Is God Wrathful?

Tim explains that in order to have a biblical view of God, we must acknowledge His wrath.


00:06 Is God wrathful? Well, there are aspects of God's nature that make people

00:11 uncomfortable. God's wrath is one of them. In fact, fewer and fewer churches

00:15 nowadays will openly preach about the wrath of God. The topic is taboo to our

00:20 modern sensibilities. While some ignore the biblical teaching of God's wrath,

00:24 others will just flat-out deny it. The problem is, there are more than 600

00:29 references of divine wrath in Scripture. The doctrine of God's wrath against the

00:34 wicked is clearly taught throughout the Bible. Listen to how the prophet Nahum

00:39 describes God's wrath against Nineveh. It says this: "The Lord is a jealous and

00:45 avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his

00:51 adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and

00:56 great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. Who can stand

01:02 before his indignation? Who could endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is

01:08 poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by him. The Lord is

01:14 good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.

01:21 But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end to his adversaries,

01:27 and will pursue his enemies into darkness." I cited this lengthy passage

01:33 for a reason. Most people are happy to quote verses like, "the Lord is slow to

01:39 anger," verse 3, and, "the Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble," verse 7,

01:44 yet they ignore verses like, "the Lord is an avenging and wrathful God," verse 2, and,

01:50 "his wrath is poured out like fire," verse 6. They want to take the former but leave

01:55 the latter. However, the minor prophet won't allow it. God's goodness and wrath

01:59 are inseparably interwoven within the same text. Many people have the mistaken

02:05 impression that the character of God is split in the Bible. The God of the Old

02:09 Testament is angry and wrathful. The God of the New Testament is gracious and

02:14 merciful. This simply isn't true, and I can prove it to

02:18 you. Not only does Nahum's own words allude to God's goodness and mercy in

02:22 verse 7, but Nahum's audience was well aware of God's goodness. Nahum is

02:28 writing to the Ninevites. These are the same Ninevites whom God sent Jonah. These

02:34 are the same wicked people who had repented and received mercy from God. In

02:38 response to God sparing Nineveh, Jonah says this: "For I knew that you are a

02:44 gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and

02:48 relenting from disaster." So over a century has passed since Jonah's oracle,

02:53 and the Ninevites have turned back to their wicked ways. Now these people who

02:58 have received God's mercy are going to receive God's wrath. The tragic history

03:03 of the Ninevites displays two aspects of God's nature, and both are equally true.

03:09 God is gracious and merciful, but He is also avenging and wrathful. Sound

03:14 theology never pits one against the other.

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Tim Barnett