God's Last Message of Warning
Lesson 34

In the Bible, the second coming of Christ is the one event toward which all others tend. It is represented as a day of wrath; the time when sin and sinners are destroyed, and the land becomes desolate. The language of the inspired writers expresses in most vivid terms the scenes of that day when God arises from His place to punish inhabitants of the earth.

The question presents itself; is mankind to have no warning of this destruction so soon to burst upon him? Is he to have no token of the coming storm that he might avert the impending destruction? Will irretrievable ruin swallow up a sinful world, and God give no intimation of its approach?

Such was not the case with the antediluvian world, nor is it the manner of the just Judge of all the world to visit mankind with judgment without giving him ample warning that he might, if he will, avoid the coming destruction.

1. Who is to come before the return of Jesus?

Malachi 4:5–6
Malachi 4:5–6

Note: In announcing the birth of John the Baptist the angel Gabriel declared that his work would be done in the spirit and power of Elijah. See Luke 1:17. In fulfilling his mission as the forerunner of the Messiah, preparing the people for Christ’s ministry, John fulfilled his mission. See Matthew 11:10. In its greatest and most complete fulfillment, however, this prophecy must have an application to the days just before Christ’s second advent. There must be a message to prepare a people for the return of the Lord. This message, brought to view in Revelation 14, is worldwide in its scope and is the last such message in the New Testament to be announced. By their acceptance or rejection of this message, every person will have decided for eternal life, or for everlasting woe.

2. What event does the first angel of Revelation 14 announce?

Revelation 14:7
Revelation 14:7

Note: Most Bible truths are truths that have been relevant to every people and in all time. The message of Revelation 14:6–7, however, is unique in that it announces that the judgment is in progress; hence this truth could not have been properly given before the beginning of the judgment in 1844. The apostles looked forward to a day when the judgment would take place (see Acts 24:25), but this is the announcement that that day has come.

3. In view of the ongoing judgment, what message does he bear?

Revelation 14:6
Revelation 14:6

4. What is closely tied with accepting the gospel?

Mark 1:15
Mark 1:15

Note: Repentance implies a change in mind—a desire to do differently. It is not sufficient that we merely confess our sins; we must also forsake them. See Isaiah 55:7.

5. According to Paul, what will be judged in the judgment?

Romans 2:16
Romans 2:16

Note: In the judgment that is going on, every act of the life, no matter how secret, will be evaluated in determining the destiny of the soul. See Ecclesiastes 12:14.

6. In addition to our acts, what will have a bearing on our case in the judgment?

Matthew 12:36
Matthew 12:36

Note: Words are an index to our thoughts, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 12:34

7. What is the gospel able to do for our thinking?

2 Corinthians 10:5
2 Corinthians 10:5

Note: The gospel has the power to bring even our thoughts and imaginations into subjection to Christ, changing the whole man; for as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

8. What sign has God given us, by the acceptance of which we show Him respect as Creator?

Exodus 20:8–11
Exodus 20:8–11

Note: The true basis of divine worship is found in the distinction between the Creator and His creatures. It was to keep this truth ever before the minds of men, that God instituted the Sabbath in Eden; and so long as the fact that He is our Creator continues to be a reason why we worship Him, the Sabbath will continue to be the memorial of that event and a sign between God and His people. See Exodus 31:13 –17.

9. What does the second angel of Revelation 14 announce?

Revelation 14:8
Revelation 14:8

Note: Throughout the Old Testament two ancient cities, Jerusalem and Babylon, are set in contrast. The city of Babylon had its origin when men willfully and knowingly turned from God and in defiance to Him sought salvation by their own works. Thus, Babylon became synonymous with apostasy, arrogance, confusion, and man-made salvation. In contrast to Babylon, the center of Satan’s earthly kingdom, was Jerusalem—“city of peace”—the center of God’s earthly kingdom. In the Revelation these two cities are again brought in contrast, representing two spiritual kingdoms.

10. To what is Babylon likened?

Revelation 17:5–6
Revelation 17:5–6

11. What is represented by a woman?

Jeremiah 6:2
Jeremiah 6:2

Note: We note that the apostle Paul used the same symbology in comparing the Christian church to a chaste virgin, espoused to Christ. See 2 Corinthians 11:2. The sacred and enduring relationship that is to exist between Christ and His church is likened to the union of marriage. See Jeremiah 3:14.

12. Is it possible for a pure and good church fall from that position?

Isaiah 1:21
Isaiah 1:21

Note: The announcement that Babylon has fallen must then apply to religious bodies that were once pure and have become corrupt. This announcement coming in the time of the judgment, given in the last days, cannot apply to the Roman Church alone, for it has been in a fallen condition for hundreds of years.

13. What constitutes spiritual adultery?

James 4:4
James 4:4

Note: The unfaithfulness of the church to Christ in permitting her affections to be turned from Him and allowing worldly things to occupy her interests is likened to the violation of the marriage vow.

14. With whom is she said to have formed this illicit relationship?

Revelation 17:2
Revelation 17:2

Note: The fact that it has a relationship with the civil powers (kings) proves that this power, referred to as Babylon, is not a civil government.

15. What does this false church become the mother of?

Revelation 17:5
Revelation 17:5

Note: The term “daughters” must be reference to churches that cling to her doctrines and traditions and follow her example of sacrificing the truth and the approval of God in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world. The term “Babylon”—confusion—may appropriately be applied to these bodies, all professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided in almost innumerable sects with widely conflicting creeds and theories.

16. Who are called out of this system of apostasy?

Revelation 18:4
Revelation 18:4

Note: Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exists in the churches which constitute Babylon, Christ has many true followers who are still to be found in their communion. Anciently, during the days of the Jewish captivity, just before the overthrow of Babylon, God sent a message of warning that those who were in the city might escape the final overthrow. See Jeremiah 51:6.

17. What has Babylon made all nations do?

Revelation 14:8
Revelation 14:8

Note: The charge is made against Babylon that she “made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” This drink must represent her false doctrines that she has accepted as a result of her unlawful relationship with the world. Friendship with the world corrupts faith, and in turn she corrupts the world by seeking through her relationship with the rulers of earth, to require all to accept these false teachings — teachings which are opposed to the plainest statements of Scripture.

The fall of Babylon is of a progressive nature, for it cannot yet be said that all nations have been forced to partake of these false doctrines. In the worldliness that can be seen in the popular churches as a result of rejecting the gospel truth, a moral fall has taken place, but the fall cannot yet be said to be complete. When, however, the union of church and state toward which the churches are tending, becomes an accomplished fact throughout the Christian world, the fall of Babylon will be complete.

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