The term “everlasting gospel” is found only once in the Bible, in Revelation 14:6. In context of the crisis of the mark of the beast, an angel appears on the scene with the solution that will enable us to gain “the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name.” (Revelation 15:2)
John described, “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.” (Revelation 14:6) This angel represents God’s work through human agents to preach a message to “them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” This is the same message Jesus referred to when He said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14)
Just before the end comes the everlasting gospel will be preached in all the world. What is the everlasting gospel? The word gospel means “glad tidings” or “good news.” “As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15) So this message, that is to go to all the world at this time, is everlasting good news of good things. What good news could be everlasting good news? Someone might tell you, “I’ve got good news! You’ve just won a million dollars!” This might be good news, but it is not everlasting good news. Everlasting good news is good news that will be good news throughout all eternity.
Paul shed light on this question when he wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” (Romans 1:16, 17) The gospel reveals the righteousness, or the goodness, of God. Truly this is everlasting good news; good news that will still be good news a million years from now, and for all eternity.
Paul stated something else in these verses, which we need to particularly notice. He said the gospel is “the power of God unto salvation.” When the goodness and love of God is revealed to you it becomes the motivating power that changes your life. Paul expressed it in another place in this way: “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” (Romans 2:4) Understanding the goodness of God, His love, compassion, gentleness, and mercy, leads us to repentance and motivates us to continue serving God. Love is the agent that God uses to remove sin from our lives.
Now that we have a good understanding of what the everlasting gospel is designed to do, we can look at what this angel with the everlasting gospel has to say to us. He cried “with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”(Revelation 14:7) Two more angels immediately follow this angel, with additional information to help us gain the victory over the mark of the beast, but this is the only one that directly instructs us to take action. There are three things we are instructed to do:
1) “Fear God”
2) “Give glory to Him”
3) “Worship Him that made heaven and earth”
We can see that the first angel’s message is calling people to the acknowledgment and worship of the true God of heaven. Based upon what we just learned about the everlasting gospel, we know that this message is designed to reveal the goodness and love of God. Let’s analyze each of these commands.
To fear God does not mean to be afraid of Him as someone would be afraid of an enemy who is seeking to harm them. In fact, those who “fear the LORD, trust in the LORD” (Psalms 115:11) and love Him. “What doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 10:12)
When we fear God as He wishes us to, we will respect, reverence, love, and trust Him with all our heart. Fearing God means to respect Him for who He is, and be in awe of Him, realizing His greatness, power, and position. When we contemplate how great God is and realize that He tenderly loves us as a father pities his children, then we will love Him in return. This godly fear causes us to hate sin and turn from it. Solomon explained it in this way: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil.” (Proverbs 8:13) “By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” (Proverbs 16:6)
Fearing and loving God will cause us to turn from our sins and keep God’s commandments. Again Solomon wrote, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
The first part of this angel’s message is calling us to love, honor, respect, and fear the true God of heaven, which will cause us to turn from our evil ways.
Give glory to Him
Man was made to give glory to God. God said, “Every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” (Isaiah 43:7) It is our highest privilege to give glory to God. But how can we do this? Is it accomplished by singing praises to God? That is part of it, but giving glory to God includes much more. In order to give glory to God we must first understand what glory is.
One day Moses pleaded with God to show him His glory. He said, “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.” (Exodus 33:18) God, in His tender love and compassion, honored the request of Moses. He answered, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee.” (Exodus 33:19) Notice how this directly relates to what we have learned about the everlasting gospel being the good news about God’s goodness and love. God’s glory is primarily His goodness; His character of love.
God has given us a clear revelation of His glory through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. John wrote, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
The glory of God’s wonderful character of love was manifested in the life of Jesus Christ. When Jesus reached out His hand to lift a leper to His feet and give him healing; when He touched the eyes of the blind to give them sight; when He saw the multitude and was “moved with compassion,” it was merely a reflection of the what God the Father would do if He were in the same situation. For Jesus said, “The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” (John 14:10)
Paul wrote, “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) God has shined His light into our hearts for the purpose of giving us the knowledge of the goodness of God, which is revealed in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ reflected God’s character perfectly. Of all the people who lived upon this earth, Jesus Christ gave glory to God more fully and perfectly than anyone else ever has. He is our example. His life is the one after which we are to mold our lives.
Paul explained to us how we can give glory to God when He wrote, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) As we behold the goodness and love of God, we will naturally begin to reflect that goodness in our own lives. John put it this way, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.” (1 John 3:1) The more we see the goodness and love of God, the more we will love, praise, and give glory to Him. The only way we can truly give glory to God is by first beholding His glory; His goodness and love.
The second part of this message is calling us to behold God’s character of love and reflect that character in our lives.
The first angel finally comes to the climax of his message: worship. Notice the order in which this message goes forth. First we are called to fear, respect, and honor the true God of heaven. Secondly, we are called to give glory to Him by beholding His goodness and love, which will produce a corresponding goodness and love in our own lives. Finally, we are called to worship the only true God who made heaven and earth. If we do not fear the only true God, and give Him glory, we cannot possibly worship Him correctly.
Notice how David said we are to worship: “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalms 29:2) To worship God correctly we must give Him the glory He deserves, and worship Him in “the beauty of holiness”; with a holy life representative of the holy God we worship.
God commanded us, “There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.” (Psalms 81:9) A stranger is someone we don’t know. If God is a stranger to us, our worship is in vain. Paul said to the men on Mars’ hill, “For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” (Acts 17:23)
Jesus encountered a similar situation when He met a woman in Samaria. He said to her, “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:22-24) Jesus rebuked this woman for worshiping someone she didn’t know. In order to worship God correctly we must know Him, including who He is, and what He is like. Jesus said the true worshipers “worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” In spirit because their hearts have been softened and subdued by the transforming power of beholding God’s love, and in truth because they are worshiping the only true God (the Father) whom they have come to know in truth.
It is clear that the first angel’s message is calling us:
- to recognize God’s greatness and supremacy, reverence Him, and turn from our sins,
- to come to know the true God for who He really is by beholding His goodness and love, which will cause us to give glory to Him,
- to worship Him in spirit and in truth after coming to truly know Him.
This message comes at a time when most of the world is worshiping strange gods. It comes at a time when soon “all that dwell upon the earth… whose names are not written in the book of life” “shall worship” the beast. (Revelation 13:8) Worship is the testing point upon which God’s true followers will be distinguished from the majority of the world who worship the beast.
My friends, please take the time to carefully search the Scriptures daily, for your success or failure in the coming crisis depends upon a proper knowledge of, and love for, the only true God.