Sunday, August 07, 2005

# 43: God's Love, Wrath and the Book of Revelation

Is the Divine Creator a God of love or a God of wrath? In the Sermon on the Mount, God is portrayed by Jesus Christ as a God of love, mercy, and grace. In the Old Testament, when The Lord commanded the Israelites to murder thousands, maybe millions, of people who possessed the land of Canaan, He showed no mercy on any of those inhabitants (even babies and children) except Rahab and her family. Weren’t those lives precious to Him? In all the other battles that the Israelites fought for The Lord, where was His mercy? “Jesus Christ [God] is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8. Since God is always the same, do we worship a vengeful God? “It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” Hebrews 10:30. Since God displays Himself many times as a God of wrath in the book of Revelation, do we now worship a God of wrath?

In the Gospels, God is portrayed as a God of love. Is that love a wimpy kind of love, or is it tough love? When a child is caught playing with matches in the house after being admonished several times, does a loving parent just take it lightly? Or does the parent let the child know in no uncertain terms on his or her bare bottom that they must stop or a near-death experience may be next? If a person is continually disobedient to God’s purpose, with no chance of conversion, that life is of no value to God, and He can and will wipe them out without a tear or blink of the eye.

Yes! God is never changing. Life is of no more value to him today than it was when He wiped out multitudes in the Old Testament. The religious will say, “That was before the time of grace.” God had a righteous purpose for that mass murder. When Christ came on the scene, He showed us another real side of God. Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” That doesn’t mean God’s tender mercy for humanity negates His tough love.

Now, let’s take a good look at our God of love as He displays Himself in the Book of Revelation. Starting with chapter four, the words “love,” “mercy” and “grace” are not mentioned once; the words “God’s wrath” are mentioned ten times. Is this the same God of love, when through His angels and Spirits, He kills billions of people? The good along with the wicked may be slaughtered mercilessly. Possibly, some of God’s people will be spared harm according to Revelation 9:4. “They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”

Yes, God’s people will be with Him, but oh, what they/we may have to go through before that time. Some religions say that the righteous will be taken up with Him before the great tribulation, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:17, and Matthew 24:39-41. I am sure there is some type of mix-up in the time frame responsible for the contradiction. Listen to the following verses in the Book of Revelation. In the very middle of God’s wrath in Chapters 13 and 14, listen to what it says: “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. Also, “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.” Revelation 13:10. This sounds to me like God’s people will still be here in the midst of God’s wrath. Though most, if not all, that is mentioned in Revelation of the last days is symbolic or figurative, the message is loud and clear: God is full of rancor.

Here is the point: a God of love, in order to fulfill the law of love, can’t help but hate evil—not just evil, but the source (which is ungodly and self-centered people). He shows this anger by this last slaughter. Love cannot tolerate and be merciful to evil forever. Evil must be destroyed. Though some will say, “The Devil made me do it,” the fact is that we all have a free will that is disposed to self-glory. To put it in colloquial terms: “there ain’t no scapegoat for our ‘legitimized’ misbehaving.”

Throughout this terrible period, it will be the last chance for the religious to repent. Three times it states that ungodly people continually failed to repent of their evil ways. Revelation 9:21, 16:9-11. Who is it asking them to repent, if not God’s people? True disciples of Christ will be His witnesses, and they will be preaching and prophesying to repent.

Here is a Bible verse that needs some serious explaining: Revelation 9:6. “During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.” Here is an off-the-wall thought which most never considered: all the humans from the beginning of time may have been raised from the dead and therefore may be on earth during this tribulation period. I am sure they will not be able to die a natural death. That figure has been estimated to be as many as seventy billion human beings. Can anyone imagine that many people on earth at one time?

Since God is just, no one is exempt from His wrath before being sentenced. Most people living on earth when God’s wrath comes are not that much worse than those who lived several thousand years ago. What’s fair is fair. When these really difficult times come, it will be a very special time for the real Christians to stand up and shine in the midst of hell on earth.

This question may come up as it did in ancient times: Does the book of Revelation really belong in our Holy Bible? In the second and third centuries when the “established church” was deciding which books were fit to be part of the Holy Canon (what we now call the Bible), some of the regional churches rejected Revelation, saying it w as unworthy of the Canon. However, right or wrong, the majority ruled, and it was finally accepted as a part of our present-day Bible. Could those ancient church fathers, as fallible human beings, have been wrong? I am sure most religious people would say, “They were inspired by God when they made that decision.” Others say, “Some religious nut who was hallucinating wrote the Book of Revelation.” Personally, I don’t think so. Though some of the symbolic content is confusing, there is much authentic portrayal of God and Christ, too much for any deranged person to be aware of. Even if it is a total fabrication, God will capitalize on whatever was written to His glory.

Since wrath is a natural part of love, there is nothing in it that defaces the nature of God. I will put it another way: If it was written by a holy man or not, its function is being fulfilled by letting humanity know that for love to be true to itself, it must somehow destroy all selfishness and evil. Are you and I on the right path? To write these holy words is a piece of cake, but to live as God required is the most challenging lifestyle in existence. Why? Being a disciple of Christ is contrary to what most, if not all, people call normal.


Anonymous said...

But wherein by your argument to you propose to insert the logical leap that promotes the human parent, or by extension the police, military or national leader, as being endowed by God with the same judicial and executive powers of God?

It is true, God can deal out some pretty harsh lessons, and it is for THAT reason there is no need for the rest of us, HIS children, to fear the misguided actions of our siblings, because THE Father, the ONE and SINGULAR Father, already knows what they did, and, presumably already knows what He's going to do about it and is more than capable of executing His judgement.


JC said...

QED, Thanks for your comment.I read your remarks several time and desire to respond in an intelligent way. But its meaning is above my understanding. I don't know how to respond. What are you telling me or asking me? If you can simplify your statement, I would love to respond. Since this is a four part series, possibly the next section or so, will explaing a little more of what my punchline will be and hopefully clear up any misunderstanding.

Thanks again,