As you read this blog, we are in the middle of the Christmas season. If you are like me, you are probably enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season, going to Christmas parties and indulging far too much in good food. I love the Christmas story, almost everybody I know loves the story. Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus, humble in birth, redeemer of our broken souls, the Messiah. I like this part of God, or as Ricky Bobby said in Talladega Nights, “I like the Christmas Jesus best”.
However, my task is to write about Revelations 15, and this chapter highlights another part of God’s character – His wrath. This part of God isn’t so popular. Maybe if I lived in a different place where injustice and cruelty ruled society I would read this chapter with anticipation and hope, but I’m a child of California. I’ve lived a life free from want, persecution and injustice. Life is pretty good in Cali, so I struggle with the idea of God’s wrath.
As I’ve grown older, God has opened my eyes to see and care about the injustice, cruelty and deep sin that reigns across the globe. We live in a broken world full of broken people, and it needs to be set right. As I read Revelations 15, I get a sense that God’s wrath is not just punishment, rather it is more about setting all things right. In the song of Moses in this chapter we read “Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Just and true are your ways,O King of the nations.” Just as God’s humility and mercy as seen in the Christmas story are beyond anything I can imagine, so are his justice and wrath. He is just, He is true, and I can trust that his wrath is needed and fair.
At the end of the chapter we read that no one could enter temple until the angels completed their work. The time of intercession was over, and the time of God’s wrath was at hand. It is important for me to remember that this time is coming. I can’t just live in the Christmas season. Or as Pastor Lee recently said in a sermon, we need to give Jesus more than just our gifts (gratitude for saving us), we need to cast him our crowns (authority over our lives). Revelation 15 helps to move me in this direction because He alone is Holy, and His ways are just and true.