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Section 9B .. The Future/

 

003white  Index to Section 9B... The Future     >    Wrath of God

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The Wrath Of God

Carol Brooks

Anger/ Wrath... The English words are unfortunate since they imply selfish, malicious or vindictive personal feeling. However the anger of God is none of these things.. His wrath is His response to sin.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” [Romans 1:18]

for the great day of their wrath is come; and who is able to stand?  Revelation 6:17

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The Wrath of God.. A Forgotten Doctrine.
One of the prime bits of evidence of the departure of the professing Church from Christianity, as taught by the Bible, is the large-scale rejection of the doctrine of the wrath of God, and the emphasis placed almost exclusively upon His love. Liberal theologians probably feel a moral revulsion at the thought of a God who needs to be appeased by the blood of a victim, while the thought of sinners in the hands of a wrathful God offends their enlightened moral sense.

The opening paragraph of a 2001 article entitled Savior or martyr? Christians struggle with the meaning of the cross, by Susan Hogan-Albach of the Dallas Morning News, quotes Philip Lyndon Reynolds (professor at the United Methodist Candler School of Theology in Atlanta), as saying... [Emphasis Added]

    His students are studying to be ministers and theologians. They've committed their lives to following Jesus' teachings.

    But more and more, some reject the usual Christian talk about Jesus' death.

    They don't consider Jesus a ransom for sin. They shudder at hymns glorifying the "power of the blood." They cringe at calling the day Jesus died Good Friday.

    They say a God who requires human sacrifice sounds mean and vindictive. It doesn't mesh with their idea of a God who loves and forgives. [1]

Note the words "their idea", which tells us a great deal about people who seem determined to fashion a god made in their image. They want to decide who he is, what his mindset and characteristics are, and how he behaves. And, regardless of what any book says, they will continue to perceive him as they think he should be.

The problem is that it doesn't work quite like this.

Regardless of how much we may desire someone to fit the mental picture, or image, we have of them, the fact remains that our ideas do not form the person. People are what they are, and it is we who need to have a realistic image of them. The same principle applies to God. He is unchanging and everlasting, and it we who need to pay attention to what He has said about Himself, and what His actions show about Him.

Yet preaching today often caters to what Dr. Ronald W. Scates of the Central Presbyterian Church in Baltimore describes as "Coddled Christians in the Hands of a Soothing Celestial Therapist". He states..

    "There has been a kind of a movement in American theology along those same lines to "bell the cat", if you will; to de-fang, to de-claw God, and replace the Almighty One True Living God of the Bible with a hybrid of Barney, Big Bird, Santa Claus, and everybody's grandfather. The only problem with that God is that he is not a God at all. He is an idol, a human construction." [2]

It is sad to find so many professing Christians who, perhaps because it makes them uneasy, either completely ignore everything the Scriptures says about the wrath of God, wish there were no such thing, or treat it as something for which they need to make an apology. It certainly seems that many, if they think about it at all, harbor the delusion that God's wrath is not consistent with His goodness... a blot on the Divine character if you will, and so banish it from their thoughts. Their preferred view of God is to see Him strictly as a God of love, always bestowing wonderful things upon us, and never causing any grief whatsoever. To these people, a wrathful God can not be the God of the 'gentle' Jesus, who never gets angry, and whose vocabulary never included the word "punishment".

It is almost as if there is a disconnect between the Bible stories well known to all Christians, and their own version of the God they profess to serve.

For example in the opening chapters of the very first book of Scripture we not only find Adam and Eve thrust out of the garden for their sin, and the entire human race under the same condemnation, but shortly thereafter hear God saying 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth' (Genesis 6 emphasis added). This He did in the flood that almost did just that, which was, of course followed, not long thereafter, by the destruction of the cities of the plain by fire and brimstone from heaven (Genesis 19).

God's wrath is not an abstract quality as these incidents show, but was (and will be again) an open and hard to miss judgment against evil-doers.

Hopefully, you have not only read these stories, but also realize that God does not change.. that these accounts of God's wrath are not out-of-date, antiquated fairy stories, and that His wrath has not exactly dissipated over time. On the contrary all evidence seems to point to the fact that that sin has an accumulating effect and the terrible plagues and judgments in the book of Revelation are the accumulation of God's wrath over the history of mankind.

