First Thessalonians 022 – Not Appointed to Wrath1 Thessalonians 5:9 • Dr. Andy Woods • April 16, 2023 • First Thessalonians
First Thessalonians 022 – Not Appointed to Wrath
1 Thessalonians 5:9 • Dr. Andy Woods • April 16, 2023
Well good morning, everybody. Happy one week after Resurrection Sunday. That’s better than saying happy one day after tax day I guess. Tax day is tomorrow? I thought today was this. Today is the 16th right? Oh, so we get – they gave us an extra day. They give you an extra day to turn in half your money to the government. Aren’t they sweet? Okay, we digress.
Let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for today, grateful for Your word, grateful for the fact that You change not. You’re the same yesterday, today and forever. I do pray Father that as we look into the details of Your word today, that You would, via the illuminating ministry of the Spirit that you would take the teachings of Your word and apply them to the deep needs of Your people only You know Lord, in a room or even people listening online, the size of the listeners only You know what’s going on in each individual life, and only You can take Your truth and apply it in specific ways that we need to hear. So we do invite this morning, Lord, that great ministry of the Spirit called illumination, which guides us into all truth. We recognize that we sometimes in our natural selves as Christians can impede that ministry through sin on our part. So we’re just going to take a few moments of silence to do personal business with You so that we might be able to receive from You eternal truth.
We remain, Lord, grateful for the provision You’ve made for us as Christians in 1 John 1:9, which does not restore position, which can never be lost, but can restore broken fellowship. So we ask specifically as Your word is taught, not just from this pulpit this morning, but in all the classrooms, particularly kind of an exciting day for the youth. It’s Camp Sunday, that’s always a fun time, that Your name would be lifted up and glorified. And we lift up all of these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said amen.
Well, let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Continuing on in our verse-by-verse teaching through the book of 1 Thessalonians, Paul the apostle in the first three chapters has defended himself, dialing back to personal experiences that he had with the Thessalonians. And with his reputation as an apostle now rehabilitated, he’s now in a position to correct the Thessalonians, which he starts to do beginning in Chapter 4 based on issues that he was aware of that they were struggling with.
So he’s dealt with them on the subject of immorality, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. . He’s dealt with them on the subject of laziness, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, and then beginning in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 all the way through 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (hoping to finish that section today, believe it or not, everybody laughs every time I say that) he’s dealt with them on the subject of eschatology, the end times.
As we’ve studied, you have one of your clearest statements anywhere in the Bible at the end of Chapter 4 on the rapture. And then after discussing the rapture, Paul moves on to dealing with what is going to happen after the rapture. And this is where he introduces Chapter 5:1-3, something called the Day of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord in this context is a time of judgment that’s coming upon planet Earth post-rapture. Other sections of scripture would call this the 70th week of Daniel. Jeremiah would call it a time of trouble for Jacob. And as we’ve explained, when he says the Day of the Lord, you have to understand that the concept of day was well known to Paul.
He most likely is getting this motif from the first use of the word “day” in the Bible. Where there’s an evening followed by a morning. Genesis 1:5 is the first time you’ll see the word day in Scripture, the Hebrew word yom. And so Paul is sort of taking that idea and saying here’s what’s going to happen post-Rapture. There’s going to be a Day of the Lord, a time of evening or nighttime, the seven-year tribulation period followed by the breaking fourth of the dawn, which will be the coming of the kingdom once Jesus returns to the earth, subsequent to the seven-year tribulation period.
If you really wanted to drill down on this section of scripture, you would read Revelation 6-19. John, given a vision there on the Isle of Patmos at the end of the first century, he organizes everything chronologically how it’s going to happen. The rest of the scripture really doesn’t organize things in the tight chronology that John has in Revelation. The rest of the scripture just has these scattered prophecies about the Day of the Lord, the coming kingdom, and these kinds of things.
And so the contribution of the book of Revelation is that the book of Revelation takes these scattered prophecies and organizes them into a chronological framework. So you have in the book of Revelation, as in the book of Daniel 9:27, a seven-year period, two divisions of that period. First half, second half, Daniel tells us what’s going to happen in the middle and what’s going to happen at the end. And John comes along with that structure intact, and he explains the different judgments that will happen in that time period. The seal judgments, the trumpet judgments, the bowl judgments, followed by the breaking forth of God’s kingdom on the earth. So these are all things that are going to happen subsequent to the rapture that he, Paul, has described at the end of Chapter 4.
