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Anger of God

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The punitive and vindicatory reaction, legitimate and controlled, yet awesomely emphatic, of God the righteous judge to unrighteousness in his human creatures. Up to the present, the expression of God’s anger and wrath has had the purpose of drawing sinners to repentance and conversion, but this will not be the case at the final judgment.


The nature of God’s anger

It is fearsome

Nahum 1:6 ESV
Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him.
See also Jos 7:26; Eze 38:18

It is reluctant and short-lived

Exodus 34:6 ESV
The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
See also Is 54:7–8; Ne 9:16–18

It is consistant with his righteous and merciful character

Psalm 7:11 ESV
God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.
See also Hab 3:2

It fulfils God’s purposes

Jeremiah 23:20 ESV
The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.
See also Je 30:24

The causes of God’s anger

Idolatry and unbelief

Numbers 25:3 ESV
So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.
See also Ex 32:8–10; Dt 8:19; Jdg 2:10–14; 1 Ki 14:9; 1 Ki 16:32–33; 1 Ki 22:53; 2 Ki 23:19 Josiah removes idolatrous shrines; 2 Ch 28:25; 2 Ch 34:25; Je 8:19; Je 32:29; Je 44:3; Jn 3:36 the unbelief of rejecting the Son of God; Ro 1:18–23; Ro 2:8

Disobedience and disloyalty

Joshua 7:1 ESV
But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of the devoted things. And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.
See also Dt 9:7; 2 Ki 22:13; 1 Ch 13:10; Ps 106:29; Je 32:32; Zec 7:13; Eph 5:6

Ungodly living

God’s judgment against the ungodly is a sign of his anger against actions that contradict his righteous character and purposes:

2 Ti 3:1–9; Jud 14–16

Pride, arrogance and hypocrisy

Matthew 23:27–28 ESV
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
See also 2 Ch 32:25; Pr 3:34; Pr 8:13; Is 13:11; Ho 12:14; Mal 4:1

Complaints against, and opposition to, God’s purposes

Numbers 11:1 ESV
And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.
See also Nu 14:27; Nu 21:5


Zechariah 7:9–12 ESV
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts.
See also 2 Ch 19:7; Je 22:13; Eze 9:9; Mal 3:5; Mt 23:23

The rejection of God’s servants

Hebrews 10:29–31 ESV
How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
See also Dt 32:35–36; Ps 135:14; Ne 9:26; Zec 7:12; Mt 21:33–41; Ac 7:35–37

God reveals his anger

In present times

Romans 1:18 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
See also Je 10:10

On a future “day of wrath” which is anticipated

Romans 2:5 ESV
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
See also Is 13:9; Is 13:13; Eze 7:19; Zep 1:15; Zep 1:18; Zep 2:2

The consequences of God’s anger

God allows those who reject righteousness to remain in their sin

Romans 1:18–32 ESV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
See also 1 Ki 14:16; 2 Ch 12:5; Ne 9:28; Is 54:7–8; Je 7:27–29; Je 12:7–8

Punishment will be experienced by rebellious people

Deuteronomy 8:19 ESV
And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.
See also Is 59:18; Je 21:14; Mt 18:34–35; Mt 25:28–30

Punishment of death:

Ex 12:12; Nu 32:13; Jos 7:25–26; Is 13:9–13; Da 5:30; Ac 5:5; Ac 5:10

Punishment of exile:

1 Ki 14:15; Je 15:13–14; Je 25:7–11

Destruction of the whole nation of Israel:

La 2:1–9; Eze 38:19–21

God will be feared as his holiness and greatness are revealed

Isaiah 59:18–19 ESV
According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives.
See also Eze 38:22–23

Ultimately God will purify and restore his people for service

Malachi 3:2–4 ESV
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 like fullers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
See also Je 15:19–21
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