The wrath of God has come upon them at last (1 Thess 2:16)

In our ongoing series on the wrath of God, there is an important scripture we have not yet looked at. It’s this one:

For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last. (1 Thess 2:14-16)

What is Paul saying here? And what is the wrath of God that has come upon the Jews at last?

The traditional answer is that Paul is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem which took place in AD70. The 17th-century commentator Matthew Henry wrote that by killing Jesus and obstructing the gospel “thus did the Jews fill up their sins… Not many years after this Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Jewish nation cut off by the Romans.”

According to Mr. Henry, the Romans were God’s agents of wrath. They were the means by which God dealt with the “heaped-up sins” of the Jews.

I disagree. There is and only ever has been one means for dealing with our heaped-up sins and it’s not murderous Romans legions – it’s the cross!

Roman vengeance or God’s grace?

As we have seen in this series, God’s wrath was poured out on all sin at the cross. Jerusalem was not destroyed as some kind of divine payback for killing Jesus. Jerusalem was destroyed because the Jews rejected those things that bring us peace. They spurned the Prince of peace, yanked on the tail of the Roman tiger, and reaped Roman consequences.

Why does this matter? Because if God used the Romans to punish the Jews, then God might use Romans to punish you. Indeed, many people think this is exactly what God does. He sends storms to chastise America for its sins. He allows gunmen to shoot up schools and terrorists to blow up children because he is a God of justice who will not tolerate sin.

earthquake_1It’s as if Jesus never came.

(Sidebar: An earthquake flattened my hometown and years later misguided “prophets” are still telling people God did it. Here’s my response to that nonsense.)

Yes, Paul said the Jews killed Jesus but he also said “I wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race” (Rom 9:3). Paul didn’t want vengeance for the Jews – he wanted grace! So does God.

So why does Paul say God’s wrath has come upon them at last?

Short answer: Because they will soon be dead and when you are dead it’s too late to be saved from the coming wrath.

Life’s two certainties

As we have seen elsewhere, the phrase “the coming wrath” refers to God’s ultimate cleansing act when he removes, once and for all, those things that are contrary to his good character. Judgment day, in other words.

People are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (krisis). (Heb 9:27)

Two things in life are certain: death and krisis. Krisis literally means decision or verdict. It’s the answer to the question, what did you choose? Did you choose the life that Christ freely offers or did you spurn it? Did you choose his grace or your own merits? Did you choose to follow Adam (self-trust) or Jesus (faith in God)?

Everyone faces a day of judgment but for those in Christ, that judgment is in the past. Jesus said, “he who hears my word and believes in him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment” (John 5:24). The person you used to be died with Christ on the cross and in him you have been judged righteous for all time. But for those who hear and reject Christ’s word, their judgment remains in the future. The final outcome has not been decided.

The passage about death and judgment comes from the letter to the Hebrews. This letter was addressed to the Jews, some of whom had chosen to cut themselves off from the grace of God by rejecting Christ. To this group the writer of Hebrews says judgment day is yet to come. (This in itself is grace and mercy – there is still time to take hold of life and the writer of Hebrews exhorts them to do this again and again. But he also appreciates that for those who have tasted the heavenly gift and spat it out, more time may not help. Their minds are made up.)

The two tragedies 

When you realize that judgment follows death, you will appreciate that Paul is describing not one but two imminent tragedies. The first tragedy is that the Jews are on a collision course with Roman brutality. Their date with death is fast approaching. Paul is saying, “The Jews are hostile to all men – they were hostile to Jesus (he forgave them), they are hostile to us (my heart is that they will yet be saved), and they are hostile to the Romans (who won’t be so nice with them).” Jesus won’t pay them back for their sins and nor will Paul. But the Romans surely will, and in spades.

Although the siege of Jerusalem is still some 20 years in the future, Paul can see it coming. (So could Jesus – see Luke 19:41-44). He knew that one day they would reap trouble for their trouble and in AD70 they did. That’s the first tragedy.

The second and greater tragedy is that after the Jews die, they will reap the consequences of their decision to spurn Christ. They will have their Krisis Day (see Hebrews 10:26). And this is why Paul says God’s wrath has come upon them at last or “to the uttermost.” The religious Jews have been so consistently stubborn (“they killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out”), and their death is now so close, that the final verdict is as good as in. Paul is not saying “God is fed up with the Jews.” He’s saying, “These stubborn guys are so set in their course that their final end is obvious and all but unavoidable.” Those who reject the gift of eternal life reap a second death as surely as night follows day.

“That’s a bit rough. I normally like your posts, Paul, but this one is not good news at all.”

I agree. It’s heartbreaking, especially when you consider what these Jews had experienced. Many of them had personally encountered Jesus. They had seen him heal the sick and raise the dead. They had heard the gospel straight from his mouth. Yet they hated it and they hated him.

The religious Jews weren’t ignorant

The religious Jews weren’t in the dark except by choice. They opposed Jesus and then they opposed the apostles. They would’ve seen their friends responding to the message of grace with joy and thanksgiving but they themselves remained stubborn and hostile. When the famous Pharisee Paul came to Jerusalem proclaiming the good news in a language they understood, they conspired to kill him.

Unbelief is hard work. You need to apply yourself with religious fervor and tragically, the Jews did. They hardened their hearts to the good news of grace and embraced the politics of violence. They said, “We don’t want your kingdom Lord, we’d rather make our own. Keep your gospel of peace, we prefer the sword.” They set their own course and reaped the whirlwind.

Even so, they had plenty of time to change their minds. The Romans were a long time coming. After the cross the Jews still had 40 years to embrace those things which would’ve brought them peace. Some did and they escaped the Romans and were saved from the coming wrath. But many Jews preferred the fatal choice.

It was a tragedy long in the making and Paul had a front-row seat. He knew it would end badly for the religious Jews and he risked his life in the hope that he might change the outcome. Sadly, the Jews treated him the same way they treated Jesus. This broke Paul’s heart. When he saw the end of the Jewish nation approaching, he said with tears, “The wrath of God has come upon them at last.”

What do we take away from this?

If we won’t receive love, we won’t really live, for a life without love is no life at all. We may fill our lives with politics, business, or religion but we do so at the cost of our true selves. We were born to be loved and to give love in return. The ultimate expression of love is found in Jesus Christ. He alone satisfies our deepest need for love, identity, and belonging. To scorn his love is to scorn life itself.

Love is a choiceThis is what the religious Jews did. In their hard-hearted opposition to the good news of God’s love and grace, they made the fatal choice to pursue the self-made life, which is no life at all. Live this way – rejecting all that is truly good and truly life – and in the end, nothing remains.

The good news is that the fatal choice is the harder one to make. We were all made for love. We need it like we need air. We have been hardwired to respond to the grace of God. It makes no difference whether you’ve been good or bad, upright or uptight, Jesus draws us all to himself (John 12:32).

POSTSCRIPT: About a week after I published this post, a reader alerted me to an interesting fact. The qualifier “of God” is not in the original Greek. It was added by NIV (and other) translators. Paul’s actual words are: “the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.” This begs the question – who’s wrath is Paul referring to? God’s wrath or Roman wrath? It seems to me that either choice leaves us with plenty of room to doubt the traditional interpretation that God was punishing the Jews. If it was God’s wrath, see my explanation above. If it was Roman wrath, no explanation is needed. (With thanks to Adrian Clark.)

55 Comments on The wrath of God has come upon them at last (1 Thess 2:16)

  1. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

    WHY….SIN IN MAN…

    PROPHECY FROM THE CHRIST YOU PROFESS TO KNOW…..

    • There is no “physical” chastening to the Gentile Bride of Christ; Jesus is not a “wife beater”! But, to the Jews, “God’s hand is outstretched still”. God has always reserved the right to chasten his own children (Exodus 4:22), but not the Gentiles. God will not beat someone else’s kids; not even the Devil’s kids, which we were. (Eph. 2) God has used the nations of the World to whip his children for thousands of years; Germany in the thirties, and the Arab Nations today. Not to worry, for even though most of Israel has refused to enter into the rest of their Messiah; one day, “all Israel shall be saved”. (Rom. 11:26)

      • Yaaqob Ariel Uriyah // April 24, 2014 at 5:46 am //

        First of all there was NEVER any “Jewish” nation nor so called :”Jews” in ancient biblical times.Yisra’el was occupied by the ancient “Hebrew” people that looked like the Black Egyptians. Jews have distorted all western books….Today Judaism has no connection with Judah what so ever. Judaism and a so called Jew did’nt come into exiatance until around the 1400 AD. The Sudducees and Pharisees(Greek/Roman) attempt to spread Talmud(Jewish idealoiogy) to replace the Torah. This is what caused the conflict with Yashayah/Jesus.{John} Judaism was an IDEALOLOGY in which Jews have accomplished today…complete with invading Isreal and designating themselves the chosen of God. Ashkenazi Jews occupy Isreal today and are of Jepheth grandson Ashkenaz first son of Gomer/Germany.The name Ashkenaz was applied in the Middle Ages to Jews living along the
        Rhine River in northern France and western Germany. JEW is a made up title of the Ashkenazi/Khazarian people of the KHAZAR EMPIRE of the 11th or 12th century.ISREAL IS A JEWISH STATE…YISRAEL WAS A HEBREW STATE…JESUS/Yashayah WAS A HEBREW NOT A JEW! ..

      • Yaaqob, thank you brother for this little expose. I have convictions going this way too… but try to put on the light and share any of that in any of the evangelical churches around here in Geneva and i’m considered antisemite. What’s going on in Zionist Israel, for most, takes more place in their hearts and lives than knowing who they are in Christ and who Christ is in them.
        I was born and raised a Catholic and very early i felt very uneasy with the Mary-worship, later after leaving religion, some friends of mine went to live in kibbutz but I felt very uneasy with Zionist Israel’s ways and now very uneasy with Christianity’s idolatry of the Holy Land.
        I believe Ruach Ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) has been communicating His thoughts from very early on. Some things we KNOW in our spirits… Thank you for helping putting it into words!
        Blessings!

  2. As best as I can understand from Titus 3 10-11, Ultimate Condemnation is of ourselves. Our true acceptance or rejecting of God’s love will be exemplified in our lives, especially when awful things happen and when we make mistakes as I sure do. Acceptance of His love & truths brings Grace, which is everything we need in our human condition, because with it comes Hope & Peace, in good times & the bad. Rejecting His love & truths brings separation from God, which is of ourselves (not God), the ultimate condemnation, and we are left with nothing (no Hope or Peace) for those bad/sad/mad times.
    Everything or Nothing.

  3. You know Paul, I’m hard-pushed to choose a favorite post of yours, because every time a new one comes out I find myself thinking “This one is the best! This is the best yet!”.
    This article is so clear, so magnifying of God’s loving character (and also good biblical congruency, big-picture-speaking) that it makes my heart joyful and my intellect satisfied. Thank you. Melissa

  4. Thanks for the continues encouargement.

  5. Thank you for giving us yet another viewpoint to highlight our need for God’s grace. I do hope, and I think you would agree, no one would form a negative opinion of the Jewish race based on some of the points made here. I believe anyone who trusts in their own works above the completed work of the cross is in the same boat, regardless of race. I also think it’s worth mentioning that Jesus died for my sin, so blaming the Jews for His crucifixion would be a superficial point of view.

    • Anyone who forms a negative opinion on the Jewish race based on the words of Paul (who said they “killed the Lord Jesus”) or any other scripture, only reveals their ignorance of Paul’s heart and God’s. Like Jesus before him, Paul identified with and sought the best for his Jewish brothers even after they had mistreated him.

      There has been a long tradition within the church of claiming that the Jews got their comeuppance in AD70 and that the destruction of Jerusalem was God’s vengeance for killing his Son. Such claims are ungracious at best and anti-Semitic at worst. I hope that the post above and the previous one provide a compelling alternative explanation for the tragic events of AD70.

      • Amen! Thank you for making that abundantly clear.🙂

      • This whole topic of 70AD has got to be a very interesting one, as most Christians hold to the futuristic view ( that is Revelation is a book about end times). Since you have started this topic Paul… will you be commenting on the book of Revelation being mostly pertaining to the events of 70AD, or do you hold to it being an end times book? Your opinion holds quite a bit of sway with me, as you make so much sense of biblical dogma, doctrine and opinion. You don’t have to write your opinions of course, but since Jon Welton connects the two so strongly, I would be interested in your take on it. I was finding it hard to connect the judgement of 70AD with the cross, so now I am back to pondering about it, as i don’t think it was judgement per se. Maybe a cause and effect like you have suggested. Anyway, keep up these posts, they are fascinating and my friend and I are waiting with bated breath to see your next installment.🙂

      • I don’t plan on doing any series on the book of Revelation but I will say this – it’s an epic vision that touches on many things and cannot be dismissed as pertaining only to the time of John. Yes, much of it has to do with Rome and the establishment of the new church. But the bits that talk about the return of Jesus are to do with the return of Jesus. Every time I turn on the news and hear of some horror inflicted on children or a certain people group, I join with John in saying, “Come Lord Jesus, come!” I’m not climbing into the proverbial lifeboat and holding out for heaven – I believe we can enact real change here and now. But I still look forward to the day when there will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev 21:4).

      • Steven Saxophone Reed // May 6, 2014 at 4:32 am //

        Hey Paul Will you be writing any blogs about accountability on Judgement Day and about in Revelations where it se`s the books will opened and every man will give account of every carless word spoken? All so I get confused when it se`s I remember your sins no moor. How can that be if we have give a scary account on Judgement day of how we lived are lives. Seems we talk about the other crutiual stuff with out answering the other differcult Questions. I won’t be able to rest properly until this gets explained properly. Many thanx Steve.

      • Hi Steve – I felt to put your mind at rest. Judgement day is when those who are NOT in Christ will give an account of why they rejected the offer of salvation that God made possible by the Christ. Everyone who has accepted Christ, will not give an account, as they have already been found to be righteous because of that fact. They will be judged on what they did in Christian service and its all about rewards for Christians. We are not going too see our sin anymore – as Jesus dealt with it on the cross. Secondly, IMHO, the wrath of God has to do with the law, and was finished upon the destruction of the Temple in 70AD. God’s wrath is connected with law, and his judgement was NOT upon the Jews, but upon the SYSTEM that has now become obsolete. All the penalty for sin was paid for on the cross, so God cannot judge people on their sin anymore after then. But he did judge the system and the OT laws, and finally destroyed both in 70AD. The bible says wrath and law are connected, so I believe that wrath is no longer an issue. Hope this helps you. God did all he could to reconcile you to Himself, and hes in a good mood.🙂

      • All wrath against all sin was executed at Calvary; sin, in God’s economy is no more! The “wrath to come” (1 Thess 1:10) will be against “unrighteousness”. A believer will never experience the wrath of God. Jesus does not beat his Bride! Our judgment/reward will be at his appearing, and it will be a glorious experience! That is when all the “works of our flesh” will be consumed by the “burning bush” (Ex. 3:2 with Gal. 5:19, 1Cor. 3:13, 2Cor 5:10 & 1John 3:2), and we shall finally see him as he is; and be like him! All the promises of God in Christ are “yea” and amen with no negative! (2Cor. 1:20) God is at peace with the world; he holds no sin against anyone, and invites whosoever will let him come. (2Cor. 5:18-19) The only difference between a saved person & a lost person is that the saved person has “believed God” & is imputed his righteousness (Rom. 4:3); a lost person has no righteousness. The whole world is eligible for salvation; all they have to do is “believe”! (John 6:29) All believers are in a win, win, win, win situation: Ain’t it great!!!!

  6. Paul, God still has plans to bring the Jewish people back to Hin right?

    • Absolutely. Many Jewish people are already believers … millions throughout the centuries since Pentecost.
      The word “Jews” in the New Testament is never used, and never to be used in a pejorative sense. To do so belies the underlying sin of anti-semitism. No so-called ‘christian’ who is anti-semitic will ever make it to heaven. This sin of anti-semitism poignantly reveals just who is and who is not saved. To be anti-semitic in any capacity is to be anti-christ. Christ IS Jewish, from the tribe of Judah and the line of David right now as He sits at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for all of those who are truly saved:

      And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
      Revelation 5:5

      Again, the term “Jews” is never to be used in a pejorative sense when referring to God’s Chosen People … if that bothers you way down in your ‘gut’ …. you are on your way to hell. Anti-semitism was responsible for the Holocaust and will be responsible for the Battle of Armageddon when all nations are gathered against the Jewish people in Israel and in Jerusalem. If you call yourself a ‘christian’ and have ANY anti-semitic or anti-jewish dispositions then you must do what Paul enjoined:

      Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
      2 Corinthians 13:5

      • Hey Josh, I absolutely agree that anti-Semitism is wrong, but I think you’re taking it a little too far by saying if someone has any trace of anti-Semitism they’re automatically going to hell. Wouldn’t you agree that we are not saved by our genes and anti-Semitism is not the unpardonable sin? The only unpardonable sin is not accepting Jesus because you are rejecting the means of your forgiveness. We all have wrong beliefs in some area where we could still benefit from some light. Once we have a relationship with Jesus, He can help us in the areas where we need help, in the order that He sees fit.🙂 Blessings

      • Hey Josh, if I were looking into grace teaching and encountered you, I would run far, far away!!!! Your response was super condemning and harsh and it wasn’t even what I was asking about, nor are you the one whom I was addressing! I was asking an honest question about an area that I am just starting to study a bit. I have just became aware of something called “replacement theology” and in the last 12 years of being a believer, I had never heard of it before. So I am honestly seeking. Also, from the moment I believed, I was taught that it was MY sin and the whole worlds sin that put Jesus on the cross. He laid down His own life, and He took it back up again. Nor did I know that the reason that the Jewish people have been persecuted all this time everywhere was because people blamed them for killing Jesus!! I had no idea! So right now, from my understanding, is that the Gentile church believes that they replaced Israel because of their unbelief. But I have always thought we were grafted in and that she would be restored. I am just trying to put everything together. Maybe you should check if you are in the faith Josh, as someone who is shall be known by their love and grace!

  7. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, 9-10 KJV

    Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

    Says recompense to them that persecuted them. Punished!

    • The NIV says Jesus “will punish” which conveys an impression of a punitive God. The context is vengeance of which there are two types: there is old covenant vengeance (eg: an eye for an eye) and there is new covenant vengeance (which has to do with making things right). One is vindictive, the other is vindicating. Jesus isn’t coming back to spank those who don’t obey the rules. He’s coming back to give everyone what they want – those who have hearkened to his gospel and want eternal life will get it, those who don’t will get everlasting destruction. This is not God’s will for anyone, but it is the choice that some make.

  8. Agreed. Sin was taken care of at the cross. Wrath remain on the Jews in 70AD because they relied on the law. Law brings wrath. Romans 4:15. Not one Christian died in 70ad. Jesus had warned them in Luke 21:20-21.

    • Haha – I think you meant to say “disagreed.”

      How does the law work wrath? Under the old covenant the fear of punishment was the stick that promoted law-keeping. You obeyed or you were cursed. God is not in the cursing business but the blessing business. However, when we trust in the flesh by attempting to live by the law, we curse ourselves.

      Paul says the law worketh wrath in Romans 4 and then in Romans 7 shows how that can happen. Despite our best intentions to avoid sin, the law inflames sin making us feel wretched and condemned. Paul says, “where there is no law there is no transgression.” No law means no transgression, no foul, no condemnation, and no self-loathing. But living under law means plenty of transgressions, lots of sin, lots of condemnation, and lots of grief. The law worketh wrath – that’s it’s job. It’ll leave you wondering “who will deliver me from this body of death?”

  9. Grace Seeker // January 30, 2014 at 5:06 pm // Reply

    I hope this isn’t too off topic, but your wording made me think of it. Paul may have been one of the most hard-hearted Jews that hated the church. Surely he was on the path these Jews were in rejecting God’s Grace, however God miraculously intervened, with what I assume was irresistible grace. Could Paul have rejected this revelation? Surely it was a necessary encounter to break his hardened heart, otherwise he would have had the same fate as these other Jews. So the question becomes, why did God intervene in the most rock-hard heart of Paul, but leave other Jewish leaders blind? Can any of us really see without the measure of revelation necessary to open our eyes?

    • That’s a good question, which Paul himself answers several times – Romans 1:20 comes to mind, and Acts 18:6. And maybe Acts 17:27. Maybe others have some thoughts on this?

      • This is brewing towards a Calvinism vs Arminianism discussion. Without ‘going there’, my answer would be the God is ALWAYS just, and each man is given exactly the measure of light needed for them to choose God, or not choose God. Paul (and me, I might add) needed a huge slap to administer the revelation of God in Jesus……obviously the other Pharisees didn’t need such a big dramatic revelation, but you can rest assured that they were given exactly what they needed, and yet still did not turn to Him.

    • Well Grace Seeker@, that’s actually a easy question. IMO the reason Jesus could intervene was because Stephen prayed for it
      (Acts 7:60). I believe this gave the Lord legal jurisdiction to have that meeting with Paul
      (*Amos 3:7, *Eph 1:11, *1 John 1:14-15).

      *There minds were made up, Acts 7:51, 7:57
      *Paul on the other hand said of himself…

      Aramaic Bible in Plain English (1 Tim 1:13)
      Me, I who from the first was a blasphemer and a persecutor and abusive, but I obtained mercy, because I did not know what I was doing, without faith.

      Sound Familiar? – Luke 23:34

      The only way for Jesus to answer that prayer from Stephen was for Paul to receive the payment for all sin (Jesus Himself) , which I believe sparked the event on Damascus. Good thing Paul responded with “Lord?”, lol (Acts 9:5).

      Stephen and James were killed, then the church wised up and started praying once Peter got imprisoned (Acts 12:5).

  10. Nick Ellerby // January 30, 2014 at 9:03 pm // Reply

    I love your statement ‘We have been hardwired to respond to the grace of God.’, although I prefer the interpretation of John12:32 that Jesus was telling us that the manner of his death was to draw all judgement (apologies to the American spellers reading this blog…!) to himself.
    On the subject of Paul getting special treatment leading to his salvation. We don’t have the personal writings of other judgemental Pharisees of the time on how God met with them, and need to trust in the character of our loving God in giving everyone good opportunity.

    • Hi Nick, are you referring to the preceding verse? “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out” (Joh 12:31). It’s interesting to note that the word for judgment here is the one we have been discussing – krisis. It’s not krino (a negative judgment) or krima the decision made but krisis, which describes the process of judging or making the decision. The second part of the verse is “now the prince of this world will be driven out.” This suggests that God is about to execute judgment on the prince of this world and the result will be that he will be driven out. And once that happens – once Satan has been defanged and disarmed – Jesus will be able to draw all men to himself. Which is what he has been doing ever since.

      Another interpretation is that the cross represents the decision humanity gets to make – Christ’s sacrificial death is the krisis-point for the whole world.

  11. .I dont think of it as wrath as much as I think of it as a absents of Gods presence

  12. What about us standing before the judgement seat of Christ as Christians?

  13. Michael Jenkins // January 31, 2014 at 10:24 am // Reply

    The scripture says in 1 John 4:17 that we do have confidence on the day of Judgment. I don’t believe we should walk around in fear because we already was made righteous. How does that go along with- you have been judged righteous forever? I am not disagreeing with you, I just need clarification.

  14. Jews born before the ressurection were subject to a very different promise from God , but Paul looked for a better ressurection. God will come with those asleep, to take up those dead in Jesus first, and then those that are alive.For a Jew to die in his sin is very different to a gentile who dies in his sin.Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall of the table, how is this great faith.

  15. Dewayne Jones // February 1, 2014 at 12:30 am // Reply

    Dont agree with your statement that God is not control of all things on earth. The earthquake was caused by natural evil (result of mans sin). God did allow it to happen. Read Job.

  16. God is in control of the beginning and the end, but I believe he leaves the journey to us and it is not changed by mans work but by trusting Gods work.

  17. luke 18:7-8 was used in our sermon today and i immediately thought it supported this series on wrath… nkjv uses the word avenge… which can also be translated as defend or protect😉

  18. Paul, I always appreciate your posts. I recently read John Welton’s book, “Raptureless” which presents the case for the destruction of Jerusalem as a fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy as well as an Old Covenant judgment. Are you familiar with Welton’s arguments on this matter? If so what is your response?

  19. William Connor Bryan // February 21, 2014 at 8:07 pm // Reply

    Could you please do a series on Revelation? I love its mystery but I am confused by it. You mentioned that much of it is about Rome and the development of the church. Does this mean the whole teaching of the Anti-Christ ruling for 7 years and the great tribulation is false? And that the next big event is just Jesus coming back? I love reading your posts on God’s Grace and see the wisdom God has given you. Again please do a series on Revelation.

