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Does God Kill?

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QUESTION: Does God Kill?

An unfortunate fact today is that most people in our fallen and confused world misunderstand the true character of God. Either they say, "God is love and He will not punish evil" or they say, "God is cold and arbitrary and out to punish us." You may well ask, "What then is the truth regarding God's character?" The answer to that most important question is this: "Yes, God IS Love" and "Yes, God IS Just." On this website you will find the truth about the mysterious question, "Does God kill?"

NOTE: Bible verses are in "blue" and statements by Mrs. Ellen G. White (1827-1915) are in "red."

 

Does God Destroy? [Study by Mrs. Foster]

God (in the Person of the Father, through the Son and the Holy Spirit) is our Creator and it was His purpose that His creatures which He created in their image should retain that God-like image and character and become more and more like Him. (Genesis 1:26, 27; Proverbs 4:18; Isaiah 43:7, 21; 2 Corinthians 3:18). We were united to Him in having the Holy Spirit dwelling in us from creation, but when Eve, and then Adam, sinned, the presence of the Holy Spirit could not stay – they had changed masters, giving their allegiance to Satan who had deceived them. This brought in a whole new plan by which God sought to give us another opportunity to choose Him and His law, His plan of redemption, and to again have the fellowship with Him for which we were created.

While we cannot now comprehend the works and ways of God, we can discern His great love, which underlies all His dealings with men. He who lives near to Jesus will understand much of the mystery of godliness. He will recognize the mercy that administers reproof, that tests the character, and brings to light the purpose of the heart. {Desire of Ages, p. 394.1}

Genesis
"6:7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 6:9 These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God."

Genesis
"18:20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 18:21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 18:22 And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. 18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 18:24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that [are] therein? 18:25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 18:26 And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes."

Genesis
"19:13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. 19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 19:25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."

Isaiah
"19:34 For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake. 19:35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they [were] all dead corpses."

Lamentations
"3:32 But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 3:33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men. 3:64 Render unto them a recompense, O LORD, according to the work of their hands. 3:65 Give them sorrow of heart, thy curse unto them. 3:66 Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD."

I saw evil angels contending for souls, and angels of God resisting them. The conflict was severe. Evil angels were crowding about them, corrupting the atmosphere with their poisonous influence, and stupefying their sensibilities. Holy angels were anxiously watching these souls, and were waiting to drive back Satan's host. But it is not the work of good angels to control minds against the will of the individuals. If they yield to the enemy, and make no effort to resist him, then the angels of God can do but little more than hold in check the host of Satan, that they should not destroy, until further light be given to those in peril, to move them to arouse and look to heaven for help. Jesus will not commission holy angels to extricate those who make no effort to help themselves. {Messages to Young People, p. 52.3}

When the earthborn children know it not, they have angels of light as their companions. A silent witness guards every soul that lives, seeking to draw that soul to Christ. As long as there is hope, until men resist the Holy Spirit to their eternal ruin, they are guarded by heavenly intelligences…. {6 Testimonies, p. 366.1}

Every seed sown produces a harvest of its kind. So it is in human life. We all need to sow the seeds of compassion, sympathy, and love; for Every characteristic of selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, every act we shall reap what we sow.of self-indulgence, will bring forth a like harvest. He who lives for self is sowing to the flesh, and of the flesh he will reap corruption.

God destroys no man. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself. Everyone who stifles the admonitions of conscience is sowing the seeds of unbelief, and these will produce a sure harvest. By rejecting the first warning from God, Pharaoh of old sowed the seeds of obstinacy, and he reaped obstinacy. God did not compel him to disbelieve. The seed of unbelief which he sowed produced a harvest of its kind. Thus his resistance continued, until he looked upon his devastated land, upon the cold, dead form of his first-born, and the first-born of all in his house and of all the families in his kingdom, until the waters of the sea closed over his horses and his chariots and his men of war. His history is a fearful illustration of the truth of the words that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Galatians 6:7. Did men but realize this, they would be careful what seed they sow.

As the seed sown produces a harvest, and this in turn is sown, the harvest is multiplied. In our relation to others, this law holds true. Every act, every word, is a seed that will bear fruit. Every deed of thoughtful kindness, of obedience, or of self-denial, will reproduce itself in others, and through them in still others. So every act of envy, malice, or dissension is a seed that will spring up in a "root of bitterness" (Hebrews 12:15), whereby many shall be defiled. And how much larger number will the "many" poison. Thus the sowing of good and evil goes on for time and for eternity. {Christ Object Lessons, p. 84.3-85.1}

In the council of heaven, provision was made that men, though transgressors, should not perish in their disobedience, but, through faith in Christ as their substitute and surety, might become the elect of God, predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will. God wills that all men should be saved; for ample provision has been made, in giving His only-begotten Son to pay man's ransom. Those who perish will perish because they refuse to be adopted as children of God through Christ Jesus.... {Faith I Live By, p. 157.2}

