What Hath God Wrought!

Pastor Doug Batchelor

An Amazing Fact: On May 24, 1844, inventor Samuel F.B. Morse sent the first long-distance telegraph message in U.S. history. Over an experimental 40-mile line between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, he successfully transmitted, in a new alphabet made up of dots and dashes aptly named Morse Code, a sentence from the Bible: “What hath God wrought!” (Numbers 23:23 KJV). Cross-country messages that once took weeks, months, or even years to deliver could now be transmitted in seconds. Historians have marked the invention of the telegraph as a turning point in world history.

Balak was deeply agitated. The Midianite king was determined to prevent the nation of Israel from marching through his territory in route to Canaan, the Promised Land. Balak even paid a fortune to Balaam, a backslidden prophet, to pronounce a curse on the Israelites. But his plan completely backfired.

Instead of a hex, a stream of blessings, prompted by the Holy Spirit, poured from Balaam’s reluctant lips. Then, the wayward prophet said, “Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, what hath God wrought!” (Numbers 23:23 KJV).

These words, though they could hardly express God’s miraculous deliverance of His people, nevertheless inspired the first message ever transmitted in Morse Code. Little did Morse realize that in the very year of his historic feat, one of the Bible’s greatest time prophecies—the 2,300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14—would come to completion. A far greater turning point in world history than perhaps is known, the year 1844 not only marked the beginning of Christ’s work of investigative judgment in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary, but it also set in motion the onset of an end-time movement—a remnant called to transmit Jesus’ final message to the world.

Of course, just as Satan tried to stop Israel from entering Canaan, the enemy is working today to derail the spiritual Israel of the last days, Christ’s remnant church, from entering the heavenly Promised Land. It is the devil’s scheme to cause this remnant, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to forget the miraculous works God has done in it and through it.

It is one of the greatest challenges facing our church today. Who are we? Why are we here? Many members don’t know the answers to these questions. This article lays a foundation for what it means to be an Adventist, while highlighting some unique contributions of the church to the Christian world. And through Bible prophecy, it will help you to see that the church is not just another denomination—but rather a prophetic movement especially raised up by God to prepare the world for the return of Christ.

As we briefly consider the rise of this prophetic people found in Revelation 10, the characteristics of these believers in Revelation 12, and the message they are called to proclaim to the world in Revelation 14, you will not only see Satan’s efforts to destroy God’s church, but you will also be awed by “what God hath wrought” in these last days.

Revelation 10: Rise of a Prophetic Movement

A defining moment in Earth’s history was forecast in the book of Daniel in the form of a prediction spanning centuries, called the 2,300-day prophecy (Daniel 8:2–14). But according to Daniel’s account, its true meaning was “shut up” (12:4) or “sealed till the time of the end” (v. 9). 

What—or more accurately, when—is “the time of the end”? A study of the phrase within Daniel shows that “the time of the end” began in 1798, at the close of a shorter time prophecy called the 1,260-day prophecy (7:25; 11:33–35; 12:7). So, in essence, Scripture tells us that until 1798, the meaning of the 2,300-day prophecy was unable to be understood. But since 1798, it has been opened. Well, has this longest of all time prophecies finally been explained?

Indeed, it has.

A Great Awakening

In the early 1800s, a number of Christian groups around the globe rediscovered and began exploring the prophecies of Daniel, in particular the 2,300-day prophecy. After studying Daniel 8:14, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed,” they came to the same conclusion: The most momentous event in history was about to take place—the Second Coming.

They believed the cleansing of the sanctuary signified the return of Jesus, who would cleanse the earth with fire. Thus, they came to be known as Adventists, since they were convicted about the soon advent (coming) of Christ. (Adventists here should not be confused with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, since the latter did not organize as a denomination for another 30 years.) 

After his own extensive study of the prophecy in Daniel 8, William Miller, a farmer and captain from the War of 1812 who later became a Baptist preacher and widely read author, believed that Jesus would return in October 1844. Between 1833 and 1844, more than a million people attended his revivals. His followers were known as the Millerites and came from virtually all Christian denominations. Many even sold or gave away their property in eager expectation. 

