Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wrath Words

In Gethsemane, Jesus began to suffer the wrath of God on our sin for us. This is part of his turning the wrath of God away from us. It is part of Jesus being our propitiation for sin.
Today, many scholars teach that God cannot really have wrath. He is, they say, only love and mercy. But, in Gethsemane, was Jesus only pretending? Was his suffering a sham?

Jesus is the Word.[1] To follow the Word (Jesus), we might consider the Word (Scripture) and the words[2] Jesus uses there for wrath. His words, the words of the one who suffered wrath for us, the one in Gethsemane, not those of scholars who suffer little or nothing for us, must be the accurate basis for understanding Jesus in Gethsemane.

In Hebrew, the words Jesus uses for God's "wrath" are:
  • charown (khaw-rone'), burning anger, from the primitive root charah (khaw-raw'), to glow or grow warm, and figuratively (usually) to blaze up, of anger, zeal, jealousy.

  • `aph (af), (properly) a nose or nostrils, and also (from the rapid breathing in passion) ire, from the primitive root 'anaph (aw-naf'), to breathe hard or be enraged.

  • qatsaph (kaw-tsaf'), to crack off, i.e., (figuratively) to burst out in rage; or as a noun, qetseph (keh'-tsef), a splinter (as chipped off), and (figuratively) rage or strife.

  • chemah (khay-maw'), heat, and (figuratively) anger, poison (from its fever).
  • `ebrah (eb-raw'), an outburst of passion.

  • ka`ac (kaw-as'), to trouble, and (by implication) to grieve, rage, be indignant.

  • rogez (ro'-ghez), commotion, restlessness (of a horse), crash (of thunder), disquiet, anger.

In Greek, the words Jesus uses for God's "wrath" are:
  • orge (or-gay'), (properly) desire (as a reaching forth or excitement of the mind), and (by analogy) violent passion (ire or (justifiable) abhorrence), and (by implication) punishment.

  • thumos (thoo-mos'), passion (as if breathing hard). The root of this word is thuo (thoo'-o), (properly) to rush (breathe hard, blow, smoke), and (by implication) to sacrifice, and (implication, genitive case) to sacrifice by fire, and (by extension) to give up to destruction (for any purpose).
Some scholars say these words make God petty. Who can say that another is small but one who is supposedly greater? Are we greater than God to accuse him of pettiness, or to say He made a mistake in choosing the words to describe himself? Of course it would be us sinners who accuse the Holy One of pettiness. Sin causes us to believe ourselves great, our sins small, and God petty.

I give no apology for these words other than that they are the words of Jesus. We have a vision problem that Jesus calls blindness.[3] Jesus came to restore sight to the blind,[4] to shine light into the darkness.[5] The light of God's wrath is the light of Jesus' humiliation and suffering, the light of his suffering for us, the light of God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness in Jesus, the light of our salvation in him.

1.  John 1:1, 14.
2.  Jesus gets his words from the Father, He gives the words to us, and when we receive them, they make us clean. John 3:34; 6:63, 68; 8:45-47; 12:48; 14:10, 24; 17:8.
3.  Matt 15:14; 23:16-26; Luke 6:39; John 9:39-41; 2 Cor 4:4; 2 Pet 1:9; 1 John 2:11; Rev 3:17.
4.  Matt 11:5; Luke 4:18; 7:22; John 9:39.
5.  Matt 4:16; Luke 1:79; 2:32; John 1:4-9; 3:19-21; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-36; 12:46; Acts 26:18; 26:23; 2 Cor 4:4-6; Eph 1:18; 5:8; Col 1:12-14; 1 Thes 5:4-5; James 1:17; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 John 1:7; 2:8-11; Rev 21:23-24; 22:5.


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