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The Wrath (ὀργή) of God
General James Green
WHEN THE PATIENCE of the LORD is despised, used and abused (as in 1 Pet. 3:20), it serves to sharpen the WRATH of God and to confirm the destruction ordained for the σκεύη ὀργς (see Ignatius Epistula ad Ephesios 11, 1).
America, right now, questions all this destruction coming down. This country is split—some think it is just natural disasters caused by cosmic problems; some believe they are the judgments of God; some just don’t know; SOME JUST DON’T CARE. From where we are coming from, we know God is sending all this upon the USA/World as punishment. Even this serves as a “wake up!” call, but as usual, most cannot connect the dots.
Insight into the implications of the “causes and effects” of ὀργή forces us (or they should) to broaden the question: “Is God ANGRY with America/the world?;” “Does He have the right to be angry since He is love?;” “Does He have the right to punish men/women who have no understanding of Biblical principles?” Try this: GOD’S WRATH CONTINUALLY CAUSES NEW WRATH! How? Because when people are called into account for their sins, they get mad, hateful, even violent, this, in turn, necessitates His Wrath to deal with that! MAN’S REJECTION OF HIS CORRECTION PROVOKES HIS (GOD’s) WRATH. You see, either, we, as individuals, or as a nation, get it right with Him or His Wrath will continue to be “poured out.” He is not going to cover America’s SINS any longer.
MOST PEOPLE ARE very confused over what “judgment,” “to judge,” actually means. There are, of course, human judgments, and there are righteous godly judgments. John Robbins of the Trinity Review states:
“Because we are creatures with the gift of rationality, made in the image of the rational God, the Logos refusing to judge is impossible. All declarative statements—the cat is black, abortion is murder, chocolate is poison—are judgments. All our knowledge consists of such judgments. This is the sense in which Paul uses the term in 1 Corinthians 1:10, where he writes:
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
Of course judge/judgment has several meanings. Psalm 119:7, 13 speaks of God’s judgments as being “righteous;” Ps. 19:9 as being “true and righteous;” Romans 11:33 as being “un-searchable.”
Judge as a verb: “to distinguish;” the first derivative meaning is: “to evaluate according to a standard;” the second is: “to condemn,” and “to acquit.” Actually, Christianity is a collection of judgments, as Robbins later said, “a system of propositions such as ‘Jesus Christ is both God and man,’” e.g., Christian doctrine/theology.
THIS IS WHAT our study is all about, in one sense. As I’ve been writing, both “Christian” and secular liberals have attempted to separate “moral judgments” from “cognitive judgments;” as if “morality” were not a matter of knowledge, but a matter of FEELINGS, DESIRES, EMOTION etc.
When God’s Word says homosexuality is an “ABOMINATION” (Lev. 18:22) and that “whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be CUT OFF from among their people” (v. 29).
Those words “cut off” can mean “killed,” or “excommunicated.” But we’re not in the dark as to what the Holiness Code meant, for chap. 20:13 plainly says, “they shall surely be put to death.” And here we have a president of a nation promoting this ABOMINATION in every way possible!
So, “moral judgments” are based upon God’s Truths. Judgments are made every day by just about everybody, but FEW THESE DAYS MAKE “MORAL JUDGMENTS” BASED UPON BIBLICAL TRUTH.
Even you pathetic liberals who quote “Judge not!” are JUDGING US who make moral judgments!! As already said, quote vv. 2-5, not just v. 1a!
MORAL/AGNOSTICISM, which says we cannot know what is right and wrong, true and false, in matters of ethics and morality, is, as Robbins says, “self-contradictory and antichristian as theological agnosticism.”
The Gk. root of “agnostic” is “agnosis”= “without knowledge.” Its Latin equivalent is “ignoramus,” and we’ve got plenty of these in today’s backslid, Hell-bound Church! So, agnosticism is not a position; it is a CONFESSION of IGNORANCE… and what can we learn from ignorant people? HA! They need to be TAUGHT!!! and this is WHY this nation is on the skids, falling apart. Not only are Church/State leaders ignorant of righteous judgments, they are hubristic, devilish. All their chicanery may trick/deceive the masses, but not all of us believe in, or listen to, their political/religious verbiage. These overweening perverts will be JUDGED BY GOD!
So, when “moral agnostics” teach that one must NEVER JUDGE others or their actions, they are attacking knowledge of Truth. Jn. 7:24 says, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” Now, turn to Isa. 11:1-4: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”
We’re to judge, not according to the wrong standard, but according to His Standard of godliness.
James’ warning against unlawful judging in the fourth chapter of his letter is the same:
“Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”
James has in mind the judge who establishes his own opinion as his standard of judgment. By adopting a standard of judgment other than the Word of God, this sort of person judges the law itself. But James reminds us that there is only one Lawgiver, and no mere man (or group of men) has the competence to establish his own opinions as law.
Judging ideas, men, and their actions is an extremely serious matter. Here is Christ’s statement about judging that is so often misquoted by religious moral agnostics:
“Judge not, that you be not judged, for with what judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck out of your eye;’ and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will clearly see to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Do not give what is holy to the dogs, nor cast your pearls before swing, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces” (Matt. 7:1-6).
Jesus’ Anger / Wrath
SOME WOULD HAVE us to believe Jesus never got angry. Well, let’s see if this is true. Turn to Mark 3:1-6, note v. 5: “And when He had looked round about on them (Pharisees present when Jesus healed the man with the withered hand) WITH ANGER, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts…” this ANGER was not mere human anger, but righteous anger. Jesus demonstrated imperious ANGER against Satan in Matt. 4:10; 16:23=He addressed both Peter and Satan. He ANGRILY threatened demons in Mark 1:25; 9:25; Lk. 4:41. Disease ANGERED Him in Mark 1:41. It goes without saying that He was deeply incensed by the demonic nature of men in Jn. 8:44, esp. religious leaders (AMEN!); Matt. 12:34; Matt. 23:1-39; read this whole chapter please. Jesus wasn’t very nice here, no smile, no soft words, only righteous indignations (see Matt. 15:7)!
