The Everlasting Gospel
Most of the Bible teachers that I've listened to sincerely believe that Jesus' church will be completely gone from the Earth when the fourth chapter of Revelation begins coming to pass, viz: the era of the so-called great commission (a.k.a. the church age) will be over; there won't be any born-again, Spirit-empowered Christian evangelists left anywhere on Earth preaching Jesus' gospel, yet according to Rev 7:9-17, many thousands of people will be saved during the church's absence. In my opinion, those numbers can only be attributed to the success of the everlasting gospel; which reads thus:
● Rev 14:6-7 . . And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, announcing with a loud voice: Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
The everlasting gospel is a bounce from the very first chapter of Genesis. It's very elementary; pretty much all it says is:
1• There's a supreme being.
2• He deserves respect.
3• There's a frightful reckoning looming on the horizon, and
4• The cosmos— all of its forms of life, matter, and energy —is the product of intelligent design.
Of particular interest to me is the inclusion of water in the everlasting gospel. Scientists theorize the origin of the earth's amazing quantity of water without really knowing exactly where it came from, nor how it got here. Well; that is one of the things that I like about Genesis. It takes an essentially unsophisticated, uneducated blue-collar welder like myself and gives him answers to questions that people much brighter, and better educated cannot answer.
Giving "glory" simply indicates giving someone credit where credit is due; and "worship" can be roughly defined as reverence, i.e. honor and respect.
It's quite natural to admire celebrities, pro athletes, and super achievers— to give them credit where credit is due —but not quite so natural to do the same for their creator.
Anyway, point being: people either believe in intelligent design, or they don't. If they do believe, then they will admire both the designer's genius and His handiwork. If they don't believe; then they will neither admire nor respect anything about Him: simple as that.
● Acts 17:22 . . Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.
The koiné Greek word translated "very religious" is a tongue twister; it's deisidaimonesteros (dice-ee-dahee-mon-es'-ter-os) which basically means to be obsessed with religion.
Anyway, Paul then goes on to preach not Jesus' gospel, rather, elements of the everlasting gospel.
● Acts 17:23-25 . . For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.
. . .The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
Paul didn't jump into the middle of the Bible with the Athenians, rather, he began with them right from the opening gun with the creation of the cosmos with all of it's from of life, matter, and energy; along with the origin of mankind.
● Acts 17:26 . . From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth
The Greek word translated "nation" is from ethnos (eth'-nos) which basically speaks of race as it pertains to ethnic identity.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve were one in every sense of the word except gender; the reason being that she wasn't a separate creation made from the dust of the Earth, rather, she was constructed from a human tissue sample amputated from Adam's already existing human body; i.e. Eve wasn't a new coin, so to speak, rather, she was the flip side of the same coin so that Eve's biological posterity aren't new coins either; instead; they are extensions of Adam; i.e. more Adam instead of more people.
On the cover of the May 2018 issue of O magazine, published as a prelude to Mother's Day, the question is asked: She gave you life . . are you really giving her a coffee mug?
Well; that's very sentimental; but it's a half truth. Your mom wasn't the source of your life— that distinction belongs to Adam, just as he was the source of Eve's life.
Kelly Ripa, the talk show host, once remarked that men should pick up the tab for dinner because women have the babies. Well; who was it gave birth to Eve? Wasn't it a man? Yes; every woman alive today owes her existence not to a woman: to a man.
● Gen 2:1-3 . .Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.
The six days of creation were all neatly wrapped and packaged by evenings and mornings. Not so the seventh day; i.e. the seventh day is open-ended; which tells me that God hasn't created anything new for the current cosmos in all this time.
So then, infants aren't miracles; i.e. God takes no active part in their coming along; He doesn't have to. The reason being that the blessing of procreation (Gen 1:28) enabled Adam not just to replicate his body, but primarily to transfer his life to succeeding generations.
In other words: there has always been only one human life from which all of Adam's posterity derives its consciousness. That's pretty amazing when you think about it.
Here's an interesting incident from Genesis.
"When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob: Give me children, or I'll die! Jacob became angry with her and said: Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children? (Gen 30:1-2)
Well; Rachel was sure right about one thing: men are definitely in the place of God when it comes to transferring Adam's life from one generation to the next.
● Mark 16:15-17 . . Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Q: What about the many millions of people in the past and the present who've never heard, nor ever will hear, the gospel? What's to become of them?
A: Well; if I understand that passage in Mark correctly, the onus is upon those who hear rather than upon those who have never heard. In point of fact, there are other passages in the Bible like Mark's saying pretty much the same thing.
In other words: in order to be condemned for disbelief, one must first be given some information to think about. Just because someone has yet to hear Jesus' gospel doesn't eo ipso make them an unbeliever. I'm pretty sure the condemnation mentioned in Mark 16:15-17 targets disbelievers; in other words: people who hear Jesus' gospel and blow it off.
But that doesn't let those millions off the hook because in the absence of Jesus' gospel, the everlasting gospel becomes the default. Everybody eventually hears the everlasting gospel because the cosmos— all of its forms of life, matter, and energy —is everywhere 24/7/365.
● Rom 1:19-20 . .What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities— his eternal power and divine nature —have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Q: If people can get saved by heeding the everlasting gospel, then why send out missionaries to every corner of the globe preaching Jesus' gospel?
A: Because not everyone everywhere believes what the cosmos is telling them. Those cases are an emergency because Jesus' gospel is their last resort, i.e. the final option.
In April of 2018, I watched a movie on NetFlix called "Come Sunday" based upon the spiritual career of a Christian minister named Carlton D'metrius Pearson, DD. He underwent a crisis of faith due to pondering the fate of the millions of people in the world perishing in genocides, civil wars, and whatnot who never heard, nor ever would hear, Jesus' gospel. It seemed thoroughly unreasonable to him that a merciful, loving God would condemn so many uninformed people to an eternal destiny in hell just because they didn't believe in a Jesus about whom many of them likely knew nothing about.
Mr. Pearson's solution to the problem was to simply rule out an eternal hell by insisting that classical Christianity's interpretation of the New Testament is incorrect.
Well; he attended Oral Roberts University and was mentored by Oral Roberts himself, so I'm pretty sure Mr. Pearson was aware of the everlasting gospel; but apparently he didn't know how to apply it. That's a remarkable shortcoming considering where he went to school, and who it was that mentored him.
● Ps 19:1-2 . .The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.
Paul goes on to say that people who don't believe the cosmos is the product of intelligent design have no excuse. He prefaced his remarks by saying:
● Rom 1:18 . .The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth
Well; I guess you know what that means for guys like Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and Neil deGrasse Tyson without my having to say so.
A Hymn Of Faith