“And I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven having the everlasting gospel…”-Revelation 14:6
The key word in Revelation 14:6 is “gospel.” Simply put, the gospel is “good news.” If we are not careful, however, we can misrepresent the gospel to make it something other than that. This is not an exclusive challenge for Seventh-day Adventists, but it is a significant challenge for Adventists for several reasons.
One of the reasons we struggle to keep the gospel “good” is because of the other two angels in Revelation 14. For many, the second and third angels both bring a message that some consider negative in tone. The second angel announces judgement against the evil coalition of Babylon, and the third angel declares impending doom for those who subsequently rebel against God.
Given the fact that these texts make up the centerpiece of Adventist doctrine, it has contributed to the way in which many view the gospel and evangelistic preaching. Nevertheless, it’s essential that we keep the gospel “good.” So here are three simple keys to keeping the Three Angels Message hope-oriented and gospel-centered.
Remember that the Three Angels’ Messages are gospel-dependent.
The first angel doesn’t bring the gospel first simply because this is the sequence of the messages. Rather, the gospel comes first because none of the other messages work without it. The gospel is the cornerstone of the entire message. Without the gospel, those who under the threat of Babylon will be destroyed. Without the gospel, Babylon will never be defeated. The gospel is the keynote of the entire message.
Locate the deliverance/rescue motif in the fall of Babylon.
The fall of Babylon sounds like gloom and doom, but it's not bad news. As a matter of fact, It's actually great news for God's people! Babylon is the mighty coalition of rebellion against God that spans back thousands of years. Babylon has been in the driving seat of every act of oppression, genocide, and war. If Babylon doesn't fall, then that would be bad news. The fall of Babylon signals the beginning of the end of the conflict, and the complete victory of “The Lamb!”
Raise the concept that truth prevails over deception.
The mark of the beast is the result of false worship that ensued because of the deception of the enemy. Yet, in the very next chapter, Revelation 15, there is a great multitude standing on the sea of glass singing a song of victory! Their victory is evidence that they haven’t succumbed to the deception of Satan and have maintained their faith in God. Their final victory is a reminder that ultimately Satan’s lies do not prevail.
Anyone who wants to see bad news only has to turn on the evening news. We, however, aren’t newscasters, reporting the gloom and doom of our present-day problems. Rather, we are harbingers of hope and proclaimers of the promise! God has promised that He will save us from the deceptive grasp of the enemy. And we have this hope that He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry! May we be careful to comfort and inspire our listeners with messages filled with the hope that God will indeed keep His promise to us.
Be a harbinger of hope! A proclaimer of the promise!