The final manifestation of the “wrath of God” involves the prophecy of the king who exalts himself in Daniel chapter eleven, and which coincides with the beast from the earth in Revelation chapter thirteen.
This will be the antitypical Day of Wrath to which all the types have been pointing. All the types were localized, but the last episode of “the wrath of God” will be global. This is why Daniel calls it “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time” (Daniel 12:1). Notice how the Book of Revelation describes this last Day of Wrath in several verses:
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 6:15-16, emphasis added)?
The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth” (Revelation 11:18, emphasis added).
Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time (Revelation 12:12, emphasis added)
And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb (Revelation 14:8-10, emphasis added).
So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:19, emphasis added).
Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete (Revelation 15:1, emphasis added).
Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God who lives forever and ever (Revelation 15:7, emphasis added).
Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth” (Revelation 16:1, emphasis added).
Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath (Revelation 16:19, emphasis added).
For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury” (Revelation 18:3, emphasis added).
“All the nations have drunk of the wine” of Babylon’s fornication, which is Babylon’s teachings from the false god, the god of Good and Evil, the reward and punishment god. Like the Philistines and the Amorite alliance of five kings, the enemy of God’s people has made an alliance with the kings of the earth to persecute them. He is described here as the king who exalts himself:
Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain (Daniel 11:36-39, emphasis added).
What identifies this “king” is the fact that he speaks blasphemies against the “God of gods”—against the true God. He also acknowledges a “foreign god” and advances “its glory.” He “shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished.” This “wrath” is the last, final “wrath.”
In Revelation chapter thirteen we see a similar description about the beast that comes out of the sea. This beast also blasphemes God, and in particular it blasphemes His name, which is His character. It makes war with the saints and persecutes them:
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:5-8, emphasis added).
Earlier in Daniel chapter eleven, in verse thirty-two, there is a king who is also seen persecuting God’s people, and interestingly enough, God’s people there are portrayed as “the people who know their God”:
Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time (Daniel 11:32-35, emphasis added).
In the Book of Revelation, all the nations of the earth and their kings have joined the beast that blasphemes God. Not only that, but another beast, another power arises, upholding all the values of the beast from the sea. This new beast arises from the earth:
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name (Revelation 13:11-17, emphasis added).
This beast, “who exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence,” persecutes the people who remain faithful to the God whom Jesus Christ revealed—the God of agape love. The world follows after the beast, and by persecuting those who remain faithful to the Lamb, they fill their cup of iniquity and seal their rejection of the gospel.
Then Michael, Jesus, stands up to sustain his people. Furthermore, His standing up points to the fact that those who have rejected God and His principle of agape love have reached the limit of their iniquity. By persecuting God’s people, they fill their iniquity and reject the gospel. God honors their freedom of choice and releases them to the leader they have chosen. The destruction that follows comes in suddenly, like a sudden breaking of a dam, like a breaking of the waters.
A time of trouble such as never was—the seven last plagues—follows. But these are not punishments from God. The seven last plagues are the work of the Destroyer. Satan is punishing the people of the world. With the seventh plague comes the end of six thousand years of sin:
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. 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. 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. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great (Revelation 16:17-21, emphasis added).
Satan’s modus operandi is unchanged. In the last plague he destroys with hail—just as he destroyed the Amorites as they were coming down the mountain.
Over and over, we see the same mechanism at work: the Lord rises up when a nation or nations reject the gospel of Jesus Christ by going to war against God’s people. Their rejection of the gospel manifests itself in the form of persecution of God’s people. Then Jesus, the great intercessor, the One who stands in the gap for us, rises up to sustain His people. The Lord then turns aside—He departs from the rejecters of His grace when their iniquity is full. Then there is utter confusion and discomfiture among those who have rejected the true and living God, and the destroyer is given complete freedom to work out his own will in destroying them.
What appears to be an act of punishment from God is really an act of giving freedom. This is in line with His principles of righteousness and with His law of love. It is thus, by giving freedom, that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.”
Ultimately, it is the cross that explains what happens in God’s strange act of giving up those who reject Him. Because although Jesus did not reject His Father, He chose to pass by this horrible experience for our sakes:
He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 21:11-15).
If we look at Jesus on the cross, we can see what will happen to those who will suffer “the wrath of God.” It is not God’s will that any of us experience “the wrath of God.” God is calling us all to come out of Babylon, to come out of the Babylonian principles that identify us with Satan’s kingdom:
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her (Revelation 18:4-8, emphasis added).
We can hear God pleading with each one of us in the above text. “Come out of her, My people!” Come out, “lest you receive her plagues.” God is calling us to come out of Satan’s violent kingdom of Good and Evil and to find shelter in His kingdom of grace. It is our earnest prayer that this book will help the reader to make that decision.