Whatever the reason, the result has been that the gravity of Biblical Christianity has largely been lost sight of. We are faced with a generation of people who, to their detriment, have absolutely no fear of God and, as a result, will face disastrous consequences. The balance has to be restored.. Mushy, sentimental Christianity has to give way to an understanding that God is a God of love, but is also a God of wrath, fury and terror. In fact those that pride themselves on being the people of God, have to be even more careful that they themselves do not become recipients of God's wrath, considering the verses that tell us that judgment 'begins at the house of God' (1 Peter 4:17) and 'to whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required: and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more' (Luke 12:48).


The Wrath of God and Evangelism
Even when we present the gospel to someone we ignore the judgment of God.. We talk about eternal life, we talk about forgiveness, love and peace, we talk about an abundant life now and an eternal life to come. But we never ever talk about the judgment of God. And we are not alone. Preachers and pastors, who should know better ...

    "... affirm the wrath of God in theory, but they refuse to preach it for fear of alienating cultured people who may come to church. Instead, they preach, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Come to our church, where you will hear only great music and soothing messages." In fact, many twenty-first century preachers take polls to see what their people want to hear. People say they want to hear pastors preach about their felt needs: how to be happy; how to be not anxious; how to get rid of bad habits; how to lose weight by eating; how to deal with loneliness, sexual frustrations, marital discord, co-dependency, and addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, and credit card abuse. No one says he wants to hear about the wrath of God, the sinfulness of man, the atonement of Christ, the cross, repentance, saving faith, the fear of God, obedience to God's  word, Satan, eternal judgment, or hell. They just want to be told that God loves them and will bless them, no matter what they do. They want a psychological cure for their problems." [3]

Diametrically opposed to most of our evangelistic technique, the very gospel message should begin with the wrath of God. The bad news has to come before the good news... Telling someone that there is a pardon is kind of lost on the person who does not know they are under sentence. 

Perhaps we are offended by the concept of the wrath and judgment of God because we have become so desensitized to sin and do not truly understand the nature of God's holiness. However let Him tell it...


In His Words
God Himself has made no attempt to conceal the fact of His wrath. He is not reluctant to make it known that vengeance and fury are as much a part of His nature as love and mercy... This God of ours is not politically correct.

     "See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand. For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live forever, If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me" (Deuteronomy 32:39-41).

Contrary to popular opinion, the New Testament was not very far behind. There are almost fifty instances of the use of the actual word "wrath", most of which refer to the wrath of God. The examples include... [All Emphasis Added]

    In Matthew 3:7, when John the Baptist  saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he called them offspring of vipers, then asked who had warned them to flee from the wrath to come?

    Jesus warned again and again of 'the weeping and the gnashing of teeth’ of hell fire and outer darkness, and to not be "afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell". He pictured Himself as one day saying: 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into the everlasting fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels. In Luke 12:5 He said "But I will warn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, who after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him".

    John, the apostle of love, says "He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him". [John 3:36].

    He also paints a chilling picture of Christ coming as King of kings and Lord of lords 'treading the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of God the Almighty [Revelation 19.15]

    In Romans 1:18 Paul said "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness". He adds to the thought in Romans 2:5-11 where he says... God will render to every man according to his works, and people with hard and impenitent hearts are storing for themselves wrath in the day of wrath to come.

    Paul warned the Colossians that if they did not put to death fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness the wrath of God would descend on them...the sons of disobedience.

    Paul spoke of "Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come [I Thessalonians 1:10] 


God's Wrath Vs. Man’s Anger
Some common misconceptions about the anger of God stem from confusing divine anger with human anger.

Humans are fallible; and can become angry for the wrong reasons. On the one hand, when a human gets angry, it can be wholly justified, controlled and even righteous (Ephesians 4:26). However, all too often it is none of these thing. Because human anger frequently involves passion and/or loss of temper, it can be, and often is, capricious, out of control, irrational and often to lead to violence. Too much of the time we get angry because our egos have been slighted, we did not get our way, or quite simply are in a bad mood.

When the Bible speaks of the wrath of God, it is not speaking of an emotion similar to the one we think of when we talk of the anger of man. God's anger is completely different... The wrath of God is always measured. He doesn't just fly off the handle, He doesn't blow a fuse, rant and rave, say foolish things, or put His fist through a wall. His wrath is a measured response to one thing, and one thing only... sin. Not only is it right for God to display anger against sin, but it is impossible for Him to do otherwise. As the New Dictionary of Theology puts it:

    "It is a necessary part of moral character to abhor evil as well as to love good."

Unless one gives the matter close attention and studies the situations in the Bible which are said to have aroused God's wrath, one may be inclined to think that God's anger is like ours, except infinitely more powerful.. Some common misconceptions about the anger of God is that He is exceedingly petty in His demands, flies off the handle when He does not get His way over the most trivial of matter, or worse, that He is a cruel despot, raving against enemies, and bloodthirsty for revenge.

Therefore, it is wise to read some very unambiguous statements about who, or what, God hates, and what exactly causes His wrath to fall. This followed by a an examination of the oft overlooked, but very significant book of Nahum.


What Arouses God's Wrath
Idol Worship
There are many many verses in which God's wrath is poured out on idolatry. For example....

    'They have made Me jealous with what is not God; They have provoked Me to anger with their idols. So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation, For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol, And consumes the earth with its yield, And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains. [Deuteronomy 32:21-22 NASB]

    "As for you, do not pray for this people, and do not lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with Me; for I do not hear you. "Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? "The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods in order to spite Me. "Do they spite Me?" declares the LORD. "Is it not themselves they spite, to their own shame?" Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched." [Jeremiah 7:16-20 NASB]

    'So as I live,' declares the Lord GOD, 'surely, because you have defiled My sanctuary with all your detestable idols and with all your abominations, therefore I will also withdraw, and My eye will have no pity and I will not spare. 'One third of you will die by plague or be consumed by famine among you, one third will fall by the sword around you, and one third I will scatter to every wind, and I will unsheathe a sword behind them. [Ezekiel 5:11-12 NASB]

But we cannot claim He hasn’t given us any warning...

    "These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth. "You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. "You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. [Deuteronomy 12:1-3 NASB]

However, there is a very good reason for the absolute ban on idol worship. In the Bible, false gods are clearly associated with the demonic. In both the Old and New Testaments the worship of idols (from eidos… form, appearance) is called the worship of unclean spirits, which may be one explanation for the hideous faces given many of these images. In other words the pagan images, the lifeless statues of ancient gods and goddesses were simply the face of the daimonia (demons). Why else would the apostle John warn anyone to beware of an inert, inanimate statue made out of metal or stone... "My little children, guard yourselves from idols". [1 John 5:21]. However, this is a topic in itself. See Idol Worship... The Spirits Behind The Idols


What God Hates
The following verses are some examples of what God would have humans do, and how He would have them behave [All Emphasis Added]

    Then say to the household of the king of Judah, 'Hear the word of the LORD, O house of David, thus says the LORD: "Administer justice every morning; And deliver the person who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor, That My wrath may not go forth like fire And burn with none to extinguish it, Because of the evil of their deeds. [Jeremiah 21:11-12 NASB]

    Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah saying, "Thus has the LORD of hosts said, 'Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.' "But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears from hearing. [Zechariah 7:8-11 NASB]

    'These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates. 'Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,' declares the LORD." [Zechariah 8:16-17 NASB]

    "I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. "Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. "Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. "But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. [Amos 5:21-24 NASB]

    Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. [Ephesians 4:31 NASB]

    For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. [Colossians 3:6-8 NASB]

And here is what God hates.

    The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. [Psalms 11:5-6 NASB]

    There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers. [Proverbs 6:16-19 NASB]

    "I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts, They have become a burden to Me; I am weary of bearing them. "So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood. "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. [Isaiah 1:14-17 NASB]

    For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; And I will faithfully give them their recompense And make an everlasting covenant with them. [Isaiah 61:8 NASB]

    "But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. "For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously." [Malachi 2:15-16 NASB]

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, [Romans 1:18 NASB]

    for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. [Romans 13:4 NASB]

There is a very clear pattern here. The things that people do which God hates and will cause His wrath to rain down on them are violence, injustice, murder, malice, lies and slander, oppression, robbery, evil and unrighteousness.

God is not exactly concerned with rituals. In fact, as said by more than one prophet, He actually hates them if they are unaccompanied by justice and righteousness. He asks people to practice kindness and compassion, administer true justice, defend, protect, and take care if those who cannot do it for themselves, avoid bitterness and anger, speak the truth.


Retributive Justice
It is all too easy to get the wrong impression when we read statements like God is a jealous God who takes vengeance on his adversaries, and reserves wrath for his enemies. We tend to superimpose human definitions of the words jealous and vengeance when they are applied to God. Although some passages in Deuteronomy 32 which have God saying "I will make My arrows drunk with blood, And My sword will devour flesh", are used to portray God as a monster. His ultimate intent... retributive, or justly deserved, justice is clearly shown in verse 43

    "Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people." [Deuteronomy 32:43 NASB]

This is repeated many times over in both the Old and New Testaments.

    He arose and went into the house, and he poured the oil on his head and said to him, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'I have anointed you king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel. 'You shall strike the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel. [2 Kings 9:6-7 NASB]

    Egypt will become a waste, And Edom will become a desolate wilderness, Because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, In whose land they have shed innocent blood. [Joel 3:19 NASB]

    'They are fat, they are sleek, They also excel in deeds of wickedness; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the orphan, that they may prosper; And they do not defend the rights of the poor. 'Shall I not punish these people?' declares the LORD, 'On a nation such as this Shall I not avenge Myself?' [Jeremiah 5:28-29 NASB]

    "Their tongue is a deadly arrow; It speaks deceit; With his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbor, But inwardly he sets an ambush for him. "Shall I not punish them for these things?" declares the LORD. "On a nation such as this Shall I not avenge Myself? [Jeremiah 9:8-9 NASB]

    and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. [1 Thessalonians 4:6 NASB]

God always has, and always will, treat people as they truly deserve to be treated. And this is not simply the 'justice hat' that God puts on. Much to the contrary, as Glenn Miller writes

    "... it is intrinsic to Him, as it is supposed to be with us. We are outraged with moral atrocity BEFORE we are grieved over the damage, and BEFORE we decide how to try to rectify/contain the damage. We are not supposed to be simple 'passionless ethicists', plugging in ethical variables into equations and seeing whether the action warrants response or not. We are supposed to emotionally/psychological responsive FIRST. This 'hatred for evil' is not the same per se as the 'decision to execute justice' (as we shall see), but this outrage and sense of violation is reflective of the personal, instrinsically 'wrong', community-irrelevant aspect of evil. It is wrong because its wrong--and we know that inside somehow.

    I find it instructive that our moral outrage (a possible reflection of the image of God in us) operates even when there are NO actual damages or evils done. We can, for example, visualize an imaginary evil (sometimes experienced by moviegoers, actually) with no real historical damages, and yet still feel moral responses to the evil, the atrocity, the violation, the vandalism. [4]

Also See The ‘Jealousy’ of God The verses that refer to God as a "jealous God" are often misunderstood. When we use the word jealous, we use it in the sense of being envious of someone who has something we don't have… in other words “envy” or perhaps even “resentment”. However, this is not the intended meaning of the word jealous when used in reference to God.


The Book of Nahum
Lets take a look at a small book in the Old Testament... the book of Nahum. Sadly, Nahum is often neglected because it seems to fade into obscurity in the shadow of the more weighty, and certainly more wordy, works of the major prophets. However, far from being a dry account of ancient history, this small book  is extremely significant because it, perhaps more than any other book of the Old Testament, reveals to us facets of God's nature.

Nahum's mission was to pronounce its doom on Nineveh, the capitol of the Assyrian Empire. And why should this overly concern us? Simply because this message is a type and forerunner of the judgment to come. It fell to this prophet Nahum, about whom we know next to nothing, to proclaim to the city of Nineveh [the capital of Assyria] that they were once again the target of God's wrath. The Assyrians, who had a terrible reputation as cruel and ruthless warriors, burning and destroying, raping and pillaging, sparing no one, had for many years shaken their fists at God and gotten away with it. They had even carted off the northern kingdom of Israel into exile, and had done so without repercussions... or so they thought.

About one hundred years earlier, in a clear demonstration that grace is not the prerogative of the New Covenant, the prophet Jonah went to Nineveh with a very short and succinct message ..."Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown" [Jonah 3:4]. as a result the entire population of Nineveh repented in sackcloth and ashes and God spared both them and the city.

But it did not take long before the people of Nineveh relapsed into their old ways, causing the prophet Nahum to let them know that Divine trouble was brewing. It was only a matter of time. In his words..

    A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither; The blossoms of Lebanon wither. Mountains quake because of Him And the hills dissolve; Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, The world and all the inhabitants in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire And the rocks are broken up by Him. The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble, And He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of its site, And will pursue His enemies into darkness. [Nahum 1:2-8 NASB]

Jonah's mission was a call to repentance, a type and forerunner of God's message to the world. Nahum's mission was to pronounce on Nineveh its doom... a type and forerunner of the judgment to come.

The word Nahum means "consolation," or "comfort," and one can only imaging how comforting it was to the people of Israel to have this prophet stand up and tell them that God was going to utterly destroy Nineveh, the capital city of the people that had brought them so much misery for so long. These words must have been music to their ears..

    "And now will I break his yoke from off thee, and will burst thy bonds in sunder" [Nahum 1:13]

    "Behold, upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace! Keep thy feasts, O Judah, perform thy vows; for the wicked one shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off." [Nahum 1:15]

And, just as the people of Israel were comforted when Nahum prophesied the judgment of Nineveh, God's people today, if they give the matter a modicum of serious thought, can not possibly be satisfied with... A God that has no wrath.


His Wrath.. Fully Justified
A toddler in Washingon state beaten into a coma by his father over potty training... thousands of women in Nigeria [5] and Kenya [6], among other Africa nations, raped by military and the police who often use rape and sexual slavery to intimidate communities, with an estimated 10 percent of cases ever successfully prosecuted. The more than more than a hundred people, killed over the course of a single week in drug-related shootings in Mexico [7] (Actually you may be lucky to be just shot.. according to 'official’ statistics about 65 people are kidnapped each month, (Please note that if you do happen to be kidnapped you stand the thought of being sawed to death, or have your head show up in a different place from the rest of your torso). The bodies of 153 Al-Qaeda victims, many of them women and children found in a mass grave near Baghdad [8] Violence torture and mayhem in Sri Lanka [9 assaults against Jews and arson attacks on Jewish congregations in France, Sweden and Britain [10] Football hooliganism in Britain [11] Pirates that terrorize the high seas with an arsenal of high-tech weapons [12] And on a slightly less violent, but still very serious scale.. Real estate scams galore.. Amoral forces pursuing their own wealth-creating agenda contributing to the present crisis in world’s money markets..global warming and dwindling resources..

The litany of man's greed, stupidity and inhumanity to his fellow man is a never ending one (citing the above examples are akin to picking a pebble off the face of Mt. Everest), yet when told that God is actually going to do something about this miserable planet of ours, we rear up on our hind legs and adopt our best sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, priggish, mealy-mouthed, self-righteous attitude.

How could He do that? How could this "loving" God actually sit in judgment against humanity and find them sadly wanting. How can He then rain mayhem down on this planet? What kind of God would actually be so mean? Not one we would want to serve surely!

But maybe, just maybe, that little boy in Washington, those women in Africa, or the souls of the children found in that mass grave, would not exactly agree with you. Perhaps there are those that will find comfort in knowing that those hundreds of thousands of unreported or unsolved crimes... aren’t. Somebody knows who did it and that Someone will get that person to pay... unencumbered by man made rules that all too often work in favour of the guilty.  Justice delayed is NOT justice denied.

In the words of Drew Dyck..

    "The inevitable outcome of negating divine wrath is that "We end up embracing a god who looks indifferently at Auschwitz; a god too "enlightened" to be angry at the child molester-in short, a monster. . Walsch's god may sell books and harmonize with Eastern notions of a dispassionate ideal, but the attractiveness of such a god disappears in the shadow of real evil. The conclusion is inescapable: a god who is never angry at evil is not a loving god. The angry God, however, cares. Christians should not treat God's divine anger like a dirty secret; it offers stirring proof of His divine love". [13]

And by the way...  if you do not get angry.. If you do not burn with outrage when you hear of child abuse, crimes against the elderly, sex slavery, domestic violence, cold blooded murder, vandalism the complete indifference much of modern society has towards the poor and disadvantaged, the greed of modern corporations that have set the bottom line up as their god, power hungry governments etc. etc. etc. then something has to be wrong with you.

In fact, you are most unlike our God.


We Are Never Satisfied
Were God to offer a blanket pardon to all sinners, including serial killers and rapists, we would complain that there is no justice. However, were He to give people what they deserve in the here and now, we would complain that He was severe, cruel, unloving, and far from merciful.

Now that He has provided a substitutionary atonement in the form of His Son (since death is the price of sin, Christ died in the place of those that trust and follow Him) , the dissenters complain that justice cannot be served by allowing someone else to pay for our sins. I guess they simply do not see that out of love for us, God Himself fulfilled His own law.  [See The Deity of Christ and Salvation]

The same problem applies to the timing of God's justice.

God has several options as to when He executes His justice. He can postpone it in order to give as many people as possible the time and opportunity to have a change of heart and come to salvation. His "forbearance" is referred to in a parable of our Lord, and spoken of by both Peter and Paul.

    "And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' "And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'" [Luke 13:7-9 NASB]

    Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, [Romans 2:4-5 NASB]

    But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. [8]  But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. [9]  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:7, 9 NASB

However, the longer He restrains judgment, the more we complain about the problem of evil.

The same no win situation occurred during Jesus' time on earth, when the scribes and Pharisees complained about the different positions taken by John the Baptist and Jesus Himself.

    "For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon!' "The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' [Luke 7:33-34 NASB]

Apparently, we are no different.

Luckily however, God is sovereign and His justice will take place in His time and in the manner He chooses. Nothing we can say or do is going to change what He has decided on. What we need to do is remember that although several of the apostles spoke about God's patience, they were all very clear.... the day of His wrath is coming.


The Wrath To Come
God has been amazingly patient with this world and very slow to anger, but there is a day looming on the horizon when the iniquity of the Gentiles will be full, when He will say, "No more!". Old Testament prophets such as Joel, Daniel, Malachi, and Isaiah spoke of this time when God would not only bring an end to the injustice and suffering in this world but, when His righteous anger for all the wrongs committed will flood the earth, bringing punishment on the transgressors.

    Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, cruel, with fury and burning anger, to make the land a desolation; and He will exterminate its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not flash forth their light; The sun will be dark when it rises [Isaiah 13: 9-10]

    "rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus" [2 Thessalonians 1:8]. [See Overview of Revelation]

    "And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time." [Daniel 12:1b]. 

    Jesus seemingly quoted the above verse from Daniel when He said

    "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall." [Matthew 24:21]

 [See Overview of Revelation]

Revelation paints for us a picture of God's judgment on His enemies, the end of history as we know it, and a new world for His saints. A world that will not only last forever, but where there will be no pain, no suffering and no sin. The 'Day of the Lord' begins with a terrible descent into the darkest time in human history, but as Jesus said...

    "... ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but when she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world. [John 16:20-21]

Many have tried to water down the frightening scenario that Revelation paints by turning it into a giant parable in which nothing can be definitely known except that in the end Christ will triumph, and all will be well. But such an interpretation makes all the details of the visions meaningless. If John's visions are literal we may ask the question.. Why? Why is there such a terrible price to pay? The answer, although distasteful to many, may be simpler than we expect. As said by By Dr. David R. Reagan

    We find that sin has an accumulating effect. In the book of Revelation we read about Babylon: "Her sins have reached up unto heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities" (Revelation 18:5). In Genesis, Abraham was told that his descendants would have to wait 400 years before they could take possession of the Promised Land, for "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete" (Genesis 15:16). It appears that God lets sin "pile up" for years, or even generations before it provokes Him to act in swift decisive judgment and destruction. In Romans, Paul writes that sinners are "storing up for themselves wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (Romans 2:5).

    If that is true for nations and individuals, could it not also be true for the entire planet? What if God has been restraining His judgment for thousands of years, while men have filled the earth with blood, hatred, war and immorality? Could it be that the terrible plagues and judgments in the book of Revelation are the accumulation of God's  wrath over the history of mankind, stored up for that season of time, which would immediately precede the return of the Lord Jesus Christ? This certainly appears to be the depicted in the sixth chapter of Revelation where the world's leaders, along with the rich and the poor of the earth cry out, "The great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?" (Revelation 6:17). [14]

 [Also see Two Babylons.. the religious system that operates independently of and in opposition to the true God, and the political, economic, commercial system that is only concerned with indulging the self and material prosperity, growing fat at the expense of many. God warns His people to separate themselves from the system lest they too share in her judgment]


The Salvation of God
As Charles Spurgeon once said,

    "He who does not believe that God will punish sin, will not believe that he will pardon it through the blood of his Son."

