(Rev. 14:6-7) Is this a message of forgiveness or judgment?

CLAIM: Some interpreters believe that God sent the angel merely to preach judgment—not forgiveness. The angel screams, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters” (v.7). Hence, Mounce writes, “It is not the gospel of God’s redeeming grace in Christ Jesus but, as the following verse shows, a summons to fear, honor, and worship the Creator.”[1]

RESPONSE: The term used here is no doubt a message of forgiveness—not judgment. The term “gospel” (euaggelion) should be taken at face value. Osborne writes, “Everywhere that euaggelion is found in the NT, it implies the gracious offer of salvation.”[2] In fact, Osborne speculates that this could actually be a fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 (This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come). Most interpreters assume that the church will fulfill this calling from Jesus, but perhaps, an angel will. We assume that to “fear God, and give Him glory” is to repent of our sins and accept his forgiveness. This, no doubt, is why they are judged in Revelation 16:9 (“they did not repent so as to give Him glory”).

Also, in Rev. 5:9 and 7:9 the fourfold “nation, tribe, tongue, and people” is used for those who are converted from among the nations; and in 21:24, 26 the “nations” bring their “glory and honor” into the New Jerusalem.

[1] Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 270.

[2] Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 535.