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The Wrath of Christ
In Defense of the Faith
Friday, June 08, 2018
Alf Cengia

Talking about the Wrath of Christ isn't done in polite society. Not just in the secular sphere but also in the religious. The message constantly preached nowadays is that God is Love. There's no place for wrath. 

While it is true that love is one of God's attributes, God is also just.

Because God is just, He hates sin. There is a Wrath of God against sin. Because of God's attribute of Love, He provided a way for us to be justified.  Puritan George Smeaton observed:

The great triumph of the cross is, that he who hung there was more pleasing in the Father’s sight than even sin was hateful – that the sin could be consumed, and yet the love remain entire. Had this love not been as full as ever, as high as ever – had there been an interruption of it but a moment – our salvation had been hopeless.

This gospel is offensive to this world. Many modern professing Christian ministers want to re-interpret and sanitize the cross from God's wrath. For example, in a previous article I noted Brian Zahnd's criticism of the Atonement and linked to a review of his book.

It's quite common to hear how good works can get us into heaven. I've been jokingly told that my (albeit rare) good deed would get me a ticket there. The Social Gospel is structured on salvation by good deeds. In this system Christ only serves as a model of suffering.

In a recent article (which everyone should read) reporting on the 2018 Christ at the Checkpoint Conference, Brian Schrauger noted that organizers attacked the essence of the gospel. He cites Palestinian Christian Munther Isaac:

Isaac made a startling statement...“When Jesus said, ‘I am the way,’ he did not mean to exclude other ways,” Isaac said. “He meant that his way is the way of sacrificial life.”

Yet we have these verses: Matt 7:13-14, 21-23; John 11:25-26, 14:6; Acts 4:12 etc.

One Progressive Christian leader tweeted that: "We don’t have to cede the Bible to the fundamentalists." What she meant was that we should be reading the Bible contextually through the lens of the culture. She advocates discarding naïve acceptance of all Scripture, especially passages on sin and God's wrath.

Years ago I stumbled onto Barbara Rossing's book "The Rapture Exposed." She is an ELCA minister and academic. The book was an excuse to attack "fundamentalism." One of Rossing's many complaints about "fundamentalists" (especially futurists) is their literal reading of Revelation and God's wrath. She even referred to Jesus Christ in Revelation as a harmless loving "Lambkin!"

...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 is able to stand?" Rev 6:16-17

See also Rev 11:16-18, 14:10, 19 etc.

Interestingly, Rossing's ELCA has since descended into apostasy. It has embraced paganism and the LGBT+ culture. For more, see Dan Skogen's website Exposing The ELCA.

Dismissal and skepticism of the book of Revelation is shared by Brian Zahnd and Brian McLaren. Zahnd has tweeted: "Forget Revelation and concentrate on the Sermon On The Mount." Yet Rev 1:3 offers a blessing to those who read and hear the prophecies in the book.

Meanwhile McLaren has mocked the "fundamentalist" view of Revelation, especially Rev 19:15.

From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." Rev 19:15-16

According to David Cloud McLaren says:

Revelation is not a “book about the distant future” but is “a way of talking about the challenges of the immediate present” (The Secret Message of Jesus, 2007, p. 176)....“the moon will turn to blood are no more to be taken literally than phrases we might read in the paper today” (The Secret Message, p. 178).

I don't know what Brian McLaren makes of the following. But the passages are clear....

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. Rev 22:18-19

If the book of Revelation isn't one's "thing" there are plentiful other verses in Scripture which challenge the "Lambkin" theory. Christ preached hell (Matt 5:22); a narrow-exclusive gate (Matt 7:13-14); a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt 8:12) and a destruction of soul and body in hell (Matt 10:28).

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Mat 10:34

Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. Jude 1:5

Note: Some translations render Jesus "Lord." It is the same Greek word by which Jesus is referred to.

In his book "Knowing Christ" Mark Jones dedicates an entire chapter to Christ's Wrath! He notes early that in the Old Testament, the angel of the Lord (Son of God) "often executed judgment in the most severe ways" (p 193).

Psalm 96:13 and Psalm 98:9 speak of a future coming of the Lord in judgment. These passages dovetail with Zechariah 14 and Rev 19. Christ is appointed to judge: John 5:26-27; Act 10:42, 17:31; 1 Cor. 15:25. And there are warnings to those who despise the kingdom (Luke 19:27).

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Heb 10:31

The book of Revelation doesn't stand on its own. It has hundreds of allusions to the OT prophetic passages. There will be a coming eschatological judgment. Yet even if the prophecies of Revelation are still years from being fulfilled, our life on this earth is as grass (Psalm 103:15-16).

An important factor in past revivals of the church is that people became convicted of the gravity of their sins. They realized their precarious eternal position and were drawn to the grace of the cross (John 3:16-18; Heb 9:27). Sadly, that message is anathema today!

Will you believe what others tell you about God's Word? Or will you believe God's Word itself?  Judgment and hell are real. Your eternal destiny is at stake.

Maranatha!

Further resources:
Watch the Story (The Gospel)
All of Grace (Spurgeon)
The Only True God

About Alf Cengia 
Zeteo316.com

Last week: A Jerusalem Disconnect



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