This verse has been used to support the idea that an angel (Moroni?) declared an “everlasting gospel” by bringing the Book of Mormon. According to chapter 7 of the 2015 church manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson:
In describing conditions of the last days incident to the second coming of Jesus Christ, John prophesied in the New Testament that before the Savior’s return, the world would receive a warning that the hour of God’s judgment was near. That warning would come by an angel from heaven declaring an “everlasting gospel.” Hear his words: “I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:6–7.) If one accepts the testimony of John the Revelator, new revelation and a visitation by a heavenly messenger to earth should be expected. Our solemn testimony is that this angelic messenger appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the early nineteenth century. This announcement that an angel from God appeared to a prophet in our times is entirely consistent with the prophecies of the New Testament and should therefore command the interest of every earnest seeker after truth. On the evening of 21 September 1823, an angel appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The angel’s name was Moroni. He was the last of a long line of ancient prophets of two great civilizations who lived … on the American Continent centuries ago. Moroni came to Joseph Smith in fulfillment of prophecy.
This unique interpretation by the former Mormon prophet is merely reading into this passage (eisegesis). Consider, for instance, the preceding verses in this passage:
- 144,000 saints standing with the Lamb (Jesus) on Mount Zion (verse 1)
- A new song sung by only the 144,000 (verse 3)
- These beings had kept their virginity (verse 4) and had never lied (verse 5)
Then, in verse 6, the “eternal gospel” is announced by the angel to the inhabitants of earth. While Mormons believe that the angel Moroni (a former human) delivered gold plates to Smith, when did this angelic being ever announce the “eternal gospel” to “every nation (ethnos), tribe, language, and people”? Mormonism, however, teaches that a “restored” Gospel was needed because the “eternal” Gospel had been lost from the face of the earth.
Originally written in a language nobody knew (supposedly Reformed Egyptian), the Book of Mormon was “translated” by Smith into writing very similar to King James-style English. However, the Book of Mormon still has not been translated into every language almost two centuries later…far from it. In fact, as of 2011, the Book of Mormon has been translated into only 82 languages, with portions in an additional 25 languages. However, there are a total of 6,500 languages in the world today. Granted, about 2,000 have fewer than 1,000 speakers. Given that, let’s just say that there are 4,500 known languages in the world (each having more than 1,000 speakers).
If that’s the case, almost two centuries after its founding, the LDS Church has translated the Book of Mormon into fewer than three percent of all languages. The Book of Mormon is not therefore a gospel given to “every ethnos, tribe, language, and people.” In verse 7, it says the “hour of His judgment has come.” Did Jesus judge the earth in the 1820s? If this is referring to a future event, then verse 6 should not be interpreted as having already occurred.
Noticeably, Benson stopped quoting at verse 7 and didn’t continue with verse 8, which talks about a “second angel” who spoke about “Babylon the Great” that would fall and make all nations drink the wine of sexual immorality, bringing wrath.
In verse 9, John mentions a mark of the beast put on people’s foreheads and hands. If verses 6 and 7 refer to events that have already happened (the introduction of the Book of Mormon to the earth), then the Mormon is obligated to explain these additional symbolic references.
Instead of referring to Moroni and any other event from the past, there is no doubt that Revelation 14 is talking about events in the future. It is unfair to pull a verse (or two) out of context and make it say something it was never intended to say.
For other passages discussing common passages used by Latter-day Saints, click here.