14:6 THE FIRST ANGEL
“Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). This verse introduces the first of three of the most powerful messages ever given to mankind. The fact that the messages are portrayed as being given by angels “flying in the midst of heaven” does not mean that angels will fly around in the sky, shouting to the people on earth. The Greek word for angel simply means one sent to bring a message, and elsewhere in Revelation angels symbolize human messengers. The three angels symbolize the people who will deliver these last-hour messages. The messages are given immediately after the description of the 144,000, which suggests that they are the ones who will proclaim the messages. The fact that they are given “in the midst of heaven” indicates that they will be so widespread and conspicuous that they will be impossible to ignore. The universality of the messages is underscored by the fact that they are directed “to every nation, tribe, tongue and people.”
The foundation of the three messages is “the everlasting gospel.” The Greek word for gospel simply means good news, and there are many kinds of good news in the Bible. In the New Testament the word “gospel” refers to specific good news, best summarized by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.“I declare to you the gospel… in which you stand, by which also you are saved… that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-3). The fact that “Christ died for our sins” is absolutely essential for our salvation because “all have sinned” and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23, 6:23). We were “dead in trespasses and sin” “having no hope and without God in the world,” but God “made us alive together with Christ…In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 2:1,12,5,1:7). Jesus “loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Revelation 1:5), taking away the enmity that separated us from Him.
Moreover, “He was buried, and… rose again the third day”. “Now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [died]” (1 Corinthians 15:4,20). Our hope goes beyond this life. The resurrection of Jesus ensures life beyond the grave for those who accept His sacrifice on their behalf, and a place in His glorious kingdom which he has “prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
But the good news did not end with the resurrection of Christ. Jesus returned to heaven where “He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:25). This refers to His work of mediation in the heavenly sanctuary. “We do have such a high priest [Christ]...who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.” “He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 8:1,2, 7:25).
“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24). Jesus is coming again! “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you” (John 14:18). “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time...to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28 NRS). “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Perhaps the best news of all is that “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain” (Revelation 21:4). If eternal life was like this life but continuing forever, it wouldn’t be good news. But He promises, “Behold, I make all things new” (v. 5).
The gospel is called “everlasting” because it was not an afterthought or an emergency plan devised in response to the appearance of sin. Jesus is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). When God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit created man with free will and the possibility of choosing evil, He also made the provision that the Father would give “His only begotten Son” so that sinners who deserved death could instead receive life. The gospel was first announced when God told Satan, the serpent, “I [will] put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed” (Genesis3:15). This was the gospel that was symbolized by all the Old Testament sacrifices. The gospel tells us what God has done, is doing and will do to save us, and the only way we can be saved from eternal death is by believing the gospel.
 In chapters 2 and 3 the messages to the 7 churches were sent “to the angel of the church of [Ephesus, Smyrna, etc.].” Obviously the messages were to the leaders of the churches, not to heavenly angels. See also Revelation 21:7.
 There are three heavens: the atmosphere, the heaven of the stars, and the heaven where the angels dwell. According to Revelation 19:17 the “midst of heaven” is the atmosphere where the birds fly.