Love’s Last Call
Love is the most frequently used word in pop music, followed by baby, which has nothing to do with infancy. The third most used word is yeah, as in, “Baby, I love you, oh yeah, yeah, yeah.” No, there isn’t a lot of depth to this popular picture of love. But the fact is, we humans are obsessed with love—or at least with the idea of love.
So is God.
But His love is the real thing. When the Bible says, “God is love” (1 John 4:16), it means that God always acts fairly and unselfishly. He does what’s right and best for those He created.
The last book of the Bible, called The Revelation, highlights God’s special message of love. It’s a message for those living during the last time period of history. The opening chapter tells us the book is a revelation of “Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Revelation 1:5). God’s love led Him to send His Son to shed “His own blood” for us. When we discover the true meaning of His love and respond to it, we are “washed…from our sins.” We’re transformed and set free for a life of real joy!
The book of Revelation describes the momentous last days of earth’s history. We find that God’s love motivated Him to communicate three special messages during these last days. These messages are proclaimed by three angels flying over the earth. These angels are symbols of God’s last call, and they appear in Revelation 14:6-12.
The Messages of the Three Angels
The first angel proclaims “the everlasting gospel.” The word “gospel” means good news,as opposed to good advice. News, unlike advice, is an announcement of past events. The gospel is the good news of what Jesus has already done for us (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). He lived a pure life of self-sacrificing love. He suffered intensely because of our sins, and then he died a perfect death on our behalf.
Yet even death couldn’t stop His love, or hold Jesus in its clammy grip. He rose from the dead! This is the supreme proof of His victorious love. Anyone who sincerely chooses to believe in Jesus is assured of eternal life. The “everlasting good news” of what Jesus Christ has already finished will bring glory to God forever. We didn’t earn it, and we don’t deserve it, but He did it anyway! That’s good news!
Resting on this foundation, the first angel’s message continues. “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)
In the Bible, the word “fear” can mean terror, deep respect, or awe. Sometimes, “The fear of the Lord” simply means “to hate evil” (Prov. 8:13). In the first angel’s message, it means to be deeply in awe of our maker, who is the just judge of all the earth. It also means to become haters of sin. And, as we behold our innocent Savior painfully dying on a cruel cross, it means to be amazed at God’s infinite love and sacrifice on our behalf.
The first angel’s message urges us to “give glory to Him.” In the Bible, glory is equivalent to God’s character or goodness (Exodus 33:18-23; 34:5-8). To give God glory is to magnify His good character. It means to make Him attractive by drawing others’ attention to His love, unselfishness, faithfulness, and truthfulness.
The first angel says we should give God glory because “the hour of His judgment has come.” This means we are living in a judgment period of history. We are being examined by a holy God whose character is both loving and righteous. The Ten Commandments are God’s standard in the judgment (Eccl. 12:13,14; James 2:10-12). This law teaches us to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40; Romans 13:10). Jesus Christ’s humble, pure, merciful, and unselfish life reflects this law of love perfectly.
The first angel’s final instruction is to “worship Him who made” all things. This creation reference draws attention to the fourth commandment about the seventh-day Sabbath (compare with Exodus 20:8-11). In an age where millions are taught that humans evolved from monkeys, God wants us to remember that He is the source of our existence. He made us. He is God. We are not. Thus, we owe Him our love and loyalty.
The second angel starts by announcing “Babylon is fallen.” The word “Babylon” signifies confusion (Genesis 11). It represents church organizations that teach confusing errors contrary to Scripture. Sometimes error is even promoted in the name of God’s love and ‘salvation by grace’! But instead of teaching true love, it teaches a watered-down version of love that is permissive of sin. Our response to the cross should be true love – which motivates us to keep God’s law of love, not break it (John 14:15; 1 John 2:4; 3:4).
The third angel’s message is an urgent warning. A just judgment is coming on those who continue to break God’s Ten Commandments—His law of love. Yes, sometimes love has to be tough. Love shakes a person awake to get them out of a burning building. Love shouts at a child to warn her away from a man luring her into a car. The third angel’s message also warns about religious systems called “the beast” and its “image.” These systems, pretending to offer a global solution during a chaotic, global crisis, will enforce rest on Sunday as their “mark” of loyalty.
But forcing people to obey is contrary to God’s character. After all, “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Only love can inspire true obedience, not force. In addition, the Bible clearly says that “the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord” (Exodus 20:10). Sunday, “the first day of the week,” is not! Looking deeper, the Sabbath reveals that Jesus Christ is God. Jesus Himself said He is the “Lord of the Sabbath” (Matt. 12:8). The Sabbath reminds us that our maker established the Sabbath at Creation (Genesis 2:1-3). This same Creator paid the supreme price for our waywardness, crying out “It is finished!” on the cross.
Those who truly appreciate Jesus’ love choose to serve Him loyally and completely. In the conclusion of the third angel’s message, they are described as those who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).
Believe it or not, the three angels’ messages reveal true love.
Choosing Because of Love
A teenage boy was raised in a good home. But, straying from his roots, he committed a crime and was thrown into prison for three years. On the day he was released, he decided to visit his mother. He remembered her as being in her forties, with dark hair. But when he knocked, a woman with grey hair and deep wrinkles answered. Gazing on her face, the truth struck him like lightning. “Oh mother!” he cried bitterly, “What have I done to you?”
It was a deep conviction of how his sins made his mother suffer that finally brought that young man to repentance.
Prison didn’t do it.
What will you do with the love of Jesus Christ? He even endured separation from His Father on the cross because of our sins. Will you respond to that love? Will you answer Love’s Last Call?
The time to choose has arrived.
Choose Jesus Christ today.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Cover Graphic: “3 Angels” by Nathan Greene, © 1999, 2018 All Rights Reserved, Used by Permission.