The three angels' messages: An Adventist imperative

The year 1844 was an important one. The Millerites experienced the Great Disappointment, leading to a thorough restudy of the prophecies concerning the Second Advent. The increased understanding of the Scriptures that resulted from that study led to the establishment of the Seventh-day Adventist church. That same year, Charles Darwin completed a summary of his ideas on evolution by natural selection. He called it an abstract, but it was more like a small book. Darwin did not publish his "abstract" that year, however. Also in 1844, Robert Chambers anonymously published a book, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. This book boldly speculated about the possibility of evolutionary change over long ages of time. It has been said that this book had a greater impact on the public than Darwin's book had some 15 years later. The public reaction was so intense to Chambers' work that Darwin held off his for another 15 years.
The irony here is obvious: the birth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with its emphasis on the biblical six-day creation, coincided with the public presentation of evolutionary thinking. Was this a coincidence? I think not.
Seventh-day Adventists have seen themselves as commissioned to present a special message to the world, which we call "The Three Angels' Messages" of Revelation 14:6-12. Our purpose here is to explore the meaning of these messages and its relationship with the doctrine of Creation.
The First Angel
The context of Revelation 14 indicates an eschatological setting, sandwiched between the persecution presented in chapters 12 and 13 and the "harvest" of the end of chapter 14. Adventists understand the three angels' messages of Revelation 14 to represent the final movement preparing the world for Christ's second coming. Seventh-day Adventists expect to play an important role in proclaiming these messages. Hence, we need to understand what they say.
These three message follow one after another, and that's because there's an underlying link between them. One link is the doctrine of creation as recorded by Moses; another link is righteousness by faith . The church cannot successfully preach the three angels' messages without faith in the scriptural account of creation, which is foundational to these messages and key to our mission.
The first angel (Rev. 14:6) is described as having the "everlasting gospel." The gospel is the good news of salvation, which is needed because of man's fall. The creation story forms the basis for understanding that fall: "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12, NASB cf 1 Tim. 2:13-14).
The first angel's message consists of two parts. The first part is (paraphrased): "Fear God and give Him glory, because of judgment." This message was emphasized in early Adventist history, in the doctrines of the investigative and executive judgments. The second part is (again paraphrased): "Worship Him who created." In Hebrew writing, an idea was often expressed twice, using different words. This is a way of emphasizing a point. The first angel's message can be treated as such a parallelism:
Fear God because of judgment, and
Worship God because of creation.
To fear God is to reverence Him, and implies worship:
"Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy;
For all the nations will come and worship before You,
For Your righteous acts have been revealed."
Revelation 15:4, NASB
Judgment is one of God's righteous acts. To many, the emphasis on judgment does not seem like good news. Why should we regard the coming judgment as "good news" (gospel)? And what is the relationship of creation and the good news? Let us consider these questions as we examine the parallelism in the text.
To "fear" God means to give Him reverence, or worship. This is the first part of the parallelism. God is worthy of worship because He is both Creator and Judge. "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, . . . for You created all things . . .." (Rev. 4:11, NASB). Being Creator demonstrates God's authority and gives Him the right (responsibility?) to judge.
What is the parallelism between judgment and creation? Who is the Creator? Who is our Judge? It is Jesus, who created us, who will also be with us in the judgment. The good news (gospel) is that creation and redemption are linked in Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Creator (John 1:3), as well as our Advocate in the judgment (1 John 2:1). God has both created us and saved us through Jesus (Col. 1:13-17). Because of this relationship, the judgment is good news to the Christian.
Although strongly endorsed by the church, the creation part of the gospel angel's message has only recently begun to receive the attention given to the concept of judgment in the early history of our church. There was less need to emphasize God's creatorship because virtually all Christians accepted the biblical creation record, but this is no longer the case.
The biblical story of creation is that humans were created perfect, in the image of God. Due to their own wrong choice, they fell into sin. God could not merely excuse their sin and remain just, so instead, God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, came to earth to die in our place. Thus God could be just and the justifier of him who believes (Rom. 3:26). This means that salvation is by grace alone (Eph. 2:8).
The judgment of humanity is closely linked with the creation story. Our accountability is based on the fact that at creation human beings were perfect. Without a fall from perfection, there is no accountability to God for sin, and no need of a Savior. Judgment will include accountability for the condition of the world (Rev. 11:18), a responsibility given at creation (Gen. 1:28). Creationists must be good stewards of the earth's resources.
The Second Angel
The second angel states (Rev. 14:8) that "Babylon is fallen." Why does the second message come only after the first message? Could rejection of the first message be the final step in the fall of Babylon? Babylon represents fallen world religions, including churches in Christendom that have fallen away from Christ. The church is impure. Fornication implies something is taking the place of Christ. The Scriptures often represent the relationship of Christ and the church as a marriage (cf Rev. 19:6-9, the marriage supper of the Lamb). The husband (Christ) is identified as the Creator in Isaiah 54:5. This text suggests that substitution with some other "creator" would be fornication. Any church that makes such a choice has fallen. The message of the second angel can be considered to be a response to the reaction of the Christian world to the message of the first angel regarding creation and judgment.
In the biblical story of creation, Adam and Eve were created perfect. Their fall introduced sin and death into this world. Jesus, as Creator and Judge, offered Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice for our salvation. Salvation is thus purely a matter of grace; thus, we can only accept it as a gift, or reject it.
What about other creation stories? Some have proposed that we as a race are improving through evolution. There was no Adam and Eve, no fall, and no substitutionary death. Jesus came to earth only to show us how to live. If we are impressed by His life, if we can imitate Him, and, if we work hard enough, we can qualify for salvation. Jesus did not take our place by His death, but gave us an example of how to earn salvation.
The Bible has bad news about this kind of gospel: no matter how hard you work, no matter how much your life resembles the life of Jesus, it is not enough. The kind of perfection is not good enough! There is no way for us to earn our own salvation. We do good works, not to become saved, but because we are already saved. Babylon is based on righteousness by works. Heaven is a gift of grace alone.
The Third Angel
The third angel's message (Rev. 14:9-12) is a warning: "Do not worship the beast or receive his mark." Those who disregard this warning will face judgment and punishment. Notice the word "worship," again linked with judgment. To worship the beast rather than God would be spiritual fornication. The mark of the beast is a sign of spiritual fornication and a spiritual fall. This fall comes as a result of rejection of the message of the first angel: worship God the Creator, and accept His offer to declare you "not guilty" in the judgment. Apparently, those who reject the first angel's message will unite to "mark" those who disagree with them. They will even resort to force to prevent anyone from accepting the message of the three angels.
We understand that the worship of the beast and the reception of his mark will involve controversy involving the seventh-day Sabbath. Observance of the seventh-day Sabbath is based on the biblical account of the six-day creation (Ex. 20:11). By observing the Sabbath, we witness and give evidence of our acceptance of the first angel's message: worship the Creator. By worshiping on Sabbath we witness that we accept the Bible as the ultimate authority. By worshiping on Sabbath we testify that we accept salvation by grace alone, based only on the merits of Jesus' substitutionary sacrifice.
Discrediting the creation story would remove the basis for observing the seventh-day Sabbath, and much more. What better way to destroy the seventh-day Sabbath than to discredit the six-day creation, the very basis for its observance? And what purpose for a judgment if there were no fall into sin? Without the doctrine of a six-day creation, the three angels' message loses its meaning.
The Three Angels' Messages: Righteousness by Faith Alone
The unified message of the three angels is righteousness by faith. Righteousness comes by faith in the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. This death is necessary because God, in His justice, could not excuse the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve. The Fall of Adam and Eve was the result of their own choice to believe the evidence of their senses rather than to believe the word of God. The term "Fall" implies a previous state that was better. Adam and Eve were not created through some process of gradual improvement, but they were created in a state of sinless perfection. The story of their creation is found in Genesis 1.
Some would urge us to accept another story of creation, one that is more in harmony with the ideas of leading scientists and theologians. It is unpopular to accept the words of an old book rather than the latest ideas in science. To those who urge us to abandon our faith in the six-day creation of Genesis, we should say--Tell me the story of Jesus and salvation. Does science have a story that includes Jesus and salvation? Only the Bible shows the way to salvation and the basis for that pathway.
The three angel's message reveals Jesus as Creator, Advocate in judgment, and Redeemer. This is why the Genesis creation account is so important. Genesis presents the most detailed account given in Scripture of the creation of our world. The creation story is the basis for worship of God, the reason for His authority in judgment, and the contentious issue behind the mark of the beast. The creation record in Genesis is a unifying theme of the three angels' messages.
In view of the significance of creation and the flood to the three angels' messages at the end of time, it is sobering to consider Peter's warning of scoffers in the last days: "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.' For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:3-7, NASB).
According to Peter, scoffers will deny both creation and the flood. This is happening now, not only in the world but even within the church. The three angels' messages must be given, even in such an atmosphere of skepticism. When all the world has been reached, the end will come. And then the Creator will again exercise His power in creation, this time to restore that which was lost because of sin. "But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:13, NASB
L. James Gibson

