The three angels’ messages: God’s final plea and warning 

List of Studies

1. Introduction

Much of the Christian world agrees that today we are living in the very last days of Earth's history.  It follows that the God of Heaven, who is not willing that any should perish (1Ti 2:4; 2Pe 3:9), will not allow the end to come without a final plea to mankind. 

God encapsulates His final message to a sinful world in the form of three messages that address the situation prevailing in the world, now, in the time of the end.  They tell us that God longs for the whole world to repent and return to Scripture truth, and they warn of the consequences of not doing so - they are God’s complete final message to the whole world.

These messages are so important that they are depicted as given by angels sent directly from Heaven - they constitute what God’s faithful people must preach in order to prepare the world for Christ’s second advent.

The three angel’s messages repeat the plea that God has always bidden His prophets to preach: that sinners should turn to Him for forgiveness (e.g. Je 35:15; Zec 1:3, Ja 4:8), tailored for the end time.

2. The three angels’ messages

The three angels’ messages are given in Revelation chapter 14.

2.1 The first angel, the everlasting gospel and the hour of judgment

Re 14:6,7  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 ‘everlasting gospel’ here is an end time Gospel.  It incorporates the first century Gospel, and enhances its urgency by adding the solemn warning of judgement. 

The first angel calls the world to worship God as Creator. This is particularly relevant today when evolutionary teaching has deceived almost the whole world, relegating God’s living Word to the status of a dead myth. The world prefers the unprovable theory of evolution: a lie that flatters mankind and removes the concept of sin and ultimate accountability.     

The first angel's message calls for God’s faithful to ‘preach’, i.e. to proclaim, life in Christ - to urge all to prepare for the second coming of Jesus by rejecting both the false learning and the false knowledge of the world (1Ti 6:20), and the false doctrines of the apostate churches.  They are to preach a return to the pure Gospel of Christ, outside of which there is no salvation.

In study: ‘The 2300 days prophecy: the end time in history’,4,5, we see that the end time in Heaven began in 1844 AD.  Furthermore, in study: ‘The cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary’,5, we see that the end time in Heaven involves God’s final judgment, just prior to Christ’s second advent.

Therefore, the first angel’s message is for the world beginning 1844 AD.

2.2 The second angel, the fall of Babylon

Re 14:8  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.

Clearly, in order to understand the second angel's message, we need to identify Babylon. Anciently, Babylon was the main city of the Neo-Babylonian Empire that worshipped pagan gods (Is 21:9; Da 3:12).  Ancient Babylon came to an end in 539 BC when it was conquered by the Persian king Cyrus the Great. 

Thus Babylon in the book of Revelation represents false religion. In Revelation Babylon is portrayed as a woman, a whore, who has committed (spiritual) fornication, i.e. exalted the commandments of men in place of Scripture truth (see Mt 15:9; Mk 7:7). 

In prophecy a woman represents a church.

God’s pure church is portrayed as a chaste virgin (2Co 11:2), i.e. not tainted by doctrinal error.  In Revelation God’s pure church is represented by a woman who has a crown of 12 stars (Re 12:1) - she gave birth to a man child (Re 12:5) who (i.e. Christ) was caught up to the throne of GodFor the long years of Papal supremacy (see study: ‘Confirming the identity of the beast’,3.2) during which the faithful were persecuted, the woman (the true church) was sheltered in the wilderness by God (Re 12:6).

Note. In Re 12:1 above, the sun, the moon, and the 12-starred crown are open to interpretation.  The sun may represent that the pure church is the light of the world, while the moon underfoot may represent the triumph of the pure church over the darkness of pagan religions, as typified by worship of the moon goddess.  The 12-starred crown may represent the tribes of Israel, which in the spiritual sense encompass all believers, who are counted amongst the stars of Heaven.  The 12 stars may also depict the apostles, who represent all believers.

In contrast to the pure woman, an apostate church is depicted as a whore, corrupted by false doctrine (Re 19:2).

