Posted in bible jesus, hell, punishment

Back to Basics: What is hell?

This “Back to Basics” series explores some of the more basic doctrines of the Bible Believing faith of Christianity. After the rapture there will be millions of new believers who must come to grips, and quickly, with the basic tenets of our faith. This series is a primer. Other entries in the series are

Hello, Holy Spirit!
What does it mean to be born again?
What’s the Gospel?
What is prayer?

Hell is real. The current American culture doesn’t want to believe that hell is real. Liberal Christians all around the world don’t believe it is real either. Rob Bell wrote a book called “Love Wins” in which he says “A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’ message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.” It should be noted that Mr Bell has become apostate by now.

Of course, Mr Bell is completely wrong, at least about the doctrine of hell being a misguided teaching. Jesus taught it. Was Jesus misguided? Certainly not.

Continue reading “Back to Basics: What is hell?”
Posted in theology

Our greatest need

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s troubling times. Our nation just went through a national convulsion from the pandemic, presidential election, and post-election transfer of power. We’ve been experiencing a year-long string of natural disasters, riots, and unexpected tragedies. It’s been tough.

Even the strongest Christian is wobbling from being buffeted back and forth. Pagans are in terror most of the time, whether they will admit it or not.

During troubling times, our natural instinct is to extend sympathy. To put a hand on a shoulder, to cry with those who are crying. We speak a soft word, we exude mercy and grace to those who are suffering, afraid, or scared. We tend toward the “kindness” qualities in our relationships. As we should.

During troubling times it’s also a natural inclination to swing the pendulum too far to the other side. We tend to exclude speaking of our greatest need. We feel it’s ‘not the right time’ to bring up what all humans need, especially to the unsaved.

Continue reading “Our greatest need”
Posted in prophecy, theology

Is America under wrath?

By Elizabeth Prata

The year 2020 has been a hard one. There hasn’t been a lot of good news. In fact it has been a grief to see countries close and cities lock down, churches shuttered, and missionaries booted out, making it difficult to personally gather to worship Jesus and share the Good News. Time has passed and we’re now looking at 2021, but no one except God knows if the upcoming year will be any better for us here in America or elsewhere.

People are asking, “Is the wrath of God upon us?” “Is the wrath of God about to be poured down?” “Is judgment here?”

Yes. But it has been since the Garden. Let me explain the different kinds of wrath related to different kinds of judgment. Because there are different types of wrath and except for the eschatological wrath due to come at the end of the last days, the other kinds of wrath have always been in play.

When we think of ‘God’s wrath’ or ‘Judgment’, we think of the stark example of what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah (and Admah and Zeboiim) in Genesis 19. Those sinful cities serve as an example of what happens when a town gives itself over to indulging in immorality, like widespread homosexuality. (Jude 1:7). God rained down fire and brimstone, destroying the cities and all flesh that were within them.

But there are actually different types of wrath. Some are unseen because they’re internal, others are seen but difficult to identify specifically as wrath or simply a ‘natural’ a consequence of the Fall. Some wrath of God abides on the ungodly every day, and it always has since Genesis 3.

Thomas Hooker, a Puritan preacher of the 1600s, said in his book The application of redemption by the effectual work of the word, and spirit of Christ, for the bringing home of lost sinners to God (don’t you love their lengthy titles, lol? And their antiquated spelling? )

who shal comfort, who can releeve what ever he doth, wherever he is, the wrath God abides upon him, thou art not within the Mercy nor the compass of that Redemption?

Jonathan Edwards said the word “wrath” 52 times in his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. He said “anger” 6 times. He preached,

The Wrath of God burns against them, their Damnation don’t slumber, the Pit is prepared, the Fire is made ready, the Furnace is now hot, ready to receive them, the Flames do now rage and glow.

What IS the wrath? Most people, if they think of God’s wrath at all either think of Jesus exhausting it on the cross for forgiven sinners, or the last day when Jesus returns in wrath, blood, fire etc to pour His wrath out on unforgiven sinners.

The wrath of God is not an easy topic. It is not a popular topic. It is not often directly preached from pulpits, nor spoken of on social media or in conversation. But it is an important topic. Upon death, the final state of all humans who were not saved during life will be to endure horrific wrath forever. The wrath hangs over every unsaved person while they are alive.

