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The WRATH (ὀργή) of God
—— Part 4 ——
General James Green
NT WRATH / Liberation from IT !
MEN HAVE ALWAYS DESIRED to escape God’s WRATH. We know exactly how to do this from the NT’s point of view: repentance, and afterwards, baptism (baptism = proof that you’re part of God’s Ekklesia). John the Baptist and Jesus, Himself, spoke of this. John the Baptist started out preaching: “Repent ye” (Matt. 3:1). In verse 7, John the Baptist chided the Pharisees and Sadducees for coming out to his water baptism: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the WRATH to come?” Before Jesus’ death, repentance/baptism pacified God’s WRATH (see Vit. Ad., 6-11 where legend has Adam/Eve undertake baptism in the Jordan or the Tigris, with this view in mind (not repentance, but water baptism). Also, pacifying of WRATH by baptism or judgment by fire are stated in Sibyllines (Sib.) IV, 165, 169, 173. Here “baptism” in rivers is equated with open prayer for forgiveness (as in 1 Pet. 3:21), whereas Adam and Eve, it says, mutually asked for deliverance (in Vit. Ad.).
So far, accordingly, as the Biblical representations are concerned, the Divine anger/WRATH is not to be weakened down, or explained away, as the fashion is among modern liberal theologians and pseudo-preachers like these panty-waisted cowards we have today (if they don’t weaken it, they won’t even talk about it). But this is not new. Origen, Augustine, Turretin, and others thereafter, did this. Many just downplayed the whole thing (were they hiding some secret sins?). God’s WRATH is not a mere anthropomorphism or a general expression for His aversion to sin, rather, it is a very real and awful affection of His Divine nature, fitted to AWAKEN fear in the minds/hearts of men (see Ps. 2:11; Heb. 10:31).
When we look to the historical development of this doctrine in Scripture, we find nothing to modify materially the representation given thus far.
The OT descriptions of anger, WRATH, fury, indignation are also found in the NT. From sinful man’s expulsion from Eden (Genesis) to man being plagued by God (Rev. 22), we find God’s righteousness versus man’s unrighteousness. There are no instances in Scripture which suggest an angry/WRATHFUL outburst of destructive force (energy) apart from Holy moral considerations; where individuals/groups of peoples/nations are smitten with no justification on God’s part.
Finally, when we pass from the OT to the NT, we find that the fact of God’s anger/WRATH is not essentially altered, though the revelation of His love/grace fills more space, putting anger/WRATH comparatively in the background—but they are there!
The Marcionite view, which would represent the contrast between the OT God and the NT God, e.g., “a WRATHFUL avenging Deity” opposed to “a loving Father who is almost incapable of anger/WRATH.” As I have shown thus far, the “loving,” “pitying,” “fatherly” character of God is not at all absent from the OT (see Ex. 34:6, 7; Ps. 103:13 etc.), but, even there it is rather the primary basis of His self-revelation, to which the manifestation of anger/WRATH/judgment is subordinate. As already shown, He is “slow to anger” (Ps. 103:8 et al.), and “fury” is dealt with in Isa. 27:4.
On the other hand, for our “God is only love” folks, the fatherly love of God in the NT DOES NOT EXCLUDE the aspect of Him as “judge” (1 Pet. 1:17), and “a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29), whose WRATH is a TERRIBLE (like in TERRORISM) reality, from which Jesus Christ alone can save us (Jn. 3:36; Rom. 1:16-18; 5:9; 1 Thess. 1:10 etc.).
Back To The Gospels
WHEN JOHN THE BAPTIST called Israel’s religious leaders a “brood of the serpent” (as one trans. has it) and “children of the devil” (Jn. 8:44), they ARE, let me repeat, THEY ARE destined for eternal fire (see also Mt. 25:41), unless they repent and change their conduct ! This goes for ALL today.
The mere opus operatum of baptism does not save. Everything depends on the genuine (person)— μετάνοια—who accepts the verdict of God and whose genuineness is demonstrated in the καρπόϛ (Matt. 25:8-12).
HE CAME to dwell among the earth’s people, (Matt. 2:23 = “God with us”) so as to “save His people from their sins” (Mt. 2:21), and by believing in Him (Jn. 3:16), repenting of our sins (Acts 3:19 = “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…”); this, my friends, is the ONLY LEGITIMATE and HOPEFUL WAY of flight from judgment, no one is debarred from it—it is for the WHOLE FALLEN HUMAN RACE.