…."Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." By your words and actions you are now casting the seed. You are either sowing to the flesh or to the Spirit. In the day of final reckoning everyone must take the sickle and mow down the crop his own hand has sown. {5 Testimonies, p. 118.2}

God's Word declares, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20). But God does not desire the death of anyone. At infinite cost He provided for man a second probation. He "so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). {Upward Look, p. 379.5}

God has made every provision for the saving of every soul; but if we spurn the gift of everlasting life, purchased at infinite cost for us, the time will come when God will also spurn us from his presence, whether we are rich or poor, high or low, learned or unlearned. The principles of eternal justice will have full control in the great day of God's wrath. We shall not hear a charge against us on the ground of the outbreaking sins we have committed, but the charge will be made against us for the neglect of good and noble duties enjoined upon us by the God of love. The deficiencies of our characters will be held up to view. It will then be known that all who are so condemned had light and knowledge, were intrusted with their Lord's goods, and were found unfaithful to their trust. It will be seen that they had no appreciation of the heavenly trust, that they did not use their capital in loving service to others, that they did not, by precept and example, cultivate faith and devotion in those with whom they associated. It will be according to the light they have had that they will be judged and punished. {Youth Instructor, June 8, 1893 par. 3}

I am instructed to say that it is not because of lack of opportunity to know the will and way of God that sinners must perish, but because of their determination to carry out their own will. They refuse to become spiritually enlightened in the Word of God. Willingly they remain ignorant of the privileges of the Christian and of his duty day by day to inquire of God. The Lord desires to give to everyone a deep, intelligent experience in spiritual life. But many are contented with a haphazard experience. . . . {Upward Look, p. 297.5}

Jeremiah
"6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where [is] the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein]. 6:17 Also I set watchmen over you, [saying], Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. 6:18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what [is] among them. 6:19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, [even] the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it."

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41.

It is possible for men to offer the Saviour outward homage, to be Christians in profession, to have a form of godliness, while the heart, whose loyalty He prizes above all else, is estranged from Him. Such ones have a name to live, but they are dead. . . .

To the marriage supper of the Lamb will come many who have not on the wedding garment--the robe [Christ] purchased for them with His lifeblood. From lips that never make a mistake come the words, "Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?" (Matthew 22:12). Those [thus] addressed are speechless. They know that words would be useless. The truth, with its sanctifying power, has not been brought into the soul, and the tongue that once spoke so readily of the truth is now silent. The words are then spoken, "Take them out of My presence. They are not worthy to taste of My supper" (cf. Luke 14:24).

As they are separated from the loyal ones, Christ looks upon them with deep sorrow. They occupied high positions of trust in God's work, but they have not the life insurance policy that would have entitled them to eternal life. From the quivering lips of Christ come the mournful words of regret, "I loved them; I gave My life for them; but they persisted in rejecting My pleadings, and continued in sin. O that thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong to thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes."

Today Christ is looking with sadness upon those whose characters He must at last refuse to acknowledge. Inflated with self-sufficiency, they hope that it will be well with their souls. But at the last great day, the mirror of detection reveals to them the evil that their hearts have practiced, and shows them at the same time the impossibility of reform. Every effort was made to bring them to repentance. But they refused to humble their hearts. Now the bitter lamentation is heard, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved" (cf. Jeremiah 8:20). . . .

What a scene is this! I pass over the ground again and again, bowed down in an agony that no tongue can express, as I see the end of the many, many who have refused to receive their Saviour. Justice will take the throne, and the arm strong to save will show itself strong to smite and destroy the enemies of the kingdom of God. Christ will lay bare the motives and deeds of everyone. Every hidden action will stand out as clearly before the doer as if proclaimed before the universe.--Manuscript 121, Oct. 14, 1903, "A Solemn Warning." {Upward Look, p. 301.1-301.6}


God’s Judgments, Wrath and Punishment:

Revelation 3:19  "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." (His children)
Psalm 145:20  "The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy." (wicked)

….The perversity and cruelty of men will reach such a height that God will reveal Himself in His majesty. Very soon the wickedness of the world will have reached its limit, and as in the days of Noah, God will pour out His judgments. {Upward Look, p. 334.7}

God does not send judgments upon His people without first warning them to repent. He uses every means to bring them back to obedience and does not visit their iniquity with judgments until He has given them ample opportunity to repent. The wrath of man sought to prevent the labors of the prophet of God by depriving him of his liberty; but God can speak to men through prison walls, and even increase the usefulness of His servants through the very means by which their persecutors seek to limit their influence. {4 Testimonies, p. 179.3}

Isaiah
"26:20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. 26:21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain."

