“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel. . .”
– Revelation 14:6a
The world is divided. The world is a mess. The world is hurting. The world is hurtling away from God headed toward a great dark eternal abyss. Not a very encouraging picture for sure. But as bad and gloomy as the world condition is today, and despite a present season of making things like America “great again,” there is a specific period of time in which God has designs to recover that which has been lost by sin. In the future, there is a seven-year period of time in which God will particularly work to rectify the problems wrought by sin in this fallen world. This is a time of God’s righteous outpoured wrath on a Christ-rejecting world. But God has a plan to save us from the wrath to come.
There are two ways to be spared from God’s righteous outpoured wrath. I’m not talking about different roads that lead to the same destination like some speak of differing religions being different roads to the same destination. No, each plan of escape from God’s righteous wrath involves Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Both of these escapes are grounded in scripture. One of these ways is admittedly more debated by people than the other. The other way is for the most part agreed upon by the scriptural Church. (I define “Church” here as the body of people who by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ have been forgiven their sins and regenerated by the Holy Spirit in a second birth, a spiritual birth – i.e. John 3; Ephesians 2:1-9; Titus 3:4-7).
The first way of escape, the one that is contested and debated is the Rapture. This is a Biblical doctrine that states born again believers in Jesus Christ will be removed by Jesus from this world before the seven-year Tribulation and God’s outpoured wrath. This Rapture is found in such passages as 1 Thessalonians 4:13 – 5:10. Jesus removes His bride the Church from this world by a supernatural extraction so that we are saved from the wrath to come (e.g. Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Revelation 3:10). While this is a worthy doctrine to discuss, this study is aimed at the second means of escaping God’s wrath, “the everlasting gospel.”
While the Tribulation is a time of God’s outpoured wrath on a Christ-rejecting world, it is still a time during which God extends further opportunity for Christ-rejecters to repent and receive the gospel. In Revelation up to this point we see God working to reach the Christ-rejecting world with 144,000 Apostle-Paul-like evangelists (Rev. 7 and 14), two prophetic witnesses (Revelation 11), and Tribulation saints (Revelation 12:11). As bad as this world of Christ-rejectors gets, God hasn’t totally given up on them. It takes a lot for God to give up on the lost. Unfortunately, God’s best and even extreme efforts to wake up the lost to their need to repent and receive the gospel, is rejected at times. “But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent. . ..” (Revelation 9:20-21; 16:9-11). In Revelation 14 we see one more last-ditch effort by God to reach out to the lost. Here we see God sending an angel with the “everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth.” And this angel will preach the everlasting gospel “to every nation, tribe, tongue and people.” This is further proof that God desires none to be lost but all to be saved. Even in the midst of His righteous judgement, God extends His hand of mercy and grace.
God takes no pleasure in the prospect of eternally lost souls. Quite to the contrary it grieves Him deeply to know that some will persist in their sin and rebellion and will join Antichrist, the False Prophet and Satan in the eternal fires of hell. It grieves God greatly to contemplate this but as a just God He ordains such a consequence to the sinful and rebellious. Ezekiel recorded God’s feelings in this regard:
- Ezekiel 18:23,31-32 – “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live? . . . 31 “Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?32 “For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!”
The apostle Peter wrote:
- 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
God makes every effort to provide the lost an opportunity to avoid eternal separation from Himself. He does not create some destined for hell and others destined for heaven simply on His whim. God desires all to be saved. He wants you to be saved if you aren’t already. He wants your unsaved loved ones saved. He wants all unsaved people saved. He offers an incredibly gracious piece of good news to us, the gospel of Jesus Christ. He offers this gospel, or good news to all those who are lost in sin. He offers the gospel in hope that the saved will turn to Him and be saved from their sin.
In Revelation 14 we see He will make use of an angel to broadcast internationally the everlasting gospel. God will use extraordinary means to reach the lost. He sent His only Son Jesus to pay the penalty for the sins of the world. And in Revelation He continues to reach out to the lost.
What is the “everlasting gospel”? In Revelation 14:6-7 God provides us with some valuable insight about His plans.
Revelation 14:6-7 – “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
What do these words tell us about the everlasting gospel?
First, the Everlasting Gospel is everlasting. The word “everlasting” (Greek aionios) means perpetual, eternal, forever, everlasting. This word means without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be, without beginning, without end, never to cease, everlasting. The everlasting Gospel is not something concocted by God to deal with the surprise of human sin. The everlasting Gospel has always been a part of God’s plan; it has no beginning or end. This implies incredible things about God’s nature.
Second, the Everlasting Gospel comes from the Everlasting God. Now note something. God is everlasting. God has no beginning or end. God simply is. This is what is implied in the Tetragrammaton or the most holy name of God. It is expressed in the English translation word for God “LORD,” all capitals. “LORD” means simply “I AM.” “LORD” is used 6632 times in the Bible. This is the name first used by God in Genesis 2:4. It is the name God told Moses to use with His people (Exodus 3:15).
If the everlasting Gospel has no beginning or end, then it means it was with God, in His mind, from all eternity. This implies that, God created the world with His Gospel in mind. It means God knew from the beginning that Adam and Eve would sin and that redeeming the human race from sin would be unfathomably costly. The Gospel is a part of God. The Gospel has been around as long as God has been around, and that’s forever!
If you knew that someone you invited into your life would eventually betray you and that it would cost you your precious only child to make things right, would you still invite that person into your life? We may not. For us such a cost would be too much to bear. But not for God. He created us and invites us into His eternal life even at the cost of His only Son Jesus. The only viable explanation for such action is love. God loves the lost world so much that He redeemed it with Jesus (e.g. John 3:16).
From the very beginning God has revealed Himself as everlasting. He did so in the first chapter of the first book (Genesis 2:4). And He does it through Abraham, the patriarchal father of our faith (Romans 4), was an altar builder who called on “the Everlasting God”:
- Genesis 21:33 (NKJV) – 33 Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.
Later, in the book of Isaiah, often referred to as “The Gospel of the Old Testament,” in His inspired words of outreach Isaiah the prophet refers to God in this most holy way of “Everlasting God.” Isaiah is inspired to write:
- Isaiah 40:27–31 (NKJV)
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
And speak, O Israel:
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And my just claim is passed over by my God”?
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
The point of the prophet is that God is real and sees all our ways, and that God is everlasting. And this Everlasting God is our Creator and beyond our comprehension concerning His “understanding.” Humanity will fall short every time, but for those who come to the Everlasting God, He is able to strengthen and lift us up.
Then in the New Testament Paul closes his most doctrinally clear and decisive letter to the Romans with a benediction that refers to “the Everlasting God”:
- Romans 16:25–27 (NKJV) – 25 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began 26 but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—27 to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.
God is everlasting and He has always had His gospel in view for humanity. That the Gospel is everlasting implies it was always a part of God’s plans. God demonstrates His own love to us in that while we were sinners, He sent Jesus to die on the cross and pay the penalty for our sins in order to redeem us (Romans 5:8). It means, God has always intended to pay the incredible sacrifice for our salvation; the death of His Son Jesus. It means God wasn’t surprised by humanities fall into sin, but created us anyway. That is love (1 John 4:17-19). That is truth (John 14:6 and 17:17). That is light (John 1:5; 1 John 1:5). That is the EVERLASTING Gospel.
Third, the Everlasting Gospel is worth sharing even with incredible means. John is inspired to write, “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel.” So important, so valuable, is the everlasting gospel, that God sends an angel from heaven with it to proclaim it. God is willing to use extraordinary means to share this Gospel with the world. What means are you willing to use to share this Gospel, to know it and make it known to others?
Fourth, the Everlasting Gospel should be preached. The word “preach” (Greek euaggelidzo) means announce good news, declare, bring, glad tidings, show glad tidings, preach, proclaim. “Preach” translates a Greek verb whose form (Aorist/Active/Infinitive) conveys decisive action. The Gospel is to be proclaimed decisively, powerfully. We know such powerful proclamation of the Gospel is something the Holy Spirit enables us to do (e.g. Acts 1:8; e.g. Acts 2).
The everlasting Gospel is news worth sharing. Its message is not something to be kept to ourselves. God used incredible means to proclaim the gospel, so should we. We need to get the word out about the gospel.
