Reading in Revelation 14 this morning. Three angels. Three envoys. Three messengers. The second warns that the world and its ways will fall. That the values and economy of “Babylon the great” are unsustainable and, before a Holy God, eventually intolerable. The third angel warns of judgment, the “wine of God’s wrath” poured out on those who determine to follow false gods . . . gods who set themselves in opposition to the One True God. But, as chilling as the warnings of angels two and three are, it is the first angel, and his message, which causes me to pause . . . and wonder . . . and worship.
Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7 ESV)
An eternal gospel . . . everlasting good news. That’s what the angel heralds to those who dwell on earth. And reading I’m reminded this morning that the gospel is:
ETERNAL AS TO ITS EXISTENCE. That, from before the foundation of the world, God, who lived and loved in perfect communion within His triune being, determined to bring others, who He would create in His image, into high and holy relationship with Himself. To show the extent to which He loves, He would do so though they would rebel and be soiled with sin. He would love them by means of the eternal gospel. He would provide the means for sinful men to commune with a holy God. The mystery of the gospel made known with the birth of a Savior, the death of a Lamb, and the resurrection of a Conqueror.
ETERNAL AS TO ITS ESSENSE. That while the mystery of the means of reconciliation was made known some 2,000 years ago, the essence of the good news has been in play since the garden. There blood was shed that sin’s shame might be covered up. The shedding of blood revealed as integral for redemption and the delivery of people from bondage. Foreshadowed in Israel’s exodus from Egypt. A journey made possible by a lamb slain, blood applied, so that holy judgment might pass over. The foreshadow brought to light at the cross of Calvary where God Incarnate . . . the Christ . . . Jesus, the Son of God . . . shed His blood as the Lamb of God come to take away the sin of the world. The blood shed so that, for all who would apply it be faith, they too might know deliverance from sin and an exodus to a promised land. The essence of the good news remaining throughout eternal days in glory, as those who look upon the throne of God see, in the midst, a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain (Rev. 5:6). And they drink forever of “the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1)
ETERNAL AS TO ITS EFFECT. And, it is the gospel which rescues, and redeems, and reconciles forever. Those purchased by blood are sealed by the Spirit, a deposit guaranteeing their inheritance, “to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:13-14). Those who hear and respond to the good news during their short time on earth, will learn of the gospel depths through eternity . . . and will enjoy it effects everlastingly . . . and will worship its Architect with wonder, awe, and worship, eternally.
An eternal gospel.
By God’s abundant grace . . . for God’s eternal glory.