GROWING UP SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST and in a church interested in prophecy, I learned about certain topics at a young age.
BLACKBOARD AND BEYOND
I still recall one of our elders rolling a rickety blackboard out onto the stage. On that board there were drawings and terms I had come to know well, such as “the mark of the beast,” “the 144,000,” and, of course, “the three angels’ messages.” As a child I remember it being a frightening topic since it was usually brought up during a sermon about the end of days and was accompanied by strong imagery of tragic events. Whenever I heard the Scripture reading for that Sabbath was found in Revelation, I knew to brace myself for things I did not understand.
As I grew older, I had the chance to study more on my own. Sadly, I was not interested in learning more about the three angels of Revelation 14, because to me they just meant the end of the world. I knew that the three angels’ messages were integral to my faith and my religious beliefs, but I felt no connection to them and did not find them relevant to my spiritual growth. For years I could not have told you what exactly the three angels’ messages were. All I knew were the basics: three angels, they have messages, and Adventists care about them a lot. I braced myself for things I did not understand.
I finally understand the meaning of the messages and why they are so important. They are finally relevant to my Christian walk. In Revelation 14:7 the first angel reminds us to give glory to our Lord. Every day, I strive to worship my God, my Creator, and live a life that is according to His will. I don’t just limit my good works to the Sabbath day but recognize that if I am to give Him the glory, I must do so with my thoughts and actions each and every day. I seek to obey God and remain faithful even when it is not the easiest task to achieve.
As I strengthen my relationship with God, He helps me to come out of sin and not let it have its grip on me, because I have been made free through Jesus Christ. While on earth, Jesus commanded us to preach about His Father’s kingdom. As I flee Babylon, as I flee sin, I accept Jesus’ command to tell others to flee sin and enter into His kingdom. Putting these things into practice on a daily basis, I can rest assured that by His grace, I won’t receive the mark of the beast (Revelation 14:9), but instead I will receive “the seal of the living God” (Revelation 7:2) and be marked for salvation.
That is what the three angels’ messages mean to me. They mean salvation. Not something frightening, not irrelevant, not tragic, but a calling to walk in His ways and wait patiently for my Father’s soon return.