Here’s a picture of my friend’s recent tattoo:
I thought it was a nice visual for the image we read of Jesus in 19:11-16. I love this tattoo; it’s refreshing to see this part of the Bible highlighted (and wow, what a conversation starter). While I consider the cross the most important symbol of Christianity, the Rider on the white horse is not to be omitted from the story.
We read a lot about God’s wrath in today’s chapters and I noticed myself wincing. It’s easy, and preferable, to breeze past this text in the Bible. But don’t miss this: you cannot talk about God’s mercy without talking about his wrath against sin. Jesus will return and he will be pissed (excuse the lazy writing).
“And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10
I often think I’m doing people a favor by skimming over this part of God’s plan when they’re first being introduced to the Bible, but really I’m doing them a disservice. The gospel is available to everyone. It excludes no one and no sin. You can come just as you are and get washed clean by the precious blood of Jesus who atones us for our sin. He pays the price. He vouches for us. He reconciles us with God, claiming us as his family and sharing his eternal inheritance. But. God’s wrath against sin exists alongside this. His anger and judgement against sin is just as real as Jesus’ victory over it. As we have been repeated warned and informed about it in Scripture, those who repeatedly reject Christ, and the forgiveness he extends, will be punished.
There’s a lot of heavy-handed theology going on here (postmillennialism, premillennialism, amillennialism and a few other things I’m not qualified to write about, let alone spell correctly). Don’t get hung up on the ins and outs of all the visions and theology, but fix your attention on this:
Christ will return, defeat Satan and reign forever and ever and ever.
We will read more about this tomorrow in our LAST two chapters of the Bible!