If you just had a few moments to call out a warning to people you love, what would you say and how would you say it? What would you be willing to risk? If you knew that the warning would be scoffed at and ignored, would you still give it? I ask you to consider these questions and more in a series called, “The Three.”
In the last letter of the Bible, there’s a lot of symbolism; a story being told with vivid imagery. In that letter we find an urgent message in Revelation 14:6-11.
The first angel says with a loud voice, “Fear God…!” For God to send a command to fear him is kind of strange. It seems out of character. Remember back in the beginning, after Adam and Eve broke relationship with God, they felt afraid; they ran and hid from God. The Creator didn’t lash out at them but instead sought them out, initiating the reconciliation process from the very start.
Years later the apostle John, the author of Revelation, is writing about a reconciled and healthy relationship with God and he says: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1John 4:18
To John, fearing God is a negative thing. If you fear God; your love relationship with your Creator is broken. If you fear God, you haven’t “been made perfect” – in other words, your heart is untouched by God’s love.
Now remember who the message is for: those who dwell upon the earth. Those who dwell on the earth believe the worst about their Creator. One author made this observation, “The law of Jehovah was burdened with needless exactions and traditions, and God was represented as severe, exacting, revengeful, and arbitrary. He was pictured as one who could take pleasure in the sufferings of his creatures. The very attributes that belonged to the character of Satan, the evil one represented as belonging to the character of God.” Those who dwell on the earth have bought the lie.
Wouldn’t it be really dangerous for God to command those who dwell on the earth to fear him? Maybe he didn’t.