 

God’s Judgments Come in the Way He Sees Best and Chooses:

1) Directly from Him and His angels (including separation from His life-giving power)
2) Directly from Satan and His angels, when permitted
3) Through the enemies of God and man – also as God’s servants to do His will
4) Through nature – His servant
5) Through the natural results of man’s choices – cause and effect

 

….Mercy and truth and the love of God are promised to the contrite soul. The displeasure and judgments of God are against those who persist in walking in their own ways, loving self, loving the praise of men. They will certainly be swept into the Satanic delusions of these last days because they receive not the love of the truth. Because the Lord has in former days blessed and honored them, they flatter that they are chosen and true, and do not need warning, instruction, and reproof. The True Witness says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent!” Rev. 3:19. The professed people of God have the charge against them. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou hast fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place, unless thou repent.” Rev. 2:4, 5. {PC, p. 338.3}

….Our Creator and our Commander, infinite in power, terrible in judgment, seeks by every means to bring men to see and repent of their sins. By the mouth of His servants He predicts the dangers of disobedience; He sounds the note of warning and faithfully reproves sin. His people are kept in prosperity only by His mercy, through the vigilant watchcare of chosen instrumentalities. He cannot uphold and guard a people who reject His counsel and despise His reproofs. For a time He may withhold His retributive judgments; yet He cannot always stay His hand. {CC, p. 238.4}

God has made every provision for the saving of every soul; but if we spurn the gift of everlasting life, purchased at infinite cost for us, the time will come when God will also spurn us from his presence, whether we are rich or poor, high or low, learned or unlearned. The principles of eternal justice will have full control in the great day of God's wrath. We shall not hear a charge against us on the ground of the outbreaking sins we have committed, but the charge will be made against us for the neglect of good and noble duties enjoined upon us by the God of love. The deficiencies of our characters will be held up to view. It will then be known that all who are so condemned had light and knowledge, were intrusted with their Lord's goods, and were found unfaithful to their trust. It will be seen that they had no appreciation of the heavenly trust, that they did not use their capital in loving service to others, that they did not, by precept and example, cultivate faith and devotion in those with whom they associated. It will be according to the light they have had that they will be judged and punished. {Youth Instructor, June 8, 1893 par. 3}

1)  Directly from Him and His angels (including separation from His life-giving power)

The inhabitants of the Noachian world were destroyed because they were corrupted through the indulgence of perverted appetite. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed through the gratification of unnatural appetite, which so benumbed the intellect that they could not discern the difference between the sacred claims of God and the clamor of appetite. The latter enslaved them, and they became so ferocious and bold in their detestable abominations that God would not tolerate them upon the earth. God ascribes the wickedness of Babylon to her gluttony and drunkenness. {3 Testimonies, p. 162.2}

When Christ shall come in His glory, the wicked cannot endure to behold Him. The light of His presence, which is life to those who love Him, is death to the ungodly. The expectation of His coming is to them a "fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation." Hebrews 10:27. When He shall appear, they will pray to be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them. {MB, p. 26.1}

The agonies of the garden of Gethsemane, the insult, the mockery, the abuse, heaped upon God's dear Son, the horrors and ignominy of the Crucifixion, furnish sufficient and thrilling demonstrations that God's justice, when it punishes, does the work thoroughly. The fact that His own Son, the surety for man, was not spared is an argument that will stand to all eternity before saint and sinner, before the universe of God, to testify that He will not excuse the transgressor of His law. {LHU, p. 158.3}

II Samuel
24:12-20   "Choices given to David for his sin of numbering Israel – famine, enemies or pestilence."
"…angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it…." Verse 16

2)  Directly from Satan and His angels, when permitted

God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. Said the angel: "God will bring His work closer and closer to test and prove every one of His people." Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth, and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus. Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the True Witness. If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: "They are joined to their idols, let them alone," and they pass on to their work, leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation. {1 Testimonies, p. 187.1}

I saw evil angels contending for souls, and angels of God resisting them. The conflict was severe. Evil angels were crowding about them, corrupting the atmosphere with their poisonous influence, and stupefying their sensibilities. Holy angels were anxiously watching these souls, and were waiting to drive back Satan's host. But it is not the work of good angels to control minds against the will of the individuals. If they yield to the enemy, and make no effort to resist him, then the angels of God can do but little more than hold in check the host of Satan, that they should not destroy, until further light be given to those in peril, to move them to arouse and look to heaven for help. Jesus will not commission holy angels to extricate those who make no effort to help themselves. {Messages to Young People, p. 52.3}

In the warning to "watch and pray," Jesus has indicated the only safe course. There is need of watchfulness. Our own hearts are deceitful; we are compassed with the weaknesses and frailties of humanity, and Satan is intent to destroy. We may be off our guard, but our adversary is never idle. Knowing his tireless vigilance, let us not sleep, as do others, but "watch and be sober." The spirit and influence of the world must be met, but they must not be allowed to take possession of the mind and heart. {5 Testimonies, p. 409.2}

3)  Through the enemies of God and man – also as God’s servants to do His will

Jeremiah 4:6  "Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction."

Jeremiah
"25:9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. 25:10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, [and] an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years."

Henceforth a cloud blacker than sackcloth hung over the once favored nation. Looking into the future, Christ saw the gates of Jerusalem burst open by the Roman legions. He saw the walls broken, and the beautiful stones, which had been laid with artistic skill one upon another, torn down, so that not one was left standing. The Arm strong to save had become strong to smite. {Review & Herald, December 13, 1898 par. 3}

Daniel
"9:11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that [is] written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him. 9:12 And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. 9:13 As [it is] written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth. 9:14 Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God [is] righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice."

In the annals of human history the growth of nations, the rise and fall of empires, appear as dependent on the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events seems, to a great degree, to be determined by his power, ambition, or caprice. But in the word of God the curtain is drawn aside, and we behold, behind, above, and through all the play and counterplay of human interests and power and passions, the agencies of the all-merciful One, silently, patiently working out the counsels of His own will.

The Bible reveals the true philosophy of history. In those words of matchless beauty and tenderness spoken by the apostle Paul to the sages of Athens is set forth God's purpose in the creation and distribution of races and nations: He "hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him." Acts 17:26, 27. God declares that whosoever will may come "into the bond of the covenant." Ezekiel 20:37. In the creation it was His purpose that the earth be inhabited by beings whose existence should be a blessing to themselves and to one another, and an honor to their Creator. All who will may identify themselves with this purpose. Of them it is spoken, "This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise." Isaiah 43:21.

To understand these things,--to understand that "righteousness exalteth a nation;" that "the throne is established by righteousness" and "upholden by mercy" (Proverbs 14:34; 16:12; Proverbs 20:28); to recognize the outworking of these principles in the manifestation of His power who "removeth kings, and setteth up kings" (Daniel 2:21),--this is to understand the philosophy of history. {Education, p. 173.2-175.1}

Isaiah 54:16  "Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy."

Every nation that has come upon the stage of action has been permitted to occupy its place on the earth, that it might be seen whether it would fulfill the purpose of "the Watcher and the Holy One." Prophecy has traced the rise and fall of the world's great empires--Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. With each of these, as with nations of less power, history repeated itself. Each had its period of test, each failed, its glory faded, its power departed, and its place was occupied by another. {Education, p. 176.4}

While the nations rejected God's principles, and in this rejection wrought their own ruin, it was still manifest that the divine, overruling purpose was working through all their movements. {Education, p. 177.1}

….All are by their own choice deciding their destiny, and God is overruling all for the accomplishment of His purposes. {Education, p. 178.2}

….So perishes all that has not God for its foundation. Only that which is bound up with His purpose and expresses His character can endure. His principles are the only steadfast things our world knows. {Education, p. 183.4}

4)  Through nature – His servant

Job "38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, 38:23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?"
Exodus "23:28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee."

The material world is under God's control. The laws that govern all nature are obeyed by nature. Everything speaks and acts the will of the Creator. The clouds, the rain, the dew, the sunshine, the showers, the wind, the storm, all are under the supervision of God, and yield implicit obedience to Him who employs them. The tiny spear of grass bursts its way through the earth, first the blade, then the ear, and then the full corn in the ear. The Lord uses these, His obedient servants, to do His will.--Letter 131, 1897. {Medical Ministry, p. 7.1}

The time comes when probationary time closes – when man’s wickedness must be put to an end or there will be none left to honor and glorify God and to fulfill His purpose of an end-time vindication of the character of God. This happened at the flood and will happen again as mankind is led on by Satan to destroy God’s people and He will “destroy them which destroy the earth” Revelation 11:18.

