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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 1 - ANGELS WITH A GLOBAL MISSION (REV 14:1-12)

INTRODUCTION: THIS WEEK WE START A NEW QUARTER AND A NEW TOPIC: REV
14:6-12, WHICH WE CALL THE 3 ANGELS' MESSAGES.  JUST IN CASE YOU
ARE LIKE ME, AND NOT A PARTICULARLY ALERT OBSERVER, WE GET THE HINT
THAT THIS IS AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR OUR CHURCH BECAUSE WE SEE
SIGNS WITH THE THREE ANGELS' LOGO ALL OVER THE PLACE.

OF COURSE, THE TRUE IMPORTANCE OF THE MESSAGE IS THAT IT IS A
MESSAGE FOR THE END OF TIME. THIS WEEK WE GET INTO ITS BACKGROUND.

I. END OF TIME?

     A. LETS READ A COUPLE OF TEXTS ABOUT THE LAST DAYS. READ 2 
     PETER 3:3-4 AND 8-11.
     
          1. WHEN PETER SAYS THAT JESUS WILL COME AS A THIEF, WHAT
          DOES THAT MEAN AS A PRACTICAL MATTER?
          
          2. WE ARE A CHURCH THAT DELVES MORE DEEPLY INTO LAST DAY
          PROPHECIES THAN MOST OTHER CHURCHES.  

               a. IS THIS A WARNING MESSAGE FOR US TOO?  

               b. IS IT MORE IMPORTANT FOR US?

          3. LETS READ SOME OF WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT THE FALL OF
          JERUSALEM AND THE SECOND COMING: MARK 13:28-29 AND 32-37.

               a. DOES THIS SUGGEST THAT EVEN "INSIDERS" MUST 
               CAREFULLY WATCH? (YES. THERE IS A REAL DANGER THAT
               WE MAY THINK THAT WE ARE "INSIDERS" AND THAT WE
               WILL HAVE SUFFICIENT WARNING TO "GET OUR ACT IN
               ORDER" IN TIME.  THIS SUGGESTS OTHERWISE.  THAT WE
               WILL GET A GENERAL WARNING, SUCH AS SEASONAL
               CHANGES IN TREES.)

     B. LETS SEE IF WE COULD BE IN THE SECOND COMING SEASON. READ
     2 TIM 3:1-5.
          1. SOUND LIKE TODAY?
          2. DOES THIS ACCORD WITH YOUR VIEW OF THE WORLD?
          3. THERE IS AN INTERESTING THEORY GOING ABOUT THAT COMES
          FROM TEXTS LIKE 2 PET 3:8, THAT WE READ. THIS EQUATES A
          THOUSAND YEARS TO A DAY IN GOD'S EYES. BASED ON THE
          BELIEF THAT THE WORLD EXISTED FOUR THOUSAND YEARS BEFORE
          JESUS CAME, AND WE ARE ABOUT TO HIT THE TWO THOUSAND MARK
          AFTER HE CAME, WE HAVE SIX DAYS.  THE IDEA IS THAT GOD
          CREATED THE EARTH IN SIX DAYS, AND THAT IT HAS NOW
          EXISTED "SIX DAYS."  AND SINCE WE ARE "PRE-
          MILLENNIALISTS," THE MILLENNIUM BECOMES THE SEVENTH-DAY:
          THE DAY OF REST IN HEAVEN.
               a. ALL VERY INTERESTING. UNFORTUNATELY ONE FLY IN
               THE OINTMENT IS THAT 2 PET 3:8 SAYS, "WITH THE
               LORD, A DAY IS LIKE A THOUSAND YEARS, AND A
               THOUSAND YEARS ARE LIKE A DAY." IT IS THE SECOND
               PHRASE THAT POTENTIALLY SCREWS THINGS UP. SORT OF
               LIKE CALCULATING DOG YEARS. MY KIDS TALK ABOUT DOG
               YEARS. 1 DOG YEAR = 7 HUMAN YEARS. BUT PAUL SAYS A
               LOT MORE THAN THIS. 1 GOD DAY = 1000 HUMAN YEARS.
               BUT IT ALSO SAYS 1000 GOD YEARS = 1 HUMAN DAY. IT
               SEEMS THAT GOD IS BEYOND TIME.

     C. SO MY FRIENDS, DO YOU THINK THAT WE POSSIBLY SEE SIGNS OF
     THE END TIME? (CONSIDER 2 TIM. THE SERMON I PREACHED TWO WEEKS
     AGO ON THIS AND AN OUTBREAK OF THE BUBONIC PLAGUE (I THINK
     THAT WAS IT) IN INDIA THIS WEEK!  THE DAY I WAS FLYING THROUGH
     O'HARE AIRPORT THIS WEEK I READ IN THE PAPER THEY WERE
     CHECKING INDIAN PASSENGERS IN CHICAGO (AND OTHER MAJOR CITIES)
     FOR SIGNS OF THE PLAGUE! GREAT!!)

