The first imperative of the everlasting Gospel as described in Rev 14:6–13 is plainly expressed: “Fear God” (Greek: fobethete ton theon). The context of this command is the announcement of God’s judgment which leads to three imperatives. The notion of fearing God plays a primary role among these commands: “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water” (Rev 14:7 NIV). This shocking command is disturbing for at least five reasons: 1. Itsounds negative and may produce a phobic reaction. Humans are naturally full of different fears, and this statement entices to fear even more. 2. It contradicts many biblical encouraging proclamations to not fear. God exhorts, for example, though Isaiah: “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you” (Isa 41:13 NIV). 3. It creates a distorted picture about God and true religion. It looks like God is a fearful deity, and Christianity should be a religion of fear. 4. It is significant to observe that the Bible portrays fear as the result of sin. It was actually one of the first consequences of sin. So why cultivate it? After eating from the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were hiding from God in the Garden of Eden because they were afraid of Him. Instead of enjoying God’s Presence, they were avoiding Him in dread. Fear was a product of their disobedience. When God, the Lord, asked in His search for lost humanity: “Where are you?” Adam’s answer reveals their feelings of shame and guilt: “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid . . . and I hid myself” (Gen 3:10 NKJV). 5. Satan’s strategy is to lead people into different fears. He uses fears of various kinds including fear of persecution, abuse, and violence (1 Pet 3:14;Rev 2:10; compare Matt 5:10–12) to lead people astray from God, into dependence upon him, and into false worship (Rev 13:4, 7–8). Thus, it is apparent that the meaning of the phrase, “Fear God,” is a puzzle. How to make sense of it? How to understand it? It is true that many times in the Holy Scripture God cheers His people with the divine command: “Do not fear” (like in Isa 35:4; 41:10, 14; 43:1). Note that these appeals are God’s encouragements against our personal existential fears that may be of various kinds: relational, financial, medical, occupational, social, emotional, spatial, etc. Fears of death, guilt, pain, and bad conscience are the worst phobias. Our fears are consequences of our transgressions; they are an integral part of our sinful nature and circumstances of life. These different kinds of fear can be overcome by only trusting the Lord. David expresses it very eloquently when he states: “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you” (Ps 56:3 NIV). The divine exhortations of trusting and confidence are supported by His numerous promises that He is with His people, they are in His loving and caring hands, and no one can snatch them from His embrace (John 10:28–29; Isa 49:15–16; Matt 28:20). We belong to Him; we are His, for He is always for us and never against us (Rom 8:31). No one and nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:35–39). We can be assured that our past, present, and future are secured in Him. God teaches His followers not to be self-centered but to fully trust in Him. Indeed, God commands: “Do not fear,” and then surprisingly instructs: “Fear!” However, this call to fear is different because it is very specific with a different object. We have to fear God! Life becomes God-centered instead of anthropo-centered, which means that the direction of fear dramatically changes; it is aimed toward God. We should fear the Person who is our Creator, Redeemer, Judge, Lord, and King. We should fear the Ruler and Director of the entire universe who loved humanity so much that Jesus Christ could become our Redeemer (John 3:16; Rom 5:6, 8, 10–11). Thus, we should not be preoccupied and distracted by fearing people, institutions, things, or future. It becomes evident that this type of fear is focused toward God and is completely different than the various personal fears previously described. This crucial observation leads us to a significant recognition that the command “Fear God” is a theological and relational notion in sharp contrast to existential fears. And because this relationship with God is expressed theologically, one must interpret this terminology from that perspective, and only then can this specific phrase be properly understood. The word fear in our modern languages has a different connotation from the one found in this biblical word. The biblical vocabulary reveals that this category is actually very positive. The scriptural teaching regarding the fear of God should build constructive thinking, evoke joyful emotions, and empower our will to follow God. It should draw people closer to their God, motivate them to be better persons, and transform their character. In this way, believers need to make a clear distinction between their personal, existential fears, on the one hand, and theological fear as the divine command, on the other hand. The fear of God is a highly doctrinal term, and thus should not be understood in the sense of everyday common language.

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