Wrath in Revelation

“Wrath” refers to the final judicial sentence of God on His enemies It is not synonymous with “tribulation.” 

Lightning over Warsaw - Photo by Krzysztof Kotkowicz on Unsplash
Revelation, the “wrath of God” is NOT synonymous with “tribulation,” nor is it identical with the “plagues” unleashed by the series of “seals,” “trumpets,” and “bowls of fury.” Despite the latter’s devastations, impenitent men continue to rebel against God. Instead, “wrath” refers to the final sentence of God on His enemies - [Lightning over Warsaw - Photo by Krzysztof Kotkowicz on Unsplash].

Wrath” or orgé occurs six times in the book, and always refers to the final judgment on God’s opponents. The calamities unleashed by the “seals,” “trumpets,” and "bowls of fury" are never labeled “wrath,” although “wrath” is manifested at the end of each sevenfold series.

For example, after the “seventh trumpet” sounded, the “wrath came, the time for the dead to be judged” - (Revelation 6:16-17, 11:15-19).

The effect of the “wrath” is everlasting, not temporary. Its ultimate expression is the “lake of fire, the second death,” which, for rebellious men, is experienced at the “Great White Throne of Judgment.” And on that day, there will be no escape or reprieve.

In contrast, the righteous receive everlasting life in the “New Jerusalem.” What determines whether one undergoes “wrath” or receives life is how he or she responds to the “Lamb” - (Revelation 7:9-17, 22:15).


The “fifth seal” revealed the souls of martyrs “underneath the altar” that cried for vindication against their persecutors, “the inhabitants of the earth.”

The “sixth seal” is the divine response to their plea. It unleashes the final “wrath” on the “inhabitants of the earth,” the “day of the wrath of the Lamb and of Him who sits on the Throne” - (Revelation 6:9-17).

What is described in the “sixth seal” is nothing less than the “Day of the Lord” that is accompanied by terrestrial and celestial upheaval, and there is no escape (“Who shall be able to stand?”).


The sounding of the “seventh trumpet” causes the overthrow of the “kingdom of the world.” All powers hostile to the "Lamb" are defeated, the kingdom of God is consummated, and the faithful from every rank of society receive their rewards, “the small and the great” - (Revelation 11:15-19).

The final “trumpet” will mean the arrival of the day of the “wrath” of God, His orgé, the time to “destroy them who were destroying the earth.” It will also be the time for Him to reward His saints. Both the righteous and the unrighteous receive their just desserts.

The “Day of the Lord” will mean the vindication of the righteous and the everlasting condemnation of the unrighteous.


And a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice: If anyone renders homage to the beast and his image, and receives the mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger” – (Revelation 14:6-11).

The “third angel” announces the time for the final judgment of God, for His “wrath.” Everlasting condemnation is pronounced on every man and woman who gave allegiance to the “beast.” Each partakes of the undiluted “wrath,” which is everlasting in its effect.

Condemned men will “have no rest day or night.” What the angel describes is the "lake of Fire” from which there will be no escape - (Revelation 20:11-15).

Another angel declared that the time had come for “Babylon” to drink of the “cup of the wine of the fury of God’s wrath.” Just as the men who took the "mark of the Beast" drank of this cup, so "Babylon" must drink of His “wrath” - (Revelation 14:10).


The seven “bowls of fury” are also called the “seven last plagues.” When unleashed, the “fury of God was completed.” The bowls were “full of the fury (thumos) of God.”

Fury” translates the Greek noun thumos, which is a different Greek word than the noun orgé used elsewhere for “wrath.” In the Greek text, these are the seven bowls of “fury” or thumos, not seven “bowls of wrath”- (Revelation 15:1-8, 16:17-21).

Storm over city - Photo by Tobias Rademacher on Unsplash
[Photo by Tobias Rademacher on Unsplash]

The seventh or last “
bowl” produces “flashes of lightning, and voices, and claps of thunder, and a great earthquake...and great hail as talents” - The same phenomena that accompanied the sounding of the “seventh trumpet.” The verbal parallels demonstrate that the same final event is in view, the time of God’s “wrath” unleashed on the “Day of the Lord” - (Revelation 11:19).

Every island fled, and mountains were not found.” This clause parallels the “Day of the Lord” unveiled when the “sixth seal” was opened, and “every mountain and island was shaken out of its place.” Again, the same final event is in view.


And he is treading the winepress of the wrath of the fury of God the Almighty” - (Revelation 19:15-16).

The "rider on a white horse" will judge the nations and “tread the winepress of the wrath of God.” This is the same “winepress” seen previously when the angel announced he “everlasting gospel.”

In chapter 14, the “winepress” was “trodden outside the city” and trodden” translated the Greek verb pateō, the same one now applied to the “rider on a white horse” who “treads” the “winepress of the wrath of God.” He does not unleash another in a series of plagues. Instead, he ushers in the final “war” between the "Lamb" and the “beast.”

This war is followed by the judgment and “wrath of God,” for, at the end of this vision, both the “beast” and the “false prophet” are cast alive into the “lake of fire” - (Revelation 19:15-21).

Thus, in Revelation, “wrath” does not refer to any series of punitive and temporary judgments or plagues. It is nothing less than the final judgment and punishment of the enemies of God. Consistently, “wrath” refers to His judicial sentence issued on the “Day of the Lord,” and not to individual plagues or catastrophes that precede it.

The "saints" are present before the "Lamb" on that day, but they do not “drink” from this “cup.” Instead, they are vindicated and rewarded for their faithfulness with everlasting life in the “city of New Jerusalem.”



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