The Scroll is Unrolling

0801049

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

It is a very fitting thing to be reminded of the reality of the three angels’ messages and their import at this time.

We live today 170 years from the events of Revelation 10. We read of the relevant prophetic application to the people that were living back there.

Revelation 10:1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow [was] upon his head, and his face [was] as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: 2 And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and [his] left [foot] on the earth, 3 And cried with a loud voice, as [when] a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. 5 And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, 6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. 8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go [and] take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 9 And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take [it], and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. 10 And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. 11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

Amongst the many things that are written here, the important point that I want to draw your attention to is the angel who had the book in his hand opened. What was he declaring?

Revelation 10:6 …that there should be time no longer:

This is the angel that from 1798 through to 1833 to 1844, was assisting the faithful Christians of that time to understand the book of Daniel. It says there that the book of Daniel should be closed.

Daniel 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. … 9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

We would expect then that when the time of the end arrived the book of Daniel should be opened and indeed, that is what the Revelation 10 angel was doing. He had his book opened in his hand, saying that there should be time no longer. It’s the time of the end when the book of Daniel should be opened. The time of the end commenced in 1798 when the Pope was taken prisoner. That was the beginning of the time of the end. From 1798 the Christians that were studying the Bible were studying Daniel, and Daniel began to open up to them. One of the prominent preachers at that time was William Miller and he was studying the book of Daniel. It became so vivid to them that Jesus is coming in 1844. Of course with that sweet message, as it says that the book will be sweet in your mouth, it was a wonderful comfort that Jesus was coming to take them home and they were prepared to meet Him. That was the sweet anticipation of what was happening as they digested the book of Daniel.

Then came 1844 and what did the angel say when it became bitter?

Revelation 10:11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

They thought their preaching was over. They thought their prophesying was finished because Jesus is coming. Sorry he says, that sweet faith of the book of Daniel left you with a bitter aftermath. You’ve still got to preach some more. That happened 170 years ago. Those Christians who fulfilled the prophecy of this scripture devoted themselves to that cause, to the understanding of the message for the last days. As they studied through the disappointments, it crushed them dearly. As they carefully studied everything out, line upon line, here a little and there a little as we are meant to study the Bible, a wonderful system of truth unfolded and we today have been blessed by their devoted scrutinising study.

You cannot have the same experience that we had in the first rise of this cause, for the reason that circumstances have entirely changed. When we were obliged to live by faith, the numbers of believers were few, and they were looked upon as a despised, fanatical people, and the offscouring of the earth. There were but few who had means, and there were but few friends of the truth. The truth was being dug out from amid error, through supplication, agony, and fasting. You now see and reap the advantages of this diligent search, earnest effort, and deep privation and suffering.  {15MR 233.3,4}

As they studied it all out trying to get to the truth and put aside the error that had been built up over years, these people were suffering under diligent search, earnest and deep privation.

Times now have entirely changed. Our position upon the truth is sustained by plain, clear, conclusive arguments. Young men now who embrace the truth have everything made ready at their hands. They know nothing of what trials, anguish, stretch of faith, close venturing, and critical risks were experienced by those who led out in this work. {15MR 233.3,4} 

As I read this, I muse to myself because the experience that these people made before it became so vivid and clear, is the experience of God’s people today because we’ve swung right around that the very Adventists who have once been preaching certain truths that the pioneers taught have now deteriorated. The people who stand on the platform of these early pioneers of these three angels’ messages are just as few today as they were back there. This is the reality that I have experienced. As I meditate on this, what difficulty it was for them to establish it all and we are blessed today because we have it all.

If we go back to the original writings, we’ve got it all there. But now the error that has crept in,  has come in such a subtle way. You cannot have the same experience that we had in the first rise of this cause.

The following quote also refers to this time 170 years ago:

God will not select men of but little experience to lead out in this work. He will not choose those who have had no experience in the sufferings, trials, opposition, and privation endured to bring this work up to the platform on which it now rests. It is now easy, compared with what it once was, to preach the third angel’s message. Those who now engage in this work, and teach the truth to others, have things made ready at their hand. They cannot experience such privations as laborers in present truth have endured before them. The truth is brought out for them. Arguments are all prepared. Such should be careful how they become exalted, lest they be overthrown.  {1T 238.3}  

If we have been so blessed with the strong arguments that we ourselves have never actually searched out like these men and women have and we are uplifted on this platform of confident truth, she says, such should be careful how they become exalted, lest they be overthrown.

