Read: Revelation 16
Wrath, wrath and more wrath. Chapter 16 again rings with evocations from the book of Exodus. The plagues describe the ongoing pressure that is put upon the world in order to inspire repentance. But, again and again, the world’s inhabitants refuse to repent. The world’s inhabitants are just like pharaoh, who hardened his heart.
Here is something to think about though: why would we expect the experience of being beaten and battered to incite anyone to repent? Is pharaoh’s hard-heartedness surprising? Maybe it’s our mistake to think that receiving a sound beating could have such an effect. It may be the case that what we should concentrate our thought not upon the stubbornness of human beings in the face of affliction, but upon the inadequacy of approaching human beings in this manner. Perhaps the message to take away is: that the gospel presents a different way of trying to break through and affect a change in men. God changes strategies. Instead of encountering human beings from a position of strength–as the Almighty–he assumes a position of weakness. Such an approach would be more arduous and taxing for him. But if that is what will work to help us out, he is more than willing. And the fact that going this route, rather than using sheer, brute force, would explain exactly why the end of the world takes so long.