From Scripture, Derek shares today God’s perspective on the wicked of this age. Psalm 73 pictures the meditations of the righteous regarding why the wicked are not judged in the here and now, but the Psalm ends by foreseeing their future. God has a day for them, but is waiting in His mercy for all those He has chosen to come into salvation.
And it says:
“The winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress up to the horses’ bridles for one thousand six hundred furlongs.”
In my margin it says one hundred and eighty-four miles.
Now, a lot of people interpret Revelation symbolically. I would just like to ask you this question and you don’t have to answer me. Do you think this is symbolic blood? I don’t. I think it’s real blood that’s being squeezed out in the winepress of the wrath of God.
If you turn to Isaiah 63 you’ll see a picture of the one who treads the winepress. Isaiah 63, beginning at verse 1—and the name Edom is the name for the land east of the Jordan. It also means red. The name was originally given to Esau because he was red all over.
“Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?
And Bozrah is the word for the great harvest.
“This one who is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? [And the answer is] ‘I, who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Why is your apparel red, and your garments like one who treads in the winepress?”
And the answer is:
“I have trodden the winepress alone; and from the peoples no one was with me. For I have trodden them in my anger and trampled them in my fury; their blood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my robes.”
That’s a picture of Jesus judging the wicked.
And in Revelation 19 it says He had a garment sprinkled with blood. Then it says:
“For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed has come.”
There is going to be vengeance, brothers and sisters. God is a God of justice. His justice tarries but it is absolutely sure and absolutely complete.
Let’s go back to Psalm 73. You know, I hear a lot of sermons and I meet a lot of preachers. I hardly hear anybody today who talks about the judgment of God. Is that true? And yet it’s a very major, major section of the truth of God’s Word. The Bible says the Holy Spirit, when He comes, will convict of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. How will He ever convict of judgment if we never preach about judgment? Psalm 73, here is a man who has this problem. The unrighteous are flourishing on every hand, they’re making money, they get away with crime, they know how to bribe the courts. This man is appalled. He says in Psalm 73 verse 12:
“Behold, these are the ungodly who are always at ease. They increase in riches.”
Is that true? It really is. Mostly it’s the ungodly who are rich. The idea that all Christians ought to be rich is not scriptural. All Christians should have an abundant sufficiency but riches mainly are for the wicked in this generation. This is the psalmist’s comment on the situation:
“Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain; and washed my hands in innocence.”
I’ve been living a righteous life and what have I got to show for it? Nothing.
“For all day long I have been plagued; and chastened every morning.”
Some of you could say that. All day long I’ve been plagued, chastened every morning. And yet I’ve been leading a righteous life. I haven’t gone along with the wicked. Then the psalmist goes on:
“If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’ I would have been untrue to the generation of your children.”
Don’t ever talk like that because you’ll undermine the faith of some child of God.
“When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.”
There are some things you do not understand until you get into the sanctuary of God, until you get into the presence of God and hear from God and are instructed by God directly through the Holy Spirit.
This is what God showed him.
“Surely you set them [the ungodly wicked] in slippery places; you cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation as in a moment, they are utterly consumed with terror! As a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you awake you shall despise their image.”
God says the wealthy wicked have been set in a slippery place. The day they die they slip immediately into hell, without any alternative. God has put them in a slippery place.
I wonder if that makes you feel better? I mean, you may think Christians ought not ever to talk about vengeance. Not personal vengeance but the vengeance of God very, very much so. We need to warn people that God does take vengeance. The Bible says He’s a God of vengeance. Some of you are looking at me as though you’ve never heard that before. Your faces are really worth looking at.
What I’m telling you I believe is straight from the Bible.
Now let’s turn to 2 Peter 3:9. You’re saying why doesn’t Jesus come and end all this? Why do we have to go on in this suffering and this misery and this mounting iniquity? Peter says in 2 Peter 3:9:
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise to return, as some count slackness. But is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance.”
Now when it says longsuffering toward us I think it means God’s elect, His chosen ones. The Bible never says that no one will perish. I believe in God’s election, do you? I believe God has those whom He has chosen. Do you know what I believe? I’m one of them. Some people have a lot of trouble because people say the Jews are a chosen race. But brothers and sisters, Christians are a chosen race. We would never be Christians if God hadn’t chosen us. Jesus said to His disciples, “You haven’t chosen me, I have chosen you.” You cannot understand the Bible unless you understand God’s election.
So, what is the Lord waiting for? He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. All whom He has chosen for Himself. He will not bring final judgment until every last one has come in. He’ll wait with infinite patience. I believe there has to be one from every tribe, kindred, nation and tongue. I believe there’s no more urgent task for the church than to reach the nations that have not been reached. Because, Jesus cannot come until everyone has been reached. At least there’s one member of every tribe that will stand before the throne. God the Father sees to that because it’s to glorify His Son that His sacrifice has not been in vain for any nation on earth.
So, God is waiting. It’s His mercy that He’s waiting. He’ll tolerate wickedness that we would think incredible that God should not intervene. It’s not that He’s not going to judge the wicked but He’s waiting for every last one whom he has chosen to come in. Brothers, when you’ve been in the ministry as long as I have you’ll marvel at the way God finds the ones He’s chosen. I mean, He does the most amazing things to find somebody that nobody else would ever think worth looking at. But He’s chosen. God will not take the fishing net in until every last one who’s been chosen by God has come in. So get a different view of wickedness. See it as God’s infinite mercy and patience, waiting for those whom He has chosen. And then, don’t be too passive. Do something to help reaching the unreached. The motto of our ministry is “to reach the unreached and teach the untaught”. Do you know what, brothers? I have no doctrinal problems with anybody who’s totally committed to that. I find I’m in perfect harmony. I may have never met them before but in ten minutes it’s like we’ve known one another all our lives. Ruth and I want to say that is our purpose for living. Matthew 24:14:
“This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
That’s what God’s waiting for. If anybody’s delaying it, it’s us.