Before the destruction of the old world by a flood, there were talented men, men who possessed skill and knowledge. But they became corrupt in their imagination, because they left God out of their plans and councils. They were wise to do what God had never told them to do, wise to do evil. The Lord saw that this example would be deleterious to those who should afterwards be born, and He took the matter in hand. For 120 years He sent them warnings through His servant Noah. But they used the probation so graciously granted them in ridiculing Noah. They caricatured him and criticized him. They laughed at him for his peculiar earnestness and intense feeling in regard to the judgments which he declared God would surely fulfill. They talked of science and of the laws controlling nature. Then they held a carnival over the words of Noah, calling him a crazy fanatic. God's patience was exhausted. He said to Noah, "The end of all flesh is come before Me. For the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth" [Genesis 6:13]. {21 Manuscript Release, p. 454.2}

The depths of the earth are the Lord's arsenal, whence were drawn weapons to be employed in the destruction of the old world. Waters gushing from the earth united with the waters from heaven to accomplish the work of desolation. Since the Flood, fire as well as water has been God's agent to destroy very wicked cities. These judgments are sent that those who lightly regard God's law and trample upon His authority may be led to tremble before His power and to confess His just sovereignty. As men have beheld burning mountains pouring forth fire and flames and torrents of melted ore, drying up rivers, overwhelming populous cities, and everywhere spreading ruin and desolation, the stoutest heart has been filled with terror and infidels and blasphemers have been constrained to acknowledge the infinite power of God. {Patriarchs & Prophets, p. 109.1}

5)  Through the natural results of man’s choices – cause and effect

No truth does the Bible more clearly teach than that what we do is the result of what we are. To a great degree the experiences of life are the fruition of our own thoughts and deeds.
"The curse causeless shall not come." Proverbs 26:2.

"Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him. . . . Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him." Isaiah 3:10, 11.

"Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts." Jeremiah 6:19.

Terrible is this truth, and deeply should it be impressed. Every deed reacts upon the doer. Never a human being but may recognize, in the evils that curse his life, fruitage of his own sowing. Yet even thus we are not without hope.

To gain the birthright that was his already by God's promise, Jacob resorted to fraud, and he reaped the harvest in his brother's hatred. Through twenty years of exile he was himself wronged and defrauded, and was at last forced to find safety in flight; and he reaped a second harvest, as the evils of his own character were seen to crop out in his sons--all but too true a picture of the retributions of human life.

But God says: "I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid Me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. . . . Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him." Isaiah 57:16-19. {Education, p. 146.2-147.2}

The unwillingness of the Lord to chastise is here vividly shown. He stays His judgments that He may plead with the impenitent. He who exercises "loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth" yearns over His erring children; in every way possible He seeks to teach them the way of life everlasting. Jeremiah 9:24. He had brought the Israelites out of bondage that they might serve Him, the only true and living God. Though they had wandered long in idolatry and had slighted His warnings, yet He now declares His willingness to defer chastisement and grant yet another opportunity for repentance. He makes plain the fact that only by the most thorough heart reformation could the impending doom be averted. In vain would be the trust they might place in the temple and its services. Rites and ceremonies could not atone for sin. Notwithstanding their claim to be the chosen people of God, reformation of heart and of the life practice alone could save them from the inevitable result of continued transgression. {Prophets & Kings, p. 413.3}

….Every defect in the character, unless it is overcome by the help of God's Spirit, will become a sure means of destruction. I feel as never before the necessity for our people to be energized by the spirit of the truth, for Satan's devices will ensnare every soul who has not made God his strength…. {5 Testimonies, p. 573.1}

When Christ shall come in His glory, the wicked cannot endure to behold Him. The light of His presence, which is life to those who love Him, is death to the ungodly. The expectation of His coming is to them a "fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation." Hebrews 10:27. When He shall appear, they will pray to be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them. {MB, p. 26.1}

To every man, God has assigned a place in His great plan. By truth or falsehood, by folly or wisdom, each is fulfilling a purpose, bringing about certain results. And each, according as he chooses obedience or disobedience, is deciding his own eternal destiny. To every one is given freedom to act, and upon every one rests the responsibility for his own actions. But our words and actions must pass the test of God's high standard, or we shall be bound up with the wicked, to receive an eternal retribution.--Ms 36, 1896, pp. 2-4. ("Obedience the Condition of Success," Dec. 9, 1896.) Released Feb. 12, 1965. {3 Manuscript Release, p. 187.1}

God has given in His word decisive evidence that He will punish the transgressors of His law. Those who flatter themselves that He is too merciful to execute justice upon the sinner, have only to look to the cross of Calvary. The death of the spotless Son of God testifies that "the wages of sin is death," that every violation of God's law must receive its just retribution. Christ the sinless became sin for man. He bore the guilt of transgression, and the hiding of His Father's face, until His heart was broken and His life crushed out. All this sacrifice was made that sinners might be redeemed. In no other way could man be freed from the penalty of sin. And every soul that refuses to become a partaker of the atonement provided at such a cost must bear in his own person the guilt and punishment of transgression. {Great Controversy, p. 539.3}

 

What is the Wrath of God?

Psalm
"95:10 Forty years long was I grieved with [this] generation, and said, It [is] a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 95:11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest."

