The First Angel's Message
Let us take a look at the message from the first angel. There are three phases of the judgment mentioned in the Scriptures: the investigative judgment, preceding the second advent; the judgment of the lost world and wicked angels by Christ and the saints during the one thousand years following the second advent; and the executive judgment, or punishment of the wicked at the close of this period. The investigative judgment takes place in heaven before Christ comes, in order to ascertain who are worthy to be raised in the first resurrection, at His coming, and who among the living are to be changed in the twinkling of an eye, at the sound of the last trump. It is necessary for this to take place before the second advent, as there will be no time for such a work between the coming of Christ and the raising of the righteous dead. The executive judgment on the wicked occurs after their cases have been examined by the saints during the thousand years (Revelation 20:3,4; 1 Corinthians 6:1-3). The investigative judgment is that which is announced to the world by the first angel's message.
Notice the prophetic view of the judgment that was given to Daniel. "I beheld till the thrones were cast down [placed], and the Ancient of days did sit: . . . thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." Daniel 7:9,10.
In Acts we read of a day in which the world will be judged. "Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead." Acts 17:31.
In this first angel's message we see how extensively this message will be proclaimed, "To every nation, and kindred and tongue and people." The world is called upon to, "Fear God, and give glory to Him." This is done because of a specific event, "For the hour of His judgment is come." We are then told whom we are to worship, "Him that made heaven, and earth."
There is only one gospel (Romans 1:16,17; Galatians 1:8), first announced in Eden (Genesis 3:15), preached to Abraham (Galatians 3:8) and to the children of Israel (Hebrews 4:1,2), and proclaimed anew in every generation. In its development the gospel meets the needs of every crisis in the world's history. John the Baptist in his preaching announced the kingdom of heaven at hand (Matthew 3:1,2), and prepared the way for the first advent (John 1:22,23). Christ Himself, in His preaching of the gospel, announced the fulfillment of a definite-time prophecy (the sixty-nine weeks, or 483 years, of Daniel 9:25), and called the people to repentance, in view of the coming of the predicted Messiah (Mark 1:14,15). So when the time of the judgment comes, and Christ's second advent is near, a world-wide announcement of these events is to be made in the preaching of the everlasting gospel adapted to meet the need of the hour.
There is a prophetic period which extends to the time of the cleansing of the sanctuary, or the investigative judgment. "And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" Daniel 8:14. This 2,300 days or actually prophetic years, ended in 1844. The 70 weeks or 490 years prophecy, and the 2300 days or years prophecy, both began in 457 BC with Artexerxes decree to rebuild Jerusalem. Our Lord based His preaching of the gospel on the fulfillment of the first part of the 2,300 days, or years (Mark 1:14,15), a prophecy which determined the time of the first advent. The whole period extends to the time of the judgment, just preceding the second advent, and at its expiration a special gospel message is sent to all the world, proclaiming the judgment hour at hand and calling upon all to worship the Creator. The facts of history answer to this interpretation of the prophecy, for at this very time, 1844, just such a message was being proclaimed in various parts of the world. This was the beginning of the great second advent message which is now being proclaimed throughout the world.
YOUR CALL TO WORSHIP THE CREATOR
In this first angel's message, we are called upon to worship our Creator who also formed this earth. There are other Bible texts which call for us to do the same, Jeremiah 10:11,12; Psalms 95:3-6, Revelation 4:10-11, and most importantly Exodus 20:8-11 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. . . For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." In this message of judgment, we are called upon to worship the Creator, who also created the Sabbath day. Note how the Sabbath has a part in salvation, "Moreover also I gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between Me and the, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them" Ezekiel 20:12.
THE STANDARD FOR ALL
Here we are told who will be judged, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10. The standard by which we will be judged is also given, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty." James 2:1-12.
We are told what the whole duty of man is, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13,14.
Friend, we will all be judged according to the light of truth that we have come in contact with, in relation to our obeying the Ten Commandments. By Jesus coming into our heart and living through us, we are capable of obeying Him.