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Watch 2022 online sermons » John Bradshaw » John Bradshaw - Conversation with Nelson Mercado

John Bradshaw - Conversation with Nelson Mercado


John Bradshaw - Conversation with Nelson Mercado
TOPICS: Conversations

In a previous career, he served people and saved lives. Then he changed careers, and now he's serving people and saving lives. He's also an author. He wrote this book, "Present Truth and the Three Angels' Messages". His name is Pastor Nelson Mercado, and this is our conversation.


John Bradshaw: Nelson, thanks so much for joining me. Great to have you here.

Nelson Mercado: Hey, I'm happy to be here. Thank you.

John Bradshaw: So we're gonna talk about the book you wrote, "The Present Truth and the Three Angels' Messages". It's a great book. We'll get to that soon.

Nelson Mercado: Okay.

John Bradshaw: Let's begin talking about you. Now...

Nelson Mercado: All right.

John Bradshaw: ...I know a little, and I hope to know a lot more. You spent a little time living in Puerto Rico. You lived in the big city of Philadelphia for a while. Today you are a pastor. Let's go back to the beginning. Where do you spring from?

Nelson Mercado: Well, I was born Catholic, and, you know, I was a Catholic until about 18. Was born in Jersey, but we moved to Puerto Rico when I was about 8.

John Bradshaw: Okay. That's a big move for a kid, moving to another culture, another...

Nelson Mercado: Well, you know, I mean, I grew up speaking Spanish at the house, so...

John Bradshaw: Yeah? So was it a big move?

Nelson Mercado: No. My dad had moved to Puerto Rico to start his own business. He was a cabinet maker.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Nelson Mercado: So he went over there, he spent some time over there, so for some time it was just my mom and my brother and myself in Jersey. And so at some point, you know, when we were ready, we all moved to Puerto Rico and, you know, rented a house there and...

John Bradshaw: But from Jersey to a Caribbean island?

Nelson Mercado: Jersey. Well, you know, again, it's the... still I grew up in that culture anyway.

John Bradshaw: Culture, yeah.

Nelson Mercado: So it wasn't really a big deal. Although I realized quickly, even though I had spoken Spanish at the house growing up, when I got to Puerto Rico, I had to go to the special class, I remember in third grade, because I couldn't roll my R's and all those things, and so I had to sort of learn a little bit about Spanish. But it was interesting. I remember that.

John Bradshaw: So you were in Puerto Rico for a while. How old were you when you came back to the mainland base?

Nelson Mercado: So I was there for 10 years, so I was 8. And so I joined the navy around 18. I was in the navy reserve. And so once I did my training in the navy, I came back from training and married my wife... my girlfriend, who now is my wife, in 1990. So from there we moved to Philadelphia.

John Bradshaw: All right. The big city.

Nelson Mercado: The big city.

John Bradshaw: Well, you ended up getting into a career of service and saving lives and helping people in distress. Tell me about that.

Nelson Mercado: Well, it wasn't immediately. But because I was in the navy...mind you, I joined the navy because in college I was studying electronics. And so I joined the navy with the intention of finding additional training in electronics. God had a different plan, so I actually ended up in the medical field, which I didn't think ever I would do that. I became a hospital corpsman in the navy. And so through the navy I received training to become an EMT. And so when my wife and I first got married and I went to Philadelphia, the jobs that I got, well, it was in fast food restaurants. I had to get some work. But once I finished my EMT training, I started working in the field as an EMT. And then some years later, I had additional training and became a paramedic.

John Bradshaw: And by the way, thank you for your service.

Nelson Mercado: Oh, absolutely.

John Bradshaw: We appreciate it. EMT...so on the busy streets of Philadelphia, you must have seen some things.

Nelson Mercado: Yeah, yeah, Philadelphia is a very busy EMS system, too busy, in my opinion. It was just one call after the other, so, you know, it takes a toll on you. And I worked different shifts. Sometimes were night shifts, sometimes were day shifts, so that takes a toll on your sleep. But I, you know, I loved it. That's what I wanted to do. My dream was I wanted to be a paramedic for the Philadelphia Fire Department, and I was able to do that.

John Bradshaw: You were able to achieve your dream.

Nelson Mercado: Indeed, indeed.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: So I had a lot of fun. I mean, at times it was frustrating, but, yeah, I mean, I still miss it. I still miss it. I tell my wife occasionally I just have dreams that I'm back, and I'll say, "I'm back at the squad". 'Cause I always dream that I'm back at the ambulance, that I was working with my partner, who is still, you know, he's my best friend still. We talk all the time.

Well, today you're a pastor.

Mm-hmm.

You lead a congregation. You're an author. Somewhere along the line, a pretty major transition took place. Before we get to that, let's back up. So you were raised in a "church-ish" family; on some level, you had a religious faith in your family.

Right.

But at some stage in your life, you really internalized your faith in Christ and became a Bible-believing Christian. What happened to initiate that? Tell me about your conversion.

Well, you know, I, as a Catholic, I always... even as a Catholic, I always felt attracted to the church and to ministry in some ways. I remember as a Catholic, I would go to these retreats that the church held in my early teens. And I remember, you know, thinking about the people that were preaching and speaking, and I always told myself, "Man, I really would like to do that. I really would like to work for God in some way," as a young teenager in a Catholic church. And so in my early teens, I was involved with youth programs in the Catholic Church and that kind of thing. So I was always attracted to church in some way. But, you know, in Puerto Rico, Adventism is very prominent; it's everywhere.

Yeah.

And so I had a lot of friends, you know, we would talk and everything, but one in particular, I would hang out with him a lot and spend time with him. And he was a little older than I was, but he had sort of a gift that, you know, it doesn't matter what we were talking about, he always had the gift of turning the conversation into a spiritual one. And at the end of meeting, when I would leave his house, it's like I had received a Bible study every time I went to his house. And so that started the whole process. I started studying and learning. Of course, my girlfriend, who's my wife today, she was already a Seventh-day Adventist, and so I would go to church with her.

Yeah.

And through that, I met other people and received Bible studies and eventually became a Seventh-day Adventist. But it wasn't immediate. I mean, I had this, I remember I had this strong experience. It was a life-changing experience for me in the Catholic Church.

Mm. Tell me about that.

Nelson Mercado: Well, you know, there's a...the Catholic Church has this charismatic movement...

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Nelson Mercado: ...sort of like the Pentecostal Church.

