“Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.” – Revelation 19:15
When I was younger, I use to curse like there was no tomorrow. With the mouth of a sailor and the face of a toddler, I use to go around and use the F bomb as my space filler and most favorite adjective. I mean, let’s be real. I was a spoiled brat and dare I say a little princess-ie? I thought that having the power to use such words gave me a sense of authority and reputation to do and talk however I wanted.
It wasn’t so much the swearing that caused so many problems but rather it was what it did to my attitude and the way I would manipulate my words to hurt the people around me. I remember for the very first time in my life I made my mother cry because I bullied her with the hatred of my very un-saved soul and the fuel of bitterness in my words to burn her heart. I use to say things like, “this is America, so speak English—Oh you can’t speak English? Then you must be stupid. I can’t talk to stupid people” which always in some way, shape, or form led to, “I hate you”– the most un-desired, hurtful, and shameful phrase that could ever be said.
Even as I write this blog post, I can’t help but empathize for the mother in my memory and the desire to slap my old self in the face for being so cruel.
But this is where I see THE amazing grace come in and I notice that what I used to use for evil, only God could use as solely righteous. This passage in Revelations, John writes that God comes out to strike the nations with a sharp sword, which pierces through His mouth. What was prophesied from long ago (Joel 3:9-16) came to be in this heavenly encounter that John experienced. As Christians we know that no matter how many vocabulary words we scramble together to either justify ourselves or love on others, His words will always outweigh ours.
As it says in Joel:
“Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, “I am strong!” Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors, Lord! “Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow—so great is their wickedness!” Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision (Joel 10-14)”
What was spoken then and what is spoken even now is that when the time comes for judgment, God will be the one to press the good wine. In a previous blog post by Pastor Andy Min, he states, “…all vines bear fruit. All of them. Buddhists preach meditation, and it produces peace. Business leaders preach hard work, and it produces success. Secularists preach morals, and it produces good people. All vines bear fruit! Maybe not every branch, but every vine—every religion, philosophy, or way of life—they all bear at least some kind of fruit.”
Even in those moments where I lashed out with so much hatred, there was fruit. Was the fruit any good? No. Not at all. But I received an outcome that I wanted the most—manipulation. I harvested and relished in the fact that the receiver of my words and actions would hurt which in return made me feel satisfied and justified in what I did.
In Revelations 19:15, the author states, “He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty”. God uses pressing as a metaphor for the judgment in the context of the eschatological war. A winepress is simply a device to crush grapes to extract the juice whilst in the process to making good wine. God treads the wine vat in his fury, pressing out the lifeblood of people. For many this may sound super scary and almost “un-God” like. But the truth is, the messiah is the reaper at the final judgment. The very place that every soul will have to pass through, God will be there in all of his glory defending the very gates of heaven.
Now, what will we look like and what will God look like?
I immediately imagined that this is what it may initially look like. *This video has been extracted from one of the final scenes of Mean girls (yes, you read this correctly):
Go to the 2:11-2:20 marks (the rest is really irrelevant).
I believe this is what we have in our hands for most of our lives, a crown in the world that everyone works so hard for. Money, fame, security, comfort, feeling accomplished, bragging rights…etc. etc. It may sparkle in the light and in that also bring a certain sense of reputation, a downright self-centered dignity but in reality so vulnerable and easily broken. We must take these off first, so that the room that is needed for God to do His work can be placed upon our temples– the one on our heads and the one that resides as a sanctuary in our own hearts.
All our realities of what this life is in this world will be shattered. Could you only imagine how shocked you may feel to see it pruned away so quickly? But that is the hard truth. We may all have at one point paraded around with our little crowns for the world to see our pride that we masked as dignity, weaknesses that were disguised as strengths, and hearts that were unrepentant. Even to this day, I have to constantly remind myself that the crown that I sometimes imagine on my head is nowhere near the glory as to what Jesus had on his; A crown of thorns.
This is a facet of God that was revealed to us through scripture. He truly is the King of all other kings and the Lord of all other lords. He wears it as a stripe across his body, robed in this powerful statement. While the world may tell us to become the rulers of our own kingdoms, God is welcoming us into His. Not as prince and princesses only, but FIRST as sons and daughters. It’s time to upgrade from our party-city crowns to the real one. We are asked to take up the kingdom principle of following through in our walks no matter how hard it may get. We are asked to humbly accept the calling of submission to His royal courts… to see with heavens eyes that wherever the king is, that’s where his kingdom resides.
He is THE KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORDS.
Photograph above by HQ Wall Base.
Jane Kim is the Youth Pastor at FKUMC in Herndon, VA. She graduated with her MDiv from Wesley Theological in Washington D.C. She loves warm fluffy blankets, brunch, and sleeping-in past 8AM.