Fifth, the Everlasting Gospel is good news. The word “gospel” (Greek euaggelion) means a good message, good news, glad tidings. What the Everlasting God is proclaiming to the world in the Gospel is good news for us. We will see later just how good the Good News of the Gospel is. But the Gospel is news you should want to hear.
But we are in a war. The devil doesn’t want the sinner to hear anything good let alone the good news of God’s everlasting Gospel. The devil wants the sinner to focus on what they have to give up by receiving Jesus and God’s good news Gospel. The devil wants us to look at our sin as though our sin was actually good. He wants us to focus on “the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). But any “pleasure” associated with sin is “passing,” it’s temporary. It’s like giving a lollipop to someone with a hole in their heart, a God-shaped hole. It’s like putting a band aid on a gaping potentially fatal wound. Any pleasure associated with sin only serves to distract from the needed treatment of an eternal wound produced by sin.
But God who is good, has good news, has great news for those earth dwellers wounded by sin. God has great everlasting good news for those who have procrastinated away previous opportunities to receive His salvation from sin. Here in Revelation 14 is one last chance to hear and receive the message of the Gospel. If you haven’t paid attention and received Jesus as your Savior as per God’s good news of the Gospel, now is the time to do it. It just may be your last chance to do so.
Sixth, the Everlasting Gospel is made available to all people. This Gospel is proclaimed to “those who dwell on the earth – to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.” The good news of the Gospel is for all people. “Nation” (Greek ethnos) means race, tribe, foreigner, gentile, heathen. “Tribe” (Greek phyle) means an offshoot, kindred, tribe. “Tongue” (Greek glossa) refers to people of all languages. And “people” (Greek laos) means a people, a population, generally all people of any group. The everlasting Gospel of the Everlasting God is for ALL PEOPLE. No one is exempt from the Gospel. The good news of the Gospel is for all people.
This would contradict the idea that the Gospel is in some way only for a select elect. This contradicts the idea of a limited atonement. And the fact that God continues to use incredible means to share His everlasting Gospel implies His grace is resistible. God has created humanity in love. He has created us in His likeness (Genesis 1:26). One of the most important aspects of God’s likeness in human beings is their God-given ability to be self-determinate. We are created with the ability to choose. It is this ability to choose that also gives us the capacity to love. God created us this way knowing that humanity could choose to disobey Him and sin. That is what humanity did. We have rejected His love. But that didn’t stop God from creating us. Still, God desires none perish (2 Peter 3:9). We, all humanity, are the objects of God’s affection. His desire is to win us back to Him. Some caught in the lunacy of sin will persist in their rejection of Him; they will end up in the lack of fire (Revelation 20). But others will finally respond to His loving efforts. That He has the Gospel proclaimed to all implies all are given an opportunity to hear and receive the good news of the Gospel.
Seventh, the Everlasting Gospel brings sinful humanity into right relationship with God. The angel’s proclamation of the Gospel entails the following words, “Fear God and give glory to Him.” “Fear” (Greek phobeo) means to frighten, to be alarmed, to be in awe, to revere, to be afraid, to reverence, to fear exceedingly. The idea here is that we ought to seriously respect the One who has our eternal destiny in His hands. We should always approach God with reverence. We should never be so casual with God that we are disrespectful in some way. This is something greatly missing from humanity in our day. And unfortunately, this is something missing even from many churches. Jesus called us His “friends” (John 15). But no good friend disrespects a friend. Sin causes us to disregard and disrespect God (e.g. Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10). The Gospel will not only save humanity from their sin, it will bring people back to a reverence and awe of God. Are you in awe of God? Do you revere Him?
“Glory” (Greek doxa) means dignity, glory, honor, praise, worship. Lucifer was thrown from heaven because he sought self-glory and self-worship (e.g. Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28). Sinners do not give God glory. Sinners blaspheme God instead of give Him glory. Sin causes us to not see God for Who He is; our Creator and Sustainer and Savior and LORD! The Gospel helps to turn our focus from self to God. The Gospel turns us from seeking glory for ourselves to seeking glory for God. The Gospel brings us to a life of glorifying God (e.g. Matthew 5:13-16; 1 Corinthians 10:31). When we turn our eyes from ourselves to God we will be in right relationship with Him (e.g. Galatians 2:20).