Very familiar with it, yeah.

And so I was involved with that. And I remember one particular meeting; it was a Wednesday night. We were meeting, and there was a lot of people there, and all of a sudden, you know, there was a part in the service where they darkened the lights, and the guy that was speaking started speaking in tongues.

Mm-hmm.

And it was a really emotional thing. Everybody in the church was just somehow, everybody was crying and everything, and I'm like looking around, and I felt so out of place. And it's as if God was telling me, "I've told you this is not where you belong". And everybody starts crying. I start crying, too, but not for the same reason.

Mm.

I start crying because I finally realize this is not where I need to be. And so the service ended, and I still kept on crying. I was...it was agonizing. I couldn't stop crying, and it's because that realization; that was the last time that I called myself a Catholic. Now, I didn't become Adventist right away, but...'cause I was still fighting God in some ways, but...

Yeah. I'm very familiar with that experience. How did you feel? Did you feel when you realized this is no longer my home, did you feel hopeful? Did you feel hopeless? Did you feel empty? Were you afraid? What were you processing?

Nelson Mercado: I think a part of me was hopeless. I was sad.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: Because I had... this is what I grew up knowing, and I was comfortable there. One of the reasons I was comfortable, I mean, I was, like I said, involved in the church and liked to, but I had certain liberties. At least that's how I saw it. So even as a teenager, I would go to bars and drink and, you know, do all kinds of things that I felt were, that was part of life, and it was fun. And so I understood that I had to do something about the realization that I wasn't in the right place and God was calling me to somewhere else, and that I had to make certain changes in my life, and I necessarily wasn't comfortable with that. Furthermore, my family's Catholic. My mom is a really, you know, committed Catholic. And so for me to say, "I'm not Catholic anymore," it was just sort of like I'm a different person. So in that sense I felt hopeless. And again, I didn't...I stopped being Catholic, but I didn't join any other church right away. It took about, maybe about a year before I did that 'cause I was still fighting God with what I knew He was already revealing to me, but I did not necessarily want to accept it. In other words, I didn't wanna say, "Well, I stopped being a Catholic 'cause I became a Seventh-day Adventist". I did not wanna say that. It happened eventually, but that's...you know, I didn't wanna say that at that moment.

John Bradshaw: Yeah?

Nelson Mercado: Yeah.

So somebody witnessed to you; somebody shared their faith. You had other strong motivating factors...

Yeah.

...people in your life, and then God spoke to you. You realized this is just not for me.

That's right. Yeah.

So how did that process go of finding what you were convinced was that thing upon what you wanted to base your life? I'm not really saying the right church, but coming to the understanding of the right belief system, the one that worked for you, walk me through that experience.

Well, you know, I, to be honest with you, even before I had this experience that I told you at the Catholic church, I had already at least somehow unconsciously had been convinced of the right system of belief. It's just that I was fighting against it because I wanted to stay as a Catholic, because I was involved in the church, and because that's all I knew. But really deep inside, if I'm honest with you, I had already been convinced that this was not the right place. I think this is why God did what He did with this charismatic movement. He wanted me to realize in a sort of unconventional way, "This is not where I want you to be".

John Bradshaw: It's important to understand it's a real wrench for some people.

Nelson Mercado: It is indeed.

John Bradshaw: When you've put roots down in a church, it might be a great church, let's say that the belief system isn't, doesn't entirely line up with the Bible, but good people and wonderful structures and good social services, something you feel like you could be proud being a part of.

Nelson Mercado: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: And now it's gone.

It's gone. And it's especially true when your family, you know... my parents, my brothers, you know, most of my family are Catholic. And so I felt like an outsider when I stopped being a Catholic. So yeah, it is hard.

How did they treat you? Were they accepting, or was it a little tougher than that?

Well, I'll tell you. By the time I became a Seventh-day Adventist, my grandmother from my father's side, she was the first Adventist in our family, okay? So she had been an Adventist already. Now, we weren't all that close. She was older, and so I didn't necessarily had talked about faith with her, but she was a Seventh-day Adventist. And I had, I believe, an uncle and his wife that had been coming to church as well. My mom wasn't very happy about this. In fact, when I was baptized, obviously I invited her to the baptism, I wanted her to be there, but she said, "Nope, you were baptized already".

Yeah.

And she actually told me, "If you become a Seventh-day Adventist, you are gonna go live with them".

Oh, really?

That's what she told me. Well, the irony is that's exactly what happened. I was baptized on May 6th, 1989. I joined, I went to bootcamp in the navy on June the 5th. And so I finished my training at the end of November of that year, and I got married in February. So technically speaking...

There you go.

...I did go live with the Seventh-day Adventists.

Your mother's prophecy...

That's right.

...turned out to be true.

But, you know, afterwards, after that, I think she saw the change in my life, and even though she did not necessarily understand everything or agree with everything I believe, she became to accept it because she saw the change in my life and what it had been doing in my life.

Yeah, that's a really big thing. What advice do you have for somebody who is new in faith, or maybe not so new, have family members who have deeply-held spiritual convictions of another kind, and yet they wanna build bridges rather than walls? What advice would you have for that person? Here's how you winsomely share your faith with someone.

Well, you know, I think that the first thing... and I tell you I made this mistake early on too. I don't try to convince them that my way is right and your way is wrong. Because you're never gonna get anywhere if you're gonna try to start an argument, because it's not about who's right but what is right, and what is right should change your life, transform who you are. I think that the example that you live speaks volumes, and so let God work in you in that process of transformation, and your family's gonna see that. That's something that happened with my mom.

Now, some people get impatient, though: "Oh, I wanna tell them about this doctrine. I wanna tell them about this teaching. They really need to know. I've been living my life and sharing gently". You gotta wait on God to...there are times to speak.

Yeah. Yeah.

But I think what...we don't see, right? The Holy Spirit working...

Mm-hmm.

...the Spirit of God is working on people.

He is. You know, I did the same thing, obviously. I remember when I learned about the second coming of Jesus, I went to my dad. He was the first guy, the first person that I shared what I was learning. I said, "Dad, I learned something fantastic. Jesus is coming soon". And he was like, "You know, they've been saying that since I was a kid". So, you know, he was just dismissing it.

Yeah.