Psalm 78 is a song of remembrance of the Lord’s mercies and His discipline and wrath at their refusal and resistance to His leading from the days of Moses to choosing David as their king. It appears that the Old Testament reveals God’s design and pleading with us to be His children and walk in His ways, and His dealings with His stubborn and rebellious children – to try to bring us to our senses and to come to our upright position for which He created us in the first place – to make known His glory, His character. The New Testament is a demonstration of this Plan of Redemption and how Christ carried it out in His life and death; and carries it out in all those who are willing to follow this Plan – and that it will be ultimately successful. He will have a people who will show forth His character and go all the way with Him. [Mrs. Foster]

Divine love has been stirred to its unfathomable depths for the sake of men, and angels marvel to behold in the recipients of so great love a mere surface gratitude. Angels marvel at man's shallow appreciation of the love of God. Heaven stands indignant at the neglect shown to the souls of men. Would we know how Christ regards it? How would a father and mother feel, did they know that their child, lost in the cold and the snow, had been passed by, and left to perish, by those who might have saved it? Would they not be terribly grieved, wildly indignant? Would they not denounce those murderers with wrath hot as their tears, intense as their love? The sufferings of every man are the sufferings of God's child, and those who reach out no helping hand to their perishing fellow beings provoke His righteous anger. This is the wrath of the Lamb. To those who claim fellowship with Christ, yet have been indifferent to the needs of their fellow men, He will declare in the great Judgment day, "I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity." Luke 13:27. {Desire of Ages, p. 825.4}

The death of Christ brings to the rejecter of His mercy the wrath and judgments of God, unmixed with mercy. This is the wrath of the Lamb. But the death of Christ is hope and eternal life to all who receive Him and believe in Him. {HP, p. 45.6} (also Testimonies to Ministers, p. 139)

….The wrath of God is not declared against men merely because of the sins which they have committed, but for choosing to continue in a state of resistance, and, although they have light and knowledge, repeating their sins of the past. If they would submit, they would be pardoned; but they are determined not to yield. They defy God by their obstinacy. These souls have given themselves to Satan, and he controls them according to his will. {Testimonies to Ministers, p. 74.2}

….The judgment which God brought upon the antediluvian world declared it incurable. The destruction of Sodom proclaimed the inhabitants of the most beautiful country in the world incorrigible in sin. The fire and brimstone from heaven consumed everything except Lot, his wife, and two daughters. The wife, looking back in disregard of God's command, became a pillar of salt. {Testimonies to Ministers, p. 75.1}

In the day of the Lord, just before the coming of Christ, God will send lightnings from heaven in his wrath, which will unite with fire in the earth. The mountains will burn like a furnace, and will pour forth terrible streams of lava, destroying gardens and fields, villages and cities; and as they pour their melted ore, rocks and heated mud, into the rivers, will cause them to boil like a pot, and send forth massive rocks, and scatter their broken fragments upon the land with indescribable violence. Whole rivers will be dried up. The earth will be convulsed, and there will be dreadful eruptions and earthquakes everywhere. God will plague the wicked inhabitants until they are destroyed from off the earth. But the saints will be preserved in the midst of these dreadful commotions, as Noah was preserved in the ark at the time of the flood. {Signs of the Times, March 13, 1879 par. 12} also Maranatha, p. 283.2; 1 Spiritual Gifts, p. 84.4; 3 Spiritual Gifts, p. 82.3

With unerring accuracy the Infinite One still keeps account with the nations. While His mercy is tendered, with calls to repentance, this account remains open; but when the figures reach a certain amount which God has fixed, the ministry of His wrath begins. The account is closed. Divine patience ceases. Mercy no longer pleads in their behalf. {Prophets & Kings, p. 364.1}

The lesson is for us. If the requirements of a good and wise father, who took the best and most effectual means to secure his posterity against the evils of intemperance, were worthy of strict obedience, surely God's authority should be held in as much greater reverence as He is holier than man. Our Creator and our Commander, infinite in power, terrible in judgment, seeks by every means to bring men to see and repent of their sins. By the mouth of His servants He predicts the dangers of disobedience; He sounds the note of warning and faithfully reproves sin. His people are kept in prosperity only by His mercy, through the vigilant watchcare of chosen instrumentalities. He cannot uphold and guard a people who reject His counsel and despise His reproofs. For a time He may withhold His retributive judgments; yet He cannot always stay His hand. {Prophets & Kings, p. 425.4}

It is a fearful thing for the unrepenting sinner to fall into the hands of the living God. This is proved by the history of the destruction of the old world by a flood, by the record of the fire which fell from heaven and destroyed the inhabitants of Sodom. But never was this proved to so great an extent as in the agony of Christ, the Son of the infinite God, when he bore the wrath of God for a sinful world. It was in consequence of sin, the transgression of God's law, that the Garden of Gethsemane has become pre-eminently the place of suffering to a sinful world. No sorrow, no agony, can measure with that which was endured by the Son of God.

