148 – WRATH 2
Wrath is a feeling born of a wrong someone has suffered. People who get angry without an offense are angry and suffer great bitterness. Angry people offend and mistreat persons who are dear to them. Many wives abandon their husbands because they do not stand their abuse, and many children run away from home, exposing themselves to evil, because of their father’s anger. There are also women who are irritable. The book of Proverbs Solomon says: “It is better to live in a desert land, than with a contentious and vexing woman” (Prov.21:19). “It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman” (Prov.25:24). “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike” (Prov.27:15). Wrath does not become even to fools. “A fool’s vexation is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor” (Prov.12:16). Wrath nurtures the hope of vengeance, and therefore it cancels out forgiveness. Both wrath and anger cause double harm—on the one who is angry, for he cannot hold up the bitterness of the offended spirit, and on the victim of the anger, which is the object of the vengeance. Wrath is rarely accompanied by reason, for wrath is a passion, and passions do not yield to reason, but to the heart. Animals do not have reasoning power, nevertheless, they are susceptible to anger; therefore, reason does not come along with wrath. Drunkenness, which deprives a person from reason, can cause anger in a man, who otherwise is gentle. Anger, therefore, does not come along with reason. David begged Jehovah with these words: “O Jehovah, rebuke me not in Thy wrath; and chasten me not in Thy burning anger” (Ps.38:1). Why did David make this request? Because rebuke without anger is less violent, and chastening which is not done in fury is bearable. Wrath excludes pity, so Jehovah said: “‘And I will dash them against each other, both the fathers and the sons together,’ declares Jehovah. ‘I will not show pity nor be sorry nor have compassion that I should not destroy them” (Jer.13:14). Wrath, even after vengeance, is not satisfied. The prophet Naum reveals that Jehovah takes vengeance against the adversaries, and reserves wrath (Naum 1:2). If wrath does not become men, it becomes Jehovah even less, who calls himself merciful (Deut.7:9).
The ancient people classified wrath in three kinds: GAL, MANIA, and RAGE. They call gal, the wrath that is hidden in the heart. Permanent wrath, which gets known through words, is called mania. Lastly, rage is the wrath that takes vengeance with cruel acts following the words. Gal can disappear leaving no traces, for it exists only on the angry heart. Mania can also disappear, but it leaves traces, for it has left offensive words. Rage is murderous and does not have a way of return. We can say that the three wraths are: the anger without words, the anger followed by words, and the anger followed by words and cruel acts. The evangelist Matthew gives us the following explanation: “But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever say to his brother, ‘RACCA,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, ‘You FOOL,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the hell of fire” (Matt.5:22). Wrath, in this world, specially hurts the angry person, and also, kills for eternity. Solomon said that wise men turn away anger (Prov.29:8). If a wise man can turn away anger, why does Jehovah feed his anger? The anger of Jehovah will never be quenched: “Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched” (2 Kings 22:17). Jehovah, in infinite anger, said that he would make new heavens and a new earth, and that all flesh would come to worship him, and those who were saved would see the dead bodies of those who had sinned, eternally eaten by worms. That is, in destroying and killing the wicked, his anger did not cease, since he keeps the decaying bodies in his eternal remembrance (Is.66:22-24). Who are these dead bodies? They are those who murmured in the desert, for hunger and thirst. Jehovah pledged eternal vengeance, forbidding them to enter into Canaan.
It was in this wrath that Jehovah condemned to death all the men who were in Adam (Rom.5:12).
It was in this wrath that Jehovah destroyed humanity in the flood (Gen.6:7).
It was in his wrath that Jehovah divided the kingdom of Israel in two kingdoms, knowing that a divided kingdom does not subsist (Matt.12:25).
It was in anger that Jehovah destroyed Israel (2 Kings 17:20-21).
It was in anger, with no reason at all, that he told David to number the people, and afterwards killed 70,000 innocent people (2 Sam.24:1; 24:15-17).
It was in his wrath that he destroyed the people whom he had saved (Jude 5).
It is the wrath of Jehovah that kills the innocent, for it killed the newly born son of David, and it killed little children in all the kingdoms because of the sins of their kings (Is.14:21).
It was the wrath of Jehovah that forced mothers to eat their own children because of hunger(Lam.4:10). Any god that does not love the little children, and kills to avenge the sins of the parents, is not God.
God is the one hidden in Jesus Christ, whose works formed his profile of love and kindness; the one who loves all, even the worse and the cruelest that were conceived in the wrath of Jehovah of war, plagues, pestilences, slavery, and hatred.
Those who believe in Jesus are created afresh in love and holiness, in meekness and humbleness, according to the image of the one who created them, that is, Jesus Christ.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira