This is not by any means a teaching. Please consider it a query. A discussion. A big “what if?” like a child gazing up into the sky and wondering if perhaps there is more to explore…
As we grow in the reality of seeing the Face of Jesus, I realize that not everything I see is him. Sometimes I thought I saw him, but my perspective must have been foggy. Perhaps I mistook something out of the corner of my eye. Maybe I had an overlooked splinter of some forgotten Scripture impeding my view. Although his Face never changes, my perspective of him does. The changes never take place in him; they are always taking place in me. Some days I find that I may have gone more steps backwards than I did forward.
Is this one of those days? Only time will tell…
A WRATHFUL FATHER?
Let’s tinker with the idea that God may have never had wrath. Let’s think of God as Brian Zahnd says ~ “God is like Jesus. God has always been like Jesus. There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus. We have not always known what God is like— But now we do.”
This lays aside the ideas that the Greek word for wrath is “ogre” which can also be translated as “passion”. I have heard this preached and have not dismissed it, but it’s not the angle I am currently exploring. Maybe it’s right and this is wrong! I don’t know, but let’s temporarily discard the notion. At least for now, let’s describe wrath as we typically hear it. “Anger, vengeance, punishment…”
Does that sound like Jesus?
Even when he flipped the tables in the temple and drove out the merchants, we have absolutely no record of him actually hitting anyone. We have no record of Jesus ever inflicting pain on a single person in his entire life! All that came from the One and only One who could perfectly say ~”“Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9)
Where was Jesus’ wrath in his life and death? Doesn’t it seem like he had no wrath like we have ever known? Since no one had previously seen God, but the Son had fully revealed him; is it possible that Our Father also never had wrath? What if the veil that covered His Face and is removed In Jesus truly was the written letter of the Scriptures? What if only the Spirit of Truth gives life to the god of death in the law of stone?
True, in Romans 7:12 Paul said the Law is holy. The Commandment is righteous, holy and good! But why? He said because it is spiritual and not fleshly.
What if Paul was simply saying the same thing that he wrote in 2 Corinthians 3 & 4 in a different way? Isn’t that exactly what Paul did so often? Saying the same profound truth with different language to different people was one of the things that made Paul’s letters so interesting.
What if understanding the Law according to the physical/literal written code still brings death? (Consider Romans 8:5-8 which seems to explain Romans 7) What if thinking according to the Spirit is the only way to give life and remove the veil of that legalistic letter? What if the point of the New Covenant is more than seeing God through the lens of Jesus now but seeing Father through the lens of “The Lamb slain before the foundation of the world”?
Why else would Jesus have “been slain” since before creation (if that is what Rev.13:8 means) if not to provide God’s eternal Covenant from the beginning? What if Jesus was called the Last Adam because he was before the first Adam and was greater than him?
What if the righteousness of the One preceded and therefore far exceeds the transgression of the one man? If the Lamb was truly slain (even if not literally) before the foundation of the world, was there ever a time that sin spoke louder than mercy before God? It sounds like mercy has always triumphed over judgement…even before judgement had a voice.
But these questions will not be answered with philosophy. Not for us. They must be answered with Scripture. That’s what I love most about Welton Academy and BCT. We truly love and revere the written words within the Scriptures. I have learned so much from BCT and recommend it to everyone! However, I will never forget the first class “Disrupting Culture” when the Good Dr described the 5 realms and said something like ~ “I don’t know if there’s more after the New Covenant realm. In only know that there are these 5.”
What if there is another “realm”? What if New Covenant reveals and therefore leads to “Our Father”?
Look I’m definitely not trying to assert that I have seen some unique revelation beyond the Good Dr and Welton Academy. Many people are preaching the Father. Leif Hetland, Brian Zahnd, C. Baxter Kruger, just to name a few. I am just proposing the question that arose within my heart when hearing these other sons of God speak ~ “How good is Our Father?”
What if he has always been so good that he never had destructive wrath? What if all of that killing, stealing and destroying always has been accomplished by the one who is evil?
WHAT ABOUT SATAN?
It’s impossible to inquire into a possible lack of wrath in Our Father without considering the alternative…satan.
I want to take the traditional route when considering satan and call him an actual entity of only evil. I believe satan is a real spiritual force of darkness and evil that deceives and influences people.
The interesting thing about satan is how little the OT understood him. Consider this summary of Biblical understanding concerning “who killed” in the Bible. The large majority of these deaths are OT.
WTF? (Can I say that? Oh well…I technically didn’t say it but only thought it.) Was satan sleeping? What was satan doing while “god” was busy drowning people in floods, smashing babies heads on rocks and burning entire cities with fire and brimstone? Maybe satan thought “with enemies like that, who needs friends?” Maybe satan was just chilling because god was doing all his dirty work for him…
Sorry about that, I’m done being snarky.
How curious though that the OT has almost no revelation of satan and at the same time claims that God was behind so much killing, stealing and destroying. I can almost detail every account of satan in the OT, but I won’t. I simply want to breeze over a few of them.
SATAN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT ~
Satan in the garden. We know that satan deceived eve in the garden, but let’s not forget “how” he did it. He directly assaulted the character of God by implying that God had kept something good from them.
Satan in Job. Job was living a blessed, healthy and protected life until satan tried to “tempt God” by asking permission to kill, steal and destroy. How interesting that satan was allowed to talk to God and accuse people “in Heaven”. Keep that in mind…
Satan in Zechariah. Zechariah saw a vision that ultimately pointed to Jesus (don’t they all?) He saw a man named Jesus (Joshua is also the original Hebrew form of the Greek name Jesus.) This Jesus stood as a High Priest before the Lord dressed in sinful garments. While this was happening (presumably around the time of the Cross) Satan stood at the lord’s right hand accusing him.
