The Wine of the Wrath of God
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” (Rev. 14: 10)
Speaking of those who receive the mark of the beast, God warns;
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
To many this judgment seems so contrary to the nature of our God of love, the One who gave His only begotten Son to redeem mankind, that it defies comprehension. Even God Himself describes His destruction of the wicked as;
“his strange work ... his strange act” (Isaiah 28:21).
We would not deign to suggest that we fully understand this wine of God’s wrath. However, we do have full confidence that even this cup is poured out from the heart of love, for the good of those punished, and for the inhabitants of the universe in general. One point does help us however to understand. The wine of Babylon is her false doctrines; therefore the wine of God must be His truth. Truth unleashed in all its power is the wrath to sin and sinners. When we recognise that the entire purpose of the plan of salvation is to rid the universe of the principle of sin, we see that the destruction of those who refuse to accept God’s offer to cease from their sins becomes essential. We can never underestimate the misery which our sin has brought to God and to perfect beings of His creation. When Christ hung upon the cross;
“The hosts of heaven veiled their faces from the fearful sight” (Desire of Ages, p. 753).
“Heaven viewed with grief and amasement Christ hanging upon the cross,” (Desire of Ages, p. 760).
Sister White presents an insight into the sorrow which sin has brought to the entire universe, and why it is that sin must be destroyed if ever peace and tranquillity, based upon the great principle of love, are to pervade God’s creation.
“But God suffered with His Son. Angels beheld the Saviour's agony. They saw their Lord enclosed by legions of satanic forces, His nature weighed down with a shuddering, mysterious dread. There was silence in heaven. No harp was touched. Could mortals have viewed the amazement of the angelic host as in silent grief they watched the Father separating His beams of light, love, and glory from His beloved Son, they would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin.” (Desire of Ages, p. 693).
It is paramount that we accept the fact that God’s love and His wisdom dictate that unrepentant sinner must suffer the second death. If there was any other solution to the problem of sin God would most certainly invoke it. But there is not. Only in this way can God announce:
“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.” (Great Controversy, p. 678).
When this glorious time comes we will plumb the depths of God’s plan of salvation. Of this time we are told,
“And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.” (Great Controversy, p. 678)
As with other segments of the three angels’ messages, the message concerning the cup of God’s wrath applied also to the fall of literal Babylon.
“For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.” (Jeremiah 25:15, 16)
To emphasize the painfulness of God’s wrathful wine, the most vivid language is used.
“Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.” (Jeremiah 25:27)
This verse indicates beyond all doubt that the wine of the wrath of God is His destruction that Jeremiah records,
“And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.” (Jeremiah 25:33).
Prophesying of that same time John returns to the symbol of Babylon in associating it with this terrible cup of wrath.
“And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.” (Revelation 16:19).
God had earlier used a little known prophet, Asaph, a levite and chief of the musicians who led in the music of the sanctuary during King David’s reign (he himself played the cymbals) to warn of God’s punishment of those who rejected His merciful salvation.
“For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.” (Psalm 75:8)
None can charge Jehovah with withholding ample warning of the fate of those who continue in deliberate defiance of His law. If God was indifferent to His children He would long since have poured out the cup of His wrath. But in mercy He delays, seeking to save to the uttermost. But the three angels’ messages leave no trace of doubt that, just as in Noah’s day, when God demonstrated that there was a limit to His mercy by saying,
“My spirit shall not always strive with man” (Genesis 6:3).
So will come a time when God’s hand of mercy, His pleading calls, will be forever withdrawn from evil men.
The cry of the third angel is surely the plea of an everlasting God to His children to escape the wrath which is to come. Just as a mother tenderly protects her child from danger by warning of potential hazards, so God, with more perfect knowledge of infinite magnitude and with a love that far transcends a mother’s love for her child, seeks to protect us, His beloved children, from a fate which would cause Him terrible anguish. God forbid that any reader of this article should reject such love.
“Adventism Proclaimed” by Standish and Standish, pp 159-162.