When the anticipated date came and went uneventfully, however, it became known as the “Great Disappointment.” But what the world saw as a crushing letdown was actually the catalyst for a new Christian movement, one I believe was prophesied in Scripture.

To see how, let’s fast-forward to Revelation 10. This chapter marks a change in this apocalyptic book in that it starts making both strong allusions and direct references to the various prophecies found in Daniel. For example, the symbol of “ten horns” is found in both Daniel 7:7 and Revelation 12:3.

And notice this particular connection: At the end of a prophetic vision, Daniel saw an angelic being who “held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever” (Daniel 12:7). In Revelation 10, John saw the same imagery: A mighty angel “raised up his hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever and ever” (vv. 5, 6). This scene is unique to Daniel 12 and Revelation 10. It is describing two ends of the same event: In Daniel 12, Daniel wrote the 2,300-day prophecy in a book and then was instructed to “seal [it] until the time of the end” (v. 4). In Revelation 10, the angel, the one who took the oath, also “had a little book,” except now it was “open in his hand” (v. 2). The connection is unmistakable. This “little book” was the same book in which Daniel had written the 2,300-day prophecy.

What happens next is remarkable. Immediately after the description of the angel with the open book, John writes: 

Then the voice which I heard from heaven spoke to me again and said, “Go, take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the earth.” So I went to the angel and said to him, “Give me the little book.” And he said to me, “Take and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.” Then I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. But when I had eaten it, my stomach became bitter. And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:8–11).

Was this not the exact experience of the Millerite Adventists in the Great Disappointment? How “sweet” the days were for them who thought Christ was soon to come, but how “bitter” the aftertaste when He did not. This experience happened because they had “eaten”—digested, ruminated, studied—“the little book,” which contained the 2,300-day prophecy. This most humiliating of circumstances was actually predicted in the Bible.

But notice that the text goes on: “You must prophesy again” (v. 11). So, according to Scripture, it seemed as though the Great Disappointment was not the end of the road for the Adventists. What happened next?

Right Date, Wrong Event

When Christ did not return in 1844, the Millerite movement fragmented.

Some members returned to their former churches. Some abandoned their faith or became Deists. Some even continued to set dates for the prophecy in Daniel 8. 

However, a small group humbly continued to pore over the prophecies word by word and soon discovered an error in Miller’s interpretation: The date had been right—but not the event. There was no place in Scripture where “the sanctuary” represented the Earth that was to be cleansed.

Instead, they realized that the Bible described two sanctuaries: one in heaven and one on Earth.

Perhaps you might be thinking that there is no way God would be leading a movement that experienced such deep disappointment and public humiliation. But in reality, it should not surprise us.

First, it was not God who made the mistake but humans. Second, this very same thing happened at the most significant event our world has ever known: the crucifixion. 

Jesus’ apostles erroneously believed that the prophecies foretold the Messiah’s victory over Roman oppression and the establishment of His kingdom on Earth (Acts 1:6). They received the worst upset of their lives at Jesus’ humiliating death. But ultimately, their great disappointment was turned to joy when they finally understood the true meaning of Christ’s sacrifice—the gift of eternal life in an everlasting kingdom.

The early Adventists were similarly to experience joy out of the ashes of their disappointment.

Discovering the Truth

When the Adventists studied the subject of the sanctuary more deeply, they realized Scripture actually taught that Jesus is our High Priest who, after His resurrection, ascended to the Father to begin ministering on our behalf in a very real heavenly sanctuary (Hebrews 8:1, 2). It is this heavenly sanctuary that the earthly sanctuary was patterned after (v. 5). It is this same heavenly sanctuary—not the Earth—to which Daniel 8:14 is referring and which began to be cleansed in 1844.

It all makes sense once we look at a ceremony God gave long ago to His chosen people. For the Israelites, each year, the most sacred act of the high priest was on the Day of Atonement, what is commonly known as Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement was the one day of the year in which the earthly sanctuary was cleansed.

