The Wrath of God. This is a topic that keeps raising its ugly head among Christians today. Will the Church go through the great tribulation, the wrath of God? Of course there are many interpretations being pushed on a public that for the most part won’t study the scriptures for themselves. Those Christian’s who wait for someone else to do the studying so they don’t have to, are besides risking being led astray, missing a huge blessing from God.
First off we need to define anger.
Divine Wrath and Human Anger.
Human anger cannot be used as a model for the interpretation and understanding of God’s wrath. Our anger is irrational and damaging to us and to others. It expresses our lack of self-control, or our lack of dominion over our emotions, and reveals our desire to control others at almost any cost. It is an expression of the damage and unbalance to our inner being caused by sin that make it impossible for us to co-exist with others in a harmonious relationship. God’s wrath is untouched by sin and, therefore, under the controlling power of love. It is primarily intended for healing, procuring the restoration of order within His creation.(Heb. 12:6; Rev. 20:15-21:1).
God’s Wrath and Sin.
God’s wrath is not a permanent attribute of God, that is to say something that by nature constantly characterizes Him and His actions. Since His wrath is not irrational, there’s always a reason for it or something that provokes it (Deut. 4:24). It is provoked by sin, and it is fundamentally His reaction to the irrational presence of sin and evil in the life of His children and in the world (Rom. 1:18). Therefore His wrath is momentary, coming to an end once its good purpose is achieved. Contrast that with His love that endures forever (Isa. 54:8).
God’s Wrath and His Children.
God’s wrath against human sin reveals His effective side. It indicates that He takes sinners seriously, that He does not ignore us even in our rebellion against Him. In other words, He takes our actions so seriously that by reacting to them with His wrath He is still showing His willingness to interact with us. Ignoring people shows disrespect and the absence of love. When God reacts to our sin, He is clearly telling us that we are important to Him, that He does not easily give us up, that the relationship is not yet over. God’s love and His wrath are not incompatible.
God’s Wrath and Salvation.
God’s wrath is not the inexorable destiny of sinners unless they so choose. Jesus rescued “us from the coming wrath” (1 Thess. 1:10, NIV) by taking on Himself, as our substitute, the law’s curse (Gal. 3:13). We, who have been justified by faith, have been “saved from God’s wrath through Him!” (Rom. 5:9, NIV). Because of Christ we are no longer children of wrath. Praise the Lord!
If you’re a hard core Calvinist you might want to stop reading here.
I’ve written commentaries on this subject before but it’s become clear that my explanations as to why the Church won’t see the wrath of God were lacking some sufficient content. So allow me to make another stab at why I believe God’s Church will not be on planet earth when His hammer falls. “…and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thessalonians 1:10
First of all, let’s keep the following premise in mind, God plays no favorites. Every person on the face of this planet is equally known to God. “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30. So there’s no doubt He knows us better than we know ourselves. And He loves us more than we can ever fully grasp. If you’re not a Christian today and you’re wondering if God loves you too, the answer is absolutely, there’s no question of that. There is one main difference between Christians and non-Christians though, and that difference is their ultimate eternal destinations.
God has had a long term plan for mankind which started way back before time and long before the Garden of Eden, before our prehistoric parents came on the scene. He hasn’t changed His mind about humankind. He wants to establish a relationship with us, a close relationship, a Father to child type of relationship. He’s loving, caring, long suffering, patient, kind, full of grace and mercy. On the other hand He has been storing up wrath and that wrath will be poured out on the disobedient of mankind. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.” Romans 1:18, 19. Unavoidable is the wrath of God for those who remain in disobedience.
So who are the disobedient? Everyone who has denied that God sent His only begotten Son (Jesus our Messiah) to die for us, they are those who will see the wrath of God come upon them unless there is repentance in time. Many people today believe they’ve committed so many sins and have been so very disobedient to God that there is no way they can ever be forgiven. Here’s a news flash, everyone has been disobedient in the past and everyone has committed sins, and there is none worthy of salvation, not one. “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36.