Eighth, the Everlasting Gospel involves judgment. There would be no good news unless there was first bad news. It states, “for the hour of His judgment has come.” The truth is that each person will die and when they do they will face judgment before God (Hebrews 9:27). Life is like a vapor (James 4:14). Death is a certain end of life. This is due to the curse of sin (e.g.1 Corinthians 15:56-57; Galatians 3:10-13). But Jesus is the cure for this sin-curse (Romans 6:23). Life is a vapor, death is for sure, sins the curse, Christ is the cure. That’s the everlasting Gospel!
At the judgment of the sinner God’s perfect just and truthful assessment of each life and each sin will be considered. If a person is found to have rejected Jesus and the Gospel, the consequence will be eternal death in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20).
But listen to this everlasting truth that comes by the everlasting Gospel. If a person has trusted Jesus as their Savior, they will be saved from the consequences of their sin and ushered into eternal life with God (e.g. Romans 6:23). The person who turns from their sin to God and asks His forgiveness based on the atoning work of Jesus on the cross, that person will be forgiven (e.g. Acts 5:31; 13:38; 26:18; Ephesians 1:7). The person who is born again, or regenerated by the Holy Spirit, is given spiritual life (John 3; Titus 3:4-7). When the Holy Spirit comes into a person’s life, the evidence of new life, the fruit of it, is love (Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22). And that love, when it is matured in the Spirit, will result in no longer a fear of judgment, but an assurance of one’s standing with God (1 John 4:17-18; 5:13). For those who have Jesus as their Savior and Lord, there is an assurance of no more condemnation for sins because they are forgiven in Christ or by virtue of a person’s saving relationship with Jesus (Romans 8:1). This doesn’t mean we become so comfortable with God that we are no longer reverent toward Him. It simply means we have found God in Christ in a relationship that is balanced with a deep affection and love of God that in part exhibits such love in reverence and awe of God.
The Gospel is “good news” because it saves us from an eternity separated from God who loves us as well as saves us from an eternity of perpetual never-ending torment. There is a judgement coming, are you ready for it? Have you heard and received the Gospel? Have you been saved from the penalty for your sins through faith in Jesus Christ?
Ninth, the Everlasting Gospel seeks to reconcile sinners to worship God as Creator. Lastly, it states, “and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” As we mentioned above, the Gospel looks to restore humanity to a relationship with God. These words particularly define God as “Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Can you see the devilish implications of evolution here? The Bible teaches from its opening pages that this universe and all that is in it, is the product of the Creator God.
There are those who have bought into the theory of evolution. Evolution is the idea that all we see and all that is came to be through chance, separate from any Authority or creativity of “God.” There are Christians who have adopted aspects of evolution into their world view. They question whether or not the universe was created in six literal twenty-four-hour days or a more expansive evolutionary indiscriminate amount of time. There are those who have chosen to bend scripture to meet the theories of evolution. God’s word is not something to be trifled with let alone bent or twisted in some way. And in truth, the evolutionary theory is the classic example of the devil’s temptation “Has God indeed said?” (Genesis 3:1). Evolution brings into question the truth of God’s word. It is a slippery slope that, if accepted and adopted into life, erodes confidence in God’s Holy Word. Those who adopt evolutionary theory step out on thin ice.
The evolutionary theory leads to a rejection of Gods’ absolute truth. If the opening creation narrative is doubted, then what prevents people from bringing into question other uncomfortable portions of scripture? Evolutionary theory aims at cutting God out of realities’ life equation. Without “God” and the absolutes attributed to Him about right and wrong, truth and falsehood, humanity without God is free to rule itself and live by individual whims and fancy. This leads to confusion such as we see with the gender-identity trend at present. Without the holiness of God’s word and its absolutes, we have no firm foundation or direction to find and experience the abundant life Jesus spoke of (e.g. John 10:10). The world’s chaos and pain are in direct proportion to its distancing itself from their Creator. Sin has separated lost humanity from the One Who created them (Isaiah 59:1-2). There’s good reason why God, by this angel in Revelation 14, has chosen to link His everlasting Gospel with His Creatorship.
