“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, 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.”
Through John, the Lord gave to us the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ. For the most part it describes judgment that is yet to come on the earth and its inhabitants. The verse above calls it the hour of God’s judgment. Similar to the verse above, Revelation 9:20, 21 states, “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” The LORD also relates in Revelation 16:9, 11, “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory… And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.”
Mankind will not repent even though God’s judgements are falling. By Revelation 14, fourteen of the 21 coming judgments have been described. This makes these verses surprising. It will be that far along in God’s hour of judgment when an angel will be sent to the people on the earth to preach the everlasting gospel, saying, “Fear God and give glory to Him, …and worship Him…” With a loud voice the angel will tell them, who are enduring God’s judgment, to be reconciled to Him! Even at that late hour, His arms are open wide to mankind!
What is the everlasting gospel that the angel will preach? Colossians 1:20-22 says, “For it pleased the Father that in (Jesus) should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:”
Imagine being holy and unblameable and unreproveable in the sight of God! Our good deeds will never have that impact. God took the action to reconcile mankind to Himself through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He came to earth to die under God’s wrath against sin. He bore in the place of mankind the punishment that they deserve for their sin. This is the everlasting gospel that has been preached since the resurrection of Jesus, and will be preached in that coming day by the angel.
There are two things that the angel will say that people must do. First, they are to “…fear God, and give glory to Him…” And, they must, “…worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” There needs to be a dramatic change for hearts to turn to Him like this; to worship, fear, and glorify God. Because of the fall of mankind, most of the world wants nothing to do with God. But, the only way to be reconciled with God is through the everlasting gospel of the LORD Jesus Christ, which God planned from before the foundation of the world. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes unto the Father but by me.” Once we repent of our sin and accept the sacrifice of Christ as being for us, He lives in us, the necessary change of heart happens, and we have free access to God, having been reconciled to Him. We also desire to worship, fear, and glorify Him.
In these three verses from the book of Revelation, we see that it will be possible for people to turn to God even in His hour of judgment, throwing themselves on God’s mercy, if only they would! The everlasting gospel will be preached for them to hear. It is God’s desire that people turn to Him even then. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” A way of repentance is always and will always be available until the end of the world!
We are not yet living in the days of God’s judgment. But, the everlasting gospel is available now for all who will come to the gracious, kind, merciful, good God.
Though all the world my choice deride,
Yet Jesus shall my portion be;
For I am pleased with none beside;
The fairest of the fair is he.
Sweet is the visions of thy face,
And kindness o’er thy lips is shed,
Lovely art thou, and full of grace,
And glory beams around thy head.
Thy sufferings I embrace with thee,
Thy poverty and shameful cross;
The pleasure of the world I flee,
And deem its treasures only dross.
Be daily dearer to my heart,
And ever let me feel thee near;
Then willingly with all I’d part,
Nor count it worthy of a tear. (Gerhard Tersteegen)