But, you know, that's okay. I think it's important that we share. When I went to the navy in bootcamp... again, I'm newly baptized...I remember witnessing to a fellow cadet. I remember his last name too. Barbosa was his last name. And, you know, I start sharing him everything I learned, and we were having conversations. Eventually, you know...he was Catholic too... so he didn't want to believe. But I just felt, man, this is so good news. Like, that, you know, it's like that "first love"...

That's right.

...that we read about in Revelation.

That's right.

I had that first love, and, you know, it's a shame at times that after a while we sort of lose that first love and that enthusiasm that we have initially to share these things.

Yeah.

I think we need to all catch that fire again.

Absolutely. It's important to remember when you share, those are seeds sown.

Yeah.

You cannot un-ring a bell. People won't un-hear what they've heard, but at the same time, they can't un-witness what they've seen about your character when you become a Bible-believing Christian.

Indeed.

It's important to give people an example of what Christianity can do for you. My brother left the Roman Catholic Church, of which I was a part, started following these crazy Bible teachings. But the one thing that we couldn't deny: His life was better; he was a better human being; he was happier; he was someone you wanted to be around; he was an example that someone might wanna follow. Before, not at all. It's important to let people see how God has changed your life. So, speaking about changed your life, at some stage, you became a pastor. How did that happen?

Wow, that's an interesting story. So I told you that I always felt attracted to the church and to working for God, even as a Catholic, so when I become...

Yeah.

...a Seventh-day Adventist, I still had that feeling. I wanted to do this. I would talk to my wife about it, and she was totally opposed to it. She was Adventist longer than I had. And so, you know, back in Puerto Rico, in those days, pastors were moved from districts every two to three years.

Sure. Yeah.

That kinda happened. And so she didn't like that, so she didn't want that for her family. So she was totally opposed to it. She said, "I didn't marry a pastor. This is not what I want for our lives". So even though I sort of felt that, I didn't pursue it because, you know, this is not something that she wants. But in 2006, God worked on her.

Mmm.

We went to a marriage retreat, and the couple that was speaking at the marriage retreat, he was a second career pastor, and they both gave their testimony of how God worked in their lives and how happy they were now that they were in ministry. And on our way home, she said to me, "You know, if you wanna be a pastor, I'll support you". And from there on, she actually became my biggest cheerleader...

Wow.

...in supporting me. And that's when the test of faith came. Because now that she said yes, what are you gonna do about it, Nelson? Are you gonna really pursue this? And it wasn't an easy thing. I wanted...wanted my cake and eat it, too.

Yeah.

John Bradshaw: So I wanted to continue working as a paramedic and see if I could become a pastor. I explored doing long-distance training... at South...is it Southwestern?

Nelson Mercado: Southwestern, sure.

John Bradshaw: In Texas. They offered a long-distance. But we decided...we had been talking about moving to the South anyway. So we decided, well, let's go visit Southern Adventist University in Collegedale. Let's see what it looks like, what they have to offer. And I had a friend here who was a professor at Southern, so we came and took a look at it. And I remember I spoke to Dr. Carlos Martin.

John Bradshaw: Uh-huh. Sure.

Nelson Mercado: And he told me, "Well, listen, these long-distance programs are good and everything, but if you wanna learn how to swim, you gotta get in the water".

John Bradshaw: Right.

Nelson Mercado: And that convinced me. Okay, well, I guess if I'm gonna do this, I gotta come here and do it. Biggest step of faith I had to do 'cause this was in 2008.

John Bradshaw: You were leaving the city that you called home. You're gonna leave a career.

Nelson Mercado: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: You're gonna have to pay for four years of college.

Nelson Mercado: Yes, I'm still paying for it.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, there you go. Got some mountains to climb.

Nelson Mercado: Indeed.

John Bradshaw: So how do you process these really big decisions? It's easy to be idealistic. We'll follow Jesus. And I'm not dismissing that, but idealism has gotta become practicality.

Nelson Mercado: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: How are we gonna do this? Is there enough leather on the bottom of my shoes to be able to walk this road? How do you start processing... how do you go from an idea to a decision to implement it?

Nelson Mercado: It wasn't easy. It took some time, my wife and I, to think about it. The good thing about it is my wife was on board with this. Because as I said, she became my... even when I, at this stage, when I would have doubts, she would be the one encouraging me: "No, I think God is calling you to do this. We need to do this". And so it was...we went back and forth talking about it. At some point in 2008, at the beginning of the year, she had gone to Puerto Rico for to spend Christmas with her family. When she came back, I had made the decision, "Listen, if we're gonna do this, we just gotta do it". So we planned: You're going to move to Chattanooga next month. You're gonna quit your job. You're gonna move over there. 'Cause we had this friend that lived in here in Chattanooga, so she would stay with him until I find an apartment. We had a whole plan. Listen, you're gonna move over there and get a job so that in three months I would join you in May, and, you know, I can get the health insurance. We need to sell the house by May. And so we had it all planned out. If we were gonna do this, go. And so she did. She took our daughter. My daughter and her went. I stayed with my son in Philadelphia to arrange for the selling of the house. Of course, we had prayed over this. If this was gonna work, God had to do every single thing in our prayer in order for this to work, and it worked exactly like we prayed about.

John Bradshaw: I'm looking forward to learning just how it worked out, and I know you are too. He is Pastor Nelson Mercado, a pastor and author, a second career pastor. I'm John Bradshaw. We'll be right back in a moment with more of our conversation, brought to you by It Is Written.

John Bradshaw: Welcome back to "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. My guest is Pastor Nelson Mercado, who a moment ago told me that he was gonna go off and study for the ministry if everything worked out perfectly. Several things that had to fall just in place. How did that all work out?

Nelson Mercado: So this was 2008.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: If you remember, that's where the economy crashed.

John Bradshaw: Uh-huh.

Nelson Mercado: People were losing their jobs, and, you know, you couldn't sell a house. It was just terrible. Furthermore, I remember bringing this up to my best friend, and he was so angry at us 'cause we were taking this step. "How are you gonna do this? You're gonna leave your security behind and go? I don't think this is God's will for you". And so... and he was my best friend, I valued his input very much, and so I was struggling with this. But if we were gonna do this, let's do it. Let's see what God's gonna do.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Nelson Mercado: So the idea was my wife would go to Chattanooga, get a job there, and hopefully within the first three months she would get her time to get health insurance so that when I resigned my job in May, I would have health insurance, okay? And so she did. She went over there, she moved to Chattanooga and got an apartment. I sent the furniture right away, and so I was left in the house with just a few things, my son and I, 'cause we sent the furniture, everything. She got a job. But the biggest thing would be the sale of our home.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, sure. And during the GFC.