The wrath is an attribute of God. And though we love to think of Jesus the babe meek & mild, especially during Christmas season, He is also wrathful. He will return to deliver His stored-up wrath one day.

John MacArthur preached on this a number of times, here is a paraphrase / excerpt from one of the sermons. Please note that MacArthur took the biblical evidence of wrath and placed them in a descriptive list.

1. Eternal wrath – because it is the punishment that God brings upon unbelieving sinners forever in hell. (Matthew 25:41-46, many other verses).
2. Eschatological wrath, that is the wrath of God that is released at the end of the world described by some of the Old Testament prophets, described by Jesus Christ Himself in the Olivet Discourse, and clearly laid out for us in the book of Revelation. (Luke 21:23, Romans 2:5, Revelation 6-18).
3. Cataclysmic wrath, like a tsunami, a volcano, a hurricane, an earthquake… Noah’s Flood and the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, & Zeboiim are examples of this wrath. Cataclysms are a reflection of the judgment of God. (Numbers 16:31-35).
4. Consequential wrath. Consequential wrath is the sowing and reaping wrath, you live a certain kind of life and you set in motion certain forces that will produce judgment. The resulting wrath can be reflective of the consequence of the sin-choice a person makes. (Acts 5:4-5, 1 Corinthians 11:29-30). AIDS was a consequential wrath for indulging in homosexuality.
5. The wrath of abandonment. It is that wrath exhibited by God when He turns His back on a group, society, or individual. (Romans 1:24, 28, 28).

We should be careful though, not to attribute any particular event as an example of a specific kind of wrath. The tornado-wind that destroyed Job’s house was not wrath. (Job 18:18). The man born blind was not experiencing a lifetime of infirmity due to sin. (John 9:2-3). The Tower of Siloam fell over because the Tower of Siloam fell over. (Luke 13:4). Someone whom God has seemed to have turned over to their sin in a wrath of abandonment could become the unlikeliest convert (Saul/Paul).

Unlike in Edwards or Hooker’s time, in today’s Christianity God is talked of as a kindly grandfather in the sky, or Jesus is treated as a romantic boyfriend or buddy. However, God’s wrath is real. It is already present and it is also to come. Humans may not live any way we want and God will sit idly by smiling upon His wayward children. He has high moral standards and a high holy standard. Departure from His standard will result in wrath. Since none of us can attain these standards on our own, it means we are all due to experience His wrath. This presents a problem because none is righteous, no, not one. We are all separated from God. Yet He desires communion with His creatures.

Graciously, Jesus lived a perfectly holy life, died on the cross as the sacrifice, having exhausted all of God’s wrath for those whom He will save, and after laying dead in the tomb for three days, God raised Jesus to life. Those who repent of their sins and turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior will never experience His wrath. Praise God for that.

We do seem to be experiencing a wrath of abandonment here in America at present. I’ll write about that tomorrow on why I think so and explore Romans 1 as the biblical foundation for why I believe it.

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).

Repent now, while there is still time.

After the arrest of John, Jesus went into Galilee and proclaimed the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15).

wrath verse

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Further Reading

Delivered By Grace: The Wrath of God

GotQuestions: What is the biblical understanding of the wrath of God?

Posted in jesus, theology

Jesus drank the waters of fury

By Elizabeth Prata

God rebuked sinful man. His anger was higher than the mountains, deeper than the lowest valley. He covered the planet with His wrath, in the flood.

The waters were high, deep, angry, and overspread all that existed. All. All that water was God’s wrath for sin. He enshrounded the earth with judgment, covering it with water as a garment. (Psalm 104:6). His water was the judgment robe that spread over the earth as a mantle. Continue reading “Jesus drank the waters of fury”

Posted in discernment, theology

Are you drifting toward only wanting your ears tickled?

