Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Just when your weary, fearful heart is longing for some refreshing Good News, you bump into the most terrifying, blood-curdling news in the entire Bible: the third angel's message (Rev. 14:9-11). Or so it seems on the surface. Utterly new in world history, it's "the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation," that is, not a shred of mercy mixed in with it. (Always, the wrath of God has been mixed with mercy--a little hope or kindness included.)
Why this unprecedented horror? What human sin will be so bad that it merits such apparent temper on the part of God? And why do "the holy angels" and even "the Lamb" seem apparently to enjoy watching these unfortunate mark-of-the-beast people roast in human agony?
The third angel's message says these lost souls "shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in [their] presence." Understand it as figuratively as you like, it still seems to come through as nothing but Bad News. The worst part: our meek and lowly, precious Jesus seems to enjoy watching this horror "in [His] presence," like the principals in the Spanish Inquisition dressing up in their finest to watch the heretics burn alive in "their presence" in the city square.
And yet a favorite author tells us that "the third angel's message in verity" is the "most precious" Good News ever sounded--a clearer understanding of justification by faith--just what your fearful, weary heart hungers for. And just what the world is dying to hear!
May the Lord give us a look into the Good News that is buried in this strange message. It's there, for sure. We just need New Covenant eyes to see it.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 12, 2001.
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