That’s true, there are none who are worthy to merit salvation but there are many who’ve placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Those of us who’ve been born again are those who won’t see, feel, or go through “the wrath of God” when it arrives on an unsuspecting Christ rejecting world.
“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Isaiah 26:19-21.
Believers will be taken out of this world and placed in a place of safety and comfort while the wrath of God punishes those who’ve rejected His free gift of salvation. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Thessalonians 5:9.God doesn’t want anyone to experience His wrath, sadly many, of their own accord will.
“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Romans 11:25 There is coming a day in the not so distant future when God will tell His only begotten Son to go get His Church, we will be Raptured and taken to be with Jesus for a period until it’s time for Jesus’ Second Advent. Then we who are with Him shall return with Him to earth to witness His awesome power in putting an end to war, evil, plagues, famine, the wrath of God will have ended. The earth will be restored to its pristine pre-human perfection.
The Raptured saints (his Church) will rule and reign with Jesus for one thousand years. A devastating war will have taken place just prior to Jesus’ return in which a majority of earth dwellers will have perished. Will you be one of those?
“And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name (the Church). And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written: ‘After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the LORD who does all these things.’ “Known to God from eternity are all His works.” Acts 15:13-18.
The Rapture of Christ’s Church is a controversial subject to be sure. The controversy stems from a lack of understanding of scriptures. I suspect that some Bible teachers feel the “Rapture view” is too fantastic to consider. Their finite minds just won’t grasp the concept. This lack of understanding and rejection of the truth causes them to conjure up alternatives to God’s word. But we just can’t get around the subject of a near future event occurring which we call the Rapture. God’s word is replete with verses that point to this event clearly coming to pass. We shouldn’t just shrug them off, or consider the view as fantastical.
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Revelation 3:10. Hence the term Earth dwellers is referring to those who are still remaining after the Rapture. We who are born again aren’t earth dwellers but sojourners just passing through. Pursuing the whole council of God should bring any diligent Bible student to a point of understanding and affirm the truth surrounding the Rapture. The very fact that we who are born again, born from above, born from God will not see or feel His wrath is clearly delineated in the scriptures.
Don’t misunderstand; there is a huge difference between God’s wrath and the persecution that comes from our fellow man, those who follow Satan. Christian persecution is prevalent and ugly but scriptural. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hatedMe before ithated you. John 15:18. As Christians we aren’t excused from trials and tribulations but we will be excused from the God’s wrath, and it’s surely coming to planet earth.
I must reiterate that if you are reading this commentary and are not born again, when the Rapture of Christ’s Church occurs you will not be among those taken. You will be left here to see and feel and watch the wrath of God as He punishes those who remained in unbelief. That’s one scenario. The other is you’ve accepted the truth of the Gospel of Christ, you’ve repented of your sins and you’ve become a believer and are among your brothers and sisters in Christ as we all head to Heaven in the Rapture. That’s the scenario we should all be striving for.
There is a massive amount of people who don’t believe, and won’t ever come to know and believe the truth of God’s word. There will be multitudes remaining in that state of unbelief when the wrath of God is poured out. It’s not going to be pretty. God’s wrath will be devastating and horrible, and impossible to endure. Men will want to die; they will want to commit suicide but there will be a period of five months in which God won’t permit anyone to die. “And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months:” Revelation 9:5.
Those who remain after the Rapture of the Church won’t be able to live in a cave somewhere or in the far outreaches of nonexistent civilization expecting to escape what everyone else will face. You can’t hide from God. Many believe in suicide as a way to obtain peace through death. For the non-believer suicide is only jumping from the frying pan into the fire, the Lake of Fire.
There is precious little time remaining. When God wills it, up will go His Church, and down will come His wrath. Your eternal destiny is your choice, Heaven as your ultimate destination depends on your making the correct choice.
From my Christian brother Ron Graham.