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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 9 -THE WRATH OF GOD (REV 14:9-11)

INTRODUCTION: LAST WEEK WE LOOKED HOW WE RECEIVE THE SEAL OF GOD OR
THE MARK OF THE BEAST.  THIS WEEK WE LOOK AT WHAT IS MEANT BY THE
WRATH OF GOD.

I. JUSTICE

     A. IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND, WOULD YOU ELIMINATE ALL 
     SPEEDING LAWS AND THEIR ENFORCEMENT?
          1. WOULDN'T IT BE NICE NEVER TO GET A TICKET AGAIN?
          2. WHAT ABOUT IN FRONT OF YOUR HOUSE?  WHAT ABOUT ON THE
          ROADS YOU DRIVE?

     B. IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND, WOULD YOU ELIMINATE THE 
     ENFORCEMENT ARM OF THE IRS?
          1. NO ONE WOULD EVER ASK YOU ABOUT YOUR TAX RETURN.

     C. IF YOU COULD WAVE A MAGIC WAND WOULD YOU ELIMINATE ALL 
     CRIMINAL LAWS?

(EVEN IN THOSE AREAS WHERE WE VIOLATE THE LAW (LIKE SPEEDING) WE
STILL WANT LAWS AND WANT THEM ENFORCED.  WE ARE VERY UNCOMFORTABLE
WITH A SYSTEM THAT HAS NO PENALTIES, NO JUSTICE.)

     D. YOU ALL SEEM TO WANT TO HAVE JUSTICE.  LET ME TELL YOU 
     ABOUT WHAT KIND OF JUSTICE YOU WILL HAVE.  ASSUME THAT THE
     PENALTY FOR BREAKING THE LAW IS BEING BURNED WITH CIGARETTES
     FOR MINOR CRIMES AND HAVING WHITE HOT CHARCOL BRICKETTS PLACED
     ON YOUR SKIN FOR MAJOR CRIMES.  AND THAT FOR THE WORST CRIMES
     THIS GOES ON CONSTANTLY UNTIL YOU DIE.
          1. ANYONE VOTE FOR THAT KIND OF PUNISHMENT?


     E. OPEN YOUR BIBLES TO REV 14:9-11. READ. KEEP FINGER IN 14.
          1. KICK AHEAD TO REV 21:8. READ
          2. LOOK AT THE DETAILS: TORMENTED; PRESENCE OF LAMB AND
               ANGELS; NO REST DAY OR NIGHT.
          3. DOES THIS SEEM LIKE TOO MUCH JUSTICE?
          4. WHAT IF WE ARE TALKING ABOUT YOU?
          
     F. DOES IT SEEM CONTRARY TO GOD'S CHARACTER TO TORTURE PEOPLE?
(I LOOKED UP SEVERAL OF THE GREEK WORDS TO SEE HOW THEY WERE
TRANSLATED ELSEWHERE.  THE WORD TRANSLATED "TORMENTED" (BAZANIDZO)
IS USED FOR SOMEONE SUFFERING FROM A TERRIBLE SICKNESS (MT8:6); THE
DISCIPLES WORKING FURIOUSLY TO TRY TO KEEP THEIR BOAT FROM GOING
UNDER (MT14:24;MK6:48);THE RIGHTEOUS TROUBLED BY SIN (2PT2:8);
DEMONS TALKING WITH JESUS AND ASKING HIM IF THEY WERE GOING TO BE
TORTURED BEFORE THE APPOINTED TIME! (MT8:29;MK5:7;LK8:28) AND THEN
BRIMSTONE IN REV.)

     G. LETS LOOK UP A COUPLE OF TEXTS SUGGESTED BY OUR LESSON:

          1. 1 JOHN 4:8-9 AND THEN IMPORTANTLY v.18. (NOT THE SAME
          GREEK WORK AS IN REV 14:10-BUT FOUND IN MT 25:46 TO REFER
          TO THE LAST DAY PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED) 

          2. EX 34:5-7.

          3. HOW DO YOU RECONCILE THESE TWO TEXTS? THAT "LOVE 
          DRIVES OUT FEAR" YET THE SINFUL ARE PROMISED A TERRIBLE
          FATE? (IT SEEMS TO ME THAT FEAR CANNOT SAVE US. GOD DOES
          NOT WANT US TO WORSHIP HIM FROM FEAR.  BUT HE WILL NOT
          HIDE THE JUSTICE SIDE OF HIS CHARACTER.)

