The Seventh-day Adventist understanding of the Three Angels’ Messages—including the centrality of the gospel in its end-time proclamation, the Sabbath as the final expression of loyalty to the Creator, the final investigative judgment that leads to the Loud Cry and the close of probation, Satan’s counterfeit worship and enforcement of Sunday worship—are all consistent with Bible teaching and Ellen White’s writings.
Adventist understanding of the Three Angels’ Messages following 1844 unfolded during the 1840s and 1850s. It followed a pattern of Scriptural study with confirmation and practical enrichment from Ellen White’s visions. A careful study of this history continuing throughout Ellen White’s lifetime reveals a consistency regarding the major issues, including the role of the Papacy, Sunday observance, and the Mark of the Beast.
Her clearest statements which are in harmony with her earlier views are found in the 1911 edition of The Great Controversy, published four years before her death.
“Both the prophecy of Daniel 8:14, ‘Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed,’ and the first angel’s message, ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come,’ pointed to Christ’s ministration in the most holy place, to the investigative judgment, and not to the coming of Christ for the redemption of His people and the destruction of the wicked” (1911 GC 424). She connected the earlier and later Seventh-day Adventist views on all three angels in Revelation 14 with these words: “The first and second messages were given in 1843 and 1844, and we are now under the proclamation of the third; but all three of the messages are still to be proclaimed” (Ms. 32, 1896).
Ellen White was very clear on the meaning of the seal of God and the mark of the beast: “The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other, choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God” (1911 GC 605).
While it is necessary to refrain from being too specific about how the final events will unfold there has been consistent biblical and Ellen White clarity on the major issues regarding the role of the Sabbath and Satan’s counterfeit. We would do well to heed Jehoshaphat’s counsel from long ago, “Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper” (2 Chron. 20:20, NKJV).
“There is no question based on the evidence that Ellen White maintained a continuity of understanding and did not change her position,” states Merlin Burt, Director of the Ellen G. White Estate. “It is Bible based and confirmed and enriched by her visions.” For a more detailed article on this topic, see “A Brief Overview of the Unfolding Seventh-day Adventist Understanding of the Three Angels’ Messages in Connection with Revelation 13 and 18 and Ellen White’s Role”