In Re 17:3-6 we see a woman sitting on a scarlet blasphemous beast which has seven heads and ten horns, and is drunken with the blood of the saints. The woman, a ‘great whore’ sits on ‘many waters’ (Re 17:1), which represent ‘peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues’ (Re 17:15) under Babylon’s control and influence.

The woman

The woman had ‘MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT’ written on her forehead (Re 17:5).

The forehead is significant - the reasoning centre of the brain is in the frontal lobe behind the forehead. This indicates that Babylon is able to deceive the world (see Re 12:9) by influencing their reasoning - which is truly a mystery in that the world has Scripture truth available as a defense against deceit.

Again with reference to the forehead, in Study: ‘The mark of the beast and the Seal of God’ we see that all will receive in the forehead, either the Seal of God (Re 7:3) or the mark of the beast (Re 13:16), signifying a reasoned intellectual acceptance.

The woman’s characteristics. In Re 17:4, we see the woman, filthy with her (spiritual) fornication, arrayed in purple and scarlet (the colours of Papal bishops and cardinals). She is decked with precious stones and gold (like the Papal triple crown), and she holds a golden cup full of abominations. Such a golden cup is used in the Roman Catholic eucharist (an abomination, in which the priest blasphemously claims to create the actual body and blood of Christ).

The seat of the woman. The scarlet beast's seven heads are different to the dragon's, i.e. Satan's, seven crowned heads in Re 12:3, which depict nation states - the scarlet beast's heads have no crowns, and thus have a different meaning, as follows.

The scarlet beast's seven heads are identified as seven mountains on which the woman sits (Re 17:9).  This is a clear reference to Rome, the city built on seven hills.

The woman herself is identified in Re 17:18 as ‘that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth’.

The woman identified. Given her characteristics, the woman is readily identified as Papal Rome.

The scarlet beast

We are familiar with beast's having ten horns - in study: ‘Daniel 7 and Revelation 13’ we see the end time apostate power portrayed in Daniel 7 as a ‘little horn’ that grew out of the ten horns of the fourth beast, while in Revelation 13 we see a single beast having ten horns and also seven crowned heads (sovereign nations). The ‘little horn’ of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation 13 share characteristics, which they in turn share with the scarlet beast.

The scarlet beast identified. In study: ‘Confirming the identity of the beast’ we see that the characteristics mentioned above identify Papal Rome (i.e. the system, not individual Roman Catholics) as the end time antichrist beast. Likewise, because it shares characteristics with the Revelation 13 beast, the scarlet beast also represents Papal Rome.

We see futher confirmation In Re 17:8, in which the scarlet beast 'was, and is not, and yet is'. This is a clear reference to the Papacy's apparent deadly wound that was healed (see study 'Confirming the identity of the beast',3,3).

This is elaborated upon in Re 17:10,11, in which we see seven 'kings', the identity of whom is the subject of debate. However, in verse 11 we see the scarlet beast (which 'was, and is not, and yet is') is 'one of the seven', and thus the kings are equated with 'beasts', which represent the stages of the Papacy's power, with the scarlet beast (which 'is') named as the 'eighth' king - a reference to the (resurgent) Papacy after its wound is healed.

Conclusion: the woman and the scarlet beast

The woman and the scarlet beast together present a complete and comprehensive portrayal of the antichrist beast (Papal Rome), representing both its religious and political aspects. 

We now see two things about the woman and the scarlet beast on which she sits:

1. The woman and the scarlet beast together represent all aspects of Papal Rome, both

throughout its history, and also its culmination in its final end-time stage.

2. The woman is identified as 'Mystery Babylon'.

Therefore Babylon is the end time antichrist beast (the final manifestation of Satan's blasphemous power), that is, the church of Rome, the Papacy.

Babylon fallen: Babylon (Papal Rome) has fallen (Re 14:8) because she has deceived almost the whole world into accepting her false unscriptural doctrines (the wine of her wrath).