     H. SOMEONE LOOK UP AND READ 2 PETER 3:9.  THE CONTEXT FOR THIS
     TEXT IS THE SECOND COMING. (TEXT SAYS THAT GOD DOES NOT WANT
     ANYONE TO PERISH. ACCORD EZK 33:11; HOS 11:8)

     I. SO LETS PUT ALL OF THIS TOGETHER: GOD IS LOVE.  GOD DOES
     NOT WANT US TO PERISH.  HE DOES NOT SEE FEAR AS A WAY TO
     CREATE LOVE.  YET THE CONCLUSION IS PROTRACTED (DAY AND NIGHT)
     TORMENT.
          1. WHY? HOW DO YOU FIT THESE PIECES TOGETHER? (THE FACT
          THAT GOD IS RELUCTANT TO EXECUTE JUSTICE SHOWS THE
          ENORMITY OF SIN.  PLUS, THE IDEA THAT THIS IS JUST,
          FURTHER ADDS TO THE PROOF THAT THESE SINS ARE SERIOUS.
          (P&P p.628 IS THIS GENERAL IDEA.)

          2. WHY DOESN'T GOD PUNISH US FOR OUR SINS DAILY?  
          WOULDN'T THAT BE A BETTER IDEA? (EZK 33:10-11 SUGGESTS
          THAT GOD DOES PUNISH US HERE TO DETER WRONG BEHAVIOR. 
          BUT THE VERY FACT THAT THE TERRIBLE JUDGMENT IS RESERVED
          FOR THE END SHOWS THAT GOD IS PUNISHING AND ENDING, NOT
          DETERRING WITH THE FINAL JT.)

     J. YOU KNOW GRANT AVENUE, BY THE BIG OLD HOMES WHERE IT IS 
     WIDE ENOUGH TO BE TWO LANES, BUT IS A SINGLE LANE. PASSING IS
     ILLEGAL.  ONE DAY I WAS DRIVING TOWARDS CHURCH AND SOME GUY
     WAS RIGHT ON MY BUMPER REALLY CROWDING ME, BEING OBNOXIOUS --
     I WAS GOING AT LEAST THE SPEED LIMIT.  I NOTICED A POLICE CAR
     PRETTY FAR AHEAD ON OUR SIDE OF THE ROAD. ALTHOUGH I DID NOT
     SLOW DOWN, I MOVED ENOUGH TO THE RIGHT ENOUGH TO ALLOW THIS
     FELLOW TO PASS.  HE PASSED, THE POLICE CAR SAW HIM (AS I HAD
     ANTICIPATED) AND PULLED HIM OVER.

          1. WHY DIDN'T I WARN HIM ABOUT THE POLICE CAR I KNEW WAS
          THERE? (BECAUSE I WANTED HIM TO GET CAUGHT.)

          2. IN REV 14:9-11 GOD WARNS US.  WHAT DOES THAT TELL US
          ABOUT GOD'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS THIS TERRIBLE FINAL
          PUNISHMENT? (THAT, UNLIKE ME AND THE OBNOXIOUS DRIVER, HE
          DOES NOT WANT US TO GET CAUGHT.)

     K. IF ANYONE STILL HAS A PROBLEM WITH GOD'S WRATH, LET ME ASK
     YOU TO THINK OF THE MOST HORRIBLE SIN YOU HAVE HEARD ABOUT?
     THE WORST FOR ME IS THE KIDNAPPING OF THE LITTLE BOY CALLED
     ADAM. THE PERSON WHO KIDNAPPED HIM CUT OFF HIS HEAD.  ARE ANY
     SINNERS MORE EVIL THAN SATAN WHO INSPIRES THE SIN? (NO.)

          1. IF I SHUDDER AT SUCH A HORRIBLE SIN, OR THOSE THAT YOU
          CAN THINK OF, IMAGINE HOW THIS SHOCKS A PERFECT AND HOLY
          GOD.  HE NEEDS TO COME IN AND EXECUTE JUDGMENT. 

II. WHAT KIND OF PUNISHMENT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT, REALLY?

     A. LETS LOOK AT REV 14:10-11. THE TEXT SAYS NO REST DAY OR 
     NIGHT AND THE SMOKE OF THEIR TORMENT ARISES FOR EVER AND EVER.
     THE GREEK WORK FOR "EVER" IS AION (AHEE-OHN) WHICH MEANS AGES.
     SO THIS LITERALLY MEANS UNTO AGES OF AGES.

