Revelation Chapter 13c | Table of Contents | Revelation Chapter 14b

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Revelation Chapter 14a

God’s Final Warning
to a Wicked World

      Verse 1 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
      A wonderful feature of the prophetic word is that the people of God are never brought into positions of trial and difficulty, and there abandoned. After taking them into scenes of danger, the voice of prophecy does not leave them there to guess their fate, in doubt, perhaps despair, as to the final result. Rather, it takes them through to the end, and reveals the final triumph of the faithful.
      The first five verses of Revelation 14 are an example of this. The thirteenth chapter closed with a view of the people of God, a small and apparently weak and defenseless company, in deadly conflict with the mightiest powers of earth which the dragon is able to muster to his service. A decree is passed, backed up by the supreme power of the land, that they shall worship the image and receive the mark, under pain of death if they refuse to comply. What can the people of God do in such a conflict and in such an extremity? What will become of them? Glance forward with the apostle to the very next scene in the unfolding drama, and what do we behold? —The same company standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb, a
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victorious company, playing on symphonic harps in the court of heaven. Thus are we assured that when the time of our conflict with the powers of darkness comes, deliverance is not only certain, but will immediately be brought to the people of God.
      The 144,000. —We believe that the 144,000 here seen on Mount Zion are the saints who were in Revelation 13 brought to view as objects of the wrath of the beast and his image.
      They are identical with those sealed, as described in Revelation 7, who have already been shown to be the righteous who are alive at the second coming of Christ.
      They are “redeemed from among men” (verse 4), an expression which can be applicable only to those who are translated from among the living. Paul labored, if by any means he might attain to the resurrection from among the dead. (Philippians 3:11.) This is the hope of those who sleep in Jesus —a resurrection from the dead. A redemption from among men, from among the living, must mean a different thing, and can mean only one thing, and that is translation. Hence the 144,000 are living saints, who will be translated at the second coming of Christ. (See comment on verse 13.)
      On what Mount Zion does John see this company standing? —The Mount Zion above; for the song of harpers, which no doubt is uttered by these very ones, is heard from heaven. This is the same Zion from which the Lord utters His voice when He speaks to His people in close connection with the coming of the Son of man. (Joel 3:16; Hebrews 12:25-28; Revelation 16:17.) An acceptance of the fact that there is a Mount Zion in heaven, and a Jerusalem above, would be a powerful antidote for the false doctrine of a second probation and a millennium of peace on earth.
      Only a few more particulars respecting the 144,000, in addition to those given in Revelation 7, will claim our attention:
      They have the name of the Lamb’s Father written in their foreheads. In Revelation 7, they are said to have the seal of
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God in their foreheads. An important key to an understanding of the seal of God is thus furnished, for we at once perceive that the Father regards His name as His seal. That commandment of the law which contains God’s name is therefore the seal of the law. The Sabbath commandment is the only one that contains the descriptive title which distinguishes the true God from all false gods. Wherever this was placed, there the Father’s name was said to be. (Deuteronomy 12:5, 14, 18, 21; 14:23; 16:2, 6; etc.) Therefore whoever truly keeps this commandment has the seal of the living God.
      They sing a new song which no other company is able to learn. In Revelation 15:3, it is called the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. The song of Moses, as may be seen by reference to Exodus 15, was a song of experience and deliverance. Therefore the song of the 144,000 is the song of their deliverance. No others can join in it, for no other company will have had an experience like theirs.
      They “were not defiled with women.” A woman is in Scripture the symbol of a church, a virtuous woman representing a pure church, a corrupt woman, an apostate church. It is, then, a characteristic of this company that at the time of their deliverance they are not defiled with the fallen churches of the land, nor do they have any connection with them. yet we are not understand that they never had any connection with these churches, for it is only at a certain time that people become defiled by them. In Revelation 18:4 we find a call issued to the people of God while they are still in Babylon, to come out lest they become partakers of her sins. Heeding that call, and leaving her connection, they escape the defilement of her sins. So of the 144,000: though some of them may have once had a connection with corrupt churches, they sever that connection with corrupt churches, they sever that connection when it would become sin to retain it longer.
