The Revelation of Jesus Christ is an awe inspiring book. If you’re like me, every time I return to the fresh waters of the Living Spirit and ask Him to show us new dimensions to our great and fear-inspiring God, He answers.
To get the full scope, please read the book through all at once. It’s quite a jolt to the heart. Since most Christians I know aren’t in His word much at all (if at all), and certainly not reading through entire books in one sitting, such a spiritual discipline can reveal God’s mind to our spirit in ways previously unknown.
Let me ask you a personal question, if I may.
When you think of God, what comes to your mind?
Who is He to you?
What is He like? Take a moment here and reflect in the Spirit.
Most believers or those making some claim to Jesus describe God as kind, gentle, humble, sweet, never harsh or speaking words other than a still small voice or whisper, always forgiving, full of unconditional love, always accepting, always smiling at us, etc. In short, sort of like a easy going Grandfather who lovingly approves of all things and sending us to Disneyworld, complete with enough money to have loads of fun.
There is a side of God that is gentle, as demonstrated by Jesus Himself, and written of by our brother Paul:
1 Thes. 2:7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.
But is that who God really is in His fullness? Is that it? Or is there more?
Of course, a few verses later, Paul completes his thought in that passage:
1 Thes. 2:10-12 You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
On occasion, I hear believers who run across a speaker who they say is too, well, “harsh” and “unkind’.” They say things to me like, “Oh, it was terrible, he was just a ‘fire and brimstone’ preacher.” Brimstone is burning sulphur, I understand.
But, you know what? God Himself is a fire and brimstone preacher. This is one of the many things the Spirit shook me up about as I read Jesus’ Revelation of Himself:
Rev. 14:9-10 Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the lamb.
Wait a minute.
Didn’t I always hear from all the preachers over the years that those in hell were eternally separated from Him? Many of those teaching such things would sort of pass over these concepts quickly and move on to other “kinder” attributes of God. But, this passage clearly states those rejecting Jesus and obeying themselves will experience the fierce wrath, the full anger of our Creator.
But worse yet, tormented in His presence. Forever, and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever.
I was fearful that early morning when I really saw this for the first time at the prospect of most humans who have ever lived ending up in this way, and the implications.
My heart was beating fiercely.
I had started to sweat.
My mind raced.
And after a bit, I had to ask Him the obviously questions. I just had to.
“Oh, my Lord,” I cried out in my heart, “why do You do this? I couldn’t. Why do You do this? Does it bring You pleasure? It can’t, can it? Does it bring You immense satisfaction? It must. Buy why? I don’t understand. I can’t bear it. What in Your perfect character and purpose does this accomplish? All Your ways are good and perfect and just. Oh, my Father, people tormented forever and ever in the presence of the Lamb, Your very Son, and His holy angels. I can’t bear it. Help me.”
Oh, how I was struggling. We’ve always been taught that God loves all these people. Yes, but – at the throne the seraphim call out to one another saying, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth if full of His glory.”
I thought of my own life. Am I worthy to be called His? Am I just fooling myself? Do I need once again to test myself to see if I’m in the faith and not fail the test (2 Cor. 12:5-6)? Do I really love God enough in my obedience to be counted worthy (2 Thes. 1:5)? Am I still greedy like most people I know, not being content with just food and covering, and headed for this torment (Eph. 5:3-5)? Am I insulting the Spirit of His grace in any way at all, knowing it’s a terrifying thing falling into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:26-31)?
Jesus spoke much more about hell than He did heaven, heaven being the destination for those who obey Him, the proof of active faith. This was one of the many verses that flooded my heart that morning:
John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of god abides on him.”
In my lamentation, the Spirit began to answer my terrified heart.
Marc, He said, was I kind when I caused that truck to rear-end that dear brother of yours, almost killing him, to move Him to repentance so he’d finally leave the sinful ways that would have sent him to hell?
Was I kind, Marc, when I disciplined you severely for grumbling and disputing about My character because of the state of My Laodicean church in America? Yes, it’s My kindness that leads you and others to repentance. I am holy. That is who I am. In the end, My creatures sing of My holiness, not My grace or love.
But, I still desired more from Him. Is the Father being “kind” when He torments these people for all eternity?
He answered me again in His word the next day:
Psalm 145:17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways. And kind in all His deeds.
Does “all” mean “all” deeds, or just “all” of a certain group of deeds? All, or 100%, I believe, in God’s eyes. His “kind” deeds also extend wide enough not to wipe us clear off the face of the earth when we sin even a little bit. With the indwelling Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and a God in whose presence no one can stand without perfection and the cleansing blood of the Lamb, isn’t that “kind” of Him to forbear with us as we sojourn in our mortal life here? Isn’t that amazing grace? Yes, yes, I think it is, beloved.
So, my struggle was knowing why God does this. And He has answered.
