Throughout the book of Psalms, King David often asked God the question, 'When will You judge your enemies?' In Chapter 14 of Revelation, God finally sends the answer.
From the Lips of Angels
Has it ever occurred to you that every major religion believes in the existence of spirit guides in general and more specifically in angels?
Is it any wonder that scripture delivered a warning to the 1st century church that if an angel from heaven delivered a gospel to them contrary to the gospel delivered by the Apostles, the church was to it but consider it accursed? (Galatians 1:9)
It’s interesting to note that Paul doesn’t rule out the possibility of angels delivering the gospel. He doesn’t say, “Aw, that’ll never happen!”
In fact his point assumes the possibility and he what he does do is warn the believer that if an angel came and delivered a different gospel . . . don’t listen. In other words, you’d know it was wrong, not because an angel delivered it, but because it was a different set of truths.
What a needed warning. Study the major religions of the world and you’ll discover many of them base their foundational beliefs on messages from angels.
The history of Islam traces its roots to their great prophet Muhammad received his call from the angel Gabriel and received instruction from Gabriel along with the call to become the prophet or apostle of God. He received from Gabriel information to begin reciting to his followers.
But it is a different gospel.
The prophecies of Muhammad effectively demoted Jesus to being one of six prophets, the last one of course being Muhammad.
To further reveal the differences between Muhammad’s gospel and the gospel of Christ, Muhammad taught that Christ did not die on the cross to atone for the sins of mankind – in fact, it was Judas who died on the cross instead of Christ.
Now, according to Islam, your hope for heaven is in being a faithful Muslim and following the Articles of Faith and the Five Pillars of Faith which enable one to earn heaven.
The angel of Islam preached another gospel.
Buddhism is another world religion in tune with spirit beings; voices from the world beyond that effectively teach you to find salvation in yourself.
It is a different gospel.
In one of his final messages, the dying Buddha was instructing a young monk and others as he gave this parting advice – which is immediately understood as tragic by the believer; “I am old now, and full of years; my journey nears its end and I have reached my sum of days, for I am nearly 80 years old. You must be your own lamps, be your own refuge. Take refuge in nothing outside yourselves; hold firm to this truth as a lamp and a refuge and do not look for refuge to anything besides yourselves. Conquer the cravings and depressions of ordinary men . . . whoever among my monks does this, either now or when I am dead, if he is anxious to learn, he will reach the summit
One of the world’s fastest growing religions is Mormonism, although it has slowed down quite a bit in the last decade.
Elohim then came to planet earth and had relations with Mary, so that Jesus could be given a physical body and the plan of salvation begin. Jesus grew up and married Martha, Mary and Mary Magdalene. After His death and resurrection, He came to the Americas and preached to the Indians, whom Mormonism believed were actually the lost tribes of Israel.
By the way, that particular doctrine has now created quite a problem because of the discovery of DNA which is having a bit of a problem connecting Native American Indians to the Jewish people.
No matter, it’s a minor point they say.
According to their gospel, the last living follower of Jesus recorded God’s plan of salvation by writing it on golden plates in ancient Egyptian symbols. For 1400 years they lay undiscovered until a direct descendant of Jesus and his 3 wives, a young man named Joseph Smith, discovered those golden plates. He soon received visits from an angel Moroni, and with his help, Joseph was able to translate the golden plates and give the world a completed gospel. In his gospel, faithful Mormons will one day inhabit their own planet and live as polygamous gods – spawning their own race for all of eternity.
This is another gospel.
So in just these three religions, the angels Moroni and Gabriel and other spiritual guides have influenced the lives of millions of people around the world.
Evidently these angels aren’t talking to each other very well, because they have created conflicting, contradictory versions of the gospel.
Joseph Fielding Smith, a former president of the Mormon church, named after its founder, wrote, and I quote, “There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. No man can reject [his] testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
That stands in direct contradiction to the Apostle’s message where he preached, of the resurrected Christ, “There is salvation in no one else.” (Acts 4:12a)
This is the gospel of Christ.
The word, “gospel” comes from the Greek word, euanggelion (euaggelion) . It simply means, ‘good news’, or ‘good tidings.’
The first century of the Apostles knew well the use of the word “gospel” as good news. In fact, we have illustrations of the use of the word with religious connotations.
Even more than that, we can clearly see throughout history, how Satan, the counterfeiter and deceiver, mimicked many of the terms related to the gospel of Jesus Christ with his own false rulers – before the birth of Christ and afterward.
Archeologists uncovered a white stone with writings on it, dating back to the time of Caesar Augustus in 27 BC. It was an edict issued as political propaganda which celebrated the glory of this first emperor of the Roman Empire and it actually used among other phrases, the word “gospel”.