      They follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. We understand that this is spoken of them in their redeemed state. They are the special companions of their glorified Lord in the kingdom. Of the same company and the same time, we read,
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“The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters.” Revelation 7:17.
      They are “first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” This term appears to be applied to different ones to denote special conditions. Christ is the first fruits as the antitype of the wavesheaf. The first receivers of the gospel are called by James a kind of first fruits. (James 1:18.) So the 144,000, being prepared for the heavenly garner here on the earth during the troublous scenes of the last days, being translated to heaven without seeing death, and occupying a pre-eminent position, are in this sense called the first fruits unto God and the Lamb. With this description of the 144,000 triumphant, the line of prophecy which began with Revelation 12 comes to a close.

      Verse 6 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, 7 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 First Angel’s Message. —Another scene and another chain of prophetic events is introduced in these verses. We know that this is so, because the preceding verses of this chapter describe a company of the redeemed in the immortal state— a scene which constitutes a part of the prophetic chain beginning with the first verse of Revelation 12, and with which that chain of events closes, for no prophecy goes beyond the immortal state. Whenever we are brought in a line of prophecy to the end of the world, we know that that line ends there, and that what is introduced subsequently belongs to a new series of events. The book of Revelation in particular is composed of these independent prophetic chains, as has already been set forth in a number of examples.
      The message described in these two verses is the first of what are known as “the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14.” We are justified by the prophecy itself in designating
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them the first, second, and third. In the verses that follow, the last one is distinctly called “the third angel,” from which we infer that the one preceding was the second angel; and the one before that, the first angel.
      These angels are evidently symbolic, for the work assigned them is that of preaching the everlasting gospel to the people. But the preaching of the gospel has not been entrusted to literal angels; it has been committed to men, who are responsible for this sacred trust placed in their hands. Each of these three angels, therefore, symbolizes those who are commissioned to make known to their fellow men the special truths which constitute the burden of these messages.
      Literal angels are intensely interested in the work of grace among men, being sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. As there is order in all the movements and appointments of the heavenly world, it may not be fanciful to suppose that a literal angel has charge and oversight of the work of each message. (Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 1:1; 22:16.)
      In these symbols we see the sharp contrast the Bible draws between earthly and heavenly things. Wherever earthly governments are to be represented, even the best of them, the most appropriate symbol that can be found is a wild beast. But when the work of God is to be set forth, an angel clad in beauty and girt with power is used to symbolize it.
      The importance of the work set forth in Revelation 14:6-12 will be apparent to anyone who attentively studies it. Whenever these messages are to be proclaimed, they must from the very nature of the case constitute the great theme of interest for that generation. We do not mean that the great mass of mankind then living will give them attention, for in every age of the world the present truth for that time has been too often overlooked. But they constitute the theme to which the people will pay most earnest regard if they are awake to what concerns their highest interests.
      When God commissions His ministers to announce to the world that the hour of his judgment is come, that Babylon has
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fallen, and that whoever worships the beast and his image must drink of His wrath poured out unmingled into the cup of His indignation —a threat more terrible than any other that can be found in the Scriptures— no man, except at the peril of his soul, can treat these warnings as nonessential, or pass them by with neglect and disregard. Hence the necessity in every age for the most earnest endeavor to understand the work of the Lord, lest we lose the benefit of the present truth. This is especially true today, when so many evidences betoken the soon coming of earth’s final crisis.
      This angel of Revelation 14:6 is called “another angel,” from the fact that John had previously seen an angel flying through heaven in a similar manner, as described in Revelation 8:13, proclaiming that the last three of the series of seven trumpets were woe trumpets. (See comments on Revelation 8:13.)
      The Time of the Message. —The first point to be determined is the time when this message is to be given. When may the proclamation, “The hour of His judgment is come,” be expected? The possibility that it may be in our own day makes it essential for us to examine this question with serious attention. But more positive proof that this is so will appear as we proceed. It should set every pulse bounding, and every heart beating high with a sense of the sublime importance of this hour in which we live.
