(14.6-7)     6     And 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,

7     Saying 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.


1.   There is great diversity of thought among commentators who interpret this passage. To make sure we do not err we need to make our way cautiously.


2.   “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven”   This is the first of a series of angels referred to in this chapter, and this is the second vision that John sees in this chapter. What is meant by the phrase “in the midst of heaven”? “From a Gr. term (“mid-heaven”) denoting the point in the noonday sky where the sun reaches its zenith. This is the highest point where all can see and hear.”[1]


3.   “having the everlasting gospel to preach”  Two questions here: First, what is “the everlasting gospel”? Is this the gospel like what we normally think of as the gospel, or is this some other good news? Second, are angels allowed to preach the gospel?


a.   What is “the everlasting gospel”? There are two views:


i.    John Mac Arthur represents one school of thought when he writes on this phrase, “The angel is preaching the good news concerning everlasting life and entrance into the kingdom of God (cf. Matt. 24:14; 1 Cor. 15:1-10). He is urging the people of the world to change their allegiance from the beast to the Lamb. It is also called in the NT the gospel of God, the gospel of grace, the gospel of Christ, the gospel of peace, the glorious gospel, and the gospel of the kingdom. It is good news that God saves by the forgiveness of sin and opens His kingdom to all who will repent and believe. The whole world will hear this preaching by the angel as God graciously calls all to salvation.”[2]


ii.    The other school of thought is represented by Lehman Strauss and John Walvoord. Let me read Strauss’ comments first:


The angel’s message is “the everlasting gospel.” There is nothing in the message about grace, the blood, redemption, or forgiveness. This is the burden of ‘the gospel of the grace of God’ (Acts 20:24), which is “the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1: 16). The message of the everlasting gospel is essentially that which has been proclaimed since God’s earliest dealings with man, namely, God is sovereign, and true happiness comes to those who recognize His sovereign right in the earth. The Creator only, and not the creature, must be worshiped. During the Great Tribulation, when false worship will prevail, God will once again state His claim to the worship of men. The everlasting gospel is a warning of impending judgment against the Antichrist and all who worship him. This is God’s last call to a wicked and apostate world, for the hour of judgment has come. The Creator has a claim upon His creature. Presently He attempts to woo men by the Holy Spirit on the ground of Christ’s death. Then He summons men by an angel to recognize and reverence Him as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.[3]


Walvoord’s comments run along a similar line of thinking:


The expression “the everlasting gospel,” actually without the article (“everlasting gospel”) is an arresting phrase. It is everlasting in the sense that it is ageless, not for any specific period. Ordinarily, one would expect this to refer to the gospel of salvation. In verse 7, however, the content of the message is quite otherwise, for it is an announcement of the hour of judgment of God and the command to worship Him.

Some expositors use the term “gospel” to include all the revelation God has given in Christ and hence conclude that there is only one gospel with various phases of truth belonging to this gospel. There are others who prefer to distinguish various messages in the Bible as gospel or “good news” even though they contain only one aspect of divine revelation, hence, the expression “gospel of grace,” referring to the goodness of grace, or to the gospel of the kingdom, dealing with the good news of the kingdom of God. The everlasting gospel seems to be neither the gospel of grace nor the gospel of the kingdom, but rather the good news that God at last is about to deal with the world in righteousness and establish His sovereignty over the world. This is an ageless gospel in the sense that God’s righteousness is ageless. Throughout eternity God will continue to manifest Himself in grace toward the saints and in punishment toward the wicked. To refer to the gospel of grace as an everlasting gospel is to ignore the context and usage of the term.[4]


My own opinion is that Walvoord and Strauss are more likely correct on this point.


b.   Next, are angels allowed to preach the gospel? I certainly do not think angels are allowed to preach the gospel during this dispensation that we live in. But what about the past? What about the future? Resorting to Strauss again: “An angel told Cornelius to send for Peter in order that Peter might preach the gospel to him, but the angel made no attempt to explain the way of salvation (Acts 10). But in the tribulation the wickedness of man and the power of Satan necessitates a change in the divine method, God will then resort to a method He used before Christ came to earth the first time (cf. Hebrews 2:2).”[5]


4.   “unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people


a.   We are dealing with God’s last call to the unsaved of the Tribulation era. This is the 8th time that the phrase “them that dwell on the earth” or “the inhabitors of the earth” is used in John’s Revelation.


b.   So, we know that “the everlasting gospel” is preached to unsaved people. Who else would the gospel be preached to? But using the phrase “them that dwell on the earth” might suggest to us that there will be no response to this presentation of the gospel . . . even though it will be presented “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.”


5.   “Saying with a loud voice”  Since this angel is flying “in the midst of heaven” and is preaching “the everlasting gospel” in a loud voice, just imagine how loudly he is speaking. You see, God is making sure that even when lost mankind does not want to hear this good news during that end time, he will have to listen to it.


6.   “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.


a.   Expressed in Tribulation terminology, the message is this, paraphrased: Fear God. Give glory to God. For these reasons . . . #1, the hour of His judgment is come, and, #2, because He is the Creator of heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of waters.


b.   So, how could this message be “the everlasting gospel”, since the word gospel means good news? Just to remind you, it is good when God expresses His righteous nature. It is good when God does what needs to be done. It is good when sinners get what is coming to them, even if it is grace when we who are Christians do not get what is coming to us. So, it has always been that God will righteously judge sin. That is why it is “the everlasting gospel.”

[1] See footnote for Revelation 14.6 from John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), page 2011.

[2] See footnote for Revelation 14.6 from John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, (Nashville: Word Publishing, 1997), page 2011.

[3] Lehman Strauss, The Book Of The Revelation, (Neptune, New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1963), pages 265-266.

[4] John Walvoord, The Revelation Of Jesus Christ, (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1966), page 217.

[5] Strauss, page 265.

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