John’s baptism (like the Jewish Passover), was a genuine pre-Christian sacrament in which the operation is related to God’s command and the external fulfillment to the assent of the recipient. But preceding John’s call for water baptism, was the call “REPENT YE” (3:2).
The apostolic “kerygma” relates deliverance from God’s WRATH inseparably to Jesus. Jesus is the Holy One who already saves (1 Thess. 1:10). It is He who will then deliver us from the WRATH to come (Rom. 5:9). ONLY through Him can we have assurance that we are not destined for WRATH/Hell (1 Thess. 5:9)…that is, IF we faithfully REMAIN IN Him. The Bible never teaches, “once saved, always saved;” which is SO POPULAR today (write for our trilogy on this subject).
When justified by Jesus’ blood, reconciled by His death (Rom. 5:9), we are no longer under condemnation (Rom. 8:1), no longer his enemy (Rom. 5:10).
Of course all the above is CONDITIONAL—we must endure to the end !
If there is deliverance (e.g., salvation) from eternal WRATH (e.g., eternal damnation) in Christ alone, then everything depends on whether a man REJECTS or APPROPRIATES Him, or more correctly, lets himself/herself be appropriated to what Christ Jesus is and brings. TO reject Him is to choose eternal damnation; to accept Him is to choose eternal salvation (e.g., life).
So, liberation/salvation from God’s WRATH is bound up with one’s faith and fruitfulness in Christ (fruit first, fruit bearing follows—Jesus cursed the fig tree because it bore no fruit!).
MANY BIBLE SCHOLARS labor hard to prove that the NT “WRATH” is eschatological only, and does not apply to the present NT grace period, HA! Wishful thinking! Look around NOW—WRATH, fury, indignation everywhere…brought on by God!! One professor stated: “The notion of the affection of WRATH in God has no religious worth for Christians, but is an unfixed and formless theologoumenon.” I’ve got news for this liberal professor, God’s WRATH SMOTE (killed !) two early Ekklesia disciples in the book of Acts, chapter 5. This stance of thinking that God has no WRATH, is what has brought upon the world God’s WRATH (at least a part). Liberals have covered any and all in their sickly, unBiblical teachings. Ritschl was way before the likes of cute-boy-wonder Joel Osteen came aboard. That above quote can be found in his (Recht. und ver. ii, p. 154).
While it is true that the eschatological aspect of WRATH is prominent in the NT, and His WRATH is in the background, and His grace/mercy is in the forefront of the Ekklesia’s movement, His WRATH is still there. How many MILLIONS/BILLIONS have died under His “WRATH” since the founding of the NT Ekklesia? How many will be destroyed in this present generation?
THEREFORE, many verses in our NT put forth WARNINGS (as did the OT that His W/F/I is only in reserve, and that is still there in their UNCHANGED character, and, when needed, will be called forth upon the disobedient (Jn. 3:36; Eph. 2:2, 3.) Ephesians 2:3 uses the words “children of WRATH.” Then verse 4 tells us that God is “rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us.” This, in no wise, abrogates His ANGER— WRATH—FURY—INDIGNATION.
Paul warns us in Rom. 1:21-32 of God’s WRATH (that disliked discourse against gay men/lesbians, perverts et al). Acts 5:1-11, already mentioned, is a warning not to sin against the Holy Ghost (Spirit). And let us not forget Matt. 23:35-38. In here, Jesus foretells the DESTRUCTION of Israel’s temple/people—which was executed in NT days (66 A.D.-72 A.D.). And the rebellious Jews, to this very day, won’t let the world forget about Hitler’s campaign against them—all in the NT times.
The Rev. James Orr, M.A., D.D. (Prof. of Church History at the United Presb. Hall, Edinburgh) critiques those liberals of his day (1880-1911) with: “…that in a most real sense its (WRATH’S) effects are manifest in the terrible retribution for sin exacted from men even here (Matt. 23:35, 36; Rom. 1:21-32; Acts 5:1-11; etc.). And if the objection of wrath or anger to God is an unworthy mode of conception, and derogates from the divine perfection, it may at least with equal justice be replied that a Ruler of the universe who was incapable of being moved with an intense moral indignation at sin, and of putting forth, when occasion required, a destroying energy against it, would be lacking in an essential element of moral perfection” (J. Orr, Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 1, 1911, pp. 98, 99).
