Summary: The Day of the Lord analyzed from the O.T. prophets, the Apostles Paul and Peter
"THE WRATH OF GOD-WHAT IS IT ?"
In I Thessalonians 5:9 God makes one of the most comforting and truly significant promises to the born-again child of God: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." This great promise of deliverance from the wrath of God is repeated in Romans 5:9: "Much more then, being now justified by His Blood, we shall be saved from (the) wrath through Him." This word ’wrath’ is defined as "the strongest of all passions...a settled abiding condition of mind" by Vine in his Expository Dictionary. This attitude of anger does not manifest itself in uncontrollable, impulsive outbursts, but instead is a thought out resolved attitude resulting in calculated responses of vengeance through acts of judgment when God is the one demonstrating the wrath.
God, in His past response to Israel’s sinful conduct when they tempted Him in the wilderness, manifested His "wrath" by not allowing them to "enter into My rest" (Hebrews 3:11). His present response of "wrath" to the unbelieving Jew is documented in Romans 9:22: "What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction." He will pour out His wrath in the future on the unbelieving Jew and Gentile alike during His devastating time of judgment at the end of the age: "And said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sits on the Throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:16, 17).
God through the prophet Zechariah proclaimed: "And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined and will try them as gold is tried..."( Zechariah 13:8,9). God will most definitely use His wrath to penalize, purge and purify His earthly people the nation of Israel.
His wrath will also be poured out upon the ungodly Gentile nations, who have been given abundant opportunity to turn and repent of their sin, as shown in Revelation 9:20,21: "And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues; yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood; which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk; Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."
However, in order to accurately answer the specific question "The Wrath of God-What is It?" we must first turn to the vivid portraits painted by the Old Testament prophets of this unprecedented time of cataclysmic judgment on the earth. As we survey these prophetic passages of Scripture, we will be looking for the Distinguishing Name/Title given for the wrath of God, the Defining Description of the wrath of God, and the Definite Person responsible for bringing about this fierce, unprecedented wrath of God which will be poured out upon the earth.
In Isaiah 13:6, 9, 10, 13 this description of God’s wrath is given: "Howl ye; for the Day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. 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. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts and in the day of His fierce anger."
Zephaniah also pinpoints and describes the wrath of God: "The great Day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hastes greatly, even the voice of the Day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. A day of trumpet and alarm...Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the Day of the Lord’s wrath." (Zephaniah 1:14-18)
These two Old Testament writers speak as one, the Distinguishing Name/Title for the wrath of God is unmistakable and without question the Day of the Lord. This Day of the Lord will be an unprecedented time of judgment which is yet to come upon the world. Also, their Defining Description of the wrath of God are unmistakable for God "will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place. Words such as "lay the land desolate...destroy the sinners...sun shall be darkened...the moon shall not cause her light to shine...day of trouble...distress... wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness...thick darkness" show that this judgment from God can not be mistaken for any thing which has gone before. Therefore, the Definite Person responsible for the wrath of God is unmistakably and obviously the Lord of heaven Himself! The text of Isaiah emphasizes the fact that this horrendous judgment is from the Lord: "a destruction from the Almighty...in the fierce day of His anger."