He called His very own disciples “faithless and perverse” in Matt. 17:17. Dig into the Gospels yourself and see if Jesus fits the Mr. Rogers profile. There is a combination of grief and anger in Jos. Ant., 16, 200. How can we miss all this? There is thus mixed with “Holy anger”, “Divine pity.” Pity for all those so far from God, (see Lk. 14 where a great feast was made, many were called thereto, but made excuses why they could not attend. V. 21 says “the master (Jesus intended here) of the house BEING ANGRY.” In v. 24, it says, “That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of My supper.”) SO, JESUS DOES NOT ACCEPT ALL INTO HIS KINGDOM!! Read His parables carefully, see if He is what men profess Him to be…He casts some out into outer darkness, some He orders to be bound and thrown into the fire (Hell fire!). Just where did all this “Jesus is nice!” stuff come from? It never says Jesus was NICE ! He was, and is, love, but love requires Wrath, also.
JESUS EVEN DEMONSTRATED ANGER against certain cities which refused the summons to conversion (Matt. 11:20-24). And that cutting remark in Matt. 10:38: “He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me is not worthy of Me.” And what about v. 33?, and let me quote v. 34: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace, BUT A SWORD.” A sword? That’s not the end of it, “For I am come to set a man at VARIANCE against his father, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (v. 35). He continues, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (v. 36). Does this fit baby-boy Joel Osteen’s Jesus?
And let me drive this a bit further: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and CAST OUT ALL THEM that sold and bought” (Matt. 21:12). Try this one: “And when He had made a scourge…He DROVE THEM ALL OUT of the temple…and POURED OUT the changer’s money, and OVERTHREW the tables” (John 2:15). Does this sound like the “nice Jesus” today’s Church portrays? NO! The φραγέλλιον, of v. 15, is both the sign, and weapon, of the “Divine WRATH” which already, in the prophets, is directed against every commercialized cultus. YOU CAN NOW SEE WHY GOD’S ANGER IS KINDLED AGAINST ALL THIS BABYLONIAN CHURCHIANITY COMMERCIALIZATION !
Remember the parable of the talents (Lk. 19)? Jesus said, “Bring those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them (Jews), bring hither, and SLAY THEM BEFORE ME!!!” We all know that He was the central figure of that parable.
Again, in a parabolic action (Mk. 11:14; Lk. 13:7) Jesus manifests His WRATH against those who withhold from Him the “fruits of repentance.” Do you think today’s churchites, who are mostly FRUITLESS!, will get by?
Let’s look at the anger/WRATH of the “eschatological Judge” in Matt. 22:13: “Then said the King (Jesus) to the servants, bind him (the one without a wedding garment) hand and foot, and take him away, and CAST HIM into OUTER DARKNESS; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (see our 6 Hell booklets—free). Now, for you universalists, try this: “For many are called, but Few are chosen” (v. 14).
Along these same lines, (in Matt. 25:30) the eschatological Jesus says, “And CAST YE the unprofitable servant INTO OUTER DARKNESS; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (because of eternal never-ending pain!!). Follow Jesus’ train of teaching, read vv. 31-46. He divides the sheep from the goats, the sheep inherit Heaven, the goats EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT (v. 46). So much for “Jesus is love only” stuff! (See Lk. 13:28 also. This chap. deals with the eschatological Jesus who “hath SHUT THE DOOR” of salvation (v. 25), THE ONES LEFT OUT WILL NOT GET IN!!! ).
So, Jesus Christ, who is LOVE, also is angry and WRATHFUL; has the power to bring souls/sheep into eternal life, and the power to cast souls/goats into Hades/Hell…where they will forever BE retained. NO WAY OUT !
WRATH = Feature Picture
FOR WHAT WE’VE STUDIED up until now, is that God’s WRATH and the Son’s WRATH, has been, and will always be, a feature of their natures. In the BIG picture, eschatologically speaking, WRATH will be the feature picture of the future. Jesus is the “provoked Lord” of the Last Judgment who repudiates all connection with those against whom He is angry (Mt. 7:23; 25:12; Lk. 13:27 etc.). Jesus acts in behalf of His Heavenly Father in all He does.
For the historical judgment, as we’ve seen, the roles of “angry/WRATHFUL” Judge and “merciful Advocate” are attached to the Father, and the Son. In these days, in which we live, Jesus exercises His Judgeship, the judgment of the “WRATH of God.” He plays the role of both lamb and lion.
Do we really pay any attention to Jesus’ parables? How about Matt. 18:34? “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.” “Delivered to the tormentors?” That’s not very “loving,” Jesus.
In another parable (Mt. 22) Jesus said, “But when the king heard (v. 6), he was WROTH: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (v. 7). Now, if you’re just too dumb to connect the dots here, God was the “certain king” (v. 2) and Jesus was “his son” (v. 2), the “servants” (v. 3) were His prophets, ministers etc. that the Jews “SLEW” (v. 6). We know the fulfillment of this parable, don’t we?
