Groups of 3
One thing I have been learning is that, anywhere you see a group of three in the Bible, it has a reference and parallel to the three angels messages in Rev. 14. This is such an awesome concept! Once you have this idea in your mind, groups of three will just "jump out at you" throughout the entire Bible! Many times you will not only have a group of three, but it will have a "one" associated with it. That is the fourth angel of Rev. 18.
Let's look at some examples. (Make sure you have your Strong's Concordance handy)
You have Noah and his three sons. (Gen.7,8) Now Noah built an "ark" and used it to pass through the "flood" to safety. When he got out of the flood, he built an "altar" to God. What does the "flood" represent? Flood = ungodly men (Ps. 18:4)
So Noah used an "ark" to pass through the "floods of ungodly men" to the "new world" and then built an altar to God. Now stash that idea in your mind, and let's look at the children of Israel.
When Israel was to go into the Promised Land,(Joshua 3,4) they followed the "ark" through the Jordan river and built an "altar" at Gilgal. What does water represent? Water = people (Rev. 17:15) The name "Jordan" means "a descender; falling away." The ark contained the Law of God. The name "Gilgal" means "whirlwind; wheels".
So the children of Israel followed the ark (Law of God) and passed through the "people descending or falling away" to the Promised Land and built an altar at "whirlwind and wheels. OK, now stash that thought for a minute and lets look at Elijah.
Elijah came to the Jordan river (2 Kings 2:6-11) and used his mantle to pass through the river and was caught up to heaven in a chariot and whirlwind. The word "mantle" means "glorious garment". What is this "glorious garment?" It is Christ's robe of Righteousness.
So Elijah used Christ's robe of Righteousness to pass through the "people falling away" and was caught up to "the Promised Land" in a chariot (wheels) and "whirlwind".
Do you see the parallels between these stories? These are describing God's people in the last days.
The "Remnant" will follow the "Law of God" and have the "glorious garment" and pass through those who are "falling away", be shaken (whirlwind), and caught up to the "heavenly Promised Land"(wheels).
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God (Law), and the faith of Jesus (Christ's Righteousness)." Rev. 14:12
Now notice the parallels to the 3 angels. The 1st angel's message is: "Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Rev. 14:7
This is a call for us to worship the Creator - The "ark", the "Law of God". "Give glory to Him" - "Christ's robe of Righteousness".
The 2nd angel's message is: "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Rev. 14 :8
Babylon, that false system of worship, is fallen - "people descending or falling away"
The 3rd angel's message is: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receivehis mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and 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 ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:9-12
Those who follow this false system of worship will be shaken out and destroyed - "whirlwind"
Those who follow the True God will be saved - "Chariots and Wheels"
OK, how about another one. Look at the enemy that Elijah had to face. It was a threefold enemy. (1 Kings 18) There was Ahab, the political leader; there was Jezebel, an impure woman who was unlawfully married to Ahab; then there was the prophets of Baal, who danced around their altar to deceive people.
Now a woman represents a church (Is. 54:5,6; Rev. 19:7,8)
So what you have here is a political power, and an impure "church" that is unlawfully married to the political power, this is the union of church and state! OK, now hold that thought, and lets look at John the Baptist.
John also had to face a threefold enemy. (Matt. 14:3-11) There was Herod, the political leader; there was Herodias, an impure woman unlawfully married to Herod; and there was the daughter of Herodias, that danced for the purpose of deception.
Now jump down to these last days. The "Remnant" of God's people are going to have to face a threefold enemy. (see Rev. 16:13) You have the Dragon, which is spiritualism and parallels with the political power*; you have the Beast, which as history testifies, is the false church and parallels with the impure woman who is unlawfully married to the state; then you have the False Prophet, the daughters of the "mother church", who are about deceiving the people for the benefit of the "mother."
Elijah fled to the wilderness, John the Baptist was thrown in prison; Some of the Remnant will flee to the mountains, some will be thrown into prison. Elijah was translated to heaven without seeing death, John the Baptist was executed; Some of the Remnant will be martyred, some will be translated to heaven.
The 1st angel's message is about worshipping the True God! - the first power listed is the Dragon (spiritualism) which is the counterfeit.
The 2nd angel's message is about Babylon falling - the second power listed is the beast (spiritual Babylon)
The 3rd angel's message is about those who follow the deception of the beast compared to those who follow God - the third power is the false prophet (Apostate Protestantism) that is deceiving people into following the beast.
"Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three"
The Three Temptations of Christ
The three temptations that Christ experienced in the wilderness are very important for us to understand!