PROFESSOR STÄHLIN writes: “In distinction from Josephus, though in the train of the LXX, the NT never uses the terms of Gk. poetry for the implacable wrath of the gods, μνις (the LXX also uses the verb μηνίζω (μηνίω) for God) and χόλος (notably in Sib., VIII, 93 = pitiless), but employs for God’s WRATH only ὀργή and θυμός, and the latter only in Rom. 2:8 and Rev. 14:10, 19; 15:1, 7; 16:1, 19; 19:15 (there are derivatives as I’ve already shown). He continues: “Whether in choice of the word by the apostle Paul or John the Divine there is some sense of a qualitative distinction between θυμός and ὀργή it is hard to decide…one might very well say that θυμός, to which there clings the concept of ‘passionate outburst,’ was well adapted for describing the visions of the seer, but not for delineating Paul’s concept of the WRATH of God.” This may all be Greek to most out there, but Gk. scholars know what Stählin is trying to convey. The same can be said of material differentiation. Both John the Beloved and Jesus the Christ bring a Gospel which includes the preaching of ὀργἡ θεο (Matt. 3:7 and Lk. 21:23). Similarly Paul and John’s Revelation declare a message which proclaims both “grace” and “WRATH” (Rom. 1:18; Jn. 3:36; Rev. 14:10 etc.).
GET A LIFE! you “non- judgmental” “Christians” ! The NT in no sense regards the “WRATH of God” as inconsistent with the OT; OT = “WRATH” / NT = “love.” This is what you people are wrong on. Both OT/NT hold the very same view.
PRIDE, dear ones, PRIDE was, and is, a profound reason for the WRATH OF GOD—human hubris, which basically despises God and seeks to live without Him (see Rom. 2:4 and 5—read these two texts please!). If that isn’t proof enough, try Rom. 1:18, 21, 28 etc.; READ THESE TEXTS!
In the pagan world there is HOSTILITY between gods and men, in the NT there stands alongside and above God’s WRATH, His love, whose violation is an ever new occasion of His WRATH. Yet, we never find God’s WRATH portrayed as physical or natural passion, without a cause. We never find in either OT/NT enigmatic and irrational outbursts of anger without a cause. But, since “pride” is an ugly human trait, He does deal with ALL humans. Check out your Heb./Gk. concordance for all the places, “pride” can be found.
SINCE “PRIDE” IS an undeniable and humanistic fact, “WRATH” is an essential and inalienable trait in the Biblical OT/NT view of God. Hebrews 10:31 reads: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” This is NT folks. Backing up to v. 30: “For we know Him that hath said, ‘vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense’ saith the Lord. And again, the Lord shall judge His people.” Now, “God don’t judge” promoters, let us look into these two verses a bit.
THE BACKGROUND of these two verses is found in vv. 26-29, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”
Verse 26 trashes your “once saved, always saved” LIE!!! The RSV uses “if we sin DELIBERATELY (KJV = “willfully”). Going back even further, v. 25 = “…as ye see the day approaching.” What day? The “day” means a fearful prospect of judgment for deliberate sinners, “saved” or “unsaved”—His WRATH will fall upon either one/both.
Although the writer of Hebrews had prepared his readers for this aspect of thought (2:2-3; 6:4-8), and he will emphasize it again in 12:25-29, the note of PUNISHMENT is sharper here (chap. 10) than elsewhere.
Some dumb-dumbs use our above texts as referring to the non-saved, but throw that out, these texts were written as a warning to the believers who sin deliberately after salvation.
The SIN Hebrews addresses is apostasy (ref. to Deut. 17:2-7) = turning away from the worship/service of the LORD to the worship/service of other gods. Note: the tense of the word “sin” means “if we keep sinning,” “willfully”/”deliberately.” The “knowledge” (v. 26) is complete knowledge. The meaning of this SIN is traced out in v. 29.
There is, dear ones, a STERN and INEVITABLE LOGIC IN THIS PASSAGE. If we despise Christ’s sacrifices (as many today do!) “there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins” (v. 26). Jesus was, and is, the FINAL sacrifice; THERE IS NO OTHER WAY (or name to call upon; see Acts 2:38; 4:12; Rom. 10:13).