      Only three positions are possible on this question of the time of this prophecy. These positions are that this message has been given in the past, as in the days of the apostles, or in the days of the Reformers; that it is to be given in a future age; or that it belongs to the present generation.
      We inquire first respecting the past. The very nature of the messages forbids the idea that it could have been given in the days of the apostles. They did not proclaim that the hour of God’s judgment had come. If they had, it would not have been true, and their message would have been stamped with the infamy of falsehood. They did have something to say respecting
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the judgment, but they pointed to an indefinite future for its accomplishment. In Christ’s own words, the final judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, Tyre, Sidon, Chorazin, and Capernaum, was located indefinitely in the future from that day. (Matthew 10:15; 11:21-24.) Paul declared to the superstitious Athenians that God had appointed a day in which He would judge the world. (Acts 17:31.) He reasoned before Felix “of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come.” Acts 24:25. To the Romans he wrote concerning a day when God should judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. (Romans 2:16.) He pointed the Corinthians forward to a time when “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:10. James wrote to the brethren scattered abroad that they were at some time in the future to be judged by the law of liberty. (James 2:12.) Both Peter and Jude speak of the first rebel angels as reserved unto the judgment of the great day, still in the future at that time, to which the ungodly in this world are also reserved. (2 Peter 2:4, 9; Jude 6.) How different is all this from ringing out upon the world the startling declaration that “the hour of His judgment is come!” —a sound which must be heard when the solemn message before us is given.
      From the days of the apostles nothing has taken place which anyone could construe as the fulfillment of this first message, until we come to the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Some claim that Luther and his colaborers gave the first message, and that the two following message have been given since his day. This is a question to be decided by historical fact rather than by argument. Hence we inquire for the evidence that the Reformers mad any such proclamation. Their teaching has been fully recorded, and their writings preserved. When and where did they arouse the world with the proclamation that the hour of God’s judgment had come? We find no record that such was the burden of their preaching.
      “The above passage [Revelation 14:6-11] is by some interpreters supposed to relate to the period of the Reformation,
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and to have been fulfilled in the preaching of Luther and the other eminent persons who were raised up at that time to proclaim the errors of the Romish Church. . . . But it appears to me that there are insuperable objections to these interpretations. The first angel is instrumental in preaching the gospel much more extensively than the Reformers could do. So far were they from preaching to all the inhabitants of the earth that they did not even preach through the whole of Christian Europe. The Reformation was not permitted to enter into some of the most extensive kingdoms of the Romish jurisdiction. It was entirely excluded from Spain, Portugal, and Italy. Neither could it be said, in consistence with truth, at the time of the Reformation that ‘the hour of God’s judgment is come.’ . . . The hour of God’s judgment is a time well known and exactly defined in the chronological prophecies of Daniel and John.” [1]
      “I hope,” said Luther, “the last day of judgment is not far, I persuade myself verily it will not be absent full three hundred years longer; for God’s word will decrease and be darkened for want of true shepherds and servants of God. The voice will sound and heard erelong: ’Behold the Bridegroom cometh.’ God neither will nor can suffer this wicked world much longer, He must strike in with the dreadful day, and punish the contemning of His word.” [2]
      Such records ought to be decisive, as far as the Reformers are concerned.
      The foregoing considerations being sufficient to forbid the application of the judgment message to the past, we now turn to the view that locates it in a future age, beyond the second advent. The reason urged for locating the message in that time is the fact that John saw the angel flying through heaven immediately after he had seen the Lamb standing on Mount Zion with the 144,000, which is a future event. If the books of Revelation were one consecutive prophecy, there would be
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force in this reasoning; but as it consists of a series of independent lines of prophecy, and as it has already been shown that one such chain ends with verse 5 of this chapter, and a new one begins with verse 6, the foregoing view cannot be sustained. To show that the message cannot have its fulfillment in an age beyond the second advent it will be sufficient to give a few reasons.
      The apostolic commission extended only to the “harvest,” which is the end of the world. (Matthew 13:39.) If therefore this angel with “the everlasting gospel” comes after that event, he preaches another gospel, and subjects himself to the anathema of Paul in Galatians 1:8.