By Elizabeth Prata

This essay first appeared on The End Time in November 2010.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires…” (2 Timothy 4:3)

Do you notice that word “endure”? The verse does not say “they will not like sound doctrine…” It does not say “they will not enjoy sound doctrine…” It doesn’t even say “they will not accept sound doctrine.” It uses the word endure. When you endure something, you writhe. You wish you were not there in the midst of it. If anyone has ever undergone physical therapy, you know that you have to endure it but if you could you would shoot out of the gym so fast you’d be like a speeding bullet. If anyone has ever had to get a root canal, you know that you endure it. You do not seek it, you do not like it, and if you could, you go away from it.

That is the process by which lukewarm Christians, fake Christians, and unholy pastors feel about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. To be sure, the true Gospel of the Risen Savior is full of warm fuzzies. He loves us. (John 13:1). He prospers us. (2 Corinthians 9:8). He sends angels to us. (Hebrews 1:14). But the True Gospel is also full of truth, the unpalatable truth that the iniquitous lawless cannot endure: we are sinners. (Psalm 51:5). Rejection of the remedy for your sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) means you will spend eternity in torment, apart from God. That there is nothing good in us. (Mark 10:18). That we are fallen, craven, and deserve judgment. No, they will not endure that. So they don’t.

Instead they seek teachers to tempt us with what the devil has always tempted us with, and tempted Jesus too: health, wealth, fame. (Luke 4:1-13). They may find it in some “preachers” and in some “churches”, but it is for a season. Hebrews 11:25). Most do not find prosperity in health, wealth and fame. The only ones becoming famous and rich are the false pastors who urge the hapless and desperate to send money.

In his series, “Toxic Television: Unmasking the Prosperity Gospel part 1” Bible teacher John MacArthur spends a few minutes below of his one-hour sermon (linked above) explaining why Joel Osteen is false, dangerous, and unholy. He also spends time explaining why the Trinity Broadcast Network is also false, dangerous and unholy. MacArthur says, Osteen “is a quasi-pantheist where Jesus is a footnote that satisfies his critics and deceives his followers.” As for Osteen’s book, MacArthur says ‘Your Best Life Now’, the title, is a dead giveaway. The only way you can have your best life now is if you’re going to hell.”

Toxic Television: Unmasking the Prosperity Gospel part 1

A watered down gospel removes the book-end to the parts that they seek love and only ‘love’. The missing book-end is judgment. They will not endure sound teaching of His holiness involving love but also including righteous judgment.

“I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.
“They will say of Me, ‘Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.’
Men will come to Him,
And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. (Isaiah 45:23-24)

A watered down gospel that removes the other book-end is less filling but it tastes great. The Bible shows us that the True Gospel tastes great, and also the watered down false Gospel tastes great. In the verses telling us of Ezekiel’s commission,

Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.” (Ez 3:1-3).

The true word absorbed by submissive believers is sweet. But it is also sometimes accompanied by a bitterness felt by even the most beloved of followers, even the most obedient of disciples. Sometimes the true word is hard to hear and bitter even for believers, because it reveals to us the true state of our sinfulness, our sorrow over our sin, and the fate of those who refuse His hand, those mockers and scorners whom we mourn over-

I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.” (Rev 10:10)

The only way to endure the knowledge of judgment that is coming is to rest on His truth and His promises. Those who do not rest in that truth, bitter as it sometimes is, do not endure it. Not only have they stopped asking the Spirit for wisdom, but they simply stop ingesting the sweet Words of the LORD and they flee away, being unstable in all they do.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8)

But we do endure! Paul said to in 2 Tim 2:3, 10. Peter said to in 1 Peter 2:20. The writer in Hebrews 12:7 advised us to endure. Endure what? Hardship. Beatings. Wrongdoing. Life. Hardship. Persecution. And there are those today who cannot sit still in a chair or a pew and ‘endure’ the Word of the Living God who loves them. They seek tickling instead. They are gaining the world only to lose their lives forever.

Has solid preaching become an endurance test for you? Or are the hard but truthful words uplifting to you and filling in every way? If you have recently changed churches because the pastor is “a little too Bible thumping for my taste”, or have drifted away from regular worship lately because the sermons are too long, too convicting, or demand endurance on the part of your deceitful heart, then ask yourself if you are really just trying to accumulate a teacher in accordance with your own desires, and are wanting your ears tickled with a less filling but great tasting sermon. If so, you may be at risk.