Let’s look further. The Day of Atonement represented the final work of judgment. It was the one day that the high priest—and only the high priest—could enter into the Most Holy Place, the innermost sanctum of the sanctuary. There, the high priest performed a special service that represented a climactic separating of sin from the nation—in effect, cleansing the nation from sin (Leviticus 16).

As for the people, this ceremony was, appropriately so, a time when they forgave one another, settled their grievances, righted any wrongs, and put away their sins through repentance. They were preparing themselves to be judged forgiven or guilty. In deep solemnity and retrospection, they would wait outside for the high priest to finish his work, watching as the sanctuary filled with the smoke of incense (vv. 13, 17). Indeed, this very same occurrence will be seen in the heavenly sanctuary just before the end of the world:

The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, and no one was able to enter the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed (Revelation 15:8).

So it was that the Adventists realized their mistake. The year 1844 was not the conclusion of the judgment. It was the beginning of the pre-Advent judgment, as it is sometimes referred to, or, more commonly, the investigative judgment. It was in 1844 that Christ—just as the earthly high priest did on the typical Day of Atonement—entered into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary to begin His work of cleansing. It is when Christ completes His work that the final judgment will commence.

Thus, the Adventists grasped the significance of the time in which they were living—and the time in which we are also living. This is our real, antitypical Day of Atonement. We are living in “the time of the end,” the time after 1798, the time right before the final judgment. We are indeed Laodicea, the last of the seven churches in Revelation, the last age of the church; we are, as the original Greek defines, “a people judged.”

Restoring Truth

Many studies explain the final phase of Christ’s heavenly ministry, but my focus will remain on the events that occurred on Earth, the events that dealt with God’s people. Did you notice that during the ceremony for the Day of Atonement, as the high priest was cleansing the sanctuary, the people were also being made ready for cleansing? They were preparing their hearts. Thus, it is fitting that while the literal, heavenly temple is being cleansed, so the symbolic temple, made up of the body of believers, needs its own cleansing as well. (See 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; Ephesians 2:19–22; 1 Peter 2:4–6.)

To understand this, we must put into context the state of the church at the time of the Great Disappointment. At the crux of the matter is another prophecy in the book of Daniel, a time prophecy mentioned previously: the 1,260-day prophecy. This shorter time prophecy is actually found within the 2,300-day prophecy. By using the same historicist method, the one the Bible adopts, students of Scripture have discovered that the duration of this prophecy was actually the famed Dark Ages, a time of persecution by the apostate church that lasted from AD 538 to 1798. (You recall that “the time of the end” began at the end date, in 1798.) During this time, the very Word of God was obscured from humanity by the Antichrist power, who …

… exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered (Daniel 8:11, 12, my emphasis).

It was this pandemic of spiritual darkness from which the church needed cleansing. At the latter end of the Dark Ages, God’s people, little by little, began to uncover truths long since hidden, triggering, for one, the Protestant Reformation. But there was still more light to be unearthed.

A Cleansing from Error

For the remaining Adventists, the search for biblical truth did not end with the 2,300-day prophecy. Following the Great Disappointment, believers once more came together, openly studying the Bible and comparing scripture with scripture. They were determined to set aside all doctrinal differences and follow what truth they found in God’s Word. Through these intense study sessions, this small group discovered that a number of common Christian practices and teachings had no foundation in the Bible.

The group ultimately solidified, among other findings, the following Bible truths: baptism by both immersion and by conscious choice; salvation by faith alone through grace; our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit and, consequently, the importance of our physical health; the state of the dead, namely that the dead “sleep” until the resurrection, instead of going straight to heaven or hell; what happens to the wicked at the judgment, namely that they will not be eternally tormented but instead consumed in hellfire; and of utmost importance, the perpetual validity of the Ten Commandments and the particular significance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. Each of these biblical doctrines has a deep significance to the very character of God. They represent His mercy, His justice, His government.

