INTRODUCTION TO BIBLICAL PROPHECIES:

PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE


The Bible is full of prophecies that speak of unimaginable pain and suffering that the Creator God says he is going to pour out on his human creation before he returns to establish his Father's government on earth. But why would the loving God who gave his life for humanity as the Messiah want to inflict the kind of pain, agony, and terror that is spoken of throughout the Bible as the"wrath of God"? And if this wrath of God is inevitable, when will it come and what does God hope to accomplish through it?


THE REASONS


There are many positive things that God hopes to accomplish through the massive destruction of much of the earth and the annihilation of most of its inhabitants. However, his reasons for bringing his wrath upon humanity and the positive outcome that will come through this devastation can only be understood if we first understand his purpose for human creation.


In the Beginning


When humanity was created, God planned for people to prosper under his guidance and eventually become sons of God and enter into the Family and Kingdom of God as spirit beings. However, when we review the Genesis record we find that the first two humans rebelled against God and rejected his plan through which they and their descendants could fulfill his purpose for them (Gen.3:1-23; 4:1-7). This rejection of God and his plan has continued from the time of Adam and Eve to this very day:


“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And God was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it caused him great sorrow of heart. And he said, I will destroy humanity whom I have created and wipe them from the face of the earth: both humanity, and beasts, and the creeping things and the birds of the air; for I am sorry that I have made them“ (Gen.6:5-7 Para.).


Here, we see that the Creator God was grief-stricken and extremely discouraged because of the wickedness of people and their rejection of him and the opportunity that he had offered them. Because they chose the way of evil over the way of good and would not change from their wicked lifestyles, God decided to kill them all except for Noah and his family. It is a sad commentary on the human race that, out of its hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of inhabitants, Noah was the only righteous individual that God could find on the planet.


The Israelites


Centuries after God had destroyed all but eight people in a great flood, he chose the Israelitish descendants of his friend Abraham to begin the next phase of his plan through which humanity could become sons of God and enter into the Family and Kingdom of God (Ex.19:5-6; Deut.7:6-9). However, these people also rejected God and his plan to save them from eternal death (Jer.3:1-25; Isa.16:1-34).


The Messiah


Over nineteen centuries ago, God the Father sent his Son to offer an easier and more perfect method by which humanity could obtain eternal life, become his sons, and enter into his Family and Kingdom (Heb.10:1-21). When the Father's Son, in the personage of Jesus Christ, proclaimed the good news of his Father's awesome and wonderful offer to the Jews, they not only rejected this offer but also murdered him for bringing them this good news (Acts 2:23-32).


After the murder of the Messiah (the Creator God incarnate), the Father chose people for the purpose of proclaiming his plan for the salvation of humanity. He also had his plan published in almost every language on earth in hopes that some would heed his good news message. However, history has shown that since the death and resurrection of his Son, most who have heard this message have rejected it.

  

THE WRATH OF GOD


The wrath of God that will be poured out upon the earth and its inhabitants will bring an end to about six thousand years of his patience in dealing with rebellious people and their evil ways. God's chosen people, Israel, along with the rest of humanity have shown throughout the centuries that they cannot and/or will not live righteously or govern themselves fairly and equitably. Therefore, he will bring an end to human rule and institute a new order for the purpose of furthering his plan and purpose for his human creation.


The earth and its inhabitants are about to enter into a new and different relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ. However, prior to this new order and new relationship, God will pour out his wrath upon his chosen people and the rest of humanity because of their great wickedness.


Israel and Judah Punished


“Hear the word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of the families of the earth: Therefore, I will punish you for all of your lawlessness“ (Am.3:1-2 Para.). See also Isa.30:1-14; Jer.11:1-19; 30:1-14.


From the very beginning of the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai, they have been a constant disappointment to their God because of their rebellion. Throughout the centuries prior to and after the death of king Solomon, God continually urged Israel to obey the covenant that he had made with their ancestors in the wilderness. However, they would not obey; instead, they sought false religious teachers and prophets who would tell them what they wanted to hear and hide the teachings of the true God from them.


Israel has turned their backs on the God of their ancestors, refused to obey him, rejected his good news of salvation, and refused to repent nationally and individually. Therefore, the house of Israel (i.e., the ten scattered tribes) and the house of Judah (the Israelis) will receive the full force of the wrath of God just prior to the end of this age and the return of the Messiah.


Babylon Punished


Since the death of King Solomon, the Babylonian system of government and religion has been embraced by the scattered tribes of Israel and Judah. Because this system is largely responsible for much of Israel's wickedness against God, it is therefore impossible to punish the nations of Israel and the Jews without punishing this Babylonian system and the nations that comprise it. (See Rev.14:8-10; 18:1-14; Jer. chaps.51-52).


The Nations Punished


Because the tribes of Israel are scattered among the nations of the world and these nations are under Babylonian governmental and religious systems that are in opposition to the true God's governmental and religious system, his wrath will be poured out upon them as well:


“A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with the nations; he will plead with all flesh; he will give those who are wicked to the sword, says the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest parts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be refuse upon the ground“ (Jer.25:31-33 KJV).


God says that all nations and their citizens are wicked; therefore, he will punish them and none will be spared. He will cause a great destruction to come upon their cities and kill their peoples as he pours out his wrath during the end of this age:


“Scream in terror, for the Lord's time has come, the time for the Almighty to crush you. Your arms lie paralyzed with fear; the strongest hearts melt, and are afraid. Fear grips you with terrible pangs, like those of a woman in labor. You look at one another, helpless, as the flames of the burning city reflect upon your pallid faces. For see, the day of the Lord is coming. The terrible day of his wrath and fierce anger. The lands shall be destroyed, and all the sinners with it. The heavens will be black above them. No light will shine from stars or sun or moon. And I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sin; I will crush the arrogance of the proud man and the haughtiness of the rich. Few will live when I have finished my work. Men will be as scarce as gold—of greater value than the gold of Ophir. For I will shake the heavens in my wrath and fierce anger, and the earth will move from its place in the skies“ (Isa.13:6-13 LBP). See also Isa.26:21.


Evil Spirits Punished


The Bible reveals that a powerful evil spirit known as the Devil (Satan) and other evil spirits have politically, philosophically, and religiously deceived the entire world into rebelling against the true God and his teachings:


“That old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, that deceives [is deceiving] the whole world . . .“ (Rev.12:9 Para.). See 2.Cor.11:3-4; 13-15.


Because this evil being and his associates are one of the primary causes of human rebellion against God the Father and Jesus Christ, he will also be punished—first with a thousand years of restraint in the abyss and then with death by fire (Ezk.28:16-19):


“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season“ (Rev.20:1-3 KJV). See also Isa.24:21-22.


The Days of Noah


Remember that in just over a thousand years after Adam and Eve were created, people had become so wicked that God was sorry that he had made them. This same situation exists today. Look around. This world is an extremely evil place, just as it was prior to the great flood; therefore, God will again bring a great destruction upon the earth and its inhabitants:


“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thought of his heart was only evil continually. And God was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it caused him great grief in his heart. And he said, I will destroy humanity whom I have created and wipe them from the face of the earth: both humanity, and beasts, and the creeping things and the birds of the air; for I am sorry that I have made them“ (Gen.6:5-7 KJV).


The people who lived prior to the great flood were extremely wicked; their thoughts, attitudes, and behavior were all in opposition to God's way and his purpose for creating them (i.e., eternal life and sonship in the Family and Kingdom of God). Today's age is a repeat of Noah's day, and the Father and Jesus Christ are just as grief-stricken and disappointed because of the wickedness of people and their rejection of the opportunity that they have been offered:


“But as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it also be when the Son of man comes. For in the days before the flood, they were eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them away; so shall it be when the Son of Man comes“ (Matt.24:37-39 Para.). See also Lk.17:28-30.


Jesus said that just prior to his return, people's attitudes and behavior would be exactly the same as they were during the days just prior to Noah being saved from God's wrath upon humanity. But what were these attitudes and behaviors of the people of Noah's day?


During Noah's day, belief in and obedience to the true God and his ways was almost non-existent (only Noah was righteous). People were going about their lives with no thought of the true God or the consequences of their lifestyles. When the flood came, some who had heard the preaching of Noah realized that what he had said was true, but it was too late for them to escape the wrath of God. Today, God offers escape to any who will repent and believe his good news message.


God is Persistent


God the Father and Jesus Christ are persistent and extremely patient in their desire to save humanity from eternal death:


“But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance“ (2.Pet.3:8-9 KJV).


Because of their desire for all to repent and reap the benefits of this change in the human heart, God the Father and Jesus Christ are going to give humanity one last opportunity to accept their offer of eternal life and sonship in the Family and Kingdom of God. But prior to this opportunity, humanity will suffer the wrath of God. He will punish them for their rebellion, eliminate all evil, and remove any physical and spiritual opposition to his government.


When and What?


When will the wrath of God come and what does God hope to accomplish by it?


The full wrath of God will come after the Father's good news message has been proclaimed to his chosen people just before the return of Jesus Christ. When this happens, the wrath of God will come upon all the scattered tribes of Israel, the Jews, and the rest of humanity. Because the vast majority of people and nations have shown that they do not want God's rule in their lives, God is going to kill all but a very few of them before and during the return of Jesus Christ.


After the full fury of the wrath of God has been poured out and the earth lies in ruin and its population is drastically reduced, the Kingdom of God will be established as an all-powerful, world-ruling government. This government will solve all of humanity's problems in a fair and equitable manner with true justice and liberty for all. It will not be a government ruled by selfishly motivated humans, but a government ruled by the righteous all-powerful family of God.


The Father and Jesus Christ have not forgotten their master plan for humanity. It is after the completion of God's wrath and during the rule of Jesus Christ that all humans will come to fully understand and appreciate the awesome grandeur of the opportunity that they have been offered: the opportunity to become a son of God the Father and enter his Family and Kingdom.


God the Father still hopes to increase his Family and Kingdom. The wrath of God upon this wicked and perverse generation is regrettable, but necessary in order for him to implement the next step in his grand and awesome plan for the salvation of humanity.



By B. L. Cocherell

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