I find myself wanting to defend the Creator when I hear Christians say that He uses the wrath of man, the work of the fleshly nature, to win His battles. Wrath, in the Old Testament means heat; figuratively, anger, poison (from its fever). To believe our God Yahweh used wrath as punishment or a method of spiritual warfare is to believe the verses below to be false.
Psalms 37:8, “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” Here we see wrath in direct connection to evil. If Yahweh himself is not capable of avoiding the works of the flesh, how could He expect us to be able to? From whom can we draw the strength to resist the urge to react in wrath/anger?
In Exodus 23:20, Yahweh said to Moses, “Behold, I send an Angel before you, to keep you in the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.”
In Psalms 78:38-40, David, speaking about this angel, says, “But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passes away, and comes not again. How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!” In this passage, we see compassion and understanding prevented wrath/anger.
Many of us today have learned the following verses to be so by experience:
“A soft [forgiving, respectful] answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” Prov. 15:1. This principle is the substance of the Holy Spirit.
“A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if you deliver him, yet you must do it again” Prov. 19:19. Wrath/rage is out of control negative emotions which one easily become in bondage to. Like spirits, evil spirits, are quick to adhere to those who are in such bondage.
“Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” Prov. 27:4
The negative, beastly wrath of man:
Wrath, in the New Testament is a force which is used for both negative and positive: #2372, passion [desire, urge] (as if breathing hard).
In Luke 4:28-29, we see the carnal man producing negative energy (wrath).
“And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.”
In Acts 19:28, when those who worshiped other gods heard the message saying there was only one true God, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians.”
In Galatians 5:19-20, we read that the works of the flesh are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies. If we take the freedom to make any one of them the works of the Holy Spirit we are in err.
More than 2,000 years ago Paul understood the difference between the nature and force of the Holy Spirit and nature and force of the carnal man, instructing them, saying, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor” Eph. 4:31-5:2.
Col. 3:8, But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. [Read also Romans 6:12-19.]
The positive, helpful, encouraging, wrath of God:
Revelation 14:9-12 is where most people get their concept that our heavenly Father has enough beastly wrath in Him that He can and will torture His creation for their failure to please Him throughout eternity.
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus [their Savior].
Beverley Holzkamper clarifies the wrath of man and the wrath of Yahweh in her Revelation 14: message on this site, saying, “The spirit of antichrist was any spirit that was against Christ. Anti means expressing or holding an opposing view in political or moral principles; therefore, “antichrist” is expressing or holding an opposing view of Christ’s principles of righteousness. The people that had the mark of the beast in their foreheads or in their right hands had an unrighteous spirit, and they walked in the power and influence of the beastly nature (1 John 2:18-22). [The wrath of man and the wrath of God (Yahweh) are like two magnets that repel from each other; never shall the two work together.]
While man’s wrath is manifest by the feeling of anger or vengeance with the desire to punish or retaliate, Yahweh’s wrath is always accompanied with love and with a goal to bring the disobedient into himself. Yahweh is Love, and his love emanates from him and is directed towards his creation at all times. Love cannot act or react contrary to that which he is—Love. Anything less than the principle of love is a deception coming forth from the carnal understanding of the natural mind.
Yahweh revealed his disapproval of sin through the Holy Spirit of Truth. While “drink” denoted the believer’s participation with the Holy Spirit, the “wine” signified the Holy Spirit’s influence as truth was revealed, exposing the deception of the carnal mind. Yahweh’s “wrath” was him making it known unto mankind that he disapproved of their sinful actions. Notice those who experienced Yahweh’s wrath were tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy messengers and the Lamb that dwelled in heaven; therefore, those in heaven were viewing those who were being tormented.
According to most teachings, this torment is never ending. If this were literal, those viewing the tormented would also be tormented because Love does not delight in evil (1 Cor. 13:6). Only the sadistic have pleasure in seeing another human burning and withering in pain. It is a part of our nature to want to save anyone from a burning fire. If this scene is to be taken literal, Yahweh would be worse than Hitler—at least he didn’t keep his enemies suffering throughout eternity.” You can continue reading Beverley Holzkamper’s writings on this subject under “The Book of Revelation.”
Christians should have faith in the principles of righteousness, in their heavenly Father, in the power of all powers, and should question their understanding if they are seeing the Father with a human, carnal, nature. If we seek understanding of the written word (Bible translations), we will find it, but we must seek. He that keeps Yahweh’s commandments dwells in him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us. (1 John 3:24)