As the Holy Spirit led this remnant to find, discard, and replace these false teachings with Bible truth, the temples of their souls were, in essence, being cleansed; their hearts were being prepared for atonement. We all—God’s people—are called to do the same.

From its ignominious beginnings out of the Great Disappointment, this movement has regarded the Scriptures as its standard. Guided by God, it turned a bitter disappointment into a worldwide movement, restoring Bible teachings obscured by the rubbish of human tradition and the garb of pagan rituals. It shuns falsehood, boldly identifying the last-day apostate church in order to lift up Christ, the true High Priest and only head of the church, the One who calls all people out of the dark confusion of spiritual Babylon and into the light of Bible truth.

Where is this Bible-based remnant today? Since 1844, the Adventist movement that persevered through the Great Disappointment has become the fastest-growing, most racially diverse Protestant church in the world: the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

A Shift in Location

But there’s more. God’s end-time church has a special mission for these last days, and its details are revealed in none other than the book of Revelation. For a complete understanding of this purpose, let’s now look at a fascinating passage at the end of Revelation 11:

The temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail (v. 19).

The ark of the covenant was situated in the Most Holy Place in the sanctuary. Remember that in the Day of Atonement, the Most Holy Place was the room in which the high priest would be ministering. This room was the Holy of Holies. The entire objective of the sanctuary was here: God’s throne room.

In the pattern of the earthly sanctuary, the ark of the covenant was the only item of furniture in the Most Holy Place. Its cover was known as the mercy seat. Atop it, the presence of God dwelled; inside the ark was the original Ten Commandments (Exodus 25:10–22). This represented the foundation of God’s government: mercy built upon the law.

And it is this room, the Most Holy Place, and its singular item, the ark of the covenant, which is mentioned at the very end of Revelation 11, a chapter that describes the sequence of the 1,260-day prophecy, detailing how the Word of God was first abandoned and then reestablished.

The order is important here. In Revelation 11, the 1,260-day prophecy ends (which we know to have been in 1798), and then the Most Holy Place is opened. In the book of Revelation, all the references to the sanctuary up to this point refer to its first compartment, the Holy Place. It is particularly from this point on that the Most Holy Place becomes the focus. It is immediately after this that Revelation 12 begins, describing the identity of God’s people. This is further evidence of Christ’s move from the Holy Place to the Most Holy Place in 1844, but moreover, it indicates the focal point of God’s end-time people: the ark of the covenant—and not only that but what is inside it, the law of God.

Revelation 12: Characteristics of the Prophetic Movement

Revelation 12 begins with a description of God’s church, described as “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars” (v. 1). Then it covers a brief history of the “woman,” beginning with Christ’s birth down to the last days of Earth’s history.

The dragon—Satan (v. 9)—attempts to destroy the Child—Christ (v. 5). After that, the woman—the church—flees into the wilderness “for a time and times and half a time” (v. 14). This time period is the 1,260-day prophecy, which, as we know, ended in 1798. John then makes this telling statement:

The dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (v. 17, my emphasis).

John is describing the church after “the time of the end” begins, after 1798. That would include the movement that came out of the events of 1844. So how does John identify this movement?

First, its connection with the ark of the covenant is reinforced: It “[keeps] the commandments of God.” And what about this second attribute, having “the testimony of Jesus Christ”? John actually defined this term a couple chapters later: “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (19:10). Wow, this seems to describe the early Adventists precisely. Let’s take a closer look.

The Commandments of God. We have already learned how after the Great Disappointment, this movement dedicated their efforts to upholding the long-lost truths of the Bible. Recall their rediscovery of the Ten Commandments and how they had never been abolished.

The Testimony of Jesus Christ. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” a singular gift out of which this end-time movement was born. We have already seen the description of the Great Disappointment in Revelation 10. Upon this testimony was the movement established and is now guided. And, as we will see, prophecy is the hallmark that leads it in its final work to prepare a world for Jesus’ return.

