By Elizabeth Prata
I have not written much about prophecy lately and that is a subject in which I like to study. Judgment is not a popular blog topic but it’s an important one. All of unconverted humanity hangs like a spider on a thin thread over the fearsome judgment in eternity. And such were some of us, as we were once objects of God’s wrath for our sins.
God’s judgment helps us know who God is. God is love, yes, but God is also thrice holy and hates sin. He is angry with sinners every day and will eventually in his timing pour out judgment upon this sinning world. He has already done so, once. The Flood.
In addition to helping us know God better, I believe that looking into judgment and eternal punishment does three things:
–keeps us humble as we remember our position as the creature before a holy God,
–thus engenders a deep gratitude for our salvation,
–and sparks a fervor to witness to others who are in the same danger we were once ignorantly in.
God has self-stated that He has 4 sore judgments. (Ezekiel 14:21). What are they?
God’s Four sore judgments- Introduction
Part #1: Sword
Part #2: Famine
Part #3: Pestilence
Part #4: Beasts
The rapture is an event that has no signs associated with it. It is based on the completion of the full number God has in mind to make up His church (Romans 11:25) and when that is reached God will tell His son to go get His bride. A trumpet will sound and with the voice of archangel, true believers will be instantly translated to an incorruptible body, meeting the dead in the air who shall rise first. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-16). All believers, dead or alive, from the beginning of the church age to that moment, will arrive en masse in heaven.
Then Jesus will out His wrath upon the Jews and the Gentiles remaining in the world. This time is called The Tribulation as we know it, or the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7), The Great Day of Wrath (Revelation 6:17), That Day (Joel 1:15) etc.
The Bible has much to say about That Day. We are given graphic depictions of what will happen in it, for example, “their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their sockets, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” (Zechariah 14:12).
“Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, ‘Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.‘” (Revelation 19:17-18).
The rapture has no sign, it will be a sudden supernatural interruption of man’s life on earth. Every day that passes we are one day closer to these momentous events.
God judges and in so doing He has different judgments He dispenses. There is the Wrath of Abandonment. This is described in Romans 1:18-32 where, after persistent rejection of Him by individuals or a whole society, He leaves that person or nation to its sin. He did this with Pharaoh. He did this with Israel.
There is Cataclysmic Wrath. This is where God causes or allows natural disasters to happen, like tsunamis or earthquakes.
There is Consequential Wrath. Consequential wrath is the sowing and reaping wrath. If a person lives a certain kind of life he or she sets in motion certain forces that will produce judgment on them for that lifestyle or life choices.
There is Eternal Wrath. Even the Gentile knows about this, it’s hell, or more biblically, eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire for unforgiven sins.
And, there is Eschatological Wrath, the kind of wrath Jesus pours out in the Day of the Lord. This is Revelation 6-18, as well as described in other books of the Bible both New Testament and Old (i.e Matthew 24, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 2 Peter 3, etc). People think that end of days judgments (eschatological) is written only in Revelation, but God’s judgment, especially end of days judgment, is mentioned almost continually throughout the word of God.
Now to today’s topic, God has a set of four judgments that He considers especially severe. Ezekiel 14:21 lists them: sword, famine, pestilence, and the beasts of the earth.
“For thus says the Lord GOD, “How much more when I send My four severe judgments against Jerusalem: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague to cut off man and beast from it!”
Wesley’s notes on Ezekiel 14:21 say, “How much more – If they could not be able to keep off one of the four, how much less would they be able to keep off all four, when I commission them all to go at once.“
During the Tribulation, in Revelation 6:8, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse, the fourth judgment seal, lets loose these four sore plagues all at once. We will take a look at what the biblical application of these individual judgments were in the past and what the Bible says of all four for the future.
Part 1 will take a look at “Sword” in the context of the final judgment, the Tribulation. Part 2, “Famine”. Part 3, “Pestilence.” And part 4, “Beasts.”
Now, sometimes when you talk about God being a God of wrath, certain people get disturbed. And they don’t understand how God can be a God of anger, and God can be a God of wrath, and God can be a God of fury, a God of terror. But that’s because they don’t understand God. Let’s see if we can’t help ourselves to a deeper understanding of His wrath in perspective with all of His other attributes. Sermon here on The Wrath of God