Why at risk? Because we all live forever in eternity in one of two places. The day will come when the eternity you are beginning will either not have the word endure associated with it, which is heaven, or it will have the word endure associated with it, for an eternity!

You may try to avoid enduring a convicting sermon from a ticklish teacher today, but the end result will be that you will have to endure an eternity separated from Him in torment. O, faithful one, let it not be so!

 

Posted in prophecy, theology

The darkness deepens

By Elizabeth Prata

I have friends who are unafraid and unashamed to post the biblical truth on social media, like James White, Michelle Lesley, Justin Peters, and so on. We learned a few days ago that Amazon pulled books on the subject of conversion (homosexual) therapy. This week also, the American Institute of Graphic Arts who puts on the Circles Conference disinvited a staffer from Matt Chandler’s church who was to speak, due to his “organization’s” allegedly discriminatory attitudes towards women and gay people. It’s sad to see these things come to pass, but we expected the battle on those fronts. However, my friend Michelle also was just notified that a meme she posted on Facebook was hate speech. Here it is.

women pastors

Feminism and the Homosexual Agenda are two of the enemy’s favored doctrines. He is pressing them ever forward into American culture. As he does so, he is tightening the reins of how much truth will be tolerated. This is an example.

James White wrote about this recently, saying in his blog post Wisdom From Above

what shall we do now that Google and Facebook and Twitter and Amazon are picking us off, one by one, for not saying Caesar is Lord?

James White continues in his short blog post with a few ideas about what we should do, as related to social media.

He also wrote, commenting about a recent incident from culture, that we are looking at Romans 1:32 being lived out in front of us.

It was quite a reminder that those who know God’s righteous judgment against their sin suppress that knowledge by inviting others to join them in their rebellion.

Here is the verse he mentioned, about those who participate in these sins heartily applaud those others who do as well.
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:28-32)

When God gives them over to a depraved mind, it means their mind can’t think straight. It’s warped, twisted, and literally cannot think rationally. A vivid example of this is claiming that the meme’s language is hate speech when it’s actually just a verse describing the qualifications of preachers.

In the generations gone by, He permitted all the nations to go their own ways. (Acts 14:16)

Thirteen years ago John MacArthur preached a message that stayed with me. It was piercing in its devastating truths. It’s called When God Abandons a Nation. We know that God is a God of love, but He is also a God of wrath. There are different kinds of wrath. One of them is the Wrath of Abandonment. We can’t know when God performs certain acts, but our minds are not futile and we rationally observe the culture. As we know the prophesied outcome of All Things and the general trajectory of life and society, (Genesis 6, Judges…) we can detect by our observations when or if God might have abandoned the USA. MacArthur gives the steps to see this process. I excerpted them below.

1. So you look at a society and ask, is it driven by sexual immorality? Romans 1:24
2. Rampant degrading passions.- Plain and simple, Lesbianism, homosexuality. Romans 1:26
3. First the heart is rotten and the body follows, and then the mind goes. What is a depraved mind? Well, the word literally means tested and found useless, disqualified for its intended purpose, a non-functioning mind. Reasoning is so corrupted that it is crippled. Romans 1:28.

God given-over minds are so warped their reasoning doesn’t make sense. If anyone has spent time on Social Media, you’ve seen this futile thinking. It’s uncritical, unreasoning, twisted, and belligerent.

It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. It is also a terrible thing to be cast out of the hands of the Living God. Abandonment to one’s own desires is one of the worst things that can happen to a soul. When this occurs on a wide-spread scale, as in an entire society being given over, it’s horrible to watch.

I’m posting this not to ‘tut-tut’ the culture, but to encourage you to keep studying the word. We need to know what we believe and why. We should keep sharing the reason for the hope that is within us because as society darkens, the Light that is within us will be brighter. We need to prepare for alternative social media platforms as cultural intolerance appears to be increasingly rejecting Christ’s truths. Other platforms beside Twitter and Facebook exist, and James White mentions one or two. There are others.

MacArthur offers a hopeful conclusion in his sermon When God Abandons a Nation:

The key, listen to Me. Walk in My ways. The only hope for this or any other society is to hear the Word of the Lord and obey it, to hear the Word of the Lord and obey it. And I would suggest that this is not a good time for weak men preaching weak messages in weak churches. This is a time for bold and powerful strong biblical ministry that calls people to hear the Word of the Lord and respond. This is the only hope for any people for any individual.

