Many have wondered if God sees, cares, and will do something about evil – evil in the world as well as personal sins that we have suffered at the hands of other people. This is Part five of the Advent series.

Today’s passage wraps up a stand-alone unit in Revelation (chapter 12-14) that cover the birth of Jesus up to the final judgment. The hope of Christmas culminates in God judging his enemies and establishing his kingdom.

We don’t like to think about the wrath of God.

It seems old or out of step with God’s character. Yet, in order to love, one must hate. In order to love, one must have the capacity for violence.

I love my wife (for example) and any threat to her must be nullified by me because I won’t let anything happen to her. In a more perfect way, God has a family that has been persecuted and killed. The saints have asked him when he was going to avenge their blood (Rev 6:9). It is now time for God to act.

In this series, we’ve traced history from the birth of Christ to the final judgment.

The judgment here is ultimately against “Babylon.” That’s in quotes because Babylon is code for any beast empire that oppresses God’s people, especially Rome (1 Peter 5:13). They are judged for sexual immorality. This was most likely tied to pagan worship. God’s judgment essentially is that those who drink Babylon’s cup- adultery- will drink God’s cup of wrath.

The idea of suffering being portrayed as a cup is in many biblical places. Perhaps the most common is Jesus when he is asking the Father to remove the suffering of the cross from him. However, praise be to God, Jesus drank the cup for us. This is not divine child abuse. This is Father agreeing with the Son to redeem the world. God has an outlet for his wrath in Jesus.

Some people wonder why God can’t just overlook sin.

If he did, he would be wicked. People who have suffered a great deal in life find it hard, if not impossible, to worship a permissive God. He essentially, lets all the criminals run free with no threat of prison. What kind of world would that be? That would be a world without God’s grace, which is hell. So, God punishing evil is gracious – not for evildoers, but for everyone else. God punishes evil for the same reason you lock your door at night.

The final image here is the saints being gathered together. That’s the harvest. The wicked are also gathered – like grapes to be crushed. The point is this: Surrender to Jesus. You don’t want to be his enemy!

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By Michael Furlonger

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