The “WRATH” and “FIERY INDIGNATION” may come in one’s lifetime. So, verse 31 is the conclusion of vv. 25-30.
Beyond God/Jesus there is NO APPEAL! And, I might add here, from Him there is NO ESCAPE! We cannot minimize this; we dare not neglect it. The WARNING is in your NT, folks.
If, and since, men/women were punished/killed for deliberate offenses in the OT (Dt. 17:2-6), how much worse the penalty for deliberate rejection of the new order, grace? Sinners who deliberately reject salvation, and “Christian” believers who reject His law/standards/ethics etc. in the NT, will be punished as well. If a Christian rejects the Lord (as did Peter in his great test of faith), repentance can bring one back unto God’s grace. But, apostasy is never returning.
WE’VE LEARNED that God/Jesus has power to save and to destroy (James 4:12). He has power to destroy both body and soul in Hell (Lk. 12:5; Mt. 10:28; JESUS SAID THIS!). Again, Divine WRATH as an irrational “mysterium tremendum” finds no place in the OT/NT. Both the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit display HOLY WRATH when provoked long enough. First Thessalonians 2:16 proves this: “…to fill up their (Gentiles) sins always: for the WRATH is come upon them to the uttermost.” “Fill up their sins?” God waits till committed sins mount up till He punishes—they may be few or many.
THIS IS WHAT I’M HEARING today concerning all these disasters. NO ! They are sent by God ! One Bible teacher put it this way: “…to be sure, the WRATH of God, even in the NT seems, as it were, to be detached from God as an independently operating force, personified, almost, as a terrible demon.” Well, it is worth noting that in 15 out of 18 verses Paul has ὀργή without the qualifying (το) θεο. In Greek language, on the basis of this and other observations, the thesis have been advanced that in Paul, as in Judaism, ὀργή is an autonomous entity alongside God. As already noted in this article, ὀργή is the personification of the “instruments of WRATH” (Isa. 13:5; Jer. 50:25 speaks of “the weapons of His indignation”). (See also Jer. 27:25 in the LXX. Jer. 27 ends with v. 22 in the KJV but in the Gk OT it ends with v. 46). Let me quote the LXX Jer. 27:25: “The LORD has opened His treasury, and brought forth the weapons of His anger…” (keep in mind the LXX has many more verses than the Heb.). The Masora (50:25 = σκεύη ὀργς) shows weapons which God takes from His armoury (θησαυρός). In Jer. 13:5 (we’ve seen the Heb.) the Gk uses ὁπλομάχοι which symbolize God’s host at the judgment of the world.
As already shown, there are many figurative references to the “sending,” “coming,” or “bringing” and “passing” of WRATH (e.g., Isa. 10:6; 26:20 etc.). Isa. 63:5 reads: “…therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me; and MY FURY, it upheld Me” (read v. 6 also).
WE FIND ANGELIC BEINGS in both OT/NT that are use in warfare/punishment. Scholars will tell us that Rabbinical Judaism believed that WRATH is on the one side of the two basic powers (middoth) in God, while on the other are independent angels of destruction (this is a whole study in itself). Besides Rabbinical Judaism, the Bible speaks of angels used by and on the behalf of God (Jesus also). There is quite a bit along these lines. Some take the “absolute” view that the NT is thought to be, on the one hand, a continuation of Rabbinism, but on the other, a form of the fatalism of antiquity, a counterpart to Greek (Εἱμαρμένη) and Roman fate, though it is allowed that in distinction from the gods of fate NT ὀργή always stands under the LORD and is directed by Him.
But over against these prefigurations and counterparts of NT ὀργή, it must be affirmed:
(a.) that the idea of transcendent embodiments of WRATH (like the prophetic instruments of WRATH e.g., natural forces, disease/sickness etc./human agents/angelic forces) are less written about, but still there. The book of Rev. has angelic beings seen as messengers and executors of God’s divine Will;
(b.) that the NT speaks of the “coming WRATH,” His WRATH or anger is spoken of in warnings and some executions, though not as strong as in the OT;
©.) that the NT does not share the two basic motifs of fatalism and dualism, since it can be shown that NOWHERE in the NT is ὀργή a principle which operates rigidly and independently of God. No. ὀργή is very much connected to God—He uses it or withholds it at will. No NT writer believed that this Gk. word (for anger/WRATH) was an independent hypostasis.