The Faith of Jesus. A corresponding passage in Revelation 14 further illuminates the identity of God’s last-day people: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (v. 12). Once more, the law of God is given prominence. But another attribute is added this time: “the faith of Jesus.” This is the characteristic that binds the others together: Faith is knowing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) and acting upon its prophetic promises (4:20, 21). It was faith that sustained Christ through His crucifixion, the early Adventists through the Great Disappointment, and it is that same faith that motivates the church today, that Jesus’ second advent is imminent, that ultimate salvation awaits all who “[wash] their robes … in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14): “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

But notice one important fact: These characteristics are not just describing the Advent movement that arose out of 1844; John’s identification encompassed all of God’s people living after 1798—that means us, the people living in the end times or, as some like to say, the last days. The early Adventists were the pioneers of God’s end-time church, and this last-day remnant continues with us, all who desire salvation.

Revelation 14: The Messages of the Prophetic Movement

Recall that after the Great Disappointment, Scripture predicted that the remnant would “prophesy again about [to] many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:11). The Seventh-day Adventist Church has, since its inception, borne that standard, carrying forth the prophetic end-time messages from Daniel and Revelation in order to prepare the world for Christ’s return. Of ultimate importance are the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, a trio of messages that set forth the mission of God’s last-day people.

The First Angel’s Message

The Bible predicts that the gospel will be preached to everyone on Earth before Jesus comes again (Matthew 24:14). This has happened in successive eras since Jesus’ declaration, but it is particularly fulfilled in the last days:

I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people (Revelation 14:6).

Did you catch the similarity to Revelation 10:11? This is the very message that was predicted to be prophesied again! For disciples of God living in these last days, sharing the three angels’ messages with others outside the faith is our privilege and our responsibility (Mark 16:15).

So what are the elements of this gospel message? The first angel broadcasts:

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 (Revelation 14:7).

Four distinctive and profound points are covered in this first angel’s message:

It tells us who to worship. God alone deserves worship. To “fear God” does not mean to be scared of Him. The Greek word actually means “to reverence.” Thus, we are to adore, trust, and devote ourselves to God. When Jesus was born on Earth, an angel relayed to a group of shepherds His identity: “For there is born to you this day … a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). In response, a chorus of angels erupted in mighty song, “Glory to God in the highest” (v. 14). Glory—worship—is given to Jesus Christ, God with us.

It tells us how to worship. The language used here denotes a fullness in the worship of God—mentally, physically, and spiritually. When you “fear [reverence] God,” you receive “wisdom” (Job 28:28). You also “keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Jesus kept God’s commandments: “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10). And John wrote, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). When you “give glory to Him,” you honor the body He gave you: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). When you “worship Him,” you “worship Him … in spirit and truth” because God Himself “is Spirit” (John 4:24). We are to worship God unreservedly, with our whole being.

It tells us when this message is proclaimed. “The hour of His judgment has come”; the days approaching the final judgment are here! Those who emerged out of the Great Disappointment should know that better than anyone. The Day of Atonement, the time of judgment, began in 1844. Indeed, we are closer now to the second advent than we were two centuries ago. Should we not, with all the more urgency, prepare our hearts and implore others to do the same? The fact that the first angel relays his message “with a loud voice” (Revelation 14:7) emphasizes the urgency and importance of this message.

It tells us the reason to worship. God is deserving of worship for these crucial reasons: He created you—and by Jesus’ sacrifice, He is able to recreate you. He is your Creator and Savior. No other can lay claim to this. The message of the first angel recites the fourth commandment: “In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11).

The Second Angel’s Message

The second angel comes directly after:

Another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8).

The city of Babylon was originally known as Babel, where more than four millennia ago, its inhabitants began constructing their infamous tower. Their objective was to “make a name for [themselves]”—to become great. They intended for their structure to reach into “the heavens” (Genesis 11:4). This might sound familiar, for Satan also plotted to “ascend above the heights of the clouds” (Isaiah 14:14); Scripture refers to the devil as “the king of Babylon” (v. 4). The tower, of course, was never finished because God “[confused] their language (Genesis 11:7).

