"After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.'" - Revelation 19:1-2
Is God a vengeful God? Does He take vengeance on people who reject Him?
Many people today would say that if that’s true, then God isn’t righteous or just. They would say that God doesn’t play fair, because since He is all-powerful, it isn’t fair for Him to punish humans, who can’t defend themselves against an all-powerful God.
First of all, the answer is yes, God does take vengeance on His enemies. He especially avenges the weak and helpless who are victimized by the evil behavior of men. He avenges the “blood of the innocents.” He also will especially punish those who persecute His people. He said, “He who touches you touches the apple of My eye.”
In the verse above He avenges the blood of Christian martyrs who were killed during a time of terrible anti-Christian persecution.
A more pertinent question is, “Does this make God unrighteous?” If God destroys mere humans for rebelling against Him, is He just being mean?
We humans aren’t allowed to take vengeance on our enemies. God tells us,“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’” Whatever is still good in our human nature recoils at the thought of people taking revenge, or the powerful oppressing the weak. Even international human law demands that armies refrain from using poison gases or attacking civilian populations. We demand that even nations at war “play fair.”
But God Isn’t one of us. He makes the rules. “Fair” isn’t an issue, because He is God. To rebel against Him isn’t just a squabble among equals, and this isn’t a game. Rebellion against God and all the evil that results from that rebellion violates the very nature of creation. The lives and eternal souls of men, women and children are affected by our sin. Good is what serves God’s purpose. Evil is anything that opposes His purpose, because God is good.
In His mercy, God offers forgiveness to us rebels and calls us to repent and be saved from the consequences of our rebellion. But where there is no repentance, where we continue to do evil and insist that we’re right and He’s wrong, there will be Hell to pay, and that is just, and right, and fair.
“Mercy triumphs over judgement.” God tells us. His mercy offered in Jesus trumps His justice in taking righteous vengeance on His enemies. Flee to Jesus now and avoid the wrath of God, justly poured out on us sinners.
Lord, You are good and right, holy and just. My sinful heart rebels against You, even demands that You treat me as an equal. Forgive me for thinking that I have that right. You are God, and I am Your creation. Thank You for trumping my rebellion by Your mercy, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles