Sunday, 4 April 2021
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— Revelation 14:6
After referring to the one hundred and forty-four thousand, John’s attention is redirected. With this redirection, he next writes, “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven.”
The Greek word mesouranéma was introduced in verse 8:13. It signifies the meridian, or the highest point in the heavens (the zenith), that the sun occupies in the middle of the day. It is not speaking of the space between heaven and earth.
Like much of the symbolism of Revelation, it shouldn’t be taken that the people of the world will look up and see this angel. Instead, John is describing what is occurring in the spiritual realm. For all we know, this angel represents a satellite beaming out a message, or it is simply a spiritual reality (such as people proclaiming a message) being depicted by this angel. Whatever is being conveyed, John next says that the flying angel has “the everlasting gospel.”
In the Greek, there is no definite article in the words. Rather than “the eternal gospel,” it should read something like “an eternal gospel,” or “an eternal message of good news.” Thus, it is not specifically referring to the gospel of Christ – His death, burial, and resurrection – but of a message of good news that has been all along and that will continue to be. What that message is will be explained in the coming verse. John says that the angel has the message “to preach.”
The word “preach” is the verb form of the noun just translated as “gospel.” Both the noun and the verb were introduced in the book of Matthew, and this is the final use of both in Scripture. Because there is no article before “gospel,” this should be translated as “proclaim” or “declare” rather than “preach.” The application is wider than just preaching to a crowd. It is a proclamation that is issuing forth. With this understood, John says the message is “to those who dwell on the earth.”
This proclamation is one that is eternal in its nature, and it is all-encompassing in its scope. In other words, it is a message that is proclaimed to all people at all times without limitations. As it is a proclamation to all who dwell on the earth, it means that judgment is coming because of not paying heed to it. The proclamation is without bias. Rather, it is “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.”
As this is so, it is in a universally understood language. This proclamation of an eternal message of good news is basic enough for a child to comprehend – even if not fully understood. It is also involved enough for the most intelligent scientist to not only grasp, but to be assured of the truth of it.
Life application: This eternal message of good news is going forth, even at this time of judgment known as the tribulation. Its purpose has been, and it will continue to be, a message calling people to repentance and turning to God. This is done because there have been, and there still will be, false gospels. Paul warned of them in the first chapter of Galatians –
“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be [b]accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9
Paul is referring to the gospel of Jesus Christ. But one cannot accept that gospel without first accepting the general tenor of the angel’s proclamation. God has never left the world without a testimony, but He has also allowed people to make up their own minds about who He is and the truth of His nature, character, and being. People are given free will and must exercise that free will by calling out to Him.
To state otherwise is to negate the very concept of love. If God doesn’t allow us to choose, then the choice is forced. If it is forced, then it cannot be accompanied by true love, which is a volitional act of the will. Forced love is no love at all.
The message from the Creator is always proclaimed to allow us to accept Him freely and to love Him because He first loved us. This is a truth from the beginning, and it was clearly and finally revealed in the giving of His Son. God has revealed the extent of His love for us in the giving of JESUS.
Lord, help us to get our thinking straight. You offer your gospel, and then we must respond to that offer. Once the offer is accepted, we are saved and granted eternal life. Help us to see that only by calling on You, and what You have done through Jesus, can we be saved. It is not by our own deeds, but by what You have done in the cross of Jesus – our Lord. Amen.