II. ANGELS: OUR HELPERS

     A. IF YOU AGREE THAT WE ARE IN THE SEASON OF THE LAST DAYS, OR
     THIS COULD POSSIBLY BE A TIME WHEN A "THIEF" WOULD COME, THEN
     WE NEED TO SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE 3 ANGELS MESSAGE FOR IT IS
     A MESSAGE FOR THESE TIMES.

     B. READ REV 14:6. DOES THIS MEAN THAT WE SHOULD JUST KEEP 
     LOOKING UP? LIKE WE WOULD KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR ONE OF THOSE BI-
     PLANES PULLING A MESSAGE? MAYBE OUR CHURCH HAS THE WRONG LOGO?
     MAYBE IT SHOULD BE A TELESCOPE -- TO SHOW THAT WE ARE ALL
     KEEPING OUR EYES PEELED?

     C. IS IT PART OF THE WORK OF ANGELS TO BRING MESSAGES FROM 
     GOD?
          1. READ ACTS 10:1-5. YOU KNOW THIS STORY. AN ADVENTIST
          FAVORITE: PETER EATING PIGS. SERIOUSLY, THE GOSPEL TO THE
          "UNCLEAN" GENTILES.

          2. I SKIMMED THROUGH ALL THE TEXTS IN THE BIBLE THAT 
          MENTION ANGELS AND IT IS QUITE EYE OPENING. THEY ARE
          SERIOUS MESSENGERS.  YOU WILL RECALL SOME. 
               a. AN ANGEL BROUGHT THE LAST MINUTE COUNTER-COMMAND
               THAT STOPPED ABRAHAM FROM SACRIFICING ISAAC (GEN
               22:11); 
               b. AN ANGEL WAS THE FIRST CONTACT WITH MOSES IN THE
               BURNING BUSH -- LATER IT SAYS GOD SPOKE FROM THE
               BUSH (EX 3:2);
               c. BALAAM'S DONKEY SAW THE MESSENGER ANGEL BEFORE
               BALAAM DID. (NUM 22:33); 
               d. ANGEL MESSAGE TO GIDEON (JUDGES 6:11); 
               e. A VERY INTERESTING STORY IS FOUND IN 2 KINGS 1
               ABOUT AN ANGEL GIVING A MESSAGE TO ELIJAH WHO THEN
               GIVES IT TO THE DELEGATES OF KING AHAZIAH; 
               f. AN ANGEL BROUGHT A PROPHETIC MESSAGE TO ZECHARIAH
               (ZECH 1:8-9)
               g. AN ANGEL TOLD JOSEPH NOT TO BE AFRAID TO TAKE 
               MARY AS HIS WIFE. (MATT 1:20)
               h. AN ANGEL WARNED JOSEPH TO FLEE TO EGYPT.
               (MATT2:13)
               i. GABRIEL TOLD MARY THAT SHE WOULD BE THE MOTHER OF
               JESUS (LK 1:26) AND ZECHARIAH HE WOULD BE THE
               FATHER OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (LK 1:18)

     D. OUR LESSON STATES (WED) THAT THESE ANGELS ARE SYMBOLIC OF
     "GOD'S SAINTS ENGAGED IN THE TASK OF PROCLAIMING THE
     EVERLASTING GOSPEL, ...." (CITING THE SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY)
     
          1. WITH ALL OF THESE TEXTS INVOLVING ANGELS GIVING 
          MESSAGES, IS THERE ANY REASON TO BELIEVE THE LESSON: THAT
          THESE ARE NOT ANGELS AT ALL, BUT ARE MEN AND WOMEN?

          2. IF THESE ARE JUST GOD'S SAINTS, WHY DOESN'T THE BIBLE
          SAY THAT GOD'S PEOPLE OR HIS CHURCH WILL BE SPREADING
          THIS MESSAGE?

          3. OUR LESSON SUGGESTS THIS IS WHAT THE BIBLE IS SAYING
          BY POINTING OUT THAT THE GREEK WORD (AGGELOS) TRANSLATED 
          "ANGEL" LITERALLY MEANS "MESSENGER." MY ROUGH COUNT IS
          THAT THIS GREEK WORD APPEARS IN THE N.T. ABOUT 200 TIMES,
          BUT IN ONLY 8 INSTANCES IS IT TRANSLATED (BY THE KJV)
          "MESSENGER." OVERWHELMINGLY THIS WORD IS USED TO DESCRIBE
          ANGELS. 