A few years will see the greatest outpouring of the wrath of God on His enemies that has ever been. But do not make the mistake of thinking that it is only the child molesters and serial killers that He is targeting. As Dr. Ronald W. Scates said in his sermon delivered to the Central Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, MD

    Take a look at your spiritual passport... You and I are Ninevites. All men have sinned and God law demands that the sinner has to die, therefore you and I, who by our sin have made ourselves into His enemies, are directly in His cross hairs. [1]

But, and this is where the love of God comes in, He sent His son to pay the price for our sin. Christ's death on the cross satisfied the demand for punishment for our sin. The sin of all God's people, from the first man ever saved on the face of the earth to the last man ever saved on the face of the earth was placed on His son

    "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

    But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us"  (Romans 5:8 ).

    "what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering." (Romans 8:3)

    "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'" (Galatians 3:13)

See Salvation

Which is why we call Jesus the "Savior". However many Christians will tell you that Jesus saves a person from sin. This is not true. Sin is a transgression of divine law, not a living being that going to judge you then throw you into hell.

What you have been saved from is not a what, it is a Who. Christ died on our behalf in order to spare us all from the coming wrath and judgment of God... a wrath that rightfully should have been directed at you and me. It is those that have a relationship with Christ that find refuge at the foot of the cross from the wrath of God and will not be destroyed by God's   consuming fire, but will live on into the age to come.

    Much more then, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from the wrath of God through him. Romans 5:9. [Emphasis Added]


Reclaiming His Property From Bad Stewards
The Bible tells us that God give life on an amazing planet. Among many other things, He maintains seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night [Genesis 8:22]. He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes grass to grow on the mountains [Psalms 147:8]. He does good by giving us rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying our hearts with food and gladness [Acts 14:17]. This rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. [Matthew 5:45].

However we have been terrible stewards, misusing almost every gift He has given us. Are we then to be surprised that He is returning to take charge of what is rightfully His.

See What and Where is Heaven?

 

Footnote: However make no mistake... While many Christians rightly believe that believers will not suffer in the terrible time of God's wrath (After all, the whole point of salvation is being saved from the wrath of God), rightly basing this belief on several different verses. However Jesus and John certainly spoke of a lot of trouble for Christians .... [All Emphasis Added]

    "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. [Matthew 10: 21-22].

    "These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. "These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. [John 16:1-3]

See The Seven Seals and Matthew 24

 

Endnotes:

[1] Susan Hogan-Albach, "More Christians rejecting emphasis on Jesus' death." Dallas Morning News, Saturday, April 7, 2001,
http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-73103577.html. Also quoted by Wayne Jackson in "Reinventing the Atonement Concept". Christian Courier. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/372-reinventing-the-atonement-concept    

[2] Dr. Ronald W. Scates. Sermon: "The Wrath of God" Delivered June 6, 1999 . Central Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, MD.
http://www.centralpc.org/sermons/1999/s990606.htm

[3] The Wrath of God. Romans 1:18-20.  P. G. Mathew, M.A., M.Div., Th.M. Copyright © 2008, P. G. Mathew.
Grace Valley Christian Center. http://www.gracevalley.org/sermon_trans/2008/Wrath_of_God.html

[4] Glenn Miller. Good question...Why can't God just forgive sin, instead of demanding justice? December 8, 1998 // January 2, 2005 // Jul 4/2005. http://christianthinktank.com/whyjust.html

[5] http://www.afrol.com/articles/22992

[6] http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2008/10/2008102075138816568.html

[7] http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-kidnap1-2008sep01,0,4003595.story

[8] http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/8171639-breaking-newsiraq-over-30-killed-in-attack-as-mass-grave-found

[9] http://www.omct.org/files/2002/01/2178/srilankaeng2002.pdf

[10] http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/06/europe/france.php

[11] http://www.theguardian.com/football/footballviolence

[12] http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/07/060706-modern-pirates.html

[13] Drew Dyck. The Great Comfort Of God's Wrath. From the Christian Research Journal, issue 29-02.
http://www.equip.org/PDF/JAW103.pdf

[14] Dr. David R. Reagan. Nuclear Weapons in Wrath and Hope. Tuesday, December 8, 2009. Lamb & Lion Ministries.
http://www.lamblion.us/2009/12/nuclear-weapons-in-wrath-and-hope.html

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