The Everlasting Gospel
Angels in Mid Air
And 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,” this part of the chapter of Revelation 14:6-14, introduces the first of three angels, sent on an errand to preach the everlasting gospel, to announce the fall of Babylon and to give a warning of the impending doom that will fall upon the rejecters of God’s memorial of Creation, the Sabbath rest.
These messages are said to be given by angels, for such is the dignity and nature of this work. Angels of God in Scripture are said to be “ministering spirits” (Hebrews 1:14), who “excel in strength.” They “do His commandments,” and always, “hearkening unto the voice of His word.” (Psalm 103:20). While John describes these as angels, we are to understand it to mean messengers. In the New Testament, the Greek word “ang'-el-os”, which is translated as “angel” in the English language, means “a messenger; especially an "angel"; by implication, a pastor.” Strong’s Greek, 32.
This word has the same meaning as the Old Testament word “mal-awk'” translated as “messenger” from an unused root meaning a messenger; specifically, of God, i.e. an angel (also a prophet, priest or teacher.”Strong’s Hebrew, 04397. There are several examples of this in scripture. “For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 2:7. Another example of this is found in Galatians 4:14, “And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus,” referring to the apostle Paul.
“The gospel is an everlasting gospel; it is so in its nature, and it will be so in its consequences.”Matthew Henry’s Comments on Revelation 14:6. It is the great means whereby man is brought to fear God and to give Him glory. Thus it is to be given to the whole world, even to “every nation, kindred, and tongue and people.” The messengers are seen as flying, denoting the velocity and urgency in which the message is to be carried. “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.” Luke 11:33. In the same manner, these messengers are seen in the midst of the air, for the light of God, cannot be hidden. The LORD bids us “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 61:1. Thus such messages unquestionably demand our utmost attention. In this and the following articles, we will examine the three angels’ message in its totality.
The Everlasting Gospel
“And 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.” “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” Revelation 14:6, 14
In Revelation 14, verse 6 marks the beginning of the message and verse 14 its end. There are three important fundamental aspects we need to take note of in these verses: 1. there’s a gospel. 2. This gospel is preached. 3. it’s preached to all the world. 4. The preaching is followed by the end.
These four elements are also found in Matthew 24:14. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.” In other words, what we are trying to establish is that, the gospel of Revelation 14:6 is the same as that of Matthew 24:14. In both passages we have some kind of a gospel that is preached to the entire world and is followed by the end. In Matthew it’s called the gospel of the kingdom, and in Revelation it’s called the everlasting gospel.
The English word “gospel” is a translation of the Greek word “yoo-ang-ghel'-ee-on”( Strong’s Greek, 2098) which has the same root meaning with the word “yoo-ang-ghel-id'-zo,”( Ibid., 2097) which means to announce good news.
You will also notice that Matthew 24 is a chapter that talks about the signs of the end of the world, prior to the second coming of Jesus. Thus the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom of God, to the whole world, is the last sign because it’s followed by the end. We find the same pattern of events in Revelation 14. To understand the nature of this gospel, we need to look at events that take place during its proclamation. What is it that leads to the second coming?
The Cup and the Gospel
In Revelation 14, prior to verse 14 we find a description of the damnation of the wicked, before the coming of Jesus.
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” Revelation 14:10.
Once again, there are some points we need to take note of: 1.This group of individuals will drink something. 2. What they’re going to drink is in a cup. 3. The wrath of God is in a cup. The obvious questions we can ask at this stage are the following: Why is this group receiving the wine of God’s wrath? Is there a connection between drinking the wine of God’s wrath, which is poured out into the cup and the everlasting gospel?
To get clear answers, let’s look at a passage found in Matthew 26:38-42. ““Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me."”Matthew 26:39. In this verse, Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus describes His feeling. Verse 39 states the reason of Jesus’ sorrow. ““And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."” Matthew 26:39. Jesus has a cup in His hand.
In Revelation 14:10, the wicked drink the wine in the cup of God, while in Matthew 26:38-42, Jesus is holding a cup which He must drink. “And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” Matthew 26:40-42
In Hebrews 5:7, the apostle Paul, also describes the suffering of Jesus in Gethsemane. “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.” In the four gospels, - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, - the emphasis is not on the physical suffering of Jesus. Rather, they emphasize the mental agony He endured. “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:44. Jesus was already in agony even before His betrayal.
The important question we need to ask at this stage is: who gave Jesus this cup? “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11. The Father did.
Drinking the Wine
During His ministry Jesus spoke of the closeness that existed between Him and the Father. “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” John 8:29. But on the cross He experiences the separation. ““And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”” Matthew 27:46
The Holy Spirit testifies in Psalm 22:1-2, clearly and fully, the sufferings of Christ. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” This sorrowful complaint of God's withdrawing is from a soul overwhelmed with grief and terror upon sensing Spiritual desertion.
The Father, who had declared His pleasure with His Son at the beginning of His ministry and also during His ministry, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Matthew 3:17; 17:5; is now, pleased to give Him the bitter cup to drink, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” Isaiah 53:10. The Father “spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,” Romans 8:32. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17.
The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ. The sense of God’s wrath against sin was crushing out His life. Jesus died of a broken heart. What made the struggle in the garden and on the cross so intense? In conclusion, let’s look at three amazing statements that will shed more light about the nature of the gospel message which is to go to the whole world.
“And what was to be gained by this sacrifice? How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: The people who claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages have rejected You. They are seeking to destroy You, the foundation, the center and seal of the promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of Your own disciples, who has listened to Your instruction, and has been among the foremost in church activities, will betray You. One of Your most zealous followers will deny You. All will forsake You. Christ's whole being abhorred the thought.
That those whom He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible. Its measure was the guilt of His nation, of His accusers and betrayer, the guilt of a world lying in wickedness. The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ, and the sense of God's wrath against sin was crushing out His life.” Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1940.
First published, 1898.), 687.
“The humanity of the Son of God trembled in that trying hour. He prayed not now for His disciples that their faith might not fail, but for His own tempted, agonized soul. The awful moment had come--that moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow, and leave man to perish in his iniquity. He might say, Let the transgressor receive the penalty of his sin, and I will go back to My Father. Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup of humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences of the curse of sin, to save the guilty? The words fall tremblingly from the pale lips of Jesus, "O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done." Ibid., 690.
“Upon Christ as our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all. He was counted a transgressor, that He might redeem us from the condemnation of the law. The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing upon His heart. The wrath of God against sin, the terrible manifestation of His displeasure because of iniquity, filled the soul of His Son with consternation. All His life Christ had been publishing to a fallen world the good news of the Father's mercy and pardoning love. Salvation for the chief of sinners was His theme. But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see the Father's reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.” Ibid., 753
The law curses us because we have broken it, we have sinned. But praise be to God, for Christ has redeemed us. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Galatians 3:13. This is the good news. This is the everlasting gospel, the gospel of the kingdom of Christ which is to be preached to all the world, then the end will come.