King of kings
REVELATION 19:15 PORTRAYS the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who, in blood-drenched garments, and with a sword proceeding from His mouth, TREADS the winepress of the WRATH of ALMIGHTY God! And, in Rev. 6:16 there is this expression ὀργή το ἀρνίου, also 14:10, in speaking of the Lamb. The “WRATH of the Lamb” seems oxymoronic. But not so, for Christ Jesus is both Savior/Lamb and Judge, and that the day of judgment is the day of His (αὐτο) WRATH.
Perplexed? Scholars are too! In relation to this “apparently impossible” mixture of images, we must realize that in distinction from the ἀμνός of John 1:29, e.g., “Lamb of God” (“which taketh away the SIN of the world”), the ἀρνίον can also denote the young and strong ram, and secondly, and supremely, that the same Jesus Christ who once as “Lamb” fell defenselessly victim to the judgment of men, will then, as “WRATHFUL Judge,” exercise terrible (terrorize!) judgment on men, as in Rev. 19:11, e.g., “…Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth JUDGE and MAKE WAR.”
So, REBELS, GOD HATERS, CHRIST HATERS, your END will not end so nice!
So, ὀργή is a concept which can have a distinctly eschatological, as well as a distinctly present, character. But we do have these religious darlings who try to tell us the ὀργή is ONLY for the End Time. They say, THEY SAY! that God’s/Son’s WRATH is not binding on Christian faith. WE’LL SEE, WON’T WE.
For the case of ὀργή = Greek, WRATH = English, as of other terms, the present manifestations are provisional as compared with the eschatological. Both forms of manifestation occur in the NT, as we’ve seen. It is sheer DENIAL to believe otherwise.
Antonyms / Images
HAVING ὀργή AS OUR main Gk. word (we have the Heb. counterpart also). We have shown that there are other accompanying words, antonyms, and images. Also, an eschatological term used with ὀργή, is the verb ἔρχομαι (see 1 Thes. 1:10; Eph. 5:6 and Rev. 11:18).
“WRATH” (ὀργή) “to come” (ἔρχομαι). The stem of the word (ἐρχ) stands in “superlative” connection with ἐλθ, ἐλυθ and ἰέναι. In classical Gk. the word (ἔρχομαι) has the senses of “to come” and “to go.” Prof. Johannes Schneider (Berlin) states, “Special relationships or nuances are given by prepositions or the context, e.g., “To come to or towards,” “to go away,” “to return,” “to sail.” This word is used of fateful happenings, or of the rise of states of mind” (TDNT, p. 666). So, when we read, “…Jesus, which delivered us from the WRATH to come” (1 Thess. 1:10), or “…cometh the WRATH of God upon the children of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6), or “And the nations were angry, and thy WRATH is come…” (Rev. 11:18 etc.).
This Gk. word is actually the heart of the Christian message for salvation; HE CAME TO SET MEN FREE FROM SIN! Since Christ did “come” to bring salvation, this same Gk. word is used for His “coming to bring WRATH.”
For the NT, as elsewhere in Gk. literature, the term has the basic sense of “coming” and “going.” The “coming” often has the sense of “appearing,” of coming forward publicly, of coming on the scene. It is often used of decisive events, of happenings, of natural phenomena, also of conditions etc. We see in Lk. 14:31 this example used in a HOSTILE sense, e.g., to go against someone in battle. Both meanings occur, then, in both a literal, and a figurative, sense.
Other antonyms to eschatological ὀργή are ζωὴ αἰώνιος (see Rom. 2:5: “…treasurest up unto thyself WRATH against the day of WRATH…” and περιποίησις σωτηρίας (see 1 Thes. 5:9: “For God hath not appointed us WRATH, but to obtain salvation…”
Of NT images for “WRATH of God” is the “fire” (Matt. 3:10-12), the cup (Rev. 14:10) and the winepress (Rev. 19:15).
John the Baptist
AS ALREADY STATED, John the Baptist sets the tone with his preaching of the “coming WRATH of God” in Matt. 3:7, 10-12. According to the account in the Gospel of John, the last words of the Baptist, as well as the first, speak of God’s WRATH (Jn. 3:36).
The noun ὀργή occurs only once in Lucan form (21:23), and the verb ὀργίζομαι only twice (Mt. 22:7; Lk. 14:21).
Eschatological judgment WRATH is the bigger part of the NT, but some of what we construe to be eschatological (i.e., end of the world) was fulfilled in the early church days, e.g., the saying of Jesus about the Temple to be destroyed, the slaying of the rejecters of the noble man in Lk. 19 ➝ these happened some years after Jesus’ death. WHEN JESUS SPOKE THESE WORDS THEY WERE ESCHATOLOGICAL IN NATURE, BUT FOR US, THEY ARE PAST EVENTS.
Are You So Blind?
THE DEBATE ABOUT ALL these disasters of today, in the USA, and the world in general, are not eschatological, but manifestations in the PRESENT “brought” and “sent” by God and the Son. Even though Jesus’ sayings may be eschatological, they can be, and are, WRATHFUL demonstrations in various generations in history. Are we so blind as to Their (God and the Son) WRATH today?
Paul, too, in different connections, speaks unequivocally of a historical outworking of “the WRATH of God.” As already pointed out about Romans 1:18: “For the WRATH of God is (present tense) revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.” There is NO WAY a sane person can say v. 18 is yet FUTURE. NO WAY!
Romans one deals with the issue of unlawful/unnatural sex-sins. Verse 18 deals with ALL peoples, not just the Jews or Christians. By “the WRATH of God” is meant not mere emotions or anger in a human sense, but the inevitable issue of sin, the death which is God’s judgment upon it, and upon those who sin.
