God is Love. God is good and all he does is good. So why does our good and loving God have wrath? Is it because He is so holy that he cannot look upon sin like Habakkuk thought? Habakkuk 1:13
No. That is one lone occasion where Scripture seems to portray such an idea but, Habakkuk immediately followed his incomplete revelation of God with the idea ~ since you cannot look upon sin, why do you?
Hasn’t God been looking on mankind’s sin ever since the Garden of Eden? Hasn’t man been trying to hide from our Father behind our own manufactured fig leaves and systems while God has been seeking us, and calling ~ “Where are you?”
Consider the Lord Jesus, God in the flesh, who ate and talked with the worst of the worst on a regular basis.
The Truth is that God’s ways are not meant to be mysterious to us. It’s been given to us to know the secrets of the Kingdom. The Secrets of His Covenant are to those who fear him. Psalm 25:14
Jesus, Paul and John all had revelation of God’s wrath. They all told the same story but in different ways because God confirmed his Word with 2 or 3 witnesses.
GOD’S WRATH ACCORDING TO PAUL ~
Almost 2,000 years ago, Paul wrote in Romans 1:18 ~For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”
Not that wrath “would be”, “will be” or “was going to be” but that the wrath of God is revealed! It was currently being revealed when Paul wrote this Letter to the Romans around 60 AD.
From the time that the Jews stoned Stephen (around 56 AD) until Nero framed the Christians for burning down Rome (64 AD), the Jews heavily persecuted Christians everywhere! Thessalonica was experiencing intense persecution from the Jews and Paul used words very similar to Jesus’ when he said ~
“14For you became imitators, brothers and sisters, of God’s churches in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, because you too suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they in fact did from the Jews, 15who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets and persecuted us severely. They are displeasing to God and are opposed to all people, 16because they hinder us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. Thus they constantly fill up their measure of sins, but wrath has come upon them completely.” ~ 1 Thess.2:14-16
Paul said the Jews would receive wrath completely, or to the utmost. The fullness of God’s wrath was for the Jews, who killed Jesus, the prophets (v.15) and were currently hindering Paul (v.16) and persecuting the churches (v.14). Please remember this later when we refer back to the words of Jesus “fill up the measure of their sins”.
Paul actually declared the reason for God’s wrath and it’s once again tied up in ancient Judaism.
“15for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation.” Romans 4:15
Did you know that there is no recorded account of God having wrath before Moses? Oh yeah, we’re getting deep into the nature of God because God didn’t always have wrath! He also won’t always have wrath. His wrath was temporary.
God wasn’t sitting up in Heaven all eternity past before any sin, fuming with wrath because he knew that eventually Adam and Eve would eat the fruit! God is not a wrathful God. He had wrath but, not before the Law! Paul said “The Law worketh wrath!”
Consider Psalm 30:4,5 ~ “4 Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name. His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime…”
At Mt. Sinai, the people of Israel just rejected the opportunity to be a Nation of Priests and resorted to asking Moses to go up to God for them. When Moses came down with the Law; only the second occasion of “God having wrath” was recorded. The first time was when God spoke to Moses “face to face” and Moses refused to go speak to Pharoah. The Law had come and the people were about to get their first glimpse of God’s wrath!
9The LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, they are an obstinate people. 10“Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” ~ Exodus 32
After the Law was given, God “had wrath” a hundred or so times up to the time of Jesus. Because wrath was connected to the Law, not to God.
WRATH ACCORDING TO JOHN ~
John also saw that God’s wrath was currently present in that generation. Arguably, John wrote all of his writings before the great destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. He wrote about the Temple and other Jewish structures as something that currently existed, as he wrote.
John 3 ~ “36He who believes in the Son has the Life of the Ages; he who disobeys the Son will not enter into Life, but God’s anger (wrath) remains upon him.”
John spoke of God’s wrath as already existing upon the unbeliever. He didn’t declare that God’s wrath would eventually come but, that it was already there…just like Paul said. He also confirmed the words of Paul (and Jesus) about God’s wrath being poured out completely on the Jews of that day!
John declared the 7th Bowl (Jewish symbolism) was poured out on Harlot Israel ~ “19The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.”Rev.16
The 7 bowls contained all of God’s wrath…once and for all! ~Then I saw another great and marvelous sign in heaven: seven angels with the seven final plagues, with which the wrath of God will be completed.” Rev.15:1
I realize that not everyone believes these prophecies were fulfilled 40 years (within one generation) of the Jewish bride rejecting her Messiah Husband but, Paul and John both said it pretty clearly.
Jesus said it even more clearly.
Actually both Jesus and John the Baptist made it perfectly clear that God’s wrath was coming on those religious leaders in that generation!
The Bridegroom was being taken away. The battle between the harlot and the Bride was intense! Almost 2 decades of persecution from the “sons of the flesh” on the “sons of the promise”…as Paul referred to it in Galatians 4. Ishmael and Isaac. Sarah (the Wife) and Hagar (the concubine/harlot)
This imagery is also in Romans 7, Revelation 11, 12, 17, 18 & 19. It’s a story that was hidden for thousands of years but, revealed to Paul and John. Let’s not reject what they declared and embrace some weird eschatology that says God’s wrath is coming in our future or that God will always have wrath.
It demeans the marvelous nature of our God and Father!
Somehow, that has been largely overlooked in the past few hundred years… But, this is already too long of a post, I will have to wrap up Part 2 with Jesus’ Words about God’s wrath later.