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July 2011 Table of Contents

 
 

Our Past History - First Angel
By Demario Carter

In Ellen G White’s book, Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 196, she says, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.”

 

With this in mind, let us study a subject that is very broad and complex, namely, the Three Angels’ Messages. For some of you this study may only be a reminder with nothing new discerned, yet to be reminded of our sacred history is a matter that should never be dreaded. “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.” Because these messages are very broad, in this study we will reflect only upon the first angel.

 

In Revelation 14:6, the Bible says, “And I saw another angel fly 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.” I want to briefly emphasize the phrase another angel.

 

Throughout the book of Revelation the apostle John sees angels. Angels are directing traffic, blowing trumpets, pouring out plagues, and proclaiming messages. However, the angel in Revelation 14:6 is distinct from every angel preceding it. What is so unique about this angel? First of all, the word angel refers to a messenger. It can refer to a heavenly messenger such as in Matthew 13:41. Or it can refer to a human messenger such as in Matthew 11:10.

 

The Greek word for messenger is the same as angel. In Revelation 14:6, this angel has the everlasting gospel to preach, and since the preaching of the gospel is mentioned, the angel must therefore represent human messengers. In Mark 16:15, Jesus says, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Notice also Ephesians 3:10: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” The responsibility of preaching the gospel has been given to the church. Therefore, the angel John sees in Revelation 14:6 refers to a movement in which the church would proclaim a message. This is what makes this angel unique. It is the first angel in Revelation that has a message to preach to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. And what is the message of the first angel?

 

Revelation 14:7 says, “Saying with a loud voice, 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.”

 

The message of the first angel is a message of the judgment hour. This message began to be proclaimed by William Miller in the early 1830s. The movement became known as the Millerite movement and later on as the Advent movement. The scripture that laid the foundation for this movement was Daniel 8:14, which says, “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”

 

Here we have a prophecy that the sanctuary is to be cleansed at the end of 2,300 days. Because this is a symbolic prophecy, the time is also symbolic. The Bible tells us that a symbolic day represents a year. “After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.” Numbers 14:34. “And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.” Ezekiel 4:6.

 

Notice how in both of these passages a prophetic proclamation is being given, and in both cases, each day corresponded to a year. So, the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 represents 2,300 years, and at the end of that time the sanctuary was to be cleansed.

 

The mystery that first perplexed William Miller was concerning the time in which the 2,300 years began. Once this was attained, he could know when the end of the time would be. The answer was unfolded when the meaning of Daniel 9:24 was discovered. It says, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city … .” I want to emphasize the word determined. The root meaning of this word is to cut or to divide. Therefore, the literal translation of Daniel 9:24 is, “Seventy weeks are cut from thy people … .” The question that naturally arose was: What was the 70 weeks cut off from? Well, the only other time given that did not include a beginning date was the time prophecy of Daniel 8:14, the 2,300 days. The angel Gabriel informed Daniel of the 2,300 days, but he never told him when it was to begin. Therefore, Gabriel returns to finish informing Daniel of this vision. In Daniel 9:23, the Bible says, “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.”

 

Notice how Gabriel told Daniel to “consider the vision.” What vision was he talking about? Well, the last vision Daniel had was the vision that introduced the 2,300 day prophecy. In Daniel 8:16, Gabriel is commanded to make Daniel understand this vision. However, verse 27 informs us that Daniel did not understand it, because he fainted as it was being explained to him. So after several years, the angel returned to finish explaining the vision. Thus he picks up where he left off, namely, with the time of the prophecy. He tells Daniel that seventy weeks are cut from his people. The only time that the seventy weeks can be cut from is the 2,300 days. And in Daniel 9:25, Gabriel gives the starting point for this time. It says, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”

 

From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem is when the 2,300 literal years were to start. All William Miller needed to do now was find the actual year this commandment was given. In Ezra 6:14 the answer is given. It says, “And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.” Notice this threefold commandment. The last king to finalize the commandment was Artaxerxes. Therefore, Miller concluded that the year that Artaxerxes gave the commandment was the official year to begin the countdown. In what year did Artaxerxes give his commandment?

 

In Ezra 7:7 we read, “And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king.” So, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the commandment was finalized, and history reveals that the seventh year of Artaxerxes was 457 B.C. With this date in mind, Miller and his associates eventually realized that the 2,300 literal years would end in the year A.D. 1844.

 

This was only a few years away from the time in which this discovery was made. Therefore, the Millerites proclaimed the message of a coming judgment in 1844. However, instead of proclaiming the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, the Millerites proclaimed the cleansing of the earth, which they thought was the sanctuary. Nevertheless, this message was in harmony with the judgment hour message proclaimed by the first angel of Revelation 14. Both constituted the early Advent movement of the 1830s and 1840s.

 

Now, this is the first angel that preached the everlasting gospel, but it is not the last. The message of judgment was to be followed by two other messages, and all were to be proclaimed together. In part two we will study the second angel’s message, and after that, the hope of the third angel. But for now, remember, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history.”

 

Demario Carter is currently working as a Bible worker for Steps to Life. He may be contacted by email at: bibleworker@stepstolife.org.

July 2011 Table of Contents

 

       
 

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