The concept of the “wrath of God” has pretty much disappeared from the American theological landscape. Americans now presume that they are going to heaven when they die, no problem, where else would one go?
To think about wrath, let us consider a human example. I knew a man who was part Apache, whose great-great-grandfather was a trader among the Indians. This trader was married to an Indian, and he was distinctive in this regard: he would not sell alcohol to the Indians. When Geronimo rose in wrath at the exploitation of the Indians, his men slaughtered all the traders, except this gentleman. They put him and his wife on one horse for the both of them, gave them one bottle of water, and sent them off across the desert. Then they burned their house.
Do you think those people at Enron, who ravaged the life-savings of so many people who trusted in them, thought they would fall into the hands of the wrath of God?
“Hell” disappeared from the American intellectual landscape, starting in 1877 when Henry Ward Beecher, one of the most prominent preachers of the day, decided he would not preach on it any more. He said he didn’t want any child to suffer over these ideas as he had suffered over them when he was young. A decade and a half later, the American Board of Foreign Missions quietly ceased enforcing the requirement that missionaries must believe in hell.
“Hell” in the New
Testament is “Gehenna” more often than any other
word, and this comes from “
we come to the awkward (in
Ward Beecher took his stand a dozen years after the Civil War ended. Among a population ravaged by such
he was right, in context. “Hell” has reappeared among us, not simply as a conceptual necessity given
the foulness that people practice, but also by revelation. When I moved to
The Bible tells us that those who handle thorns, "do so with tools of iron." 2 Samuel 23:6. -- We must understand how we are towards God, how we are in the sight of a holy Lord.
The Bible says, "Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due You." We may see here an inescapable equality, just as an upaid debt makes a financial "hit." In fact, perhaps we see a mercy in "as great as," for earthly debt-holders stretch forth their hands to reclaim not only the amount owed, but "interest" also. (And, court costs may be assessed.)
God says, "I will not give my glory to another, or my praise to idols." Is. 42:8
Then, I was reading another statement the Lord makes on this, "How can I let myself be defamed? I will not give my glory to another."
Einstein opened another view on some Biblical statements. The "lake of fire" in the book of Revelation seems to be reserved for the evil ones only ... Look through the lens of Einstein's famous equation: "E = m c squared". If the Lord withdraws the mighty hand of power that holds all things together [Bible, Heb. 1:3, Col. 1:17], what would happen as it all dissolves? The dissolution of the material universe -- as we have known it -- would, according to Einstein's law, result in an enormous amount of energy -- truly a "lake of fire" indeed, and one inhabited by any souls that had refused to the end to accept the saving hand of grace held out to them.