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"Puzzle Passage"


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    "Puzzle Passage"

    "Puzzle Passage"

    Revelation 14:6-7 - Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, "Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."

    Have you ever been given a puzzle box to open? This is a kind of toy that requires you to move pieces around and perform different maneuvers so that at least you can open the box. When you get to the middle, there is an empty space -- where hopefully the gift-giver has hidden something good for you!

    This passage from Revelation is rather like a puzzle box. It contains a lot of odd details: who or what is this angel? What kind of "gospel" does he have to proclaim? What makes it "good news"? Let's see what we can do with this puzzle.

    St. John says the angel flying overhead has "an eternal gospel to proclaim." Now this is strange, because when we hear the word "Gospel," we normally think of the Good News of Jesus Christ -- that He has been born, lived, served, suffered, died, and rose again, that whoever believes in Him may be set free from the power of evil and live forever in God's kingdom. At least, that's what we think of when we hear the word "Gospel."

    But John isn't talking about the Gospel but rather "a gospel" -- which suggests it's something different. A "gospel" is a piece of good news. So what other good news can we find that might fit?

    The angel proclaims only one thing in this passage: he says, "Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water." What part of this is good news? Well, two parts of it are basically commands, and we don't usually think of commands as good news. Instead, they are things we do; they are directives.

    That leaves us with just one bit, which is the reason behind the directives: "because the hour of His judgment has come." Is this good news? Yes, indeed! God's judgment has finally come -- the hour the whole creation has been waiting for -- the day, the time, the moment when God will put an end to all evil forevermore and lift the curse that has lain like a funeral pall over all creation. Finally, at last, comes the happy ending. This is the day God's people have longed for, as children long for the first day of vacation, as patients long for the news they are finally cured. The hour of God's judgment is here, at last! No wonder all creation glorifies and worships God who made it!

    John gives us something to look forward to: the day when Jesus' victory over evil will be visible to the whole universe. This is our hope and our joy. Thanks be to God!

    PRAYER: Father, help me look forward to Your judgment, knowing that You have already saved me in my Lord Jesus Christ. In His Name we pray. Amen.
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    Copyright 2016 BigDog Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

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