During their High Holiday season, practicing Jews observed the "Days of Awe!" In Judaism, this short season signifies the 10 days of repentance between Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).
This was also a great time for a Christian or Messianic believer to search his or her own soul, forgive others and prepare for the "end of this age" and "the age to come."
The Eternal Gospel
These Days of Awe reminded me of a special message that Revelation 14:6-7 (MEV) says will be proclaimed in the last days, just before Christ's Second Coming. It is called "the eternal gospel" and will be proclaimed by an angelic messenger, as a final opportunity for "every nation and tribe and tongue and people" to turn to God before His final judgment on "those who dwell on the earth."
Here is how John the Revelator explained it: "Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the eternal gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth, to every nation and tribe and tongue and people. He said with a loud voice, 'Fear God and give Him glory, for the hour of His judgment has come. Worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water'" (Rev. 14:6-7).
The church's mission has been to proclaim the Good News of salvation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ "... to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:15b-16).
At the point in the chronicles of human history, when the "eternal gospel" is angelically proclaimed to everyone who dwells on the earth, the dead in Christ will have been resurrected and the living saints "raptured" (snatched or caught up), and together they will "meet the Lord in the air" to be with Him "forever" thereafter (1 Thess. 4:13-17).
The significant, source-passage in Revelation 14:6 indicates this special, angelic messenger will provide one last opportunity for those who yet live on earth to respond to God.
Let's unpack this very significant, and yet simple, "eternal gospel," which applies to all people:
—Fear God: Respect Him for His awesomeness.
—Give Him glory: Honor Him for His creative actions and righteous judgments.
—Worship Him: Express repeated thanks to Him, as the Creator and sustainer of heaven and earth.
Worshipping Our Awesome Creator
David wrote in Psalm 19:1, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork."
God is righteous and just and will judge even those who may be ignorant of or have rejected the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ by how they responded to their basic, innate knowledge of God as Creator. That is the "eternal gospel," which this final angelic messenger will bring to those yet dwelling on the earth at the end of this age.
The apostle Paul explained this natural guilt of mankind to the believers in Rome:
For what may be known about God is clear to them since God has shown it to them. The invisible things about Him—His eternal power and deity—have been clearly seen since the creation of the world and are understood by the things that are made, so that they are without excuse.
Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him or give thanks to Him as God but became futile in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools. They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, birds, four-footed beasts, and creeping things (Rom. 1:19-23).
A critical understanding from this passage is why natural mankind is "without excuse." It is that they innately understood there was a "greater power," yet they did not "glorify Him" and honor Him or even express their thankfulness. Instead, they created idols and images to represent this magnanimous, external "force" that was with them, sustained them and kept them. They "worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator" (v. 25b).
David declared in Psalm 24:1 (NIV): "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." He created it and called it "good." While the title deed to our dwelling place belongs to God, He has made mankind to "subdue" it (Gen. 1:28) as stewards. As such, we are to care for it and protect it.
As a matter of fact, we read in Revelation 11:18 (MEV) that those who abuse and "destroy the earth" will not go unpunished. We should treat the earth with the respect of knowing it is God's own possession and not ours.
When God had completed creation, He viewed everything and declared it "very good." He blessed humanity, which was made in His image, with a rich social and cultural life in this creation.
But soon God observed that "the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was continually only evil" (Gen. 6:5). The understood sovereignty of God over the earth and everything in it and on it was co-opted by various idolatrous cultures and evil spirits.
Much of what is pursued as ecology today is a humanistic rejection of God as Creator. Mankind has substituted an ethos that honors creatures and things rather than God, who alone deserves our praise.
Let us wisely commit to joining with the 24 elders in heaven saying:
"You are worthy, O Lord* to receive glory and honor and power; for You have created all things, and by Your will, they exist and were created" (Rev. 4:11).
(*Please see this video and learn this related Hymn: "Thou Art Worthy" by Pauline Mills.)
Ordained to the ministry in 1969, Gary Curtis is a graduate of LIFE Bible College at Los Angeles (soon to become Life Pacific University at San Dimas, California). He has taken graduate courses at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois, and Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. Gary served as part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, California, for 27 years (1988-2015); and served for the last 13 years as the vice president of Life on The Way Communications Inc., the church's not-for-profit media outreach. Now retired, Gary and his wife have been married for 50 years and live in Southern California. They have two married daughters and five grandchildren.
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