All glory to God!

abandoned

Posted in hell, theology

What about hell?

By Elizabeth Prata

I love to speak of Jesus’s love, mercy, grace, salvation, and sanctification. However I also think it is important to speak of His justice, wrath, and consignment of the rebellious to hell in torment forever. Jesus spoke both of His kingdom to come and hell constantly. Yet, we don’t. We should. Many of those on earth won’t be joining Him in His kingdom to come unless they repent of their sins and believe on Him. Jesus taught quite a bit on wrath, hell and the consequences of sin. I read this week for background to this essay that the Bible runs 3-to-1 on wrath vs. love as a topic.

As Bible.org sums it up,

It may be worth noting that in Deuteronomy 28 (and following), the blessing section (28:1-14) is a great deal shorter than the cursing section (28:15-68).

Paul taught that thinking about and teaching about the rapture and the joy to come is encouraging. It is, but remembering the wrath we ourselves were under before salvation and is still poised over every unbeliever is a worthwhile thing to ponder, too.

I started a new book this week, John Gerstner’s treatise, Jonathan Edwards’ on Heaven & Hell. It’s quite illuminating. Though hell should not be a popular subject, (after all it’s the weightiest in the universe), it should not be marginalized, either. Here is the blurb on the book-

Dr. Gerstner was an ardent student of the famous Jonathan Edwards. In this short work, previously published by Baker, he examines the teaching of Edwards on the subjects of heaven and hell.

Hell is a real place and unconverted people will be cast there at the Day of Judgment. If it not real, then where did Jesus descend to during his three-day death to proclaim to the spirits bound there? (1 Peter 3:18-20). Though people try to debate this, dampen, it (annihilationism, universal salvation), hell is real.

If you are looking for a resource on the topic of hell, here are a few items for you-

Described as

a. Everlasting punishment. Mt 25:46.
b. Everlasting fire. Mt 25:41.
c. Everlasting burnings. Isa 33:14.
d. A furnace of fire. Mt 13:42,50.
e. A lake of fire. Rev 20:15.
f. Fire and brimstone. Rev 14:10.
g. Unquenchable fire. Mt 3:12.
h. Devouring fire. Isa 33:14.
4. Prepared for the devil, &c. Mt 25:41.
5. Devils are confined in, until the judgment day. 2Pe 2:4; Jude 1:6.
6. Punishment of, is eternal. Isa 33:14; Rev 20:10.
7. The wicked shall be turned into. Ps 9:17.
8. Human power cannot preserve from. Eze 32:27.
9. The body suffers in. Mt 5:29; 10:28.
10. The soul suffers in. Mt 10:28.
11. The wise avoid. Pr 15:24.
12. Endeavour to keep others from. Pr 23:14; Jude 1:23.
13. The society of the wicked leads to. Pr 5:5; 9:18.
14. The beast, false prophets, and the devil shall be cast into. Rev 19:20; 20:10.
15. The powers of, cannot prevail against the Church. Mt 16:18.
16. Illustrated. Isa 30:33.

John Gerstner (RC Sproul’s mentor) was an ardent student of Jonathan Edwards’ works, as noted above. From Gerstner’s essay on Edwards’ Rationale of Hell, we read Gerstner’s thoughts interspersed with Edwards’-

“those that have a sinful fear of God fear God as evil, but a right fear fears him as great and excellent.” (Edwards). Thus there is a right and wrong fear of God. This wrong fear of God, fearing him as an evil and dreadful being, drives men from God.

“A sinful fear makes men afraid to come to God.” (Edwards)

But, on the other hand, there is a proper fear of God, as the good and holy being that he is, and this right fear makes men afraid to go from him.

Eve and Adam had a sinful fear of God and they fled from Him. Those who are in Him would have a healthy fear to flee away from Him, but instead fly toward Him in all circumstances. On so many levels, once we are converted, everything turns upside down (or right side up, depending on yoru perspective!)

So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (Luke 3:7).