Attention should be called to the ACTIVE meaning of the term, “revealed.” On page 397 of the Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 9 (1954) under exegesis we read: “We cannot ‘absolve’ God of responsibility for judgment without accepting, in effect, the Marcionite belief in two Gods—one of judgment, and the other of love. Sin, as we have seen, is bondage, but it is also transgression; and the death which follows upon it is not only the result of the bondage; it is also judgment upon the transgression. The WRATH, Paul says, is breaking forth from Heaven.” Note, “IS breaking forth,” PRESENT TENSE, not way-out-yonder-some-day stuff, but NOW, and TOMORROW !!
Romans One also deals with idolatry; a gross sin, just as homosexuality and lesbianism are.
Actually, “SIN” is not just an “act,” but also a “state.” NOT ONLY DO SEX PERVERTS COMMIT SEXUAL SINS, THEIR STATE OF BEING IS ONE OF WILLFUL DISOBEDIENCE/REBELLION. I cover all this in our Gay Way series—free booklets.
So, the “WRATH of God” (v. 18) is not just the attitude of God (anger) towards man, but also an inevitable process of “cause and effect” in a moral universe.
GOD HAS SET IN THE UNIVERSE certain Divine laws that are to govern the human race. Judgment against all unrighteousness and ungodliness is a SET law/principle in the earth, and is an inescapable part of the discipline of human life. If we are not at the mercy of chance, cause will inexorably lead to effect, and the turbulence of iniquity, will, in due season, bring its own retribution. Thank God, judgment on evil IS part of HIS moral government of the universe.
The Bible, if you dare to study it, repeatedly affirms that history is the scene of God’s operation—He IS the “maker” and “master” of history; He oversees all.
The qualities in human life which bring “the WRATH of God” are, I think, of two kinds:
1 — religious sins; for Rom. 1:18 points to “ungodliness;”
2 — moral offenses = unrighteousness.
So, my dear “God don’t judge,” “Jesus is love only” folks in la-la land, THERE CAN BE NO DOUBT THAT SIN/SINS (SIN=A STATE OF BEING / SINS= COMMITTED TRANSGRESSIONS) WILL BE JUDGED. There can be not the slightest doubt that a PRESENT revelation of God’s WRATH is proclaimed in Romans One for the whole world. Paul was not writing about the end of the world judgment, but the historical judgment. Verse 17 speaks in present tense: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” Paul was writing about his present Christian faith (and the Ekklesia’s), so also v. 18 is in the NOW.
Since Christ came into the world there takes place the eschatological judgment of the world, both pardon (justification) and the sentence of WRATH; both justification and WRATH are historical—as well as eschatological.
Romans one gives insight to the abysmally deep sinfulness of the world—then and now.
What I gather in all this, it depicts: proclamation of the present revelation of WRATH is always accompanied by that of future WRATH. IN REFERENCE TO IDOLATRY/SEX-SINS, GOD WILL, AND DOES, JUDGE, THOSE WICKED WHO DO SUCH THINGS. Romans 2:2 reaffirms Rom. 1:18: “But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to TRUTH against them which COMMIT SUCH THINGS” (v. 2). Verse 8, 9 pretty well puts the spike in the guilty’s heart: “But unto them that are contentious, and DO NOT OBEY THE TRUTH, but obey unrighteousness, INDIGNATION and WRATH, TRIBULATION and ANGUISH, upon every soul of man that DOETH EVIL…” So, God’s WRATH falls upon the evil NOW, as well as in the future=HELL FIRE!! NO ONE ESCAPES!!
Let’s do a little investigation here. Verse 8, for example, conveys the same meaning as v. 6 (“Who will render to every man according to his deeds”). “Works” (RSV), “deeds” (KJV). Yes. We can therefore see, as a natural consequence, how inevitable it is that WORKS/DEEDS SHALL FORM THE BASIS OF JUDGMENT. This, my friends, is not an idiosyncrasy of the apostle Paul; it is the consistent witness of God’s Holy Word (see Matt. 16:27; 25:31-46; Rev. 2:23; 20:12; 22:12; as well as II Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:7; Eph. 6:8; Col. 3:24 etc.).
LISTEN UP! We are not judged by the “opinions” we hold, or by the “form” of words we use. NO! We are judged by what WE DO and by the kind of lives we LIVE (see James 2:14-26).
Rewards — Rewards
VERSE 7 of Romans 2 tells us that the righteous will be rewarded with HONOR-IMMORTALITY- ETERNAL LIFE: the unrighteous with INDIGNATION-WRATH-TRIBULA-TION- ANGUISH. V. 11 tells us that “there is no respect of person with God.” The judgment which crowns/rewards the consistent pursuit of what pleases God works equally so with those who displease Him.
The whole purpose of Romans one and two is to show that RIGHT DOING BRINGS GOOD THINGS; WRONG DOING BRINGS RETRIBUTION. For you out there who think you are getting by on God, HEY ! there is a payday someday!
TRUE, IN THE NT IT APPEARS SO, but not always (see Acts 5 for example). God is slow to anger, but anger does come. The motif of delay is found in many forms, even prior to the NT, among the Greeks (Homer, Solon etc.), in the OT, esp. in the many places as already seen. God even repents of the evil He planned at times. Note Jeremiah’s words: “For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; the daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor, it is time to thresh her: yet A LITTLE WHILE, and the time of her harvest shall come.” God delayed punishing, but, “her harvest shall come.” The Heb. wording denotes the span of time which God’s WRATH allows itself before “breaking forth” in judgment. Some believe Nahum 1:2 is the same.
There is no doubt that there is the two-fold countenance of God, a “friendly” and an “angry”…He is slow in WRATH against the righteous, slow in WRATH against transgressors also. We’ve already seen Romans 9:22, “…endured with much longsuffering.” This delaying of WRATH serves, on the one side, to demonstrate the more forcefully the power of His WRATH on “the vessels of WRATH,” and on the other, to reveal the more gloriously His mercy on “the vessels of mercy” (v. 23).