Listen to this counterfeit, gospel message.
- The edict said that God had sent Caesar Augustus to earth to be a savior;
- His coming to earth would bring peace;
- His birth was said to be the beginning of life and breath;
- And his honor was to last forever;
- Then the edict closed by saying that the birthday of Augustus “was the beginning for the world of the gospel – it was the beginning of good tidings.”
No wonder when Paul and John proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ, their message faced immediate conflict. Their gospel was different from Rome’s gospel!
In Revelation 14, the word – gospel – is used one time. It’s the word that gives us our transliterated word, evangel.
And right in the middle of that word, evangel, whether Greek or English, is the word angel or “angel”.
The gospel was a message. An angel was a messenger of those tidings. In fact, the Greeks used the word for children who brought news, women, slaves, ambassadors, anything or
anybody capable of delivering a message.
When the runner brought the good tidings that Athens had defeated the Persians at Marathon, he was called an angel by the classical Greek writers.
And angel is indeed a messenger.
Angels throughout scripture served as God’s messengers.
They brought messages:
- to Daniel (Daniel 8);
- to the priest and father of John the Baptist (Luke 1);
- to both Joseph and Mary (Matthew chapters 1 & 2);
- angels brought messages to the shepherds in Luke 2;
- to Phillip in Acts 8;
- to the women outside Christ’s tomb (Matthew 28)
- and to Paul in Acts 27.
And we discover angels playing a significant role in the events of the end times:
- they will gather the unbelieving world for judgment (Matthew 13);
- they will gather the believers for glory (Matthew 24);
- they accompany the Lord Jesus when He returns to earth in triumph (Matthew 25).
- They will initiate disasters upon the earth (Revelation 8)
And now as John the Apostle records another preview of things to come, he delivers to us his vision of three more angels; three angelic messengers with three messages.
The first angel, in Revelation 14, delivers the gospel which reinforces creationism.
The second angel delivers the gospel which includes consummation.
The third angel delivers the gospel which warns of condemnation.
God is graciously offering sinners another opportunity to repent before the final outpouring of his wrath in coming judgment.
Lets rejoin our exposition of Revelation chapter 14 at verse 6. And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven.
Where’s that? The Greek word refers to the point in the sky where the sun reaches its high point at noon.
In other words, no one can miss him. The antichrist can’t shoot him down; the human race can’t ignore him. I can imagine the scene as he begins to speak, high in the air. Billions will pour out into the streets and fields to listen to what this messenger has to say.
Now remember, by this time through the Tribulation, the world has seen its share of miracles. The antichrist has been brought back to life; the false prophet has called fire down from heaven; God has poured one judgment upon the earth after another – tidal waves, earthquakes, epidemics; 1 out of 4 people have already died.
If there was ever a time when mankind would be ready for the gospel, it would be now.
So here comes the first of 3 angels, flying around the globe, high in the sky, notice, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.
Today, the church is responsible for the proclamation of the gospel. But here, in the Tribulation, with the church having been raptured, God will shift His methods, as we’ve seen, so that the gospel is delivered by 144,000 Jewish evangelists, 2 unique witnesses, converted people of all nations, tribes and tongues and now here, an angel.
But would you notice his gospel is not unique or altered in any way.
John calls it here in verse 6, the eternal gospel.
It is timeless and unchanged. It is the same gospel that has been preached throughout human history – that mankind is sinful and in need of atonement in order to be right with God.
The pre-Christ world looked forward to the coming Messiah who would suffer for the sins of the world (Genesis 3:36).
The people of the Old Testament world were delivered the gospel from Adam to Isaiah that there was a coming suffering One upon whom the Father would place the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
We would be atoned for by the Son of God.
The ancient world looked forward to the cross, where we look back in faith to the cross of Christ where He bore our sins in his body on the tree (I Peter 2:24)
Listen, no matter where you go in the world you find mankind trying to deal with the reality and stain of sin.
I have watched people scrubbing themselves in the putrid water of the Ganges River in India; Hindu pilgrims believing that the river was a gift that dripped down the hair of their god Shiva so that mortals could wash themselves and free their souls.
Mankind the world over intuitively understands the concept of some kind of atonement.
This eternal gospel is not new. It is the gospel of the Lamb – the merits of the atoning Lamb of God who paid in his death sacrifice for the sins the world (1 John 2:2).
This is the gospel!
Throughout the Bible the word for gospel is described in various terms, each looking at it from a different viewpoint:
- the gospel is called the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 4:23);
- the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1);
- the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24);
- the gospel of God (Mark 1:14);
- the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4);
- the gospel of salvation (Ephesians 1:13);
- the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15);
- and the glorious gospel (1 Timothy 1:11).
When you understand that the word “gospel” means good news, this then is the eternal good news.