They should be very careful how they murmur against those who endured so much in the very commencement of the work. {1T 238.3}

All this was written while the early pioneers were still alive. I muse to myself that we upstarts today who weren’t even born when this was written, how we tend to fall into this idea that we know better than they did back there. I ask the question, who today has still got it together like they used to have it together? In the ranks of Adventism, of all organisations, things have been let loose on one subject or another.

Since the time that they first studied through this truth and the book of Daniel was opened up to them, truth hasn’t been stagnate. The platform of truth was established but it has continued to unfold on the original platform. As we study the three angels’ messages, we discover that there is another angel in Revelation 18. We know that that angel was not active 170 years ago. That came about 126 years ago. Here was another development that was to continue to develop right through to the very last moments of earth’s history.

Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, … 4 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.

Can you see more material that unfolds? This unfolding of more experiences according to prophecy right through to very coming of Jesus, is something which we need to comprehend and work along with.

It’s interesting that when the Revelation 18 angel came forth and what people think he was and what he really is are two different things. This angel has great power so people are still looking forward to a future time in which there is going to be this great power that is going to rattle everybody in the way that it’s being preached when in reality it is the power of the Holy Spirit in the beauty of the power of the word, the power of the gospel. Then, the earth was lightened with his glory, so they expect some great big flash of light across the planet when really it is the character of God in His people that is to be displayed to the world. Finally, he cried mightily with a strong voice, so they think they’ve got to go, rah, rah, rah and preach loudly for everybody to hear, when it is much more than that; it is the actions of God’s people that scream to the world that they are so different to the rest of the world. God’s faithful people develops and unfolds to this point in time when ultimately they make a loud manifestation by the character of God within them, the development of true righteousness that is manifested in this movement of people who will finally be displayed across the world like a light on a hill.

As that took place from 1888 onwards when we were told that this angel commenced his work, instead of a big movement being noticed, we see a deterioration of large numbers of people who are faithful. We see a company ending up smaller and smaller as it is written, a little remnant is left. If you stand by the truth of the three angels’ message and this Revelation 18 angel as it really should be, you will discover that you will go through the exact same experience of the early pioneers; a small company, the numbers of believers being very few looked upon as despised, fanatical people, the offscouring of the earth. That’s the way this message came forward and that’s the way the message in personal revelation closes because we read that those who build upon the platform are experiencing an unrolling of the scroll.

Here is a statement that helps to appreciate the unfolding experience of the faithful few in these last days:

When the storm of God’s wrath breaks upon the world, it will be a terrible revelation for souls to find that their house is being swept away because it is built upon the sand.  {6T 16.1}  

As we come to the period of the outpouring of God’s wrath, it will be a terrible revelation for souls.

Let the warning be given them before it is too late. We should now feel the responsibility of laboring with intense earnestness to impart to others the truths that God has given for this time. We cannot be too much in earnest.  {Ibid.}  

In other words, it’s so serious we cannot be too much in earnest. It is a serious time.

The heart of God is moved. Souls are very precious in His sight. It was for this world that Christ wept in agony; … Now is the time for the last warning to be given. There is a special power in the presentation of the truth at the present time;  {6T 16.2,3}

When was this written? It was written in 1901. Over a hundred years ago. This always used to bother my mind, and now it doesn’t bother my mind anymore because people have kept on reading this statement as applicable to now. But it was then.

There is a special power in the presentation of the truth at the present time; but how long will it continue? Only a little while.  {Ibid.}

That was a hundred years ago.

If there was ever a crisis, it is now.  {Ibid.}

One hundred years ago.