Man has not been made a sin-bearer, and he will never know the horror of the curse of sin which the Saviour bore. No sorrow can bear any comparison with the sorrow of Him upon whom the wrath of God fell with overwhelming force. Human nature can endure but a limited amount of test and trial. The finite can only endure the finite measure, and human nature succumbs; but the nature of Christ had a greater capacity for suffering. . . . The agony which Christ endured, broadens, deepens, and gives a more extended conception of the character of sin, and the character of the retribution which God will bring upon those who continue in sin. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ to the repenting, believing sinner.

The sword of justice was unsheathed, and the wrath of God against iniquity rested upon man's substitute, Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father. {Amazing Grace, p. 168.3-168.5}

The warfare against God's law, which was begun in heaven, will be continued until the end of time. Every man will be tested. Obedience or disobedience is the question to be decided by the whole world. All will be called to choose between the law of God and the laws of men. Here the dividing line will be drawn. There will be but two classes. Every character will be fully developed; and all will show whether they have chosen the side of loyalty or that of rebellion.

Then the end will come. God will vindicate His law and deliver His people. Satan and all who have joined him in rebellion will be cut off. Sin and sinners will perish, root and branch, (Malachi 4:1),--Satan the root, and his followers the branches. The word will be fulfilled to the prince of evil, "Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; . . . I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. . . . Thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more." Then "the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be;" "they shall be as though they had not been." Ezekiel 28:6-19; Psalm 37:10; Obadiah 16.

This is not an act of arbitrary power on the part of God. The rejecters of His mercy reap that which they have sown. God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life. He is "alienated from the life of God." Christ says, "All they that hate Me love death." Ephesians 4:18; Proverbs 8:36. God gives them existence for a time that they may develop their character and reveal their principles. This accomplished, they receive the results of their own choice. By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy them. {Desire of Ages, p. 763.3-764.1}

Revelation 16 – The 7 last plagues: God’s voice to the seven angels: “Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.” Revelation 16:1

 

Great Controversy, pages 539-544 sums it all up thus:

God has given in His word decisive evidence that He will punish the transgressors of His law. Those who flatter themselves that He is too merciful to execute justice upon the sinner, have only to look to the cross of Calvary. The death of the spotless Son of God testifies that "the wages of sin is death," that every violation of God's law must receive its just retribution. Christ the sinless became sin for man. He bore the guilt of transgression, and the hiding of His Father's face, until His heart was broken and His life crushed out. All this sacrifice was made that sinners might be redeemed. In no other way could man be freed from the penalty of sin. And every soul that refuses to become a partaker of the atonement provided at such a cost must bear in his own person the guilt and punishment of transgression.

Let us consider what the Bible teaches further concerning the ungodly and unrepentant, whom the Universalist places in heaven as holy, happy angels.

"I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." Revelation 21:6. This promise is only to those that thirst. None but those who feel their need of the water of life, and seek it at the loss of all things else, will be supplied. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son." Verse 7. Here, also, conditions are specified. In order to inherit all things, we must resist and overcome sin.

The Lord declares by the prophet Isaiah: "Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him." "Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him." Isaiah 3:10, 11. "Though a sinner do evil an hundred times," says the wise man, "and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before Him: but it shall not be well with the wicked." Ecclesiastes 8:12, 13. And Paul testifies that the sinner is treasuring up unto himself "wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds;" "tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil." Romans 2:5, 6,9.

"No fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." Ephesians 5:5, A.R.V. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Hebrews 12:14. "Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." Revelation 22:14, 15.

God has given to men a declaration of His character and of His method of dealing with sin. "The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty." Exodus 34:6, 7. "All the wicked will He destroy." "The transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off." Psalm 145:20; 37:38. The power and authority of the divine government will be employed to put down rebellion; yet all the manifestations of retributive justice will be perfectly consistent with the character of God as a merciful, long-suffering, benevolent being.

God does not force the will or judgment of any. He takes no pleasure in a slavish obedience. He desires that the creatures of His hands shall love Him because He is worthy of love. He would have them obey Him because they have an intelligent appreciation of His wisdom, justice, and benevolence. And all who have a just conception of these qualities will love Him because they are drawn toward Him in admiration of His attributes.

The principles of kindness, mercy, and love, taught and exemplified by our Saviour, are a transcript of the will and character of God. Christ declared that He taught nothing except that which He had received from His Father. The principles of the divine government are in perfect harmony with the Saviour's precept, "Love your enemies." God executes justice upon the wicked, for the good of the universe, and even for the good of those upon whom His judgments are visited. He would make them happy if He could do so in accordance with the laws of His government and the justice of His character. He surrounds them with the tokens of His love, He grants them a knowledge of His law, and follows them with the offers of His mercy; but they despise His love, make void His law, and reject His mercy. While constantly receiving His gifts, they dishonor the Giver; they hate God because they know that He abhors their sins. The Lord bears long with their perversity; but the decisive hour will come at last, when their destiny is to be decided. Will He then chain these rebels to His side? Will He force them to do His will?