It brings Him full vindication of all His efforts to save mankind. He desires none to perish but all to repent and come to everlasting life (2 Peter 3:9). To reject His gift, His glory, His sacrifice, His power, His kindness, His goodness, His joy, is the ultimate offense to our Creator. His Son, Jesus, is given the right to separate the sheep from the goats based on their deeds in this life (Matt. 25).
God will relentlessly and eternally shame those who refuse. They’re a dis-grace to the King of Kings, an insult to the Spirit of grace. He repays them with vengeance (Heb. 10) for their evil. This suffering of theirs, too, brings Him glory. He’s perfectly right in doing it. It’s a terrifying thing. I can’t bear the thought and take it only on faith alone. His fierce judgment and vengeance is repaid, and done so forever:
Daniel 12:2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.
Hebrews 10:29-31 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
See to it we don’t refuse:
Hebrews 12:25-29 See to it that you do not refuse him Who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us (the Brethren) show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
Lest we think this is new with the Ancient of Days:
Deut. 4:23-24 “So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the Lord your God has commanded you. “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Isaiah 33:14 Sinners in Zion are terrified; Trembling has seized the godless. “Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual (everlasting) burning?”
This increased revelation of Jesus has opened my heart like brother Paul to those I know are perishing, asleep, or steadfastly refusing the gift. I’m not able to ask for myself to be accursed, but my heart is rent:
Romans 9:1-3 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren.
So, then, my friends, beg and beseech the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers. May you and I be one of those. Pray without ceasing for those not believing and obeying the Father thus rejecting His Son:
2 Thes. 1:6-8 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
Jesus, help us to have Your heart for the lost and those believers drifting away, Your heart for living holy lives, Your heart to accept Your grace in overcoming the world. Then they can be led back to You, bringing greater glory and greater glory.
Can you visualize the flames of the lake of fire? Can you smell the smoke and brimstone? Can you feel the intense heat, rising and covering all in its path? Can you hear the weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth?
The image moves me to prayer, and to action. Lord, give us souls, and protect us by Your power through our active faith.
Who is God to you? What is He like? Is it the God of His word? Is it the God of the Trinity of His Son’s Revelation? What do you say? He asks of us all, “who do you say I AM?”
When we’re in the Spirit, walking worthy of His name by His marvelous grace, we have absolutely nothing to fear, even if we’re fearful like a dead man at His feet:
Rev. 1:17-18 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
But, in our life here on this planet, fear the One who can kill us, fear Him now, my brethren, and avoid any remote possibility of being tormented in His presence forever. The words of Jesus are NOT vague, and are written to us, His friends who believe:
Luke 12:4-5 I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!
I leave you with this quote from our dear friend David Kirkwood’s work on Spiritual Warfare, who reminds us all (especially those of us who went through 4 hurricanes in Florida in 2004) to be honest about God:
Let’s Tell the Truth
But what should our message be to those picking up the pieces of their lives after a hurricane or earthquake? How shall we answer if they ask for a theological answer to their predicament? We should tell them the truth, the truth found in the Bible, not someone’s theory. Can you see how inconsistent our message sounds when we tell suffering people, ”God did not send this hurricane, because God loves you. He would never send something that would cause so many people to suffer so much. He does, however, want you to repent of your sins and receive Jesus.”
“What will happen to me if I don’t receive Jesus?” they ask. God will to send you to hell where you and everyone like you will spend an eternity suffering as you burn in a lake of fire. Why is it so difficult for us to believe that God would send a hurricane when we believe that He will incarcerate millions of people in hell to suffer forever?
Let’s be honest with what the Bible teaches, and tell people that God is holy and that their sin does have consequences. Let’s tell them that the ferocious roar of the hurricane is but a small sampling of the power that the almighty God possesses, and the fear they felt as their house shook is nothing in comparison to the terror that will grip them in hell. And let’s tell them that even though we all deserve to spend eternity in hell, God so loved the world that He sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross, and through Him, we can be saved from God’s wrath.
“But we shouldn’t scare people about God, should we?” some ask. The answer is found in Scripture: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). Until people fear God, they really don’t know anything. I think that many of us have failed miserably in conveying the true gospel to the world around us. God’s judgment is falling around us every day, and we tell people a lie about why such things happen—that it is the devil’s work. And, oh how “the father of lies” loves for Christians to help him spread his lies!
I once knew a grown man who was under so much stress that at night in his sleep he gnashed his teeth as I slept in the next room over. I could hear him clearly many, many feet away. I can’t describe it to you since I’ve never heard anything quite like it. It was an eerie, horrible sound, and it kept me awake for a long time whenever he did it.
I’ve also heard the piercing screams of people who’ve been burnt alive and in excruciating pain. Can we ever begin to imagine those two sounds together amplified billions and billions and billions and billions of times for every soul that is in eternal damnation?
Oh, my God. Help us all to endure to the very end…
To see also the best pieces about the terrors and retribution of God in hell, click here.
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Your friend and brother in fighting the good fight,
Saints, we’re one day closer to Home, and Him! Love Him wholeheartedly!
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