Chapter 57 The Wrath Of The Lamb

The great day of His wrath is come (Revelation 6:17).

There is no wrath like the wrath of the Lamb. Before that wrath breaks forth upon the world we must remember how long-suffering God has been. The works of God in nature are largely silent works. The sun rises without noise; so do the stars move in their courses. The grass grows and the harvests of the earth come to ripeness in perfect stillness. So it is in the moral world. God has given to man the power of choice and he has left man, in a certain sense, with his choices. Yet when things have gone to extreme forms of wickedness God has intervened and made His voice to be heard. There are times when He has shown the indignation of His anger and the glory of His majesty as Supreme Ruler in His own created universe.

The Day of His Humiliation

“The Word was made flesh” we read in John 1:14. That was a tremendous humiliation for the eternal Son of God. But it was necessary for our redemption. If He were solely God, then His mission to men must be death, not life. Humanity must perish at His sight. If He stooped only to angelic order, then how could He mix with men on earth? How could we hang upon His lips? But the Lord became a true man. He dwelt on earth as one of our family. He hid His glories in our tent of clay. He trod life’s walk—our very brother.

Moreover, He came into our human life in its poorest condition—born in a cattle shed and laid in a manger—entered as a dependent to suck at a woman’s breast and be dandled on a woman’s knee—brought up in poverty and made to toil in a home where the family of Joseph and Mary did not believe on Him. He was rejected—denied—betrayed—ridiculed—reviled—spat upon—and crucified on a cross which was the lowest, meanest, and most despised of all forms of death. It was “the shame of the cross.” But God’s hand was upon all the events of His life.

All this constituted His day of humiliation. It tells that He has done so much that no more could be done. Here is love—high above height—broad beyond breadth—deep below deep—immeasurable—unspeakable—inconceivable. It is the God-Man’s Godlike love. It is the mystery which Abel sealed with blood—which Abraham gladly saw—of which David and the prophets sang—which the Lord Himself verified—and the apostles boldly preached. He only is the blessed man who sees Jesus as the God-Man living as a Kinsman to redeem.

But what if He is refused—rejected—cast out? Crowds upon crowds do that! The Saviour’s charms charm not. His messages are scattered to the winds. Then God’s love must turn at last to anger and that anger drive the wicked into hell’s deepest woe.

The Day of His Wrath

Let us read and ponder these solemn words: “Why do the heathen rage? … Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure” (Psalm 2:1, 5). “Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because He was wroth … The Lord also thundered in the heavens … Yea, He sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and He shot out lightnings, and discomfited them” (Psalm 18:7, 13, 14). “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies” … “For the Lord shall rise up … that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act” (Isaiah 28:17, 21). “Behold, the name of the Lord com-eth from far, burning with His anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue as a devouring fire” (Isaiah 30:27). “The day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand: a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness … all faces shall gather blackness … for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” (Joel 2:1, 2, 6, 11). “The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light: as if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him” (Amos 5:18, 19). “Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations” (Haggai 2:6, 7). “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1). “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars … the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:25, 26). “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven” (Hebrews 12:26). “And I beheld … and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth … for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:12, 13, 17). “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God” (Revelation 15:1). “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great” (Revelation 16:18).

“The wrath of the Lamb.” There is surely no wrath like His wrath! It is the indignation of His anger when the wickedness of men has come to a full cup or as fruit to full ripeness. Here is the agitation of all nature—God’s wrath against His enemies, for all the wicked are to be punished. The Lord has to come forth as the Supreme Ruler of all nature, and He will speak His indignation in the most dreadful physical phenomena. The storm of His anger will rage in all its fury. His enemies will lick the dust and be turned into hell. All that which opposes the Lord and His righteous reign will end their days in disappointment, ruin and eternal shame. They resemble their father the devil in their character, therefore they must resemble him in their destiny. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. No wonder the Psalmist pleads thus with men—“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him” (Psalm 2:12).

Lo, He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand, thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train.
Jesus comes, and comes to reign.

Every eye shall now behold Him,
Robed in glorious majesty:
Those who set at nought and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.

Lo, the tokens of His passion
Still His glorious body bears;
Cause of endless exultation
To His ransomed worshippers:
Now the day of Christ appears.

Yea, Amen! let all adore Thee,
High on Thine eternal throne.
Saviour, take Thy power and glory,
Claim the kingdom for Thine own:
Oh, come quickly!
Hallelujah! come, Lord, come!

—Charles Wesley