Is Jesus angry with the world?
In his previous column, Nigel Fox asked if we had an adequate view of Jesus is, and challenged some of our preconceptions. Nigel now continues his analysis, and explains why he believes that Jesus is angry.
The biblical picture of Jesus is quite a full one, especially in terms of His earthly ministry. But what do we glimpse of Him as He IS, now?
From Acts 9:5, we can deduce that Jesus is concerned about the persecution of His Church. This remains a pertinent issue, even today. We can also deduce that He wants His Church to get on with its mission, and certainly not be preoccupied with its preservation.
But our clearest glimpses come via the Revelation to John. Even though some symbolism is hard to interpret, the overall picture is, I believe, enough to offer the greatest clues about seeing Jesus as He now is – risen, ascended and glorified – and ready to come again as Judge of all.
Jesus is introduced and first described as “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev.1:5) i.e. The Boss. Describing the first glimpse of someone “like a son of man” (Rev.1:12-16, an echo of Daniel 7:13-14), John is terrified and overwhelmed. The encounter with Jesus strikes fear into the apostle’s heart, which Jesus ministers into.
Nothing escapes Jesus’s gaze, and He commands a response from churches with encouragements (Rev.2 & 3). But His deep and penetrating disclosures include numerous rebukes and warnings, too. There is no option for compromise. Jesus is not to be ignored, as He now has power to remove the spiritual authority of each church (so, let the reader now understand!). His rule is absolute (Rev.2:27). Church will need to change, or lose out!
As the scene moves into the realms of worship of Almighty God (Rev. 4 & 5), it refocuses upon the One who is worthy and able to execute the double-sided scroll of the Almighty’s Sovereign Will. Described as “Lion of the tribe of Judah”, the enthroned Jesus looks like “a Lamb” (Rev.5:5-7).
The symbolic image speaks of victory after crucifixion. But the Lamb is not cuddly. Maybe it looks as if slain and bloodless and perhaps even somewhat lifeless. Appearances can be deceptive!
Bloodless? YES. He has shed His precious blood for the world.
Lifeless? NO. Nothing could be further from the truth. The imagery depicts perfect strength and perfect sight (Rev.5:6). He’s alive alright!
Is He safe? Not at all. As the seals on God’s scroll are progressively broken open, God’s purposes are fulfilled. Once the penultimate seal is broken, we read of “the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come. Who can stand?” (Rev.6:16-17)
The Lamb upon the throne has overcome, for sure. But He is angry!
Yes, we know that Almighty God has great compassion and part of His great plan is to “wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev.7:17 & 21:4). Yet there is also clear warning about judgement being executed as part of the final triumph over evil.
This is revealed again and again, not only with fine-tuned warnings in the letters and warnings of woes and seven bowls, but also in the ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’ who leads heaven’s armies in victory and rules those He conquers with an iron sceptre while He... “treads the fury of the wrath of God Almighty” (Rev.19:11-16). The Greek is emphatic in using both θυμ?ς and ’οργ? together (also at 14:10 and 16:19). This is not just anger - the Lord is feeling furious! Each of these words occur six times.
This is certainly not the ‘meek and mild’ concept we may have imagined. Is Jesus happy with the way things are in the world? I really don’t think so.
As a living organism, Church now needs to respond to whatever stimulus the Lord gives.
Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay
Nigel Fox has served as a Methodist Minister since the mid-1980s, including 15 years since 2002 in Norwich, largely at Wroxham Road and with the Chinese Church. He still preaches frequently, but is now 'retired' and enjoys more time with his four children and eight grandchildren.
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