          4. SO IS THERE ANY REASON TO BELIEVE THE LESSON'S 
          ARGUMENT? (AND IF THE LESSON IS RIGHT, WHY DON'T THEY
          GRAB HOLD OF ALL THOSE PEOPLE CHURNING OUT THE THREE
          ANGELS LOGO AND PUT SOME PANTS AND SKIRTS ON THOSE
          "ANGELS" AND REMOVE THE WINGS?)

(THE MORE COMPELLING ANSWER (MORE COMPELLING THAN AN ARGUMENT BASED
ON THE LITERAL GREEK) IS FOUND IN THE BIBLICAL HISTORY OF ANGELS
AND MEN WORKING TOGETHER. IF YOU CONSIDER ALL OF THESE TEXTS
(CONTAINING THE GREEK WORD AGGELOS), THE ANGEL MESSENGERS WERE
GIVING MESSAGES TO HUMANS TO PASS ON TO OTHER HUMANS. THE ONLY TIME
THAT I NOTICED THAT THE ANGELS WERE DIRECTLY ADDRESSING A "GROUP"
OF SOME SIZE, IT WAS THE SHEPHERDS THAT WERE TOLD BY ANGELS ABOUT
THE BIRTH OF CHRIST.  SO THE IDEA THAT ANGELS WOULD SPEAK DIRECTLY
LARGE SECTIONS OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION IS UNPRECEDENTED. THUS
HISTORY MAKES IT APPEAR THAT GOD WILL INVOLVE ANGELS (JUST AS THE
TEXT SUGGESTS) WHO WILL WORK WITH MEN AND WOMEN TO TRANSMIT THIS
MESSAGE TO THE WORLD.)

     E. WHEN IT SAYS THAT THE ANGEL (REV 14:6) IS FLYING IN 
     "MIDAIR," WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT MEANS?  WOULDN'T IT BE BETTER
     TO FLY LOW AND CLOSE SO PEOPLE COULD SEE AND HEAR BETTER? 
     AVOID RADAR DETECTION AND GETTING SHOT DOWN? (IT SEEMS THAT
     THE MESSAGE IS THE CENTER OF ATTENTION. THIS IS NOT A STEALTH
     FLIGHT.)

     F. ANOTHER IMPORTANT PIECE OF THE PICTURE IS THAT THE TEXT 
     DEPICTS A SINGLE ANGEL ANNOUNCING THE TIME OF THE JUDGMENT TO
     EVERY NATION, TRIBE, LANGUAGE AND PEOPLE. WHAT DO YOU SEE IN
     THAT SYMBOLISM?
          1. HOW WOULD THE SYMBOLISM DIFFER IF IT SAID A THOUSAND
          ANGELS WERE FLYING AROUND ANNOUNCING THAT THE TIME OF THE
          JUDGEMENT HAD COME? (EGW IN G.C. p.81 SUGGESTS THAT THE
          WAY THAT REV 14:6 IS WRITTEN INDICATES WE ARE TALKING
          ABOUT A FAST, WORLDWIDE MOVEMENT.)

     G. LETS BE HONEST. WE MAY HAVE THE SIGN ON OUR CHURCH, BUT ARE
     WE REALLY FLYING THAT BIG ANGEL IN MIDAIR YET?  DO WE HAVE THE
     WORLD'S ATTENTION ABOUT THE IMPENDING JUDGMENT? IS A "LOUD
     VOICE" (14:7) BEING HEARD IN ALL NATIONS, TRIBES, LANGUAGES
     AND PEOPLES??

          1. OUR LESSON (FRIDAY) QUOTES EGW, TESTIMONY TO MINISTERS
          p. 300 "LET ME TELL YOU THAT THE LORD WILL WORK IN THIS
          LAST WORK IN A MANNER VERY MUCH OUT OF THE COMMON ORDER
          OF THINGS, AND IN A WAY THAT WILL BE CONTRARY TO ANY
          HUMAN PLANNING.... GOD WILL USE WAYS AND MEANS BY WHICH
          IT WILL BE SEEN THAT HE IS TAKING THE REINS IN HIS OWN
          HANDS."
          
          2. IF YOU THINK THAT THE ANGEL IS NOT REALLY FLYING NOW,
          WHAT IS THE ANSWER? (WE NEED TO PRAY FOR THE H.S. TO MAKE
          US COLABORERS WITH THE ANGELS. WE NEED TO STUDY THE
          LESSONS THAT FOLLOW THIS QUARTER SO WE CAN LEARN THE
          MESSAGES AND WHAT IT IS WE ARE TO DO AS PART OF
          PROCLAIMING THEM.)

III. NEXT WEEK: THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL: REV 14:6. STUDY!