This is then:
- the good news about Jesus Christ;
- the good news about the grace of God,
- the good news about the glory of Christ,
- the good news about the truth path to peace with God
- and the good news that you can indeed be forgiven and saved from the wrath of God.
And here you have the gospel, John writes, being preached by an angel. And it is consistent with the gospel preached by Paul and the Apostles.
The Gospel of Creationism
Now, notice verse 7. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come.”
Fear God and give Him glory.
Now remember, this is being said in the middle of the Tribulation when people are in fear of the Antichrist and giving him glory.
So make a shift – transfer your reverence from the Antichrist to the Lamb.
To fear God means to reverence Him and honor Him.
Solomon wrote that the fear of God is the beginning of true wisdom (Proverbs 23:17); Peter challenged his reads to fear God (1 Peter 2:17).
The world would be fearful of retribution by the Antichrist and his murderous agenda against all who follow Christ.
Christ’s earlier words would ring in their ears, “Don’t be afraid of someone who can only hurt your body temporarily; fear God who is able bring torment to both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28).
The angel not only preached from the sky for mankind to fear God but to glorify God.
And give him glory!
That means to elevate Him and honor Him and exalt Him – for He is worthy of all glory!
And what happens to be that one special area where humanity is judged for refusing to give God glory?
More than ever – not just the world outside of religion, but the world of religion – is stepping up to honor and thank Charles Darwin for his theory of evolution.
It began in February 2006 with a special Sunday marking the birthday of Darwin. Supporters said, their religious services and sermons on evolution – I can’t imagine the number of biblical texts that were tortured that Sunday – these services were planned and I quote, “to stand up to creationism which holds to a literal interpretation of the Bible.”
In 2007 they changed it from Evolution Sunday to Evolution Weekend so more faith systems could be a part of it.
In February, 2009 – just last month – they celebrated it again – somehow we missed it – but listen, more than 12,000 ministers and churches participated. Over 400 Rabbis participated.
To do what? To honor the work of Darwin and his theory of origins over and against the record of scripture.
I guarantee your they stayed away from Romans chapter 1. That wasn’t in their bulletins that Sunday.
Paul wrote to the Romans, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all un godliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth . . . that which is known about God is evident . . . for God made it evident to them – how? Since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes of power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew – intuitively – about God, they did not glorify God or give thanks (Romans 1:18-21)
Listen, the Apostle Paul was writing that in the face of evolutionary pantheists; the gospel in the first century was confronting Buddhism which had already reached the Mediterranean world with their own theories of evolution.
The church was delivering the gospel to the Stoics and Gnostics who disbelieved in a personal God and special creation – and they were the scholars of Paul’s generation.
How important is creationism to the gospel?
I’m so glad you asked. Let me give you 3 statements to answer that, in honor of Darwin’s birthday, since we missed it last month.
Number 1: The credibility of Jesus Christ requires creationism.
Jesus Christ said, and He was not uninformed, But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female (Mark 10:6).
He did not say, “After millions of years of evolution, male and female humans finally evolved but, at the outset/beginning of creation, man and woman were created.
And He wasn’t saying that because He happened to be around. John’s Gospel records, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” later in the chapter John says, in case you’ve missed it, the Word is Jesus Christ. He goes on to say in verse 2, All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
In other words, Jesus Christ wasn’t just casually present at creation, He was the creative power behind creation.
So for those who might tell you that creation is only in Genesis and the rest of the Bible doesn’t make a big deal about it – my friend, the credibility of Christ’s word and witness hangs on it.
Secondly, not only does the credibility of Christ require creationism, the gospel of Christ is tied to creationism.
There can be no mistaking this. The Apostle Paul said this to the intelligentsia of his day, “We preach the gospel to you – there’s that word the angel uses in Revelation 14 – we preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.” (Acts 14:15)
Why should Paul’s audience turn from their idols and their speculations? Because this gospel introduced them to the true and living God who created everything that is.
You can’t get any clearer than that.
Not only is the credibility of Jesus Christ tied to creationism and the gospel tied to creationism,
Thirdly, the future judgment of the world is coming at the hands of its Creator God.
Look again at the text in Revelation 14:7 Fear God and give Him glory (why?) because the hour of His judgment has come; [so you’d better – implied] worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and the springs of water.
The world may not want to deal with a Creator God now, but it will deal with Him in the future.
Evolution eliminates the God of Genesis, but they still got a problem with the God of Revelation.
Genesis reveals a God who created the human race, Revelation reveals He not only created the human race, he will one day judge the human race.
In light of that coming day, this angel preaches the gospel of repentance and faith . . . honor and glorify and reverence Creator God.