The three angels' messages: An Adventist imperative

The year 1844 was an important one. The Millerites experienced the Great Disappointment, leading to a thorough restudy of the prophecies concerning the Second Advent. The increased understanding of the Scriptures that resulted from that study led to the establishment of the Seventh-day Adventist church. That same year, Charles Darwin completed a summary of his ideas on evolution by natural selection. He called it an abstract, but it was more like a small book. Darwin did not publish his "abstract" that year, however. Also in 1844, Robert Chambers anonymously published a book, Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. This book boldly speculated about the possibility of evolutionary change over long ages of time. It has been said that this book had a greater impact on the public than Darwin's book had some 15 years later. The public reaction was so intense to Chambers' work that Darwin held off his for another 15 years.
The irony here is obvious: the birth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with its emphasis on the biblical six-day creation, coincided with the public presentation of evolutionary thinking. Was this a coincidence? I think not.

Seventh-day Adventists have seen themselves as commissioned to present a special message to the world, which we call "The Three Angels' Messages" of Revelation 14:6-12. Our purpose here is to explore the meaning of these messages and its relationship with the doctrine of Creation.
The First Angel
The context of Revelation 14 indicates an eschatological setting, sandwiched between the persecution presented in chapters 12 and 13 and the "harvest" of the end of chapter 14. Adventists understand the three angels' messages of Revelation 14 to represent the final movement preparing the world for Christ's second


A six day creation method
Recent New Testament research by Jon Paulien, professor of New Testament,2 shows that the language of the last part of Revelation 14:7, “ ‘worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea’ ” (NASB), alludes to the language of the fourth commandment in Exodus 20:11.3 In part, the Revelation passage accomplishes this significant allusion by listing, in the same order, four of the identical terms that appear in the Exodus text. Paulien offers the following conclusion regarding the certainty of the allusion: “The cumulative evidence is so strong that an interpreter could conclude that there is no direct allusion to the Old Testament in Revelation that is more certain than the allusion to the fourth commandment in Rev. 14:7. When the author of Revelation describes God’s final appeal to the human race in the context of the end-time deception, he does so in terms of a call to worship the creator in the context of the fourth commandment.” 4

Building on Paulien’s conclusion, the present essay offers the diagram on the facing page to illustrate how the allusion also seems to endorse a literal, historical six-day Creation.

The diagram illustrates that by alluding to the full cosmological wording of Exodus 20:11, the allusion endorses the concept of a six-day Creation. While not rewriting a portion of Scripture, the dotted line in the diagram indicates the biblical source for the bracketed insertion of the important concept implied by the first four words of the allusion in Revelation 14:7. The messenger could have said simply, “worship your maker,” but that would not signal a six-day method of Creation. The critical need in the end time for the allusion to suggest the six-day method of Creation is addressed in the application section of the essay. However, the complete allusion suggests more than a concept of six-day Creation.

The biblical Flood
The allusion in Revelation 14:7 to Exodus 20:11 ends with a phrase of remarkable focus, “fountains of waters.” Do these words have some special significance? The hermeneutical key that can unlock the importance of this phrase seems to be its placement in a context and setting of judgment: “ ‘Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made . . . springs [fountains] of waters’ ” (Rev. 14:7, NASB). The immediate connection of the phrase “fountains of waters” to a judgment setting needs to be borne in mind continually throughout the following discussion.

The special uniqueness of the phrase helps to raise questions that lead to a deeper understanding of its meaning. Because the allusion in the Revelation passage begins and continues as an exact verbal paralleling of the language in Exodus 20:11, the allusion can be said to end with an unparallel, thus unexpected and surprising, phrase, “fountains of waters,” not found in the Old Testament passage. A central question confronting the interpreter seems to be: If Revelation 14:7c is a clear verbal parallel allusion to the Exodus passage, why doesn’t the angel messenger complete the allusion by using the expected phrase “and all that is in them” (NASB) found in Exodus 20:11? Why does the messenger break his method of paralleling by inserting the unparallel and specifically focused phrase “fountains of waters”?

The importance of the unparallel phrase “fountains of waters” is further heightened by noting that its departure in Revelation 14:7 from the wording in Exodus 20:11 stands in sharp contrast with a biblical pattern established and illustrated elsewhere in Scripture when individuals refer at some length to Exodus 20:11. For example, in the context of describing the goodness of God as the one who sets the prisoner free, David (like the first angel in Revelation 14) articulates the following words precisely as found in Exodus 20:11, “Who made heaven and earth, the sea” (NASB), but ends by stating the expected “and all that is in them” of the Exodus passage (Ps. 146:6, NASB). In a similar context, New Testament believers who express thanksgiving for the loving kindness of God displayed by His healing of the lame beggar mention the same portion of Exodus 20:11 and add the expected phrase “and all that is in them” (Acts 4:24) in the same manner as David. Again, when the healing of a lame man of Lystra reveals the power of God, Barnabas and Paul cite the same words of Exodus 20:11 and complete their reference to the Exodus passage with the expected “and all that is in them” (Acts 14:8, 15). Thus we discern a typical pattern used by biblical individuals when referring to or quoting Exodus 20:11. Evidently, they did not feel at liberty to deviate from the wording of the fourth commandment.

Remarkably, the allusion in Revelation 14:7 takes a different pathway.

The typical biblical pattern illustrated above is broken only in Revelation 14:7. Any scriptural parallel allusion or reference to Exodus 20:11 that starts with the words “Who made” and reaches the word “sea” and then continues never strays after that from the exact wording of Exodus except in Revelation 14:7c. Why? Is something theologically important being communicated? Is God, through the angel, signaling some relevant, theological truth(s) by means of a somewhat fluid allusion that otherwise would be lost if Exodus 20:11 were to be fully, exactly paralleled?

Most importantly, why in this end-time passage might God select the “fountains of waters” for special mention and not some other created item among “all that is in them”? The independent research of several scholars can, when placed together, contribute to a theologically and geologically significant response to these questions.