You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the sentence of hell? (Matthew 23:33)

I’m sorry not to be uplifting or sentimental today. Sometimes I feel the weight of the lost and their permanent eternity, or I give a mournful shaking of my head when I see important topics being shunted aside, and I feel compelled to write about the more unpopular subjects. Hell might not be popular, but it is very real. I recommend John Gerstner (especially at Ligonier.org) and Jonathan Edwards for credible treatment of the subject.

wrath 3

Posted in prophecy, theology

“But I’m a good person!”

By Elizabeth Prata

When they live in dreadful wickedness, they are but filling up the measure which God hath limited for them.~Jonathan Edwards

 

ust when we start to think we might be such bad people, here is a splash of cold water for us all to ponder. Commenting on Hosea 7:1, Israel’s sin, Matthew Henry wrote

The actual wickedness of men’s lives bears a very small proportion to what is in their hearts. But when lust is inwardly cherished, it will break forth into outward sin. Those who tempt others to drunkenness never can be their real friends, and often design their ruin. Thus men execute the Divine vengeance on each other. Those are not only heated with sin, but hardened in sin, who continue to live without prayer, even when in trouble and distress. (“Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible“)

We’re not as bad as we could be, but it’s in there and under certain conditions, our greater seed of iniquity comes out. Pogroms, genocide, the Holocaust, are all examples where the evil men did rose in greater proportion to what is in there. And that is not end of the evil that lurks within still. During the Tribulation, men will fully enact what is in their heart. The full measure of sin will be complete. (Dan 8:23, Matthew 23:32). Jesus said it will be the worst time the planet has ever known. (Matthew 24:21-22).

In 1735 Jonathan Edwards preached on 1 Thessalonians 2:16, in his sermon titled When the Wicked Shall Have Filled Up the Measure of Their Sin, Wrath Will Come Upon Them to the Uttermost

by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last! (1 Thessalonians 2:16)

This is true of every individual person, but will be in greater application during the Tribulation. Edwards’ sermon again,

There is a certain measure that God hath set to the sin of every wicked man. God says concerning the sin of man, as he says to the raging waves of the sea, Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further. The measure of some is much greater than of others. Some reprobates commit but a little sin in comparison with others, and so are to endure proportionably a smaller punishment. There are many vessels of wrath; but some are smaller and others greater vessels. Some will contain comparatively but little wrath, others a greater measure of it. Sometimes, when we see men go to dreadful lengths, and become very heinously wicked, we are ready to wonder that God lets them alone. He sees them go on in such audacious wickedness, and keeps silence, nor does anything to interrupt them, but they go smoothly on, and meet with no hurt. But sometimes the reason why God lets them alone is because they have not filled up the measure of their sins.

Edwards urges us to get into the ark, Christ.

We find in Scripture, that where glorious times are prophesied to God’s people, there are at the same time awful judgments foretold to his enemies. What God is now about to do, we know not. But this we may know, that there will be no safety to any but those who are in the ark. — Therefore it behooves all to haste and flee for their lives, to get into a safe condition, to get into Christ. Then they need not fear, though the earth be removed, and the mountains carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof: for God will be their refuge and strength; they need not be afraid of evil tidings; their hearts may be fixed, trusting in the Lord.

Through rapture or death, what a blessing it will be to arrive home to heaven where Jesus dwells, and there is no sin or death or evil any longer. Then, we can be with and gaze upon the only truly Good Person there ever was or shall be: Emmanuel.

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filled with hope verse

Posted in prophecy, theology

The Different Kinds of God’s Wrath

By Elizabeth Prata

Thomas Hooker, a Puritan preacher of the 1600s, said in his book The application of redemption by the effectual work of the word, and spirit of Christ, for the bringing home of lost sinners to God (don’t you love their lengthy titles, lol? And their antiquated spelling? )

who shal comfort, who can releeve what ever he doth, whereever he is, the wrath God abides upon him, thou art not within the Mercy nor the compass of that Redemption?

Jonathan Edwards said the word “wrath” 52 times in his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. He said “anger” 6 times. He preached,

The Wrath of God burns against them, their Damnation don’t slumber, the Pit is prepared, the Fire is made ready, the Furnace is now hot, ready to receive them, the Flames do now rage and glow.

