Every reference to “wrath” in the book of Revelation refers to God’s act of judgment against sin and sinners on the plane of history. Here are the verses:
6:15-17: 15 Then the kings of the earth and the magnates and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, ?Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand??
11:18: 18 The nations raged,
but your wrath has come,
and the time for judging the dead,
for rewarding your servants, the prophets
and saints and all who fear your name,
both small and great,
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.?
14:9-11: Then another angel, a third, followed them, crying with a loud voice, ?Those who worship the beast and its image, and receive a mark on their foreheads or on their hands, 10 they will also drink the wine of God?s wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and they will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image and for anyone who receives the mark of its name.?
16:17-21: The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, ?It is done!? 18 And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a violent earthquake, such as had not occurred since people were upon the earth, so violent was that earthquake. 19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. God remembered great Babylon and gave her the wine-cup of the fury of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found; 21 and huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, dropped from heaven on people, until they cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague.
19:11-16: Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse! Its rider is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems; and he has a name inscribed that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, ?King of kings and Lord of lords.?
Well, this is tough, tough language. But it is the language of the oppressed; it is the language of the cry for justice; it is the language of justice established; it is the language of injustice deconstructed and destroyed; it is the language of victory.
The picture is this: it is God’s wrath administered through the sword of the Lamb.
While there is a supra-historical element to everything in Revelation, a kind of cosmic integration of the heavenly coutroom and earth, this wrath is historical — final, historical, an act of God to establish justice on earth, in the new heavens and new earth.
This is the last of our posts on “wrath.” We will turn next week to “heaven”.