The human brain is one of the most fascinating objects that is likely to be studied in a General Psychology class. As students delve into the research of the structures and functions of the brain, it is inevitable that they are confronted with an array of critical issues–the consequences for individuals of damage to their brains, the implications for human freedom and dignity of brain and behavior control, and the responsibility of providing a conductive environment for people to develop adequately.
Beyond these considerations are philosophical questions revolving around the mind-brain relationship which challenge the Christian to consider the human brain from the standpoint of the human person, and the person from the standpoint of God's purposes.
The basic question of the relationship between the mind and brain has intrigued scientists and psychologists for many years. Philosophers and scientists have debated this question for centuries. One of those who troubled by this problem was Rene Descartes. Three centuries ago he proposed a dualistic view in which he described the brain and mind as distinct substances. The mind took up no space but acted on the body through the brain's pineal gland (Cotman, 1990). Descartes was wrong about the pineal, but the debate he stimulated rages on. How does the nonmaterial mind influence the brain, and vice versa? How does the Christian view the brain or the mind?
Roger Sperry, one of the foremost exponents of split-brain studies, advocates a "unifying view of mind and brain" in the 1977 American Psychologist. According to Sperry, the mind is an emergent property of brain activity. Once the mind has emerged, it assumes the dominant role of driving the brain (Popper and Eccles, 1977).
In recent years, neurobiologists have produced research that enhances our understanding of the human mind. Fischbach in an article published in the 1990 Scientific American, identifies the brain as "the organ of the mind." According to Fischbach, the brain, with its many specialized functions, is the central organ of the body. From the collective activity of all the brain regions emerges the most fascinating neurological phenomenon of all: the mind.
In agreement with Fischbach is Carla Shatz, professor of neurobiology at the University of California, Berkeley. She clearly asserts the fact that "the brain is the central organ that directs the intricate functions that make possible memory, vision, learning, thought, consciousness and other properties of the mind. . . In fact, during fetal development, the foundations of the mind are laid" (Shatz, 1990, p. 35).
For the Seventh-day Adventist Christian teacher, the brain is viewed as more than an anatomical organ. It is a marvelous organ created by God (Genesis 1). It is a complex organ that directs and interprets our sensations, thinking, reactions, evaluations, and helps us to discriminate right from wrong, good from bad.
Ellen White in her book, Education, confirms the power of the brain:
Our reasoning powers are given for use, and God desires them to be exercised. "Come now, and let us reason together" (Isa. 1:8). In reliance upon Him we have wisdom to "refuse the evil, and choose the good" (Isa. 7:15). (p. 231)
While the brain is a wonderful organ that directs the human functions, it should in no way be viewed as a mere machine. If we are nothing but machines, and if our brains are understood as clockwork toys, how can we be regarded as free agents?
To the Christian, the mind is understood as the sum total of all a person's conscious state which includes our thoughts, memories, feelings, and emotions. It is human mind that distinguishes the responsibility and uniqueness of the human person. Humanness demands creativity, the ability to think and act in totally new ways, to imagine new solutions and see things in novel forms. Hence, the mind distinguishes one person from another in the way the world is viewed, and analyzed. The brain allows a variety in how each person synthesizes ideas, argues an issue, or expresses a mood. However, when the brain is off, the mind is off!
In sum, the brain directs the millions of neurons that send different messages to various parts of the body. However, it is the human mind, that nonmaterial part, that takes these sensations and messages and expresses them in unique ways--different for each individual.
Storage and Retrieval
The brain is the structure that truly sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Together with the spinal cord, the brain forms the central nervous system that regulates our sensory, cognitive, emotional, physical, and motor abilities. The human nervous system is made up of networks of nerve cells that connect every distant bit of tissue with the ten billion nerve cells of the governing brain. Electric neural impulses travel along these pathways at speeds ranging from 200-300 miles per hour, leaping across narrow gaps between cells, relaying messages to and from the brain. This marvelous network system prompted Hippocrates in the 6th century B. C. to commit himself in no uncertain terms to the supremacy of the brain as the source of our intellectual powers. He wrote:
Man ought to know that from the brain and the brain only arise our pleasures, joys, laughter and jests as well as our sorrows, pains, grief and tears . . . . It is the same thing that makes us mad or delirious, inspires us with dread and fear, whether by night or be day, brings sleeplessness, inopportune mistakes, aimless anxieties, absent mindedness, and acts that are contrary to habit (Jones, 1981, p. 15).
Crick and Koch, in their study of visual awareness, admit that the structural variety of neurons in the brain indicates a marvelous organ with the capacity to store, retrieve, use and express information, as well as to experience emotion and control movement (Crick & Koch, 1990).

What does the Bible say about dinosaurs?

