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CHARACTER OF GOD part 3: THE WRATH OF GOD [This is one of the most impacting and important studies.

In it, we will learn what Gods wrath is, and what the difference is between Gods wrath and human wrath. James 1:20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. [The wrath of man doesnt produce the righteousness of God.] Angry men dont do righteous acts. He fights back/retaliates, screams, gossips, kills, etc., they are unrighteous acts. But we know that this is not how God reacts. The dictionary defines wrath as extreme anger or emotion. Thus the wrath of man and of God cannot be the same. But the dictionary is not concerned with the ways of God, so we need to let the Bible define itself. Isaiah 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. [Our thoughts and ways are different (and lower) than those of God.] God cannot be brought down to our level, His ways are infinitely different. Recall a quote we read in our first study from (EGW) Selected Messages Book 1 (Ch 1): The Bible is not given to us in grand superhuman language. Jesus, in order to reach man where he is, took humanity. The Bible must be given in the language of men. Everything that is human is imperfect. Different meanings are expressed by the same word; there is not one word for each distinct idea. The Bible was given for practical purposesThe Bible is written by inspired men, but it is not Gods mode of thought and expression. It is that of humanity. God, as a writer, is not represented. Men will often say such an expression is not like God. But God has not put Himself in words, in logic, in rhetoric, on trial in the Bible. The writers of the Bible were Gods penmen, not His pen. Look at the different writers. We made the point that some words are used for multiple meanings. Thus, many times the Bible will use the same word to describe the behavior of both man and God, although they are entirely different. Recall, for example, two texts (Genesis 6:6 and Numbers 23:19) that we compared in our first Character of God study: Genesis 6:6 And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. [God was sorryHe repented for making man.] To repent means there was a mistake or sin committed and now youre sorry that you did it But does God make mistakes OR commit sins? Of course not! Lets look at another verse and then compare the two so we can show what Genesis 6:6 ACTUALLY means. Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good? [God doesnt lie nor does He need to repent, as do men.]

This verse shows that God repenting & man repenting are different. The point of this comparison is to show how different meanings are expressed by the same word. So looking back at Genesis 6:6, the actual meaning of God repented is not that He had made a mistake or because He had sinned... but rather that He was profoundly grieved for making man because of their decision to sin. Now we will see what the Biblical description of Gods wrath is. Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: Romans 1:27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; [The wrath of God can be seen against all unrighteousness. They had the truth, and they rejected itchoosing to do evil things and thus, God gave them up to their choices.] Theres no excuse for nobody to know the wrathGod has made it abundantly clear to us. Theyre sinning beyond the limit, and God GIVES THEM UP TO ITto the mind they wanted to have They sin and His response is simply, giving them their freedom. This is the wrath of God. So where does Paul get this idea? Lets look at the Old Testament, keeping in mind the language used. Hosea 11:7 And My people are bent to backsliding from Me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt Him. Hosea 11:8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned within Me, My repentings are kindled together.

Hosea 11:9 I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. [His people are bent on leaving Him, and He pleads for them to realize the results of their choice.] God asks, How shall I give thee up, making thee as the cities burned with Sodom and Gomorrah, thus destroying theehow shall I deliver thee? Admah & Ephraim were cities of the plain that were destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis 14:2 and 19:24,25). God giving them up is equivalent to Him destroying them (or executing His fierce anger). Again we see here, His wrath is described as simply giving them up. They didnt want Him, so He wasnt there. We can conclude that, despite not wanting to, God also gave up Sodom and Gomorrah to that which they had chosen. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and His heart churns within Him because He knows what will happen to them as a result of their wickedness. Recall this from Ezekiel 18:31 Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. So, {Point #1} is that the Bible defines Gods wrath as, He gives them up to their choices. Another term that the Bible uses to describe Gods wrath is, He spares not. 2Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 2Peter 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 2Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; [God SPARES NOT.] Spared not is NOT an arbitrary act of God (which well see in the next text here a little, there a little, text upon text). Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:32 He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? [God didnt even spare Jesus.] When it says that God delivered His Son up, it means He didnt spare Jesus from death. EGW says that He suffered the wrath of God. In 2Peter 2:4-6, we read that God spared not the evil angels, spared not the world (preflood), and in this verse, He spared not His Son, but delivered Him up for us all. Just as His wrath comes simply as a result of their choices (and based on freedom of choiceHe cannot force anyone to choose His right way), He can do nothing but give them up to those choices, and thus, His wrath had to be shown to His Son as well (He couldnt have treated Him any differently).

This means that Jesus means MUST have CHOSEN to suffer the wrath of God. John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. John 10:15 As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep. John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. John 10:17 Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. John 10:18 No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father. [Jesus lays down His own life. No man can take it from Him.] By taking on humanity for us, Jesus CHOSE to lay down His life, and suffer Gods wrath. Jesus had chosen to take the consequence of sin (eternal death) for Adam, and God respected His choice, just as He respects everyones choices, and thus, God gave Him up to that choice. Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [Jesus died for ALL men.] In order for Jesus to be a complete sacrifice, God had to treat Him the same way that the unrepentant sinner will be treated in the day of judgment. For Jesus to taste death for every man, not just the repentant, but also the unrepentant, He had to suffer the full wrath of God (AGAINST SIN) FOR US. Recall one of the quotes we read in our first study from (EGW) Review & Herald (February 24, 1874): Satan had peculiar interest to watch the development of events immediately after the fall of Adam to learn how his work had affected the kingdom of God, and what the Lord would do with Adam because of his disobedience. The Son of God, undertaking to become the Redeemer of the race, placed Adam in a new relation to his Creator. He was still fallen; but a door of hope was opened to him. The wrath of God still hung over Adam, but the execution of the sentence of death was delayed, and the indignation of God was restrained, because Christ had entered upon the work of becoming mans Redeemer. Christ was to take the wrath of God which in justice should fall upon man. So, {Point #2} is that the Bible defines Gods wrath as, He spares not. Gods wrath is also described in the bible as forsaking. Look at an example of this in the next verse. Isaiah 54:7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

Isaiah 54:8 In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. [For a SMALL moment I showed My wrath and hid My face from you.] So this text tells us that God forsakes us at times, but look at what this next verse says. Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. [I will NEVER leave you or FORSAKE you.] So here we see one instance where people say the Bible contradicts itself. In this previous verse, God said I have forsaken thee, but then in this verse, He says I will NEVER forsake thee. Notice too, how in Isaiah 54:8, it defined Gods wrath also as, God hiding His face. Lets look deeper into the real meaning of this. Hosea 5:15 I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me early. [They will return to Me when they acknowledge their offense.] So God didnt actually forsake them, but THEY left HIM. When we read this next text, we can clearly understand both ideas of God forsakes them and God hides His face from them. Deuteronomy 31:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake Me, and break My covenant which I have made with them. Deuteronomy 31:17 Then My anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? Deuteronomy 31:18 And I will surely hide My face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. [Theyll forsake me, and so then Ill forsake them.] When the Israelites forsook God by rejecting His loving invitations and warnings, He had no choice but to leave them to their choicewhich the Bible describes as God forsook them, hid His face from them and all the evils that came upon them came as a result of God not being with them. So God gives them their freedom, thus giving them up to their evils. Its completely contrary to Gods nature to force His way or His presence where its not wanted. Note these next quotes that offer extensive support of this principle. (EGW) Signs of the Times (March 5, 1885): He is waiting to be gracious to those who feel that they are weak and unworthy. He loves to bless them; for they will appreciate His blessings. But He will not intrude his presence; He will not force the will nor compel obedience. (EGW) Signs of the Times (February 3, 1898): Christ waits at the door of the heart, saying, Open to Me; but He will not force Himself upon any one.

(EGW) Sermons and Talks, vol 1 (The Christian Life): There is no excuse for any man or woman to lose eternal life. Everyone can gain heaven, but God will not force anyone to accept the provisions He has made. God forces no one to obey. Neither does He place anyone in a position where he will be tempted above that he is able to bear. (EGW) Review and Herald (Gods Will to be Done on Earth: March 26, 1895): In matters concerning the kingdom of Christ no compulsion or forcing of conscience is permitted. No blood is to be shed, no force of arms employed, no prison is to be opened for the incarceration of one who does not choose the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Christ will accept only of the voluntary service of the heart which has been sanctified through the truth. But if one of Christs followers offend, his faults are not to be opened up to unbelievers, not to be brought before earthly tribunals by his brethren. Those who are lawful and obedient are the only ones who are empowered by Christ to deal with the cases of the erring. Those who correct the erring should be divested of self, and have the mind of Christ. (EGW) Desire of Ages (Chapter 1God With Us): The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satans deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of Gods government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. Recall from a few verses back how the two verses seemed to contradict each other (in one verse, God said I have forsaken thee, but then in the other verse, He said I will NEVER forsake thee.). But if we recall the point that we noted in part 1 of this study, that the Bible describes God as DOING that which He simply PERMITS or ALLOWS, then we have our correct interpretation of the statement that God forsakes us. Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? [Jesus asks God why He forsook Him.] Jesus experienced Gods wrathHe couldnt see Gods face, as was His own choice in His plan for salvation. The hiding of Gods face will be a result of everyones choice when they are lost in the end. (EGW) Bible Echo (August 6, 1894): Christ submitted to crucifixion, although the heavenly host could have delivered Him. The angels suffered with Christ. God Himself was crucified with Christ; for Christ was one with the Father. (EGW) Christs Object Lessons (Chapter 6: Other Lessons From Seed-Sowing): God destroys no man. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself. In actuality, God didnt really leave Him, though Christ felt the separation in a powerful way, but was right there suffering with Him in His trial.

Those words fell out of Jesus mouth in anguish. God didnt kill Christ, separation from God killed Him. Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear. [Your sins have separated you from God and hid His face from you.] Its not that He actually forsakes/leaves us, or that He cannot actually hear us, but that we have forsaken Him, and He does not force His presence. Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake Thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters. [They have FORSAKEN HIM.] So, {Point #3} is that the Bible DESCRIBES Gods wrath as He forsakes them, when its really just that He doesnt force His presence where Hes not wanted. God is life (a fountain of living waters), and without Him there can be no life. The cross confirms that sin is what kills, and proves that God was right, and that Satan was wrongdeath DID come as a result of Adams sin (as God said it would). (EGW) Gospel Workers (page 315): The Sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light that streams from the cross of Calvary. I present before you the great, grand monument of mercy and regeneration, salvation and redemption,the Son of God uplifted on the cross. This is to be the foundation of every discourse given by our ministers. As was shared at the end of the last studies, there is a quote that we should continue to keep in mind throughout these five studies, as it is very much insightful into why the terminology of the Bible can often seem misleading. (EGW) The Great Controversy (Ch 1): Their sufferings are often represented as a punishment visited upon them by the direct decree of God. It is thus that the great deceiver seeks to conceal his own work.