Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
(Revelation 14:6-7 ESV)
When we hear that angels are announcing good news - an "eternal gospel" - we probably don't expect what's coming next - God's judgement. As Christians we tend to either dismiss God's wrath or begrudgingly put up with the concept but we don't often think of it as good news. Maybe we think of it as the bad news that makes the good new of God's love taste sweeter, but not good news in itself.
Tom Wright paints a picture to help us understand
"Imagine a village in the outlying countryside of Judaea. It’s a long way from the city, and even traders don’t come there that often, far less government officials. A circuit judge comes to the neighbouring small town once every few months if they’re lucky. But that doesn’t mean that nothing needs doing. A builder is cheated by a customer, who refuses to admit his fault. A widow has her small purse stolen, and since she has nobody to plead for her she can do nothing. A family is evicted from their home by a landlord who thinks he can get more rent from someone else. And a fraudster with his eye on the main chance has accused a work colleague of cheating him, and though nothing has been done about it the other colleagues seem inclined to believe the charge. And so on. Nobody can do anything about any of these – until the judge comes. When he comes, expectations will be massive. Months of pent-up frustrations will boil over. The judge will have to keep order, to calm down accusation and defence alike. He will have to hear each case properly and fairly, taking especial care for those with nobody to speak up for them. He will steadfastly refuse all bribes. And then he will decide. Judgment will be done. Chaos will be averted and order will be restored. The cheats will be put in their place, the thief punished and made to restore the purse. The grasping landlord will have to give way, and the false accuser will suffer the punishment he hoped to inflict. And the village as a whole will heave a sigh of relief. Justice has been done. The world has returned into balance. A grateful community will thank the judge from the bottom of its collective heart."Tom Wright, Revelation for Everyone