The first temptation was when Satan came to Christ, posing as an angel of light, and told Him that if He was the Son of God, that He should turn the stones to bread. This was the temptation to indulge appetite. This parallels the temptation that came first to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Just like Jesus in the wilderness, Eve heard Satan's voice; but Satan had taken a different form so that he was not recognizable by sight. He called her attention to the beautiful fruit, and she was tempted. Satan, waited till Christ had been fasting for 40 days, then called His attention to His hunger.
In the wilderness, God provided Manna, the Bread from Heaven, to Israel; but they complained, they wanted flesh food and were not satisfied with what God had provided.
Before any of the rest of the story of Daniel happened, they first had to pass the test of appetite. They choose the simple, God ordained diet, of Fruits, Grains, Nuts, Vegetables, and Water, instead of the rich, unhealthy meats and wines of the king's diet.
On the cross, Christ again confronted the diet issue. He refused the vinegar because He knew that vinegar compromises the frontal lobe functions of the brain. He wanted His mind clear so that He could face what was before Him.
The first angel's message is for us to give glory to God. In 1 Cor. 10:31 it says:
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
This same test is one that we have to face in the sanctification process, that is illustrated in the sanctuary. It is represented by the Table of Shewbread. (see Sanctuary Pictures)
Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. Php. 3:19
Do we eat what the Creator provided for our optimum health, or do we eat what we like because we like the taste of it? In other words, Do we eat to live - or - live to eat?!
In the second temptation of Christ, we see Satan use the word of God to try to get Jesus to presumptuously throw Himself off of the temple. Presumption is Satan's counterfeit of Faith. Presumption is doubting what God says, and going against the expressed will of God! (It can also be shown by taking something that is lawful to excess.) We see this parallel in Eve's temptations. She listened to the serpent and begin to doubt what God had told her. She began to think that the fruit could make her wise and by doing so she was showing presumption.
The Israelites showed the same presumption in the wilderness at Meribah by blaming God and Moses for the lack of water - even though they had evidence that God would provide for them.
When Nebuchadnezzar tried to give credit to Daniel and his friends, Daniel did not presumptuously take the credit. He pointed the king to the true God, who alone, deserved all the glory for interpretting the dream.
Christ again confronted this temptation at the cross, when the scoffers told Him to come down off of the cross if He was the Son of God. This He could have easily done, but it would have been going against the expressed will of His Father. He again overcame, and paid the price for our sins.
The second angel's message is Babylon is fallen and it repeats in Rev. 18 with the added call for God's people to come out of Babylon. For God's people to stay in a place that God is calling them out of, is the epitome of presumption.
This temptation is again exposed in the sanctuary layout, by the golden candlestick. The flames of the candlestick represent our faith. Do we have genuine faith? Or are we exhibiting Satan's counterfeit of faith - Presumption?
"Faith claims God's promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression." Desire of Ages p.126
The third temptation was when Satan showed Christ all the glories of the world and promised to give them to Him if He would bow down and worship him (the Dragon). Christ passed where Eve had failed. Eve took the forbidden fruit and ate it, and by so doing, she chose the worship of the snake (a beast) over the worship of the true God.
The Israelites also failed this test when they chose the worship of a golden calf (a beast) over the worship of the true God.
The three Hebrews passed this test, when they refused to worship the image that Nebuchadnezzar (who later became a beast in the field) had dedicated to himself.
Christ passed this test when, as He hung on the cross feeling abandoned by God, still chose to follow the true God - and submit Himself to God.
The third angel's message is a call for a decision between worship of the true God or the worship of the beast, his image, and his mark.
This test of "Who we Worship" is shown in the sanctuary at the Altar of Incense. Are we offering fire unto the Lord our God, or are we offering the "strange fire" of image to the beast worship?
One very important detail is shown by these examples.
If you fail the first test, you are not around for the second or third test! If you pass the first but fail the second, you are not around for the third, and so forth.
Those who will be overcomers over the issue of worship, will first have overcome in the issue of diet reform!!
They will take God at His word and reform their lives to be in accordance with His expressed will! Each test is a step in overcoming our ultimate enemy SELF.
Man now has the advantage over Adam in his warfare with Satan; for he has Adam's experience in disobedience and his consequent fall to warn him to shun his example. Man also has Christ's example in overcoming appetite, and the manifold temptations of Satan, and in vanquishing the mighty foe upon every point, and coming off victor in every contest. If man stumbles and falls under the temptations of Satan, he is without excuse; for he has the disobedience of Adam as a warning, and the life of the world's Redeemer as an example of obedience and self-denial, and the promise of Christ that "to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." RH, October 13, 1874