      The second message cannot of course be given before the first, but the second message announces the fall of Babylon, and a voice is heard from heaven after that, says, “Come out of her, My people.” How absurd to locate this after the second advent of Christ, seeing that all God’s people, both living and dead, are at that time caught up to meet the Lord in the air, to be thenceforth forever with Him. (1 Thessalonians 4:17.) They cannot be called out of Babylon after this. Christ does not take them to Babylon, but to the Father’s house, where there are many mansions. (John 14:2, 3.)
      A glance at the third angel’s message, which must be fulfilled in a future age if the first one is, will still further show the difficulty of this view. This message warns against the worship of the beast, which refers, beyond question, to the papal beast. But the papal beast is destroyed and given to the burning flame when Christ comes. (Daniel 7:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:8.) He goes into the lake of fire at that time, to disturb the saints of the Most High no more. (Revelation 19:20.) Why should we involve ourselves in the inconsistency of locating a message against the worship of the beast at a time when the beast has ceased to exist, and his worship is impossible?
      In Revelation 14:13 a blessing is pronounced upon the dead which die in the Lord “from henceforth,” that is, from the time the threefold message begins to be given. This is a
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complete demonstration of the fact that the message must be given prior to the first resurrection, for after that event all who have a part therein can die no more. We therefore dismiss this view concerning the future age as unscriptural and impossible.
      The Judgment Hour a Distinctive Note. —We are now prepared to examine the third view, that the message belongs to the present generation. The argument on the two preceding points has done much to establish the present proposition. If the message has not been given in the past, and cannot be given in the future after Christ comes, where else can we locate it but in the present generation, since we are obviously in the last days just preceding Christ’s second coming? Indeed, the very nature of the message itself confines it to the last generation of men. It proclaims that the hour of God’s judgment has come. The judgment pertains to the closing of the work of salvation for the world, and the proclamation announcing its approach can therefore be made only as we come near the end. It is further shown that the message belongs to the present time when it is proved that this angel is identical with the angel of Revelation 10, who utters his message in this generation. That the first angel of Revelation 14 and the angel of Revelation 10 are identical, see presentation in chapter 10.
      The apostle Paul who before Felix the Roman governor reasoned of “judgment to come,” proclaimed to his hearers on Mars’ Hill that God “hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained.” Acts 17:31.
      The prophecy of the 2300 days of Daniel 8 and 9 pointed unmistakably to this judgment hour. This longest time prophecy in the Scriptures reaches from 457 B.C. to A.D. 1844. Then, as we have in the study of Daniel’s prophecy, the sanctuary was to be cleansed. This cleansing, according to the type in Leviticus 16, was the final work of atonement. That the work of the last day of the year in the typical service was none other than the day of judgment in type, will be seen from the following quotations:
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      “The great Day of Atonement, with its services so peculiar and impressive, fell on the tenth day of the seventh month. . . . It was a day wherein every man was called to fast and afflict his soul; to mournfully and penitently reflect upon his sinful ways and transgressions. . . . He who thus failed to mourn was threatened with the penalty of death, as a direct visitation of judgment from the hand of Jehovah.” [3] “Let us note well the actual Day of Atonement. It was on the tenth day of the seventh month. The Jubilee also commenced on the same day and was ushered in by the blowing of the solemn trumpet; emblem of a God coming near in judgment.” [4]
      “It was supposed that on the New Year Day (Tishri 1) the divine decrees were written down, and that on the Day of Atonement (Tishri 10) they are sealed, so that the decade is known by the name of ‘Terrible Days’ and the ‘Ten Penitential Days.’ So awful was the Day of Atonement that we are told in a Jewish book of ritual that the very angels run to and fro in fear and trembling, saying, ‘Lo, the Day of Judgment has come!’” [5]
      “‘God, seated on His throne to judge the world . . . openeth the Book of Records; it is read, every man’s signature being found therein. The great trumpet is sounded; a still small voice is heard; the angels shudder, saying, “This is the day of judgment.” . . . On New Year’s Day the decree is written; on the Day of Atonement it is sealed who shall live and who are to die.’” [6]
      One might ask if such a message has been given to the world. Again, Is a message of this character being proclaimed to the world today? We believe that the great second advent movement of the past century answers exactly to the prophecy.
