“Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” This was the loud cry of believers recorded in Revelation 6:10. As we look around at the suffering Church I’m sure this cry will find an “amen!”
There is some reluctance, even by Christians, to call God ‘The Avenger!’ We are too accustomed to considering God solely in the terms of grace or love. However, whenever we fail to present the Bible’s complete revelation of God we do Him an injustice. At the same time we develop a warped view in our understanding which in turn infects our faith and Biblical perspectives. Also, we give unbelievers, especially those hostile to Christ, a sense of impunity from His wrath.
In this twenty – first century it is reported by Open Doors, 322 Christians are killed every month. Then there is the fact that 214 churches or property belonging to Christians are destroyed. Add to the above 722 acts of violence against Christ’s followers you gain an insight into the breadth and depth of the persecution.
What is God doing that He lingers long in exploding justice on such evil doers? He isn’t indifferent, nor is forgetful. As you read the Scriptures it is apparent the Lord has spelt out His plans to bring nations, religions and people to account. ‘(God) has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’ (Acts 17:31)
Centuries ago Moses wrote a song. It was to be sung as a warning and as a comfort. In it he recorded: ‘Praise, O heavens, his people, worship him, all you gods. For he will avenge the blood of his children, and take vengeance on his adversaries; he will repay those who hate him, and cleanse the land for his people.’ The history of Israel validates what Moses wrote. The final book of the Bible, Revelation, underpins and highlights this fact.
The suffering Church and the oppressed people of Israel need to find hope and comfort in God keeping His word. Islam, especially I.S. should shudder. Jesus in the parable of Luke 18:1-8 said “Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?” The implication is clear. He will act to give them justice in accordance with His purpose and plan.
Lest people imagine the eternal God has a ‘persecution of his people’ complex He is the avenger on a number of other fronts. One of course is 1 John 5:10 where people call Him a liar by not believing His testimony about Christ and the cross. However, I want to close this article on the matter of God avenging (bringing justice to bear) on those who deliberately pervert Scripture.
In Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32 is the warning about adding too or taking away from God’s word. This is repeated in Revelation 22:18-19. In our day when the Homosexual and Lesbian lobby is endeavouring to make itself respectable in the ‘eyes of the church’ it is deliberately perverting Scripture. It has produced a ‘Queen James Bible’ which aims to legitimise what God, in His word, calls an abomination. A sad aspect of this attempt at being accepted by distorting the Bible is many naïve believers will be sympathetic to their cause. God will use His word as the instrument of His avenging. He is not fooled by selective quotations or perverted texts. Proverbs says it well: ‘Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or else he will rebuke you, and you will be found a liar.’ (Proverbs 30:5-6)
You cannot read the Bible and not realise God avenges His people. He instructs them not to
2 Thessalonians1:6-9 holds a chilling warning to God’s opponents and at the same time a wonderful incentive for His people to live true to His calling. ‘It is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who inflict you and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his might.’
©Ray Hawkins 2.3.2015.