August 25, 1892
NOW from this let us start into another field. I want you to think closely now, if you have not done so up to this point; and the more so, if you have done so. The gospel is the mystery of God, isn’t it? The mystery of God is the gospel. The preaching of the gospel, the unsearchable riches of Christ, is the making known to men what is the fellowship of this mystery. In the preaching of the gospel, God is revealing the riches of the glory of that mystery among the Gentiles, and that is Christ in men, the hope of glory. In former ages this mystery had not been made known unto the sons of men, as it was now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets. And though hidden from ages and generations, when the apostle were sent forth to preach, endured with power from on high, to reveal the mystery of God, that was the breaking off of the vail that had covered this mystery through all these ages; and it was broken off that all nations might see and know and understand and turn to the Lord, and get acquainted with God as he was revealed in Jesus Christ, by having Jesus Christ revealed in themselves.
That was sent forth to be preached to all the world, to be preached to every creature. It was so preached. Before the men had all died to whom that gospel was committed in the beginning, it had been preached in all the world. And while it was being preached, and before Paul had died, who had written so much about it, he wrote these words: “The MYSTERY OF INIQUITY doth already work.”
What was Paul preaching?—The mystery of God. What was already working?—The mystery of iniquity. That mystery of iniquity would oppose and exalt itself “above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Then there was another mystery to be revealed. The mystery of God was revealed; the mystery of iniquity was also to be revealed.
The mystery of iniquity was revealed. That mystery of iniquity rose up and hid the mystery of God which had been revealed. That mystery of iniquity was the Papacy in all its workings; and the beginning of its working was there when Paul wrote that word; it was working then. He could see it. While the apostles were preaching the mystery of God, they could see the other mystery coming.
That other mystery did come; it was revealed; it stood before the world, professing to be Christianity; professing to be the representative of God to the world; professing to be the religion of Christ in the world; professing to be the mystery of God. Attention was called to that as Christianity, whereas there was no Christianity about it at all. God declared it to be “the mystery of iniquity;” “Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” And it was only hiding the mystery of God again from ages and from generations.
But thanks be to God! it was not to hide the mystery of God from all ages and generations. When the mystery of iniquity should have fully revealed itself, again the veil would be broken off, and the mystery of God would again be revealed. For I read: “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
This everlasting gospel is the mystery of God which is again to be preached unto me; and that mystery if “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” And that is the preaching that is now to go to the world, in the glorious threefold message which makes up the third angel’s message. And now is the time when the gospel, the mystery of God, is to be preached and revealed in a power, a majesty, and a glory such as has never been known except in the time of the apostles, if it does not even surpass that. The power of the mystery of iniquity being broken off, the mystery of God is to be brought again before the world in all its glory; for I read that “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished.” Revelation 10:7. “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen…. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation…. Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:8-12.
Now mark the connection. There goes forth the angel with the everlasting gospel to preach. That everlasting gospel is the mystery of God, and the preaching of it the preaching of Christ in men the hope of glory, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. This gospel is rejected, and there is the falling away spoken of as “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.” Then out of that falling away comes that against which the third angel warns.
Now, what brought the mystery of iniquity?—The falling away from the mystery of God; for says Paul: “That day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” And the mystery of iniquity is the beast, the papacy. When the mystery of iniquity has run its course, then comes the word of God announcing an angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel, the mystery of God, to preach to all the world, to every creature. Then from this also there comes a falling away, and out of that falling away there comes that against which the third angel warns,—the image of the beast, the image of the Papacy.
As out of that first falling away there came the mystery of iniquity, the beast, so out of the second falling away there comes the image of the mystery of iniquity, the image of the beast. Just as certain as the preaching of the gospel by the apostles was the preaching of the mystery of God, Christ in men, the hope of glory; just so certainly the second preaching of the gospel is the preaching of the same mystery of God, the same power of God, and the same wisdom of God, to make known the same Christ in men, the hope of glory. Then as certainly as out of that falling away there came the mystery of iniquity, the beast, the papacy; so certainly out of this falling away there comes the image of the mystery, the image of the beast, the image of the papacy. The two things are alike from beginning to end. And now the third angel’s message—this threefold message—warns against the whole evil combination of the beast and his image. This threefold message has been more than forty years in the world. This little leaflet from which I have read before gives an excellent statement of this, as follows:—
The revelator says: “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power, and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.” This is the same message that was given by the second angel,—Babylon is fallen…. When Jesus began his public ministry he cleansed the temple from its sacrilegious profanations. Almost the last act of his public ministry was to cleanse the temple again. So in the last work for the warning of the world, two distinct calls are to be made to the churches—the second angel’s message, and the voice heard from heaven, ‘Come out of her, my people, … for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’”
In 1840-1844, the first angel began his work. This message was rejected, and in 1844 the second angel’s message announced the fall: “Babylon is fallen;” and out of that falling away there comes the image of the mystery of iniquity, the image of the beast; and the third angel’s message is the warning against the worship of the beast and his image.
As the beginning of this was in 1844, then began the time when the mystery of iniquity was to be broken off, and the mystery of God once more to stand forth in all its glory in the world. But Ezekiel and the Laodicean message show that there was to be a time of dearth. But now even that time of dearth is past, and the times of refreshing have come from the presence of the Lord, and soon he will send Jesus.
Therefore, now is the time when that everlasting gospel, the mystery of God, is to be preached in all its fullness, which means Christ in men in all his completeness. And as the Sabbath of the Lord, in the fullness of its meaning, is but the sign  of what Christ in all his completeness if to those who believe in him; so when Christ in all his completeness is formed and found in us, there will stand the Sabbath as the witness, the sign, the seal of the blessed consummation.
And so this threefold message, revealing in its fullness the mystery of God, which is Christ in men, the hope of glory, thus puts upon the people of God the seal of the living God, and saves them from the evil and the ruin of the mystery of iniquity, the beast and his image, his mark, and the number of his name.
(Continued next week.)