I was reading about an angelic encounter recently and got interested in passages of Scripture that are related to the subject. I was especially intrigued by the juxtaposition of Matthew 24:14 and Revelation 14:6.
In Matthew, Jesus is giving His famous Olivet discourse, telling His disciples what are not, and what are, the signs of His coming. Two things He seems to single out as signs for those who will live in that day:
1. The Gospel will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations.
2. The abomination of desolation will be placed in the Temple, beginning the unmatched time of trouble to the planet.
Following these two signs, Jesus will return.
I want to think about that first sign only in this article. Please consider a different interpretation than the standard one. The normal understanding is that the Gospel will start going out to the world back in Jesus’ day, will continue to expand in its sphere through the centuries, then in the last days, those who publish Bibles in the various tribal languages of the earth will finally have reached their final tribe, and then Jesus is about to come.
But I ask you, is that any kind of a sign? How much will the world be watching, or even the majority of the church for that matter, when that last tribe is reached? How would anyone be expectant of the cataclysmic coming of Jesus in the skies because a forgotten people in South America or Africa has finally been exposed to the Word?
And can a Bible translation be equated to preaching of the Gospel? What constitutes “preaching”? Many theories abound on this and on what the word “reached” and “unreached” means in terms of who has and has not truly received the Gospel. By some accounts, even America is an unreached nation, judging from the number of persons worldwide who feel led to come here and set up a Gospel mission! We have become heathenish. But that is another story.
I propose a more meaningful interpretation of Matthew 24, one that fits better with its companion passage in Revelation. I would like to suggest that the preaching Jesus is talking about in Matthew is sudden, within months or a few years at most, and not over centuries. I suggest that it is dynamic and attention-grabbing, recorded by all the media. A huge harvest of souls.
I have not been one to stress an end-time revival, because the Scripture is clear that the world is headed the other way and will end in a huge apostasy. One can see apostasy all over the world in our day, but one can also see signs of great revival in some parts. The signs today are mixed. 833 angel number
I believe that this passage, followed as it is by the Great Tribulation, is talking of a great harvest time that will shake the nations, but that will be short-lived, followed by great apostasy, and the resultant judgment.
For those who understand Bible history, it will be something like Hezekiah followed by Manasseh, or Josiah followed by any of his 3 sons. Great favor followed by great judgment.
In the light of the above, Revelation 14:6 is fascinating. The apostle John, in Heaven, sees an angel flying there with an everlasting Gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth. The message is to go to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people. But immediately after we see this, we hear the angel announcing judgment. This is the same pattern as in Matthew 24.
An angel preaching the Gospel? No, it does not say that. The angel has the Gospel that needs to be preached. He gives assignments to key people on the planet, and the harvest begins. They are anointed as no preachers ever have been. The world even begins to talk about all the religious excitement. And as stated above, after all the enthusiasm dies down, and the many souls are brought in, apostasy sets in, followed by devastating destruction on the planet.
For those who have not studied the role of angels in the history of God’s people, it is a valid study and an important one, as long as it does not lead to undue regard for them, and especially never to worship.
Angels are everywhere in the Word. And to the point here, they were instrumental in bringing the law to us, per Galatians 3:9. They assisted in the ministry of the Word in the Gospels and Acts. Revelations 7 letters are addressed to angels!
Think of this chain of command. Jesus writes a letter to an angel of a particular area, and that angel gets the message to the leader of the church who passes it on to his people.