What is wrath? The soul of man, according some old philosophers, is subject to movements, that is, passions. They concluded that the movements of the soul are seven: The first one, fear or apprehension; its contrary movement is boldness. The second one is hatred, whose antonym is love. The third one is pride; its contrary is humbleness. The fourth one is avarice; its antonym is charity. The fifth is laziness, whose opposite is diligence. The sixth one is sadness, whose contrary movement is joy. The seventh passion is wrath, which does not have a contrary. Wrath is the passion that incites us against someone; it is anger, rage, hatred, and fury. What is an iracund? It is one who is angered for any annoyance. A friend and I were going downtown by car. He was driving. He almost bumped against another car at a street corner. That Christian friend, who talked happily with me, was suddenly overcome by an irrepressible fury. He got off the car red with anger, and yelling. It did not look anything like that calm, serene and happy brother any longer. Wrath does not have a contrary movement, because the iracund is inclined to wrath, and he always reacts in wrath, never in love.
In Psalm seven, verse eleven, we read that god gets angry every day. Now, if he gets angry every day, he is inclined to wrath. His reactions are always followed by unrestrained wrath. The God revealed by Jesus is love; and love never gets angry. The apostle Paul says that “[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). The god revealed by Moses is completely different from the God revealed by Jesus.
When Jehovah manifested himself to Moses in Mount Horeb the first time, he commanded him to return to Egypt to negotiate the freedom of the Hebrews from the Egyptian slavery. Moses humbly said: Jehovah Lord, I am not an eloquent man. I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. Chose a better man (Ex. 4:10). The Word says that the wrath of Jehovah was kindled against Moses (v.14). He was forced to accept the task. After the ten plagues, Pharaoh, disturbed, commanded the people to leave, and after the dramatic crossing of the Red Sea, headed towards Mount Sinai for a period of a few days. Jehovah called Moses who went up the mountain and remained there 40 days. At the foot of the mount, the people forced Aaron to make the golden calf. Jehovah was choleric, and decided to slaughter the people. He did not do it, because of Moses’ pleas (Ex. 32:10-14). Jehovah declared that he would not go with the people, for he could destroy them in a fit of anger (Ex. 33:5). He, then, sent an angel to guide them (Ex. 32:34). Jehovah commanded the building of the tabernacle, the ark of the testimony, the altar of the holocaust, the propitiatory, the columns, and the veils of the tabernacle that separated the holy place from the holly of holies. Aaron and his sons were anointed to minister the holy priesthood. This can be found in chapters 36 through 39 of the book of Exodus. The sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, took hold of their fire-pans, put fire in them, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which he had not commanded. The fire of the wrath of Jehovah came down and consumed them. They died there, before Jehovah (Lev. 10:1-2). Jehovah had always been bent on wrath, never on love. He is the iracund and murderous god.
The people began the great journey through the sizzling desert, without water or food. The column of cloud guided them by day, and the column of fire illumined them by night (Ex. 13:20-21). The people complained, and this seemed bad to Jehovah. His wrath was kindled, and fire came down from Jehovah, consuming those who came behind (Num. 11:1). Jehovah sent manna, but the people did not like manna, and cried. Then the wrath of Jehovah was kindled against the tired and hungry people again. And this wrath seemed evil in the eyes of Moses (Num. 11:6-10). Jehovah did not show any kindness or comfort towards them. There was only wrath! Only wrath! Then Moses said: This is your people, not mine! Kill me, I beg you (Num. 11:11-15). A little ways ahead, Miriam and Aaron rebelled against Moses, their brother. The wrath of Jehovah was kindled, and Miriam became leprous by his curse (Num. 12:1-10). Moses called out to Jehovah, who repented from his wrath and healed Miriam. At the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, who tried to get to the leadership to supplant Moses, Jehovah, angry, opened the earth, and they went down alive to the sepulcher (Num. 16:32-34). Fire came down from the angry god and consumed the 250 leaders of the congregation who had followed Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Num. 16:1-2, 35). The people did not like this slaughter, and complained. Jehovah, then, angry, sent a plague that killed 14,600 more men (Num. 16:49).
The people murmured because they were thirsty, and Jehovah told Moses to hit the rock with the rod of god. Moses, angered, hit it twice. Jehovah was offended, and called the episode of waters as Meribah, because of the strife. Jehovah blamed Moses and Aaron (Num. 20:12). Because of this Moses did not enter the rest of Jehovah, that is, Canaan of the Canaanites (Deut. 1:37). And Jehovah declared that Moses and Aaron would not enter the Promised Land because Moses hit the rock two times (Num. 27:12-14). Jehovah buried Moses himself, after showing him the Promised Land from Mount Nebo. Moses and Aaron remained outside and were counted with the cursed of the wrath (Ps. 95:8-10). And Jehovah excelled by giving the body of his servant Moses in the hand of Satan (Jude 9).
The wrath of Jehovah cannot be erased. It is permanent. He said: “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 shall be kindled against this place, and it shall not be quenched” (2 Kings 22:17). Josiah was one of the best kings of Israel. He began to rule when he was eight, and was faithful during the thirty-one years of his reign. He ordered the restoration of the temple. The book of the law was found in the middle of the rubble and was read. Josiah heard it and cast himself before Jehovah. He gathered the people and renewed the covenant of Jehovah. He destroyed all the idols, removed all the sorcerers and seers. The Word says that there was not anyone like him that turned to Jehovah with all his heart, and after that there was not anyone like him (2 Kings 23:24-25). He celebrated the greatest Passover known in Israel (2 Kings 23:21-22). Even then it is written that Jehovah did not change from his great wrath that burned against Judah because of the provocations of Manasseh, and said that he was going to destroy and reject the kingdom and the city of Jerusalem forever (2 Kings 23:26-27). Jehovah keeps the wrath forever. It does not go away (Nahum 1:2). The wrath and the fury of Jehovah were such that the destructive wrath passed on from men to the animals, and to the trees, and to the fruit; and he said that wrath was kindled and will not be quenched (Jer. 7:20). The wrath and the fury were such that Jehovah cried out that they were fire from hell (Deut. 32:22).
Considering the words of Jehovah, which affirm that he keeps wrath, and also accepting as true his declarations, which say that his wrath was kindled and will not be quenched, we can understand when he says that he was angry with his people for 40 years (Ps. 95:10-11). Finally, 40 years of fury do not represent much in face of eternal wrath.
If Jehovah declares that his infernal wrath cannot be quenched, for it is eternal, when we read in the New Testament that God, the Father, is love we can only get to two conclusions: Either Jehovah and the Father are the same person, or those who affirm that Jehovah is the Father have to accept that he repented and changed his nature. And if he repented from wrath to love he is faking, for Isaiah says: “Behold, the day of Jehovah comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger; to make the land a desolation, and to destroy its sinners out of it” (Is. 13:9). And we read in Revelations: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger. he will be tormented with fire and sulfur” (Rev. 14:9-10). As the wrath of Jehovah does not change and never will, he does not have love for anyone, and so he does not have mercy on his own children (Jer. 13:14). The Father is different. He loves sinners, therefore he sent his Son, not to condemn them, but to give his life for them and to save them from the fuming anger of Jehovah (John 3:16-17; Luke 9:51-56).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira