“God is judge,” we like to say—especially when someone is struggling with injustice. When we get to the book of Revelation, though, we might struggle to understand God’s judgment. Yet even as John describes God dispensing judgment, he emphasizes God’s righteousness and loving nature. He tells us we should not forget that God is a righteous judge.
The Bible is unapologetic and straightforward when speaking about God’s judgment. This is especially true in Revelation. Here the judgment God exacts echoes the plagues that He sent on Pharaoh and Egypt in the book of Exodus—blood, darkness, fiery hail, and locusts. Although Pharaoh was given multiple opportunities to obey God’s request, he still chose his own way. By turning the bodies of water into blood, God spoke what Pharaoh should have realized: “By this you will know that I am Yahweh” (Exodus 7:17).
Revelation 16 pronounces God righteous not in spite of His judgment, but because of it (R…