In Romans 12:19, man is warned not to anticipate the delayed WRATH of the LORD by taking the law into his/her own hands, “vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
The Bible Tells Me So
GOD’S WORD SHOWS US that the history of mankind stands under ὀργή (WRATH) from the fall onwards. On the other hand, it shows herein, that world HISTORY IS AN ANTICIPATION OF WORLD JUDGMENT, and the coals/fuse which kindles ὀργή in the aeon of WRATH is the Law: “Because the Law worketh WRATH: for where no Law is, there is no transgression” (Rom. 4:15). God’s WRATH is kindled by the transgression of His Law/laws.
Hell or No Hell?
THIS “HOTLY” DEBATED TOPIC is in full swing as I write. For your information, here is what we currently have in church:
1—life after death is unlikely=total denial;
2—everyone goes to Heaven = universalism;
3—unbelievers get another chance after death = postmortem evangelism;
4—unbelievers are ultimately destroyed = annihilationism; a very popular LIE!;
5—unbelievers go to Hell eternally=traditional orthodoxy, and I hold to this.
This debate boils down to this: “Does WRATH remain to the end (eschatological) OR forever (eternally)?” I say both. WRATH has been, is, and shall be, a historical thing, and eventually—when all is said and done—historical WRATH will be swallowed up by μέλλουσα ὀργή. The SAME Greek Word used for “eternal”/”everlasting” life is the same Gk. word used for eternal/everlasting torment/Hell/Lake of Fire etc. (write for our 6 Hell booklets). There IS AN ETERNAL ὀργή!
Some use Jeremiah 8:12 as their proof text against an eternal ὀργή: “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, thou backsliding Israel,’ saith the LORD: ‘and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful’, saith the LORD, ‘and I will not keep anger forever.’” But our opponents fail to read v. 13: “ONLY ACKNOWLEDGE THINE INIQUITY, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God…and ye have not obeyed My voice…” And to enforce v. 13 we go to v. 14: “TURN, O BACKSLIDING CHILDREN…” The “TURNING AWAY” of God’s WRATH was CONDITIONAL upon Israel “turning from sin” and “turning unto the LORD.”
Psalms 103:9 is another “proof text” used to dismiss eternal anger/WRATH: “He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger forever.” Verse 8: “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” What the psalmist is saying, is that the children of Israel had SINNED and SUFFERED, but the LORD had shown Himself merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
Judaism sometimes speaks of eternal WRATH (see Sibyllines III, 309; Jochanan b. Zakkai (Ber., 28b): “The King of kings whose anger, when it flames forth, is an eternal anger.” According to Sanhedrin, 10, 6d the fire of WRATH will remain only so long on the world as there are transgressors in it. Stahlin remarks: “Sometimes in a way which is not tenable theologically, the Rabb. count on an abatement of WRATH, cf. the various sophisms on Ps. 95:11 whereby they apparently seek to evade the conclusions of Hb. 4:3ff.: Nu, r., 14 (177c) in Str.-B., III; 685; T. Sanh., 13, 10 f.; Midr. Qoh., 10, 20 (49b).”
All this is, of course, theological talk, who wrote what, where to find it, when, etc. Other Jewish writers developed the view that though God is angry every day, His WRATH is only for a fleeting moment.
Woe Unto Them!
I HAD MENTIONED Jesus’ Words about the temple was to be destroyed (Matt. 24:1, 2), about the rebellious Jews that were to be slaughtered (Lk. 19:27), so, we do find in the NT certain passages which clearly LIMIT the duration of WRATH. (Lk. 21:23 strictly deals with fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction of the Temple/Jews under WRATH in 70 AD. V. 24 confirms this.) But this is NOT as those who preach the pre-trib. rapture, the appearing of Anti-Christ in Jerusalem blah, blah, blah, as the stupid “Left Behind” books/movies portray. Write for our anti-rapture teachings and see if their TAKEN/LEFT BEHIND spin is “Biblically Correct” (HA!). That even was fulfilled as Jesus predicted, it will not, NOT be repeated.
Other passages seem to be envisage on “eternal burning of anger,” (Matt. 3:12 which speaks of “unquenchable fire,” which is the “Lake of Fire.” This fire WILL NOT be extinguished !!! ) These passages do not contradict each other, some are historical, some eschatological.
Let me clarify that “WRATH” and “punishment” can mean the same, but also, at times, be distinguished. Some Scriptural references refer not to WRATH itself, but, to the punishment, which according to the main tenor of the NT is certainly of ETERNAL DURATION. Eternal WRATH, e.g., “Lake of Fire” is both “WRATH” and “punishment.” God can be “WRATHFUL” but not always punish, as already seen beforehand.
NEVERTHELESS, HIS WRATH HAS SOMETHING OF A LASTING CHARACTER, SINCE IT IS NOT JUST A SWIFT PASSING EMOTION, BUT HIS HOLY RESISTANCE TO EVERYTHING UNHOLY.
So, even when His anger/WRATH is not kindled, His intrinsic nature retains anger/WRATH. And, as long as unholy things oppose God, His anger/WRATH will always be. Both His “love” and “WRATH” (unified) will be exercised UNTIL every evil will opposed to Him, and His Kingdom, is overcome/overthrown. Go to the very end of the Bible, Rev. 20:10, 14. Here we find the devil being “cast into the lake of fire…where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented (not annihilated!) day and night, for ever and ever (or eternally, without END!).” Verse 12, 13 states that the lost sinners were rounded up for final judgment, v. 14 says death/Hell were cast into that burning lake, v. 15 says that those whose names were not found written in the Book of Life WERE CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE !!! . . . without ESCAPE . . . TORMENTED ETERNALLY !!!
