he third angel is represented as flying through the midst of heaven, symbolizing the work of those who proclaim the first, second, and third angels’ messages; all are linked together. The evidences of the abiding, ever-living truth of these grand messages, that mean so much to us, that have awakened such intense opposition from the religious world, are not extinct. Satan is constantly seeking to cast his hellish shadow about these messages, so that the remnant people of God shall not clearly discern their import, their time and place; but they live, and are to exert their power upon our religious experience while time shall last.
The influence of these messages has been deepening and widening, setting in motion the springs of action in thousands of hearts, bringing into existence institutions of learning, publishing houses, and health institutions; all these are the instrumentalities of God to co-operate in the grand work represented by the first, second, and third angels flying through the midst of heaven, to warn the inhabitants of the world that Christ is coming the second time, with power and great glory. . . .
[As the end approaches,] we are to maintain the truth because it is truth, in face of the bitterest opposition. God is at work upon human minds; it is not man alone that is working. The great illuminating power is from Christ; the brightness of His example is to be kept before the people in every discourse.
The Commandments of God and the Faith of Jesus
The rainbow above the throne, the bow of promise, testifies to the whole world that God will never forget His people in their struggle. Let Jesus be our theme. Let us with pen and voice present, not only the commandments of God, but the faith of Jesus. This will promote real heart piety as nothing else can.
While we present the fact that men are subjects of a divine moral government, their reason teaches them that this is truth, that they owe allegiance to Jehovah. This life is our time of probation. We are placed under the discipline and government of God, to form characters and acquire habits for the higher life.
Temptations will come upon us. Iniquity abounds; where you least expect it, dark chapters will open that are most terrible, to weigh down the soul; but we need not fail nor be discouraged while we know that the bow of promise is above the throne of God. We shall be subject to heavy trials, opposition, bereavement, affliction; but we know that Jesus passed through all these. These experiences are valuable to us; the advantages are not by any means confined to this short life; they reach into eternal ages. Through patience, faith, and hope, in all the changing scenes of earth, we are forming characters for everlasting life. Everything shall work together for good to those that love God.
All the scenes of this life in which we must act a part, are to be carefully studied, for they are a part of our education. We should bring solid timbers into our character-building, for we are working both for this life and eternal life. And as we near the close of this earth’s history, we advance more rapidly in Christian growth, or we retrograde just as decidedly.
“I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. . . . And I will remember my covenant, . . . and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh” [Gen. 9:13-15*]. In the rainbow above the throne is an everlasting testimony, that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” [John 3:16]. Whenever the law is presented before the people, let the teacher of the truth point to the throne arched with the rainbow of promise, the righteousness of Christ.
The glory of the law is Christ; He came to magnify the law, and to make it honorable. Make it appear distinct that mercy and truth have met together in Christ, and righteousness and peace have embraced each other. It is when you are looking to His throne, offering up your penitence and praise and thanksgiving to God, that you perfect Christian character, and represent Christ to the world; you abide in Christ, and Christ abides in you; you have that peace which passes all understanding. We need constantly to meditate upon Christ, His attractive loveliness. We must direct minds to Jesus, fasten them upon Him. In every discourse dwell upon the divine attributes.
God Inspires Hope
As the bow in the cloud is formed by the union of the sunlight and the shower, so the rainbow encircling the throne represents the combined power of mercy and justice. It is not justice alone that is to be maintained, for this would eclipse the glory of the rainbow of promise above the throne; men could see only the penalty of the law. Were there no justice, no penalty, there would be no stability to the government of God. It is the mingling of judgment and mercy that makes salvation full and complete. It is the blending of the two that leads us, as we view the world’s Redeemer and the law of Jehovah, to exclaim, “Thy gentleness hath made me great” [2 Sam. 22:36].
We know that the gospel is a perfect and complete system, revealing the immutability of the law of God. It inspires the heart with hope, and with love for God. . . .
The salvation that Christ made such a sacrifice to gain for man, is that which is alone of value, that which saves from sin, the cause of all the misery and woe in our world. Mercy extended to the sinner is constantly drawing him to Jesus. If he responds, coming in penitence, with confession, in faith laying hold of the hope set before him in the gospel, God will not despise the broken and contrite heart. Thus the law of God is not weakened, but the power of sin is broken, and the scepter of mercy is extended to the penitent sinner.1
Prepare for Christ’s Coming
My brother, my sister, I urge you to prepare for the coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven. Day by day cast the love of the world out of your hearts. Understand by experience what it means to have fellowship with Christ. Prepare for the judgment, that when Christ shall come, to be admired in all them that believe, you may be among those who will meet Him in peace. In that day the redeemed will shine forth in the glory of the Father and the Son. The angels, touching their golden harps, will welcome the King and His trophies of victory—those who have been washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. A song of triumph will peal forth, filling all heaven. Christ has conquered. He enters the heavenly courts, accompanied by His redeemed ones, the witnesses that His mission of suffering and sacrifice has not been in vain.
Our Hope of Reunion
The resurrection and ascension of our Lord is a sure evidence of the triumph of the saints of God over death and the grave, and a pledge that heaven is open to those who wash their robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. Jesus ascended to the Father as a representative of the human race, and God will bring those who reflect His image to behold and share with Him His glory.
There are homes for the pilgrims of earth. There are robes for the righteous, with crowns of glory and palms of victory. All that has perplexed us in the providences of God will in the world to come be made plain. The things hard to be understood will then find explanation. The mysteries of grace will unfold before us. Where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken promises, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony. We shall know that infinite love ordered the experiences that seemed most trying. As we realize the tender care of Him who makes all things work together for our good, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. In the home of the redeemed there will be no tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning. “The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity” [Isa. 33:24]. One rich tide of happiness will flow and deepen as eternity rolls on.
We are still amidst the shadows and turmoil of earthly activities. Let us consider most earnestly the blessed hereafter. Let our faith pierce through every cloud of darkness and behold Him who died for the sins of the world. He has opened the gates of paradise to all who receive and believe on Him. To them He gives power to become the sons and daughters of God.
Hope in Jesus’ Soon Coming
Let the afflictions which pain us so grievously become instructive lessons, teaching us to press forward toward the mark of the prize of our high calling in Christ. Let us be encouraged by the thought that the Lord is soon to come. Let this hope gladden our hearts. “Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” [Heb. 10:37]. Blessed are those servants who, when their Lord comes, shall be found watching.
We are homeward bound. He who loved us so much as to die for us hath builded for us a city. The New Jerusalem is our place of rest. There will be no sadness in the city of God. No wail of sorrow, no dirge of crushed hopes and buried affections, will evermore be heard. Soon the garments of heaviness will be changed for the wedding garment. Soon we shall witness the coronation of our King. Those whose lives have been hidden with Christ, those who on this earth have fought the good fight of faith, will shine forth with the Redeemer’s glory in the kingdom of God.
It will not be long till we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. And in His presence, all the trials and sufferings of this life will be as nothingness. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry” [verses 35-37]. Look up, look up, and let your faith continually increase. Let this faith guide you along the narrow path that leads through the gates of the city of God into the great beyond, the wide, unbounded future of glory that is for the redeemed.2
*Bible texts in today’s reading are from the King James Version.
1“An Appeal to Our Ministers and Conference Committees” (1892), Special Testimonies, Series A, No. 1b, pp. 15-21.
2Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 285-288.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION AND SHARING
1. How relevant are the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 to life in the world today?
2. What are you most looking forward to when Jesus comes again?
Ellen G. White, whom Seventh-day Adventists believe had the gift of prophecy, was one of the founders of the Adventist church.