  20. William Connor Bryan // February 22, 2014 at 7:03 pm // Reply

    Thanks!🙂 is the author Harold R. Eberle?

    • Yes, I think so. To be honest, I haven’t read the book from cover to cover, but when I first looked at it I thought, “Here’s a refreshing change from all the hysteria you normally get in eschatological books.” My sense is that it provides a positive overview of Revelation without unpackaging every single scripture.

      • William Connor Bryan // February 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm //

        Yeah I read pieces of it last night and I’m very excited about getting the book and reading it! I feel we have read Revelation wrong for a very long time now and have worked ourselves up.

  21. We in Christ, have experienced God’s wrath. When we were all ungodly, we were salted with fire. In the Holy Spirit. Just like the apostles on the day of Pentecost. Baptised with fire. Born again. This is the first death, and resurrection, in Christ. We were born of water and Spirit. Those that are not in the book of life will also experience his wrath. They will be thrown into the lake (water) of fire (Spirit). This is the second death. We obviously cannot partake in this. And every tear will be wiped away. We continue to experience his wrath (love) as we are refined and chastised with fire, in this life. Not to get prideful.

  22. Thank you for your posts – very enlightening. Recommend “The Church That Will Miss the Rapture” by Colene Ledford.

  23. Great article. However, I was wondering what you thought of Paul’s statements later on in 1 Thessalonians 4 and whether they juxtapose or compliment what you have written here: “…that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.”

    Curious what your thoughts are.

    • All the wrath of God against sin was poured out on Christ at Calvary; there will never be any other wrath of God against sin. (Heb. 10:12) (1John 2:2) (Isaiah 53:11) The wrath to come (Rom. 1:18, 1Thess. 1:10) will be against “unrighteousness”; which is not sin, but is a ‘state of being’ (unbelief). The wrath in 1Thes. 3:15-16 is said to be against Israelites. Israel is God’s first born son, (Exodus 4:22) and as the “natural born” children of God, they are still subject to his chastening. (Heb. 12:5-9) An Israelite who is not “born again”, is still under the chastening hand of his Father; if an Israelite is Born again, then he is part of the Bride of Christ, and is exempt from wrath & physical chastening. Gentiles cannot be born again; when a Gentile believes God, he is “created” a new creature in Christ. The Apostle Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles; (Rom. 11:13, 2Tim 1:11) and in all of his letters to the Gentiles, he never mentions ‘born again’, or being born into God’s family. (Eph.2:10, 24, 2Cor 5:17)

      • Man, that’s just amazing…. New Creation vs. Born Again – they’re similar but not the same thing. I’ve been thinking on that for some time and never seen anyone else ever say to compare the two things like your comment just did. They’re different things IMHO. WOW

  24. I am confused where the judgment seat of Christ comes in. You say everyone faces a day of judgment but for those in Christ, that judgment is in the past. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. What am I missing?

    • If you had just won the gold medal at the Olympics, would you have any fears about appearing before the medal-distributing race officials?

      UPDATE: Please see this recent post on the Bema Seat.

      • everette // August 5, 2016 at 3:26 am //

        GOLD MEDAL!!!! WOW!!! Thanks Paul; talk about relieving fear & anxiety concerning the Bema Bar!!! I’ve never heard it put better; believers have all won the Gold Medal, and are in the procession where we are all going to receive that reward.

    • Anthony B. // August 6, 2016 at 1:38 am // Reply

      The word “judgement” does not appear there in the Greek, the worst miss translation in the whole bible in my opinion. The word there is “bematos” which is a place where reward is dispensed like olympic games as Paul would put it. The word “bad” is not accurate either. In the Greek it should read like this…

      “According to what he has done, whether good or of no value”

      Furthermore this should clear thing up…

      Romans 8:1 (VOICE)
      8 Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King

      Holman Christian Standard Bible
      8 Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus

  25. I’ve been in pursuit to find Scripture references to accurately understand the wrath of God in the NT. May God richly bless your efforts to glorify His great name. I appreciate your thoroughness, thank you!

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