Some years ago, after I had lectured to Adventist university students and young professionals, a pastor approached me and asked, “Could you please talk to my wife and convince her that dinosaurs really did exist?”
This request was not a joke. The pastor’s wife was a school teacher and she refused to teach her students that dinosaurs had ever existed. Right away, I realized that behind her denial of dinosaurs was a struggle to understand the mystery that perplexes some and fascinates others: how do we explain the past existence (and extinction) of dinosaurs within a biblical context?
Unfortunately, this denial of the existence of dinosaurs has become more widespread than we would like to admit, even taking into account our scientific society with highly advanced research in all fields, including geology and paleontology. These specific sciences seem out of place in our schools and colleges and are hardly considered by our Adventist youth when choosing a profession. As a Christian and a paleontologist, I must daily face the widespread notion of a biological evolution involving millions of years, and I can understand that some people fear becoming involved in a philosophy that may prove to be contradictory to Scripture.
However, it is possible to study fossils, rocks, and evolution without renouncing our faith. If we are to appreciate the beauty and mystery of earth’s Creation and subsequent history, a great deal depends on how and what our teachers and pastors transmit in our schools and churches. In this article, I outline ways for students, teachers, parents, and pastors to productively think about the place of dinosaurs within a biblical paradigm in a faith-affirming way.
The museum dinosaur
If you have ever visited a natural history museum, you probably saw spectacular and massive dinosaur skeletons. In other places, you can see animated reproductions of dinosaurs which, in the case of television documentaries, seem to be alive and real. When viewing these animations, the visitor should take into account several details.
First of all, we should accept that dinosaurs did exist for a period of time on earth and that, in certain places, they seemed to be numerous. Paleontologists have found evidence of their existence in sediments on every continent, including Antarctica. This evidence includes bones, eggs, nests, and footprints. These dinosaur footprints and tracks are abundant and cannot positively be associated with any other creature except what we now call dinosaurs.
Secondly, we should be aware that skeletons found in museums are typically not actual bones, but rather replicas. The original bones are too valuable and delicate to be exposed to the general public, and therefore, are usually stored in safe places within the museum. Furthermore, “complete” skeletons in museums are often assembled from replicas of bones from various specimens, which, on occasions, come from very distant places. This does not mean the skeletons are just cobbled together. Paleontologists are able to piece together the body architecture of dinosaurs even though they might not have all the skeleton elements of the same creature, and thus, the replicas we see in museums are reasonably trustworthy. Some nearly complete specimens unearthed, including the Tyrannosaurus rex, are exhibited in Chicago’s Field Museum. The animations seen on television, however, are much more speculative, especially regarding skin color, physiology, behavior, and so forth.
Dinosaurs disappeared
In the geologic column, dinosaur remains appear in rock layers that paleontologists call Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous. These layers of sedimentary rock, stacked one on top of the other, show specific characteristics, including those of certain fossil species such as mollusks, reptiles, fish, dinosaurs, and microscopic organisms (diatoms and algae, among others) that once filled the oceans. Some paleontologists believe that dinosaurs, as well as other groups of animals and plants, suddenly disappeared as a consequence of a gigantic meteorite impact 65 million years ago. Others doubt this model for a variety of reasons.
Most creationist scientists believe that dinosaurs disappeared, together with other species, during the worldwide Flood described in the book of Genesis. This scenario could include meteorite activity resulting in gigantic tsunamis, volcanic activity, and the emission of carbon dioxide, sulphides, and other chemicals harmful to plants and animals. Therefore, the idea of a meteorite impacting the earth is not necessarily incompatible with the biblical model of the Flood.
In spite of a lack of consensus among scientists about what made dinosaurs disappear, the media and pseudoscientific press have decided that the meteor impact theory is the only valid explanation. This is far from reality. Dinosaurs did disappear, but we do not know exactly when or why. However, the possibility of their extinction during the Genesis Flood (with or without the associated impact) can be viewed as a plausible scientific hypothesis and deserves consideration.
Dinosaurs and human beings
Much has been written and argued regarding certain evidence that supposedly shows dinosaur and human remains together. The evidence includes what are interpreted to be human footsteps together with dinosaur footprints, as well as prehistoric pictures in caves and on pottery where human figures appear together with exceptional creatures very similar to current reconstructions of these giant reptiles. However, rigorous scientific study has shown that these features have been misinterpreted.
Let us analyze, for example, the alleged “human” and dinosaur prints found in the riverbed of the Paluxy River in Texas. A few decades ago, some enthusiastic scientists proclaimed that this was sure evidence against the theory of evolution and proof for the occurrence of a worldwide Flood. Intrigued by these statements, more than one evolutionist and creationist scientist studied in detail the marks found on the rocks. In that particular place, the riverbed and bank have many marks due to water erosion. We can tell the true dinosaur tracks from the pseudoprints due to the marks left on the rocks from the circulating water. With a little imagination, we can make out prints similar to those of almost any animal.
Laboratory studies have been done also. If a print is authentic, we would expect to see the layers of sediment in the rock depressed under the print, from the weight of the animal. To test for this characteristic deformation, the scientists cut the print crosswise and observed that no such deformation was present. They concluded that the shape was not a real human footprint but instead the result of erosion, either by nature or by a human forger. Later studies showed that certain “prints” and drawings had been deliberately placed by fanatic defenders of the human-dinosaur coexistence idea. This kind of unfortunate forgery may have been produced by those who are overeager to present irrefutable evidence to support their belief in Creation and the Flood; others may do it simply to exploit believers in some way or to make money.
On other occasions, disbelievers in the biblical account of history were the ones to take advantage of the naïveté of these fanatics to create false proof and, thus, cause mockery and rejection among the academic world. Faking fossils and other “evidence” harms the true research among creationist scientists; most of these researchers have learned to be careful in the accuracy of their statements.
Dinosaurs and the Bible
The story of Creation in Genesis 1 tells of a God who created sea life as well as birds on the fifth day and the rest of the animals on the sixth day.
Although reptiles are listed among the animals created, dinosaurs are not specifically mentioned. This should not surprise us, because in Moses’ day (the author of the book of Genesis), the word dinosaur did not exist, nor was he under the obligation to specifically mention them; he didn’t mention numerous other groups of animals as well. For example, Genesis does not mention beetles, sharks, starfish, moss, algae, or any number of other groups of organisms.
The fact that, in the Bible, dinosaurs were not mentioned by name does not prove that God did not create them; nor does the strange appearance that they have in museum replicas. Currently, there are many animals just as strange in appearance as dinosaurs—consider deep-sea anglerfish, platypuses, and kangaroos—and they don’t draw that much attention. Some people believe that dinosaurs appeared as the result of the curse after Adam’s and Eve’s sin, but the Bible does not shed any light on this, nor does it explicitly identify which animals changed as a result of sin and about what kind of changes these might have been.
Most creationist scientists believe that dinosaurs disappeared during or shortly after the Genesis Flood. Again, the Bible does not give us a clue regarding the fate of these animals. The fact that dinosaurs disappeared during a worldwide catastrophe that we call the Flood is a hypothesis that we should seriously consider but only through scientific research, and that’s because of the silence in the Bible on the matter. The demonstration of this hypothesis should come from geological and paleontological data, not by forcing the Bible to say what it does not say.
Last of all, there are people who think dinosaurs survived after the Flood and disappeared a short while later because they could not adjust to a new environment. This is also a possibility, since some dinosaurs could have been inside the ark, then disappeared during the postdiluvian colonization. The Bible mentions two strange creatures, behemoth (Job 40:15–18) and leviathan (Job 41:1), which some interpret as possible examples of postdiluvian dinosaurs. However, most Bible scholars do not accept this explanation, and the words behemoth and leviathan are usually translated as “hippopotamus” and “crocodile,” respectively, and therefore, are not related to dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs and Ellen White
The term dinosaur was first used by the British zoologist, Richard Owen, in 1842, to name a group of reptile fossils then recently discovered. The use of the term spread as new discoveries took place throughout Europe and North America. Around the time Ellen White wrote her first statements on Creation, the Flood, science, and faith (in 1864), the term dinosaur had already found its way into scientific books and newspapers. However, Ellen White never used this term or any other similar word referring to these extinct reptiles.
In a brief declaration in 1864, she wrote, “Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood.”1 This has become a favorite statement for some Adventists who believe it explains fossils with intermediate characteristics2 and other extinct organisms, including dinosaurs. Many people read into these words what we know as genetic engineering, indicating that in prediluvian times people practiced crossbreeding, including animals and human beings, resulting in strange biological hybrid forms.
However, this interpretation presents various problems. The first rises from the difficulty of defining what Ellen White meant by “amalgamation.” Thorough studies on this statement have not shed a definitive answer, and we conclude that we do not know exactly what the prophet wanted to say in her statement.
A second problem arises in the application of “amalgamation” to real cases in the fossil record. If “amalgamation” meant “hybrid,” how could we recognize them among fossils or among modern day plants and animals? How could we determine which species are hybrid before the Flood, if they actually existed at all? Some have answered this question by saying that hybrid species did not survive the Flood, precisely because God didn’t want them to. But this sort of reasoning is a circular fallacy because the criteria we use to differentiate hybrids (extinction) is precisely the same as we use to define what we would like to differentiate (hybrids). In other words, amalgamations explain their own disappearance, and their disappearance defines what they are.
After the previous statement, she goes on by saying that “since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals.”3 In the first place, it is important to emphasize that Ellen White says amalgamations of and not between man and animals, as some have chosen to read. Secondly, if amalgamation means intermediate forms, hybrids or strange-engineered creatures, what are the criteria to recognize them? If these were formed after the Flood, they likely became fossils, and others would have survived up to now. How can we differentiate one from the other fossils and living organisms that are not the result of hybrids? Ellen White gives us no clues on that issue.
Further on, in the same text, Ellen White states that she was “shown that very large, powerful animals existed before the flood, which do not now exist.”4 In another text, she states that “[t]here were a class of very large animals which perished at the flood. God knew that the strength of man would decrease, and these mammoth animals could not be controlled by feeble man.”5
This statement, among others, regarding life before the Flood suggests that the prophet was referring to the existence of a wide variety of animals that did not survive in the ark. However, we are not sure of the meaning of this statement; we do not know what these “very large, powerful animals” were. However, her statements are not really far off from the scientific description of dinosaurs. Biologically speaking, they are somehow confusing, not only because some of them are gigantic, but also their body parts (legs, neck, tail, brain, and so forth) are, in some cases, out of proportion. Even paleontologists do not agree on whether the dinosaurs were warm or cold-blooded.
The truth is that many people have struggled to find in Ellen White’s statements support for the idea that dinosaurs were not created by God, but rather the result of hybrids before the Flood, and thus, condemned to disappear in the worldwide catastrophe. This might be a possibility, but, after a thorough study of her writings, we find no unequivocal support for such conclusions. We do not know for sure what Ellen White wanted to express, and we should wait until we reach a better understanding of her statements.
Scripture does not mention the existence of dinosaurs—at least not as we now understand them—neither before nor after the Genesis Flood. Ellen White also does not mention them, and we are not sure of the meaning of her statements regarding “large animals.” Neither the Bible nor Ellen White say why they do not mention them. This is very important, since the fact that the Bible probably does not mention dinosaurs is not evidence that they never existed. What we cannot explain does not necessarily lack existence, but is simply another matter, among others, about which the Bible says nothing and that provides potentially fascinating questions for us to study using the fossil record and other data.
We should teach our students and church members that dinosaurs did exist. We have clear evidence: we have dinosaur bones, teeth, eggs, footprints, and even impressions of their skin. Furthermore, at some point in history they disappeared. Their extinction could have taken place before, during, or after the Genesis Flood. Like the rest of the fossils, the origin and disappearance of dinosaurs are wrapped in mystery. For this reason, they require careful and rigorous study, something Christians with the interest and talent should be encouraged to do. Dinosaurs do not challenge or compromise our faith in the Bible’s teachings.
1. Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3 (Battle Creek, MI: Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, 1864), 75.
2. Intermediate fossils, also known as transition fossils, are those which, according to the theory of evolution, show mixed characteristics between two groups of animals or plants that are considered consecutive in time. An example of this is reptiles that look like mammals, which are considered as an intermediate step in evolution from the first towards the second. These transition fossils are the source of much debate among scientists.
3. White, 75; emphasis added.
4. Ibid., 92.
5. White, Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4a (Battle Creek, MI: Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, 1864), 121.

