Rev. Mark H. Creech
In chapter 14 of the book of Revelation, there are references to several angels performing specific actions, such as proclaiming the eternal Gospel, warning the world of a coming judgment, and harvesting the earth of souls. These angels reassure us that the cloak of night during the last days will be short-lived.
The late Dr. Billy Graham wrote for his devotional book, Day by Day:
“The Bible says that because he realizes his time is short, Satan’s activity will increase. But his evil activities are countered for the people of God by his ministering spirits, the holy ones of the angelic order. Christians should never fail to sense the operation of angelic glory. It forever eclipses the world of demonic powers, as the sun does a candle’s light. If you are a believer, expect powerful angels to accompany you in your life experiences. And let those events dramatically illustrate the friendly presence of ‘the holy ones’… Certainly, the eye of faith sees many evidences of the supernatural display of God’s power and glory. God is still in business.”
God is indeed always in business, even during the most tumultuous times of the Tribulation period when his angels play a significant role.
Angels exist first to serve God. More specifically, they worship and praise God (Isaiah 6:1-3, Revelation 4:8), carry out God’s judgment (Genesis 19:1-13, Revelation 15:1-7), serve as God’s messengers (Luke 11:1-20, Acts 8:26, Hebrews 1:14), and protect and guide his people. (Psalm 91:11-12, Daniel 6:22, Acts 12:7-10).
Angels are not to be worshipped. Neither are they the spirits of people who have died, nor are they glorified human beings (Hebrews 11:12,22,23).
There are numerous biblical accounts of angels appearing before people.
In the book of Daniel, angels appeared multiple times to him, including in visions (Daniel 10:1-14). In Genesis 28:10-17, Jacob saw a vision of a ladder reaching up to heaven, with angels ascending and descending upon it. The angel Gabriel appeared before the Virgin Mary in a vision announcing she would miraculously conceive the Savior of the world (Luke 1:26-38).
Physical manifestations would include the two angels that appeared at the tomb of Jesus after his resurrection. Two angels also turned up before the disciples at the ascension of Jesus, assuring them Jesus would return one day (Acts 1:10-11). When the apostle Peter was imprisoned, an angel physically came to his prison cell and set him free (Acts 12:6-10). When Paul was onboard a ship that encountered a violent storm, an angel stood next to him and told him that no lives would be lost and that he would surely stand trial before Caesar (Acts 27:23-25).
Angels have appeared to people in modern times, too.
A friend of mine, Eddie, was in a dreadful head-on collision crash with another car traveling at high speeds. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) rushed him to a nearby hospital to save his life. His injuries were life-threatening and his probability of survival was low.
When Eddie started to regain consciousness, his family was at his bedside. Because the accident occurred on a rural highway where no one had seen or knew what caused the accident, Eddie’s parents asked him, “Son, can you tell us what happened?” Eddie replied, “I don’t know, but I do know how I got here.” Pointing to the right and left sides at the head of his hospital bed, he added, “These two angels brought me.”
Eddie fully recovered, but later remembered nothing about how the accident occurred, his parent’s question, or the angels he saw at the head of his bed.
Several years ago, after I had finished a speaking engagement, I was walking to my car when I saw a man on the sidewalk swaying and staggering. At first, I assumed he was drunk, but when I approached him and got a better look, I realized he was in the throes of a heart attack. While supporting him with my arm around his waist, he suddenly collapsed to the ground. I checked to see if he was still breathing, and was mortified to find that he wasn’t. I didn’t know CPR. So, I started yelling at the top of my voice for help. No one was anywhere nearby, except one lady far in the distance who seemed to ignore my desperate pleas while she disappeared inside a building.
When I frantically turned my attention back to the poor soul laying on the ground, a man suddenly appeared from nowhere to give aid. He immediately started CPR. Strangely, after giving only one chest compression, the gentleman whose face seconds before had been the pale color of death, started to breathe again and regain consciousness.
I later learned the woman who seemingly ignored my cries for help had actually heard me and gone inside to access a phone and call 911.
