“I have trodden the winepress alone,[Isaiah 63:3-4]
and from the peoples no one was with me;
I trod them in my anger
and trampled them in my wrath;
their lifeblood spattered on my garments,
and stained all my apparel.
For the day of vengeance was in my heart,
and my year of redemption had come.”
Jesus came into the world the first time as the Lamb, giving His own life as the atoning sacrifice for sin. He was punished on the cross and suffered the payment for sin He did not commit.
Jesus became the sole object of God’s wrath on our behalf so that we could receive mercy and be saved from the wrath of God.
He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! [John 1:29]
But Jesus is coming next time as a roaring Lion to punish the ungodly, repay the wicked, destroy the evil one, and trample his enemies in wrath.
This is the Day of Vengeance.
The Wrath of the Lamb
“Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”[Revelation 6:16-17]
If there has ever been a contradiction in terms, it is the “wrath of the Lamb.” As the perfect sacrifice for sin, Jesus will forever be the Lamb, but as the rightful judge of the whole world, He also is the Mighty Warrior who is coming to punish the ungodly and take vengeance on His enemies.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate Avenger of evil.
The Day of the LORD, therefore, will be the day of vengeance. The Day when the Lion of the Tribe of Judah roars in Zion and wrath of the Lamb is finished.
Vengeance is Mine Says the Lord
For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.[Hebrews 10:30-31]
It is a fair to ask a few questions concerning the day of vengeance. For example …
- Who will be the object of the LORD’s vengeance on that Day?
- What will be the scope of His vengeance?
- Why will the LORD be so angry on that Day?
- How will He take revenge on His enemies?
These are all fair questions that I intend to answer, but I first want to share a few thoughts.
God is holy and righteous, and we are not. We are by nature rebellions and wicked. Every time we sin and transgress, we are an offense to a holy God and deserve His righteous judgment. God owes us nothing but vengeance. He is just to repay us for our sin.
Only through faith in Christ is mercy available.
We must not overlook the fact, however, that God has demonstrated extreme acts of vengeance throughout history.
For beginners, He destroyed the whole world with a flood in Noah’s day. He leveled wicked cities with fire and brimstone in Abraham’s day. He poured out wrath on Egypt in Moses’ day. He struck the Israelites with a plague that killed thousands at Mt. Sinai. He caused the earth to swallow up Korah and his rebels and consumed 250 with fire that day. He used Joshua and the Israelites to destroy the wicked inhabitants of Canaan. God even used King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians as an instrument of vengeance on His own people.
God is patient and long-suffering and desires that none should perish and all come to repentance, but there is a limit to God’s mercy. When He determines to take vengeance, He has every right to do so.
My point is that God has demonstrated acts of vengeance in the past in order to give us a more comprehensive understanding of the future Day of Vengeance.
In Luke 21:22 the Lord Jesus also calls the great tribulation the “days of vengeance, so that all that is written may be fulfilled.” This means that this time of unequaled distress before the end will be days of vengeance, but the end will be the Day of Vengeance, climaxing with the wrath of the Lamb.
The Punishment of the Nations
The primary object of God’s wrath on the Day of Vengeance will be the Antichrist, the wicked kings of the nations, and all their hordes of soldiers. God is not arbitrary and careless when taking revenge but is very specific and direct. The LORD has always been able to punish and save at the same time. He has always poured out wrath on the wicked while at the same time protected the righteous.
I will spend more time in a later post demonstrating how the prophets distinctly describe the punishment of each individual nation on the Day of the LORD.
But for now, Nahum’s prophecy provides a clear description of who is in view on the Day of the Lord’s vengeance. God will take vengeance on all His enemies on that Day.
“The LORD is a jealous and avenging God;
the LORD is avenging and wrathful;
the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries
and keeps wrath for his enemies.
The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes the sea and makes it dry;
he dries up all the rivers;
Bashan and Carmel wither;
the bloom of Lebanon withers.
The mountains quake before him;
the hills melt;
the earth heaves before him,
the world and all who dwell in it.
Who can stand before his indignation?[Nahum 1:2-9]
Who can endure the heat of his anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire,
and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.
The LORD is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
he knows those who take refuge in him.
But with an overflowing flood
he will make a complete end of the adversaries,
and will pursue his enemies into darkness.
What do you plot against the LORD?
He will make a complete end;
trouble will not rise up a second time.”
On Account of My People
One of the primary reasons the LORD is so angry on that Day is because He is coming to avenge the pain and suffering of His own people. The Scriptures are clear that the great tribulation will involve the intense persecution of the saints and many of God’s people will die the death of martyrs.
The spirit of antichrist can always be identified because Satan has always sought to destroy God’s people — both Jews and Christians. The great tribulation will be both the time of Jacob’s trouble and the time of great affliction for the church.
It is for this reason that Jesus returns to take retribution against the Beast and all those who persecute God’s people in the last days.
“I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land.”[Joel 3:2]
“For I am with you to save you, declares the LORD; I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you, but of you I will not make a full end … Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured, and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who plunder you shall be plundered, and all who prey on you I will make a prey.”[Jeremiah 30:11, 16]
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”[Revelation 6:9-10]
“The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”[Rev 11:18]
And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say,
“Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was,[Revelation 16:5-6]
for you brought these judgments. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”
“This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”[2 Thessalonians 1:5-8]
The Day of the LORD will be the culmination of the wrath of Almighty God and the great Day of God’s Vengeance on the ungodly. God will avenge the blood of His people and will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.
Who will be able to stand on that day? Only those who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb will be protected in the shadow of His wings, “when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed” [2 Thessalonians 1:10].