When Angels Preach
Robert Wurtz II
Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the eternal 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).
Here we read that God is someday going to send forth an angel in the midst of heaven, preaching the eternal gospel. What is the eternal gospel? I wonder how many years it’s been since the eternal gospel was preached, at least, in the mainstream? Do you believe you have heard the eternal gospel? Well, how does it square with what this angel declares in Revelation 14:6-7?
What is most staggering about the eternal gospel as preached by the angel is that it doesn’t begin with the typical “God loves you and He has a wonderful plan for your life” sales pitch. It doesn’t begin (like children are taught in Sunday School) with “Jesus loves the little children of the world.” Rather, the angel declares, “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 Emphasis of the Fear of God in Heaven
It’s important to point out that the host of heaven (men and angels) have the fear of God front and center in their minds. Consider the lyrics of a song that we would typically hear in heaven from the song of Moses, “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested” (Revelation 15:4). We have made Psalms into songs and other scripture verses. What about these lyrics in Revelation 15:4 or 14:6-7? If not, why not? Are we out-of-touch with heaven?
David Pawson in his commentary on Revelation wrote, “Some people have an odd idea of the gospel — they think that the gospel is ‘God is love’ and that is all. That is not the gospel of my Bible. The gospel of my Bible begins, Fear God. You can love him then, but you fear him first. The eternal gospel the angel preaches begins, ‘Fear God’. Unless you fear God you will not seek forgiveness. ‘Fear God and give him glory’. Why? The angel continues, ‘because the hour of his judgment has come.”
What David Pawson (DP) is saying is common knowledge for those who removed their proverbial rose-colored glasses and are taking the biblical texts at face value. I suggest that this generation desperately needs to take the blinders off before it’s too late. We have an Americanized gospel that was born of a combination of the high-speed crusade evangelism of the 20th century, the television “ministries” of the 1960s, and the prosperity gospel. These venues and doctrines are largely responsible for the corruption and compromise of the eternal gospel. Is this why an angel has to come along and declare it to every creature under heaven?
Counting the Cost
In Luke 14, Jesus sets forth the reality of the cost of serving Him. He stated, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it — lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’” (Luke 14:26-30)
In the late 1950s, a preacher came on Television with a vision to build a space needle-type studio in Cuyahoga Falls, near Akron, Ohio. I believe, the illustration Jesus gave regarding the tower, was more of a prophesy and warning than a mere illustration. I wrote a book about this entitled, “Televangelicalism: How We Lost the Gospel” where I address this matter in depth.
The short version of the story goes like this: In the late 1960s, Rex Humbard did exactly what Jesus talked about in Luke 14:26-40. He built a 494 ft. concrete tower and was unable to finish it. Why? Because he didn’t sit down and count the cost whether he had what he needed to finish the job. I have visited this tower. It is an awful blight on the landscape as it can be seen from the interstate. I’m told that there is so much concrete and steel in the foundation that it would destroy the neighborhood to try and blast it down. So it has sat there now for almost 50 years as a reminder. It would be inappropriate for me to type on this blogpost the name the townspeople have given this nearly 500-foot concrete and steel eyesore.
Show biz Preaching
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:16-17).
In Galatians, Paul pronounced a curse upon people who preach any other Gospel than what we receive from the scriptures. Yet, Humbard was an advocate of financial prosperity and the sinner’s prayer. His failure with the tower project, I believe, is representative of his failure to preach the Gospel that includes the message of “counting the cost.” He didn’t preach the eternal gospel as Paul and the angel preached it. He normalized a compromised message. His television ministry set the pace for ministries to come. Not only that, but local preachers were influenced by him. Some called him, “America’s Television Pastor.”
People get angry and hostile when I point this out because they are generally more concerned for their favorite preachers than they are the integrity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These people have put peoples’ souls at risk by preaching a half-baked impotent message. Understand that Paul would not have shared their zeal for men who play fast and loose with the evangel. He would have cursed these men, no doubt. Moreover, we cannot continue to overlook this because most peoples’ idea of the Gospel is what they have heard TV preachers say. Perhaps Humbard’s wife characterized their ministry best in an interview for People magazine.
In the May 11, 1981 issue of People Magazine, they quoted Rex Humbard’s wife, regarding their change of TV venues to improve ratings. “We’re competing in a world of show biz,” says his wife, Maude Aimee. “You have to have a better line than the next balloon seller. Religion isn’t any different.”
Although I can appreciate the honesty, these comments offer insight into the flawed and even diabolical thinking process that was driving televangelism at that time. Notice the words, “competing” and “show-biz.” Really? What would Paul say to that comment? What would Jesus say? Hang tight, we will someday find out.
The No-Cost Gospel
This “no-cost” (don’t count the cost just pray this prayer) gospel that is preached today is completely man-centered. It is humanism plan and simple. “God will do this or that for you. God loves you and wants to bless you.” Nonsense. That is no message to preach to a sinner who has one foot in hell and another on a banana peeling. Listen again to the angel preach the everlasting good news, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come (…).” John the Baptist spoke of wrath that is coming. In Acts 17, at Mars Hill, Paul warned the pagans of a judgment day coming in which Christ would judge the world in righteousness. Yet today, with judgment even at the door, modern preachers tell us it’s all about love and blessing. They are the devil’s ear ticklers — not God’s prophets and evangelists.
Following the Angels Lead
I recently heard a female preacher tell of what she called, “false prophets” coming into churches giving words who were not under authority. It’s as if many pastors today are terrified that someone is going to come in and challenge their false gospel. Presumably, she believes that prophets should belong to a denomination and have credentials and a “covering” to use the modern lingo. Really? What organization did Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Micah, Malachi, Ezekiel, Hosea, Isaiah, Daniel, Noah, Moses, Jonah, Zechariah, Enoch, Joel, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, Apollos or Agabus belong to? You’re right. None.
If a person is a false prophet on the mere basis that they aren’t under authority then we need to torch our Bibles. Because none of these men belonged to any of the tens of thousands of man-made religious structures (denominations) of our times. They were under God’s authority and didn’t ask the pastors or leaders for permission to prophesy. In fact, the leaders were usually the first people rebuked. Selah. Why do you think God had to send an angel to declare the eternal gospel? Because men were not declaring it?
I believe that much of the reason God has allowed this pandemic to shut churches down is that ministers are not preaching the Gospel as it was “once and for all delivered to the saints.” In fact, maybe by the time we reach Revelation 14, the TV preachers have so corrupted people, pastors, and preachers that there isn’t a person on earth with the boldness to preach the Gospel as God wants it preached — so He has to send an angel to do the job. Think about the madness of that. Did everyone forget what the eternal gospel is all about? Does anyone read the Gospels anymore? Take Jesus’ words seriously any more? Why will God need an angel to remind us?
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).