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The Wrath of God

 


 

We are warned by the Scriptures themselves that we are to look for at least two, and better yet, three confirmations of every truth given in His word:

2 Corinthians 13:1.

"In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established."

So for every conclusion we draw we should be able to produce at least two or three Scriptures that attest to the fact. Concerning the character of God, we find that everything in the Bible must be understood in the light of the way that Jesus lived His life. He is the ultimate and perfect demonstration of what the Bible is all about --- God's character.

Thus, Jesus' witness about himself tells us much about the character of God:

John 5:19-20.

"Whatever the Father does, I do... all things."

John 14:8-9.

"He that hast seen me hath seen the Father."

John 15:10; (Exodus 20:1-17).

"I have kept my Father's commandments."

Exodus 20:13.

"Thou shalt not kill."

Therefore God's law as well as the life of Jesus is a transcript of His character.

And Christ's estimation of how the law is fulfilled and what perfection consists of, also tells us His view of the character of the Father.

Matthew 5:44-48.

"Love your enemies... be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect."

Psalm 145:17.

"The Lord is righteous in all His ways."

Romans 9:14.

"There is no unrighteousness [law breaking] with God."

But man throughout history has seen God as being like himself in character. And this can be a fatal error, for life eternal is defined as knowing the character of God as His really is.

John 17:3.

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

Psalm 50:21.

"Thou thought I was altogether such as one as thyself, but I will reprove thee."

Romans 1:23.

"[They] changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man."

Isaiah 55:8-9.

"For My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."

The Scriptures warn us against applying man's definitions to God's actions. And there are numerous instances in the Bible that show us that God has, at times, totally different definitions for words than we do.

2 Peter 1:20-21.

"No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation." [That is, we are not to use Webster's definitions, but let the Bible define itself.]

For example, when "God slew Saul." 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, the Bible defines this by saying that Saul killed himself. 1 Chronicles 10:4-5.

Likewise when the disciples interpreted Scripture according to man's definitions, and thought it was God's way to call fire down on their enemies, Jesus corrected them by saying, "You know not what spirit you are of, for the Son of Man is not come to destroy men's lives." Luke 9:51-56.

Again, when God said that He was going to destroy Israel for disobedience, He defined His words by adding, "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself." Hosea 13:9.

Now, concerning Himself, God assures us three times that He will never change. He will always treat us exactly the same as He would have during the best days of our relationship with Him --- that is, as if we had never done anything wrong.

Malachi 3:6.

"For I am the Lord, I change not: therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."

James 1:17.

"...with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

Hebrews 13:8.

"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever."

Therefore, the word "wrath" must be defined both in the light of the way Jesus lived His life and in the light of God's declaration that He will never change. Two notable examples occur in the New Testament and two in the Old Testament:

Mark 3:5.

"When he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for their hardness of heart..."

Man's wrath is always translated "thoo-mos" in the Greek, meaning to rush at someone passionately, fiercely, breathing hard, intent on killing them. But here in this verse, and wherever else God's wrath and Jesus' anger are referred to, it is translated from "or-gay", meaning to desire, or yearn after someone, to stretch after them longingly. So Mark 3:5 actually says: "Jesus looked around on them yearningly." Likewise, in the Old Testament, God's wrath is invariably translated from "ane-khar-ode", the glance that makes one shudder, the look that sets one trembling."

In Romans 1:17-18, 24 God's wrath is defined as His righteousness, and in verse 24 as giving them up to their own lusts.

Then in Isaiah 54:7-8 His wrath is defined as "forsaking", "hiding His face". And what causes Him to hide His face? The answer is five chapters away in Isaiah 59:1-2, that it is our iniquities that separate us from God and our sins that hide His face.

Hosea 11:1-8, 4:17.

"How can I give you up? How shall I set you as Admah and Zeboim?"

These are two cities which burned up with Sodom and Gomorrah. Therefore, this all happened not because God sent fire, but because they forced Him to withdraw from them, and the destruction that God had been protecting them from then fell upon them.

