol. 17, 9, 10.
These statements have reference to the three
great time prophecies of the Bible, the seventy weeks, the 1,260 years and the
2,300 years. The time periods represented by these three prophecies had to be
completed before the great controversy between Christ and Satan could be
brought to a conclusion. Now that the last of these three time periods was
completed, the great controversy could now move on to its conclusion without
the restraint of time periods.
Here is another statement that gives light on
when this phrase was proclaimed.
“When the book was opened, the proclamation
was made, ‘Time shall be no longer.’ (See Revelation 10:6.) The book of Daniel
is now unsealed, and the revelation made by Christ to John is to come to all
the inhabitants of the earth.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 105.
This means that the book of Daniel is
unsealed in the book of Revelation and can be proclaimed with power and
understanding, that the message will not be delayed by the waiting for any more
time prophecies to be fulfilled.
The following statement makes an interesting
correlation between the angel (Christ) in Revelation 10 and the first angel’s
“The message of Revelation 14, proclaiming
that the hour of God’s judgment is come, is given in the time of the end; and
the angel of Revelation 10 is represented as having one foot on the sea and one
foot on the land, showing that the message will be carried to distant lands,
the ocean will be crossed, and the islands of the sea will hear the
proclamation of the last message of warning to our world.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 17, 9.
This statement indicates that Christ,
Himself, is directing the proclamation of the first angel’s message. The first
angel’s message was given by the early advent preachers in the 1830s and early
1840s; therefore the events of Revelation 10 occurred at the same time before
October 22, 1844. It was at this time that the last message of warning began to
be proclaimed to the world.
In Revelation 10:7 we read, “But in the days
when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will
be accomplished.” What is the “mystery of God”?
I believe that the mystery of God is the same
as the gospel of salvation. In Colossians 2:2, 3 and 6, it says, “My purpose is
that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have
the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the
mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom
and knowledge. … So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue
to live in Him.”
The mystery of God could be called the
gospel. Look at Romans 16:25: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of
Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret
since the world began.” KJV Also read Ephesians 6:19: “And for me, that
utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known
the mystery of the gospel.” KJV
This is the message contained in the little
scroll which lay open in his hand. Other names used for the gospel or new
covenant include the following:
covenant, Abrahamic covenant, Second covenant,
Covenant of grace, See Patriarchs and
Covenant, See Genesis 17:7 and Patriarchs
and Prophets, 370
of redemption, See The Signs of the Times,
August 24, 1891
of peace, See Isaiah 54:9, 10 and Education,
of salvation, See Patriarchs and Prophets,
gospel and plan of redemption, The Signs
of the Times, August 24, 1891
What is very interesting is that the new
covenant is another name for the gospel. The mystery of God is the new covenant
made by God the Father and His Son Jesus from times eternal. This is the
subject of the first angel’s message that is to go to all the
Christ has come down to this earth,
represented as a mighty angel to announce to the world that the time has come for
this covenant to be completed.
Let us read in Revelation 10:7 what the angel
(Jesus) said had already been done concerning the mystery of God: “But in the
days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God
will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”
Jesus is saying in this phrase that He has
already given the prophets information concerning the finishing of the gospel
or the new covenant promises. Actually, in Bible prophecy we find that there are
at least ten announcements explaining the accomplishment of the mystery of God
that Christ has already given through His servants the prophets. This is
probably the most widely publicized event in the whole great controversy
between Christ and Satan.
The vision of the angel and the scroll in
Revelation 10 is the first of these announcements. The angel (Christ) coming
down to this earth and placing his right foot on the sea and his left foot on
the land is the first announcement about the finishing of the mystery of God
which is the gospel or new covenant.
We need to remind ourselves that the new
covenant, the mystery of God, also called the gospel, is the very foundation of
We have already noticed that this angel came
down to direct the proclamation of the first angel’s message in the 1830s and
early 1840s. The first angel’s message, then, is the second announcement that
we will study.
There are many angels mentioned in the Revelation.
Let us turn in our Bibles to the first angel’s message in Revelation 14:6, 7.