All are now deciding their eternal destiny. Men need to be aroused to realize the solemnity of the time, the nearness of the day when human probation shall be ended. Decided efforts should be made to bring the message for this time prominently before the people. The third angel is to go forth with great power. Let none ignore this work or treat it as of little importance.  {6T 16.4}

The light we have received upon the third angel’s message is the true light. The mark of the beast is exactly what it has been proclaimed to be.  {6T 17.1}

What is the mark of the beast? Isn’t it the Sunday law? Because the authority of the Catholic Church is that they have changed the Sabbath to the Sunday. That’s their mark of authority.

Not all in regard to this matter is yet understood, nor will it be understood until the unrolling of the scroll;  {Ibid.}

When Sister White wrote this, in 1901, she said that the unrolling of the scroll will continue, and that was a hundred years ago. How has the scroll unrolled? Have we seen and can we see where we stand today, in contrast to them?

Not all in regard to this matter is yet understood, nor will it be understood until the unrolling of the scroll; but a most solemn work is to be accomplished in our world. The Lord’s command to His servants is: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1.  {Ibid.}

There is to be no change in the general features of our work. It is to stand as clear and distinct as prophecy has made it. We are to enter into no confederacy with the world, supposing that by so doing we could accomplish more. If any stand in the way, to hinder the advancement of the work in the lines that God has appointed, they will displease God. No line of truth that has made the Seventh-day Adventist people what they are is to be weakened.  {6T 17.2}

Why? Because that’s the platform of truth that has been established in the Bible.

The three angels of Revelation 14 are represented as flying in the midst of heaven, symbolizing the work of those who proclaim the first, second, and third angels’ messages. All are linked together.  {6T 17.4}

As the scroll unrolls, there are a people who are keeping up with the prophetic picture right through to the very end.

Brethren and sisters, would that I might say something to awaken you to the importance of this time, the significance of the events that are now taking place.  {6T 18.2}

1901. We know what it led to don’t we? The First World War, 1914. As the scroll unrolled, we came to the First World War and we know what happened there. There were some faithful people that ended up being separated from the Seventh-day Adventist church because they stood firm to the call. Since that time, how has the scroll further unrolled to our experience now?

As we seek to stand faithful and true, there is another statement with regards to the unrolling of the scroll. In the following statement she just mentioned the work of true Sabbath keeping, the work of upholding the three angels’ message, and then she says:

This is our work. The light that we have upon the third angel’s message is the true light. The mark of the beast is exactly what it has been proclaimed to be. Not all in regard to this matter is yet understood, and will not be understood until the unrolling of the scroll; but a most solemn work is to be accomplished in our world. The Lord’s command to His servants is: Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Verse 1. A message that will arouse the churches is to be proclaimed.  {8T 159.3}

Remember what the message is? It is a living character message. It is to arouse the churches. Do you like doing that? Have you ever experienced that if you follow exactly what has been taught and you proclaim it, it arouses the church? It makes them angry at you, it’s what we have to expect.

Every effort is to be made to give the light, not only to our people, but to the world.  {Ibid.}

Both to our people and to the world.

I have been instructed that the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation should be printed in small books, with the necessary explanations, and should be sent all over the world. Our own people need to have the light placed before them in clearer lines.  {Ibid.}

In other words as the scroll unrolls, it has to become clear to our own people. As it becomes clear to our own people, God’s own people are to be such a powerful light and this loud cry is to take place which is to arouse the churches.

If the scroll has been unrolling since 1901 and the previous statement in Testimonies Vol.8 was 1904 over one hundred years ago, what is our position now? Do we know where we stand? Do we understand what has to be expected in our experience just now? We know so well that it is as in the days of Noah. You want to get hold of this article, Review & Herald, November 5, 1889 and read it through very thoughtfully.

Only faithful Noah and his family entered into the ark, and were saved when the deluge engulfed the world. The days of Noah are pointed to as an illustration of the unbelief that will prevail at the end of the world.  {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 2}

If a similar condition of things is to exist in our day, we should be intelligent concerning it, and have sanctified judgment, that we may not take a course like the course of those who perished in the flood. We should be so instructed that we will not follow a multitude to do evil. God has sent reproofs and warnings that men might repent of their transgressions, and forsake the evil of their ways, and so escape his threatened judgments. God has always made a refuge for those who have repented of their sins, believed in his love, and hoped in his mercy.  {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 3}

Then out of the warning to Sodom and Gomorrah, only Lot was able to escape with his two daughters; then came the time of Christ, and the time of Jerusalem when they were told to escape from Jerusalem.

