Tag Archives: the gospel in Revelation

Two Gospels in Revelation (Bowl Plagues 5)

The three angels of Revelation 14:6-12 together proclaim the final gospel message to the entire world. It is the “everlasting gospel” to every nation, tribe, language and people (Rev. 14:6). “Everlasting gospel” means that while it arrives in the special context of the End-time, it is not a different gospel than the one that was taught by Jesus and the apostles. It is a call to worship the creator (Rev. 14:7) rather than the beast or his image (13:4, 8, 12, 15). This gospel produces the faith of Jesus (14:12), a trust in God grounded in abundant evidence of His character. At its simplest, the gospel can be summarized as “What we could not do, God did.” And at the heart of the gospel is the truth about what God is truly like, God’s character. He is infinitely powerful, yet infinitely gracious. While He is all-powerful, He chooses to resolve the issues in the universe without violence, without force or intimidation of any kind.

What many readers of Revelation have missed is the counterfeit gospel also proclaimed to the world in Revelation 16:13-14. The dragon, the beast and the false prophet (the counterfeit trinity of Revelation 13) each produce an unclean spirit like a frog out of their mouths (Rev 16:13). According to verse 14 these frogs are the “spirits of demons” who go out to the kings of the whole inhabited world to gather them for the final battle of earth’s history, Armageddon (see also 16:16). Demons are evil angels, thus you have three angels presenting the gospel of God in chapter fourteen and three evil angels presenting a counterfeit gospel in chapter sixteen. Both “gospels” go out to the entire world (Rev. 14:6; 16:14).

The proclamation of the gospel, therefore, is mirrored by the worldwide proclamation of a counterfeit gospel at the end of time. Just as the genuine gospel centers on the character of God and what God has done, the counterfeit gospel offers in its place a human construct of reality grounded in a different picture of God. At the core of Satan’s lie is a picture of human ability to save one’s self and a picture of God as very much like Satan, arbitrary, judgmental, deceptive, and cruel. Satan provokes his followers to portray God as deceptive and demanding. This counterfeit picture is described also in 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12. It is a battle between truth and lies. Those who do not rely on the words of Scripture will be deceived in the final crisis. These will accept a false picture of humanity (“you are worthless and hopeless”, yet somehow “you’re not so bad, you can make it on your own if you try” [false hope]) and a false picture of God (with a character like that of Satan).