It should be noted that ὀργή corresponds fully to the use of χάρις in Paul’s writings (see Rom. 5:20 where we have “grace”/χάρις vs. “sin”).
In most NT verses, ὀργή is without a doubt the Divine work of WRATH.
“God Is Love” vs. “God Is WRATHFUL”
ON PAGE 425 of TDNT, Vol. V., I quote: “objections are continually [note this word used] raised against the thesis that the ὀργή θεο is an integral part of Biblical proclamation. They are chiefly based on belief in God’s love. ‘If God is truly love, He cannot be angry’ (this was the conclusion of, e.g., Marcion in respect of his ‘good God’).” This objection has grown into a major doctrine in these times; but look around and see all the WRATH, FURY, and INDIGNATION of God upon this world!!!
What these crybabies fail to realize is that God’s nature/character is both “LOVE” and “WRATH.” WE NEED TO, WE MUST REALIZE THAT WRATH AND LOVE ARE MUTUALLY INCLUSIVE, NOT EXCLUSIVE, IN GOD. It is BEYOND ME how anyone reading either OT or NT CANNOT see this! Not that we are on a witch hunt here, but Scripture bears me out that LOVE and WRATH are part of God’s nature.
In the NT (as the OT), in Christ, as in the prophets, as in the apostles, and Rabbis, the preaching of God’s mercy was/is accompanied by the proclamation of His anger/WRATH. It is sheer DENIAL to see otherwise. Both love and mercy run all through the Scriptures; love becomes WRATH as well as WRATH can become love/forgiveness.
THE BIBLE IS CLEAR on this issue: either we are saved and free from His WRATH (if we live right !) or we’re damned and His WRATH abides on us.
What did Simeon, the just and devout man in Jerusalem (Lk. 2:25), have to say when Jesus was brought into the temple as an infant? Verse 34 repeats what he said to Mary, “Behold, this child is set for the FALL and RISING again of many in Israel.” Fall? Rising? And what are we to make of Matt. 3:12?, “Whose fan is in His (Jesus) hand, and He will thoroughly PURGE His floor (Israel), and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will BURN UP the chaff (those who reject Jesus) with unquenchable (eternal) FIRE.” This happened in 70 A.D. He had mercy on those, His disciples/followers, and had WRATH on those who despised Him—this is NT people!
Another way of putting it is found in Luke 20:18: “Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Verse 19 explains this.
Here is another way to view this:
“That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them” (Mk. 4:12). This was in reference to the parable of the sower.
IT IS ASKED: “What is the relation of God’s ὀργή to His μάκροθυμία?” How does “WRATH” and “saving grace” work together? I’ve covered this issue a bit, but some find Rom. 9:22 (its exegesis) hard to grasp. Quite literally the Gk. Bible translates the Hebrew into understandable language. The Divine attitude (His dealings with men), have become the content indissolubly linked with μακροθυμία, e.g., “to delay His WRATH, i.e., its outbreak,” “to be longsuffering,” “to draw out at length.”
Take Exodus 34:61, “…The LORD GOD, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and Truth.” Look at this text, rich in positive words, uplifting words. μακροθυμία of God is displayed in His saving work for Israel and thus finds soteriological confirmation (see also Wisdom 15:1, 2, esp. 16:1-19:12) Soteriology is the doctrine of salvation thru Jesus Christ. Wisdom 15:1, 2 (apocrypha) reads: “But you, our God, are kind and true, patient, and ruling all things in mercy (v. 1). For even if we sin we are yours, knowing your power; but we will not sin, because we know that you acknowledge us as yours” (v. 2). But the Israelites did sin and brought God’s ὀργή upon them. God’s WRATH and His love can both be His servants. Actually His WRATH is an overflowing of love (see 1 Cor. 13:4: “Love suffereth long, and is kind…” ) So, when love suffers long enough, WRATH takes over, it flows from love. Punishment is a form of His love—He wants ALL to be SAVED and judgment/punishment sometimes brings this about when all else fails.