THIEF IN THE NIGHT
And after Paul gives that description of the Day of the Lord in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, he then applies it. And he talks here about how that time period is going to come like a thief in the night. In other words, it’s going to take the unsaved world totally off guard. Not that they haven’t been warned, it’s just that they haven’t been listening to the warnings.
It will be just like it was in the days of Noah, where despite Noah’s preaching for 120 years of the coming flood, Matthew 24:38-39 says of the unsaved world of Noah’s day, they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away. And that’s what this Day of the Lord is going to be like. That’s why it’s described as a thief in the night.
SONS OF LIGHT
But then beginning in 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8, which is what we covered last time, Paul begins to explain that yes, the unsaved world without a knowledge of God or His word will be caught off guard by this time period, but you’re different. You’re sons of the light. You know about these things. Because you’re related to Jesus Christ by way of faith, you have an understanding of these things that the world doesn’t have. And so he exhorts us prior to the rapture to live according to our identity, to live as sons of the light.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:9-11
And then we move now to 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11. And once we finish Verses 9-11, we’re finished with the eschatological section of 1 Thessalonians. And don’t be disappointed in that because there’s going to be plenty of eschatology when we move into 2 Thessalonians.
THREE REASONS WHY THE CHURCH AGE BELIEVER WILL ESCAPE THE DAY OF THE LORD
But basically what Paul does here is he gives three reasons why we, as members of the church age, will not be stuck in this time period. The world will be stuck in this time period. In fact, if you look at the end of 1 Thessalonians 5:3, it says, “… they will not escape.” We pointed out that that’s a double negation there in Greek. Once this time period hits, there’s no possible way the world will get out of it.
But it’s different for us because we will escape this time period. We will escape this time period based on what Paul has spoken of at the end of Chapter 4, via the rapture of the church. And so what I’m seeing here in 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 are three reasons why the Christian church will not be in the Day of the Lord or the seven-year tribulation period.
And this is something that we need to bone up on and understand because there’s a lot of different views on this as you probably noticed. The view that we represent is at the top of the screen, pre-tribulationalism, that the rapture happens before the seven-year tribulation period starts and there’s just a lot of people out there running around trying to knock that belief down and teach their own version of it where we’re going to be here for half of that time period, second viewpoint down, all of that time period, third view down, or we’re going to be here for roughly three quarters of it, fourth view down.
And so in an age of skepticism about everything, you have to really, I think, develop certainty, and I think you can from God’s word, that we will not see any of this time period. That’s not saying that the Christian life is easy. We, this side of the rapture, experience many trials and tribulations, small “t”. But we escape the time of tribulation and testing that is coming upon the earth, capital “T”.
REASON 1: WE ARE NOT APPOINTED UNTO WRATH
Paul here gives us three reasons. The first reason is we are not appointed unto wrath. Notice 1 Thessalonians 5:9. “For God has not destined us …,” see the pronouns there? He’s speaking to the church. It’s very different than what he was doing in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, when he was speaking of them, third person. Now he speaks to us, Paul even includes himself in that.
“For God has not destined us for wrath …” Now this word wrath in Greek is the word orgē. And there are many, as I’ve said before, many sexual concepts that come out of that word. You know, orgy and these kind of words. And so the word orgē in Greek basically is talking about passion that can’t be limited. Passion without control.
But here the word is not being used in the sexual sense, it’s being used in the anger sense. Where it’s speaking of emotion, and in particular it’s speaking of God’s emotion. In other words, there’s coming a time period where God has just had enough, humanity has gone too far, and He just releases full vent onto planet Earth his rage.
It’s a passion without a limitation on it. That’s what’s meant by orgē.
And Paul is explaining here that we are not candidates or destined for that particular time period. So one of the great arguments for the idea that we will be removed from the Earth before this time period starts is we are promised an exemption from orgē. Now we’re not promised an exemption from man’s wrath, Satan’s wrath, the world’s wrath. We experience those even today.
What we are exempted though from is a category of wrath called divine wrath. The wrath of God is very, very different than the concept of divine discipline. Hebrews 12:5-13 says, whom the Lord loves, the Lord (what) the Lord chastens, the Lord disciplines. Discipline is the idea that when we step out of line as Christians, God oftentimes will introduce momentary pain into our lives so that we will associate the momentary pain with the sinful action, and we’ll be less likely to destroy ourselves in sin. We all experience that as God’s children.