Going on to chap. 21, v. 8 we find somewhat of a list of those who will BURN in that LAKE. Chapter 22, verse 15 also gives a short list of those that will be “left out” of the Kingdom of God → then begins the ENDLESS DURATION for the redeemed and damned.
There are those who do not believe in eternal damnation. I do! I wish it wasn’t so, but SCRIPTURE IS PLAIN ON THIS SUBJECT, and to dismiss it is both foolish, and damning.
The question of the eternity of the ὀργή θεο is posed directly in first Thessalonians 2:16: “…to fill up their sins always: for the WRATH is come upon them to the uttermost,” speaking about the rebellious Jews (“ὀργή εἰς τέλος”). What does “εἰς τέλος” mean? “To the end” (and then no longer) or “for ever?” (This is covered, at great length, in our Hell series—6 booklets.)
The KJV has, “WRATH is come upon them to the uttermost,” whereas the RSV has, “WRATH has come upon them at last,” and in a foot note they have “completely, or forever.” There is, of course!, a debate about this last part of v. 16. And, here I am right in the middle of it. For me the text is clear; the hateful Jews (v. 14), who killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets (v. 15), without repentance, will be DAMNED ETERNALLY—this is Bible! No matter who commits murder, murderers will be left out of Heaven. 1 Cor. 6:9, 10 gives a short list also of those who will be denied Heaven. Although “murderers” is not explicitly listed, it is implicitly in the word “unrighteous” (v. 9). But in Jesus’ vice list (Mark 7:21) we do find the word “murders”). Also, Ex. 20:13 is in the 10 commandments: “Thou shalt not kill” (better and more accurate translation is “murder”).
So, the fact was, and is, this: the Jews, in Jesus’ day/apostles’ day/Paul’s day, had repudiated the Gospel of God in Jesus. Jesus’ rebuke of the Jews in Matt. 23 is not very “nice.” These Jews were the worst kind of HYPOCRITES. They were CONTRARY to all men, they HATED all the other races, they FORBADE THE APOSTLES TO PREACH to the Gentiles, lest they should be saved from DAMNATION/Hell FIRE…the very same place they were going. So, is it any wonder that WRATH should come upon them?...to the uttermost?
Now, look at the other side of this: because the apostles did continue to preach, many damned Jews/Gentiles did find salvation. God’s mercy and His WRATH worked together here. We don’t find God’s WRATH upon the whole Jewish race, only on those who rejected His love/mercy. He could have brought an utter end and final judgment upon that race…but His mercy did not allow that. STILL, HIS WRATH IS UPON THE JEWS/GENTILES, NOW, AND WILL BE FOREVER, IF REPENTANCE IS NOT FORTHCOMING. This is WHY we preach!
WRATH will last forever, historically and eschatologically; eternally. Unless one is to close his/her eyes to honest Biblical exegesis, WRATH/Hell is eternal, no end!
Children / children
WE FIND IN SCRIPTURE, “children of God” and “children of the devil,” “children of WRATH,” “vessels of WRATH,” “vessels of honor.” God uses “vessels of dishonor” to pour out His WRATH/fury/indignation on others (like Pharaoh, king of Assyria/Babylon etc.).
We find in Eph. 2:2 “children of disobedience,” converted to be “raised up…made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (v. 6).
Romans 9:22 (as already viewed), no doubt, speaks of those who will not repent, who therefore are “vessels of WRATH fitted for destruction.” This phrase means the vessels on which He executes His WRATH. God uses “weapons” in His arsenal—the soldiers in His army at the judgment of the world (see Isa. 13:5). The vessel into which His anger is poured shall be wholly filled with WRATH and bound to fall victim to destruction.
The opposites are vessels which are filled with mercy. ALTHOUGH, A CHANGE OF CONTENT IS POSSIBLE before the final execution of ὀργή, since Christians know that they themselves were once “vessels of WRATH” and now are “vessels of honor.” The change came about by, and through, repentance. Paul, in Eph. 2:5, says, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made “alive”) together with Christ…” He tells us that “…ye (us!) were without Christ, being aliens…strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now, (after repenting of our sins) in Christ Jesus ye (we!) who sometimes were far off are made nigh (near) by the blood of Christ” (vv. 12, 13).
Paul, in 1 Cor. 6:11 says: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed… sanctified… justified…” Of course he, too, was one of those mentioned in vv. 9, 10, only a “religious” one. SO, WE CAN BECOME “CHILDREN OF GOD,” “VESSELS OF HONOR” BY REPENTANCE. The Jews who were, at one time, “Children of God,” became “children of disobedience, the devil, WRATH”—by failing to repent!
John 1:12 says, “But as many as receive (accept) Him (Christ Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” From being a son of the devil to becoming a son of God!
ALSO, WHEN A MAN HAS A SHARE IN THE DEATH OF CHRIST, HE WILL ALSO SHARE IN HIS RESURRECTION (UNTO ETERNAL LIFE). Daniel 12:2 plainly tells us that “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth (being physically dead, yet their souls alive!) shall awake (physical body will be resurrected), some to everlasting (eternal) life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt;” that is, “eternally damned.” (See 1 Cor. chap. 15 for resurrection.)
Punishes Sin with Sin!
THE PRINCIPLE THAT GOD’S WRATH PUNISHES SIN WITH SIN IS EVIDENT AT THIS TIME. Even back in the 1990's, the Spirit told us that since America wants sin, He was going to punish her with sin.
