Studying the book of Revelation has been a trip. Although not an artist, I find sketching and charting the scenes make them more real to me (even if my characters are comical, and they are). However, we do have some artists in our group. I Iove to see their sketches. We are not just learning what will take place, but we are learning more about GOD our Savior.
Yesterday, as we examined the bowls of wrath. Some, one being especially vocal, were horrified by the extent of what was happening. So we stopped for a few moments to considered the question: Why would our loving Heavenly FATHER, GOD of love, do such things? Scripture clearly indicates it was HIS doing (Revelation 16:9).
GOD loves good and hates evil. Just as some things are too awful to look at, in the same way GOD cannot stand to look at evil. That hatred of evil, I think is based on the harm it does. It must be stopped completely. An example shown in scripture is of the once most high and beautiful covering angel (Ezekiel 28:13-15), Satan now comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He went from good to bad, all because of wanting to be in control.
GOD loves HIS creation, therefore cannot allow sin to continue, for like bitterness (Hebrews 12:14), it defiles everything it touches. It began in Satan as self will (doing things my way), and one day all the ones dedicated to self will, after many warnings, will no longer be able to see the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
As we studied, we found the reason for these judgments is much more than GOD’s righteous recompense for wrong actions. Although it is definitely that, and all evil must be judged and rightly punished, it goes much, much deeper, deep into the heart of GOD, and shows us more of HIS nature. GOD is using these judgments to teach angels (Ephesians 3:10), and by telling us to read about them, it seems like they are for a warning to us. Then, there is GOD’s word. HE keeps HIS word and does what HE says HE will do. GOD must completely eradicate evil, in order to make good on HIS promise that affliction will not arise the second time (Nahum 1:9).
Think for a moment about your children. When one initially did wrong, you gently tried to change their actions. But if, after repeated efforts, they continued to defy you, you may have, like I have had to, take stronger measures to show them their wrong actions were not good, and could not be tolerated. For sin, unpunished, leads to more sin. Then if that didn’t do the trick, I had to take even stronger measures. It grieved me greatly, but I did it to help them develop character, for their own good. I did it also to protect the other children. I didn’t do it because I wanted to harm them. There was no desire in my heart to see them punished. I didn’t hate them for what they did, but I did hate their actions. I find that true of GOD as well (Ezekiel 18:23,32).
We have seen, throughout the book of Revelation, a term repeated over and over. That term is: “and they repented not”. That term indicates that more than judgment is in view in the seals, the trumpets and the bowls. It shows that under the righteous recompense, repentance was what GOD was after. That means salvation was still being offered to them clear up to the end. GOD is longsuffering with us because HE does not desire for any to perish but for all to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Peter 3:9). Every time I read those words, and they repented not, I feel the grief of GOD. I think of JESUS when HE wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44), “How often I would have gathered you under MY wings, but you would not!”
Acts 17:26-27 states GOD determined the exact times and places things would happen (that includes red lights, as well as the plagues of Revelation 16) for one specific purpose: that men would reach out to HIM.)
JESUS instructs us to be perfect, as our FATHER in heaven is perfect, and to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48).
Show me Thy ways,
Teach me Thy paths,
Free me from all of my fears.
Trusting in You is so easy to do
As I see You as You really are.
As You really are (God and King)
As You really are (Master of everything), as You really are
Help me to see You, as You really are.
As You really are (Risen and living)
As You really are (Just and Yet forgiving)
As You really are
Help me to see You, as You really are.
Only as we see JESUS as HE really is, are we changed by the HOLY SPIRIT into that likeness from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). That is something GOD wants (Romans 8:29). So, get in the word, ask the HOLY SPIRIT to show you more about JESUS, and HE will.
Looking unto JESUS, the Author and Perfecter of my faith,