The Controversy Ended

At the close of the thousand years, Christ again returns to the earth. He is accompanied by the host of the redeemed and attended by a retinue of angels. As He descends in terrific majesty He bids the wicked dead arise to receive their doom. They come forth, a mighty host, numberless as the sands of the sea. What a contrast to those who were raised at the first resurrection! The righteous were clothed with immortal youth and beauty. The wicked bear the traces of disease and death.
Every eye in that vast multitude is turned to behold the glory of the Son of God. With one voice the wicked hosts exclaim: "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!" It is not love to Jesus that inspires this utterance. The force of truth urges the words from unwilling lips. As the wicked went into their graves, so they come forth with the same enmity to Christ and the same spirit of rebellion. They are to have no new probation in which to remedy the defects of their past lives. Nothing would be gained by this. A lifetime of transgression has not softened their hearts. A second probation, were it given them, would be occupied as was the first in evading the requirements of God and exciting rebellion against Him.
Christ descends upon the Mount of Olives, whence, after His resurrection, He ascended, and where angels repeated the promise of His return. Says the prophet: "The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with Thee." "And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof, . . . and there shall be a very great valley." "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one." Zechariah 14:5, 4, 9. As the New Jerusalem, in its dazzling splendor, comes down out of heaven, it rests upon the place purified and made ready to receive it, and Christ, with His people and the angels, enters the Holy City.
Now Satan prepares for a last mighty struggle for the supremacy. While deprived of his power and cut off from his work of deception, the prince of evil was miserable and dejected; but as the wicked dead are raised and he sees the vast multitudes upon his side, his hopes revive, and he determines not to yield the great controversy. He will marshal all the armies of the lost under his banner and through them endeavor to execute his plans. The wicked are Satan's captives. In rejecting Christ they have accepted the rule of the rebel leader. They are ready to receive his suggestions and to do his bidding. Yet, true to his early cunning, he does not acknowledge himself to be Satan. He claims to be the prince who is the rightful owner of the world and whose inheritance has been unlawfully wrested from him. He represents himself to his deluded subjects as a redeemer, assuring them that his power has brought them forth from their graves and that he is about to rescue them from the most cruel tyranny. The presence of Christ having been removed, Satan works wonders to support his claims. He makes the weak strong and inspires all with his own spirit and energy. He proposes to lead them against the camp of the saints and to take possession of the City of God. With fiendish exultation he points to the unnumbered millions who have been raised from the dead and declares that as their leader he is well able to overthrow the city and regain his throne and his kingdom.
In that vast throng are multitudes of the long-lived race that existed before the Flood; men of lofty stature and giant intellect, who, yielding to the control of fallen angels, devoted all their skill and knowledge to the exaltation of themselves; men whose wonderful works of art led the world to idolize their genius, but whose cruelty and evil inventions, defiling the earth and defacing the image of God, caused Him to blot them from the face of His creation. There are kings and generals who conquered nations, valiant men who never lost a battle, proud, ambitious warriors whose approach made kingdoms tremble. In death these experienced no change. As they come up from the grave, they resume the current of their thoughts just where it ceased. They are actuated by the same desire to conquer that ruled them when they fell.
Satan consults with his angels, and then with these kings and conquerors and mighty men. They look upon the strength and numbers on their side, and declare that the army within the city is small in comparison with theirs, and that it can be overcome. They lay their plans to take possession of the riches and glory of the New Jerusalem. All immediately begin to prepare for battle. Skillful artisans construct implements of war. Military leaders, famed for their success, marshal the throngs of warlike men into companies and divisions.
At last the order to advance is given, and the countless host moves on--an army such as was never summoned by earthly conquerors, such as the combined forces of all ages since war began on earth could never equal. Satan, the mightiest of warriors, leads the van, and his angels unite their forces for this final struggle. Kings and warriors are in his train, and the multitudes follow in vast companies, each under its appointed leader. With military precision the serried ranks advance over the earth's broken and uneven surface to the City of God. By command of Jesus, the gates of the New Jerusalem are closed, and the armies of Satan surround the city and make ready for the onset.
Now Christ again appears to the view of His enemies. Far above the city, upon a foundation of burnished gold, is a throne, high and lifted up. Upon this throne sits the Son of God, and around Him are the subjects of His kingdom. The power and majesty of Christ no language can describe, no pen portray. The glory of the Eternal Father is enshrouding His Son. The brightness of His presence fills the City of God, and flows out beyond the gates, flooding the whole earth with its radiance.
Nearest the throne are those who were once zealous in the cause of Satan, but who, plucked as brands from the burning, have followed their Saviour with deep, intense devotion. Next are those who perfected Christian characters in the midst of falsehood and infidelity, those who honored the law of God when the Christian world declared it void, and the millions, of all ages, who were martyred for their faith. And beyond is the "great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, . . . before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands." Revelation 7:9. Their warfare is ended, their victory won. They have run the race and reached the prize. The palm branch in their hands is a symbol of their triumph, the white robe an emblem of the spotless righteousness of Christ which now is theirs.
The redeemed raise a song of praise that echoes and re-echoes through the vaults of heaven: "Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." Verse 10. And angel and seraph unite their voices in adoration. As the redeemed have beheld the power and malignity of Satan, they have seen, as never before, that no power but that of Christ could have made them conquerors. In all that shining throng there are none to ascribe salvation to themselves, as if they had prevailed by their own power and goodness. Nothing is said of what they have done or suffered; but the burden of every song, the keynote of every anthem, is: Salvation to our God and unto the Lamb.
In the presence of the assembled inhabitants of earth and heaven the final coronation of the Son of God takes place. And now, invested with supreme majesty and power, the King of kings pronounces sentence upon the rebels against His government and executes justice upon those who have transgressed His law and oppressed His people. Says the prophet of God: "I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Revelation 20:11, 12.
As soon as the books of record are opened, and the eye of Jesus looks upon the wicked, they are conscious of every sin which they have ever committed. They see just where their feet diverged from the path of purity and holiness, just how far pride and rebellion have carried them in the violation of the law of God. The seductive temptations which they encouraged by indulgence in sin, the blessings perverted, the messengers of God despised, the warnings rejected, the waves of mercy beaten back by the stubborn, unrepentant heart--all appear as if written in letters of fire.
Above the throne is revealed the cross; and like a panoramic view appear the scenes of Adam's temptation and fall, and the successive steps in the great plan of redemption. The Saviour's lowly birth; His early life of simplicity and obedience; His baptism in Jordan; the fast and temptation in the wilderness; His public ministry, unfolding to men heaven's most precious blessings; the days crowded with deeds of love and mercy, the nights of prayer and watching in the solitude of the mountains; the plottings of envy, hate, and malice which repaid His benefits; the awful, mysterious agony in Gethsemane beneath the crushing weight of the sins of the whole world; His betrayal into the hands of the murderous mob; the fearful events of that night of horror--the unresisting prisoner, forsaken by His best-loved disciples, rudely hurried through the streets of Jerusalem; the Son of God exultingly displayed before Annas, arraigned in the high priest's palace, in the judgment hall of Pilate, before the cowardly and cruel Herod, mocked, insulted, tortured, and condemned to die--all are vividly portrayed.
And now before the swaying multitude are revealed the final scenes--the patient Sufferer treading the path to Calvary; the Prince of heaven hanging upon the cross; the haughty priests and the jeering rabble deriding His expiring agony; the supernatural darkness; the heaving earth, the rent rocks, the open graves, marking the moment when the world's Redeemer yielded up His life.
The awful spectacle appears just as it was. Satan, his angels, and his subjects have no power to turn from the picture of their own work. Each actor recalls the part which he performed. Herod, who slew the innocent children of Bethlehem that he might destroy the King of Israel; the base Herodias, upon whose guilty soul rests the blood of John the Baptist; the weak, timeserving Pilate; the mocking soldiers; the priests and rulers and the maddened throng who cried, "His blood be on us, and on our children!"--all behold the enormity of their guilt. They vainly seek to hide from the divine majesty of His countenance, outshining the glory of the sun, while the redeemed cast their crowns at the Saviour's feet, exclaiming: "He died for me!"
Amid the ransomed throng are the apostles of Christ, the heroic Paul, the ardent Peter, the loved and loving John, and their truehearted brethren, and with them the vast host of martyrs; while outside the walls, with every vile and abominable thing, are those by whom they were persecuted, imprisoned, and slain. There is Nero, that monster of cruelty and vice, beholding the joy and exaltation of those whom he once tortured, and in whose extremest anguish he found satanic delight. His mother is there to witness the result of her own work; to see how the evil stamp of character transmitted to her son, the passions encouraged and developed by her influence and example, have borne fruit in crimes that caused the world to shudder.
There are papist priests and prelates, who claimed to be Christ's ambassadors, yet employed the rack, the dungeon, and the stake to control the consciences of His people. There are the proud pontiffs who exalted themselves above God and presumed to change the law of the Most High. Those pretended fathers of the church have an account to render to God from which they would fain be excused. Too late they are made to see that the Omniscient One is jealous of His law and that He will in no wise clear the guilty. They learn now that Christ identifies His interest with that of His suffering people; and they feel the force of His own words: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." Matthew 25:40.
The whole wicked world stand arraigned at the bar of God on the charge of high treason against the government of heaven. They have none to plead their cause; they are without excuse; and the sentence of eternal death is pronounced against them.
It is now evident to all that the wages of sin is not noble independence and eternal life, but slavery, ruin, and death. The wicked see what they have forfeited by their life of rebellion. The far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory was despised when offered them; but how desirable it now appears. "All this," cries the lost soul, "I might have had; but I chose to put these things far from me. Oh, strange infatuation! I have exchanged peace, happiness, and honor for wretchedness, infamy, and despair." All see that their exclusion from heaven is just. By their lives they have declared: "We will not have this Man [Jesus] to reign over us."
As if entranced, the wicked have looked upon the coronation of the Son of God. They see in His hands the tables of the divine law, the statutes which they have despised and transgressed. They witness the outburst of wonder, rapture, and adoration from the saved; and as the wave of melody sweeps over the multitudes without the city, all with one voice exclaim, "Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints" (Revelation 15:3); and, falling prostrate, they worship the Prince of life.
Satan seems paralyzed as he beholds the glory and majesty of Christ. He who was once a covering cherub remembers whence he has fallen. A shining seraph, "son of the morning;" how changed, how degraded! From the council where once he was honored, he is forever excluded. He sees another now standing near to the Father, veiling His glory. He has seen the crown placed upon the head of Christ by an angel of lofty stature and majestic presence, and he knows that the exalted position of this angel might have been his.
Memory recalls the home of his innocence and purity, the peace and content that were his until he indulged in murmuring against God, and envy of Christ. His accusations, his rebellion, his deceptions to gain the sympathy and support of the angels, his stubborn persistence in making no effort for self-recovery when God would have granted him forgiveness --all come vividly before him. He reviews his work among men and its results--the enmity of man toward his fellow man, the terrible destruction of life, the rise and fall of kingdoms, the overturning of thrones, the long succession of tumults, conflicts, and revolutions. He recalls his constant efforts to oppose the work of Christ and to sink man lower and lower. He sees that his hellish plots have been powerless to destroy those who have put their trust in Jesus. As Satan looks upon his kingdom, the fruit of his toil, he sees only failure and ruin. He has led the multitudes to believe that the City of God would be an easy prey; but he knows that this is false. Again and again, in the progress of the great controversy, he has been defeated and compelled to yield. He knows too well the power and majesty of the Eternal.
