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. -Revelation 14:6-7
This is a strange phenomena we see here: an angel in Heaven proclaiming the “everlasting Gospel” to all on earth. And as this angel preaches, what does it record as the words of his Gospel? “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.”
“What sort of Gospel is this?” I found myself almost subconsciously thinking as I thought about his words recently while reading through the book of Revelation. Why, there is no mention of the Person or atoning blood of Christ, of the Resurrection or the finished work of the Savior, of the manner of repentance or a description of saving faith, how then can this be the “everlasting Gospel”? But then as I thought more I began to realize that this is not meant to be a thorough or exhaustive explanation of the Gospel, but rather a powerful declaration of that most important, foundational truth that the Gospel itself rests upon. And what is that most important foundational truth? -It is that the Gospel, the everlasting Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and everything in it, utterly rests upon the supremacy and glory of God, period. The Gospel is designed to exalt God above all. And this is what the angel himself declared.
“Fear God…”, the angel shouted. That is, God, the One who is infinitely exalted, who created all things, who dwells in perfect holiness and righteousness and justice and truth, the very God who rules all of creation, He is the One to whom men must give account. He is the One we all must fear. The Gospel starts here, where wisdom and knowledge start (Pro. 1:7, 9:10), with the fear of the Living God. All men must be brought to a point where the Holy Spirit so works in their hearts in the work of conviction that He shows them that they are hopelessly undone in and of themselves, hopelessly lost and unable to save themselves, and that God is a righteous judge who will punish sin, and causes them to see this and in the light of it strikes the holy fear of God in their hearts, a fear which causes them to depart from iniquity. We are commanded to fear God, but we do it not solely by necessity of command, but rather because that it is the first and proper response to having an understanding of how holy and awesome God really is. Fear Him! There is no other choice if you have a revelation of His holy character! He is jealous, He is a consuming fire, He is the great and terrible One! If you don’t fear Him, you have no idea who He really is! And thus the Gospel starts here, it starts with having a revelation of the nature and character of God, and as a result of having this revelation of who He is, of having the fear of Him strike your heart and lead you to repentance! There will be no genuine conversion and no real repentance if the fear of God is not understood in the heart -it may not be able to be explained with words or expounded upon with fine oratory, but in the heart of every true convert, there will be a healthy and real, holy fear of God.
The angel then goes on, “…and give glory to Him.” -And what is the chief, primary way in which all of us from among sinful men can give glory to God? The answer is clear: by believing in His Son! By trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ to save us and trusting solely in Him, by renouncing our own self-righteousness, our own works, our own self-sufficiency, our own self-reliance, and forsaking all of self-trust and radically looking to Christ and Christ alone for real salvation. We glorify God by turning our eyes from self and exalting the true King of the earth, the Messiah that came to redeem us. No sinner can truly glorify God as a way of life until they first believe in the Savior that God has provided, by Whose merit our offerings are made acceptable in His sight. The everlasting Gospel calls us to glorify God as our primary purpose and goal in life, and we fulfill this calling by believing in, trusting in, following, serving, and obeying the Lord Jesus Christ. When we die to self and allow Christ to manifest His real resurrection life through us, then the life we live is no longer our own, but Christ is continually glorified as He works in us and through us to fulfill the good pleasure of His own will. Our calling is to glorify God by loving Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. And we can only do this when Christ Himself lives in us by the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the abiding Word, and we allow ourselves to be transformed by grace and become channels through which God manifests this grace to the world around.
The Gospel starts and ends with the glory of God. The primary aim of the Gospel is not merely to meet the need of man, as great and desperate as that need is, especially in the necessity of eternal salvation. That is certainly a great aim of the Gospel, but it is not primary. The primary aim of the Gospel is the glory of God, it is to glorify God. The salvation of man is so significant only because it gives glory to God. But the order is clear, first is God’s glory, and then is man’s need. Don’t get is backwards, or else you twist the everlasting Gospel into something else. Our calling is to give glory to Him, first by trusting in His Son, and then by living for His Son. Believe in Him, and worship Him. There is no other greater reason for existance.
The angel shouting the everlasting Gospel is declaring the utter supremacy and glory of God above all peoples and things, and this should cause us all to humble ourselves in repentance and to glorify Him by trusting in and obeying His Son.
Dear soul, have you thus gave glory to God?
Just the ponderings of a foolish thing of this world.