Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Getting Crushed

"He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God" Rev. 19:15.

What's the purpose of a winepress? The answer is simplel-to make wine. Therefore, the goal isn't to destroy the grapes but to extract the sweet liquid trapped inside them. Winepresses in ancient Israel were a two part system, the upper press and the lower vat.

"The press is full; the vats overflow" Joel 3:13.

Each portion of the press was hewn from a solid rock...sound familiar? So, what is John describing here? I doubt it was Jesus' wine-making methodology. Is it the image of an angry God destroying humanity or of a loving God focused on working with man to release streams of living water? I'll take the latter.

Believers refer to Christ as the Solid Rock. The Bible and Jesus Himself do this also (Deut. 32: 4,15,18 and Matt. 21:44). In this scripture from Revelation, the grapes traditionally represent mankind, specifically unbelievers.

Contrary to popular belief no one is ever separated from God because, "For in Him all things were created" Col. 1:16 (emphasis mine). Paul emphasizes this in Romans 8:39 also. "No-thing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (emphasis mine).

Since pre-Christians qualify as created beings and not separated from God, why are they getting stomped in the press?

Its a matter of perspective. What's the intended purpose? Is treading grapes punishing fruit or making wine? Vineyard owners don't throw just any old grapes in the press, unless they're making junk (which God never does). They carefully tend and cultivate their vines in order to produce the best grapes possible. Jesus said that rivers of living water are inside of us just waiting to be released. Christians know this normally occurs under pressure, so what about the unbelieving grapes?

How many people do you know surrendered to Christ's lordship because everything was going great and they were at the top of their game? Believers don't cherish the "dying daily" that removes blockages hindering the flow of living waters. Does God only reserve this process for Christians?

What if the wrath of God isn't designed to destroy individuals but the things in their lives preventing them from being all He's planned them to be which is sons of God? What if the fury of His wrath isn't a display of intense anger and hatred for the person but is His single-minded focus to eliminate in them anything that's not of Him?

If I told you that I was tackling this writing assignment with a vengeance, would you expect to see me storming around the house in a furious frenzy? It I told you I was hitting the books to prepare for a class, do I mean I am physically pounding on my laptop (my textbooks are electronic) in order to absorb the material? I hope not. These are just expressions describing concentrated effort at the task at hand.

"For God didn't send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that by Him the world may be saved, John 3:17.

This doesn't sound like the heart or actions of an angry God at all. It's the picture of the Creator reclaiming his creation.

How about you? When you read verses such as Rev. 19:15, what images pop up in your mind? How do they mesh with John 3:17 or even the portrayal of the Father of the Prodigal Son? How would it feel to discover that God isn't angry...at all...at anyone? Would you feel more comfortable around your Heavenly Father if you knew He wasn't mad at you or anyone else or would you be disappointed?

1 comment:

  1. Mary: You pose good questions at the end of this post. They really give me something to ponder. Thank you.