By the time the EMTs arrived, much of the danger had already passed and the EMTs congratulated me on a job well done. “You saved that guy’s life,” they said exuberantly as they placed him on the gurney. I replied, “No, I didn’t. I can’t take credit. That man did it. A man showed up and performed CPR.” Confused, they asked, “What man?”
I tell you the truth, the one who provided life-saving support that day was nowhere to be found. I looked around everywhere trying to find him, but he had disappeared just as mysteriously as he had appeared. I’ve always wondered whether that fellow was an angel in human form sent by God.
In Revelation 8, an angel that was like an eagle flew through mid-air proclaiming ‘woe’ to the people on earth. Now in Revelation 14, there emerges an angel in mid-air who proclaims the eternal Gospel. Here is what the Scriptures say:
“And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. ‘Fear God,’ he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6-7).
There are several places throughout the Bible where angels indirectly provide messages related to the Good News (Gospel), but never directly.
In Luke’s account of the angels who announced Christ’s birth to the shepherds, it says they proclaimed “good news of great joy” that a Savior, Christ the Lord, had been born. However, this was not the same as proclaiming the eternal Gospel.
Matthew’s account of the resurrection says angels appeared at Jesus’ empty tomb and told the women the good news that Christ had arisen, and they were to go tell his disciples. But this was not the same as proclaiming the eternal Gospel.
The book of Acts says an angel directed Philip to embark on a desert road, where he would encounter an Ethiopian Eunuch with whom he should share the Gospel. Still, even this was not an angel directly proclaiming the Gospel.
Nonetheless, Revelation 14:6-7, says an angel flies through the sky and proclaims the “eternal Gospel” during the end-times.
When looking through the Bible’s pages, it becomes apparent that sharing God’s revelation of himself and his offer of reconciliation has always been reserved for the people he chose solely from the ranks of humanity.
Initially, God chose the Israelites to represent him, but they failed miserably in this mission. Later, the church was commissioned to take the gospel to “all the nations,” but Revelation shows the church falling short, too. By the time one reaches the pages of chapter 14 of Revelation, the true church of Christ has been raptured, and only an apostate church is left – one that bows down to the Dragon.
At this point, the 144,000 may still be upon the earth, but the oppression and tyranny of the Antichrist are likely to be so pervasive it will be near, if not completely impossible, to get the Gospel message out. Moreover, the primary focus of the 144,000 will be directed toward the salvation of their brethren, the Jews.
There isn’t much time left and only one method remains to fulfill Christ’s prophetic words recorded in Matthew 24:14:
“And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.”
Yes, this is the last call of the Gospel and it’s delivered by an angel. This is the last chance people of the earth will be allowed an opportunity to repent of their sins and trust Christ as their Savior and Lord.
When I was in my early teens, my mother and father came home from a long trip and told me about a horrific automobile accident they witnessed on their travels. They said several dead bodies were sprawled across the road. The accident occurred just after one of the vehicles pulled out of the parking lot of a bar called, “Last Chance.”
How many people, after hearing the good news of God’s offer of forgiveness and eternal life, having never responded, are abruptly and unexpectedly thrust into eternity unprepared to meet their Maker?
The angel who flies through the sky sharing the Gospel message in Revelation 14 is giving “the people who belong to this world” their last chance. Henry Morris says of these people in The Revelation Record:
“The people on earth will no longer be ignorant of God. Not only have they had access to the Bibles and Christian literature left behind when believers were raptured, but they have also heard the testimony of Enoch and Elijah [the two witnesses] for three and a half years, have experienced many great divine judgments on earth, have seen and heard angels of God flying through the skies, and have realized at least in measure what is really happening in heaven and earth. Yet they still reject God and his Christ and are in imminent danger of receiving the mark of the beast and thus forfeiting all hope of repentance and salvation.
“God, in his infinite grace, will thus send forth a mighty angel, flying back and forth across the skies, loudly proclaiming the Gospel from one place to another, covering every nation and tribe and speaking in every language so that no one at the coming judgment will be able to say that he hadn’t heard.”
For some, it might seem the message of this angel is anything but good news. It’s a message calling on people to “fear God,” to “give God glory,” which means to respect, honor, and acknowledge his greatness, holiness, and authority. The angel’s message is a dire and urgent warning that the time of God’s judgment has arrived.
