Everlasting Gospel - Final Harvest

Whether one follows the Lamb or the Beast, one will reap everlasting consequences in the final harvest - Revelation 14:6-7.

Hourglass - Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash
The preceding paragraphs presented two very different groups: The “
inhabitants of the earth” that rendered homage to the “beast,” and the 144,000 priests of God, the “first-fruits” of the earth purchased by the “Lamb.” Now, an angelic herald issues a final summons to humanity while there is still time before the arrival of the “final hour.” - [Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash].

The angel announced the “everlasting gospel,” the call for all men to fear God and render homage to Him alone, for the final “hour of judgment” is about to arrive. In the vision that now unfolds, the final act is depicted in two very different “harvests.” Which “harvest” one reaps is determined by how he or she responds to the “gospel.”
  • (Revelation 14:6-7) – “And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having an everlasting gospel to announce to the inhabitants of the earth, even to every nation and tribe and tongue and people, saying with a loud voice: Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment is come; and do homage to him that made heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.”
The choice is between everlasting life with the “Lamb,” or destruction in the “lake of fire.” The preceding section has presented the reader with several clear contrasts:
  1. son to “shepherd the nations” vs. The Dragon that “deceives the nations.”
  2. The “seed of the woman” vs. The two “beasts,” the “seed of the Dragon.”
  3. They that “have the witness of Jesus” vs. The Beast "speaks as the Dragon.”
  4. They that “tabernacle in heaven” vs. The “inhabitants of the earth.”
  5. The “inhabitants of the earth” pay homage to the Beast vs. Those purchased “from the earth” that follow the Lamb.
  6. The “inhabitants of the earth” have the beast’s mark “branded” on their forehead, vs. Those purchased “from the earth” who have the Father’s name “written” on their foreheads.
This running contrast has set the stage for two different “harvests” that are about to yield “fruit” in the fourteenth chapter: The grain and the grape harvest - (verses 25-20).

The earlier group of 144,000 “servants of God” is identical to the 144,000 “males” purchased from the earth in the present chapter. Previously, “God’s servants” were sealed before the seven seals were opened, unleashing their contents - (“Hurt not the earth, neither the sea nor the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God”).

Likewise, the 144,000 “males” receive the name of the Father on their foreheads before the “seven bowls of wrath” are emptied, and, so also, the angel has pronounced his warning before the contents of the bowls are unleashed. Once the next set of angels begin to empty their “bowls,” it will be too late, for their “seven bowls” will “complete the wrath of God.”

There is a verbal parallel to the earlier passage following the first four “trumpet blasts,” when John heard the voice of an “angel flying in mid-heaven” (petomenon en mesouranémati). The Greek clause is precisely the same in both passages, and not coincidentally so – (Revelation 8:13).

In chapter 8, the “angel” flying “in mid-heaven” pronounced “three woes” on the “inhabitants of the earth,” warning them of the severity of the final three “trumpet blasts.” Time was running short, for the “seventh trumpet” or “third woe” culminated in the final hour of judgment – (Revelation 11:15-18).

In the present passage, the angel has an “everlasting gospel” (euaggelion aiōnion) to announce upon (epi) “the inhabitants of the earth,” AND upon (epi) “every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” The preposition epi is a literary link to the earlier command for John to prophesy upon (epi) “peoples, nations, tongues, and many kings,” and here, it is in the accusative case, meaning “unto, towards, upon,” but NOT “against.” This is an “everlasting gospel” proclaimed to the two named groups - (Revelation 10:11).

The “everlasting gospel” is announced to the “inhabitants of the earth,” AND to “every nation and tribe and tongue and people.” Consistently in Revelation, the first group is composed of men and women who remain hostile to the “Lamb.” Nothing positive is ever said concerning it – (Revelation 3:10, 6:10, 8:13, 11:10, 12:12, 13:8-14, 17:2-8).

Nations - Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

In contrast, at different times, the “nations, tribes, tongues, and people” are found under the jurisdiction of the “Lamb” and that of the “beast from the sea.” The men and women who are “redeemed by the blood of the Lamb” are purchased from among this group. Despite occasional hostility toward the “Lamb,” the “nations” are found among the inhabitants of “New Jerusalem” - (Revelation 21:24
).

Thus, the hope of redemption remains for the “nations,” at least for some of them. But there is no hope for the “inhabitants of the earth,” and its members are excluded from the “book of life of the Lamb,” for “ALL the inhabitants of the earth” have rendered homage to the “beast.”

The fourfold description “nations, tribes, tongues, and people” is part of the symbolism of the book, with four signifying that which is universal, such as the “four corners of the earth” – (Revelation 5:9, 7:9, 10:11, 17:15).

The “everlasting gospel” refers to the message announced by the angel:
  • Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment is come; and do homage to him that made heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.”
The message is “everlasting” because it is always valid. It is “good news” to anyone who responds to it positively. But for anyone who rejects it, the results are catastrophic. Thus, the one “gospel” has two different effects, depending on the response to it.

Pay homage to him that made heaven and the earth and sea and fountains of waters.” The fourfold description is a link to the description of the first four trumpet “plagues.” The first caused the “third part of the earth to burn,” the second turned a third of the “sea” into blood, the third caused the third part of the rivers and the “fountains of waters” to turn bitter, and the fourth trumpet blast caused a third part of the celestial bodies in the heavens to be darkened.  God is the creator and ultimate cause; He controls the plagues and their effects - (Revelation 8:7-12).

The fountains of waters.” In contrast to the “plagues” poured out on the impenitent “inhabitants of the earth,” the “Lamb” causes all who follow him to drink from “living fountains of water.” Likewise, in the New Earth, the Lord gives to him “that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely” - (Revelation 7:17, 21:6).

The hour of his judgment is come.” This refers to the final judgment at the end of the age, the time when the righteous are vindicated, and the unrepentant are condemned. It is the same hour of judgment portrayed by the seventh trumpet blast. “Hour” is used elsewhere to refer to the final event of the ages, the judgment of all things - (Revelation 3:3, 3:10, 11:13, 14:15, 18:10, 18:19).

The stage is set.  The “everlasting gospel” has been announced. Men must now choose either “to fear God and worship him,” or to face the “hour of judgment.” One “gospel” has been proclaimed but two very different harvests will follow: The harvest of wheat by the “Son of Man,” and the in-gathering of grapes by “another angel.” Which harvest one experiences depends on how he or she responds to the message announced by the angel.




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