Nelson Mercado: Yeah, because, you know, I... the plan was that I wanted to be in Chattanooga by the end of May because I wanted to start classes in summer here at Southern.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: So if that was gonna happen, I had to sell the house 'cause I couldn't afford paying rent and paying a mortgage at the same time.

John Bradshaw: Right.

Nelson Mercado: Now, again, 2008, I remember around my neighborhood there were houses that were nicer than mine that the price, the asking price, were about the same as mine, and they had been in the market for months. No... they weren't selling.

John Bradshaw: Nothing selling.

Nelson Mercado: And here I am; now I have to put this house on the market. And if it is gonna happen, it has to sell by a certain date in May because it's for this to work out. It sold in seven weeks. My house, even though nicer houses around weren't selling, my house sold in seven weeks in the nick of time so that it allowed me to get everything that I needed to do and resign my job and move to Chattanooga at the right time so that I could start looking for work and have something by the time classes started in the summer.

John Bradshaw: How reassuring was that? I mean, you had to look at that and say, "This can only be a miracle. That could only be God".

Nelson Mercado: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

John Bradshaw: What did that do for your resolve about your decision to go and embark on a whole new career as a pastor?

Nelson Mercado: Well, when I think about it now, you know, and hindsight is 2020, they tell you, but just what God was doing, it reaffirmed to me and my wife that He was calling us to ministry because He made it all work out, exactly how we needed it to work out. You know, in 2008, the cost of living, the energy costs, it went about the same in the North and in the South. Our income was cut by 60% when we came down here.

John Bradshaw: Ooh!

Nelson Mercado: And we spent...but think about this. We were still able to send our children to the Adventist schools. I was studying at Southern. I didn't have a full-time job, so I was still working as a paramedic part-time, and I also worked as a medical interpreter part-time to sort of make ends meet. And so, I did that, went to school. In this whole process, we were able to buy a house while I'm a student here at Southern, sent our kids to Adventist schools. I graduated in four years. Mind you, I didn't think... I thought that it would take at least six, because I had previous credits when I went to college back in the '80s, but I didn't think Southern was going to accept them 'cause it had been more than 10 years.

John Bradshaw: Right.

Nelson Mercado: They took every one of the credits. And so, as it all turned out, even though at the first three years I was a part-time student, I was able to complete my degree in four years, graduated summa cum laude.

John Bradshaw: Fantastic.

Nelson Mercado: And so this is all God's doing.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: So it just really confirmed that this is where He wanted us to be.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, it's wonderful to have a confirmation of your call to ministry.

Nelson Mercado: Indeed.

John Bradshaw: So that today, you know, if you're in the middle of a ministry situation, things are challenging, you don't have to say, "Did God lead me or not"?

Nelson Mercado: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: You know He led you. Outstanding.

Nelson Mercado: Yeah, indeed.

John Bradshaw: Hey, let's talk about this book you've written, "The Present Truth and the Three Angels' Messages". Now, this is not the ABC's. This is diving in the deep end a little bit in terms of the teachings of the Bible, and I appreciate that very much. "The Present Truth and the Three Angels' Messages". So let me ask you this: What's present truth?

Nelson Mercado: Well, present truth, it is the last-day message that God wants His people to proclaim unto the world to be prepared to meet Jesus.

John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Nelson Mercado: That is the present truth, God's end-time message.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. And we talk about the three angels' messages. I've certainly spoken about them a lot on It Is Written. And as a pastor, you would reference the three angels' messages a lot. So let's assume somebody is unfamiliar with what the three angels' messages are, or who the three angels are. How would you begin to explain that?

Nelson Mercado: Well, you know, obviously in the book of Revelation, there are many angels doing different things.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

But what we find in Revelation 14 with the three angels' message is three distinct messages that are there to prepare us for what we know is coming before the coming of Jesus. See, God is interested in...just like in the days of Noah, I remember, you know, we're told that Noah preached 120 years preparing the world, the then-world, for that flood.

Yeah.

God wanted to save them. And so God wants to save us. You know, He wants to save everybody. And so, you know, there are things happening just before Jesus comes, things that we are to expect. And so these three messages, these three angels have specific messages about what's important to God so that we are prepared to meet Jesus.

Mm-hmm.

And again, we've called it, this is the last-day message to prepare our world for the second coming of Christ.

It's interesting how those messages begin, kind of not exactly in the middle, but deep in the heart of the book of Revelation, John said, "I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven"... indicating this is something that should be seen...

Seen, yeah, in the midst of heaven. That's a point.

..."another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the"...

Everlasting.

..."everlasting gospel"... so boy, that's a sign that something's important... "to preach to them that dwell on the earth. to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice"... that's a whale of a setup.

Indeed.

This is God saying, "This is really important". Why is the messages of the...why are the messages of the three angels so important?

Well, you know, it starts, the first angel starts with the gospel, the everlasting gospel because Jesus is foundational. You know, if we don't build upon Jesus, everything else just crumbles around. And so the gospel is going to be proclaimed. Now, part of what I share in the book is, okay, well, it seems logical the gospel is gonna be preached, so what is the gospel? And so most people will say, "Well, you know, Jesus died for our sins". And of course that's foundational. But what we find in Scripture is something that God left that was the object lesson to the gospel message.

What was that?

That's the sanctuary message.

Mmm. Tell me more.

The sanctuary message, when we look at what happened in the sanctuary, there were three great acts in the sanctuary. You had the death of the sacrifice, then you had the ministry of the priest to transfer sin to the tabernacle, and then the final removal of sin. That...all those three things... are part of this object lesson of the plan of salvation. What we see unfortunately happening is that part of the gospel is being proclaimed. I would say it's an incomplete gospel.

Yeah, tell me why.

Because most of our Christian friends are preaching the gospel only until the death of Jesus.

Mm-hmm.

So the death of the sacrifice, that's it. Jesus died for our sins; that's the end of the gospel message. It isn't the end of the gospel message because now...because everything is about Jesus... now Jesus becomes our Priest, just like the priest in the tabernacle took some of that blood of the sacrifice and either ate the sacrifice or sprinkled that blood inside the holy place there in the tabernacle. And then at the end of the year, there was that day of atonement when finally the sanctuary was cleansed. It was the day of judgment. The sins were removed from the sanctuary. This all pictured what Jesus... after Jesus died and resurrected, He went to heaven to serve as our Priest. And right now we believe, of course, that He is carrying on what we know as the investigative judgment that has to do with the day of atonement.