      Second Advent of Christ Another Distinctive Note. —As early as 1831, William Miller, of Low Hampton, New York, by an
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earnest and consistent study of the prophecies, was led to the conclusion that the gospel age was near its close. He placed the termination, which he thought would occur at the end of the prophetic periods, about the year 1843. This date was afterward extended to the autumn of 1844. We call his investigations a consistent study of the prophecies, because he adopted a sound rule of interpretation. This lies at the base of every religious reformation, and of every advance movement in prophetic language. This rule is to take all the language of the Scriptures, just as we would that of any other book, to be literal, unless the context or the laws of language require it to be understood figuratively; and to let scripture interpret scripture. True, on a vital point he made a mistake, as will be explained hereafter; but in principle, and in a great number of particulars, he was correct. He was on the right road, and made an immense advance over every theological system of his day. When he began to promulgate his views, they met with general favor, and were followed by great religious awakenings in different parts of the land.
      Soon a multitude of colaborers gathered around his standard, among whom may be mentioned such men as F. G. Brown, Charles Fitch, Josiah Litch, J. V. Himes, and others, who were then eminent for piety, and men of influence in the religious world. The period marked by the years 1840-1844 was one of intense activity and great progress in this work. A message was proclaimed to the world which bore every characteristic of a fulfillment of the proclamation of Revelation 14:6, 7. It was indeed that gospel of the kingdom which Christ declared should be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then the end should come. (Matthew 24:14.) The fulfillment of either of these scriptures involves the preaching of the nearness of the end. The gospel could not be preached to all nations as a sign of the end, unless it was understood to be such, and the proximity of the end was at least one of its leading themes. The Advent Herald well expressed the truth on this point in the following language:
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      “As an indication of the approach of the end, there was, however, to be seen ‘another angel flying through 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.’ Revelation 14:6. The burden of this angel was to be the same gospel which had been before proclaimed; but connected with it was the additional motive of the proximity of the kingdom— ‘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.’ Verse 7. No mere preaching of the gospel, without announcing its proximity, could fulfill this message.” [7]
      The persons who were engaged in this movement supposed it to be a fulfillment of prophecy, and claimed that they were giving the message of Revelation 14:6, 7.
      “I would now say to you this night, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of His judgment is come,’ in a strict and literal sense. We are now at the close of the last day concerning which the apostle says: ’Hereby we know that it is the last time.’ . . . We are just at the evening of that day— we are at the last hour of that day; and it is very nigh, very nigh, even at the door. My dear hearers, I beseech you to consider that it is near at hand, at the very door, according to all who have studied this matter and have sought the teaching of God; . . . that they are all of one mind; that . . . the reign of Christ— is just at hand.” [8]
      “Revelation 14 represents the angel flying into the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell upon the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. When the event takes place which is signified by this symbol, the day of the Lord’s judgment is actually at hand, for the angel cries unto all men, ‘Fear God,
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and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.’ “ [9]
      “It is the duty of all to call upon those to ‘fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come,’ but more especially is it the duty of God’s ministers.” [10]
      But the general movement respecting the second advent of Christ, and the proclamation that “the hour of His judgment is come,” was not confined to the Western Hemisphere. It was world-wide. It fulfilled in this respect the proclamation of the angel “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” Mourant Brock, an Anglican clergyman, and a strong leader in the advent movement in the British Isles, tells us:
      “It is not merely in Great Britain that the expectation of the near return of the Redeemer is entertained, and the voice of warning raised, but also in America, India, and on the Continent of Europe. I was lately told by one of our German missionaries that in Wirtemburgh there is a Christian colony of several hundreds, one of the chief features of which is the looking for the Second Advent. And a Christian minister from near the shores of the Caspian Sea has told me, that there is the same daily expectation among his nation. They constantly speak of it as ‘the day of consolation.’ In a little publication, entitled ‘The Millennium,’ the writer says that he understands in America about 300 ministers of the Word are thus preaching ‘the Gospel of the kingdom,’ whilst in this country, he adds, about 700 of the Church of England are raising the same cry.” [11]
      Dr. Joseph Wolff traveled in Arabia, through the region inhabited by the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law. He speaks as follows of a book which he saw in Yemen:
      “The Arabs of this place have a book called ‘Seera,’ which treats of the second coming of Christ, and His reign in glory!” “In Yemen . . . I spent six days with the children of Rechabites.
