Note: This is the first of a two-part series.
In Revelation 14:6-7, the apostle John speaks of a special messenger having an "eternal gospel" to preach to all those remaining alive on earth. "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.'"
The word "nation" in verse six is the Greek word ethnos, or we can say "ethnicity." So, this angel is to bring a great and final message in the end times to "ethnicities," or as the inclusive children's chorus reads "... red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight! Jesus loves the little children of the world!"
Actually, this eternal gospel exhortation by the flying angel is significant in that it seeks to draw "every nation [ethnicity] and tribe and tongue and people" to worship our Creator God, "who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."
Some might question why this great and final messenger would focus on creation. This eternal gospel (meaning "good news") is about the Maker of heaven and earth. He is the Creator of all things and therefore able to control and judge all things. He was incarnated to earth and therefore able to redeem and restore all who come to Him. If no other witness or circumstance had ever "spoken" to them, the "God-shaped vacuum" in the human soul may respond to this basic gospel message and the fearful witness of the end times.
Commentator Henry Morris has said, "The creation is the foundation of the gospel, the second coming is the 'blessed hope' of the gospel and the cross and empty tomb constitute the power of the gospel. ...One does not really preach the gospel unless he places and teaches all these together in their true majesty and fullness."
The Hope of Heaven and the Horror of Hell
This eternal gospel conveys both the hope of heaven as well as the reality of judgment and hell to come.
God's right to judge is also His sovereign right to reclaim the authority that had arrogantly been given by the god of this earth (Satan, the "dragon" of Rev. 13:3-8) to the "beast," the Antichrist of the last days, who exercised authority "over every tribe, tongue and nation [ethnicity]."
The urgency, which this final warning demands, is shown in the angel's loud voice (Rev. 14:7a), which boldly and bluntly declares, "Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment has come." The right for God to judge every soul is founded on the fact of creation. God made and owns it all!
The angel urged those still on earth to "worship and honor God! The time has come for him to judge everyone. Kneel down before the one who created heaven and earth, the oceans and every stream" (Rev. 14:7, CEV).
This last phrase reminds us of the "fountains of the great deep" which were broken up as God judged mankind in Noah's day (Gen. 7:4-12). The land/water/atmosphere complex, originally made by our Creator-God (Gen. 1-2), were all changed by the judgment of the Great Flood (Gen. 6), and this flying angel will warn that another great divine judgment is imminent! "Fear God, and give Him glory" (Rev. 14:7b, MEV).
Both lost men and fallen angels have rejected God as Creator and refused to repent of their sins. Godless evolution has deceived our children for generations! Paul reminds us that unrighteous men of old deceived themselves and "turned the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen" (Rom. 1:25).
Now, at the end of the age, this angelic messenger warns all remaining mankind that "the hour of His judgment has come." This is the eternal gospel, which both warns and encourages the inhabitants of the earth.
Warning: We All Are Accountable to God
The Bible teaches that "each of us will give an account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12). (See also 2 Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 4:13 and Revelation 20:11-13.) Jesus was clear: "I promise you that on the day of judgment, everyone will have to account for every careless word they have spoken" (Matt. 12:36, CEV). If other believers sin against us, we are to hold them accountable but also to freely forgive them (Matt. 18:15-17). Leaders are clearly accountable for their actions (see 1 Tim. 4:12, Heb. 13:17, Luke 16:10-12 and James 3:1).
It is interesting that when Paul witnessed to his fellow Jews, he sought to convince them that Jesus of Nazareth was the prophesied Messiah. But when he turned to the Gentile ethnicities, he first preached the gospel of creation (see Acts 14:14-17 and 17:22-30). Possibly this is why the angelic messenger urged all mankind, even those of isolated cultures or limited understanding, to turn in simple faith to the one who had created them, trusting Him to save them "from the wrath to come!"
Accountability in the Gatherings of God's People
After condemning sexual immorality among believers, Paul instructed the church at Corinth to remove a man from their fellowship who had ongoing sexual relations with "his father's wife" (1 Cor. 5:1-2, MEV). Then he warned: "Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch? Therefore purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new batch" (1 Cor. 5:6b-7a). We must hold fellow believers accountable to live up to the high calling we have in Christ. Gathered accountability is for our mutual sakes and to prevent the escalation of sin and its consequences in our gatherings of God's people (see 2 Sam. 12:1-14, Luke 17:3, Gal. 6:1-5 and James 5:16).
How about you?
One day, when least expected, while life is continuing as usual (as in Noah's day), the time and day of God's judgment will come (Matt. 24:37-39). Are you ready? Are you trusting in your ethnicity, education or social ideology to preclude any judgment that may await mankind in these last days? Are you hoping that God will "grade on the curve?" Don't do that!
In simplicity, follow these ABCs:
— Acknowledge your sins to your Creator-God.
— Believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, and His redeeming and reconciling work on the cross, as affirmed by the empty tomb and the teachings of His apostles.
— Confess Him to others as your Savior and transforming Lord of your life and future.
In the second part of this article, I'll talk about Jesus, the judge of all the world.
Gary Curtis served in full-time ministry for 50 years, the last 27 years of which he was part of the pastoral staff of The Church on The Way, the Van Nuys' California Foursquare church. Now retired, Gary continues to write a weekly blog at worshipontheway.wordpress.com and frequent articles for digital and print platforms.
Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.