Let's examine some other specific instance of God's behavior, defining His meaning by His Word alone:

The Flood:

Job 22:15-17.

"Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood; which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?"

 

The Decimation of Israel by Her Enemies:

Deuteronomy 31:17.

"Evil is come because our God is not among us."

 

The Destruction of Jerusalem:

Isaiah 50:1-2.

"You sold yourselves, you divorced yourselves from God by your iniquities."

 

The Plagues of Egypt:

Psalm 78:49.

"He cast upon them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and indignation and trouble, by sending evil angels among them."

That is, when men cast God out, who floods in? Satan. So wrath is defined as evil angels coming in to fill the vacuum left by God's departure. [See Exodus 12:23 and Revelation 9:11].

God goes even further to tell us in unmistakable language what it is that will destroy the wicked in the end. It is not Himself, but they who destroy themselves as the inevitable consequences of their choices:

Proverbs 5:22.

"His own iniquities shall take the wicked, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins."

Proverbs 6:27-28

"Shall a man take fire... and... not be burned?" .

Proverbs 1:18, 31.

"They lay in wait for their own blood... and shall eat the fruit of their own way."

Psalm 9:15-16.

"The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands."

Psalm 37:14-15.

"His sword shall enter his own heart."

Psalm 34:21.

"Evil shall slay the wicked." Not God!

[See also Jeremiah 2:17, 19; Ezekiel 22:4, 31; Obadiah 15; Hosea 10:13].

All discussions concerning the wrath of God must ultimately end at the cross, however, for that is the final demonstration to mankind of what will actually happen to the wicked in the end. Jesus was the first in the entire universe to experience the second death, long before even Satan. But all who refuse His offer will ultimately experience for themselves what Jesus went through for them on the cross:

Did God kill His Son?

No, He declared Himself forsaken: "Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani" which literally means, "Why, God, are you leaving me alone to die?"

["Lama" = why;

"sabach" from the Chaldean "sebaq" = left alone;

"thani" = to die].

1 Chronicles 21:1 versus 2 Samuel 24:1 God is often blamed for what Satan has done. [See also Job 1:12, 16 versus Job 2:7].

Revelation 6:16 versus Isaiah 25:9. God is not two-faced; the difference is in the people.

 


To "The Character of God in The Spirit of Prophecy"

 

 

 

Romans 1:17-18, 24

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; …

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: [Back]

 

Isaiah 54:7-8; 59:1-2

For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather you. In a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on you, says the LORD your Redeemer.

Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear. [Back]

Exodus 12:23

For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.

Revelation 9:11

And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue has his name Apollyon [destroyer, margin]. [Back]

 

Jeremiah 2:17, 19

Have you not procured this to yourself, in that you have forsaken the LORD your God, when He led you by the way? And now what have you to do in the way of Egypt [the world], to drink the waters of Sihor? [To behave as they do]. Or what have you to do in the way of Assyria [the false church], to drink the waters of the river? [To behave as they do]. Your own wickedness shall correct you, and your backslidings shall reprove you: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and that My fear is not in you, says the Lord GOD of hosts.

Ezekiel 22:4, 31

You are become guilty in your blood that you have shed; and have defiled yourself in your idols which you have made; and you have caused your days to draw near, and are come even to your years: therefore have I made you a reproach to the heathen, and a mocking to all countries….

Therefore have I poured out My indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, says the Lord GOD.

Obadiah 1:15

For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as you have done, it shall be done to you: your reward shall return upon your own head.

Hosea 10:13

You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped iniquity; you have eaten the fruit of lies: because you did trust in your way, in the multitude of your mighty men. [Back]

 

1 Chronicles 21:1

And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

2 Samuel 24:1

And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He moved David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah."

Job 1:12, 16

And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD….

While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, "The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and has burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell you."

Job 2:7

So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown. [Back]

 

Revelation 6:16

And [the rejecters of His mercy] said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:"

Isaiah 25:9

And it shall be said in that day [by the Christians], "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." [Back]

To "The Character of God in The Spirit of Prophecy"

 


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