By divine judgment, Babylon was eventually destroyed (Isaiah 13:19, 20). Symbolically though, it has lived on. The first Christians were known to have called ancient Rome “Babylon” due to its persecution of Christians. (See 1 Peter 5:13.)

Thus, Babylon in Revelation signals a Satanic counterfeit religion aimed at dethroning God, a system that enforces worship through confusing messages to deceive the masses. In essence, Babylon represents any and every apostate entity. And its king is still none other than the devil himself.

Later, another angel expands on the second angel’s message:

He cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.” ... And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people” (Revelation 18:2, 4).

This same cry was answered by the early Adventists when they “searched the Scriptures daily to find out” (Acts 17:11) God’s truth against the deceptions of the apostate church. The same cleansing that happened in their day will happen once more in each heart who heeds the second angel’s clarion call. “Search me, O God, and know my heart” (Psalm 139:23) was the plea of the Israelite on the Day of Atonement, and so must it be for any today who yearn for “the way everlasting” (v. 24). God is calling you to make a choice between Him and Babylon. The same apostate power that trampled upon the Word of God in the Dark Ages is still alive and well today. In the judgment, there only ever will be these same two sides. The way of the Lord leads to everlasting life; the way of the devil to destruction (Revelation 18:8).

The Third Angel’s Message

In the rise of God’s last-day prophetic movement, the solemn message of the third angel is of special interest.

A third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, 

“If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9–11).

When the third angel’s message has come to pass, the final judgment will be upon us. This will be the end of the true Day of Atonement. Every decision will have been made, either for God or for Satan, either for life or for death.

This is a sobering message indeed. 

Some see the third angel’s message as a threat from an evil God. But those are the devil’s lies. Do not be fooled. The context leading up to Revelation 14 is that two mighty nations, proven to be the United States and the papacy, will enact religious laws centered on the fourth commandment, in which violations are punishable by death. This is the real threat, and it comes from the devil. He is the one who will, through this unholy union of church and state, take what is meant for God—namely, worship—by force. And he will take it at any cost—even if it means your life.

Do you see now why Revelation repeatedly connects the law of God to the last days? Do you see why the Day of Atonement focuses on the ark of the covenant and the Ten Commandments inside it? The final act in the great controversy between Christ (and His followers) and Satan (and his followers) will spotlight the law. This war has always ever been about worship. And the law of God is inherent in your worship of the Lord; your relationship to it will manifest in your character.

The third angel’s message is far from a threat. It proclaims God’s mighty deliverance of His people from death (v. 14). It is His merciful warning to you! By the destruction of the wicked, God is saving His faithful remnant for all eternity. This is the message that is to be proclaimed to all the world. We are to offer people God’s gift of life. He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He has disclosed the whole of this three-point message to us so that we can be saved!

True Worldwide Revival

Do you see all three identifying characteristics of the remnant replicated in the three angels’ messages? True worship of God requires keeping His commandments, declares the first message. The third message embodies the spirit of prophecy, itself a prophecy of the final judgment. And the trio of messages as a whole are a singular call to the exercise of your faith: You must make a choice to either remain or come out of Babylon. Do you believe in God’s Word or not?

The proclamation of these messages is not a mere declaration. Normally, when we think of preaching, we think of someone speaking from behind a pulpit. But the everlasting gospel is a full-person demonstration of faith. You are the living gospel, “the new man … according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10). The law of God will be perfectly fulfilled by God’s last-day remnant, not in their own strength but because of Christ in them: “These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4). Though the mountains shake and the waves roar, you shall not be moved, for you are founded on the Rock. The same identifying characteristics that epitomize the last-day remnant are lived out in the proclamation of the three angels’ messages. Your character is the witness of the everlasting gospel.

When the time comes for the United States and the papacy to join hands, the three angels will do their culminating work, and the gospel will illuminate the world in true revival. People from all nations will decide to step under Christ’s banner.