The aim of the great rebel has ever been to justify himself and to prove the divine government responsible for the rebellion. To this end he has bent all the power of his giant intellect. He has worked deliberately and systematically, and with marvelous success, leading vast multitudes to accept his version of the great controversy which has been so long in progress. For thousands of years this chief of conspiracy has palmed off falsehood for truth. But the time has now come when the rebellion is to be finally defeated and the history and character of Satan disclosed. In his last great effort to dethrone Christ, destroy His people, and take possession of the City of God, the archdeceiver has been fully unmasked. Those who have united with him see the total failure of his cause. Christ's followers and the loyal angels behold the full extent of his machinations against the government of God. He is the object of universal abhorrence.
Satan sees that his voluntary rebellion has unfitted him for heaven. He has trained his powers to war against God; the purity, peace, and harmony of heaven would be to him supreme torture. His accusations against the mercy and justice of God are now silenced. The reproach which he has endeavored to cast upon Jehovah rests wholly upon himself. And now Satan bows down and confesses the justice of his sentence.
"Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest." Verse 4. Every question of truth and error in the long-standing controversy has now been made plain. The results of rebellion, the fruits of setting aside the divine statutes, have been laid open to the view of all created intelligences. The working out of Satan's rule in contrast with the government of God has been presented to the whole universe. Satan's own works have condemned him. God's wisdom, His justice, and His goodness stand fully vindicated. It is seen that all His dealings in the great controversy have been conducted with respect to the eternal good of His people and the good of all the worlds that He has created. "All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord; and Thy saints shall bless Thee." Psalm 145:10. The history of sin will stand to all eternity as a witness that with the existence of God's law is bound up the happiness of all the beings He has created. With all the facts of the great controversy in view, the whole universe, both loyal and rebellious, with one accord declare: "Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints."
Before the universe has been clearly presented the great sacrifice made by the Father and the Son in man's behalf. The hour has come when Christ occupies His rightful position and is glorified above principalities and powers and every name that is named. It was for the joy that was set before Him--that He might bring many sons unto glory--that He endured the cross and despised the shame. And inconceivably great as was the sorrow and the shame, yet greater is the joy and the glory. He looks upon the redeemed, renewed in His own image, every heart bearing the perfect impress of the divine, every face reflecting the likeness of their King. He beholds in them the result of the travail of His soul, and He is satisfied. Then, in a voice that reaches the assembled multitudes of the righteous and the wicked, He declares: "Behold the purchase of My blood! For these I suffered, for these I died, that they might dwell in My presence throughout eternal ages." And the song of praise ascends from the white-robed ones about the throne: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." Revelation 5:12.
Notwithstanding that Satan has been constrained to acknowledge God's justice and to bow to the supremacy of Christ, his character remains unchanged. The spirit of rebellion, like a mighty torrent, again bursts forth. Filled with frenzy, he determines not to yield the great controversy. The time has come for a last desperate struggle against the King of heaven. He rushes into the midst of his subjects and endeavors to inspire them with his own fury and arouse them to instant battle. But of all the countless millions whom he has allured into rebellion, there are none now to acknowledge his supremacy. His power is at an end. The wicked are filled with the same hatred of God that inspires Satan; but they see that their case is hopeless, that they cannot prevail against Jehovah. Their rage is kindled against Satan and those who have been his agents in deception, and with the fury of demons they turn upon them.
Saith the Lord: "Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit." "I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. . . . I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. . . . I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. . . . Thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more." Ezekiel 28:6-8, 16-19.
"Every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire." "The indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and His fury upon all their armies: He hath utterly destroyed them, He hath delivered them to the slaughter." "Upon the wicked He shall rain quick burning coals, fire and brimstone and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup." Isaiah 9:5; 34:2; Psalm 11:6, margin. Fire comes down from God out of heaven. The earth is broken up. The weapons concealed in its depths are drawn forth. Devouring flames burst from every yawning chasm. The very rocks are on fire. The day has come that shall burn as an oven. The elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein are burned up. Malachi 4:1; 2 Peter 3:10. The earth's surface seems one molten mass--a vast, seething lake of fire. It is the time of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men--"the day of the Lord's vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion." Isaiah 34:8.
The wicked receive their recompense in the earth. Proverbs 11:31. They "shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts." Malachi 4:1. Some are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished "according to their deeds." The sins of the righteous having been transferred to Satan, he is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God's people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch--Satan the root, his followers the branches. The full penalty of the law has been visited; the demands of justice have been met; and heaven and earth, beholding, declare the righteousness of Jehovah.
Satan's work of ruin is forever ended. For six thousand years he has wrought his will, filling the earth with woe and causing grief throughout the universe. The whole creation has groaned and travailed together in pain. Now God's creatures are forever delivered from his presence and temptations. "The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they [the righteous] break forth into singing." Isaiah 14:7. And a shout of praise and triumph ascends from the whole loyal universe. "The voice of a great multitude," "as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings," is heard, saying: "Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Revelation 19:6.
While the earth was wrapped in the fire of destruction, the righteous abode safely in the Holy City. Upon those that had part in the first resurrection, the second death has no power. While God is to the wicked a consuming fire, He is to His people both a sun and a shield. Revelation 20:6; Psalm 84:11.
"I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away." Revelation 21:1. The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin.
One reminder alone remains: Our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. Says the prophet, beholding Christ in His glory: "He had bright beams coming out of His side: and there was the hiding of His power." Habakkuk 3:4, margin. That pierced side whence flowed the crimson stream that reconciled man to God--there is the Saviour's glory, there "the hiding of His power." "Mighty to save," through the sacrifice of redemption, He was therefore strong to execute justice upon them that despised God's mercy. And the tokens of His humiliation are His highest honor; through the eternal ages the wounds of Calvary will show forth His praise and declare His power.
"O Tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto Thee shall it come, even the first dominion." Micah 4:8. The time has come to which holy men have looked with longing since the flaming sword barred the first pair from Eden, the time for "the redemption of the purchased possession." Ephesians 1:14. The earth originally given to man as his kingdom, betrayed by him into the hands of Satan, and so long held by the mighty foe, has been brought back by the great plan of redemption. All that was lost by sin has been restored. "Thus saith the Lord . . . that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited." Isaiah 45:18. God's original purpose in the creation of the earth is fulfilled as it is made the eternal abode of the redeemed. "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever." Psalm 37:29.
A fear of making the future inheritance seem too material has led many to spiritualize away the very truths which lead us to look upon it as our home. Christ assured His disciples that He went to prepare mansions for them in the Father's house. Those who accept the teachings of God's word will not be wholly ignorant concerning the heavenly abode. And yet, "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9. Human language is inadequate to describe the reward of the righteous. It will be known only to those who behold it. No finite mind can comprehend the glory of the Paradise of God.
In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called "a country." Hebrews 11:14-16. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord. There the wide-spreading plains swell into hills of beauty, and the mountains of God rear their lofty summits. On those peaceful plains, beside those living streams, God's people, so long pilgrims and wanderers, shall find a home.
"My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places." "Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise." "They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: . . . Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands." Isaiah 32:18; 60:18; 65:21, 22.
There, "the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree." "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; . . . and a little child shall lead them." "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," saith the Lord. Isaiah 35:1; 55:13; 11:6, 9.
Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. There will be no more tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning. "There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying: . . . for the former things are passed away." "The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity." Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 33:24.
There is the New Jerusalem, the metropolis of the glorified new earth, "a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God." "Her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal." "The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it." Saith the Lord: "I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people." "The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God." Isaiah 62:3; Revelation 21:11, 24; Isaiah 65:19; Revelation 21:3.
In the City of God "there shall be no night." None will need or desire repose. There will be no weariness in doing the will of God and offering praise to His name. We shall ever feel the freshness of the morning and shall ever be far from its close. "And they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light." Revelation 22:5. The light of the sun will be superseded by a radiance which is not painfully dazzling, yet which immeasurably surpasses the brightness of our noontide. The glory of God and the Lamb floods the Holy City with unfading light. The redeemed walk in the sunless glory of perpetual day.
"I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it." Revelation 21:22. The people of God are privileged to hold open communion with the Father and the Son. "Now we see through a glass, darkly." .PG 677
1 Corinthians 13:12. We behold the image of God reflected, as in a mirror, in the works of nature and in His dealings with men; but then we shall see Him face to face, without a dimming veil between. We shall stand in His presence and behold the glory of His countenance.
There the redeemed shall know, even as also they are known. The loves and sympathies which God Himself has planted in the soul shall there find truest and sweetest exercise. The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the faithful ones of all ages who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, the sacred ties that bind together "the whole family in heaven and earth" (Ephesians 3:15)--these help to constitute the happiness of the redeemed.
There, immortal minds will contemplate with never-failing delight the wonders of creative power, the mysteries of redeeming love. There will be no cruel, deceiving foe to tempt to forgetfulness of God. Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. There the grandest enterprises may be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations reached, the highest ambitions realized; and still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind and soul and body.
All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God's redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they wing their tireless flight to worlds afar--worlds that thrilled with sorrow at the spectacle of human woe and rang with songs of gladness at the tidings of a ransomed soul. With unutterable delight the children of earth enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings. They share the treasures of knowledge and understanding gained through ages upon ages in contemplation of God's handiwork. With undimmed vision they gaze upon the glory of creation--suns and stars and systems, all in their appointed order circling the throne of Deity. Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the Creator's name is written, and in all are the riches of His power displayed.
And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.
"And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." Revelation 5:13.
The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.