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. . . They drink no wine, plant no vineyards, sow no seed, live in tents, and remember the word of Jonadab the son of Rechab. With them were children of Israel of the tribe of Dan, who reside near Yerim in Hatramawt [sic], who expected, in common with the children of Rechab, the speedy arrival of the Messiah in the clouds of heaven.” [12]
      D. T. Taylor speaks as follows concerning the wide diffusion of the advent hope:
      “In Wurtemberg, there is a Christian colony numbering hundreds, who look for the speedy advent of Christ; also another of like belief on the shores of the Caspian; the Molokaners, a large body of dissenters from the Russian Greek Church, residing on the shores of the Baltic —a very pious people, of whom it is said, “Taking the Bible alone for their creed, the norm of their faith is simply the Holy Scriptures’— are characterized by the ‘expectation of Christ’s immediate and visible reign upon earth.’ In Russia, the doctrine of Christ’s coming and reign is preached to some extent, and received by many of the lower class. It has been extensively agitated in Germany, particularly in the south part among the Moravians. In Norway, charts and books on the advent have been circulated extensively, and the doctrine has been received by many. Among the Tartars in Tartary, there prevails an expectation of Christ’s advent about this time. English and American publications on this doctrine have been sent to Holland, Germany, India, Ireland, Constantinople, Rome, and to nearly every missionary station on the globe. . . .
      “Joseph Wolff, D. D., according to his journals, between the years 1821 and 1845, proclaimed the Lord’s speedy advent in Palestine, Egypt, on the shores of the Read Sea, Mesopotamia, the Crimea, Persia, Georgia, throughout the Ottoman Empire, in Greece, Arabia, Turkistan, Bokhara, Afghanistan, Cashmere, Hindustan, Thibet, in Holland, Scotland, and Ireland, at Constantinople, Jerusalem, St. Helena, also on
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shipboard in the Mediterranean, and at New York City to all denominations. He declares he has preached among Jews, Turks, Mohammedans, Parsees, Hindus, Chaldeans, Yeseedes, Syrians, Sabeans, to pashas, sheiks, shahs, the king of Organtsh and Bokhara, the queen of Greece, etc.; and of his extraordinary labors the Investigator says, ‘No individual has, perhaps, given greater publicity to the doctrine of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ than this well-known missionary to the world. Wherever he goes, he proclaims the approaching advent of the Messiah in glory.’” [13]
      Another prominent writer in the great second advent movement writes:
      “But that the Lord’s warning was in reality heard and that the voice did at that very time go forth in the church as to the nearness of the advent, is undeniable. It may be safely affirmed that from the year 1828 to 1833 . . . a greater number of tracts and works on the subject of the advent and declaring its nearness went forth to the public and were advertised in the leading religious journals of the day than had previously appeared in any whole century, in the whole period that had elapsed from the age of the apostles; yea, probably than in the whole of the centuries from that age.” [14]
      That the mistake made by Adventists in 1844 was not in the time, has been shown by the argument on the seventy weeks and the 2300 days in Daniel 9. It was in the nature of the event to occur at the end of those days, as has been shown in the argument on the sanctuary in Daniel 8. Supposing the earth to be the sanctuary, with its cleansing to be accomplished by fire at the revelation of the Lord from heaven, they naturally looked for the appearing of Christ at the end of the days.
      Through their misapprehension on this point, they met with a crushing disappointment, predicted in the Scripture itself, though everything which the prophecy declared, and everything which they were warranted to expect, took place
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with absolute accuracy at that time. There the cleansing of the sanctuary began; but this did not bring Christ to this earth, for the earth is not the sanctuary; and its cleansing does not involve the destruction of the earth, for cleansing is accomplished with the blood of a sacrificial offering, not with fire. Here was the bitterness of the little book to the church. (Revelation 10:10.) Here was the coming of one like the Son of man, not to this earth, but to the Ancient of days. (Daniel 7:13, 14.) Here was the coming of the Bridegroom to the marriage, as set forth in the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25.