We are living in the last days, and the generation that is to witness the final destruction has not been left without warning of the hastening judgments of God.  {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 7}

How long have these messages been coming? We are living in these days where it’s nearly over.

Says the apostle, “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.  {Ibid.}

The Revelation 18 angel, how long has he been preaching? Then there’s that other voice that says, come out of her my people.

Through the warning that God has sent to the world, an opportunity is given to all to escape the general ruin that is threatened to fallen Babylon. The whole earth is to be lightened with the glory of this message, and hearts and minds will be prepared by its reception, for the coming of the King of kings.  {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 8}

This little company that developed a faithfulness to God like Noah, have been developing ever since 1888. Where are we today and what will happen? The message is conveyed that we are to send these messages across the world.

But this gracious message will be as generally rejected by the professed Christian world, as was the message of the Messiah by the Jewish nation. Only a few will receive the testimony of truth,  {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 9}

Only a few. Why? This is what we have meditated as to know what is happening to us today. Why is it only a few?

…every influence that Satan can bring to bear against the reception of the truth of God will be employed. {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 9}

What will he do?

In these last days the agency of the evil one will be hidden under a cloak of godliness. {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 9}

Satan is confusing the minds of the people under a cloak of godliness.

…so that if it were possible even the very elect would be deceived.  {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 9}

Do you want to be a very elect? As you study God’s word as to how they were back there 170 years ago, how well are you and I equipped to stand faithful on the platform of truth and how easily have we been a little bit hazy on what these men and women back there really taught with power? I know the experience so well and as I have embraced it with all my heart and I have continued to persevere in proclaiming this message as it was presented by the old pioneers of Adventism, I know the power it has but I also know the cloak of brain weariness that affects people as I share it. It’s a strange phenomenon and all I can see is what is written, it’s Satan. He is actually befogging the minds of the people.

The word of God declares that Satan will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.” His miracle-working power will be displayed to its utmost. But none who wish to know the truth need be deceived. God has promised to give to his people the Spirit of truth, to guide them into all truth.  {Ibid.}

If we are going to be the people who respond to this message, we’re going to be a poor and afflicted people like they were before. We are going to be oppressed because we are arousing the churches against their own will and this beautiful message that we thought was so powerful and was going to have such a powerful impact is going to be rejected like Noah, like Jesus Himself. It’s going to be the same scenario. It’s so different to what people think.

Those who have had living faith in the messages of God for the time in which they have lived, and who have acted out their faith in obedience to his commands, have been accepted of God, and have escaped the judgments that were to fall upon the disobedient and unbelieving. The word came to Noah, “Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me.” Noah obeyed and was saved. The message came to Lot, “Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city.” He placed himself under the guardianship of the heavenly messengers, and was saved. Those who obeyed the warning of Christ in marking the sign of the coming ruin, and in fleeing from Jerusalem, were not involved in her destruction. The message comes in our own time, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen. . . . Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Those who obey this message will escape the terrible plagues that will surely be visited upon her.  {RH, November 5, 1889 par. 11}

How close are the plagues? Are they already dropping around us? If we will respond after the unrolling of the scroll to this point in time, which is different to Sister White’s time, we may be protected. Probation is already being closed upon many people who have rejected the messages that have been back there in Sister White’s time through to now. How many are ridiculing these messages? You try to uphold the pure things that were once proclaimed, and they poohoo it.  How easy is it for them to come back? Is probation closing around us? It makes me feel sick in my stomach when I present these beautiful things and people have developed the art of criticism of undermining those beautiful Biblical interactions and they begin to argue the point and they strengthen themselves in resisting the message that has once been held by our pioneers. I pray that we will take new courage.

Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

May God truly help us to take these things in hand as they are there that we will discard everything that is going to be destroyed that may still be attached to us and become totally involved in the cause; this is the reason for our existence, nothing else.

Posted on January 31, 2014, in Prayer Meeting Sermonettes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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