It’s the same reason you discipline your children when they run out in the street without looking. You don’t want them to do that, so you have to introduce some kind of momentary pain into their lives, depending on how the form of discipline manifests itself. And the goal there is the next time they think about running out in the street without looking, they’re going to associate the momentary pain with running out in the street without looking and their lives will be spared from being hit by a truck or hit by a car.
So God does that with us, He disciplines us, but that is not wrath. Discipline is a different category than wrath. Discipline is corrective. You know, it’s done out of love.
Wrath is a time period when God is actually directly introducing divine judgment. So just because you’re disciplined by the Lord, and read the story of David and others to see what the disciplinary hand of God can look like, don’t confuse that with the fact that, oh no, God disciplines me, therefore I’m going into His orgē, into His wrath one day. And the Bible promises that we are exempted from divine wrath.
I mean, it’s as clear as day here. “For God has not destined us [Paul and the rest of us] for wrath, …”. So the promise is made, and the tribulation period is a time period of God’s wrath, and so obviously the church cannot be here.
THE PROMISE – EXEMPTION FROM DIVINE WRATH
Are we exempted from divine wrath? Yes, we are. It’s promised many times in the Bible. The verse we’re looking at here (1 Thessalonians 5:9) is one of the clearest references to it, but you might remember back in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Paul introduced it for the first time, this concept in the Thessalonian books. He said to the Thessalonians there, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us [notice the pronoun] from [meaning out of ] the wrath [orgē] to come.”
To the struggling church at Philadelphia, Jesus promised, “I will also keep you from the hour of testing, (testing, capital T) that hour which is to come upon the whole earth to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10). Other places in Scripture which indicate that we’re delivered from divine wrath. You see them there on the first bullet point up.
Romans 5:9. “Much more than having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore there is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.”
So you’ve got 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Romans 5:9; Romans 8:1; Revelation 3:10, and you should probably take those scriptures and jot them down somewhere, because you’ve got a whole chorus of voices today, of people that are going to try to tell you that you’re going into God’s wrath because they’re not pre-tribulational rapturists, as we are here.
So if that promise is made over and over and over and over and over again to the child of God, how could the child of God today be in that time period which is a representation of His wrath? See, once the rapture of the church takes place, now there’s nothing left to hold back the wrath of God coming to the world.
Because He will have kept His promise. He’s promised us that we’re exempted from His wrath, then the church is removed from the earth. He’s kept that promise.
AFTER THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH, THE WRATH OF GOD COMES
And now this world becomes a candidate for something that God has been warning about going way back in the ancient prophets and prophecies, the wrath of God now comes. And as you go through different tribulation period passages, you’ll see over and over again it’s described as the wrath of God.
This is just a fast overview of what the initial time period looks like. Once the wrath of God hits, Jesus will be in heaven opening a seven-sealed scroll that will bring these various judgments to the earth. They’re all described in Revelation 6.
First the rider on the white horse comes and he is a form of God’s wrath because he brings the world into deception. God is allowing the world to be deceived because the world at that time will think that the Antichrist is their messiah. He’s that rider on the white horse imitating what Jesus will do when He comes back at the end of the tribulation period being the rider on the white horse, Revelation 19, introducing His peace to the earth.
This coming Antichrist will introduce a pseudo peace, a false peace. The world will think peace has arrived. But it quickly fades, this hope, because peace with the opening of the second seal is taken from the earth. It’s what looks to be like a world war breaks out.
Now keep in mind this is not Satan causing these things, ultimately. It’s not angels causing these things, ultimately. Of course, God is sovereign, and He can use angels to accomplish His will, and He even uses the devil to accomplish His will. In fact, that’s the only reason the devil is even around anymore, because God is strategically using Satan to somehow accomplish His sovereign will.
Boy, Pastor, do you have a good book on that that we could read? Yeah, the book of Job is all about that. The earliest book of the Bible talks all about that, how God is actually using His arch enemy, Satan, to accomplish God’s will in Job’s life. So it’s not Satan causing these things ultimately, it’s not angels causing these things ultimately, it’s Jesus who’s opening a seven sealed scroll, bringing these things to the earth. In other words, Jesus is bringing forth His wrath, something that you’re exempted from according to divine promise.