John Bradshaw: Interesting you talk about priests because we talked about our mutual faith background... there were priests.

Nelson Mercado: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: And you would go to the priest, particularly for confession...

Nelson Mercado: Confession.

John Bradshaw: ...and cleansing of sin. But what you're pointing out is that the priesthood that is really relevant today is the priesthood in heaven.

Nelson Mercado: Indeed.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. Okay. Well, let's walk through the messages of the three angels a little, but we don't have to get too terribly in depth. It's a little more in-depth in the book, "The Present Truth and the Three Angels' Messages," so I would recommend you get the book. It's a great book. We get the book on Amazon, I'm sure.

Nelson Mercado: Amazon and Adventist Book Center.

John Bradshaw: ABC. So if you wanna find the book, you will. "The Present Truth and the Three Angels' Messages," Pastor Nelson Mercado. So let's get into this. First angel: "Fear God, ... give glory to Him". Does God want us to be afraid of Him? Fear God?

Nelson Mercado: No, fear...reverence Him. And because of who He is and what He has done, choose to obey Him.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: You know, when you look...read the book... you find that I spent a lot of time... in fact, you know, the first six chapters, I believe, are on the first angel's message because... because I look at the sanctuary and what that has to do with the everlasting gospel. It's interesting that that last part of the day of atonement, when the priest would finally come from the most holy place and place his hands on a scapegoat, symbolically transferring the sin to the scapegoat, and the scapegoat was led away into the desert...

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: ...what we see there is a picture of what happens after the 1,000 years of Revelation 20, and Satan, of course, eventually is destroyed. But before that, the Second Coming happens. The Second Coming is before the millennium. And so I looked at the Second Coming as part of the first angel's message, all right? The manner of the coming of Jesus, why the manner of the coming of Jesus is important because we know there's gonna be deceptions regarding it. And so I spend time in that. Then I discuss the millennium. And then, of course, we look at the first angel's message...was, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come". So now we have to look at the judgment. What is the judgment? And what is the judgment? How do we know the judgment has started, when it has started? So I spent three, two chapters there looking at what the judgment is. When did it start?

John Bradshaw: Fascinating thing about the second coming of Jesus, if you go back not very far in Christian history, pretty well everybody had it right.

Nelson Mercado: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: Jesus will come back. At the end, the dead in Christ will rise, off to heaven. That's that. But somewhere between then and now, Christianity has become very, very confused.

Nelson Mercado: Yes.

John Bradshaw: I don't wanna spend all my time knocking what other people believe, but there's such confusion about this. How did we get to the state of confusion? And why, when the Bible is so clear, do so many people choose to stay confused?

Nelson Mercado: Well, specifically about the second coming of Christ...

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: I was just, on my way here, I had been having this conversation online with a former Adventist, who disagrees on a number of things, and this past Sabbath, as a matter of fact, I preached, 'cause I have a sermon series that's based on the book, and so I was preaching on the Second Coming, the manner of the coming of Christ, and so I talk a little bit about the secret rapture. And the reason for it is because it is the most popular belief today among Christians.

John Bradshaw: That's right.

Nelson Mercado: And so, you know, it's important, I think, we become familiar with what it is. And he sends me a video. "Oh yeah, this will answer you about the seven-year tribulation". And I talk about that in the message where the seven years come from, which is Daniel 9. And so... But, you know, people have become confused. I think one of the reasons is because a lot of us, Christians and non-Christians, they don't read the Bible. They choose to get their information from other sources. You know, there's the "Left Behind" series, these series of books that you find in any Christian bookstore, and they've made movies about it. And so what people do is they look at these books, they look at these movies..."Oh, you know, that's how it is. This is how Jesus is going to come". So they're getting their information from the wrong source, and I think that's where the confusion comes from.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Really difficult, once somebody has made that decision, to un-confuse a person, unless they're really seriously looking. Maybe it's that I'm here; I'm comfortable; I'm with my people; don't bother me now. I don't want to change.

Nelson Mercado: I don't wanna change.

John Bradshaw: I think it should be the burden of every heart: I wanna know all the Bible says as clearly as possible so I can follow Jesus 100%.

Nelson Mercado: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: Unfortunately, not everybody is there.

Nelson Mercado: Not everybody's doing that.

John Bradshaw: Okay, so the first angel goes on and says this: "Worship Him that made heaven and earth, the seas, the fountains of waters". Everybody's big on worship.

Nelson Mercado: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: I mean, what church doesn't have a worship team or a worship leader? It's worship, worship, worship. Which is good. I mean, not against that. But right there, there's a call to worship. What's distinct about this call to worship in the three angels' messages?

Nelson Mercado: Well, you know, I think that it's no accident that God is bringing out the fact that He is the Creator. I mean, why do we worship God in the first place?

John Bradshaw: Yeah, because He's the Creator.

Nelson Mercado: Because He's the Creator.

John Bradshaw: Sure.

Nelson Mercado: If He didn't create us, then we have no reason to do anything for God.

John Bradshaw: Correct.

Nelson Mercado: So if God, if the only thing God did for us is create us, He deserves our worship. He deserves our loyalty because He's our Creator. And so I think in the time we're living where even many Christians have compromised this, they look at this theistic evolution, it's a compromise between evolution and Christianity, they wanna insert God somehow, and many people are buying into this, that this, you know, this science thing, "Oh, we gotta reconcile with science". The people have forgotten that God is to be worshiped. You know, in Revelation it's specific about worship. Worship is the issue, the main issue, in the end of time.

John Bradshaw: Right.

Nelson Mercado: And so God calls us to worship to remind us that He is the Creator, that He is sovereign, that we all owe our loyalty and allegiance to Him. And of course, part of the first angel's message is this issue of He "who made heaven and earth".

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: You know, he borrows, John borrows from Exodus, chapter 20, the 10 Commandments, the fourth commandment, specifically...

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: ...on the Sabbath, the memorial of creation. And so it's no accident that people have forgotten that God is their Creator because they've forgotten the memorial, the one thing He left to remind us that He is the Creator. And so I think it's interesting that God saw fit to be that that part of a message of the truth is part of this end-time message because people have forgotten why we serve a God.