TRUE! He does have pity upon men because they ARE men, fallen men. In post-exilic Judaism, the μακροθυμα of God is based more on the general consideration as to the shortness of human life, their weakness because of their fallenness. For this reason,—man’s weaknesses—the mercy of God is affirmed more so (see Sir. 18:8, 11, 13). His longsuffering consists in His forgiveness, for He sees the misery of man’s FINAL END !
On the other hand, God withheld His pity when thoroughly provoked. Look up the word “pity” and see how many times God withheld it and caused Israel’s enemies to have NO PITY when He was punishing His own.
Ps. 106 is a great psalm to see all these things under discussion—God’s great salvation for His people, even when they sinned, yet His mercy ran out from time to time insomuch that “the WRATH of the LORD kindled against His people… that He abhorred His own inheritance,” (v. 40). When He gave them over to their enemies, and they were punished, He eventually “regarded their affliction, when He heard their cry” (v. 44). Verse 46 says: “He made them also TO BE PITIED of all those that carried them captives” (v. 46).
At other times, “The LORD hath swallowed up all the inhabitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: He hath thrown down in His WRATH…He hath cut off in His fierce anger…He burned against Jacob like a flaming fire…He stood with His right hand as an adversary…He poured out His fury like fire…He hath thrown down, and hath not pitied…The young and the old lie on the ground in the street: virgins and young men are fallen by the sword; thou hast slain them in the day of thine anger; thou hast killed, and not pitied” (Lamentations 2:1-22).
I now warn you, America, this is the stage that God is at with you, because of your GREAT SINS!! Your MURDER OF THE UNBORN (approx. 55 MILLION since 1973!), the PROMOTION AND EXHIBITION OF SEXUAL PERVERSIONS, MILITARY MURDERS, and MURDERING OF THOSE WITHIN THIS NATION (911 a prime example of this—this was planned and executed by the Bush admin-istration—those also in secret powers). God is NOT going to overlook ANY of this. And I need to add here, “NATIONALISM” IS ALSO A BIG SIN!, for it is gross idolatry in His sight. Putting country above God. This SIN is extolled far above the TRUE worship and service TO God and FOR God.
THERE IS NO RELAXING of the immanent (residing in nature, inherent) tension between WRATH and mercy. Even Ex. 34:6, which I’ve already written on, the declaration of μακρόθυμος does not mean the complete end of WRATH. NO! For v. 7 tells us that, “by no means clear the GUILTY.” There is NO OVERLOOKING this immanent tension. We can’t just pick out our favorite “love,” “forgiveness,” “mercy” texts and avoid the multitude of other texts that show God’s ANGER—WRATH —FURY—INDIGNATION—VEN-GEANCE—ETC.
Some love to quote Ex. 34:6 as a proof text for God’s great mercy but fail to quote v. 7. Also, Numbers 14:18 repeats this same principle: “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression.” So far so good, but let us go on quoting the rest of this verse: “…and by no means clearing the GUILTY…” God did, at times, forgive Israel for their sins, even pardoning them at Moses’ request (Num. 14:19, 20). But God’s mercies ran out when men abused His mercies. In this same chap. we find this: “Your carcases shall fall in the wilderness;…your children shall wander in the wilderness 40 years, and bear your (fathers/mothers) whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted…(v. 33).” No matter where we go in Scripture we find this tension. Just where do these “God won’t punish,” “God is only love” folks get this idea? Give me a plain verse where God allows the “guilty” off the hook forever.
In Biblical usage, μακροθυμεν does not imply renunciation of the grounds for WRATH. What it does mean, as Gk. scholars know, is that alongside this WRATH, there is a Divine restraint which postpones its operation until something takes place in man (like repentance) which justifies the postponement. The Masora reads: “God is a just judge, and a God who chides every day,” meaning He chides in order to get sinning men to change their course. But if this attitude does not eventuate (to result ultimately), then WRATH is fully justified. This needs to be understood, if not, we’re going to accuse God of being unfair and unjust (Sir. 5:4). Thus there can be no presuming on God’s patience for continuing in sin. Again, I urge you to reread Nahum 1:2. God is μετὰ θυμο (or θυμός) and μακρόθυμος. The deliberate echoing of θυμός (“WRATH”) in μακρόθυμος is to be noted. [You might want to check out Test. D. (= Testament of Dan.) 2:11.]
WRATH OF GOD #5