We Are Not Appointed To God's Wrath!
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Pastor Michael Brigmond

Apostolic Lighthouse Church, Kissimmee, FL

View From the Lighthouse

 Volume 11, Issue 4, Oct 2005

Reprinted by permission


 “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:9)

One of the most common statements used in defense of the pre-tribulation rapture is, “We are not appointed to God’s wrath.” While this statement is true, it does nothing in defending the doctrine of a “rapture” before the tribulation. Post-tribulation believers also believe that “We are not appointed to God’s wrath.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9 plainly states, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”

Evidently the word “wrath” produces an image of fury, torment, destruction, mutilation and even death. One may envision someone so enraged that his facial expression becomes distorted, nostrils flaring, eyes blazing, a deep reddening of the skin, teeth exposed in a fierce snarl and guttural sounds emanating as if from the depths of hell itself. All in all, not a pretty picture; we really don’t want to be on the receiving end of anyone’s wrath, especially God’s! 

With man there is a fine line between anger and rage. While anger may be contained and even controlled, rage is completely out of control, and wrath far exceeds both. Murders have been committed in the heat of jealousy. One pushed beyond one’s personal limit may burst out in rage and do great harm, beyond what would have been believed of that person. Anger may grow hot enough to melt one’s self-restraint, pushing an otherwise rational individual to a fierce outburst of passion; quivering and shaking uncontrollably; vexed with an emotional poison until rage turns to wrath. The outcome of wrath is mostly unpredictable, even unimaginable, and far too often unpreventable.

So, what was Paul conveying to the Thessalonians? Simply that God has appointed a time of wrath upon this world that will reach every unsaved, ungodly, un-repented sinner, but that wrath is not intended for His bride, the church. While it is not a defense for, or a proof of, a pre-tribulation rapture, it is a comforting promise to the church. While the vials of wrath are being poured out upon the earth, they will not be poured upon the saints; even though the saints of God will still be here on earth at that time.

There is no hope for anyone who is appointed to God’s wrath. Rest assured that all who are appointed to His wrath will be present and accounted for. They may come trembling, screaming, cursing, crying, clawing, spitting and sputtering, but they will all show up and receive what God has promised. God cannot lie and He will fulfill all of His promises, even when those promises concern meting out justice to the ungodly. Just as God will make sure that all who are appointed to his wrath receive it, he will also make sure that none receive it that are not appointed to it.

In an attempt to defend the pre-trib rapture, some say, “We (the church) are not appointed to God’s wrath,” but it is not a defense at all, only an acknowledgement of a lack of Scriptural understanding. Ezra understood the plan of God quite well. It’s a shame theologians today are so baffled.

“For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him." (Ezra 8:22) 

We have many Old Testament instances where the Lord’s wrath was kindled against his disobedient people, Israel.

“And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp. And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched.” (Numbers 11:1-2) 

We see fire from the Lord reach out to those who complained, but did not destroy everyone, only those for whom it was sent. Then we read of those who were not satisfied with the manna God supplied, but lusted for meat.

And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted. (Numbers 11:33-34)

Notice, the plague was not for everyone, even though they were all present, but only for whom it was sent, those who, “lusted.” Five chapters later a rebellion was underway; with Korah leading a band of 250 of Israel’s finest rebels against the authority of Moses. Before God’s judgment was executed upon the rebels, the Lord instructed Moses to warn those with Korah, and all those close by, to separate themselves from that rebellious group lest they be destroyed. Though separated, all of the people were present. They all witnessed the event, but only the rebellious ones for whom the judgment was sent were swallowed up when the ground beneath them opened. Those who heeded the warning were present, but safe.

They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. (Numbers 16:33)

Let us pause a moment and consider Job: “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!” (Job 14:13)

Job knew that the wrath of God would be poured out in some future day, but he rested in the assurance that he would be protected during that event. The reader may say, “But Job is dead and in the grave. He is not present when the wrath of God is poured out.”

While this is true the main point is that Job is in the grave. While the wrath of God is being poured out Job is still in the grave, awaiting the resurrection. The resurrection will take place when Jesus returns, when the dead in Christ rise first. This means the return of Jesus Christ is AFTER the wrath is poured out. The resurrection of the saints of God is AFTER the wrath is poured out. We will not all be in the grave when Jesus returns. Some will be alive and waiting during the time of wrath spoken of by Job.

Proverbs reveals that, “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” (Prov 11:4) 

With the wrath of God upon the earth, riches will have no value, but the saints of God will be delivered by righteousness. The unrighteous will have no defense.

Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. (Isaiah 13:9)

The sinners are destroyed out of it, while the saints yet remain. We see this in Matthew 13:30 as the tares are gathered first and cast into fire then the wheat is gathered.

Ephesians 5:6 and Colossians 3:6 both state that the wrath of God will be upon the “children of disobedience.”

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:6)

For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: (Colossians 3:6)

Notice 1 Thessalonians 1:10: “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” It does not say that he will deliver us in the future, but that he has already delivered us. Our deliverance in the day of wrath is in our faith and obedience of today; in our relationship with Jesus. We close with these exciting words from Psalms 58 and 91:

The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. (Psa 58:10)

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (Psalm 91:7-10)

Sure, the church is still here when the wrath of God is poured out, but His wrath will not effect the righteous, only the ungodly.         

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