     B. OUR LESSON SUGGESTS THAT IF WE ACCEPT THE PLAIN MEANING OF
     THIS TEXT WE WOULD BE WRONG--THE WICKED DO NOT BURN FOREVER
     AND THEIR SMOKE DOES NOT BURN FOREVER. (IS SOMEONE WANTS TO
     SEE WHAT THE LESSON SAYS ON THIS, IT IS WED, THE BOTTOM PARA
     OF TEXT.)

     C. WHY SHOULD WE REJECT THE PLAIN MEANING OF THE BIBLE?

     D. I LOOKED UP EVERY PLACE IN THE NT WHERE THE WORD AION WAS
     USED AND TRIED TO PICK UP EVERYPLACE WHERE IT IS USED TWICE:
     FOR EVER AND EVER.  MOST PLACES IT IS USED IN TERMS OF GOD: TO
     GOD BE GLORY FOR EVER AND EVER.  

          1. BUT THERE ARE TWO VERY SIGNIFICANT USES OF REPETITION
          OF THIS WORD: THE FIRST IS IN REV. 20:10. TURN THERE (THE
          BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET ARE TORMENTED DAY AND NIGHT
          FOR EVER AND EVER. THIS EXPLICITLY SPEAKS OF THE TORMENT
          AS OPPOSED TO JUST THE SMOKE.) THE SECOND SIGNIFICANT USE
          IS IN REV 22:5. IT SAYS THERE THAT WE WILL REIGN FOR EVER
          AND EVER.

          2. IS THE LESSON IS RIGHT, I'M NOT SURE I WANT TO HAVE AS
          SHORT A REIGN AS THE WICKED BURN.

     E. TEXTS ON DOUBLE 165 (AION): GAL 1:5; EPH 3:21. THIS TIME IT
     USES 165 (AGES) THREE TIMES; 1 TIM 1:17; 2 TIM 2:4; HEB 1:8;
     HEB 13:21; 1 PET.4:11; 1 PET.5:11; REV 1:6; REV 4:9; REV 4:10;
     REV 5:13; REV 5:14; REV 7:12; REV 10:6; REV 11:15; REV 14:11;
     REV 15:7; REV 19:3 (SAME); REV 20:10; REV 22:5 SAINTS REIGN
     FOR EVER AND EVER!

     F. OUR LESSON STEERS US TO SOME OT TEXTS, WHICH (BECAUSE THEY
     ARE WRITTEN IN HEBREW) DO NOT TECHNICALLY USE THE SAME WORD AS
     THE NT.  THEY USE THE HEBREW WORD "OWLAM" (O-LAWM) 5769. THIS
     WORD IS USED TO DESCRIBE GOD LIVING FOREVER (DEUT 32:40; NEH
     9:5; SEVERAL IN PS.) 
     G. LOOK UP THE FOLLOWING TEXTS:
          1. IT IS ALSO USED OF JOSHUA BURNING AI AND MAKING IT 
          (KJV HEAP FOR EVER) (PERMANENT HEAP OF RUINS)(JOSHUA
          8:28)

          2. IT IS USED OF EDOM BURNING DAY AND NIGHT WITH AN 
          UNQUENCHABLE FIRE AND ITS SMOKE ARISING FOREVER.(IS 34:9)

     H. SOMEONE READ EZK 28:14-19. DOES THIS SUGGEST THE DEVIL IS
     BURNING FOREVER?(REFERS TO THE DEVIL BEING REDUCED TO ASHES.)

     I. READ ROM 6:23 AND GEN 3:4.  DOES THIS SUGGEST THAT SINNERS
     WILL LIVE FOREVER IN TORMENT?

     J. SINCE THE WORD USED FOR THE PERMANENT PUNISHMENT OF AI AND
     EDOM IS THE SAME AS THAT DESCRIBING GOD'S GLORY, IT SEEMS
     REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT GOD IS SPEAKING ABOUT THE
     PERMANENT AFFECT OF HIS PUNISHMENT.  THIS IS ALSO CONSISTENT
     WITH THE IDEA THAT THE END OF SIN IS DEATH.  AND THAT OUR GOD
     IS A LOVING, BUT JUST GOD.

III. NEXT WEEK: THE LATTER RAIN. STUDY.