The Eternal Gospel

The Eternal Gospel October 28, 2012

In Revelation 14:6-7, the author says that he saw an angel bringing the eternal gospel in order to proclaim it to every nation, language, and people. Futurist interpreters claim that this shows that by that stage all Christians have been raptured or killed, and so an angel has to deliver the message. But anyone who reads Revelation carefully will note not only the absence of a “rapture” but also that it is a false dichotomy which suggests one has to choose between something being done by humans or by angels in the Book of Revelation. Indeed, very often angels represent rather than replace human communities.

What I find most interesting in the passage is what we are presumably to understand to be the eternal gospel that the angel proclaims, quoted in v7:

He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

This is the only occurrence of the word “gospel” in Revelation. If what the angel says is indeed the gospel as the author understands it, reduced to its most basic and essential summary, then it is striking in its simplicity. It could even be boiled down further, presumably, to “Worship God.” Such an understanding reflects a preservation of the theocentricity of Jesus' own proclamation of the “good news,” as well as the Book of Revelation's focus on worship as the make-or-break issue facing humankind. The choice as the author of this work sees it is between glorifying the Creator and adoring emperor and Empire.

Can you imagine how different Christianity and Christian relation would be if Christians in fact treated this as the essential gospel, and everything else as something that it is possible to discuss and disagree about without it leading to a rupture of unity and fellowship?

My Sunday school class has been in chapter 14 of the Book of Revelation for the past two weeks, and I will be sharing some more thoughts, insights, and interesting discussions that have come up there in separate posts by theme or topic, rather than lumping them all together.

In the mean time, I invite discussion of Revelation 14:6-7. Do you think that “Worship God” was the essence of the Gospel for this early Christian author? How do you think Christianity might look differently if Christians made that, and that alone, their essential core message and identity?

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  • This message is a theme in the Psalter. The Good News there is that God judges the world with equity. Psalm 67:5 – the centre point of this harvest psalm, itself the centre point of the circle of Psalm inscriptions in Books 2 and 3 Korah – Asaph – David – harvest – David – Asaph – Korah.

  • The “eternal gospel” (rev14:6) is part of the all Jewish Revelation which got interpolated later by Christians. That would explain why the Christian gospel (from Jesus or Paul or others) is not accounted for and the “eternal gospel” is preached by an angel. Bob MacDonald made a good point about the Jewishness of this gospel as described in the next verse: “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and
    worship Him who made heaven and earth and the sea.” (nothing Christian here!).
    Furthermore, “eternal” implies this gospel is not new (as for the Christian one) and has been existing since very ancient times.
    The all Jewish Revelation is explained here:

    • Yes – nothing Christian yet everything about what the Spirit expects from the children – self-giving on behalf of others and the destruction of the enemy in our own bodies as is demonstrated by the ‘son’, representing Israel, who drank the cup to the dregs (Psalm 75). So nothing that has to be forced as a belief but everything which that belief should stand for and call out, in obedience.

      In the mind of John the Divine is the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world. The call is made then to human judgment to mercy and its cost.

      Loving-kindness and truth have met together
      righteousness and peace have kissed each other… Psalm 85

      This act of Jesus in obedience even to death on a cross becomes then the judgment of God.

    • Susan Burns

      Since we know it is Hebraic we must look to eretz Israel for the niche culture these words describe. The euangelion did not originate in Greek speaking regions. Arabic injil and Syriac (Malabar) engel are clues to the original Hebrew and perhaps even the paleoglot meme. It could be ein gel or living waters of the rising tide. The high water mark of the Jordan kikur would be the material proof of God’s favor and redeeming grace for those inside the Law. Outsiders or sinners were on “dry land”.