At the precise time in the heavenly chronometer, a message is proclaimed with such fervor that it becomes a crescendo resonating throughout the world, “Saying with a loud voice, ‘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’ ” (Rev. 14:7, NKJV).
It is the first of the three most solemn messages ever given to mortals. It is a call to worship the One who created everything in six days and rested on the seventh. It is an invitation to rest in Christ’s finished work, both in Creation and on the cross.
It’s a solemn message, but it’s a love message, for as soon as we fell into sin, God activated His rescue plan. An emergency hospital—the heavenly sanctuary—was established as the center of operations for the universe. There our sins would be forgiven, our wounds would be bound, and our hurts would be healed. When would this happen?
The good news reached its climax on Golgotha’s hill and in an empty tomb. But that’s not how the story ends.
For centuries, it was announced through the ceremonies of the earthly sanctuary. With pinpoint precision, prophets such as Daniel outlined the sanctuary’s salvific celebrations. The good news announced at the gates of Eden came true in Bethlehem: “when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman” (Gal. 4:4 , KJV). The good news reached its climax on Golgotha’s hill and in an empty tomb. But that’s not how the story ends.
Somewhere beyond the stars and out of the reach of human vision, something was about to happen in heaven, something “as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross.”1 According to Daniel 8:14, the Bible’s longest time prophecy expired the autumn of 1844. The time for God’s judgment had come. Now the heavenly sanctuary was being cleansed which meant the world had to know that we have a High Priest who is “able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25 , NKJV).
In these last days, God calls people out of traditionalism and formalism. “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. . . . They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance.”2
The Bible calls these messages “the everlasting gospel” (Rev. 14:6). Why good news? In part, because the message of the first angel gives hope and certainty that judgment will be made in favor of the saints. It is good news for all of God’s oppressed people. Nicholas Miller declares, “If you go back to our pioneers and their emphasis on the first angel’s message, which focuses on ministering to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that is a fundamental foundation for racial and ethnic equality. If we’re trying to reach everyone, and we’re not opposing inequality, then what kind of gospel do we have?”3
Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15, NKJV). Law and love went hand in hand with Jesus—they must go hand in hand with us. “With the work of advocating the commandments of God and repairing the breach that has been made in the law of God, we are to mingle compassion for suffering humanity.”4 That’s God’s rescue plan.
- Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), 489.
- Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9 (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), 19.
- Nicholas P. Miller, in “Biblical Justice in a World of Social Unrest,” Adventist Review, November 16, 2020.
- Ellen White, Welfare Ministry (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub Assn., 1952), 32.