Revelation 19: 1-15
After this, I heard what sounded like a vast crowd in heaven shouting,
“Praise the Lord!
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God.
His judgments are true and just.
He has punished the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth with her immorality.
He has avenged the murder of his servants.”
And again their voices rang out:
“Praise the Lord!
The smoke from that city ascends forever and ever!”
Then the twenty-four elders and the four living beings fell down and worshiped God, who was sitting on the throne. They cried out, “Amen! Praise the Lord!”
And from the throne came a voice that said,
“Praise our God,
all his servants,
all who fear him,
from the least to the greatest.”
Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder:
“Praise the Lord!
For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Let us be glad and rejoice,
and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.”
Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress.
As we read about God’s judgement, we need to know that from Heaven’s perspective, every time God gets rid of evil, heaven applauds, Heaven celebrates. All of Heaven worships Him because it knows He is doing what is right and good. It might not be nice, as we see nice, but it’s right.
Look at chapter 16:
“Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, ‘Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.’” (16:1)
“Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:
‘You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.’
And I heard the altar respond: ‘Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.’” (vv 5-7)
In Heaven, they don’t see Him as an angry God to be scared of – but as loving God who is dealing justly with all that is out to destroy us. True and just are His judgments.
God hates sin, God hates abuse, God hates trafficking, God hates injustice, God hates exploitation, God hates poverty and starvation and greed, God hates evil. I don’t want to serve and worship a God who doesn’t hate those things. He wouldn’t be worthy of worship. I’m so thankful and grateful that God one day will act decisively, with perfect judgement, and righteous justice, against all of those things.
In our world, there’s so much injustice, so much evil that goes unpunished. God’s justice is perfect in every way. God’s judgement squares up all of the injustices of life.
We all deep down have this innate sense of justice – we want to see good rewarded and evil punished. One of my favourite movies of all time is 'A Time to Kill', based on the novel by John Grisham. In it, Samuel L. Jackson plays Carl Lee Hailey, a poor, black man whose 10 year old daughter is brutally attacked by white supremacists. Carl Lee hears there’s a chance that his daughter's attackers might walk free so he opens fire in the courthouse killing them both. He is then put on trial for murder.
As you watch the film, you know that he did murder the two men. You've watched it happen. And yet, within all of us there is this deep sense of justice, that these two men got what they deserved. That if it was my daughter or your daughter, we’d do the exact same thing.
And so, for the oppressed and those treated unjustly - God’s judgement is good news. For the weak and downtrodden – His justice is good news. For the persecuted and hungry and abused – God’s decisive punishment of evil is really good news. In Heaven they cheer and clap God’s perfect justice.
Coming from Northern Ireland, we were well used to hearing about miscarriages of justice, innocent people being punished for crimes they didn’t commit. You need to know that with God there will never ever be a miscarriage of justice. He gets it absolutely right every single time.
Ultimately God gives us what we really want. If we want Him, we get eternity with Him. If we don’t want Him – He won’t make us have Him. No one on that day will say: 'But God, they don’t deserve to be punished.' But we will say: 'I don’t deserve your grace, I don’t deserve your love, I don’t deserve your goodness.'
And for those cases that we don't know what God will do, there’s a little verse tucked away in the first book of the Bible in Genesis 18:25. God is about to destroy the city of Sodom for it’s wickedness and Abraham says: 'But God if you destroy it, those who are good and righteous will die also.' And this is what the Bible says:
“Far be it from you to do such a thing - to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Will not the Judge of all the earth do right? The obvious answer is: 'Yes He will – we can trust God that He will do the right thing.'
God’s answer to both wrath and judgement is Jesus. Romans 5:9 says this:
“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”
1 Thess 1: 10 talks about: “Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.”
1 Thess 5:9 says: “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
For those who have surrendered their hearts to Jesus, there is nothing to fear and everything to share!