The Wrath of the Lamb
By Jonathan C. Brentner
When John the Baptist saw Jesus he exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Indeed, Jesus was the ultimate Passover Lamb whose sacrifice paid the debt of our sins.
Peter put it this way, “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
Jesus, as the perfect Lamb, endured God’s wrath upon the cross so that we might be saved from our sins and receive eternal life. We are redeemed by His “precious blood.”
In light of the above, I have a question for you. If you were to guess what book of the New Testament refers to Jesus most often as the “Lamb,” what would you say?
If you said the book of Revelation, you would be correct. John refers to Jesus 28 times as the “Lamb” in the apocalypse. This is more times than all the other such references in the New Testament combined.
What is the significance of all these references to Christ as the Lamb?
The Lamb Opens the Seals of Judgment
First of all, we see that Jesus as the only one worthy to break the seals on the scroll in Revelation 5. As the Lamb who “ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,” He alone was the only one to initiate God’s judgment on the people of the earth who rejected Him and His sacrifice for them (5:9).
When we think of a lamb, a peaceable animal comes to mind, one incapable of administering justice on those around him. However, such is not the case with the Lamb!
As the One who shed his blood for humanity via an exceedingly painful death upon the cross, the Lamb steps forward as the only one worthy to open the seals that begin the outpouring of God’s wrath on a Christ-rejecting world. Isn’t interesting that the One who shed His blood for the sins of the world is alone able to start the outpouring of God’s wrath upon the world?
If the Lamb is not yet your Savior, Now is the day to call upon Him and accept His gift of eternal life. There will come a day when it will be too late.
The Lamb Conquers
Towards the end of the book, John describes an attack against the Lamb by the antichrist and his forces. Notice the words of 17:14, “They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings, and those with him are called chosen and faithful.”
Who is the King of kings? Who is the one that conquers all the forces of evil this world can muster? Tis the Lamb, the Lamb of God!
We first see Jesus’ fierceness as He drives out the money changers and sellers of animals from the temple (John 2:13-16). This was not the act of a timid or weak Lamb, but one capable of showing great anger at sin.
So many today see Jesus simply as a weak and loving man and outstanding teacher, incapable of harming anyone or for that matter, unwilling to send anyone to hell. Do not fall for this lie of the devil.
The kings and rulers of the world will someday see and fear “the wrath of the Lamb” as he judges the world for its wickedness (Rev. 6:16). They will seek to hide from Him, but it will be in vain.
Yes, the love of God shown through the Lamb’s death on our behalf is the greatest display of love the world has ever seen or will ever witness. However, this same Jesus who endured God’s wrath in our place will someday pour out His wrath on those who chose evil and wickedness rather than trust His great sacrificial love for them.
The Lamb Rewards
The Lamb not only destroys evil in the world, He rewards those who trust him. Revelation 19:9-9 describes the “marriage supper of the Lamb.” I believe this is for us, the church, as we celebrate with Jesus in His Father’s house (John 14:2-3). It will be a huge feast with what I believe will be the best wine and food imaginable.
After we reign with Him for a thousand years, Jesus will give us, His bride, a glorious eternity. In Revelation 21:9-11 we see the New Jerusalem, described as “the wife of the Lamb” coming down out of heaven to earth. This is the capstone of the eternal state as it represents God’s presence on a new earth with the redeemed of all ages.
At His first coming, Jesus entered the world in the most humble of circumstances and in the end became “like a lamb that is led to slaughter” (Isa. 53:7). He submitted to a death on the cross so that we could receive forgiveness and eternal life through His sacrifice.
With His Second Coming, however, the Lamb comes to the world as a conquering king and judge. Those who trust Him and His words have nothing to fear. He will richly reward all those who trust Him and His words.
On the other hand, the Lamb who died will someday be found worthy to break the seals on the scroll that will unleash the period of God’s wrath upon the earth, the worst seven years in the entire history of the world.
The title of this post sounds like a bewildering oxymoron. Who ever heard of “The Wrath of the Lamb?” The answer is found in the book of Revelation where the Lamb administers justice before coming in great power and glory to forever reign upon the earth!