Seal number three, famine breaks out, seal number four, death breaks out, and what you’ll see in seal judgment number four, and there’s the verse numbers on the screen, is a quarter of the world’s population, just like that, is destroyed. There’s a lot of people running around today saying we’re in the tribulation period now. Not so.
The earth is having problems today. With the pandemic, everybody is worried and scared. But when you actually look at the numbers of people that die from the actual virus, rather than comorbidities or something like that, the number is very, very small. It’s far less even than 1%. I’m not trying to make light of the pandemic at all, because we know people even in our flock that have suffered and some have died perhaps from that, perhaps from a comorbidity.
My only point is what’s happening now pales in comparison to what’s coming. You cannot compare 0.0001% to just like that [finger snap] 25% of the world’s population is killed. Just like that. And who’s causing it? Jesus.
And Jesus has the right to cause it because he entered into history 2,000 years ago to spare people from this. But if people reject it, then the only option left for them is they move very fast into the wrath of God.
Now, if that isn’t bad enough, then Revelation 9, the great army from the kings of the east, from the Orient, crossing the Euphrates River, which is that line of demarcation between the Far East and the Middle East. I’m of the John Walvoord perspective on that, that that very well could be China. Or China could be clearly one of the players. Which is very interesting because you can’t even pick up the paper today without hearing about China.
You know, our own president, some people call him, you know, Beijing Biden. I mean, totally bought off by China. China interfering constantly into social media, constantly interfering into even, well do I even say this? Because if I say it, they’ll probably take it off the internet. Interfering into our electoral process.
You know, I remember the Clinton years when they were basically selling military secrets to China. And that’s the first time I started to notice, wow, if Walvoord is right on China being the kings of the east, and I think he is right, we’re living in a time period where what God said is starting to happen. The Bible predicts an aggressive kings of the east, or China in the last days.
And as this giant army, and you can see it, read it, don’t take my word for it, it’s in Revelation 9 and Revelation 16, as this army moves into northern Israel under satanic power for the final battle called the Battle of Armageddon, where the Euphrates River is supernaturally dried up by satanic powers. Google the Euphrates River today. That’s kind of interesting. It’s sort of drying up. I don’t know if that’s, I don’t think this is that, but maybe it’s some kind of precursor. I don’t know, but I do know that the Bible says as this army moves across the Euphrates River, they wipe out, it says right there in the text, one third of the world’s population.
You say, “Well, wait a minute. Let’s do some math here.” I thought Revelation 6:7-8, a quarter of the world’s population has been wiped out, leaving three quarters. And so if you take away half from that, if I’ve got my math right, let’s see. Oh my goodness, maybe we should just read the Bible. Let’s go to Revelation 9 just for a minute. I had all this worked out before I got up here. Revelation 9:13, “The sixth angel sounded, and I heard a trumpet from the four horns of the golden altar.” There it is, Verse 18, “A third of mankind was killed by these plagues.” So as this army is making its way from the east into the middle east, now they destroy a third. Three quarters was left, right? So can someone help me with the math there? How much of the world’s population is left? Fifty percent. By the time you hit Revelation 9, one half of the world’s population has been destroyed.
Now there’s this view of eschatology called Preterism. I did both my master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation at Dallas Seminary trying to refute Preterism. And you should really be in prayer right now that I don’t tell you everything that I know about Preterism because I’ll bore you to death. But you won’t be the third that’s killed here but you will be bored to death.
And this is something that is taught by Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man. He teaches partial Preterism. The late R.C. Sproul taught this. It’s not a matter of hearsay. Read their books. Hanegraaff’s book is called the Apocalypse Code. R.C. Sproul’s book is called The Last Days According to Jesus. And they have kind of a variation on it where they save a few shreds of scripture for the end.
But they say the bulk of Revelation has already happened. And they’re trying to connect it with the events of AD 70, when the Romans invaded Jerusalem. Which means they have to take the book of Revelation and they have to pretend that it was written in the AD 60s, rather than the AD 90s. And the problem is, nobody ever taught the book of Revelation was written in the AD 60s until the 5th century.