Remember, however, that Satan has also been preparing well in advance for this final battle. God’s people will undergo the greatest test of their faith. They will be accused, slandered, derided, “hated by all nations” (Matthew 24:9); they will be seen as divisive, radical, unpatriotic, and dangerous. 

But take heart. Remember that our heavenly Commander has already won the victory:

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).

The original Greek word for “patience” means “cheerful endurance.” Those who endure through the trials of these last days will see what the Adventists so longed for in 1844: the coming of “the Son of Man” (v. 14). The prophecy will be fulfilled. The war will be won.


In the year 1844, history turned a page, marking a new epoch. Yes, it was the beginning of high-speed communications and the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. But it also marked the end of the longest time-prophecy in Scripture—the 2,300-day prophecy of Daniel 8:14—and the beginning of a great last-day movement to carry the three angels’ messages to the world.

In Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus outlines the history of His people spanning the last two millennia in seven messages to the seven churches. The last church age is that of Laodicea, which means “a judging of the people.” This age began in 1844, which means thet we are now living in this final church age, when Christ pleads with His people to wake up from their lukewarm lethargy. He tells us that He stands at the door and knocks—but we must open the door to let Him in (Revelation 3:20, 21).

Satan, our archenemy, is intent on stopping the advancement of God’s people. But remember from whence God’s remnant came. The remnant was born into shame and grown in affliction; the remnant bears the lineage of disappointment. By this, the remnant knows to “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1, 2). And nothing stops the faith of Jesus, not even death.

This is the heritage of all God’s last-day people. This is the movement with a unique message proclaimed by no other denomination. This is the movement that will lead a people to the true Promised Land, that will cause the world to reply, “What hath God wrought!”

Will you choose today to be part of this movement?

Other Significant Events in 1844

  • It is no coincidence that 1844 was marked by many seismic events, not just in the church but in the world. Here are a few more to go along with Morse’s invention:
  • Karl Marx writes The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, forming the foundation of The Communist Manifesto.
  • Charles Darwin completes his “Essay” on natural selection, the first of his major manuscripts to espouse the theory of evolution.
  • German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who would later teach that “God is dead,” is born. 
  • Charles Goodyear receives a patent for vulcanization, a process to strengthen rubber, transforming the industrial world.
  • The Edict of Toleration is passed, the catalyst by which Jews were allowed to resettle in the Holy Land. Some 100 years later, Israel is established as an independent nation.
  • The Codex Sinaiticus (Sinai Bible), the world’s oldest handwritten Bible, is uncovered at Egypt’s St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai by Constantin von Tischendorf.

Rise of Counterfeit Religious Movements

  • Persian prophet the Báb begins preaching, eventually forming the foundation of the Bahá’í Faith, which is partly based on prophecies found in Daniel 8 and 9.
  • Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, is killed. Brigham Young, their next president, leads followers to the Utah Territory and incorporates The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which eventually grows into a worldwide movement.
  • John Nelson Darby introduces modern Dispensationalism and Futurism. This pre-tribulation “secret rapture” theology has become the dominant view of prophecy among Charismatics and Evangelicals. 


Key Contributors in the Restoration of Truth

  • Rachel Oakes Preston (1809–1868) was a Seventh Day Baptist who persuaded a group of Adventist Millerites to accept Saturday, instead of Sunday, as Sabbath.
  • In March 1844, Frederick Wheeler (1811–1910) preached the first sermon heard by early Adventist believers regarding the seventh-day Sabbath truth. In 1845, he (and several others) convinced Joseph Bates to likewise follow the Sabbath.
  • Joseph Bates, a sea captain, lived a colorful life. He later became a staunch advocate for abolition as well as health reform, having witnessed the intemperate habits of his sailors. He himself did not use alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine and also became a vegetarian.
  • The Adventist Church inherited the belief of conditional immortality from the Millerite movement, particularly from George Storrs, one of its most influential leaders and a Methodist preacher.
  • Hiram Edson (1806–1882) learned the truth regarding the sanctuary in heaven.
  • Ellen G. White had her first vision in 1844.

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