It is referred to as the first angel because in verse 8 a second angel is
mentioned, and in verse 9 a third angel is seen with another message for the
“Then I saw another angel flying in midair,
and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to
every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God
and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship Him who
made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.’ ”
There are three points in this message that
we want to consider at this time:
1. he had the eternal gospel (the new covenant) to proclaim
2. the hour of His judgment has come
3. he calls upon the people to worship their Creator
This first angel’s message was to be a part
of a great religious awakening.
“A great religious awakening under the
proclamation of Christ’s soon coming is foretold in the prophecy of the first
angel’s message of Revelation 14. An angel is seen flying ‘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.’ ‘With a loud
voice’ he proclaims the message: ‘Fear God, and give
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’ [verses 6, 7].” The Great Controversy,
This is the angel that is being directed by
the angel (Christ) in Revelation 10:1. Notice the character of the messenger
and the message that is described in the following statement:
“The fact that an angel is said to be the
herald of this warning is significant. By the purity, the glory, and the power
of the heavenly messenger, divine wisdom has been pleased to represent the
exalted character of the work to be accomplished by the message and the power
and glory that were to attend it. And the angel’s
flight ‘in the midst of heaven,’ the ‘loud voice’ with which the warning is
uttered, and its promulgation to all ‘that dwell on the earth,’—‘to
every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,’—give evidence of the
rapidity and world-wide extent of the movement.” Ibid.
There is also evidence in this statement
concerning the time it is to be given.
“The message itself sheds light as to the
time when this movement is to take place. It is declared to be a part of the
‘everlasting gospel;’ and it announces the opening of the judgment. The message
of salvation has been preached in all ages; but this message is a part of the
gospel which could be proclaimed only in the last days, for only then would it
be true that the hour of judgment had come.” Ibid.,
355, 356. [Emphasis author’s.]
Remember that this gospel was also called the
new covenant along with eight other names. Two times in this statement it
comments on this message being part of the gospel. We learned in previous
studies that the gospel is about the new covenant and the new covenant
sanctuary in heaven in which Jesus carries on His ministry of removing the
confessed sins of God’s people.
The weight of evidence is that the judgment
was a part of the new covenant plan from the very time it was formed by God the
Father and the Son. Both Revelation 10 and Revelation 14 make reference to the
finishing of the gospel.
In Revelation 10:7 it says, “The mystery of
God will be accomplished.” This means that the new covenant plan of redemption
will now be completed.
The first angel in Revelation 14:7 says, “The
hour of His judgment has come.” The judgment is the last event in the new
covenant plan of salvation to be completed. The announcement of the judgment is
also a part of the first angel’s message.
There are three phases of a judgment or
trial. They are:
1. investigative phase
2. executive phase (sentencing)
3. execution phase
In the United States court system, a jury
trial consists of these three phases.
1. First there is an investigation of the
charges filed against the individual on trial. The jury is apprised of all the
evidence in the case and then presents a verdict of innocence or guilt. If
innocent, the individual is released and set free. This is the investigative
phase of the trial.
2. If the individual is found guilty, then
the trial moves to the second phase. In this phase the jury evaluates the
severity of the crime and assigns a just punishment. This is known as the
executive or sentencing phase of the judgment.
3. The third phase in the trial is the
execution of the sentence assigned—that is, applying the sentence to the
The Bible judgment has these three phases. In
the great judgment conducted by the God of heaven, which is in progress at the
present time, these three phases of the trial are followed as in a jury trial.
In the book of James it says that the
standard in the judgment will be the law of liberty or the ten
commandments. “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the
law that gives freedom.” James 2:12.
In Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14, Solomon gives
counsel concerning our preparation for the judgment and the standard to be
used. He said,
“Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear
God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole
duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every
hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”
The Day of Atonement services were conducted
in the Most Holy Place of the sanctuary on earth. The Most Holy Place is also
called the second apartment.
“In this way he will make atonement for the
Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites.
When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of
Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.” Leviticus 16:16,
“Once a year, on the great Day of Atonement,
the priest entered the Most Holy Place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. The
work there performed completed the yearly round of ministration.” The Great Controversy,
In the heavenly sanctuary, the cleansing is a
counterpart to the Day of Atonement in the earthly sanctuary. That is the
removal of sin from the Most Holy Place in the sanctuary in heaven. This is the
first part of a jury trial, the determination of guilt or innocence.
