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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The everlasting gospel

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:6-7).

The everlasting gospel is to fear God and praise Him for the time of His judgment is come. Does this say anything about the Savior, His apostles, and the conversion of the Gentiles, as we normally understand the gospel? The answer, from the context of Revelation, is: No, not primarily. There is another issue raging until the judgment of God comes. This is not another gospel; it’s the rest of the gospel story most people have never heard.

The introduction to the first angel’s message of chapter 14 comes from a scene in chapter 10. Here, Christ’s announcement in verses 6 and 7 literally reads, “Delay no shall be longer; but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [the] trumpet, also should be completed the mystery of God, as He did announce the glad tidings to His bondmen the prophets.” (Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, by George Ricker Berry.)” (Rev. 10:6,7).

This pronouncement to John’s ears comes at the tail end of a story line he saw that begins in chapter 5. There, a situation has completely destroyed the joy and order of God’s throne which had reigned during the period of perfect peace and happiness represented by the preceding chapter 4. Even though God remains on His throne, He is in trouble and all of the constant praise to Him has ceased. Instead, now a pervasive mourning has spread throughout heaven, as seen in the revelator’s response, “I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” (Rev. 5:4).

But, suddenly, unexpectedly, a cry goes out to the heartbroken kingdom, “We’ve found a ransom for our King!” “Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” (Rev. 5:5).

The Father is saved! Who could fight the allegations brought against Him? No one else but the Prince. “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.” (Rev. 5:6).

This scene, at the start of Revelation, explains the outcome of the rest of the Revelation, a revelation of the Father, which He gave to Christ to give to John. The character of God bound up is pictured as a book in His hand sealed with seven seals, impossible to open, even by God Himself. Therefore, His Son must be the only one to set God free.

After the 7th seal is opened, and that last opening with its seven trumpets is almost fulfilled, the scene in chapter ten pre-empts the final developments of the judgment in favor of the King. The chapter 10 vision pre-empts the last trumpet heralding the acquittal of God in its victory cry from the Potentate and Vicegerent, divine Father and Son.

“If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.” (Deut. 25:1). Revelation, chapter ten opens after almost completed are the long trial of many millennia between God and the temporary reign of His adversarial prosecutor. At the cross and during 1800 years that follow, with Satan’s fighting it at every step and persecuting its disciples, the Father is proven just, and His enemy unjust. This is the “the mystery of God, as He did announce the glad tidings to His bondmen the prophets,” “that there should be time no longer: but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.” (Rev. 10:6,7 KJV).

It was by seeing this acquittal of their Creator and King in innocence, 6,000 years in advance, that set off heaven’s praises once again.

“And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne.
And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:7-14).

This great controversy, the conflict of the ages, is the basis of the everlasting gospel of Revelation. It encompasses the atonement of Christ and His cross, but goes beyond its provision for fallen man. It also provided the argument for the Father’s release from condemnation by a demonic prosecution, and condemned sin and Satan. Christ demonstrated the true character of God, not only to satisfy the great King, but to prove Him true to all heaven, for all eternity. When His Father was satisfied with His sacrifice for unworthy humanity and in the utter and everlasting expulsion of sin, then He raised His Son from the grave. It was the resurrection of Christ that told of the Father’s approval that his Son’s death accomplished a full destruction of Lucifer’s deeply convoluted and sinister prosecution against God and His Constitution, His holy and impeccable Law.

It was Christ’s determined cooperation in God’s plan to redeem men to the nth degree of sin, so that there could never be a sinner, however stained with sin and accusation by Satan, no matter how filthy the life’s record, who could not be covered by Christ’s mercy. It was all of this that permitted God to raise His Son from death and call His propitiation a success. And in His victory in our behalf, the Son also gave the victory to His Father, also.

So the message went out to the world, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21).

That atonement for man now would be applied to each individual sinner who was shamed and humbled and sorrowful to God and to his fellow man. The atonement would reconcile God to man in his heart through justification, and in his character through the sanctification of his life. This work would continue to slowly clean up the human race until the finale of atonement, which was prefigured in Israel’s Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16.

All through the year sacrifices were man and sins confessed, and atoned for. “[The priest] shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.” (Lev. 1:4). But at the end of the year the daily atonements needed to be cleansed as well; those sins defiled the sanctuary and the sanctuary needed to be atoned for.

“And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.
And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.
And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.
And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar …
For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.…
And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation.
And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year.” (Lev. 16:16-20,30,33-34).

This final day of the priestly year, the day of judgment for Israel, explains the judgment of Daniel 7:9-14 and all that appears in Revelation. Everything leading up to the 7th trumpet of chapter 11, the judgment scene of chapter 14, the seven last plagues of chapter 16 when no one can enter the temple (Rev. 15:8; cf Lev. 16:17) , and the scenes of chapters 17 through 19.

The everlasting gospel is about the Father, His exoneration by His Son’s advocacy, and by the Son’s work of putting His Father’s character into His redeemed human race, of whom it is written, “in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God;” “these are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 14: 5,4).

Christ, the true and only vicar, “must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.” (1Cor. 15:25). The final vindication of God in His people is soon to come, for the hour of His judgment began in 1844.

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. 24:14).

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