John Bradshaw: He's quite specific there, isn't He? In Revelation...you bring this out in your book... God calls us to true worship. He calls us to the seventh-day Sabbath...

Nelson Mercado: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: ...which is another of those things in the Bible, very clear.

Nelson Mercado: Very clear.

John Bradshaw: If you started at Genesis 1 and started reading, you'd get about 30 verses in, and you'd say, "I found the Sabbath". It's very clear. It's spelled out right there in the Bible. Yet again, there's a lot of resistance. Even people who will say to you, "Oh, Nelson, you're right about that Sabbath," but still not feel drawn to surrender their hearts. What do you think has to happen for a person to come to the point where they say, "Yes, the seventh-day Sabbath is important to God, and I wanna keep that"? How does a person get to that place where they're willing to yield to God on that point?

Well, you know, part of this worship God... how do we worship God? How do we fear God? We do this by obeying Him, by doing what pleases Him. Jesus says clearly, "If you love me, keep my commands," right?

Yes, He said that, yeah.

So our love for Him should motivate us to please Him and to do whatever He asks of us. I think that a lot of times we think about us: "How is this going to affect me? Well, if I start keeping the Sabbath, that means that maybe I can't work overtime. Well, I can't do this or that on the Sabbath," so you're automatically...people automatically think about what they can't do instead of what they can do and what they enjoy. If you look at the chapter on the Sabbath in the book, I don't spend a lot of time on that chapter in the theological issues, but more in a practical. Why is the Sabbath such a blessing, to me specifically? And I share some of the stories of how it was just such a blessing to me, and this is what God wants us to do, to have this blessing. Because what is awesome to me is that the God that created heaven and earth wants to spend time with me.

Yes.

And that He intentionally created a date. "I want to spend time with Nelson, and this is the day"...

Yes.

..."every seventh day".

Yeah. Yeah, that's powerful.

It's just amazing.

Yeah.

It's amazing.

And the Bible says, "The Sabbath was made for man," for the human family.

For our welfare.

So God said, "I've got something for you". It would seem to me that if God designed it, God made it, God gave it, it's gotta be good.

It's gotta be good.

It's gotta be.

Nelson Mercado: And it is good. I mean, it's the day of joy. And when we...I think when we begin to see it that way... even us that keep the Sabbath, a lot of times we think about, "Well, I can't do this. I can't do that". Maybe we're looking at our watch until sun sets so we can go back to our lives. When we begin to see the Sabbath as it's meant to be, to spend time with God... and, you know, to spend time with our families too.

John Bradshaw: Yes.

Nelson Mercado: Because we become so busy that even by living in the same household with your family, sometimes maybe your shifts are opposite, and the kids are doing this and that, during the week you don't see each other.

John Bradshaw: Mm-hmm.

Nelson Mercado: And so the Sabbath, too, provides us that opportunity to unwind, not only spending time with God and with the church family, but with our family at home, doing things together, even if it's just sitting on the couch, talking, just spending time with them. And that's what the Sabbath is about. That's why it's such a joy.

John Bradshaw: Amen. Amen. In the book, Pastor Mercado goes a little further and discusses the other two angels' messages of the three. One angel says that "Babylon has fallen," and another angel warns us against receiving the mark of the beast. We'll find out what that means in just a moment. This is "Conversations," brought to you by It Is Written.

John Bradshaw: Thanks for being part of this conversation with Pastor Nelson Mercado, the author of "The Present Truth and the Three Angels' Messages". And we've been discussing, not just Pastor Mercado's journey to faith in Christ, his journey to pastoral ministry, but also those three angels' messages. We're up to message number two.

Nelson Mercado: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: And here's where they start to get a little confrontational.

Nelson Mercado: Indeed.

John Bradshaw: Second angel says, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city". So, how do we go about understanding that?

Nelson Mercado: Well, you know, it's interesting that even as I'm writing this book, I always struggled with the second angel's message. And the reason for it is because I could not understand what did the fall of Babylon... Babylon, that mighty empire, Nebuchadnezzar, we know the Medo-Persians conquered them...

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: What did that have to do with the end-time message?

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Nelson Mercado: Why was that relevant? And so it took me a time. So what do I have to do? I have to go deep inside in the Bible and see, well, what's Babylon? What does it stand for? You go back to Genesis and the Tower of Babel, Babylon, "babble," which means "confusion," and the history of what Babylon does, Babylon, of course, the enemy of God's people.

John Bradshaw: Yes.

Nelson Mercado: And so, as I do this research, I find that Babylon is just this, obviously, a symbol of a counterfeit system that opposes God and it's the enemy of His people. And this concept that Babylon is fallen, notice that the way it says it... it says it with, it says a statement of fact, of certainty. You know, it may seem that Babylon is going to triumph, but don't worry; God says it's fallen. You can take this to the bank.

John Bradshaw: That's an interesting point. That second angel's message, not just calling out Babylon, is an encouragement to people who are hanging in there with God...

Nelson Mercado: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: ...that there's only one way forward, and that's through faith in Jesus.

Nelson Mercado: Yes, yes.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. Fascinating. So how then... you've got that in the New Testament: "Babylon is fallen". What you're saying is you went back to the Old Testament...

Nelson Mercado: Yes.

John Bradshaw: ...to try to understand what the New Testament Babylon was. Well, why would you do that?

Nelson Mercado: Well, I mean, 2/3 of Revelation, it's just simply borrowing from Old Testament.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, true.

Nelson Mercado: So you have to understand the Old Testament, particularly the Book of Daniel, if you're gonna understand Revelation. And, you know, I think that's part of, you know, what a Bible student does. You have to compare passages with passages, and the Bible is a complete...offers a complete picture. So yeah, I mean, it, you know...you can expect at times, you know, sometimes God reveals something to you right away. But at times, He wants you to take the time and dive in carefully and study what He wants you to do. And so it took a little bit of time to understand, okay, what's the role of Babylon, this concept of Babylon, in the end of time?

John Bradshaw: What I'm really encouraged about what you said, one thing I like is this: You come to what may even be an impasse in the Book of Revelation. What's that? And God says, "The answers are all there in the Bible".

Nelson Mercado: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: So it's not like you have to be smarter than anyone or more creative than anyone, but it's a matter of going to look where God put the answers and finding the answers. The answers for the big Bible questions are in the Bible. You found that.