I Pledge Allegiance: A Prophetic Parable

The command was pretty straightforward: “When the trumpet is sounded, every person must fall prostrate before the golden idol.” Remember, this was not a call to idolatry in the pure sense of the term. In Daniel 3:9, the distinction is drawn between “serving the Babylonian gods” and “bowing to the golden image.” This idol did not bear the name of a pagan god. It had not been created in the mold of the golden calf or the baals and ahserot of Israel’s ancient enemies. This was not the defeated Dagon who had crumbled before the Philistines. It was not a representative of the menacing Marduk or the mysterious Ahura-Mazda.
No, the summons was not an invitation to worship a symbol of recognized divinity, but a call for allegiance to a state. It was a call to unhindered patriotism. The idol represented the impregnable kingdom of Babylon–a multi-ethnic empire that flourished in the arts and was technologically advanced; a well fortified state with the best military in the world. This golden tower indicated the spirit of Babylon.
Neutral Symbol?
Knowing that his administrators included those who would not consciously bow to a foreign god, Nebuchadnezaar had created an image that bore the semblances of neutrality. It had no name and claimed no portion of heaven or earth as its jurisdiction. It was not responsible for warfare, famine, rain, or vegetation. This was an idol that represented an ideal. This was the personification of Babylon, the greatest kingdom on earth. The empire of Babylon was the melting pot of the ancient world. Africans, Europeans, and Asians lived together under the same rule of law. The culture was infused with the exotic sounds, tastes, and smells of distant lands. This is what the mighty statue represented–the foundation of a new world order where Babylon reigned supreme.
Those privileged with Babylonian citizenship undoubtedly felt that their nation was worthy of adulation. Their young men were known for their scientific prowess. The hanging gardens in the midst of the city was heralded an international wonder. This was not a backwards country like Assyria or Israel. This nation invoked pride. Its citizens never once questioned how Babylon had achieved its greatness. They never once reflected on the fact that other societies and cultures had to be pillaged and destroyed in order for Babylon to attain her esteem.
With the combined national adrenalin running high, it was no surprise that as soon as the orchestra began to play the Babylonian national anthem, the tens of thousands who had gathered on the Plain of Dura fell prostrate in concert. Old and young assumed the position of begging canines as they paid patriotic homage to their land. As the melody permeated the air, the emotions were evoked in the civic worshipers as they kissed the ground with tear filled eyes–pledging eternal allegiance to a land whose days were numbered.
National Pressure
It is hard to resist the pressure when an entire nation is ravaged with nationalistic fever. I’m sure there were many silent objectors on the Plain of Dura who would have much rather been engaged in their favorite pastime. Some may even have felt foolish groveling in front of a piece of polished metal. Among the crowd were many Sons of Israel who had been taken into captivity with other Jews. They were familiar with the Lord’s commandments and understood that even though this image was not intended to represent a divinity, it was indeed a graven image. They knew that bowing down to this symbol meant turning their backs on God.
However, as they looked at the military guards stationed in strategic positions around the Plain, they feared for their safety. They forgot the promise penned by David who declared, “The angel of the Lord camps around those who fear Him, and he delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). They forgot the Shemah which declared that there is only one Yahweh. They forgot their professed identity as children of the living God who had declared loyalty to the Divine theocracy.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had no delusions about the implications of bowing to the image. Although the 90 feet structure towered menacingly above them, they recalled that it was a mere ant in the presence of the God who towers above the heavens and the earth. Although they knew that those who refused to bow would immediately be thrown into a fiery furnace, they also understood that all those who worshiped the beast and his image will be thrown into the unquenchable lake of fire and brimstone. Although they felt every eye of the gullible worshipers affixed on them, they knew these human eyes were outnumbered by the angelic eyes in the heavenly courts. With this firm assurance entrenched in their hearts, when the imperial orchestra transmitted its harmonious melodies throughout the airwaves and all those around them fell prostrate before the image, these three soldiers for Yahweh remained erect.
This was no easy feat for the three Hebrew men. They were in a strange land with no embassy to protect them. They did not have the luxury of diplomatic immunity. They could not appeal to the Supreme Court. Nebuchadnezzar had absolute power and his word was irrevocable law. When the three servants of God refused to pledge allegiance to the symbol of national identity, they knew that their earthly days were numbered.
No to Compromise
When the enforcers informed Nebuchadnezaar of the defiance displayed by the Hebrew men, Nebuchadnezaar was somewhat saddened. These were solid members of his government who had served valiantly and faithfully. They accomplished their tasks with accuracy and professionalism and had raised the standard of efficiency in their respective departments. Surely these loyal workers who have made fine contributions to the empire would not openly defy the President of the United States of Babylon.
When the case was brought to the king, he loosely interpreted his own law and sought to give them a second chance to prove their patriotism. After all, this was not worship in the true sense. They were not being cajoled to bow to a real god. They were just being asked to acknowledge the accomplishments of the only remaining super power. What could be wrong with this? What could be wrong with pledging allegiance to a nation through a physical emblem?
Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah listened to the king and then offered their respectful response. “O King, if the only option we have is to be thrown into the fiery furnace, then so be it. But we will not serve your gods, nor will we pledge allegiance to your golden statue. Please don’t think we are being rude, but we serve a God who is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace, and from your hand. And even if he chooses not to, we will not bow down to your image.”
Publically embarrassed by their response and infuriated by their pious obstinance, Nebuchadnezaar ordered the furnace to be made seven times hotter and passed judgement on the brave soldiers of God. Those who know the story, will recall that God miraculously delivered the young men and the king was impressed to the point of conversion.
Everybody’s story may not end like the three Hebrews. Some who choose not to pledge allegiance to the image may have to endure the horrors of the furnace without any benefit of divine anaesthesia. Those who serve God should not be beguiled by the Lois Lane expectations of Superman coming to the rescue in the nick of time. The Hebrews were assured not by the belief that God would deliver, but the knowledge that he could. Consequently, they were not going to sell their souls for a false sense of belonging and a fragile security. There were some things more important than dutiful obedience to country with ditto-headed mesmerism. They had a prophetic responsibility to stand for God even if the heavens fell.
As you contemplate this parable, how will you respond when the music plays? Will you join the loyal throng who seek security in the system, or will you resist the urge to conform to the secular spirit?
Keith Augustus Burton is an adjunct faculty member at Oakwood University and Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences.