The counterpart of the Day of Atonement in
the earthly sanctuary began in the heavenly sanctuary on October 22, 1844, when
Christ moved from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place in heaven to begin the
investigative judgment. (See Daniel 7:9, 10, 13.)
“This is the service which began when the
2,300 days ended. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our High
Priest entered the most holy, to perform the last division of His solemn
work—to cleanse the sanctuary.” Ibid., 421.
In order to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary,
an examination of the books to determine who is entitled to the benefits of His
atonement must take place.
“There must be an examination of the books of
record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are
entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary
therefore involves a work of investigation—a work of judgment.” Ibid., 422.
The eternal destiny of those who are found
innocent in the investigative judgment is a wonderful place. Revelation 22:14
“Blessed are those who wash their robes [keep
the commandments], that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go
through the gates into the city.”
Those who are found guilty in the
investigative judgment are destroyed in the battle of Armageddon during the
second coming of Jesus. Then they are subject to the second and third phases of
the judgment. Revelation 20:5 says, “The rest of the dead did not come to life
until the thousand years were ended.”
All the wicked are destroyed
at the commencement of the 1,000 years. It is during this time that the saints
are determining the sentences of the wicked.
The saints are taken to heaven at the
beginning of the millennium and the earth has no human life on it for the next
1,000 years. The sentencing (executive) phase of the judgment takes place
during this 1,000 year period.
“During the thousand years between the first
and the second resurrection the judgment of the wicked takes place.” Ibid., 660.
The Bible says that the judges are the ones
who are pronounced innocent in the investigative judgment.
Revelation 20:4, 6 says, “They came to life
and reigned with Christ a thousand years. … They will be priests of God and of
Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
Paul wrote to the church in Corinth reminding
them that they would at some point in time be judges. In I
Corinthians 6:2, 3, it says, “Do you not know that the saints will judge the
world? … Do you not know that we will judge angels?”
“In union with Christ they [the righteous]
judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and
deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion
which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is
recorded against their names in the book of death.” Ibid.,
The third phase of a jury trial is the
execution phase in which the sentences are carried out or applied.
“The wicked will be raised from the dead and
appear before God for the execution of ‘the judgment written.’ Thus the revelator,
after describing the resurrection of the righteous, says: ‘The rest of the dead
lived not again until the thousand years were finished.’ Revelation 20:5.” Ibid.
All of the wicked will be raised at the end
of the 1,000 years for the execution of the judgment. The third phase of the
judgment in the Bible is recorded in Revelation 20:7–15. These verses are not
written in the order the events take place; therefore they may seem a little
confusing to some. These verses in chronological order would read as follows:
Revelation 20:7–9, first part: “When the thousand years are over, Satan will be
released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four
corners of the earth … to gather them for battle. In number they are like the
sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and
surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city He loves.”
Verses 11–13: “Then I saw a great white
throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and
there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing
before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the
book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded
in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades
gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to
what he had done.”
Verse 9, last
part: “But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.”
Verses 14 and 15: “Then death and Hades were
thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was
thrown into the lake of fire.”
Verse 10: “And the devil, who
deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and
the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
In summary, the three phases of the
proclamation of the eternal gospel and the judgment announced by the first
1. The investigative phase – October 22,
1844, to the close of probation
2. The sentencing (executive) phase –
during the 1,000 years
3. The execution phase – the handing down
and executing the sentences after the 1,000 years are ended.
This has been a brief review of the three
phases of the judgment as announced by the first angel and as directed by the
mighty angel of Revelation 10:1.
(Unless appearing in quoted references or
otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New International Version.)
Maurice Hoppe is
retired and volunteers at Steps to Life. His primary responsibility is working
with the Training Program for Ministers and Church Leaders and the Training
Program for Lay Workers. He also conducts a Bible Correspondence School from
his home with emphasis on Bible prophecy. He may be contacted at: