We have finally arrived at the verses that clearly explain to us what “the wrath of God” is. Nowhere else in the entire Bible are we given such a concise and definitive explanation of this most misunderstood biblical term as we are given here in chapter one of the Book of Romans. We will examine these verses carefully, looking at them phrase by phrase and using the Bible to explain them to us.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them (Romans 1:18-19, emphasis added).
If we understand this statement in the conventional way that “the wrath of God” is typically understood—that God finally loses His patience with sinners and personally lashes out from heaven in anger to destroy them—then we will have a very hard time reconciling other verses like these:
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9, emphasis added).
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him (Romans 5:9).
Does it make sense to think that Jesus would die for us so that we can be saved from His Father’s anger? Or from His own anger, since He and His Father are one (John 10:30)? And does it make sense that God would destroy us when we have already “been justified by His blood?” There is something here that does not quite add up, wouldn’t you say? Then perhaps there is another way to look at this. What does it mean, then, that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven?”
FOR THE WRATH OF GOD IS REVEALED FROM HEAVEN
The apostle Paul declares that “the wrath of God” is revealed from a very specific place—it is revealed from heaven itself. First, we ask the question: who is in heaven? Well, God is in heaven, of course. The God who is love, the God who is “perfect love” (1 John 4: 8,18) is in heaven. Therefore, “the wrath of God” must be revealed from the God of love Himself.
However, the word “heaven” does not always refer to a place only. It also refers to a way of being and thinking, a way which is practiced and lived out in heaven, a way that comes directly from God’s principles. Jesus brought this to light when He said:
If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things. No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven (John 3:12-13)?
If we understand the above verse’s reference to heaven as being only a place, then we will be confused. In the above verse, Jesus is addressing Nicodemus here on earth—not in heaven. Nevertheless, Jesus clearly says that He “is in heaven.” How can He say this, when He is in Jerusalem, speaking to Nicodemus?
This will no longer be confusing when we realize that Jesus is using the word “heaven” in a different way—He is referring to a heavenly principle—not a place. Thus, when He says that “no one has ascended to heaven” He means that no one has “ascended” to the heavenly principle except for Him—the One who came down from the place called “heaven.” When He says that He is “in heaven” it is obvious that He is not using the word “heaven” to refer to a place anymore. When Jesus says that He is “in heaven,” He means that He is in the heavenly principle—the principle from God, who is in heaven. This is confirmed in the same chapter by John the Baptist:
John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore, this joy of mine is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all (John 3:27-31).
Jesus had come “from above” and therefore spoke of heavenly things—heavenly principles which came directly from His Father. Thus, His words have much more weight than any words that can come from human beings, who have an earthly point of view based on the earthly principles of Good and Evil.
Paul also indicated this way of looking at the word “heavenly” when he said:
The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:47-49, KJV, emphasis added).
Therefore, when we read that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven,” we understand that it is revealed from the heavenly principle itself, the principle or law that is the very essence of the God who is in the place called “heaven.” What is the heavenly principle, the moral law with which God rules the universe? It is the law of agape love. The “wrath of God” then, is revealed from agape love.
FREEDOM AND JURISDICTION
There are two ways in which God is involved in “the wrath of God”—two ways in which “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.” The first way has to do with an intrinsic component of God’s law of agape love. That component is freedom—freedom is an inherent element of God’s universal moral law of agape love.
Thus, when Paul says that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven” we need to realize that “the wrath of God” is intrinsically connected to the freedom inherent in agape love. Freedom is the first foundational and indispensable concept we need to understand in order to arrive at a harmonious biblical understanding of what it means that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.”
The second way in which God is involved with “the wrath of God” has to do with the fact that He is our judge. It is God who judges us. But God judges us through righteousness—the heavenly principle—and not through iniquity—the earthly principle. What does this mean?
God’s judgment has to do with determining what is truly in our hearts. It is God who makes a judgment, that is, who determines whether or not we belong to the jurisdiction of His or Satan’s kingdom. Satan is not the judge in this process of determination. He is not the one who decides whether or not we have crossed the line from God’s jurisdiction into his jurisdiction. It is God who makes sure that this decision is done fairly and impartially.
We all know that Satan does not operate in a fair way. Thus, God makes sure that our enemy and accuser does not infringe on our freedom or disturbs the evidence, so to speak. It is God who determines whether we have crossed over to Satan’s camp or not. Why is this so? Because only God can read our hearts and only God is just.
Notice what Paul says in Romans chapter two. He says that “in the day of wrath” God makes a “righteous judgment,” that is, God decides who will and who will not suffer “the wrath of God”:
But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “WILL RENDER TO EACH ONE ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek (Romans 2:5-9, emphasis added).
The words “righteous judgment” in this passage are expressed through one single Greek word—, which means “a just sentence: – righteous judgment” (Strong’s Concordance). But it is the opposite, the antonym of this word that helps us understand that this is an impartial judgment. According to the Complete Word Study Dictionary the antonym or opposite of is , which means “partiality, favoritism; falsehood.” This is in harmony with Peter’s statement which says “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34).
Paul’s statement above in Romans 2:5-9 could be easily interpreted to show that God uses reward and punishment. We could interpret it to mean that He will personally reward those who do good with “glory, honor, and immortality” and will punish those who do evil with “wrath, tribulation and anguish.” We default to this interpretation because this is our default way of thinking from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But if we understand that God operates only by agape love, then we will be able to see it through the principle of the Tree of Life.
From the Tree of Life principle of agape love, we can interpret these verses to mean that it is God, our righteous judge, who makes a truthful and impartial determination—a “righteous judgment”—based on our “deeds”—based on the way we have conducted ourselves here on earth. This verification, this “righteous judgment,” has to do with whether we have chosen to live under His nonviolent jurisdiction of love, mercy and grace, or under Satan’s violent jurisdiction of reward and punishment.
God, who always grants us freedom of choice, will determine what our choices have been, not based on what we profess with our mouths, but on how we conduct ourselves—how we live our lives through our actions. This is so because actions speak much louder than words. This “righteous judgment” only God can do, because as we said earlier, only He knows our hearts, and only He is fair. Not even we know our hearts, for our hearts deceive us:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:9-10, emphasis added).
God gives “every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” It is only fair, is it not? The “righteous Judge” allows no injustice to take place. He makes sure that everyone is placed under the jurisdiction that he or she has chosen to belong to. Jesus explained this selection process in the parable of the sheep and goats:
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left (Matthew 25:31-33, emphasis added).
This also comes to light in Revelation fourteen, when the “harvest of the earth is ripe.” Then, all living human beings will have chosen their respective jurisdictions, their side on this great polemic, and will either receive the seal of God or the mark of the beast. Then, those who have received Satan’s mark, signifying that they belong to his jurisdiction, will be thrown into the “great winepress of the wrath of God”:
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.” So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:14-19, emphasis added).
God knows us inside out, and we can trust Him to be fair. If this judgment were being conducted by Satan, he would condemn the entire human race outright because as the ultimate accuser, that is his modus operandi:
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down (Revelation 12:10).
This exclamation of extreme relief—“Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come”—reverberated through the heavens when salvation came through Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection. Why? Because Satan used to go up to heaven in order to accuse us—notice how heavenly beings call us their “brethren!” The accuser was relentless—“day and night” he went before God seeking to get us convicted, trying to get God to release His protection from us so that he could lash out at us to punish and destroy us.
Satan’s persistent accusations against the human race surface in a few places in the Bible, especially just before “the wrath of God” is put into action. Notice what God said before “the wrath of God” was unleashed against both Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as Nineveh:
And the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know” (Genesis 18:20-21, emphasis added).
Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me (Jonah 1:2, emphasis added).
Both verses above make mention of some report that had come up before God. Someone was crying out that those cities needed to be destroyed. Someone was accusing them, demanding that they be punished.
Now, we know that God knows all things; therefore, He knew the condition of Sodom and Gomorrah. He didn’t have to “go down” to “see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it” that had come to Him. The same applies to Nineveh.
But the Righteous Judge made sure that a proper investigation was conducted for the sake of transparency. This was done for all to see if the people of those cities had indeed passed completely under Satan’s jurisdiction. He also made sure that the people who were not yet fully under Satan’s jurisdiction had a chance to escape, as in the case of Lot and his family, or Noah and his family at the time of the flood.
This was also the case in the destruction of Jerusalem, when all those who heeded Jesus’ words found opportunity to escape, when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by the Roman armies:
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her (Luke 21:20-21 emphasis added).
In the case of Nineveh, when their wickedness had “come up before” God, He sent a messenger to warn the people, someone who would help them see their great danger and help them turn from their wicked and violent ways—violence being the ultimate indicator that they had chosen Satan’s jurisdiction:
And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish (Jonah 3:4-9, emphasis added)?
Once the people of Nineveh turned away from Satan’s jurisdiction of violence, notice what God did:
Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it (Jonah 3:10).
We can take this verse above and interpret it in two ways. We can continue to think that God is the One who punishes wicked people, and that a time comes when He can’t take it anymore and He comes down and annihilates them. And when the people started to behave properly then God relented and didn’t want to destroy them anymore.
But when we put everything together, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and especially the message of the good news that Jesus came to bring us, we can also interpret this to mean that Satan had asked permission to annihilate the people of those cities.
God, in His mercy, sent a messenger to the people of Nineveh to see if they would leave Satan’s jurisdiction of violence, and when they did, God held the accuser and Destroyer at bay, in effect saying: “you can’t have them anymore. They are back under my protection now.” We must always remember that it is Satan who is the thief who comes but “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). He is the Destroyer (Revelation 9:11)—not God.
God, on the other hand, infinitely cares about us, and in His loving grace has immense pity for sinners who have been held hostage in the hands of a cruel master, and who are so confused by Satan’s reward and punishment system (the Devil deceives the whole world, Revelation 12:9) that according to God, they cannot even “discern between their right hand and their left.” Listen to what He said to Jonah—who, by the way, was not too happy with the final outcome of his own mission—concerning the Ninevites:
And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock (Jonah 4:11, emphasis added)?
Isn’t this what Jesus Himself exclaimed as He was dying on the cross?
And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:33-34).
If it weren’t for God’s loving care and protection, we all would have been annihilated by Satan long ago. It is because of God’s loving protection that we are not consumed by the Destroyer. At least this is what Jeremiah seems to be saying in that book that records his great lamentation for his people, who had experienced “the wrath of God,” and who, as a result, had been decimated by their enemies:
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23, emphasis added).
Satan is the great accuser, the grand prosecutor who is constantly seeking to indict us. Those who accuse others don’t realize what they are doing, because by doing so they are bringing condemnation upon their own heads. How so? Because as accusers, they are placing themselves in the jurisdiction of Satan. This will be confirmed by Romans chapter two as we continue.
What all of this means then, is that God, who is in heaven, is in control of whether we experience “the wrath of God” or not, based on our choices. It does not mean that He inflicts that wrath upon us; this will become more and more evident and clear as we proceed.
It would actually be far more accurate to say that we are the ones who are in control of whether or not we receive “the wrath of God,” because God only acts based on our choices. This is better understood if we keep in mind that Satan, the enemy of mankind, is always eager to destroy us through his system of reward and punishment. If God did not hold him at bay, we would have been already devoured by him long ago:
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan is eager to punish us because that is how he operates according to his system of reward and punishment. Many may be skeptical about our continual assertion that Satan’s “knowledge” or “wisdom” of Good and Evil is a system of reward and punishment. Where did we get this from and how did we arrive at such a conclusion? What biblical evidence do we have to show that our supposition is based on facts?
It is impossible to put down on paper everything that led to this understanding, but we have been trying to do exactly this through our books, of which this is the third. We would like to offer the reader, however, a brief study that confirms these conclusions. This study is taken from the Book of Job and it involves Satan’s answer to God’s question “From where do you come?” God asked Satan this question during a council meeting that occurred “before the Lord”:
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come” (Job 1:6-7)?
God’s question to Satan seems almost silly— doesn’t God know where Satan has been? But God has a purpose in asking this question, because Satan’s answer is quite revealing:
So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it” (Job 1:7)
At first glance there is nothing revealing about this answer, aside from the fact that it seems to imply that Satan has total control of the earth. “Up and down” and “back and forth” seem to point out from “north to south,” and from “east to west,” showing that his jurisdiction encompasses all the earth. Notice also how “up and down” and “back and forth” seem to trace in our minds two imaginary lines in the shape of a cross. This seems like a simple and meaningless detail, but the cross, two sticks crossing each other, has great meaning in Satan’s kingdom because it represents the two arms of his system of keeping order—Good and Evil. What is so eye-opening about “going to and fro on the earth,” and “walking back and forth on it”?
In English, these words are not revealing or eye-opening at all. And even the most popular lexicons like Strong’s and Thayer do not give us anything unusual about them. But when we look at their meaning in Jeff Benner’s Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible, they indeed become extremely revealing and eye-opening!
The first words Satan used in his reply to God are the words “going to and fro on the earth.” In Hebrew this is expressed by two words: the first is min/minnêy/minnêy and the second is shût. Min/minnêy/minnêy means a “part of,” “out of,” or “from.” The second word, shût, is the word that is eye-opening. Here the Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible gives us this explanation:
Scourge, Whip: A whipping or lashing out at someone or something out of hatred or punishment.
Right away, we see that Satan’s reply, “going to and fro on the earth” means much more than just having complete control of the earth. It means that he has complete control of the earth through something he does as he goes about ruling the earth: he rules the planet through scourging, whipping, and lashing out at human beings “out of hatred,” using punishment. This is just a part of what he does. This is the Evil part of his Good and Evil moral system, his yin and yang.
The second part of Satan’s answer, “walking back and forth on it” is also expressed through two words, the first is the same as before, min/minnêy/minnêy. The second is hālak, which is depicted by two pictures: one is a staff and the other is the palm of a hand. The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon interprets these symbols like this:
The [FIRST] pictograph is a picture of shepherd staff, the [SECOND PICTOGRAPH] is a picture of the palm of the hand. Combined these mean “staff in the palm”. A nomad traveled on foot with a staff in his hand to provide support in walking as well as a weapon to defend against predators or thieves.
Jeff Benner interprets “staff in the palm” as something a nomad shepherd would use in his journeys to “provide support in walking as well as a weapon to defend against predators” or thieves. In the Bible, a shepherd’s staff has benign connotations, as in the famous twenty-third Psalm:
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:1-4).
Symbolically, a staff is the scepter held in the hands of a king. The scepter represents the king’s laws. It is also something a shepherd uses to lead his sheep. God’s staff leads us “in the path of righteousness”—His law. The staff also comforts. Jesus used the shepherd as a symbol of His role toward us: He is our Good Shepherd. Thus, the staff in the palm of God’s hand is a symbol of protection, beneficence, goodness, and righteousness.
But what does a staff in the palm of Satan’s hand represent? The staff in the palm of Satan’s hand also represents his scepter, the laws of his kingdom. It represents goodness also, but this brand of goodness is the Good side of his system of rule represented by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This is the Good of Good and Evil, the reward part of his reward and punishment death principle, which he uses to bribe his subjects into good behavior. It is the carrot—the counterpart of the stick.
Thus, in essence when Satan said that he was “going to and fro on the earth” he meant he was ruling the earth by punishing the subjects of his kingdom through his punitive system of justice, the Evil side of Good and Evil. And when he said that he was “walking back and forth” on the earth” he meant that he was using the Good side of his system of rule, that is, he was rewarding the subjects of his kingdom in order to keep them under his control. This is clear confirmation that Satan operates by the mixed principle of Good and Evil, which translates into a reward and punishment axis.
God is “perfect love” (1 John 4:18). He never acts under Satan’s system of reward and punishment. God’s perfect love is the underlying principle from which all His actions spring. Therefore even “the wrath of God” has to be revealed from His perfect love, not from Satan’s reward and punishment system, because God’s wrath has to be a product of His righteousness, which is revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God’s righteousness, which is His law of love, always involves freedom of choice—if God used force against us in any way then His righteousness would cease to be agape love.
So when we read that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven” we understand that God is giving us not only our right to freedom of choice—to choose between the jurisdiction of reward and punishment and the jurisdiction of agape love—but He is also allowing us to experience all the consequences that come under the jurisdiction we choose. Notice how He acts. He will give:
eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honour, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek (Romans 2:5-9, emphasis added).
Here again is brought to view the two moral laws that were represented by the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the two principles by which we may live. “Patient continuance in doing good” refers to agape love, the principle of the Tree of Life. “Patient continuance” is unconditional love, doing good under all circumstances, unconditionally, impartially, to friends and enemies alike. Those who live by this principle fall under God’s jurisdiction, and because they have accepted God’s grace and therefore are also filled with grace, they are then able to offer grace to their fellow man—even to enemies. The reward of this jurisdiction of grace is glory, honor, and immortality. This is the path of blessings.
Those who “do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness” (unrighteousness refers to iniquity, which is Satan’s reward and punishment system) fall under Satan’s jurisdiction of “iniquity.” What is “the truth” that this group does not obey? The truth they do not obey is the truth of God’s righteousness, which is the opposite of “unrighteousness.” Righteousness is God’s law of agape love, and “unrighteousness “is Satan’s counterfeit, the moral law of Good and Evil, his reward and punishment moral law. “The truth” is that God is a God of love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness—a non-forceful, non-violent God of agape love.
Those who do “evil”—who obey the “unrighteousness” represented by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil—will receive the reward of their choice: “indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” because that is the reward that is available in that system. Those who choose to live by the principles of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil choose to operate by a conditional moral law. They are conditional and partial, they reward those who please them, and punish those who displease them. They have chosen the jurisdiction of Satan, who offers them “indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish.” This is the path of curses.
This process of judgment will happen to every human being that has ever lived on earth, without exception. Every human being, from Adam and onwards, is an active voter in this cosmic polemic, regardless of whether they have ever sat on a church pew, ever heard about Jesus Christ, or ever paid tithe. Many of these will find themselves unwittingly protected under God’s jurisdiction. Likewise, many who have done these things we just mentioned might find themselves in the jurisdiction of the accuser, laid completely bare, without God’s protection against his attacks.
The principles of the two Trees are in the “midst” of this grand polemic in which the human race finds itself, and we all are at once perpetrators, victims, witnesses, jury, prosecution, defense and judges, for we, and only we, determine our own destiny by the choices we make in this life.
Did you notice how Paul says that the group which receives “wrath” can also include Jews? Every soul that lives by Satan’s principle of Good and Evil will receive the reward of Good and Evil—even the religious, the church goer, the ministers, whoever we are and whatever we profess. No one will escape this process because God is impartial, treating us all in the same way:
Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality [NO RESPECTER OF PERSON, KJV] (Acts 10:34, emphasis added).
Now is the time for us to make a choice regarding these two jurisdictions. God does not want anyone to suffer “the wrath of God.” As we become aware of these things, we can ask God to change our way of seeing Him, which is the foundational problem we have. Then we can also ask Him to change our hearts, to change our way of thinking, being, and acting. Only He is able to do this for us. The only part we play in this is in choosing between Him and Satan, between His principles and Satan’s principles.
In and of ourselves we cannot live by God’s unconditional law of love. It is humanly impossible to do this in our own strength. The empowerment to live by God’s principle of agape love in our lives comes entirely from God, because He said that He will put His laws in our hearts:
FOR THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS IN THEIR MIND AND WRITE THEM ON THEIR HEARTS; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. NONE OF THEM SHALL TEACH HIS NEIGHBOUR, AND NONE HIS BROTHER, SAYING, ‘KNOW THE LORD,’ FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, FROM THE LEAST OF THEM TO THE GREATEST OF THEM. FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE” (Hebrews 8:10-12, emphasis added).
We ask the question: how does God put His laws in our mind, and how does He write them in our hearts? He does this by a nonforceful way, by revealing Himself to us. God changes us by showing us that He is love and by convicting us of His great unconditional love for us. He transforms our minds and hearts of Good and Evil into minds and hearts of agape love by showing us His true character of love, mercy, and forgiveness.
All shall know Him, “from the least to the greatest.” And they shall know that He is merciful and that He does not hold our sins and lawless deeds against us. When we know God in this way and when God’s law of unconditional love is written in our hearts, then Satan, the reward and punishment god, will no longer be our god. The Creator, the God Jesus Christ revealed, will be our God. The Creator has been waiting, yearning, for us to make Him our God.
We must always remember that God will never act against our will. Thus, we must ask for help even in regards to our will, for the human heart is deeply at enmity with God since it is so imbued with the moral law of Good and Evil. But if we ask God to give us the right will and the empowerment to live by His principle of agape love, He will speedily answer our request, for God wishes that no one would suffer the wrath of the Oppressor.
“The wrath of God” comes upon us because God gives us complete freedom to choose between His jurisdiction of unconditional agape love and Satan’s jurisdiction of reward and punishment. If we use our freedom to choose Satan’s kingdom, we automatically leave God’s kingdom and come under Satan’s jurisdiction. We not only leave the principles of God’s kingdom, but also leave behind the inherent blessings of His kingdom. Once we do that, we become fully subject to Satan’s arbitrary system of reward and punishment and God is no longer able to protect us. That is when all hell breaks loose, because as we mentioned before, Satan wants to prove his system of order at all costs, and he uses violence to accomplish it—even to the point of killing us, if need be.
God, our Father and protector, is keeping this vicious, punitive enemy away from us for as long as He possibly can. But the moment we step fully into the enemy’s jurisdiction—through our choices—God, whose agape love principle always involves freedom of choice, has no recourse but to let us go. In other words, he has to let Satan have us and do with us as he pleases. This is how “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.” Further confirmation is right ahead.