"I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." Rev. 18:1-5. "In the last conflict in the great controversy between good and evil, God has called us to give THE FINAL WARNING to the world. The Christian world are honoring a false Sabbath, and we are to show them its true character and foundation. We must make it plain to them that they are honoring a man-made institution in place of that which God Himself has sanctified. Every rival to God must be made to appear as an idol. Solemn is our responsibility." RH 01-31-93.
The prophecy of the Revelation 18 angel points to the present time when the announcement of the fall of Babylon, as made by the second angel of Revelation 14 [verse 8],is being repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the various churches making up mystical Babylon, since that message was first given, in the summer of 1844. A terrible condition of the religious world is now recognized. With every rejection of truth the minds of the people have become darker, their hearts have become more stubborn, until they have entrenched themselves in an infidel hardihood. In defiance of the warnings which God has given, they continue to trample upon the precepts of the Decalogue, until they have been led, even in the great land of the United States of America, to persecute those who hold the law of God sacred. Christ is set at naught in the contempt placed upon His word. As the teachings of spiritualism and secular psychology have been accepted by the churches, the restraint which once held the carnal heart in check has been removed, and the profession of religion has become a cloak to conceal the basest iniquity.
The Bible says, "Her sins have reached unto heaven, And God hath remembered her iniquities." Rev. 18:5. She has filled up the measure of her guilt, and destruction is about to fall upon her. But God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of His judgments these faithful ones must be called out, that they partake not of her sins and "receive not of her plagues." Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with this message the call is heard: "Come out of her, My people."
Fearful is the issue to which the Adventist community is to be brought. First, the powers of the U.S. Government unite with the Church to war against the commandments of God by a man-made statute that "all, both small and great, rich, and poor, free and bond"[Rev. 13:16], shall conform to the requirements of the Church's trademark and receive the mark, Seventh-day Adventist. By this statute, the Federal Government has in effect established a religion in violation of the U.S. Constitution, First Amendment. All who refuse compliance will be visited with civil penalties, and it will finally be declared that they are deserving of death. On the other hand, the law of God enjoining the Creator's rest, both physical and spiritual, demands obedience and threatens wrath against all who transgress its precepts and restrict liberty of conscience.
With the issue thus clearly brought before the people, whoever shall trample upon God's law by obeying a human enactment, the trademark law, receive "the mark of the beast"; he accepts the sign of allegiance to the power which he chooses to obey instead of God. The warning from heaven is: "If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his 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." Rev. 14:9, 10. But not one will be made to suffer the wrath of God until the truth has been brought home to his mind and conscience, and has been rejected. There are many who have never had an opportunity to hear the special truths for this time. The obligation of the fourth commandment, in the fullest sense of both physical and spiritual rest, has never been set before them in total display. He who reads every heart and tries every motive will leave none who desire a knowledge of the truth, to be deceived as to the issues of this controversy. The decree is not to be urged upon the people blindly. Everyone is to have sufficient light to make his decision intelligently in accepting or rejecting God's Sabbath Rest.
The Sabbath is the great test of loyalty, even though Satan has camouflaged the real issue under the guise of business and commerce. As the final test is being brought to bear upon Adventists at this time, the line of distinction is being drawn between those who serve God and those serve Him not. While agreement with the trademark policy of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in compliance with the law of the State, contrary to the fourth commandment, is an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true "Sabbath Rest Principle", in obedience to God's law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receives "the mark of the beast," the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receives "the seal of God."
Adventists who have predicted that religious intolerance would gain control in the United States, that Church and State would unite to persecute those who keep the commandments of God, have been pronounced groundless and absurd. It has been confidently declared that this land could never become other than what it has been the defender of religious freedom. But as the principles of Sabbath Rest and strict adherence to the pillars of the Advent faith become widely agitated, the storm is seen approaching. Now the third angel's message will have an effect which it could not have had before. The ten virgins hear the "cry" which awakes them.
In every generation God has sent His servants to rebuke sin, both in the world and in the church. But the people desire smooth things spoken to them, and the pure, unvarnished truth is not acceptable. Many reformers, in entering upon their work, determined to exercise great prudence in attacking the sins of the church and the nation. They hoped, by the example of a pure Christian life, to lead the people back to the doctrines of the Bible. But the Spirit of God came upon them as it came upon Eli-YAH, moving him to rebuke the sins of a wicked king and an apostate people; they could not refrain from preaching the plain utterances of the Bible. They were impelled to zealously declare the truth and the danger which threatened souls. Thus the message of the third angel will be proclaimed. As the time comes for it to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers are even now being qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer are being constrained to go forth with holy zeal. The sins of Babylon are being laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the trademark upon dissenters by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism in all of its phases, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power within the General Conference Churches is all being unmasked. By these solemn warnings the Advent people are being stirred and shaken. The living testimony of "Christ in you, the hope of glory", the sinless life of Christ in continuous victory over sin is infuriating the sin-loving multitudes.
By every means the General Conference clergy are endeavoring to suppress the discussion of these vital questions. The church appeals to the strong arm of civil power, and in this work, papists and apostate Protestant Adventists unite. The trademark law is to be invoked against those who will not submit to giving up the sacred name of their religion Seventh-day Adventist. The appeal from the fallen denomination is, "Stay in the Church. The Church is going through to the end." But the reformers have seen "the abomination of desolation", and to unite the pure with the corrupt is unconscionable. The saints are threatened with fines and imprisonment, and some are offered positions of influence, and other rewards and advantages, as inducements to renounce their faith. But their steadfast answer is: "Show us from the word of God our error." Those who are arraigned before the courts make a strong vindication of the truth, and some who hear them are led to take their stand to keep all the commandments of God. Thus light will be brought before thousands who otherwise would know nothing of the "Sabbath Rest Principle" and "the seal of God."
Conscientious obedience to the word of God will be treated as rebellion. "Why do you have to keep the name, Seventh-day Adventist? You can practice your religion without having to use that name. Change your name to something else. You are just being uncooperative stubborn." And such will be heard in variation from the prosecution. The words of Paul will be literally fulfilled: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2 Tim.3:12. As the defenders of truth refuse to obey the requirements of the man-made trademark law, which is in effect honoring a "spurious sabbath", some will be thrust into prison, some will be exiled, some will be treated as slaves. To human wisdom all this now seems impossible; but as the restraining Spirit of God shall be withdrawn from men, and they shall be under the control of Satan, who hates the divine precepts, there will be strange developments. The heart can be very cruel when God's fear and love are removed. When Sabbath-keepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, former brethren will become their greatest enemies offering false reports and insinuations.
In this time of persecution the faith of the Lord's servants will be tried. They have faithfully given THE FINAL WARNING, looking to God and to His word alone. God's Spirit, moving upon their hearts, has constrained them to speak. Stimulated with holy zeal, and with the divine impulse strong upon them, they entered upon the performance of their duties without coldly calculating the consequences of speaking to the people the word which the Lord had given them. They have not consulted their temporal interests, nor sought to preserve their reputation or their lives. God put the truth into their hearts, and they could not forbear to proclaim it. The Lord gives a special truth for the people in an emergency. Who dare refuse to publish it? He commands His servants to present the last invitation of mercy to the world. They cannot remain silent, except at the peril of their souls. Christ's ambassadors have nothing to do with consequences. They must perform their duty and leave the results with God.
THE FINAL WARNING is going forth to Adventists first. The message has swelled to a "loud cry". "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, Come out of Babylon fallen, and go ye out to meet Him!" Trim your lamps and go ye "in with Him to the marriage."(Adapted from The Great Controversy, pp. 604-608)