The Bible letter, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, is God’s last message to a dying planet. In Revelation 14:6-12, three angels shout a warning to “those who dwell on the earth;” people who hate God and hate those who love God. It’s a message given in great love because God is willing to go to the uttermost to reach even his most aggressive enemies.
Revelation 14:10 tells us that there will come a time when “those who dwell on the earth” will completely align themselves with the Beast (a symbol of a Christian looking politcal-religious institutional power on earth) and thus become beast-like; they manifest it’s character or in other words, receive it’s mark.
What can God do with with someone who stands violently, satanically, opposed to the kingdom of light, love, and life? I mean the Bible makes it clear that for the sake of all creation, this sin war must come to an end. There has to be an end to starving children, rape, greed that poisons everything it touches, and the parasitic-like consumption that fuels humanity. Eden will be restored and the heartbeat of the universe will be tuned once again to other-centered love. If they were still alive, “those that dwell on the earth” will hate it and continue to war against it. This cannot be. What’s God to do?
He pours out his wrath on them. What does that mean?
I’ve already mentioned that all of us read those words through a lens of who we think God to be. Consider how in the beginning when God said to Adam and Eve, if you eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall die. Did he mean: If you break my rules I will have to punish you with execution? Many think so however, many also see him saying something else: Eating from that tree will break our relationship so horribly that death and destruction will rule the world. In the first scenario, God offers salvation, in a sense, to save us from his just punishment. In the second, God desires to save us, not from himself but from the horror of sin and death. The scenario that you lean towards will be a filter through which you understand God’s poured out wrath.
To me, an interesting picture is revealed when we look closely at Romans 1 and see that the wrath of God is placed within the context of God giving people up because they want to be given up on. Despite everything he has done to win them back to light, love, and life, they have chosen to opt out. God gives them up – to their heart’s desire; to the full, unfiltered consequences of sin.
In the end, could it be that God’s wrath is the most loving thing he can offer those who are determined to die?