Can you imagine the utter folly of the church honoring instead of Creator God, an evolutionist?
Is the church that lost? Is the church that bored with the gospel?
Do we not have more than enough to honor and glorify in our Savior?
Listen, by the grace of God, our church will never have “Evolution Sunday”.
We choose to be out of step with our world.
We’re not even gonna have Evolution Monday or Tuesday either.
We don’t celebrate Evolution Sunday, we celebrate resurrection Sunday.
We honor and exalt and worship, just as this angel encourages the world to do, our creator Lord who is coming again to rule and reign.
So the first angel preaches the gospel which hinges on creationism.
The Gospel of Consummation
Notice verse 8. And another angel – here comes the second in this trio – a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.”
When we arrive at chapter 17 we will unpack the symbolism of mystery Babylon (17:5)
But for now, understand that Babylon was founded in Genesis 10 by an idolater named Nimrod. It became the site of the first organized system of religion that opposed God. It built the tower of Babel whose top reached the heavens. (Genesis 11:4)
What that meant was the top represented the heavens as the early Babylonians developed the Zodiac and began to effectively bow before the movements of the stars, believing their lives were governed, not by a Creator God, but by created stars.
How popular is the religion of Nimrod today? Millions of people believe their lives are ordered by the horoscope – and they have their devotions in the newspaper or online every single day.
Babylon was the first system of idolatry devised by mankind. Here’s a fascinating point to consider; as humanity was united in the first idolatrous false religion at Babel, so will it again be united in the end times, under the name of Babylon. History will thus come full circle.
It started with Babylon and it ends with Babylon.
But notice that this angel speaks of Babylon as if it has already fallen. The twice repeated word, “Fallen” is for certainty and emphasis.
Babylon has fallen . . . it will most certainly fall.
The first angel preached the gospel of creation.
This angel preaches the gospel of consummation.
In fact, from his vantage point, it is as good as done. In other words, Babylon hasn’t fallen yet – in fact, it is the pride of the Antichrist. But it will fall.
This angel shouts from on high, “The obituary of Babylon has already been written and the fall of world religions that oppose our Creator God is guaranteed.”
No matter what the stars might say.
I remember touring for my Christian college one year in a singing group; we traveled through 30 different states – rather quickly.
It was on that tour that I began preaching to high school assemblies and God began to change my desire from wanting to be a history teacher to becoming a pastor/teacher.
We traveled to and sang in nearly 200 churches and schools.
While we were out in California, we took some time off to tour one of the major Hollywood film studios. Our tour included some amazing movie sets, stunt shows, trained animal demonstrations and a behind the scenes look at how movies were made.
We will never forget our amazement at how the film industry so cleverly fooled the American public. They could make anything look real.
This is gonna really date me, but they showed us how the 6 Million dollar man jumped to the top of a building. Does anyone remember The 6 Million Dollar Man? It was really bad acting, but the good guys always won. Well, he would stand in front of a screen with the building on it – he’d jump and they’d scroll the building down to make it look like he jumped to the top.
Our tour led us to a pond where much of the movie Jaws was filmed – you remember the movie Jaws? It scared a generation of kids away from the water. Jaws was nothing more than a sharks head made out of different materials and then covered with water resistant paint.
What struck me the most, later in the tour, was walking down a short alley and being shown Leave it to Beaver’s home – I really am old.
You remember that show? Beaver’s father wore a necktie to cut the grass in; Beaver’s mother fixed dinner wearing a dress and high heels.
You may remember the opening to the show how the camera panned the neighborhood, Beaver’s front lawn, and then that big two story house.
Well, that 2-story house and the houses next to it were nothing more than sheets of plywood nailed together, propped up and painted to look like the front of a house. There was a front door that opened into the back alley. If you went around to the back, you could see all the 2 by 4’s bracing the plywood facade. From the front it looked real. It was inviting. It was everything you’d want your house to be.
Millions of people watched Beaver go through the front door. But it was all make believe.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Satan and his angels have done an incredible job presenting their versions of the gospel . . . life after death . . . how to wash away your sins . . . heaven and how to get there. It sounds real. Millions of people believe it. Babylon looks real, inviting . . . it appears to be permanent.
But when compared to scripture, it’s all make believe . . . it is religious plywood, propped up with counterfeit visions and false prophets and angels of light and plagiarized truths.
The truth is, you can believe another gospel – the tidings of any number of angels today.
And if it were not for this text in Revelation 14 you might not be too concerned about following the wrong angel.
I commend you, my friend, to the gospel delivered by this messenger from God.
It is the everlasting gospel of an everlasting Lord who is a living, creating, resurrected Savior who is capable of leading you into everlasting life.
This gospel both warns and gives assurance,
There is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be – we can be saved. (Acts 4:12)