Three Angels Messages Part 16

            Welcome again as we progress further in our study of the Three Angels’ Messages! Last time we looked at the phrase “Give Him glory,” and the correct understanding that those words convey, which means to exercise godly discipline in what goes into our mouths (abiding by the principles of good nutrition) and what comes out of our mouths (our words). The angels agrees with Paul’s counsel that, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I Corinthians 10:31.
Let’s move on to the next part of the first angel’s message, which is the announcement that “the hour of His judgment has come.” This short phrase is packed with meaning for Christians living today! We will look at the subject of God’s judgment, as it is revealed in the messages of the three angels, in three parts. First we’ll take a brief look at the fact and the phases of the judgment; second we’ll study the necessity of this particular judgment brought to view in the 14th chapter of Revelation; and third, we’ll give attention to the timing of this judgment. We will see that a vital phase of God’s judgment, one which must conclude before Christ’s return, began in the year 1844. This adds incredible momentum to the messages of the angels. One of the last items on God’s agenda has already started, bearing testimony that His advent is very near.
The fact that there is a heavenly judgment is something the Bible mentions often. Throughout the Scriptures the teaching of the judgment is revealed. Accountability and responsibility are built into the fabric of God’s system of governing. The opening saga of earth’s story, contained in Genesis 1-3, includes a chapter on judgment and accountability. God’s visit to Adam and Eve after their sin is a model and a prophecy of the judgment to be projected on a global screen at the end.
            References to the judgment include Solomon’s parting exhortation as he brought his “sermon” to an end. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. We noted previously the similarity between this passage and the message of the first angel, who calls the earth to “fear God.”
            Jesus affirmed the reality of the judgment. He said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,’ and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” Matthew 5:21, 22. Jesus revealed that He, the Son of God Who experienced life on this planet, will be the Judge. “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” John 5:22.
            Paul spoke of the judgment often. To the Areopagite philosophers on Mar’s Hill he said, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.” Acts 17:30, 31. When Paul “reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.’” Acts 24:25, 26. The apostle wrote to the Corinthian believers, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” II Corinthians 5:10. In the book of Hebrews we read, “As it is appointed to men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27.
            We’ll discuss this in greater detail later, but note that the difference in Revelation’s proclamation by the first angel is one of timing. Whereas other Bible references point to this event as being in the future, the angel of Revelation 14 speaks of the judgment as being a present reality, crying with a loud voice (a “mega phone”) that the hour of His judgment “has come.” Actually, the verb tense for “has come” is in the aorist form (elthen) and could be rendered simply, “The hour of His judgment came.”
            The word “for” is especially vital, as it connects the phrases “fear God and give glory to Him” and “the hour of His judgment has come.” The word “for” in the original is oti, which has a strong causal implication. It establishes a direct causal link between the phrases. It is because the hour of His judgment has come that we should especially, as never before, fear God and give Him glory. Interestingly, Paul used this same line of reasoning and the very same word oti in his discourse on Mar’s Hill. There he preached, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because (oti) He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness.”
            Both Paul and the first angel call attention to the need of preparation in expectation of the judgment, but the difference between Paul’s sermon and the message of the first angel is that while Paul used the future tense in describing a coming judgment, the angel of Revelation states categorically, “The hour of His judgment has come.” If, back then, Paul considered it necessary for “all men everywhere” to repent, in view of a coming judgment, can you imagine the sermon he would deliver if he were alive today and knew that we were presently living in the hour of His judgment! He not only would be preaching it from Mar’s Hill, but from every hill and every plain.
            The message of the first angel is of particular importance because an event, critical to the completion of God’s plan, has begun. Impetus and urgency add strength to the voice of the angel because of the judgment. The phase of the judgment that must conclude before He returns, has started.
            So we see that the Bible, God’s reliable Book of information, tells us clearly that judgment and accountability is a part of God’s government. Perhaps that is why Satan has been so energetic to lead people into thinking that there is no God; that atheism is the proper philosophy, and that evolution explains how life began. Without there being a divine Being, there can be no divine judgment, and therefore we are left to live this life without having to answer for our decisions and actions.
That may give some people a sense of “freedom,” but Satan’s way is the way of death. His plan has no future remedy and no promise of eternal life. The Good News is that God has a plan for this planet, and that includes the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Receiving that gift leads to peace, knowing that because of His great sacrifice, our sins are forgiven and God accepts us in Christ. Therefore, we have no fear of the judgment, for we know that Christ is our divine Advocate in the heavenly court, and He has never lost a single case!