      The foolish virgins then said to the wise, “Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone [“going” margin] out.” “While they went to buy, the Bridegroom came.” This is not the coming of Christ to this earth, for it is a coming which precedes the marriage; but the marriage, that is, the reception of the kingdom (See comments on Revelation 21), must precede His coming to this earth to receive to Himself His people, who are to be the guests at the marriage supper. (Luke 19:12; Revelation 19:7-9.) This coming in the parable must therefore be the same as the coming to the Ancient of days spoken of in Daniel 7:13, 14.
      “And they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” After the Bridegroom comes to the marriage, there is an examination of guests to see who are ready to participate in the ceremony, according to the parable of Matthew 22:1-13. As the last thing before the marriage, the King comes in to see the guests, to ascertain if all are properly arrayed in the wedding garment; and whoever, after due examination, is found with the garment on, and is accepted by the King, never after loses that garment, but is sure of immortality. But this question of fitness for the kingdom can be determined only by the investigative judgment of the sanctuary.
      This closing work in the sanctuary, which is the cleansing of the sanctuary and the atonement is therefore nothing else
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than the examination of the guests to see who have on the wedding garment. Consequently until this work is finished, it is not determined who are “ready” to go in to the marriage. “They that were ready went in with Him to the marriage.” By this short expression we are carried from the time when the Bridegroom comes to the marriage, entirely through the period of the cleansing of the sanctuary, or the examination of the guests. When this is concluded, probation will end, and the door will be shut.
      The connection of the parable with the message under examination is now apparent. It brings to view a period of making ready the guests for the marriage of the Lamb, which is the work of judgment to which the message brings us when it declares, “The hour of His judgment is come.” This message was to be proclaimed with a loud voice. It went forth with the power thus indicated between the years 1840-44, more especially in the autumn of the latter year, bringing us to the end of the 2300 days, when the work of judgment started as Christ began the work of cleansing the sanctuary.
      As has been already shown, this work did not bring us to the close of probation but rather to the beginning of the investigative judgment. In this judgment hour we are now living. Today, as in the period to which reference has been made, the judgment message is being heralded to all the earth. Today the solemn judgment proclamation is sounding “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come.” Revelation 14:6, 7.
      Before passing on to the consideration of the second angel’s message, let us contemplate for a moment the importance and sublime significance of the wonderful truth here so clearly revealed. We are standing on the very threshold of the eternal world. God’s last message of mercy is now going to every nation and kindred and tongue and people. The final scenes in the great plan of salvation are even now being enacted in the sanctuary above. Think of it! The hour of God’s judgment
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is come. The investigative judgment that concerns every soul and that immediately precedes the coming of Jesus, is now going forward in heaven. A wedding garment —the spotless robe of Christ’s own righteousness— has at infinite cost been provided for all who will accept it. “How will it fare with thee and me when the King comes in?” “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1.

      Verse 8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
      The Second Angel’s Message. —The time of this message is determined to a great extent by that of the first message. The first cannot precede the second; but the first is confined to the last days. Yet the second must be given before the end, for no move of the kind described is possible after that event. It is therefore a part of that religious movement which takes place in the last days with special reference to the coming of Christ.
      The inquires therefore follow: What is meant by the term “Babylon?” What is her fall? How does it take place? As to the meaning of the word, we learn something from the marginal readings of Genesis 10:10 and 11:9. The beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom was Babel, or Babylon. The place was called Babylon, meaning “confusion,” because God there confounded the language of the builders of the tower. The name is here used figuratively to designate the great symbolic city of the book of Revelation, probably with special reference to the significance of the term and the circumstances from which it originated. It applies to something on which, as specifying its chief characteristics, may be written the word “confusion.”
      There are but three possible things to which the word can be applied. These are the apostate religious world in general, the papal church in particular, and the city of Rome. In examining these terms, we shall first show what Babylon is not.

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