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A LAMB ON MOUNT ZION, PART 2

                       

 

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14:6–7

 

As John looked down the centuries of time he saw the history of the church Jesus built along with the forces that fought against it. In the 14th chapter he sees a lamb standing on Mount Zion which we learned depicts the gospel truth of the church being restored in practice. We learned that this church is produced by Christ’s work of atonement that causes people to be born again and added to the church through the work of the Holy Spirit of God.

The movement that began around 1800 A.D. is generally called the Primitive Church Movement, but rather than just limiting what happened to a particular group of people at a particular time, John sees this as 144,000 who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. While looking at this 144,000 he suddenly sees three angels flying in the midst of heaven each having a specific message. The message they proclaim is Christ’s last message to the world before the end of time. This message has three parts as represented by the three angels in verse 6–11.

The fact that there are three angels suggests that God does not commit the entire message to just one ministry or one particular group or movement but to ministries He chooses and gifts to carry a part of the message. Some are good at proclaiming the gospel; some are good at proclaiming a come out message; and some are good at pronouncing God’s judgments. All these messages are necessary; one is not more important than the others—they are equal and they all add up to one last message from God. This is a lesson we must learn: do not lift up one preacher over another because he/she is good at preaching his part—it takes all of God’s called ministry to preach the complete message.

 

The Everlasting Gospel

 

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. (Verse 6)

 

The first angel is given the responsibility to preach the everlasting gospel—the gospel that lasts forever. This is the gospel as God intended it to be preached and not the theological contortions devised by men and called a gospel. John the Baptist was the first to introduce the everlasting gospel in Matthew 3:11–12,

 

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

 

John taught the forgiveness of sin but he also declared there is a gospel greater than what he taught. Speaking of Jesus, John said He will do more than bring forgiveness; He will also give the Holy Spirit. The beast of the sea and the beast of the earth taught a theoretical work of the Holy Spirit but Jesus brings the real and practical work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people. The work of the Holy Spirit in gospel salvation is to clean sin out of the human heart as a fire burns straw and dried grass. Under the gospel, people repent of their sins and the Holy Spirit comes into their hearts to fill the void left behind. The presence of the Holy Spirit enables people to live a holy life as Jesus lived a holy life.

The Apostle John understood the power and magnitude of the everlasting gospel; keep in mind, he heard it directly from the mouth of Jesus. He writes in 1 John 1:5–9,

 

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

First of all, light is in Christ and there is no darkness whatsoever. In these verses light stands for holiness and darkness stands for sin. There is no sin in Christ and there can be no sin in Christ and John says that it is not possible to walk or live in sin and walk or live with God. The Apostle states a cardinal truth of the atonement in Christ—“the blood of Jesus Christ His son cleanses us from all sin.” Adam Clarke emphasized the imperative in this statement:

 

And being cleansed from all sin is what every believer should look for, what he has a right to expect, and what he must have in this life, in order to be prepared to meet his God. Christ is not a partial Savior, he saves to the uttermost, and he cleanses from ALL sin.

 

To expect a gospel that does not cleanse from ALL sin is to be cheated. Such a gospel is the work of the beast of the sea or the beast of the earth. Being cleansed from all sin is prerequisite for being prepared to meet God. Yes, the God of love but also the God that abhors sin. John categorically states that to profess salvation and habitually commit sin is to be a liar.

The Apostle also states that the everlasting gospel produces a real purity of heart in verse 9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Let’s allow Adam Clarke to speak to what is written here.

 

Not only to forgive the sin, but to purify the heart. Observe here, A. Sin exists in the soul after two modes or forms: (1.) In guilt, which requires forgiveness or pardon. (2.) In pollution, which requires cleansing. B. Guilt, to be forgiven, must be confessed; and pollution, to be cleansed, must be also confessed. In order to find mercy, a man must know and feel himself to be a sinner, that he may fervently apply to God for pardon; in order to get a clean heart, a man must know and feel its depravity, acknowledge and deplore it before God, in order to be fully sanctified. C. Few are pardoned, because they do not feel and confess their sins; and few are sanctified or cleansed from all sin, because they do not feel and confess their own sore, and the plague of their hearts. D. As the blood of Jesus Christ, the merit of his passion and death, applied by faith, purges the conscience from all dead works, so the same cleanses the heart from all unrighteousness. E. As all unrighteousness is sin, so he that is cleansed from all unrighteousness is cleansed from all sin. To attempt to evade this, and plead for the continuance of sin in the heart through life, is ungrateful, wicked, and even blasphemous; for as he who says he has not sinned, 1 John 1:10, makes God a liar, who has declared the contrary through every part of his revelation; so he that says the blood of Christ either cannot or will not cleanse us from all sin in this life, gives also the lie to his Maker, who has declared the contrary, and thus shows that the word—the doctrine of God is not in him. Reader, it is the birthright of every child of God to be cleansed from all sin, to keep himself unspotted from the world, and so to live as never more to offend his Maker. All things are possible to him that believeth; because all things are possible to the infinitely meritorious blood and energetic Spirit of the Lord Jesus.

 

After hearing Dr. Clarke’s comments, do you suppose he may have been part of this angel that preaches the everlasting gospel?

