A Question I Was Asked:



Does "The Wrath of God" Necessarily Refer to Just One Future Event?








I have a question, please explain to me: How about the wrath of God, what does this consist of? I Have read: Revelation 11:18, Luke 3:7, Romans 5:9, 1 Thessalonians 1:10. Romans 2:5. And, how about this prophecy in Zechariah 14:12, Is it there a connection?

QUOTE:
In this Church Age, God has mainly entrusted the dissemination of the Gospel to the Europeans and Americans. When Israel turned away from God He dramatically punished them, so why would He not - in our day - punish our peoples for forsaking the great truths of the Gospel in order to pursue atheism, scepticism, the absurdities of evolution, and unbridled secularism? For allowing Hollywood and many TV channels to have plots and stories and 'alternative comedians' which/who mock Christianity and mock belief in God on a very regular basis? I say our peoples are heading for a major punishment! It is one thing never to have known God, but to have known God and all the rudiments of the Gospel but then to cast it aside is a very serious matter. As I say, look how He punished Israel. .



UK Apologetics Reply:

Sometimes I just feel that people are asking the wrong question. I will now explain what I mean by that. Okay let's look at Revelation 11 first:

The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small - and for destroying those who destroy the earth. (Revelation 11:18).

Now let's look at these other verses to see any connection:

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?" (Luke 3:7).

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! (Romans 5:9).

and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead - Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (Romans 2:5).

Finally, I am asked about the following:

This is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. (Zechariah 14:12).


Context! Context! Context!


I hope that, as you now look at these Bible texts alongside each other, you will see an immediate problem: you are only putting them together because of the use of that one word 'wrath.' With respect, you are disjointedly taking several Bible texts, considering them against each other whilst never taking account of the surrounding contexts of these verses! You cannot conclude a connection simply because the word 'wrath' is used (that is, in the particular Bible version which you are using). Let us consider that the Bible contains proverb, poetry, parable, letters (epistles), prophecy, apocalyptic, literal narrative and historical accounts. It is wrong to not recognise these differing forms of writing and what they set out to achieve.

This error is, to be frank, also the error of the cults and sects; they will often seek out similar Bible texts then conclude them under one 'umbrella' without consideration of context or forms of Bible writing. To simply take "wrath," it gets a lot of mention in several contexts in the Bible, especially in the KJV (newer translations often use more modern words for 'anger'). God is angry at sin, He was sometimes angry with the Israelites when they followed false gods, or made other mistakes and - in our day - He is angry with those who use His Name deceitfully for personal profit. Do you see what I am saying? What I am saying is: you must go deeper; the Bible deserves deeper study - we must not be superficial!


More Than One Period of Wrath


To sum this all up: the Bible could speak of God's wrath and anger in several contexts and, in fact, it does. Any reference to God's "wrath" does not necessarily mean it is a reference to some specific period of God's wrath at the end of this age, although it might be. There have already been several points in human history when God has displayed His "wrath": the Flood, the tower of Babel, the captivities of Judah (by the Babylonians) and Israel (By the Assyrians), Jerusalem in AD70 and - very likely - several others too.

The "wrath of God" (rather like "The Day of the Lord") has all too often been embraced by numerous 'prophecy guros,' as I call them, and forced to fit into a particular prophetic time-slot which they have already decided and which is not biblical; in Scripture it is far more elastic.

Having stated all of the above, I neverthless think we are all heading for a period in which God displays His wrath once more and at least 2-3 of the above Scriptures might well refer to that. To my mind it seems clear that God has entrusted the dessemination of the Gospel of Jesus Christ primarily to the Europeans and Americans. When Israel turned away from God He dramatically punished them, why would He not - in our day - punish our peoples for forsaking the great truths of the Gospel in order to pursue atheism, scepticism, the absurdities of evolution, and unbridled secularism? For allowing Hollywood and many TV channels to have plots and stories and 'alternative comedians' who mock Christianity and mock belief in God on a regular basis? I have just learned that British universities which carry 'Religious Studies' courses (usually a study of the six major world religions) must now also start offering an 'atheism' course alongside them; even some sceptics are saying that this is absurd. I say our peoples are heading for a major punishment! It is one thing never to have known God, but to have known God and all the rudiments of the Gospel but then to cast it aside is a very serious matter. As I say, look how He punished Israel.

So, yes, God has already displayed His anger at several points in human history, undoubtedly with an even more dramatic display just ahead!


Brief Explanations for the Suggested Scriptures


So, of the suggested Scriptures, Revelation 11:18 definitely looks ahead to events just before the Second Coming; Luke 3:7 is warning the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus' day of their impending judgment; Romans 5:9 is considering the matter of Justification, we are only saved and justified by and through the blood of Christ; both of the last two verses also refer to the 'wrath to come,' and the need to be saved from it, 1 Thessalonians 1:10 addressing Christians and Romans 2:5 warning unbelievers. For its part Zechariah 14:12 is prophetic/apocalyptic and it is open to whether or not this has already been fulfilled or part-fulfilled (AD 70). For example, see the point of view expressed here - not that I would accept every word of the article you will be directed to.

Robin A. Brace. November 29th, 2015.

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