Monday, August 25, 2014

We are not Appointed to Wrath

1 Thessalonians 5:9.
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ"
It may surprise many people that I didn't even cover this in my main post against Post-Trib. The real difference between Post-Trib and the other major views is how we view the nature of The Church and Israel, and how that overlaps with how we view the sequence of The Resurrection.  But this distinction about Wrath is often cited as a favorite Proof Text on the issue.

To me the Dispensational view of this verse is fairly well backed by Mid-SeventiethWeek arguments.  And the two Pre- views weaken the usefulness of this by misunderstanding just how much of Revelation is the Wrath of God.

By viewing when we're taken out as Between the Trumpets and Bowls, and using parallels between the 7th Trumpet and Revelation 14 to classic Rapture passages to back that up.  The argument that this verse reveals something about the Timing of The Rapture makes sense.  But I can't see a Post-Tribber being impressed by the way Pre-Wrathers presents their chronology, and certainly not by Pre-Tribbers who don't place the Rapture in Revelation at all.

Thing is however, I cannot in all honestly consider the Post-Trib answers to this verse (of which there are two I can think of) completely invalid.

1. It doesn't mean we're not on Earth during the Pouring out of Wrath, but simply that we're protected from the Wrath.

Indeed the first Bowl specifically says it only affects those who take the Mark.  But no such qualifier exists with the other Bowls, and I can't see believers being unaffected by them without explicit divine intervention that Revelation 16 doesn't mention for them.  I believe the First Bowl is directly linked to the mark to show it happens soon after The mark is introduced.

But my interpretation of that is hardly doctrinal proof against that possible Post-Trib view.

2. It's not eschatological at all, Wrath here simply means Hell or The Lake of Fire, God's eternal Anger against Sinners.

On the one hand, being in 1 Thessalonians 5 gives a context linked to The Rapture and End Times.

But on the other, some uses of the word Wrath in non eschatological contexts (even of the more Specific Wrath of God) do support that view.  Particularly John 3:36  "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.".  And they also point out the fuller context of the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ".

So even though eschatology is in mind a little earlier.  That Post-Trib interpretation of that verse is doctrinally solid.

So those are the only two options I can think of they have.  Unless they break the traditional definition of Post-Trib in some way.

There are actually two completely different Greek words translated Wrath in the New Testament.  Orge (Strong# 3709) and Thumos (Strong# 2372).  Unfortunately my study of them hasn't really revealed any compelling common denominators in how they're used to distinguish between them mystically, at least not one to help the Dispensational case against Post-Trib.  Both are used in Revelation, and both are used with "of God".

Orge is the one used in both 1 Thessalonians 5:9 (every occurrence of Wrath in Thessalonians actually) and John 3:36.  As well as Romans 2:5's reference to the "Day of Wrath".

In Revelation.

 Thumos is the one used every-time you see Wrath in chapter 14-16:1, both when referring to God's Wrath and the "Wrath of her Whoredom" referring to the Whore of Babylon, which also occurs in 18:3.  It's also Thumos used of The Devil's Wrath in 12:12

Revelation 16:19 used both for the "fierceness of his wrath" against Babylon.

But in both Revelation 6 and 11, in the wake of both the Sixth Seal and Seventh Trumpet, Ogre is the word for Wrath used.

I'm afraid I reluctantly (since it doesn't suit my agenda) have to admit we can't solidly build Prophetic doctrine on the references to Wrath.

Now that the "Day of the LORD" refers specifically to the Second Half of Daniel's 70th Week is probably still a more solid argument.  And it's possible link to the "Day of Wrath", which would be a more solid chronological reference to Wrath.

Zephaniah 1:15-18 refers to "the day of the LORD'S wrath".  And 1 Thessalonian 5 also earlier refers to the Day of The Lord.    Both of the only times the NT speaks of a "Day of Wrath" in Romans 2:5 and Revelation 6:17 the Greek word is Ogre.

The Pre-Wrath camp might feel it backs up their view, the Sixth Seal being the only time Revelation mention the Day of Wrath.  But the fact remains that you can't build doctrine on what's said by fallible humans.  Interestingly the book of Job which I point to to make that point also has two references to the "Day of Wrath", in 20:28 and 21:30.  When Joel discuses the Sixth Seal event in 2:28-32 he clearly says this is BEFORE the "Day of he LORD'", not during it or when it starts, but before.

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