And if you want to see a take down on this whole subject, go to the Pre-Trib website, https://www.pre-trib.org/, and watch the debate around 2010, somewhere in there, maybe a little earlier, the debate between Mark Hitchcock, Dallas Seminary grad, and Hank Hanegraaff on the date of the book of Revelation. And you’ll see Mark Hitchcock just utterly destroying Hank Hanegraaff. Hank Hanegraaff has no arguments.
In fact, his opening statement, and I was sitting there to watch it, it was the most bizarre thing I’d ever seen. Instead of giving his opening statement, he decided to cite the book of Revelation, Chapter 1, from memory. So why would you do that in your opening statement? Because you have no opening statement. You have to showcase something, right? So he decided to showcase his memory. Mark Hitchcock comes in as an attorney, I think he was a former prosecutor, comes in with facts, information, details, and by the end of the whole debate, if you can even call it that, I mean you’re actually feeling kind of bad for Hank Hanegraaff because he really had almost nothing to say.
So the Preterist pretends that the book of Revelation was written in the 60s to make it a prophecy about AD 70. The problem is every church father until the 5th century thought that the book of Revelation was written in the AD 90s. So the book of Revelation is written in the AD 90s, it can’t really be a prophecy about AD 70, can it? So the whole Preterist position is built on an early date for the book of Revelation, which makes the whole viewpoint suspect.
But the Preterist basically wants you to believe that the book of Revelation already happened. Preterism, Latin for past, past or gone by. And you can see very clearly that any intellectual integrity will not allow you to believe something like that because AD 70 was bad, but it did not wipe out half of the world’s population.
World War I and World War II, as bad as they were, did not wipe out half of the world’s population. I mean, this is something that’s obviously unparalleled in human history. This is something yet to come. And actually, Jesus, who had no place to lay his head, remember, in the first coming, is causing this.
So if you are promised is an exemption from divine wrath, how in the world could you be in this time period? Then you have martyrdoms and cosmic disturbances. And so by the time you get to Revelation 6:16-17, this is the pagans, the unbelievers, figuring out what’s happening. And they say, “This is the wrath of God.” It says in Revelation 6:16-17, “and they [the unbelievers] said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath [orgē – that’s what you’re exempted from] of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath [orgē] has come, and who is able to stand?””
Notice the expression at the end of Verse 16, “the wrath of the Lamb,” which kind of looks like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? It’s like saying reasonable attorney’s fees, government intelligence, postal service, Microsoft works. How could a lamb be wrathful? But that’s what the Bible says. The sweet little Jesus that had no place to lay His head, that was ushered to His grave as a common criminal so that we would not have to enter into His wrath, now it’s completely different.
Now the wrath of God has broken forth. He’s opening the seals, causing these things to come to the earth, not the least of which is an elimination of one half of the world’s population. I mean, how many churches do you think would ever teach on the wrath of the Lamb? I mean, just think about it, all the churches that are meeting across the United States today, I mean, I would love to know what churches and what percentage of churches are talking about the wrath of Jesus that He’s bringing to the earth.
Most of our time is spent talking about what He did for us 2,000 years ago, and thank God for that. But if your view of Jesus is just a Savior Jesus, a suffering Jesus, then you really don’t have a complete picture of who Jesus is. He is the Lamb, but He is also the what? The Lion of the tribe of Judah.
I mean, there’s coming a point in history where Jesus basically says, “I ain’t taking it anymore.” And this comes from the guy that said, “Turn the other cheek” and “blessed are you when you’re persecuted.” This is the guy as He’s dying on the cross saying, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” And there reaches a point in Jesus’ ministry when He says, “That’s enough. No more grace. Here comes the judgment. The wrath of the Lamb.”
Robert Thomas on Revelation Chapter 6:16-17, “Mankind in his rebellion,” see he’s describing what he thinks is the thought process of the pagans who are in this time period that cannot escape it. What are they thinking?
“Mankind in his rebellion correctly analyzes the cosmic and terrestrial disturbances as a part of the great end-time day of wrath from the one sitting on the throne and from the Lamb. The verb ēlethen (“has come”) is aorist indicative, referring to a previous arrival of wrath, not something that is about to take place. Men see the arrival of this day at least as early as the cosmic upheavals that characterize the sixth seal (6:12-14), but upon reflection they probably recognize that it was already in effect with the death of one-fourth of the population (6:7-8), the worldwide famine (6:5-6), and the global warfare (6:3-4). The rapid sequence of all of these events could not escape notice, but the light of their true explanation does not dawn upon human consciousness until the severe phenomena of the sixth seal arrive.“
In other words, the pagans or the unbelievers, the Christ rejectors, what the book of Revelation calls them the earth dwellers. I mean, they’re experiencing all of this, and so finally, by the time you get to Seal No. 6, they say, “You know what? This is the wrath of God.” And then they say to themselves, they’re not saying the wrath of God is coming, they say, “You know what, as we’re thinking about this, not only is this the wrath of God, but this wrath of God started all the way back in Chapter 6:1.” That’s what the Greek grammar here is saying.
The pagans figure out the wrath of God is hit, and then they start to analyze it, and they say, “You know what? It already started. It already started with the first seal judgment, Revelation Chapter 6:1.”
Why is that important? Because you have all of these people now running around trying to say that the wrath of God does not start until after Seal Judgment No. 6. And they try to make this read as if it says, “The wrath of God is coming.” And that becomes their theology as to why you have to be here for the first five seal judgments at least. This goes under different names, mid-tribulationalism, the latest people that are trying to argue this or what are called the pre-wrath rapturists. Yeah, we’re exempted from God’s wrath, but you know, the wrath of God doesn’t start until after the sixth seal judgment.
And Robert Thomas is saying that’s not what the passage says, grammatically. And even beyond that, why in the world would you base your theology on what unbelievers are finally figuring out? I mean, since when did that become some kind of inerrant truth? This is just unsaved people wrestling with what’s happening and they’re analyzing it finally, correctly.
So keep this in mind when people are trying to tell you that you’re going to be in Revelation 6. And very sadly, we’re living in a time where people that win debates are the people that yell the loudest. The loudest guy in the room usually wins. And these people are screaming at the top of their lungs, trying to talk you out of your pre-tribulational beliefs and understanding. And these are the kind of silly arguments that they advance. And if you don’t have somebody in the pulpit somewhere countering what they’re saying, then you’re just going to fall into confusion.
Well that’s my job as a pastor, is to protect the sheep. That’s what shepherds do. And periodically that involves calling out names, because how do you protect the sheep from the wolf if no one wants to identify who the wolf is? Or where the wolf is?
I mean such a shepherd in the natural world should be terminated or fired immediately, and yet we have all this ridiculous mindset in Christianity today, indicating that a shepherd is just supposed to stay positive. Your best life now, all this sort of stuff. Be careful about what you’re teaching on there, pastor. Just keep it positive. Keep everybody happy. Keep the Lawrence Welk music playing. For those of you who remember Lawrence Welk, you’re dating yourself a little bit, I guess. You know, it’s like keep everybody, keep the balls in the air. Just keep the juggling act going. You know.
And whatever happened to shepherding? Because when you actually start shepherding, people say, “Oh, you’re a negative person.” Well, that’s not being negative, that’s being loving. You know, some of the most loving things my parents ever did for me, ever, and they did a lot of wonderful things for me, but they warned me about dangers. If my parents never warned me about potential dangers, they really wouldn’t be operating out of love.
But somehow, we’ve twisted our understanding of shepherding and pastoral work to the point where if you actually stand up and warn someone about dangers, and then you warn about the people promoting the dangers, that that’s somehow unloving. That’s a cultural understanding of love. That’s not a Biblical understanding of love.
So the wrath of God is coming. Revelation 11:18, “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath [orgē] came, ….” Revelation 14:10, “he will also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, ….”
These are common descriptors of the tribulation period itself.
Revelation 15:1, “… which are the last, because in them the wrath [orgē] of God is finished.”
Revelation 15:7, “Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever.”
Revelation 16:1, “… Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
Revelation 16:19, “… Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.” There, it’s not just wrath, there’s a magnifier in front of it, His fierce wrath. As if the word wrath wasn’t enough. Now it’s God’s fierce wrath.
Revelation 19:15, now this is Jesus returning. This is the meek and mild Jesus who had no place to lay His head in the first century, who was ushered to his grave as a common criminal. And now as Paul Harvey said, now for the rest of the story. You ready for this? Jesus. “From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”
It’s the meek and mild Jesus that’s opening this scroll bringing these judgments to the earth. You know Islam, it’s sort of interesting, you say to a Muslim, “Do you believe in Jesus?” “Oh yeah, we believe in Jesus.”
