Relevant Passages: Revelation 14:6-7
The Angel With a Message. From its inception, Adventists have felt the call to preach the three angels’ message. The first of the angel’s brings the most positive message and the most universal. The key elements are worth pondering, both for their “landmark” value (i.e. as rooted tradition) and for their value as “present truth” (i.e. as fresh truth for this present moment):
1. Gospel. The word “Gospel” simply means good news. But it can be defined more narrowly. Some, for example, see it as primarily a message about salvation through the Son of God who died for our sins (Paul?); others see its first application as being a message about the character of a God who was willing to take human flesh and walk among us (John?). The two emphases are different, but not incompatible. How will these two perspectives hear Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 2:2 that he had “decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”?
2. Everlasting Gospel. In what sense could this “good news” about God be seen as everlasting? Does it mean from the time of Jesus onward? from the Garden of Eden onward? Or is there really an “everlasting” aspect that points to the endless past and to the endless future?
3. Universal Message. Adventists have always felt the urge to tell its message to the whole world. If that is the case, how can the same message be effective for every nation, kindred, tongue and people? To what extent can or should the message be made culturally sensitive?
4. Judgment. In the Old Testament a message of judgment was good news to the oppressed. When the “shoot from the stump of Jesse” would come he would “with righteousness judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of the earth.” How does that good news of deliverance from oppression relate to the more sobering message of condemnation of the oppressors? What is the essence of the “judgment” message which the angel declares for today?
5. Worship. In a secular world, what does it mean to call the people to worship? Will there always be a tension between God the friend with whom we may share all our most personal concerns, and God the royal sovereign before whom we prostrate ourselves in total submission?
6. Worship the God of Creation. Adventists have taken this call to worship the Creator as an invitation to share the truth about the Sabbath, the day which memorializes God’s creative activity. Sometimes that message has been a more strident, confrontational message; is it possible that the call to a day of rest could also be presented in a more gentle and peaceful way? Or does the great struggle between good and evil mean that even the most peaceful of messages must make its way through confrontation?