There are many confusions about God. There are many truths about Christianity that have been confused and perverted so that too many people are deceived and deluded about the realities of God and His Word. But one delusion stands above the rest: God is love and that means that He could never be angry against anyone or send anyone to Hell.
Those who believe such truths have been badly deluded about the nature of God and their own potential end.
The majority of the book of Revelation (chs. 6-18) is about the events that will unfold in the Great Tribulation — the outpouring of God’s wrath on the world at the end of this age. And reading even only the beginning of these events in Revelation 6 is a reminder of the greatness and extensiveness of God’s wrath. When the first six seals on the scroll belonging to the Lamb (Rev. 5:1-2) are opened (6:1ff), the Lamb’s wrath is poured out (and don’t overlook the fact that the One who is pictured as a defenseless lamb is also capable of sovereign judgment over all created beings). Here is the nature of that wrath:
- One (the Antichrist?) who conquers the entire world in a bloodless coup offering unprecedented peace when there would and could be no peace (vv. 1-2).
- Worldwide war — assassinations, murders, bloodshed, revolts, massacres — through the removal of the promised peace. Violence across the globe is the new norm (vv. 3-4).
- Extensive famine — a man will labor all day (for the wage of one denarius) and be able only to feed himself, or if he purchases the lowest quality of food — the kind really fit only for animals — he might be able to feed a very small family (vv. 5-6).
- Pestilence and death — one-fourth of the population of the earth will die (vv. 7-8). Not only will the remaining people be faced with unknown grief and the disposal of so many corpses, but economies and social structures will be in massive upheaval with so much death.
- Many will be martyred for their faith in Christ (vv. 9-11).
- The terror of a worldwide earthquake with meteor showers — all of earth and heaven move so that even the most powerful men on earth run for the cover of caves in the mountains. And both rich men and slaves, powerful and weak, seek death to escape from the judgment of the Lamb (vv. 12-17).
What is particularly notable about these events, is that it is only with the arrival of the great earthquake that men finally acknowledge the power of Christ and their inability to stand before Him: “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” (Rev 6:16–17). After all the other events, the evidently maintained their callous indifference to and defiance of Christ.
This is the great delusion — that men don’t need God, that they can resist God, and that they can stand through anything He might send their way. It is an attitude that will not only be present at the end of time, but is evident even now in our own age. Men will die for their foolish beliefs. And men do die now in their great delusion.
The task of the believer, then, is to warn and awaken those who who have been deceived of the truth that is to come.