Love Under Fire


Chapter 20—Love for Christ's Coming

The first angel's message of Revelation 14 predicts a great religious awakening. It portrays an angel flying “in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.” “With a loud voice,” he proclaims, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6, 7.) LF 149.1

An angel represents the high character of the work the message was to accomplish and the power and glory that would accompany it. The angel's flight “in the midst of heaven,” the “loud voice,” and its going “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” show the rapid, worldwide reach of the movement. As for the time when it is to happen, it announces the opening of the judgment. LF 149.2

This message is a part of the gospel which could only be proclaimed in the last days, because only then would it be true that the hour of judgment had come. Daniel was told to close up the part of his prophecy that related to the last days and to seal it “until the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4). Not until this time could a message about the judgment be proclaimed, based on a fulfillment of these prophecies. LF 149.3

Paul warned the church not to look for the coming of Christ in his day. Only after the great apostasy and the long reign of the “man of sin” can we look for the advent of our Lord. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:3.) The man of sin—also “the mystery of lawlessness,” “the son of perdition,” and “the lawless one”—represents the papacy, which was to maintain its supremacy for 1,260 years. This period ended in 1798. The coming of Christ could not take place before that time. Paul's caution covers the whole Christian era down to the year 1798. The message of Christ's second coming is to be proclaimed after that time. LF 149.4

No such message has ever been given in past ages. As we have seen, Paul did not preach it. He pointed into the then far-distant future for the coming of the Lord. The Reformers did not proclaim it. Martin Luther put the judgment about three hundred years into the future from his day. But since 1798 the book of Daniel has been unsealed, and many have proclaimed the message that the judgment is near. LF 149.5