Isaiah’s Prophecy: Looking at God’s wrath…but isn’t God LOVE?

Wrath by EPrata

There is His wrath, justice, and holiness to consider. His holiness, wrath and justice are expressed partly in His glory in saving souls and partly in His glory is rendering wrath unto souls. This verse below closes the book of Isaiah. It is an astounding prophecy and a violent image to be left with-

And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh. (Isaiah 66:24).

We know and understand that Isaiah’s prophecy relates to the end of time and the eternal state. Jesus used the reference to the worm that does not die in Mark 9:48, referring to the final state of sinners.

The Sky Be Rolled Back as a Scroll, Rev 6:14. EPrata photo

What are we to make of such a thing? Going out to look at those in the lake of fire?? Why didn’t God hide them? The entire scenario is so unsavory, so putrid, such an assault to future glorified eyes, why put the ones who rebelled on display? Don’t we want to focus on the love of God? Why be so, well, negative?

Yes but He is also Justice! His holiness demands a response to sin. Not only did He NOT purpose to save all men, but He allows us, forgiven sinners, to sink to our knees in gratitude at the display of His wrath upon those who did sin and were not forgiven.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible says of Isaiah 66:24,

It shall not be inconsistent with true love for the godly to look with satisfaction on God’s vengeance on the wicked (Revelation 14:10).

Barnes Notes says,

This is the consummation of the series of bright visions that passed before the mind of Isaiah, and is an appropriate termination of this succession of wonderful revelations. Where could it more appropriately close than in the final triumph of the true religion, and in the complete and final destruction of all the enemies of God. The vision stretches on to the judgment, and is closed by a contemplation of those scenes which commence there, but which never end. The church is triumphant. Its conflicts cease. Its foes are slain. Its Redeemer is revealed; and its everlasting happiness is founded on a basis which can never be shaken.

He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people: (Psalm 50:4).

God saw his glory being despised by sinners—he saw his worth belittled and his name dishonored by our sins—and rather than vindicating the worth of his glory by slaying his people, he vindicated his glory by slaying his Son. ~John Piper, 1992

We are blessed with forever being able to view grace, in gazing at the “Lamb looking as if it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6) and being able to view justice, in gazing at the tormented dead bodies of those who rebelled. God does not hide or diminish or secret away any of His attributes. He is always gloriously on display, from creation to His Son to His Bride to His fulfilled promises to His redeemed people to His justice in vindicating Himself through wrath. We serve a mighty and loving and holy God. Far from being negative…it’s all Good.

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life,
he was thrown into the lake of fire. Rev 20:15