With twenty minutes to go until show time, a large, chatty crowd already filled the Loma Linda University Church to see a documentary, THE ADVENTISTS, by Martin Doblmeier, the filmmaker who also screened his feature films on Deitrich Bonhoeffer and forgiveness at the church within the last three years.
Thanks to a media blitz by local news organizations covering the event, a much larger crowd assembled for this film than came to hear Jan Paulsen speak on environmental stewardship at the same venue a few weeks ago.
As people continued pouring in, I mused over such a large crowd of Adventists gathering to see a movie about Adventists. It’s normal I suppose. We all look for our own faces in photos. That isn’t navel gazing, is it?
After the documentary's West Coast premiere in Loma Linda, it will air on PBS, as did Doblmeier’s other films.
Coming at a unique moment in history when the United States Congress is on the verge of enacting major health care legislation, the film places the history and tradition of Seventh-day Adventists into the current health care conversation.
The film opens with the 1860’s and the Civil War, a time when medicine was “still in the dark ages.” Through cinematic reenactments, the film depicts medical techniques employed in the 1800s like bleeding patients to remove diseases from the body. In 1863, Ellen White claimed a new vision for health that introduced a body-mind-spirit approach to healing. One-hundred fifty years later, the irony is that Adventists who believe in the near end of the world are now among the healthiest and longest lived people on the globe.
THE ADVENTISTS dwells on the irony in Adventism’s birth in the Great Disappointment (an event grounded in religious millenarian expectations) juxtaposed with its current emphasis on world class health care. The film traces Adventism’s emphasis on health back to Ellen White’s some two thousand visions, which Adventists believe came directly from God, the film states. One vision in particular, Ellen’s “comprehensive health vision,” marked a shift toward health reform. Ellen White’s favorite foods at the time were meat and white bread, the film states mischievously.
In 1866, the Adventist-owned and run Western Health Reform Center in Battle Creek became a success because so few were dying. John Harvey Kellogg became its director, changing its name to Battle Creek Sanitarium. Among its famous patients, presidents William Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding, Amelia Earhardt, Mr. and Mrs. J. C Penny, Henry Ford, and Mary Todd Lincoln.
Kellogg split with church leadership, but put Adventist health care on the map.
Watch clips from the documentary here.
Moving to modern Adventist health care, the film takes us to protests over Leonard Bailey’s Baby Fae baboon heart transplant in 1984. Loma Linda University didn’t know if it wanted that kind of publicity. Like it or not, Adventist health care was the face of the church to the public.
Today, Adventists are making headlines again about longer life expectancy. National Geographic published a widely publicized article that featured long-lived Adventists, which became the basis of Dan Buettner’s Blue Zones book.
Ninety-five year old Ellsworth Wareham remains an active part of a cardiothoracic surgery team at Loma Linda University. “It’s a nice idea that stress causes heart disease, but it most likely comes off your plate,” Wareham tells the camera.
The film explores the paradox of an Adventist campus—Loma Linda University—that at one end teaches the church’s conservative Christian theology, including belief in the imminent end of the world and the second coming of Christ, while at the other end of campus combines cutting edge holistic healing and scientific medical technology.
This is Adventism's story: conservative Christian denomination that combats cancer with state of the art technology that it developed—the proton accelerator. Pioneers who believed Jesus would come during their lifetimes and pioneering procedures like Florida Hospital’s robotic prostate cancer surgery, which makes surgery safer and less expensive. Today’s remote surgery technologies herald the possibility of performing inter-state—even inter-continental—procedures in the future. Disney turned to Adventists for the creation and design of new health facility in Florida – Celebration Health. More like a spa than a hospital, the facility focuses on healthy living in addition to medical procedures. The notion of community plays a key role in treatments at Celebration Health.
The film provides a broad spectrum of voices on Adventism including George Knight (Andrews University), Roy Branson and Richard Rice (Loma Linda University), Charles Scriven, Rebekah Wang and Frank Perez (Kettering), Cindy Tutusch (Ellen White Estate), Charles White (Great-great Grandson of Ellen White), Leonard Bailey (Loma Linda University Medical Center), Des Cummings, Lars Houmann and Linda Lynch (Florida Hospital) and Deborah Kotz (US News & World Report).
Alan Ginsburg was a patient at Adventist Health Care System's Florida Hospital, and was concerned, being a Jew, that he not be proselytized at an Adventist facility. Pleasantly, he found his own tradition honored. Ginsburg told the camera that a lot of people have heart attacks when they grow old, and he wants to be in Florida Hospital when he has his.
THE ADVENTISTS artfully combines a sweeping historical overview of Adventism with the voices of Adventists on mission, doctrine, polity and longevity. Charles Scriven debunks dualistic Platonism, noting that Adventists take the body to be essentially good. Richard Rice adds that human beings are essentially physical—no part of us lives independently of physical bodies. A 91 year old patient is asked during a physical exam whether he is taking any blood pressure medication “No!” he responds wryly, “you have to get older for that.” Another woman in her nineties confesses, “I don’t eat anything that had a mother.”
Doblmeier Answers Questions
When the film ended, Doblmeier took questions from the audience after briefly noting that publicity for the film is largely made possible through individual donors. The film is slated for broadcast on PBS over the next two years, beginning with Southern California affiliate KCET on April 7th. Doblmeier estimates that tens of millions will see the documentary.
During the Q & A, Doblmeier talked about his own experience with Adventists, the possibility of translating the film into other languages, his assessment of one Adventist weakness, and his reasons for making the film.
When asked about the film’s impact on him personally, Doblmeier said, “ I’m not a SDA, but part of my heart will always be Adventist,” which met with applause. Doblmeier lauded the sincerity with which Adventists take Sabbath. Sunday for most Christians is a day to go to church and then do chores, he said, and complimented the sincerity of Adventists who rest mind, body and spirit on Sabbath.
Next he responded to the observation that the documentary was highly complementary toward Adventists. Were there any negative aspects? Doblmeier stated that he is very appreciative of the Adventist community, but also added that Adventists are very self critical/analytical, always asking,
“What does it mean to be us?” He suggested getting back to doing the work (he did not elaborate), and focusing less on self analysis.
When the moderator noted that Doblmeier seems to have a good grasp of Adventist lingo, the filmmaker quipped that when he previously interacted with the Jewish community, he used to talk about the Borstch circuit. “Now I’m on the haystack circuit,” he said to laughter and applause.
Doblmeier said that he has received numerous requests to translate the film into other languages. Spanish will likely come first, he said. There have also been offers to translate to Hindi and Russian. The film took about seven years to complete. It came about in part because Doblmeier’s mother was a patient at Florida Hospital, and reported being cared for with love. Doblmeier brought that experience with him into the making of the film. He later came to LLU and was introduced to unique balance between worship and technology and science.
After demurring on a rambling question about Adventist hospitals that perform abortions, Doblmeier responded to a question about showing the film to Congress where the Health Care Debate is reaching its peak. Noting that Barry Black, the chaplain of the Senate, is an Adventist, Doblmeier said he hopes to arrange a screening on Capitol Hill as well as at the upcoming General Conference session in Atlanta.
One woman affirmed Adventism’s secti-ness saying that the church has struggled from Ellen White until now with not being part of the world. The film, she said, spoke to her heart about why we are standing apart and why we need to. Doblmeier responded flatly that Christ didn’t do that. He made it a part of his daily process to be involved with people where they were – a most important thing to remember, he said to applause.
*This version corrects a quote erroneously attributed to poet Allen Ginsberg rather than Floridian Alan Ginsburg.
R. Wresch, M.D