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Questions On Doctrine


X. Miscellaneous Questions


Intent of the Term "Everlasting Gospel"



What do Adventists mean by their constant emphasis on the "everlasting gospel" of Revelation 14:6? Is this a special gospel you are seeking to preach, which differs from the gospel emphasized by Protestants generally? Please clarify.


We do not understand the "everlasting gospel" of Revelation 14:6 to be a new or different gospel from that which our Lord, the apostles, and the early church preached, and which is to be re-emphasized in worldwide proportions in these latter days. It is the same unchanged and unchangeable good news that God has conveyed to man ever since sin entered the world, though discerned with varying degrees of clarity and emphasis in different ages.

Its foregleams were first seen in the promise of the "seed," a promise given while man was still within the gates of Eden (Gen. 3:15). The gospel, according to Holy Writ, was even preached to Abraham: "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed" (Gal. 3:8).


The apostle Peter referred to this same gospel when he wrote: "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" (1 Peter 1:10, 11).

Clearly, then, that which was preached before the cross was gospel, but in figure, in type, in shadow. The full revelation came in and through Jesus Christ. Thus we read: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Heb. 1:1, 2).

But a grave departure from the faith—a tragic and basic "falling away" from the pure apostolic gospel faith—developed in the great Latin apostasy, the dominant papal perversion of the Middle Ages. Yet, this was all expressly foretold by the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the coming of the Lord and our gathering unto Him, verses 1, 2] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is


after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

In due time the Protestant Reformation arose, which was a noble revival of much of the gospel that had been perverted and lost. The great basic principle of the gospel—justification by faith—was restored, and simple dependence upon the once-for-all atoning sacrifice and all-sufficient mediatorial priesthood of Jesus Christ was reinstated. Many papal perversions* were repudiated and abandoned.

While there was a glorious return to most of the gospel, the faith once delivered to the saints, yet certain aspects of the gospel message were not emphasized at that time. These included baptism by immersion, immortality as a gift bestowed by Christ at the resurrection, revival of the seventh day as the Sabbath, and various other Bible truths.

We, as Adventists, profoundly believe that in these last days God is calling for the completion of the arrested Protestant Reformation and for the full and final restoration of gospel truth. Just as the Baptists arose in the seventeenth century to emphasize, among other forgotten and trampled truths, baptism by immersion, and as the eighteenth-century Wesleyans stressed God's free grace, so today, we believe, the Christian church is being called to return to the full, original, untainted gospel—the "everlasting gospel," unchanged and 
"These include: Prayers for the dead, the sign of the cross, veneration of saints, celebration of the mass, worship of Mary, purgatory, veneration of relics, penance, holy water, celibacy of the priesthood, the rosary, the inquisition, transubstantiation, extreme unction, dependence upon tradition.


unchangeable in the plan and purpose of God. This, as we understand it, is all involved in the preparation of the church of the last days to meet her returning Lord.

This same principle of adherence to the everlasting gospel also involves rejection of all ecclesiastical departures and innovations of "latter times," that were likewise foretold by the same apostle Paul, for we read: "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1). The portrayal of this peril is developed in 2 Timothy 3 and 4, where it is prophesied that "perilous times" will come, in which men will have "a form of godliness," but will deny "the power thereof" (2 Tim. 3:1-5).

This is the time foretold when men "will not endure sound doctrine" and will "turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Tim. 4:3, 4). Surely this is a portrayal of the sundry isms, pseudo-Christian movements, and religious perversions of the times that claim sanctuary within the general fold of Protestantism. And this is not to mention modernism—the great departure in Protestantism-evolution, the "social gospel," spiritism, the denial of the inspiration of the Bible, the denial of the deity of the Son of God, and other subtle religious philosophies of the day. Against all these historic and current enticements we are warned (Gal. 1:8, 9). We are to hold steadfastly to the apostolic faith and sound doctrine, and to the true gospel, based on the Bible only, as presented by Christ, and Paul, and the other apostles (1 Tim. 4:13-16; 2 Tim. 3:14-16).


In the history of the church there have been special emphases and applications of the truth of the gospel suited to specific periods. This was true prior to and in the days of Jesus, in the days of the early church, during the Middle Ages, and in the Reformation period, and now it is true in these last days. These spiritual emphases constitute present truths to the generation to which they are given (2 Peter 1:12). We believe that we are now living in the hour, or time, of God's judgment. We therefore believe there is to be a fullness of understanding and emphasis corresponding to the fullness of time's last hour. We believe in a purity of faith matching the expectations of God for His people in these last climactic days of earth's history, when the redeemed are soon to meet their Lord face to face.

So, if Seventh-day Adventists seem to differ in emphasis from some of our brethren of other Protestant faiths, it is because we believe we have a special message for this hour. We hold the "everlasting gospel" of Revelation 14:6 to be the apostolic gospel, understood and emphasized in the setting of God's great last-day judgment hour, and designed for the preparation of a people completely clad in the righteousness of Christ and fully following the revealed will of God as they prepare to stand in His presence at His imminent glorious appearing.

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