Recently an email received by Memory, Meaning, Faith posed the question of whether reaching out to the physical needs of the poor and downtrodden is a part of the Adventist mission of spreading the message of the three angels declared in Revelation 14:6-12. While the specific situation described in the email is a complex one, involving also the significant issues of racism and of political and interfaith involvement, in the current blog post I will consider only the fundamental issue of the relationship of involvement in social concerns to the message of the three angels.
Historically, Revelation 14:6-12 has held an important place at the heart of Adventist identity and mission. Adventists have long recognized the three-fold message of the angels as a passionate wake-up call sent to all humanity from God Himself, announcing the beginning of the judgment in heaven. This judgment is announced as good news for those who will heed the angels’ warning and worship God alone as He requires. However, to those who are tempted to stubbornly cling to their own humanly-constructed means for worldly success and eternal salvation, the angels offer an anguished warning of imminent destruction.