To fail to see God as Creator is to not worship Him properly. If God’s word is God’s word, then when we adopt evolution into our worldview it necessarily calls God a liar. To “worship” the Everlasting God is to see Him as our Creator. This is a core message of the good news of the Everlasting Gospel. Here the Everlasting God is described as “Him who made” (Greek poieo) which means to make or do, to execute, to exercise, produce, work, accomplish, perform, act. God is Creator. He made the “heaven and earth,” or in other words everything. There is nothing that has not been created by God our Creator. God is by nature the Creator. That’s not theory, that’s F-A-C-T!
Tenth, the Everlasting Gospel brings refreshment from the ravages of sin. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Sin leads us into a wilderness life. Sin exhausts us. Sin leads us on a path through a desert that has no water, no refreshment. Sin destroys us. And that upsets God who loves us. Sin is not bad because God forbids it. God forbids sin because it is bad. Sin beats us down and tears us apart. Sin destroys everything it touches. Sin separates us from the One who gives life; eternal life.
The good news of the Everlasting Gospel, that includes the truth of God as our Creator, will bring refreshment from the One who made, “the sea and springs of water.” Jesus said:
- John 4:13–14 (NKJV) – 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
- John 7:37–39 (NKJV) – 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
The everlasting Gospel is good news, it’s like a cold drink of water to those coming from a desert of sin. Are you thirsty for something more? Are you thirsty to know your Maker? Come to Jesus by grace through faith and you will be saved from the drought of your sin and refreshed with His living water.
Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). The word “know” here is translated from the Greek term ginosko. The idea of this word “know” in the original language meant to become aware, perceive (as in “seeing is believing”), to understand, to be conscious of, to see something or someone as it/they truly are (not merely opinion or speculation).
When this word is used in the sense of knowing someone it means:
- To know someone personally
- To be personally acquainted with someone
- To trust someone
- To have a friendship with someone
- To have an intimate personal relationship with someone
It is possible to know personally the only true God and His Son Jesus Christ. In light of this the question arises, do you know Jesus?
The Good News is that we can have a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Entering into such a relationship is as simple as ABC: Admit/Ask, Believe/Receive, and Confess/Call.
First Admit your sin and ask God’s forgiveness for them. Our sins separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). And we all have sinned and fall short of what it takes to enter heaven (Romans 3). We need to admit this truth before God. Once we admit our sin before God we need to ask God’s forgiveness for our sins. This implies turning from our sins to God (i.e. repentance). This is humbling but necessary. We come to Him on His terms not our terms. We come humbly before God who is Awesome and Holy.
Second, believe in Jesus and His atoning work. Jesus and Jesus atoning work on the cross alone, not our efforts or works, is the basis for God’s forgiveness of our sins. The wages or consequences of our sin is death. Jesus died on the cross in our place, paying our punishment for sin. God offers us salvation from our sins freely as a gift of His grace through Jesus’ death on the cross (Romans 6:23). We are saved from our sins because of His work not our work. To believe, trust, or put our faith in Jesus as Savior is not a “work,” it is God’s grace working in us (Ephesians 2:8-9). Once we believe in Jesus and His atoning work, we believe and receive forgiveness for our sins based on Jesus and His work. God has a just basis to forgive our sins because of Jesus justifying work on the cross on our behalf. Jesus paid our death penalty on the cross for us. He’s the only One qualified to do that. Jesus took our sins on Himself on the cross and when we trust in Him and His work, He offers us His righteousness to be put to our account (cf. Isaiah 53; 2 Corinthians 5:21). God did this for us in Christ because He loves us. God is Love with a capitol “L” (e.g. John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:8 and 16).
Lastly, Confess and call. We confess our sins to God and receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). But we also confess Jesus to those around us; we tell others about Jesus; we call others to follow Jesus too. These are not a works that lead to salvation. This is a fruit or evidence that salvation has genuinely taken place in us. The Bible states, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
Look up these verses and pray over them. “So, then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).