Those who have chosen Satan as their leader and have been controlled by his power are not prepared to enter the presence of God. Pride, deception, licentiousness, cruelty, have become fixed in their characters. Can they enter heaven to dwell forever with those whom they despised and hated on earth? Truth will never be agreeable to a liar; meekness will not satisfy self-esteem and pride; purity is not acceptable to the corrupt; disinterested love does not appear attractive to the selfish. What source of enjoyment could heaven offer to those who are wholly absorbed in earthly and selfish interests?

Could those whose lives have been spent in rebellion against God be suddenly transported to heaven and witness the high, the holy state of perfection that ever exists there,-- every soul filled with love, every countenance beaming with joy, enrapturing music in melodious strains rising in honor of God and the Lamb, and ceaseless streams of light flowing upon the redeemed from the face of Him who sitteth upon the throne,--could those whose hearts are filled with hatred of God, of truth and holiness, mingle with the heavenly throng and join their songs of praise? Could they endure the glory of God and the Lamb? No, no; years of probation were granted them, that they might form characters for heaven; but they have never trained the mind to love purity; they have never learned the language of heaven, and now it is too late. A life of rebellion against God has unfitted them for heaven. Its purity, holiness, and peace would be torture to them; the glory of God would be a consuming fire. They would long to flee from that holy place. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them. The destiny of the wicked is fixed by their own choice. Their exclusion from heaven is voluntary with themselves, and just and merciful on the part of God.

Like the waters of the Flood the fires of the great day declare God's verdict that the wicked are incurable. They have no disposition to submit to divine authority. Their will has been exercised in revolt; and when life is ended, it is too late to turn the current of their thoughts in the opposite direction, too late to turn from transgression to obedience, from hatred to love.

In sparing the life of Cain the murderer, God gave the world an example of what would be the result of permitting the sinner to live to continue a course of unbridled iniquity. Through the influence of Cain's teaching and example, multitudes of his descendants were led into sin, until "the wickedness of man was great in the earth" and "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." Genesis 6:5, 11.

In mercy to the world, God blotted out its wicked inhabitants in Noah's time. In mercy He destroyed the corrupt dwellers in Sodom. Through the deceptive power of Satan the workers of iniquity obtain sympathy and admiration, and are thus constantly leading others to rebellion. It was so in Cain's and in Noah's day, and in the time of Abraham and Lot; it is so in our time. It is in mercy to the universe that God will finally destroy the rejecters of His grace.

"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23. While life is the inheritance of the righteous, death is the portion of the wicked. Moses declared to Israel: "I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil." Deuteronomy 30:15. The death referred to in these scriptures is not that pronounced upon Adam, for all mankind suffer the penalty of his transgression. It is "the second death" that is placed in contrast with everlasting life.

In consequence of Adam's sin, death passed upon the whole human race. All alike go down into the grave. And through the provisions of the plan of salvation, all are to be brought forth from their graves. "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust;" "for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:22. But a distinction is made between the two classes that are brought forth. "All that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." John 5:28, 29. They who have been "accounted worthy" of the resurrection of life are "blessed and holy." "On such the second death hath no power." Revelation 20:6. But those who have not, through repentance and faith, secured pardon, must receive the penalty of transgression--"the wages of sin." They suffer punishment varying in duration and intensity, "according to their works," but finally ending in the second death. Since it is impossible for God, consistently with His justice and mercy, to save the sinner in his sins, He deprives him of the existence which his transgressions have forfeited and of which he has proved himself unworthy. Says an inspired writer: "Yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be." And another declares: "They shall be as though they had not been." Psalm 37:10; Obadiah 16. Covered with infamy, they sink into hopeless, eternal oblivion. {Great Controversy, pages 539-544}

God is the ultimate authority through Whom all life exists or ceases to exist, according to His all-seeing Eye as to what is best for us, for His kingdom, and for the universe. (Isaiah 45:6, 7, 22-25; Romans 8:28-32; 14:11,12; Ephesians 3:8-11; Revelation 15:3). His sovereignty and authority must be trusted, even though we may not understand, because we know that He is loving, forgiving, kind and merciful, yet will not clear the guilty – unless they turn to Him, confessing and truly repenting of their sins.

The sovereignty of God involves fullness of blessing to all created beings….The history of the great conflict between good and evil, from the time it first began in heaven to the final overthrow of rebellion and the total eradication of sin, is also a demonstration of God’s unchanging love. {CTr, p. 7.3}