In this current age of snowflake mentalities, when people are overly sensitive, easily offended, and unable to handle criticism, messages which speak of God’s unwavering sovereignty and absolute dominion, messages that summon remorse and repentance, messages that command a change of heart and a change of ways, messages that warn of the retributive consequences of rebelling against God’s sovereignty, are considered grossly inappropriate and a form of scaremongering. Preachers are urged to be more sophisticated in their subject matter and avoid tones of urgency about getting right with God.
Nevertheless, neglecting the discussion of God’s wrath or the importance of fearing him, develops an unbalanced and incomplete understanding of God’s character. Preaching solely about God’s love, mercy, and kindness leads to the perception that God is merely a loving figure, ignoring other critical aspects of his nature. It also diminishes the importance of personal responsibility, leading to a weakened ethical framework, both individually and corporately.
Someone rightly said, “There was less hell in our streets when there was more of hell from the pulpit.”
Failing to preach about God’s wrath leads people into a false sense of security and complacency about their spirituality, causing them to underestimate the inevitable negative consequences that come with defying God.
Finally, note that the eternal Gospel, the good news this angel preaches to the entire world, is based on a call to worship God as Creator. This may seem rather innocuous, but it’s a big deal. If someone holds to an evolutionary worldview instead of believing in God as Creator, it can undermine their comprehension of the Gospel.
The creation account in Genesis provides the framework for understanding the origin of humanity, and the entrance of sin into the world. Without accepting this account as literal, one is likely to question the concept of a historical Adam and Eve, the Fall, and the inherent sinful nature of humanity. This has implications for realizing the need for salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Evolutionary theory, presents humanity as a product of natural processes, sharing a common ancestry with other life forms, which logically leads to a very different perception of human nature, and thereby negatively impacts one’s acceptance of the Bible’s chief teachings concerning original sin, humanity’s spiritual identity and purpose. Accepting an evolutionary worldview similarly requires a reinterpretation or complete dismissal of the historical creation account, inevitably leading to questions and doubts concerning the authority and reliability of the Scriptures. Thus, potentially impacting one’s full embrace of the Gospel message.
This everlasting Gospel that traverses heaven above, cascading its radiant light across the globe in every language, enfolding the world with its exquisite wings, is not one of several gospels for different dispensations. Morris argues:
“This type of hermeneutics, however well-intentioned, makes Scripture contradict itself for the sake of maintaining a particular theological system. In effect, it denies God the ability to say what he means, thus requiring a hermeneutist with the proper theological training to translate what God says into what he means, for the benefit of the ‘layman.’ It is the gospel [the eternal gospel, the same good news] which we are to preach, which believers of all ages were commanded to preach, and which the angel will preach. This gospel is everlasting.”
What is this gospel?
The eternal gospel proclaims God created us and everything in the heavens and earth. It’s a message requiring recognition of God’s person, his unlimited greatness, holiness, power, and a deep sense of reverence and obedience towards him. It entails a certain trepidation for the consequences of ignoring or disobeying him. This everlasting gospel, this message of good news, is that Christ sacrificed himself on the cross to pay in full the penalty for humanity’s sins. Through faith in Christ and surrendering to his benevolent authority, we may find forgiveness and cleansing for every sin and be justified forever in the sight of God.
Without receiving this eternal gospel, we cannot see the Kingdom of God. We can never enter heaven.
How often God entreats people by various means to be saved from damnation – compassionately calling to the very end – even sending an angel to crisscross the skies with the message of eternal hope. Yet people still stubbornly refuse to believe.
Leon Morris in his commentary on Revelation quotes Kiddle, who summarizes the matter this way:
“Here is the bitter irony of their lot: though they damn themselves eternally by their refusal to face the truth, one day they will be forced to face it, sooner or later the ‘glory’ they refuse to ‘give’ the Creator willingly will be torn from them by the spectacle of his wrath.”
Could today be your last call? Don’t wait too late to yield your life to Christ and be forgiven of your sins. Receive from him the gift of eternal life.© Rev. Mark H. Creech
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.