In Re 17:5, we see that Babylon (the Papacy) is the ‘mother of harlots’ - indeed, the Papacy regards herself as the ‘mother church’.  Babylon (the Papacy), therefore, has ‘daughter’ churches, which must include all churches that espouse the Papacy’s false doctrines - i.e. apostate Protestantism.

Note.  We do not include individual protestants who are devout Christians, living, for now, in the light they have received - we do include the Protestant system, in which there are many denominations, all of whom espouse the basic errors of Roman Catholicism.

As we have seen, Babylon receives its power ultimately from the dragon, i.e. Satan (see Re 13:2,4).  However, Satan works through his agencies, which are referred to as follows:

Rev 17:12,13  And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 

13  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

At the time this passage was written the ten kings were yet future.  However, today we see that these are the kingdoms that succeeded pagan Rome (see the studies in the sections on prophecy). 

They are all in agreement, and give their power to Papal Rome that she might exercise her dominance with the world’s assent.  'One hour' conveys the short period of time, right at the end, during which this alliance will prevail.

2.3 The third angel: the mark of the beast

Re 14:9,10  And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 

10  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture [Strong’s G194, undiluted] into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

Because of its importance, the mark of the beast is addressed in depth in study: ‘The mark of the beast and the Seal of God’. 

In summary here, the mark of the beast is applied to those who finally declare allegiance to Satan, who disguises himself in false religion.  In v10 (above) we see the terrible end of those who choose to accept the mark of the beast.  They shall suffer the wrath of God ‘without mixture’ (undiluted), i.e. untempered with mercy.  

NB.  It is important to remember that v10 (above) is not referring to an ever-burning hell (see studies ‘Hell: the true meaning’ and ‘The end of sin and sinners’,5.5).  In those studies, we see that hell is the grave, and 'fire and brimstone' is the means of the final and total destruction of sin and sinners.

The third angel’s message is the most pertinent of the three because it draws the clear distinction between the faithful and the unfaithful, the saved and the lost.

The third angel confirms that the final issue for all mankind will be one of worship: true or false, God or Satan.

Note.  At the time of writing no-one has yet received the mark of the beast - the final test, though imminent, has not yet been applied.

3. Another (4th) angel reinforces the messages of the three angels

Re 18:1-5 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 

2  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 

3  For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 

4  And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 

5  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 

This fourth angel repeats the second angel's message, emphasizing the fall of Babylon because of her sins and false teaching, and how the whole world has fallen with her.  

The fourth angel warns that those who remain in Babylon will become as Babylon and suffer the same end.

That the Lord sent a fourth angel to emphasize the warning to forsake Babylon and return to truth indicates the seriousness of our situation.  

In v4 above we hear another voice addressing ‘my people’.  No angel has ‘a people’ - this voice must therefore be the voice of Christ, who only has ‘a people’.

In Re 14:9 the third angel (see section 2.3) addresses 'any man', i.e. all mankind, warning all against the mark of the beast.

However, here we see Christ addressing 'His people' (those who are faithful to Him) who are still in Babylon (Christ pities them because they are misled by apostate leaders).  They are urged to 'come out' of Babylon, that they will not share Babylon's fate - so great is Christ's love and concern for His people, who are ‘the apple of His eye’ (Zec 2:8), that He adds His own voice to the final plea.

4. Summary

In the three angels’ messages, which are reinforced by the fourth angel’s message, those living in the end time are given the most solemn plea and warning.  

The situation is made absolutely clear. God's love for mankind is so powerful that He is giving us every opportunity to repent, to forsake error, and to be faithful to His Word. 

By the three angels' messages God is calling all mankind to decide whom they worship: either the One True God or Babylon (Satan).

It is the Mission of God's true church to preach the Three Angels' Messages to the world, to prepare it for Christ's imminent return.

All must soon make the final decision either for truth or for falsehood, for life or for death - Christ urges you now to choose truth and life, to which all are called (2Pe 1:3).

List of Studies