In light of the global apostasy that will prevail under the new religious order, God will not sit quietly in heaven and allow this worldwide falling away of Christianity to continue unchecked. The new religious order was prophesied by the apostle Paul when he says that Christ will not come until that ‘man of sin’ is revealed who will exalt himself above God (Thess. 2:3, 4).
The gospel proclamation in light of an anti-christian revolt
In your Bible study on Revelations 13, you will see where ‘the beast’ fulfills the role of this ‘man of sin’. The revelation of the ‘man of sin’ will mark the precipitous descent of the Christian world into the greatest apostasy that the world will ever witness. It is against this anti-christian revolt that the everlasting message of Revelation 14 warns, outlining the dire consequences to those who are involved.
In every generation the Lord has never applied punishment without a warning. Whenever rebellion against the commandments of God becomes widespread, the Lord would issue warnings intended to call sinners to repentance. And this is what you call the preaching of the gospel. The Lord has a gospel for every generation. Through the gospel the Lord intends to salvage sinners from their mire and get them to acknowledge God as the only source of blessing and mercy. That’s precisely what the threefold message of Revelations 14:6-12 is all about.
The three angels proclamation typifies the missionary activities of the saints in the last days
In your Bible study on Revelations 14, beginning with the sixth verse, you will see where John saw three angels flying in the midst of heaven, each of whom has a message to deliver to the inhabitants of the earth. The work of these angels represents the work of the people of God. It is the saints who will be persecuted for the “witness of Jesus and for the word of God” (Rev. 20:4) in the last days. And it was to the disciples of all ages that the command was given to preach the gospel to every creature with the promise that Christ will be with them until the end of the world (Matt. 28:19, 20; Mk 16:15, 16; Acts 1:8).
Here is a brief outline of the three messages to be proclaimed by the three angels:
1. The message of first angel: It is said that the first of the three angels is the one who is commissioned to preach what the prophet John describes as the everlasting gospel. Because of its eternal significance, this message is distinct from the other two. It calls people back to true worship and the acknowledgment of Jehovah as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and this is what the theme will be about throughout eternity (Isa. 66:22, 23; Rev. 4:11).
This everlasting gospel will sound throughout the length and breadth of the earth against the background of a new religious order, where all that dwell on the earth will be giving homage to the beast (Rev. 13:8). It seems as if this call to worship God as the Maker of heaven and earth involves the restoration of Sabbath keeping since this is God’s appointed means of celebrating His creatorship (Gen. 2;1-3; Exod. 20:8-11; 31:16).
2. The message of the second angel: This message constitutes a warning against accepting the falsehood of Babylon, who will be responsible for the spiritual intoxication of the world. The establishment of the new religious order will be on account of the world imbibing the wine of Babylon’s heresy. This message is intended to inform the world of the impending destruction (fall) of Babylon and her religious empire, and of the fact that anyone who supports her in apostasy will not escape severe punishment.
3. The message of the third angel: This is where the acceptance of the mark of the beast and the worship of his image is directly rebuked. The third message is one that will have to be preached by the people of God under forbidding circumstances; they will have to fearlessly proclaim this most pointed message at the peril of their lives because they are actually striking at the very heart of the religious establishment! A simple Bible study of Revelation 20 will reveal that some of the saints will be beheaded for the witness of Jesus and the world of God, and for their refusal to take the mark of the beast and worship his image (vs 4).
Preaching the gospel will be more difficult in the end time
In your Bible study of Revelations 14, you will see that God intends to accomplish the same objective of bringing sinners to repentance just as we see it in the four gospels as well as the book of Acts. In the last days during the mark-of-the-beast crisis, it is going to be much harder to tell somebody about Christ than it already is. Just imagine living in a society where the vast majority are sworn false worshippers to a relatively handful of true Christians! Certainly, will be a task that requires a faith that many of us do not yet possess.