Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
Now tell the truth; did you notice anything peculiar about the title of today’s devotional? Look back; its okay! Do you notice anything now? Today, we will explore the phrase The Wrath of the Lamb.
Here is a contextual quote of the only place in Scripture where this phrase is found. “I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6.12-17).
There is an apparent paradox in the phrase The Wrath of the Lamb! In the English language there are actually a number of similes that deal with lambs, and none of them speak to the ferocity of a lamb! There is gentle as a lamb, in like a lamb and out like a lion, and warm as a lamb. In the Bible, there is the prophecy of Jesus which says, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” (Isaiah 53.7). All of this speaks to gentleness, docility, and meekness – still nothing of fierceness and the terror that it can strike in the hearts of men.
But our text speaks of kings, great men, rich men, commanders, and mighty men as being exceedingly fearful of the wrath of the lamb! In fact, they were so fearful that they attempted to hide themselves and called for the rocks and mountains to fall upon them. This is quite different from the way we ordinarily perceive the character of a lamb! It would serve us well to understand the reasoning behind the change in behaviour which a lamb normally displays. Obviously, this is not just any lamb, it is THE LAMB! However, His docile nature is no more to be seen; He is angry and many people are obviously aware of the vengeance which He is set to deliver. But, why would such a docile creature change to an exceedingly fierce avenger? Again, the context will bear out the reason.
“When He [The Lamb] opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” (Revelation 6.9-11). These verses speak to the wrath of the Lamb; they speak of many people who had been killed for His sake and for holding His testimony. These innocent souls cried out for vengeance and were heard! While the Lamb was willing to die without vengefulness at the hands of wicked men, He was unwilling to allow others to die under like circumstances – at least, to allow them to die without taking vengeance on those who were responsible.
The point of this devotional is to stress that God’s character cannot be expressed in terms only of love and gentleness. While those and similar traits certainly describe Him, there is more to Him than that. He is also a God who demands justice and who will see that it is finally administered. It is right to speak and sing of God’s love, but it is also just as needful that we speak of His wrath and vengeance!
1. What is a simile? For what characteristic are lambs most notably known?
2. Who was afraid of the wrath of the Lamb? What position did these men hold? Were they weaklings to be afraid of someone as gentle as a lamb?
3. What deeds angered the Lamb to such an extent? Who begged Him that vengeance be taken for their blood?
4. Are love and vengeance mutually exclusive? Explain?
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