Week of Prayer in Advance
It is the practice of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to observe the fall week of prayer throughout the world church in November. Of course, there are reasons for this annual observance. It accords members the opportunity to renew and and recommit to those vows taken years ago or recently. Additionally, it provides members the chance to refocus on the prophetic nature of our church inclusive of the second coming which is embedded in our name Seventh-day Adventist. As such, I share this summary of the Sabbath reading with the hope of sparking a greater interest and participation in the week of prayer.
Power to Finish the Work
The Sabbath reading entitled “Power to Finish the Work,” by World Church leader, Ted Wilson, employs the Three Angels’ messages of Revelation 14 as a base. Elder Wilson calls for the church to receive, believe and be revived. It is a most inspirational article about the mission of the church. Referencing Testimonies for the Church, Pastor Wilson notes, “in a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for the perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. 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. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.”
Early Adventists Preached the Three Angels’ Messages
Additionally, Elder Wilson writes, “Early Advent believers preached the message of Jesus’ return in 1844 and faced the Great Disappointment as prophesied in Revelation 10. Their work, however, was not yet complete. There was an additional message that God wanted them to give to the whole world. This message is divided into three parts and is outlined in Revelation 14:6 – 12.”
Consider the Contents of the Messages
Pastors and Elders, considering the contents and significance of the Three Angels’ messages, this would make good material for new belivers and members in general to understand. Consider the messages:
First Message: The first angel’s message (vv. 6 - 7) “announces that the time of judgment has come and calls people back to the true worship of God and to recognize Him as Creator.” Therefore, “The call to worship God as Creator automatically places upon people the responsibility to observe the day that honors His creative act. Created beings cannot honor their Creator while defying the command to keep holy the Sabbath – the seventh day of the week – which God Himself set aside as a memorial of His creation.”
Second Message: The second angel’s message, found in verse 8, announcing the fall of Babylon, was first presented in the summer of 1844. Because this announcement follows chronologically in the prophecy with the preaching of the judgment, and because the churches to which this message applies were once pure, Babylon here refers to churches that rejected the warning of the judgment. Repeated in Revelation 18:1-4, the second angel’s message, calls God’s people who are still in Babylon to come out so “that they will not be guilty of participating in her sins and will not receive the plagues that are to be poured out upon her. Therefore, Babylon is constituted by churches that teach many of the theological errors passed down through the church of the Middle Ages.”
Third Message: The third angels’ message, found in verses 9 – 11, contains a clear warning: don’t worship the beast and its image, or receive its mark. To do so will result in annihilation. The content of the third message is based on the prophecy of the preceding chapter, Revelation 13.
Given the above, I encourage us as pastors and elders to ensure that there be a great week of prayer observance as we receive, belive and are revived.