The wine of wrath and the dregs of depravity

Posted: 20th July 2009 by ElShaddai Edwards in Faith & Theology
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One of the most trumpeted visions in Revelation is that of the Word of God appearing on a white horse, followed by the armies of heaven (cf. Rev 19:11-21), waging war on the beast and its followers. Part of this vision are images of a sword and of a winepress of wrath, which John seemingly borrows from similar passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah, where both objects are also associated with God’s call to judgment on Jerusalem (cf. Jer 25:29), Israel and the surrounding nations:

Jeremiah Revelation
Jer 25.15-16: These were the words of the Lord the God of Israel to me: Receive from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. When they have drunk they will vomit and become crazed; such is the sword which I am sending among them. Rev 14.9-10: Whoever worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on his forehead or hand, he too shall drink the wine of God’s anger, poured undiluted into the cup of his wrath.
Rev 16.19: God did not forget Babylon the great, but made her drink the cup which was filled with the fierce wine of his wrath.
Isa 63.3: I have trodden the press alone, for none of my people was with me. I trod the nations in my anger, I trampled them in my fury, and their blood bespattered my garments and all my clothing was stained. Rev 19.13, 15: He was robed in a garment dyed in blood, and he was called the Word of God. […] Out of his mouth came a sharp sword to smite the nations; for it is he who will rule them with a rod of iron, and tread the winepress of the fierce wrath of God the sovereign Lord.

In Jeremiah, God sends a sword among the nations that causes a reaction like vomiting and drunkenness. In Revelation, we see the sword coming from the mouth of the Word of God. The writer of Hebrews says:

The word of God is alive and active. It cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword, piercing so deeply that it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it discriminates among the purposes and thoughts of the heart. Nothing in creation can hide from him; everything lies bare and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render account. (Heb 4:12-13)

broken-dregsParaphrasing Jesus in Matthew 10:34, the word of God is not a sword of peace. The reaction of those who have been pierced and cut by the word of God is like the nations to the cup of the wine of wrath: laid bare, they reject his message like vomit and become crazed in opposition to it.

And who is pierced by the word? All of us. All of us must drink in order to be awakened to the extent of our depravity. Once crazed, we can choose to drink the dregs of the wine of wrath, ensuring our eternal destruction, or to drink of the blood of Christ, ensuring our eternal salvation.

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