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A Study in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5


Wrath (of God)


We begin this article in this series and  look at scripture references to the wrath of God. As Paul said in chapter five of  First Thessalonians, we are not destined for wrath but to obtain salvation through Jesus!
 

Paul, wrote to the Romans:

 

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness... 

                                                                                                               Romans 1:18 NIV

It is clear in the above verse that God's wrath is against all godlessness and wickedness and men who suppress the truth.

Paul says in Ephesians:

 

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore, do not be partakers with them.

                                                                                                             Ephesians 5-6 NIV

Paul said that God's wrath comes to those who are disobedient. In Colossians, Paul tells us to put to death what belongs our earthly nature because the wrath of God is coming:
 
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

Colossians 3:5-6 NIV

 

John the Baptist said in the Gospel of John concerning eternal life: 

 
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him"

                                                                                                                    John 3:36 NIV 

He said, whoever believes in the Son has eternal life but the ones who rejects the Son, God's wrath remains on him. It is clear that wrath is eternal punishment in Hell which is the opposite of eternal life!

 

Paul says in Romans:

 

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!

Romans 5:9-11 NIV

Since we have been justified by the blood of Christ, we will be saved from God's wrath through Him! Paul, in first Thessalonians, tells them they have become models to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia and that their faith has become known everywhere:

 
...They themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell us how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

First Thessalonians 1:9-10 NIV

In the above verse, the ones who receive Christ are the ones who will be rescued from the wrath to come.

 

And in chapter 16 of Revelation:

The first angel poured out his bowl (of wrath) on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. 

Revelation 16:2 NIV

In reference to the seven bowls of wrath, the first angel poured out his bowl on the land, and sores broke out on those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. 

At this time God's wrath is poured out on the sons of disobedience. Pre-tribbers claim God's wrath is during the tribulation. If this is so, do we have to be removed from this earth into heaven, or seven years before the wrath after the tribulation? Or are we protected from this wrath? In the above scripture, the angel pours his bowl on the earth and the ones who worshiped the beast and his image. In another part of Revelation, John describes the locusts which came upon the earth:

And out of the smoke (out of the pit--verse 2) came forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And they were told that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And they were not permitted not to kill anyone, but to torment for five months...

Revelation 9:3-5a NASB

The locust were not permitted to hurt anything or anyone except those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads! So then, the ones who have the seal of God on their foreheads are spared from the harm of the locusts. Therefore it is possible, and a certainty  that we can be here during this time of God's wrath. In reference to First Thessalonians chapter 5, Paul was writing about the day of the Lord. In one of the articles in this series, that day comes after the tribulation. Paul said on that day destruction will come upon of them Suddenly. In the above verse the locusts were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment for five months (during the great tribulation). It is only on the day of the Lord,  His wrath destroys those who are do not repent of their sins. 

In scripture, there has never been a group of people removed from the earth (raptured into heaven) before any or during God's judgments. In Genesis, God forewarned Noah about the coming flood and instructed him to build the Ark. The Ark preserved Noah. The people who were outside the Ark died in the flood. In Egypt, when Pharaoh's hardened heart prevented the Israelites from going to the promised land, God inflicted plagues across Egypt except where the Israelites lived. He sent a death Angel to kill all the firstborn in that Land. He commanded the Israelites to sacrifice Passover lambs, and to put the lambs' blood across their doorpost so that Angel would pass over them sparing their first-born. The Egyptians, however, did not have lambs blood across their doorposts and their first-born died. In Revelation, God's wrath comes upon those who have a mark, the mark of the beast, and the ones In Christ are spared because they don't have the mark.

Here lies a question for pre-tribbers: If we are to believe that we must be raptured out before the tribulation, because "we aren't destined for wrath," then what happens to the "tribulation saints?" Are they destined for wrath? They will hold to the testimony of Jesus just like (or more than) we do. Their faith will be tested. They will face the Anti-christ and his wrath (i.e. persecution). Many of them will die because of their faith in Christ. So why shouldn't they be exempt from wrath as well? And those throughout church history who have been persecuted, were they destined for wrath?

 

We continue our study by looking into the Book of Revelation. John describes what happens when the sixth seal is broken:

.

 

And I looked when He (Jesus--verse1) broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts it's unripe figs when shaken by a  great wind.

And the sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

And the kings of the earth, and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come; and who can stand?"

Revelation 6:12-17 NASB 

At the sixth seal, every slave and free man hid themselves in caves and among the rocks of the mountains  and said to them fall on us and hide us from the wrath of the Lamb, and the Father who sits on the throne  for the great day of their wrath has come. As we see, this passage refers to the day of wrath. as a part of this study, it is my intention to examine key parts of this scripture and compare them to other  scriptures contained in God's holy word.

As Jesus broke the sixth seal, there was a great earthquake. In Revelation chapter 16, the seventh angel pours out the seventh bowl of wrath upon the earth, and a great earthquake occurs:

And there were flashes of lightning and sounds of  and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there has not been since man had came to be upon the earth...

Verse 18 NASB

At the sixth seal  the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair and the whole moon became like blood. Joel the prophet wrote in his book:

The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

Joel 2:31NIV

Joel said the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the day of the Lord. From what is given from what happens at the sixth seal, this is in occurrence before the day of the Lord.

At the sixth seal the stars of the sky fell to the earth. In Matthew, Jesus said:

But immediately after the tribulation of those days (great tribulation, Matthew 24: 21),THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE UP ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will morn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power of great glory. And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER  His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

                                                                                                                 Matthew 24:29-31 NASB

After the Great Tribulation, the stars will fall from the sky.

At the sixth seal every mountain and island are  moved out of their places. In Revelation chapter 16 at the seventh bowl:

And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found

Verse 20 NASB

At the sixth seal, every slave and free man says " for the great day of their wrath has come; and who can stand?" Malachi wrote in his book:

"But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire and a fuller's soap.

Malachi 3:2 NASB

Malachi said who can endure the day of His coming and who can stand when he appears. clearly, this is in reference to Jesus' coming after the tribulation.

In the above references, the day of God's wrath occurs on the day of the Lord, which is after the Great Tribulation, the time when Jesus comes and His angels gather the elect at the rapture. 

We conclude our study of wrath as we look further into the book of Revelation. At the sixth bowl, the sixth  angel pours out his bowl upon the Euphrates, and the waters dried up, which prepares the unholy trio to gather the kings for the great battle at Armageddon. At the seventh seal:

And there were flashes of lightning and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake*, such as there had not been since man came upon the earth...And the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. And every Island fled away, and the mountains were not found **.

Revelation 16:17-20 NASB

*6:12; **6:14

                                                                       

At the seventh bowl,  these signs which are indication to the day of the Lord, which is after the tribulation: the cities of the nations fell and God gives Babylon the great the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. In summary, Paul describes sudden destruction in relation to the day of the Lord to the Thessalonian church. And these scenes in Revelation describes the Day of God's  wrath at the end of the tribulation.