Nelson Mercado: Well, and, you know, I remember when I was meditating on what I was gonna write in this chapter; I remember I was in the kitchen. I'm praying to God, "Lord, you know, this is obviously important, but I'm just not sure what direction am I gonna go". But as God started revealing things to me... if you look at the book, the chapter on Babylon, the second angel's message, is the longest chapter in the book...

Mm.

...because God started to reveal things to me that, wow! I never saw this this way. When it talks about the fornication of Babylon, "the wine of the fornication," and what is the fornication? These false teachings that Babylon's, it's spreading into most of Christianity beliefs today. And so you gotta look into what are these fornications. What are these false teachings that are going out there? So you gotta explore those. And you find things like, obviously, the state of the dead.

Yeah. Let's talk about that for a moment, because you talk about the false teachings, and again, we wanna say this with respect but...

Sure.

...boy, we wanna say it. These teachings are deeply embedded throughout Christianity.

Yes.

It's not that everybody believes it, but, man, the vast majority of churches are teaching... for example...well, let's talk about death for a minute. What have you discovered?

Well, obviously the Bible's very clear. You know, I...you mentioned the fact the Bible is very clear on a number of subjects.

Yeah.

Sometimes we become so blind that we don't see what's there. But death is obviously this sleep. You know, we're sleeping unconsciously until Jesus comes. I mean, there's no if and and's or but's about it, it's very clear. However, what we find is that paganism somehow has gotten mixed up with Christianity, and now Christianity is holding on to some pagan concepts about what happens when a person dies. And, you know, when we look at Revelation, and particularly later on in Revelation 18, where we see the role of spiritualism....

Yes.

...in end times, and this is one of the tools, I would say, that Satan is going to use to deceive people. It is all rooted in that original lie that he told Eve back there in Genesis: "You shall surely not die". And so, this is part of Satan's arsenal, and so we need to bring the truth. I think that's why God has it in there because He wants people to have a right concept of what happens when you die because He doesn't want you to be deceived.

Yeah. Okay. So I've got a question...first a statement and then a question. The statement Jesus spoke about Lazarus... Lazarus was dead. He'd been dead for days. And Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus is asleep".

Asleep.

There's, like you said, no if's, and's, or but's about that. It's really very, very clear. Satan didn't need to try to deceive people on this or that or the other. What I'm saying is he could have chosen whatever he wanted. Why do you think it was important to the devil to go after the subject of death, to deceive people on that subject?

Nelson Mercado: People will often believe more what their senses can pick up. I remember having this conversation years ago with a coworker, and he told me, "Well, you know, if I see it, why shouldn't I believe it"?

John Bradshaw: Oh, interesting.

Nelson Mercado: Right. Well, but because the Bible says so. See, the Bible should be our manual. This is where we are to be founded. And how we view life, our perspective, should be grounded on "thus says the Lord". And so when...but because people are more willing to believe what they see, what their senses can perceive, and obviously what they find in Hollywood when they see it in the movies...

Oh yeah.

...it's easier to believe. That's easier to believe. You know, there's also part of this... you probably have heard the fact that family members that have had a person that died... "Oh, it comforts me to know that, you know, my family is in heaven watching over me".

Sure. Yeah.

And that sounds very nice. But when you really analyze that, does that really make sense?

Frankly, it's creepy.

You know, the Bible tells us that in heaven, there's gonna be no more tears. I mean, you're not gonna be suffering for anybody when you're in heaven. But I know that if I were in heaven right now, if I had died and watching what's going on on earth, and maybe witnessing the suffering and the pain that my family may be going through, I'm not gonna be happy in heaven.

Right.

Nelson Mercado: And so God's way is best.

John Bradshaw: It is.

Nelson Mercado: It's better.

It occurs to me, too: Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life". Yet if a person doesn't sleep but dies and goes straight to heaven, where's Jesus' role as the resurrection and the life? You've just eliminated Jesus.

Mm-hmm.

And so the devil is the master of moving Jesus out of the way...

Out of the way.

...getting our dependence off Jesus and being self-sufficient.

Yes.

That's something to guard against. So that...is there another? We're gonna talk about the mark of the beast. Is there another teaching that you've identified?

Well, we've talked about the Sabbath. Well, you know, why do most people don't, you know...keep the different day? And so one of the fornications, these false teachings, is the issue of Sunday sacredness.

Mm-hmm.

Why do, why do most people keep Sunday? And there is history behind that, the history of the church. And so we go into that, what led the church, as it were, to say, "We changed the solemnity of Sabbath to Sunday". Because unfortunately what we find is that most of our evangelical Christian friends are trying to find a scriptural reason for Sunday worship.

Right.

And there's eight passages in the New Testament that mention it, and we go over it in the book, and they say nothing about really Sunday as a worship day. But they're ignoring the source. With respect, you know, the Catholic Church acknowledges, "We changed it". And furthermore, in their own writings, they say, "There's no Scripture backup for it. We only do it because we have the authority to do it". And they often criticize Protestants by saying, "Well, you know, they're criticizing us because of the Bible and the Bible only. And they're keeping a day that it only exists because we brought it up. We changed it".

It's pretty clear, isn't it really?

Indeed.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. Yeah, that's very clear. So that brings us to the mark of the beast. Over the years, you and I both have heard some very strange interpretations of the mark of the beast. And I wanna say this before I go on with the mark of the beast. You look through the book, and what's really fascinating is there's so much history.

Nelson Mercado: Mm-hmm.

John Bradshaw: And you've mentioned this. People are ignoring the history. And when we look at where we are with Bible teachings today, and you look at Bible prophecy, if you keep history in view, it's really hard to go off the rails, if you're faithful to how history has brought us to where we are today.

Well, it's like if we ignore where we've come from, we don't know where we're going.

Yeah, that's very true. Mark of the beast... how does a person go about understanding that?

Well, you know, first of all is to turn off Hollywood and everything that you hear about that chip on your hand or in your forehead. More recently...I'm sure you've heard...COVID, could COVID...

COVID vaccine, yeah.

...the vaccine? You know, it's interesting that during the COVID fiasco, the situation, I had received texts and emails from fellow church members. "Oh, you need to look at this video, Pastor. It talks about this vaccine. Could this be the mark of the beast"?

I got asked the same thing. I was astonished... people who I felt like had more maturity than that.

Yeah.