I believe that all 3 of these ideas concerning satan killing, destroying and tempting lead very well to my last instance.
Satan tempts David. This is where it gets very interesting and I would like to propose may possibly be the most profound revelation of satan in the entire OT. The time David was tempted to number the people of Israel and unfortunately did so. He was given 3 choices to pick his own “punishment” and he chose to lean on the Lord’s mercy. But what’s super curious to me is how the 2 different versions of the story describe this event. For whatever reason, 1 Chronicles and 2 Samuel both tell the story. But with what seems to be completely different perspectives…
1 Chronicles 21:1 ~ “Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.”
2 Samuel 24:1 ~ “Now again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”
Hold the phone. Did the anger (wrath) of the Lord tempt David or did Satan tempt him? Yes. Apparently both are equally true. What if this one simple idea is the red pill that was meant to wake up all of Israel to the true thief? What if Our Father was never behind those 2 million plus deaths and satan really was busier than the OT writers realized? What if those men (who were not born-again) never learned to discern the difference between the Spirit of God and another spirit?
It would certainly make sense in the story of David, because being tempted “by the Lord” to number his people is very unjust considering that the same author said the same Lord punished David for doing so. Basically, God tempted David to do evil and then punished him for yielding to said temptation.
That doesn’t sound like Good News.
SATAN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT ~
Again, I can’t recount every instance of satan in the NT but here are a few that support what I am proposing. (What? Me cherry-pick?) Seriously, I understand that there are NT Scriptures that are already popping up to contradict the idea that Our Father never would hurt anyone but I will leave those to you guys for now. By no means do I have this figured out. I don’t even know if I believe what I have written for the past hour or more. But I want to believe. I hope. Dare I hope?
A FEW SELECT OCCURRENCES OF SATAN IN THE NEW TESTAMENT ~
LIKE A ROARING LION ~ Proverbs 28:15 had said “A wicked ruler is as dangerous to the poor as a roaring lion…”Did Peter pick up on Solomon’s theme when he said ~ “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
LIKE A DRAGON IN HEAVEN ~ Revelation 12 is thought by many to be the center of The Apocalypse. The Good Dr Jonathan Welton refers to chapter 12 as the center of the chiastic form, which makes it the climax of history. (Vision 1 in “The Art of Revelation”) Here are a few nuggets of food for thought concerning satan from Rev.12
12:7 ~ Satan and his angels actually engaged in battle in Heaven. Whether literally or figuratively, we should consider the implications of “why” and “how” there was ever anything to fight over in Heaven.
12:8 ~ Satan lost and there was **no longer** any place available to them in Heaven. Doesn’t that mean that satan had previously always had a place in Heaven? How would that truth have affected mankind’s relationship to Our Father?
12:9 ~ Satan was finally thrown down. He was the one who deceived the entire world! (This is actually the Greek word “cosmos” for world and is one of the very few times it was used in Revelation.) What had satan deceived the entire world about?
12:10 ~ Satan was identified as the accuser of the brethren. Does that mean that without satan having been present, there would have never been any accusations towards the brethren before God? Does that mean that God truly never kept a record or wrongs, but satan was the only one who did? Does that mean that all those OT rituals to “cleanse the worshippers” before God (according to the Law) were only necessary because of satan? Asking for a friend….
Oh…One more detail about that. It said satan was accusing “them before our God day and night” Is it possible that is referring to the OT rituals of daily morning and evening offerings? The entire book of Revelation is focused on Old Covenant Temple symbolism from beginning to end. We know that God never desired sacrifices so perhaps this is just another subtle hint…
12:12 ~ The Heavens rejoice but “woe to the earth (inhabited earth?) and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has a short time.” The devil had great wrath? Doesn’t that sound reminiscent of “The anger of the Lord/ satan arose and tempted David…”? These 2 times may be the only examples of Scripture recording satan having wrath and check this out…
They were both written concerning the Kings ascension to the Throne! The first king David only fore-shadowed the King of Kings, but satan working wrath seems to have been concealed apart from the King on the Throne. Considering how much of Revelation hints to Old Testament ideas, I don’t think it’s far-fetched. What if the entire idea of wrath throughout this book is supposed to be understood as “satan having great wrath” and not Jesus being wrathful? Wouldn’t that be more consistent with the life and death of the Lamb King?
What if the revelation of Jesus Christ not only unveils who Jesus is as King of Kings and Lord of Lords but also who he is not?
So here I am almost 4 hours later and I still don’t know. Actually, it’s been more like 4 years since I started exploring these ideas concerning the nature of Our Father. I honestly don’t know what I believe regarding wrath and Covenant or Jesus and Our unchanging Father’s nature. Maybe you don’t have similar questions and that’s fine. Maybe it’s better than fine. Maybe you are completely settled on BCT and these questions don’t interest you at all. Maybe you are better off than me…I really don’t know. All I know is that I haven’t arrived at all Truth concerning Our Father. I probably never will in this lifetime. So I will keep seeking the Lord about questions like these and trusting the Spirit of Truth to guide me into all truth. (John 16:12-14)
So please let me know what you think concerning these ideas that do challenge BCT. What about the Scriptures I shared? What about the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world? What are the implications of that statement with BCT?
Thank you very much for reading this.