18Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” 19The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia.
Woah. Just Woah.
This is often one of the most difficult passages for people who want to believe that the God of the Old Testament and the God of New Testament are somehow different. People today have been sold on a lie that says the God of the Old Testament is a homicidal maniac bent on genocide and ethnic cleansing. Well, the Richard Dawkins of our day say that.
The Old Testament has nothing on the God of Revelation.
Behold, The Lord Your God Is One
The trouble is He is the same God. He is the same God who shed His very own blood to cover your sins and redeem you to Himself forever. He is the same God who says if you believe in Him you will forever be clothed in white for your righteous actions. He is the same God who set the adulteress free and offered eternal life to a wicked man on a cross next to Him.
You cannot separate God the enforcer from God the lover. Or from God the King. Or God the Creator. He is one and the same, never contradictory.
So why would God enforce His great wrath with such zeal? Why the death? Because, as we find out throughout Revelation, the entire world at the time of the great tribulation will be bent on killing all Christians and Jews and then they’ll turn their attention to Jesus Himself. That’s right, in the end times, people will actually rise up together and try to destroy God.
God is an enforcer of His requirement that all men, great and small, bow down and recognize His Son as God.
It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'”
The Lord meant this when He said it. We will either choose of our own free will to bow our knee to God, or He will choose it for us. Either way, He will enforce the one law required of humanity: that we bow to Him. We can do it out of love, or out of coercion, but we will do it.
As we look at the whole nature of God, though, there is no reason we should need to be coerced into bowing to the One who loves, honors and redeemed us. Not only did Jesus shed His own blood for us, but He offers us all the rights God the Father gave to Him. The right to rule, to be called by a new name, to be acknowledged before God and the angels, and to sit on a throne (the promises to the victorious saints in Revelation 2-3).