What IS the wrath? Most people, if they think of God’s wrath at all either think of Jesus exhausting it on the cross for forgiven sinners, or the last day when Jesus returns in wrath, blood, fire etc to pour His wrath out on unforgiven sinners.

The wrath of God is not an easy topic. It is not a popular topic. It is not often directly preached from pulpits, nor spoken of on social media or in conversation. But it is an important topic. Upon death, the final state of all humans who were not saved during life will be to endure horrific wrath forever. The wrath hangs over every unsaved person while they are alive.

The wrath is something that Jesus endured and died for so we believers would not have to encounter it. When we say are saved, what are we saved from? God’s wrath. The wrath is half of the Gospel. So we need to understand it in all its different aspects, speak of it, include it judiciously in conversation. It is an attribute of God. And though we love to think of Jesus the babe meek & mild, He is also wrathful. He will return to deliver that stored-up wrath one day.

However there are different kinds of wrath. Just because we don’t see fire and brimstone raining down from heaven does not mean God is not expressing His righteous anger against sinners this very moment. Let’s look at the different kinds of wrath that exist and have existed for all time.

John MacArthur preached on this a number of times, here is a paraphrase / excerpt from one of the sermons. Please note that though MacArthur put the different wraths in a descriptive list, by no means is the list extra-biblical. It’s just that people aren’t used to thinking about the wrath in different types delivered at different times.

1. Eternal wrath – because it is the punishment that God brings upon unbelieving sinners forever in hell. (Matthew 25:41-46, many other verses).
2. Eschatological wrath, that is the wrath of God that is released at the end of the world described by some of the Old Testament prophets, described by Jesus Christ Himself in the Olivet Discourse, and clearly laid out for us in the book of Revelation. (Luke 21:23, Romans 2:5, Revelation 6-18).
3. Cataclysmic wrath, like a tsunami, a volcano, a hurricane, an earthquake… Noah’s FLood and the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, & Zeboiim are examples of this wrath. Cataclysms are a reflection of the judgment of God. (Numbers 16:31-35).
4. Consequential wrath. Consequential wrath is the sowing and reaping wrath, you live a certain kind of life and you set in motion certain forces that will produce judgment. The resulting wrath can be reflective of the consequence of the sin-choice a person makes. (Acts 5:4-5, 1 Corinthians 11:29-30).
5. The wrath of abandonment. It is that wrath exhibited by God when He turns His back on a group, society, or individual. (Romans 1:24, 28, 28).

We should be careful though, not to attribute any particular event as an example of a specific kind of wrath. The tornado-wind that destroyed Job’s house was not wrath. (Job 18:18). The man born blind did not experience a lifetime of infirmity due to sin. (John 9:2-3). The Tower of Siloam fell over because the Tower of Siloam fell over. (Luke 13:4). Someone whom God has seemed to have turned over to their sin in a wrath of abandonment could become the unlikeliest convert (Saul/Paul).

Unlike in Edwards or Hooker’s time, in today’s Christianity God is talked of as a kindly grandfather in the sky, or Jesus is treated as a romantic boyfriend. However, God’s wrath is real. It is already present and it is also to come. Humans may not live any way we want and God will sit idly by smiling upon His wayward children. He has high moral standards and a high holy standard. Departure from His standard will result in wrath. Since none of us can attain these standards on our own, it means we are all due to experience His wrath. This presents a problem because none is righteous, no, not one. We are all separated from God. Yet He desires communion with His creatures.

Graciously, Jesus lived a perfectly holy life, died on the cross as the sacrifice, having exhausted all of God’s wrath for those whom He will save, and after laying dead in the tomb for three days, God raised Jesus to life. Those who repent of their sins and turn to Jesus as Lord and Savior will never experience His wrath. Praise God for that.

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).

We truly don’t have any idea of what is coming. Read Nahum for an example. It’s just three short chapters. Read Revelation for a glimpse. God is angry with the wicked every day. (Psalm 7:11).

Repent now, while there is still time.

After the arrest of John, Jesus went into Galilee and proclaimed the gospel of God.and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15).

wrath verse

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Further Reading

Delivered By Grace: The Wrath of God

GotQuestions: What is the biblical understanding of the wrath of God?