Study Lesson 7
In Defense Of The Righteous
Wrath Upon The Unrighteous
Something To Consider:
Our study this week focuses on Abraham’s defense of the righteous and Lot’s deliverance from Sodom and Gomorrah. These Old Testament examples of Abraham’s defense of the righteous, Lot’s deliverance from Sodom, and Noah’s escaping God’s wrath of the flood, have also been used by those preferring to teach a pre-tribulation rapture perspective. Therefore, some quote 1 Thessalonians 5.9 as a proof text for a pre-tribulation rapture; “For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” But we must ask ourselves if Paul was writing about the wrath of man, the wrath of the Antichrist, or the wrath of God?
A cursory study of history will prove that many believing Christians have suffered greatly the wrath of man down through the centuries. A study of end time events will also prove that many Christians will suffer greatly the wrath of the Antichrist. Therefore, Paul must have been referring to the wrath of God in 1 Thessalonians 5.9. This would indeed agree with Abraham’s assessment of God in Genesis 18.25, when the Lord announced He was about to pour out His wrath upon the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Therefore, Abraham declared, “Far be it from You [Lord] to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” Both Abraham and Paul’s rationale should bring us much comfort and great hope of not having the wrath of God appointed to us as end time true present tense believers in Jesus Christ. Of this the biblical evidence is clear!
And so the question arises concerning the timing of God’s end time wrath and judgment as found recorded in the book of Revelation; as well as the timing of Daniel’s final seven years of man’s rule upon planet earth; and the New Testament sequence and timing of certain end time events, namely the timing of the rapture or the gathering together of true end time believing saints, which is coupled with the coming of Jesus in power and great glory.
Something Else To Consider:
The two angels sent to Sodom to warn Lot of the impending wrath of God, instructed Lot to speak to his family members in order to warn them of the coming judgment. According to the record of Genesis 19.12, “But to his sons-in-law Lot seemed to be joking.” That is the same foolish response of most even today when warned of the impending wrath of God. Some things never change! Will we heed the warnings of God’s Word or bear the brunt of God’s wrath?
As warned, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of the very grave sin of those living within those cities. We are told in 2 Peter chapter 2; that God did not spare the angels who sinned but cast them down to hell. We are also told, that God did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a few among so many, and who was a preacher of righteousness, and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, God condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly. We have been warned! The world has been warned of the coming end time judgment!
Peter explained in verse 7 of 2 Peter chapter 2, “And God delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked.” And in verse 9 Peter revealed, “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the Day of Judgment.” No one deserving of judgment will escape the wrath of Almighty God! And yet, the righteous will be delivered and or protected by God according to the written and preserved Word of God.
Something More To Consider:
Many agree on the validity of the divine delivering power of God, but disagree on the timing and or manner in which God chooses to deliver or to protect the righteous. Abraham defended the righteous by his negotiating with the Lord on the basis that God is just in His not slaying the righteous with the wicked.
Therefore, Abraham and the Word of God affirmed that God has not appointed unto the righteous few the wrath of God reserved for the many wicked. Again, as among the few righteous in Christ we should rejoice at the prospect of not suffering the wrath of an Almighty and just God, though we will suffer at the hands of evil men and the Antichrist!
Abraham’s negotiating began with his asking God to spare the city if fifty righteous individuals could be found. And God agreed, the wrath of God would be spared if fifty righteous people were found living inside Sodom. Abraham, defending the righteous as a masterful defense attorney, reduced the negotiations to the finally finding a mere ten righteous individuals. And God agreed that He would spare the cities from destruction if only ten righteous were discovered. But the angels could only find four, a few among the many living inside Sodom.
And even among the few, Lot’s wife so longed for Sodom that her last act in life was to disobey the Word of the Lord by looking back and suffering the fate filled consequences of her decision. Will we and others suffer for our foolish and fleshly decisions that in essence are decided in disobedience by our not observing all things Jesus has commanded? God forbid!
A Few Final Words:
Like Sodom and Gomorrah, America and other nations will reap the wrath of God for the same grievous sins God judged in Sodom and Gomorrah, whether legalized by our Supreme Court or not. Paul described the downfall process in Romans chapter 1, beginning in verse 28; “And even as they [the unrighteous] did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased [reprobate] mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil mindedness.” Sound familiar!
Therefore, the just and most deserved wrath of God is being reserved for a time of God’s choosing. Let us therefore be reminded of a previous revelation exposed by the apostle Paul and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as found in 2 Thessalonians 2.1-3. “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together [biblical rapture] to Him. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [coming of our God and His gathering together of His present tense end time believers] will not come unless the falling away [departing from the faith, Matthew 24.10] comes first, and the man of sin [Antichrist, Matthew 24.15] is revealed, the son of perdition.”
Abraham’s defense of the righteous reveals a biblical principle we can depend upon. According to the Word of the Lord in up to date language, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous, if I find forty-five righteous, if I find forty righteous, thirty righteous, twenty righteous, if I find ten righteous individuals, I will not destroy it for the sake of the ten righteous.” God would not pour out His wrath upon the righteous of Sodom and of Gomorrah until first delivering them or protecting them in the midst of His indignation and deserved wrath. This is certainly a reason to obey the admonition of Paul as he wrote in Philippians 4.4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!”
This concept of protecting and or delivering the righteous will be further discussed in the next study lesson 8. In closing, I would like to quote a verse Luke recorded as Jesus was speaking of end time events. Jesus declared as if prophetically commanding the righteous, in Luke 21.36; “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things [God’s end time wrath] that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man.” Let us do just that while we forever rejoice in the Lord!
Therefore, let no one deceive us into thinking we as true enduring to the end believers may not suffer the wrath of evil and wicked men as we approach the end of this age. Let us not be deceived into thinking we may not suffer the wrath of the Antichrist as we approach the end of this age. Quite the contrary, according to Jesus and several New Testament Scriptures, we may experience very difficult times of persecution and betrayal simply because we are willing to name the name of Jesus Christ and side with His Word. But through it all, we have the promise of Jesus, to never leave us and to never forsake us!