Since America lusts for violence and sex, lusts for $$ and entertainment etc., GOD is CRAMMING ALL THESE THINGS DOWN HER THROAT . . . till she vomits! America wanted sex, now He has released the homosexual agenda upon this nation—see what these SINFUL, PERVERTED DOGS (Rev. 22:15) have accomplished. They have INFECTED every aspect of this lustful, sex-obsessed nation, even changing marriage from “one man and one woman” to “same-sex” marriage . . . changing gender roles, names, design, etc.
Since men will kill and die for $$, God has allowed this country to become (literally!) bankrupt, owing TRILLIONS and TRILLIONS with no end in sight by your current homo/abortion/spendthrift prez ! So, God is using SIN to punish SIN, He is making this apostate nation drink of the wine cup of His indignation, as we find in Rev. 14, 16, 19. America, along with other sinful nations, will NOW be MADE TO DRINK of the wine of WRATH, e.g., “the wine of their passionate ungodliness.”
Americans wanted bloodshed (“let’s go to war!!), now, BLOOD WILL RUN IN THE STREETS OF AMERICA ! Americans wanted sex, sex, sex, now, HE WILL PLAGUE THIS NATION WITH SEX-DISEASES/SICKNESSES. Americans did not want God’s laws to rule over them, HE WILL RAISE UP EVIL MEN TO RULE—watch the next 4 years how the Government becomes more and more hateful; freedoms we’ve all enjoyed, being taken from us. And all you churchites who wanted to be like the world, YOU WILL BECOME A SLAVE TO THE WORLD, NO HELP FROM GOD IN THE DAY OF YOUR TROUBLE. NONE !
Store Up Treasure
HERE IS HOW it all works: “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart (e.g., no repentance) treasurest up unto thyself WRATH against the day of WRATH and revelation of the righteousness judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds (or works)” (Rom. 2:5,6).
“θησαυρίζειν ὀργην,” this paradoxical suggestion of the capital of WRATH heaped up in Heaven! The Rabbinic (e.g., j Pea, 1, 15d, b4)= “…four things for which a man is punished in this world, and the capital remains in the world: idolatry, adultery, incest, and calumny” (see also T. Pea 1, 2—W. Bauer on Pea 1, 1b; also G. Schlichting, Der Toseftatraktat Pea, Diss. Tubingen (1936), and loc).
Now, take a look at the opposite of the above: “Jesus said unto him (rich young ruler), ‘If thou wilt be perfect (mature in Christ), go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven: and come and follow Me” (Matt. 19:21, see also 6:20; Lk. 12:33).
While the INTEREST on this capital (wealth etc.), according to the Jewish view, is already enjoyed on earth in the form of merit and reward, and only the capital will be paid back at the end. The CAPITAL of WRATH…which grows until the Last Judgment, will then be PAID with COMPOUND INTEREST; hence this, “PAY DAY” is the ἡμέρα ὀργς, e.g., Rom. 2:5.
One scholar put it thus: “There is a terrible irony in many of the metaphors. Treasure is really an object of joy (Matt. 6:21 and par.; 13:44); harvest (Matt. 3:12), esp. the vintage (Rev. 14:18), is a time of joy, (Isa. 9:2); but when linked with ὀργή all turned into their dreadful opposite.” He finishes with, “This is the common feature in Biblical imagery.”
WRATH and Divine Essence
THERE IS A DEBATE on this. THE WRATH OF GOD, OF COURSE, EMBODIES ITSELF IN DIVINE JUDGMENT; WRATH/JUDGMENT. As far as the NT is concerned, God’s WRATH is directed mostly against the Jews, but Gentiles will ALSO receive Divine retribution. It was (and IS!!) the Jews, primarily, that are the impenitent who despise God’s goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering (Rom. 2:4). Verse 5 = “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself WRATH against the day of WRATH and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”
The same holds true for Gentiles.
The same holds true for backsliders.
The same holds true for apostates.
ALL will fall VICTIM to ὀργή.
ALL nations are affected (Rev. 11:18; 14:8; 18:3; 19:15).
ALL classes of peoples are affected.
WRATH falls on the WHOLE earth (Rev. 14:19; 16:1) because all worship antichrist (14:9). WRATH falls on Babylon (political/religious/economic)= the embodiment of ungodly, arrogant, total power (14:8; 16:19 etc.).
REVELATIONS 11 shows that God Himself, (in WRATH) against man, causes the demons to rage. This means that “ungodly forces” become weapons of the WRATH of God against the world. WOE TO ALL!!
The same principle can be seen in Romans 13:4, in a rather different sense, the impressing of these powers into the service of WRATH, e.g., the secular minister/servant/official etc. is, “a revenger to execute WRATH upon him that doeth evil.” Well, we can’t count on these “ministers” to be just and honest these days, seeing MOST are very anti-Christ to the core.
Actually, the “power” and “authority” of Satan/demons are under command and grounded in the LORD’S WRATH. We can see these devilish forces at work, even in the church—religious demons, doctrines of devils, duped and deceived churchites under the command of demons…and the church is just too DUMB to perceive it. So, GOD USES THE DEVIL/DEMONS TO PUNISH THE “SINNING SAINTS.” Evil spirits are represented as God’s bailiffs who have made their scourges firm and strong with His WRATH.
Paul had it right when he penned Eph. 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood (humans), but against principalities…powers…rulers of darkness…wicked spirits in high places,” (Write for our many booklets and teachings DVDS/CDS on Spiritual Warfare. Don’t be DUMB concerning the works of demons.) There are times when God allows such demonic forces to operate; other times He personally employs them to be His instruments of WRATH. But, in either case, demons are subordinated to God’s Power.