The Apostle Paul was taught the everlasting gospel by Christ and he makes an uncompromising statement of what it means to be in Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:17–18, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ.” To have Christ in the heart by faith makes one a new creation meaning: His old condition has radically changed; he was a child of Satan but now is a child of God; he was a slave to sin but now has been freed from sin; his actions resulted in spiritual death but now he has the fruit of holiness in his life; he used to live only for this world but now He lives for God; he used to look only at the things that could be seen but now he looks to the things that are eternal. All things have become new. The person is not simply repaired, he has been totally torn down and remade so that he is new. And furthermore, there is a new moral standard in his life. As a sinner his moral compass was focused on the flesh and produced acts of sin. As a new creation his moral compass has been reset to focus on the spirit and the things of God.

Paul also discourses at length on the everlasting gospel in the sixth chapter of Romans. For simplicity sake, we will look at three salient points in what he wrote.

 

Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Verse 6)

 

The gospel received puts an end to the body of sin. The old man is a metaphor for the sinful and morally corrupt nature. In accepting Christ that nature is immediately crucified and put to death. Barnes describes what happens here:

 

And the apostle here, by the expression “is crucified,” doubtless refers to the painful and protracted struggle which every one goes through when his evil propensities are subdued; when his corrupt nature is slain; and when, a converted sinner, he gives himself up to God. Sin dies within him, and he becomes dead to the world.

 

The intent of the everlasting gospel is that we should no longer be salves of sin. Gospels that allow people to continue in sin are not the everlasting gospel; do not accept a sinning Christian religion.

 

He who has died has been freed from sin. (Verse 7)

 

The everlasting gospel is about a death to sin. Verse 8 states that in salvation Christians identify with the death of Christ—if we died with Christ we are made dead to sin. If we are dead to sin then we are freed from sin; sin no longer has dominion over us. Verse 8 goes on to say that if we died with Christ we shall also live with Him. In the context of this teaching this does not mean living in eternity: we are alive in Christ and as he lives so do we live in holiness. This leads to the conclusion in verse 14.

 

Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Verse 14)

 

Sin shall not have dominion—the word dominion in Greek means to be lord of. You cannot have two lords. Your lord has to be either Jesus Christ or sin. If you allow sin in your life, you automatically reject the lordship of Christ. Paul emphasizes this in verse 16,

 

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

 

The everlasting gospel is plain in that it cites sin as the dividing line between death and life: sin leading only to death and obedience to Christ leading to righteousness. This form of doctrine is the everlasting gospel that if people will believe and receive it leads to everlasting life.

Paul concludes his teaching in verses 22–23,

 

But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

The gospel sets people free from sin and places them in a life-giving relationship with God. The gospel bears the fruit of holiness in the lives of people that truly receive it.

 

The Significance of the Message

 

This first angel had the everlasting gospel to preach to all who dwell on the earth. Let’s consider the significance of this message in verse 7, “Saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.’”

The ministry sent by the Lamb on Mount Zion is in earnest with the everlasting gospel. The preaching of this gospel is not limited to the moment in time the angel first appears, it is to be preached to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people until the second coming of Christ. If the everlasting gospel is preached it generates fear of God that responds in giving Him glory. Fear, respect for God, is to be expressed in our daily lives as taught in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” How much sin can people commit to the glory of God? Salvation impacts the whatever you do as whatever you do will be without having to commit sin. The hour of God’s judgment comes with the preaching of the everlasting gospel. The Greek word hour means a certain definite time or season fixed by natural law and returning with the revolving year. Here, the hour of God’s judgment is a fixed time in history when God puts judgment on the gospels that are not the everlasting gospel. Jesus spoke of this judgment in John 5:22, 27 and 30,

 

For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son . . . and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man . . . I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

 

As the true gospel of Christ was the judgment of God on sin at the first coming of Christ, so it is in the time that immediately precedes the second coming of Christ, the time of the Lamb on Mount Zion. The hour of God’s judgment began with the revival of the truth of the church built by Jesus as part of the work of salvation beginning around 1800 A.D.

The everlasting gospel closes with the exhortation to “worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” This sounds very simple but there is a truth we will miss if we take it literally. Heaven, earth, sea and springs of waters all represent people in some relationship to God, whether or not they might be saved. The point here is to worship God and not people. People have a tendency to trust their souls to any gospel that is preached to them without searching the Scriptures to see whether what is preached is true just because it is convenient for what they want.

Jesus exhorts people in John 5:39 to “search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”

Paul and Silas encounter some people living in Berea that followed this principle when they heard the gospel preached: “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

We are not to put our trust in confessions, creeds, or doctrinal statements of churches and denominations for our salvation. We are to put our trust only in the blood of Jesus Christ. Only the blood of Christ can save from sin. No man or any church devised by man can save anyone from sin in this life and take him to heaven for eternity.

Everlasting life is found only in the blood of Christ that saves us from all sin. This is strong judgment because it puts the churches in which people are trusting for their salvation in a bad light. It is strong judgment because it condemns sin in the lives of people that profess Christianity and it takes away their foundation for their sense of salvation.

In short, the everlasting gospel is summed up in Acts 4:12, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. That name is Jesus Christ.”

The Lamb on Mount Zion is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; and no man ever came, or can come, to the Father but by Him.