Specific Reasons for God’s Anger and Wrath Conclusion
Our three previous articles presented specific reasons for God’s wrath against Israel and other nations. Now we will focus on specific reasons for God’s anger and wrath against mankind in general and individuals.
Reasons for God’s Wrath Against Mankind in General
Homosexuality. Genesis 19:24–25 states, “The Lᴏʀᴅ rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah….So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.” Deuteronomy 29:23 indicates “the Lᴏʀᴅ overthrew” those places “in His anger and His wrath” with the result that “the whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there.” God did not change His mind later concerning that judgment (Jer. 20:16).
God indicated He administered this wrathful judgment because the sin for which Sodom and Gomorrah were notorious was “very grave” (Gen. 18:20). To confirm the fact, He sent to Sodom two angels in male human form to investigate (18:20–22; 19:1). While the angels were eating in Lot’s house, the men of Sodom “surrounded the house” and called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them” (19:4–5).
The Hebrew word translated “know” refers to “sexual knowledge.” It came to mean “sexual intercourse of a man with a woman (Genesis 4:1, 17, 25; 38:26; Judges 19:25; 1 Samuel 1:19; 1 Kings 1:4) or a woman with a man (Genesis 19:8; Judges 11:39)” and “for homosexual intercourse (Genesis 19:5; Judges 19:22).”1
Not Speaking What Is Right Concerning God. God told Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right” (Job 42:7).
Rebelling Against the Authoritative Rule of God and Christ. Psalm 2 foretells the future rebellion of the people and rulers of the world’s nations against the coming Millennial Kingdom rule of God and His Messiah: “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lᴏʀᴅ and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us’” (vv. 1–3).
God “shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure” (v. 5). He will also give the following advice: “Be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lᴏʀᴅ with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him” (vv. 10–12).
Not Believing in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, For Eternal Life. John 3:36 states, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
Willfully Suppressing God’s Revealed Truth Concerning His Existence and Eternal Power.“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:18–20).
Not Glorifying God as God. The “wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,…because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God” (vv. 18, 21).
Not Being Thankful to God. The “wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,…because, although they knew God,” they were not “thankful” (vv. 18, 21).
Changing God’s Glory Into Images Human and Animal in Form. The “wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,…because, although they knew God, they…changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man––and birds and four–footed animals and creeping things” (vv. 18, 21, 23).
Exchanging the Truth of God for the Lie. The “wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,…because, although they knew God, they…exchanged the truth of God for the lie” (vv. 18, 21, 25). The expression the lie seems to refer to the original lie Satan uttered in the Garden of Eden. It implied that, if man would willfully reject the truth and authority of the only true God, man could be his own truth and authority, his own god. He could worship himself or any object he himself created.
Worshiping and Serving the Creature Rather Than the Creator. The “wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,…because, although they knew God, they…worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (vv. 18, 21, 25).
Having a Hard, Unrepentant Heart Against God. “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (2:5).
Being Self-seeking and Obeying Unrighteousness Instead of the Truth. “But to those who are self–seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness––indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil” (2:8–9).
Being Sexually Immoral. “But fornication and all uncleanness,…let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints. For this you know, that no for-nicator, unclean person…has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (Eph. 5:3, 5–7).
Being Covetous. “But…covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints. For this you know, that no…covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (vv. 3, 5–7).
Speaking Filthy, Foolish, Coarse Things. “Filthiness,…foolish talking,” and “coarse jesting” are not fitting for saints. “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them” (vv. 4, 6–7).
Hindering the Declaration of the Gospel. The apostle Paul indicated that, for some unbelievers who tried to prevent Jewish and Gentile believers from leading people to salvation through the presentation of the gospel, “wrath has come upon them to the uttermost” (1 Th. 2:16).
Being Future “Earth-Dwellers.” The first part of the future Day of the Lord (the part known as the Tribulation) will be characterized by the wrath of God. His wrath will devastate Earth and many of its inhabitants: “Behold, the day of the Lᴏʀᴅ comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it. ‘I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible’” (Isa. 13:9, 11; cf. 1 Th. 5:1–3).
Revelation 6—19 indicates that during that time there will be a distinction between two groups of people on Earth: “the saints” (people who become saved during the Tribulation, 13:7) and “those who dwell on the earth” (people who never become saved, 6:10).
The earth-dwellers will kill God’s saints (6:10), be tormented by two witnesses, and rejoice over the deaths of those two men (11:10). They will be astonished by the Beast (Antichrist, 17:8) and will worship him (13:8, 12). They will be deceived by a second beast (False Prophet) through miracles, and he will persuade them to make an image to the first beast (13:14–15). Three woes will be pronounced on them in conjunction with God’s final three trumpet judgments (8:13), and they will become drunk with the wine of the great harlot’s illicit unions (17:2). The names of the earth-dwellers were not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth (13:8; 17:8).
The book of Revelation indicates that God’s wrath during this future seven-year Tribulation will expose the earth-dwellers as people who are so adamantly opposed to Him that they will never repent, no matter what is done to them. When God unleashes the cosmic disturbances of the sixth seal, they will be terrified and recognize these events as expressions of God’s wrath. But instead of repenting, they will cry for the mountains and rocks to fall on them and hide them from God and the wrath of Christ (6:12–17). Despite the devastating horrors of the sixth trumpet, which will kill one third of mankind, the earth-dwellers will not repent of their wickedness (9:20–21). The fourth bowl judgment will scorch them with great heat, the fifth bowl will cause excruciating pain, and the sixth bowl will bombard them with hailstones weighing approximately 100 pounds each. Yet, though they will recognize all these as God’s wrath judgments, the earth-dwellers will blaspheme Him rather than repent (16:1, 7–11, 21).
Reasons for God’s Wrath Against Individuals
Moses. God was angry with Moses for trying to avoid His appointment as spokesman to Pharaoh (Ex. 4:10–14). He sought to kill Moses for not obeying His command to circumcise his son (vv. 24–26). God also was angry with Moses for Israel’s failure to invade Canaan at the designated time (Dt. 1:37).
Aaron. God was angry with Aaron and, had Moses not interceded, would have destroyed him for making a golden calf for Israel to worship while Moses was on top of Mount Sinai with God (9:20–21). God was angry again when Aaron challenged Moses, God’s appointed leader (Num. 12:1–9).
Miriam. God was angry with Moses’ sister and struck her with leprosy for challenging Moses’ leadership (vv. 1–10).
Nadab and Abihu. God devoured these sons of Aaron with fire for offering profane fire before the Lord (Lev. 10:1–2).
- Johannes Botterweck, “yada,” Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren, trans. David E. Green, translated from Theologisches Worterbuch zum Alten Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1986), 5:464.