God can, at will, assume the role of prosecutor at the judgment; other times, He assumes the role of executioner; other times God allows/permits Satan to become the Christian’s accuser (Rev. 12:10). So, God, Himself, can be Judge, Accuser, and Executioner. Subservient spirits (under Satan) are only allowed so much reign, for Satan is under God’s command or sphere of authority.
In the case of human force, God has, and does, use them unwittingly, and even, at times, unwillingly as instruments of WRATH (see 1 Cor. 2:8).
But the devil/Satan (which is not a myth, but a fact!), as an instrument of God’s WRATH is eo ipso to be also its victim. Satan is also a “vessel of WRATH fitted to destruction.” This, also, is true of great powers such as we find in Isa. 10:5-19. Let me quote v. 5 here: “O Assyrian, the rod of mind anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.” V. 6 we find God “sending” this great nation’s army against God’s own (hypocritical) nation, e.g., the nation of Israel. Verse 7 makes my point clear: “Howbeit he meaneth so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.” Here, we find a great pagan force on the march, harrying the nations, and God put it into their heart to target Israel. “The ROD of MY ANGER !” EVEN THOUGH THE KING OF THE ASSYRIAN FORCE THOUGHT IT WAS “HIS” POWER, IN REALITY, IT WAS GOD’S. The unbridled lust for conquest is used and limited by the LORD of Hosts (Armies) Himself, this “Rod” will come under God’s judgment when He is finished using him. We find the same principle applying to the king of Babylon.
Now, let’s get personal here: God is using the man in power (as president currently) to punish this nation; his WHOLE agenda is anti-Christ to the core. God will use him, but your prez will think it is his political power that shakes and moves things. NO! He is subservient to the Holy Spirit.
In Isa. 5:25-30 we find again this LORD/lord principle. In 2 Samuel 24:1 we find, “the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he MOVED David against them to say, ‘Go, number Israel and Judah.’” Some find this verse outrageous, “God is the author of sin,” they say. Why? Well, God had forbade the numbering of Israel by the people. This is why Joab, David’s war captain, says, “…why doth my lord (David) the king delight in this thing?” (v. 3). Verse 10 finds David’s heart being smote for doing this deed, although God ordered it! Some believe this to be a gloss—not in the original text. If this account is true, God inciting David to sin, afterwards punished; we don’t know. I only bring up the principle of God moving upon souls to do what He wanted them to do. But in 1 Chron. 21:1 we read: “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” Which is right? Is 2 Sam. 24:1 true, or 1 Chron. 21:1 true? I don’t know myself. But as far as God “moving” upon people—His own or pagan—we do find evidence (see Ex. 14:4, 8 where another difficulty is seemingly found). God hardened Pharaoh’s heart vs. Pharaoh hardening his own heart. I THINK GOD USED THE HARDNESS OF PHARAOH’S HEART TO DO HIS WILL.
Back to king David: If 2 Sam. 24:1 is original, let’s look at what caused God to cause David to number Israel. For this, we go back to 21:1-14 where God brought a great famine in the land because of Saul’s bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites (v. 1).So, was God justified in sending a great pestilence upon Israel (v. 15) where 70,000 Israelites died? WE JUST DON’T KNOW THE WORKING OF GOD—HE IS JUST IN ALL HIS WAYS, WE JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND THEM.
Some scholars see it that the sinfulness of taking a census was not the real issue, but taking the census for the purpose of taxation and forced labor. The punishment upon David was his own (not God’s) contumacious sin in taking a census of the available man power for his Army, which offended God, because it was not by power, nor might of men, but by God’s power and might that could and would win wars.
Well, perhaps it was a census, primarily a military measure, and it is just as possible that the sin consisted in too great a pride in the national strength of arms (see 1 Sam. 4:21; Ps. 20:7).
First Chronicles 21:1 merely shows another side to the event: Both God and Satan at work. If God’s intention for numbering Israel for taxation, to extract $$ from Israel as payback/punishment for what king Saul did, we find God NOT GUILTY of sin (as some believe). It may be noted that in Exodus 30:11-16 there is a clear provision made for the taking of the kind of census God explicitly promotes, a kind of ecclesiastical poll tax to be used for the maintenance of the Temple, and therefore, for the perpetuation of those necessary means by which the people’s SINS were forgiven. In Num. 1:1-4, such a census was divinely ordered and safely carried out in accordance with prescribed ritual. Later, in Num. 26:1-4, God ordered another census, again with a spiritual motive, to prove to the apostate Israelites how heavily they had suffered by reason of a recent “plague” which had been the “punishment” for following Baal-peor. Here, in 2 Sam. 24, the census was simply to find out how many fighting men there might be in David’s army…to glorify Israel? What God had in mind, and what David did, may be pondered.
We must also consider the warning that the prophet of God, Samuel, put forth for asking for a king (1 Sam. 8:11). So, was God wrong?, even if He did tell David to number Israel (for military count)? If we’re to accept this, we might consider James’ words in James one (NT), “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (v. 14). Was God trying David’s heart? his motives as king? Let’s not forget that David was, “drawn away of his own lust, and enticed,” in 2 Samuel 11, where David committed adultery and murdered one of his own soldiers (rather had him killed in battle). Did God tempt David to do these things and SIN? NO! I don’t think God moved on David to SIN in 2 Sam. 24:1 either. I can’t prove it, but I know God isn’t the author of SIN.
So much for all that. My point was to show that God was angry for what David did and David was punished (indirectly) by having 70,000 of his fighting men killed by plague.
WRATH OF GOD #6