The Climax of the Eternal Good News (16:6)

So the first angel comes with the everlasting gospel, the everlasting good news. What is it? Each of us should study and think this through for ourselves. The following is a summary of my understanding of the good news:

God is not the kind of person His enemies have made Him out to be — arbitrary, unforgiving, and severe. Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.” God is just as loving and trustworthy as His Son, just as willing to forgive and heal. Though infinite in majesty and power, our Creator is an equally gracious Person who values nothing higher than the freedom, the dignity, and the individuality of His intelligent creatures — that their love, their faith, their willingness to listen and obey may be freely given. He even prefers to regard us not as servants but as friends.
This is the truth revealed through all the books of Scripture. This is the everlasting Good News that wins the trust and admiration of God’s loyal children throughout the universe.

It seems to me, that’s the only “truth” it is safe to be dogmatic about. Here we can be like Paul and say, “Even if an angel came with a different picture of God, it is wrong, and I will not believe it.” To me, this is not a negotiable position. You can be adamant, immovable, and dogmatic about freedom, because you will never hurt anybody with that view. You are immovably committed to freedom, and to the picture of God as valuing nothing higher than the freedom of His children. To me, that is the essence of the message of the first angel (Rev 14:6-7). With that in mind, the second angel comes and simply says, “The opposition has collapsed in corruption and defeat” (Rev 14:8). Then the third angel warns of the inevitable consequences of preferring Satan’s lies to this magnificent truth (Rev 14:9-11).

Now it’s true that the third angel’s message has the most fearsome wording in the whole Bible. I’m sure the Devil would have us misunderstand these words as the words of an angry God. But all the previous books of Scripture have prepared us to understand the terrible consequences of sin. Through the words of Scripture, we watched Jesus die. We know that God would do anything to spare His children the same fate. Story after story in Scripture prepares us to see our heavenly Father as the One who would much prefer to speak gently to us of the truth.

When we know Him in this way, we can trust Him when He raises His voice one last time in these messages of warning and invitation. The God we worship would never allow us to pass through these closing events unenlightened and unwarned. Behind the fearsome warning of the third angel’s message there stands the God of Hosea 11:8 crying: “How can I give you up? Why will you die? How can I let you go?” The same person who wrote the awesome words of the third angel also wrote 1 John 4: “God is love. . . . There is no fear in love” (1 John 4:16, 18, Williams). The apostle John was the beloved disciple who knew all about love, the one who told us there is no need to be afraid. He is also the one who wrote the fearsome words of the third angel’s message. God could reveal this to him because he understood the larger picture of what God is like.

As loyal members of God’s family, we have the privilege of participating in the final proclamation: “This Good News about the Kingdom will be preached through all the world . . . and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14, GNB). The good news about the Kingdom is about the way the King runs His Kingdom. Could you conceive of any higher honor or privilege than to join with the loyal angels in making this good news, this everlasting truth about our God, known to all the world?

3 thoughts on “The Climax of the Eternal Good News (16:6)

  1. dan L. Kelly

    Brother Jon:
    I do not wish to seem like a nemesis, hammering on Graham Maxwell inasmuch as I have already made it clear that he is not my favorite theologian, but I am compelled to pester you to take me a little deeper than the foundation that he has laid over the years. Perhaps I have had these thoughts pumped at me from so many different angles and “Lay-Sources” so as to reach the point where I have built a resistance that is more difficult to penetrate than some other thinkers. Or, the present brain is to atrophied at my tender age that it is the issue, being nearly petrified so that very little can affect it. With that said, allow me to keep it simple.

    John, in 14:6 sets up the first angel with his pictorial of flying above with “The everlasting gospel…saying with a loud voice…:” It would seem that if he is presenting himself as carrying the gospel, the very thing he cries out with a loud voice would be that gospel which states (vs 7), “Fear God, Give glory to Him for (because) the hour of His judgement is (has) come. And, worship Him who…created all things.” (somewhat paraphrased) That was the message of Elijah at Carmel and it was good news to those who accepted it. It was the same essential message to Eden when He gave instructions to the first pair. They, however, chose distrust, and by default chose another master. This ushered in the necessity of Maxwell’s “Emergency Measures” in order to salvage the entire creation. This same theme follows through all of history in the major and minor prophets. It includes Maxwell’s thesis “How can I give you up?” (based on Ez 33:11) and my favorite text,” I will also give you a new heart; I will take away the stony heart and give you a heart of flesh” (based on Ez 36:26) Elijah’s message remains clear throughout scripture including, but not limited to, John’s own message to Laodicea.

    Clearly, the same message appears in Rev.14:7. That message, “Look to God! Worship Him, Come unto Him and be saved all you people on Earth! Because He is God and there is no other:…” (based on Isaiah 45:22 et.al) Now, as I comprehend it, the ‘underlying thing’ is that one must know God in order to trust Him but it would seem to me that the Gospel would be based on evidence of what He has done in Creation, Redemption, Sustenance and/or providence. We can say, “Look what He has done!”

    The logical question, then, is “Who is this God, anyway!??” Then comes the investigation: “So, God, who are you, anyway?” This becomes, to me, the push of point of “Finding God”, a necessary divergence of pathways “In a yellow wood” in order to accomplish the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer “This is life eternal: that they might know Thee, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) I’m not a Greek Scholar, but I know that the word her is “ginosko” which is “experientially ‘internalizing'” Him/Them. Accomplished buy the presence and power (dunimus) of the Spirit. (see DA 671and Galatians 5:22 – 25)

    Maybe I’ve answered my own questions, but it remains that Graham seems, in my mind, to have reversed this process somehow and I’m having a significant issue processing it.

    Sorry for taking up so much of your time.

      1. Dan L. Kelly

        Touche’!!
        Internalizing God is the process and production of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit internalized and producing fruit rather than simply head knowledge!
        Thanks!

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