The Wrath of God

"For the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6: 17.)

"The wicked are overthrown. and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand" (Prov. 12: 7)

It does not take much insight into the Holy Scriptures to see that the great day of God's wrath is swiftly approaching. Flashing across today's horizon are mighty signs of this end-time holocaustal event. You recall, it was Jesus' disciples, who asked him "What shall be the sign of thy (second) coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matt. 24:3). The most descriptive words in His answer read like this: "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places" (Matt. 24:7). What a tribulation! Child of God, pray, pray!

Now, we are told by Jesus himself that "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the Powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other" (Matt. 24:29-31).

John, the revelator, while banished on the isle of Patmos, was given a vision of the foregoing narrative of Jesus. And here is, in part, his vision: "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sack-cloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely (green) figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings (rulers) of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"' (Rev. 6: 12-17).

John furthers his revelation by saying: "And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants, the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy (corrupt) the earth" (Rev. 11:18).

Jeremiah, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives us this description of the great day of God's wrath: "At his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation" (Jer. 10:10).

Seemingly, all the prophets, both major and minor, spoke of this end-time wrath of God. It was Malachi who asked, "Who shall stand when he appeareth?" (Mal. 3:2).

Nahum gives us this vivid description of our Lord's return to judge and to end the world: "The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies" (Nah. 1:5-8).

Perhaps many who read these great end-time prophecies may feel as Job did when he pleaded, "that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!" (Job 14:13).

Evidently, John the Baptist during his stay in the wilderness must have had a revelation from God concerning this Oncoming wrath, for "When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, 'O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?' " (Matt. 3:7).

It is time, I should think, for all of us to become quite serious about the magnitude of this end-time disaster. We should have a thorough overhauling of the requirements made of those who are expecting to be able to stand during the time of such a catastrophe. The Bible gives us this splendid psalm, which, to say the least, should be very helpful in forming a conclusion: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the Counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish" (Ps. 1:1-6).

Jesus gave us a tremendous warning when he said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (self-indulgence), and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21: 33-3-6). What a rich heritage is ours! if we endure to the end.

The church has never been in greater peril, nor in deeper slumber than it is today. Our only escape is a spiritual awakening. We even have those who, in their frustration, say that Jesus isn't coming back any time soon. We gather from their conversation that they think the apostles looked for a first century return of the Lord and were fooled; so, why should we look for such a remote possibility here in the twentieth century.

Often I wonder what these sleeping brethren will think and say when Jesus takes up those who are ready and looking for him. When Elijah was, at last, missed by the clergy of his day, they wrote his obituary in the ironic words, "peradventure the Spirit of the Lord hath taken him up, and cast him upon some mountain, or into some valley" (2 Kings 2: 16).

Apparently, many of our clergymen of today are leaving the impression that the Lord is slack concerning his return. I can assure you, my reader, that this is not the situation at all, or at least the Apostle Peter says it isn't. He informs us in his second letter that: "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be. diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (Pet. 3:9-14).

I have great fear that a number of God's men are following the noxious idea that we are about to enter some great utopia, an imaginary island where religion and politics are about to form a new phase or Structure of social regeneration. This, we know, is an impracticable scheme of the devil. I must tell You, beloved, the late shadows of the evening of time are gently stealing across earth's fading sky, and that dreaded night, so dark and frightening, not only seems, but is inevitable. At the same time, a glorious sunset is lighting the path of those who shall not have to walk in darkness, but in the light of that eternal city, "whose builder and maker is God."

Now, what about you, my friend, are you sure this minute that you are not walking in darkness, but that you are still clean and justified in the sight of God? If so, then you have the Promise of eternal salvation which Jesus shall bring with Him. Listen to that devoted man of God, the Apostle Paul, as he tells us, "Being now (present tense) justified by his (Jesus') blood, we shall be (future tense) saved from wrath through him (Jesus)" (Rom. 5:9). This Apostle goes on to tell us "When we were enemies, we were reconciled (reunited) to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be (future tense) saved by his life" (Rom. 5:10).

Relatively few holy Ghost filled believers understand that we are justified or reconciled to God by the death of his Son, and that we are to be saved (from the wrath to come) by the life of his Son. This is made crystal clear in Heb. 7:25, and reads like this: "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them". How wonderful and sublime the realization of this is! In other words, Jesus becomes our Mediator when we come to God, and receive his Spirit. By this, we mean that he makes peace between God and us. And this is called reconciliation or the new birth. After we become a believer then Jesus becomes our Intercessor, which means that he keeps peace between God and us. Needless, to say, no one would ever be saved from the wrath to come without this intercessory service of our Lord Jesus Christ, "Who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" (Rom. 8:34).

No more tremendous words were ever uttered than these of Jesus in Matt. 24:13: "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Whether one will be saved in the end from the wrath of God doesn't depend entirely upon one's having been reconciled to God. A thousand times no. To make it clear, one's entrance into the kingdom of God by reconciliation, and one's inheritance in the kingdom of God at the time Jesus returns to pour out his wrath are two completely different operations or experiences. This is indicative of what Paul was saying to the Colossians when he encouraged them in "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (suitable or fit) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness (sin), and hath translated us (by the new birth) into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1:12, 13). Moreover, this same apostle warned the Galatians, who had, also, received the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:2), against the works of the flesh, "which," he tells us, "are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (lustfulness), idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance (discord), emulations (ambitions to equal or excel), wrath (violent anger), strife, seditions (resistance to lawful authority), heresies (false religious opinions), envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings (merry or noisy celebrations), and such like: of the which," he goes on to say, "I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal 5:19-21).

We must be inevitably awakened to the fact that the works of the flesh are prevalent among the people of God today. Paul had no trouble in finding these great evils among the early believers, especially among the Corinthians, who, like their present day counterparts, held onto their profession of spiritual life. Doubtless, this had much to do with his telling the Ephesians to "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (tricks) of the devil" (Eph. 6:11).

Paul knew only too well the truth of what he was saying, and we must accept it. For if we are not able to stand now with victory over Satan, how can we expect to be able to stand in the day of God's wrath, the day his Son ceases to be our lawyer and becomes our judge? The psalmist perfectly expressed this when he cried: "Thou, even thou, are to be feared:,and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry? Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still, when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth" (Ps. 76:7-9).

May I now conclude with these words which God himself spoke to the prophet Jeremiah (12:5): "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how cans't thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" The swelling of Jordan is a term used here to signify the wrath of God, which will bring the final separation between the faithful and the unfaithful, even as Joshua and Caleb, the two faithful spies, were separated from the unfaithful children of Israel by enduring, and then receiving the privilege of crossing Jordan into Canaan, which was a shadow of the glorious home land of all true and faithful born-again believers. Remember, it was Jesus who said, "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt. 22:14).

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