I AM GOD AND NOT MAN
This title is a quotation from
Hosea 11:9... "I
will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to
destroy Ephraim; (the ten tribe House of Israel) for I am God and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee"
SCRIPTURE gives us a wealth of information about our heavenly father Almighty God. In this verse of Hosea, he tells us of his mercy and makes it clear, that he does not act like man. Many similar passages in the Bible relate to his mercy and justice, and also give details concerning the wrath of God.
The Adamic race were to have had dominion over the earthy but they became sinful, mined, unfit and therefore unable to fulfil their original purpose. They were removed from the world by the Flood, a manifestation of the wrath of God, Noah and his sons and their wives being the only survivors.
We should not be surprised at this action by God, when we consider his many warnings against, and the inevitable consequences of sins. After all, we follow similar actions in our daily lives although of a more minor nature. For example, a tree which has become dangerous, or is not bearing fruit, is cut down. A car which no longer works, is scrapped. These examples having become useless for their original purposes. A further case in 1939 was when Neville Chamberlain said in a broadcast about the declaration of war, it is the evil things we shall be fighting.
Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 5:6
not that a little leaven leaventh the whole lump .
In other words, sin spreads
rapidly and affects other people.
Some six hundred years after Noah, through Abraham, the children of Israel were raised to be Gods servant nation. In
Exodus 19:5-6 God tells them
If ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.
They were to be the servant nation, whereby the whole world would learn of God. God was very patient with them for some one thousand years, but because of their constant sinful ways, they became ruined and unfit and so, unable to perform Gods work. They were banished and scattered throughout the World. Many perished in the process. They will of course be reinstated, sooner than later now. See Romans 11.
Scriptural evidence concerning the wrath of God, and the many human tragedies we see about us these days, have led to an erroneous belief in some, that our God is an uncaring God. Sadly this has been brought about by misunderstandings of our relationship with God. Let us consider the following:
1. Firstly, a definition of wrath (of God) quoted in the Oxford Dictionary is Gods righteous indignation. This is probably
the best definition possible and needs to be clearly understood.
2. We must remember that the free will of man is paramount in Gods scheme of things for mankind. Man has a free will to accept or reject God's word on what is right and what is wrong. The end result of these two choices is clearly defined in
Scripture. For those who choose what is righteous - by virtue of Jesus the Christ - a wonderful future. But others who choose
wrong and evil ways, a terrible future. See Deuteronomy 11:26-28.
3. As stated above, God does not act like man in human terms like fierce anger, revenge, wrath, fear etc. we must not
form an impression of God based on our knowledge of human behaviour. For example, regarding fear, Psalm 19:9 states:
OF THE LORD IS CLEAN, ENDURING FOR EVER.
Dr Scofield in a footnote to this
says that fear in the Old Testament means reverential
trust including the hatred of evil.
This is not the general human understanding of fear at all!
It may be that it was necessary for God to use human terms to draw the attention of mankind to the wrath of God in Scripture, in order to convey to man the serious nature of the subject.
4. Christianity with all its laws and statutes governing behaviour, emphasises the necessity of truth, honesty, righteousness etc.
Therefore it is inconceivable that God, when inspiring the writers of Scripture, would depart from such principles. Scripture contains Gods word and is true, righteous and can be trusted without exception. After all, God who made us and all life, the universe and everything, and who has infinite knowledge and power, must have found it a very small thing to ensure that the Holy Bible was correct in every detail and would remain so down through the centuries, to suit his divine purposes, in spite of translation, language changes, and other problems. Reference is made to the A.V Bible.
5. All sinful ways are detailed in the Bible as a warning for us to avoid them. See I Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21.
They are defined as sin. According to Paul in Romans 6:23:
wages of sin is death
Note that he doesnt say
the punishment for sin but the wages of sin. In other words, sin
is the influence or the means whereby we earn death. The practise of sin is
universal and is surely most foolish. It could be likened to ingesting a slow poison, but
in addition it also infects others! Paul also tells us in Romans 3:23:
sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
and as we know, we all die in the
due course of time. Paul in Romans 6:23 goes on:
gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ' our Lord.
The fundamental statement of
Christianity thanks to the eternal God.
6. Paul talking about a sinful member of the church in Corinth in I Corinthians 5:5 says:
To deliver such an one unto satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
So, Satan has the job of executioner! - but only as God allows. Hebrews 2:14 refers also:
through death he (Jesus) might destroy him that hath the power of death, that is, the
Dr Scofield in a footnote to I
Corinthians 5:5 explains that annihilation is most certainly not the theme here. It rather
concerns something or someone that is mined (through sin) and therefore unsuitable and
unable to fulfil the original function.
7. God is a God of Justice as well as love and mercy. He is certainly not an uncanng God. Justice as well as mercy must and will prevail and all evil must eventually be eliminated so that righteousness can fill the whole world. This removal of evil is made clear in Nahum 1:3 (See also Exodus 34:6-7):
is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked
Can anyone object to the complete
removal of all evil from the world? A final end to all robbery, murder, violence,
injustice, lying, unkindness etc. Surely not.
A further aspect of the wrath of God, is his righteous chastisement in order to achieve the true repentance and reformation of the sinner. Such chastisement may be onerous and a heavy burden. It is however, the evidence of Gods individual love for each one of us, certainly NOT punishment for our sins. Gods aim here is to correct and educate us, so that we may obtain redemption through Jesus the Christ. Again I need to quote Dr Scofield who says in a footnote that Jehovah hates and judges sin, loves and saves sinners, but only through sacrifice. (That of Jesus on the cross).
David Davidson and Dr H. Aldersmith go further. Due to varying levels of love or charity in mankind, it is necessary for God to apply varying levels of righteous chastisement, in order to persuade repentance. Where high levels of charity exist, light chastisement may suffice. Where the degree of charity is small, heavy chastisement may be necessary. In extreme cases of little or no charity, heavier chastisement may be used, that could persuade even the most extreme sinner to repent. Where there is absolutely no charity, it may be that the individual has been ruined or lost and is unsuitable and therefore unable to perform his original function. God may then act to stop further sinning. God is the only being able to reach the right outcome. In history, examples of the wrath of God are the destruction of the Adamic race, (note that the progeny of the race was carried on through Noah), the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the people of Nineveh.
The evil in man eventually becomes a powerful, defiling and corrupting influence in the World and must be stopped and removed. Again, God is the only judge.
Knowledge of the wrath of God seems to be little understood or known. With some exceptions, two ways of dealing with the subject seem to prevail.
1. In the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries many clergy appeared to frighten their congregations with blood
and thunder sermons.
2. In recent decades the subject seems to be largely ignored,
It is not acceptable to think that the Almighty would approve of either method.
All parts of the Bible should be taught and read whether they are comfortable subjects or not.
The noun wrath and the adjective wroth appear over two hundred times in the Bible. In the majority of cases, the
word is attributed to God, my wrath, his wrath, day of wrath, the wrath of God etc. In view of the frequent use of the words again I say, God must be conveying an important message to us. We ignore it at our peril. Note the following references:
ISAIAH 13:9 - Behold the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and he shall destroy the sinners out of it.
ISAIAH 66:16 - For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh; and those slain by the Lord shall be many.
EZRA 8:22 - The hand of our Goci~ is upon all them for good who seek him; but his power and his wrath are against all them who forsake him.
JOHN3:36 - He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.
HEBREWS10:31 - It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
EZEKIEL 33:11 - As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:8 - And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming
See also ISAIAH 13:12-13, HOSEA 13:9, and many more.
Scripture then is quite clear and definite, that at the now imminent second Advent of Jesus the Christ to this world, he will exercise the wrath of God and remove evil from the World. In Revelation 19:15 we read:
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp two edge sword, that with it he shall smite the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God
The timeless words of Isaiah must encourage us all in a wondrous way in Chapter 40 verse 31:
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
29 August 2001
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