The Wrath of God
the visions seen by John was God's judgment on his enemies. "And
they say to the mountains and to the rocks, Fall on us, and
hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne,
and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of their
wrath is come; and who is able to stand?" (Rev. 6:16-17).
wrath of Jehovah is mentioned throughout the Bible, yet
it is rarely heard in the pulpits of modern churches. Sinful
man has convinced himself that God's sole attribute is
his love. To sustain that view, they ignore all the verses
speak of his wrath and seek to keep them from those who
look to them for religious information.
Wrath is defined as rage, indignation, fierce, hot anger.
As in humanity, the capacity to be angry is an integral
part of God's personality. Human anger
is often irrational, misplaced and frequently sinful. In God, his anger is
righteous, just and reasonable. Because he is omniscient, God knows all the
facts of each case. He is never mistaken in his anger. Because he is omnipotent,
his wrath can never be nullified or defeated. Because he is omnipresent no
sinner can hide from or escape from his wrath (Ps. 139::7-12).
wrath is seen in his punitive acts against men and nations
who defy him and violate
his law. His wrath is always justified and he cannot be blamed for the
penalties He inflicts on sinners (Rev. 19:2).
God's wrath is exercised both in time and eternity. Even a casual reading
of the Scripture reveals that from the beginning God has dealt severely
who defied him. Think of the world of Noah's Day that perished in the Flood
and the wicked citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. The wicked shall drink of
the wine of the wrath of God...he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone...and
the smoke of their torment goeth up forever and ever..." (Rev. 14:10-11).
God's wrath on humanity, this side of Judgment Day, is designed to turn
men from their sin and draw them back to God. Isaiah wrote, "when thy judgments
are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Is.
man or a nation, by genuinely repenting and turning to
God, can avert the wrath of God. The Master said, "I tell you...except ye repent, ye
shall all in like manner perish" (Luke 13:3). The men of Nineveh repented
and thus God spared them from his wrath (Jonah 3:10). In eternity, the one
purpose of His wrath is punitive justice. The impenitent wicked will receive
the penalty they have earned by their wicked behavior (Rom. 6:23).
God's wrath is not arbitrary. It is only displayed against those who
refuse to recognize and submit to his sovereignty. Paul tells us it is
of the sins of wicked men that "the wrath of God (comes) upon the sons of
disobedience" (Eph. 5:6). To the Romans he wrote, "For the wrath
of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness
of men..." (Rom. 1:18).
The wrath of God is described as a fierce fire. "A fire goeth before him,
and burneth up his adversaries round about" (Ps. 97:3). It is like a cup
of poison which the victim must consume. "Let him drink of the wrath of
the Almighty" (Job 21:20). It is like a fierce destructive storm. "Thus
saith the Lord Jehovah: I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my wrath..." (Ezek.
13:13). His wrath is likened to a destructive flood.. "Behold, the Lord
hath a mighty and strong one; . . . a destroying storm, as a tempest of mighty
waters overflowing will he cast down to the earth with the hand..." (Is.
He used a flood in Noah's day. He used fire to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
He has used plagues upon the wicked "for there is wrath gone out from
Jehovah; the plague is begun" (Num 16:46).
A study of God's wrath is not complete unless we also consider his great
love for mankind. So great was his love He gave his only begotten Son
for us (John
3:16). Christ died that we could "be saved from the wrath of God through
him" (Rom. 5:9). Thus we wait patiently for our Lord's return who will "deliver
us from the wrath to come" (I Thess. 1:10).
The most pitiful of all creatures is the sinner upon whom "the wrath of
God abideth" (John 3:36). When the great day of his wrath comes, the material
universe will be destroyed (II Pet. 3:10-12). The wicked will be cast into
the lake of fire along with the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). Their fiery
punishment will be eternal in nature (Matt. 18:8).
Because we often fall into sin, we must maintain a penitent heart willing
to confess every sin (I John 1:9). Our daily prayer should be, "O Jehovah,
rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure" (Ps.