Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The Bible speaks clearly about “seven last plagues” in which "the wrath of God is complete" (Rev. 15:1). They are “poured out” by “seven angels” who declare that “true and righteous are Your judgments,” “Lord God Almighty” (16:7). They are “the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation," because each recipient will “worship the beast and his image, and ... receive the mark of his name” (14:10, 11).
Why this terrible outburst of God’s wrath? All through the millennia of history, the “wrath of God” has been tempered, diluted, softened, “mixed” with His mercy. But when those final plagues are poured out, it is full strength. Why the abrupt change?
Has God at that time changed His character? Up until now He has made “His sun [to] rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). By virtue of Christ’s sacrifice on His cross He has treated every man as though he had not sinned. That is “mercy,” the “justification of life” that Paul says is Christ’s “gift” to “all men” from His cross (Rom. 5:15-18). Does He then no longer “love the world” for whom He “gave His only Son”?
Yes, He still loves the wicked, but they have now corporately, finally, totally rejected that love. When “the world” crucified Christ (not just the Jews and Romans, 3:19), He forgave them. That’s why He can send “His sun” and “rain” on all of us alike.
When a terrible tornado totally destroys a city, does that mean that those people “were worse sinners than all other[s] … because they suffered such things”? Jesus answered that question in Luke 13:1-5 with a negative answer. All the world is corporately guilty of crucifying Him and must repent. The whole world will suffer in the end, but only when it repeats the crucifixion of Christ in wanting to murder God’s people, enforcing the universal decree that all who “would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Rev. 13:15). For that final universal sin there will at last be no forgiveness, only the “full strength" wrath of God.
Thank God that in all the devil’s present-day “plagues,” such as AIDS, the Zika virus, and on and on, there is mixed the “mercy” of God. Rejoice in it; but let’s not dare presume upon it.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 6, 2003.
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