You know, if it was someone who'd only ever had one Bible study, I understand. But these are people, some of them, church members for a long time and they're saying, "Could it be that the vaccine's the mark of the beast"? And I'm saying, "Have you forgotten everything you ever learned"?

Well, you know, we talked about the fact that worship is pivotal in Revelation as an end-time issue.

Yeah.

So anyway, in other words, we're gonna worship someone, either worship God, or we worship Satan. And when we worship somebody, we're basically obeying that person, that being. So when we look at the mark of the beast, the mark of the beast is not a physical thing. It's not like you'd be able to tell, "Oh, you have the mark of the beast on your hand or your forehead". The mark of the beast, it has to do with your relationship with God or not, okay? The mark of the beast has to do, as we see, actually is related to the law of God.

Mm.

Do we follow God? Do we keep His law? Do we obey Him because we love Him? Or we go along with the other side, who is telling us, "This is what you need to do". And in my mind, John, you know, I always...when I thought about the mark of the beast and how it'll be implemented and really the role of the United States in that, I was...I believe it. You know, this is true. It's gonna happen because the Bible says so.

Yes.

But I always wondered, how is it gonna happen? We live in a land of the free; we have a Constitution and Bill of Rights. Now, after the last two years, I've seen how easy this is going to be.

John Bradshaw: We used to get asked in holding evangelistic meanings, "How could this happen"? We don't get asked that anymore.

Nelson Mercado: We don't.

John Bradshaw: Because now everybody has witnessed how the entire world can coalesce around a single issue... and I'm not talking about the rights and wrongs of this, just the facts of this... and then see freedoms curtailed and rights removed and laws... enforced or ignored or enacted, or all of the above. Now we know that the world can quickly coalesce around a single issue.

When people are afraid, they're willing to do just about anything to feel safe.

Got it. You got it.

And even to give up their freedoms. You remember after 9/11...

Absolutely. Yep.

...the Patriot Act, right? You know, this was very controversial, and the government listening in, but people were willing to give that right up because they felt threatened because of the terrorist attacks. And so we saw that. I think that we've seen that in COVID, too, the government is trying to quote, unquote, "protect us". And so, "This is what's best for you. It's the best for the citizens". And so when we think about the mark of the beast, it's not like one day we're gonna wake up tomorrow and all of a sudden they're gonna tell us, "Oh, you gotta keep Sunday now". Because if that happened, people would naturally oppose it. This has to happen little by little. Baby steps, as it were, okay? Satan is conditioning everybody, so when the time of the mark of the beat is implemented, that was a natural, most natural thing in the world.

Yes.

Yes, it's for the welfare of your families, for the welfare of society. Just like we saw for COVID. Now, whether you agree with it or not, this whole issue with masks and vaccine, that was the argument, okay? This is what's best for you. This is what's best for your neighbor, for your family. The same argument eventually will be used about the mark of the beast, and people are gonna fall for it.

Very, very strong argument, too. "Don't you care about others"?

Right.

"Don't you care about grandma? Don't be so selfish. You're part of a community". Hard argument to resist.

Yeah. Yeah.

And I would say this with respect, with respect, because COVID was so devastating.

Indeed, yes.

John Bradshaw: And so many lives were lost, families torn apart. The mark of the beast is gonna be a much bigger issue.

Nelson Mercado: Right.

John Bradshaw: Far, far greater issue. There'll be more at stake. There'll be more publicity. There'll be a brighter light shone on it, and the consequences will be severe.

Nelson Mercado: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: So, you don't wanna see anybody receive the mark of the beast. You're a pastor; you wanna see people saved. Tell me in a moment, we only have a moment, but...how can somebody face the future with confidence? And how can somebody find themselves in right relation with Jesus, so that no matter what happens, they look forward with positivity?

Well, you know, not to sound simplistic, but, you know, you have to be...your faith has to be grounded in the Word of God. And I think we've become so busy that we are compromising, that we're not spending time in the Word, and this is why there's so much confusion. It is no accident, again, that the first angel starts with the everlasting gospel.

Yes, yes.

You need to be founded on Jesus. You need to have a conversion experience, an intimate relationship with Christ, a salvific relationship with Christ because you've accepted Him as Savior and Lord. That's your foundation. Once you are secure in who you are and what Christ has done for you, and you want to spend time with Him in His Word, He will reveal these truths to you. But, you know, when we come to the Bible, we must be willing to accept whatever it says, even if it goes against our grain. We talked about how this affects our family sometimes. But if God is number one in our lives... and He should be; He should be the priority in our lives... then we are willing to do whatever He says because we love Him and because, obviously, He wants the best for us. God wants to save everybody, okay? And these three angels' messages are pivotal in our final-day preparation. So, you know Jesus, is what saves. You know, you understanding the mark of beast and all those things, it's not what's gonna save you.

That's correct.

But if you're not prepared, if you don't know what's coming, you have run a risk of being deceived. This is why Jesus Himself says in Matthew 24, "Many will be deceived". Why? Because they're not grounded on the Word of God. If they were, they wouldn't be so confused about everything that's happening around.

It's a great book. I encourage you to get it. You'll find it if you wanna find it. Find it at the ABC or online on Amazon: "The Present Truth and the Three Angels' Messages" by Pastor Nelson Mercado. It will take you deep. It is easily digestible, and your understanding will be greatly enhanced, as will your faith in Jesus. Question for you: Can we expect another book?

Well, you know, I've been thinking about what to do next. And I had an idea about a book, but I was still wondering... I just didn't know what direction to go. And I asked God, "Lord, which direction You want me to go"? And this was, actually happened a few weeks ago. And He led me into the fourth angel of Revelation 18.

Amen.

And so, it's funny that I already have the title in my mind: "More Present Truth: The Fourth Angel's Message".

There we go.

So I'm working on that. Pray about it; pray for me so that I can... that God will guide me in the research and everything. So hopefully I will...

Books are really easy... in theory.

In theory.

And then you sit down to write them, and the easiness disappears. Pastor Nelson Mercado, it's been a joy. Thanks, I appreciate your time. We wish you God's richest blessings in ministry, in writing, in wherever He takes you. He's certainly been leading your life. He continues to do so. We appreciate this time. Thanks so much.

Thank you. Appreciate you.

And thank you for being part of this program. What a blessing. He is Pastor Nelson Mercado, I'm John Bradshaw, and this has been our conversation.
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