>> Library >> Contents >> "Reluctant Retribution"

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" ... the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation óRevelation 14:10

Godís judgments will be visited upon those seeking to oppress and destroy His people. He will vindicate the authority of His downtrodden law. The severity of the retribution awaiting the transgressor may be judged by the Lordís reluctance to execute justice. The nation with which He bears long, and which He will not smite until it has filled up the measure of its iniquity in Godís account, will finally drink the cup of wrath unmixed with mercy.

When Christ ceases His intercession in the sanctuary, the unmingled wrath threatened against those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark (see Revelation 14:9, 10), will be poured out. The plagues upon Egypt when God was about to deliver Israel were similar in character to those more terrible and extensive judgments which are to fall upon the world just before the final deliverance of Godís people. Says the revelator, in describing those terrific scourges: "There fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image." The sea "became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea." And "the rivers and fountains of waters ... became blood." Terrible as these inflictions are, Godís justice stands fully vindicated. The angel of God declares: "Thou art righteous, 0 Lord,... because Thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy" (Revelation 16:2-6). By condemning the people of God to death, they have as truly incurred the guilt of their blood as if it had been shed by their hands.

In the plague that follows, power is given to the sun "to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat" (verses 8, 9). The prophets describe the condition of the earth at this fearful time (see Joel 1:10-12, 17-20; Amos 8:3).

These plagues are not universal, or the inhabitants of the earth would be wholly cut off. Yet they will be the most awful scourges that have ever been known to mortals. All the judgments upon men, prior to the close of probation, have been mingled with mercy. The pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment, wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy (see James 2:13).

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In that day, multitudes will desire the shelter of Godís mercy which they have so long despised. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it" (Amos 8:11, 12).

The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, they will not be left to perish. While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants. To him that "walketh righteously" is the promise: "Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure." "When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them" (Isaiah 33:15, 16; 41:17; see also Habakkuk 3:17, 18). "The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul" (Psalm 121:5-7, cf. 91:3-10).

What the Bible Says ...

According to Revelation 16:1-21 the 7 last plagues are:

1. Terrible and painful sores;

2. Sea water turns into blood;

3. Fresh waters become blood;

4. Sun scorches men with intolerable heat;

5. Darkness poured out on the seat of the beast;

6. Euphrates dries up (withdrawal of all people's support from Babylon, whose demonic miracles and doctrines have deceived the world); battle of Armageddon;

7. The greatest earthquake the world has ever known, destruction of all cities; gigantic hailstones from heaven. This plague coincides with Christ's return (see Revelation 1:7; 6:14-17; 16:17-21; Luke. 21:25-28).

The 7 last plagues come only after the earth has been fully warned of the fatal results of rebellion against the light of the everlasting gospel (see Matthew 24:24; Revelation 14:6-12; Romans 1:18, 19; 2 Chronicles 36:15, 16; Leviticus 26:14-21).

These plagues strike those who receive the mark of the beast and worship his image (see Revelation 16:1, 2).

God takes no pleasure in punishing the wicked (see Ezekiel 33:11; Matthew 23:37; 2 Peter 3:9). But God's full judgment falls on those who reject His mercy and act without mercy toward the righteous (see James 2:13).

God sends the plagues from His temple in heaven (see Revelation 15:1, 5-7; 16:1), from which His purifying mercy and judgment are sent forth (see Psalm 89:14; Revelation 11:19; Malachi 3:1-5; Daniel 7:9-14).

The plagues function to:

Expose the unrepentant state of those claiming to be right with God while actually in rebellion against Him (see Revelation 16:9, 11, 21).

Unmask the apostate character of the beast operating under the miracle working power of Satan and teaching doctrines of demons (see 2 Timothy 4:1-3; Revelation 16:10, 11, 13, 14).

Protect the righteous from the cruelty of those who are perpetrating the mark of the beast (see Revelation 16:2-7; 2 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:16; Exodus 23:20-22; Jeremiah 30:20-25).

Reveal, by their exemption from the plagues, those whom God approves, though condemned by the religious and political authorities of earth (see Psalms 27:1-6; 91:9, 10; 121:5-8; Revelation 12:17; 13:11-17; 14:12; 15:1-3).

Those who love, trust and obey God will be protected from the plagues, and come victoriously through them (see Psalms 46:1-11; 91:1-16; 125:1, 2; Exodus 12:13; Revelation 7:13, 14).

Copyright 2005 by Family Heritage Books.
Web page created: 01/04/06 Updated: 07/16/07