Until you understand what they mean by Jesus, Jesus to them is sort of a sidekick of Allah. Muslims they do not believe in the Trinity. They do not believe that Jesus was the eternally existent second member of the Godhead Who is Creator, Redeemer, and Judge.
And all this stuff that is going on in media, Superbowl Sunday, He gets us. Did you see those ads? Sort of portraying Jesus as you know he gets us all, he is just a great big, let’s all do a group hug. Let’s bring in the transgenders, let’s bring in the homosexuals, let’s bring in all the sexual perverts, and let’s all do a great big group hug because Jesus gets us.
My goodness. Are people not understanding who Jesus is? That you’re dealing with someone Who is Creator, Redeemer, and Judge? If you don’t understand Jesus as Creator, the one who spoke in the heavens and the earth leapt into existence, Redeemer, someone who stepped into time to absorb the wrath of God the Father in our place and rose from the dead, and coming Judge.
And if you just have maybe a fraction of those things, like we’ll just focus on this little sliver of Christ over here, and we’ll run that on Super Bowl Sunday in these ads called “He Gets Us.” What you have there is a false Jesus. It’s a distortion of what the Bible says. Because when you read the whole Bible, what you’ll see is Jesus is not a social reformer. The social justice movement is trying to hijack Jesus. They even have little plastic dolls and things like that. Sort of portraying Jesus like Fidel Castro. Or what’s that guy’s name? Che? Is that his name? Che? Who was a mass murderer by the way, but why let facts bother people’s agendas?
Jesus is kind of a social reformer. Jesus is kind of the guy that gets us. Jesus has kind of come into the world to fix whatever things people are uptight about today. The environment, universal healthcare, whatever it is. That’s what Jesus came into the world to do. What a bunch of absolute nonsensical idolatry.
He is Creator, He is Redeemer, and He is Judge. And to take Jesus and lower him to something other than what He is, do you know what that is? This is a replication of the Colossian heresy. This is exactly what Paul is fighting against in the book of Colossians, where they were teaching in this Colossian heresy in Asia Minor that God is the creator, but because the physical world is evil, Gnosticism, false belief, God is not the direct creator of the heavens and the earth, so instead God created an angel who created another angel, who created another angel, who created another angel, odd infinitum, and finally this little low ranking angel at the end of the chain is who brought the heavens and earth into existence. And Jesus is just one of those angels, Colossian heresy.
Paul says you’ve just stripped Jesus of who He is, full deity. He is not some kind of low-ranking janitorial angel on some infinite chain. Jesus is Creator, He is Redeemer, and He is coming Judge. And He is fully God. And He has always existed.
And what was added to eternally existent deity at the point of the virgin conception was humanity. He became the God Man. Why? Because He loves us that much to die for us so we wouldn’t fall into His judgment.
When I see all these sorts of renditions of Jesus, it really sort of scares me a little bit, to be frank with you. How trivial people are with the name Jesus. How they’ll use the word Jesus in context where He, if you use Him in that context, you just shrunk into a little box who He actually is.
He’s Creator, He’s Redeemer, and He’s Judge. And just as He died for the sins of the world, He’s going to bring forth His judgment on the Christ rejecters on planet earth. And my point is, and I really didn’t anticipate quite going in this direction, but it’s time to let the Holy Spirit have His way, right? Amen?
Paul’s point is, how could you be in that time period when you’re exempted from divine wrath, as the Bible says to the New Testament Christian over and over and over again.
Look at the contrast there in 1 Thessalonians 5: 9. “For God has not destined us for wrath, ….” Well, if I’m not destined for wrath, what am I destined for? “… but for obtaining salvation ….” Look at that. My destiny is not divine wrath. My destiny is the attainment of salvation.
THREE TENSES OF SALVATION
Now, obviously to understand that, you have to understand the three tenses of salvation. Because you read that and you say, “Well, I thought we already had salvation.” You do, but that’s just tense one. That’s why we like to promote, we may have it in our track rack by Pastor Dennis Rocher who explains this concept so well, salvation in three time zones. Paul is talking to people who have experienced tense one, are experiencing tense two, but are yet to experience tense three.
Phase one, as you know, is justification where we are delivered from sin’s penalty at the point of faith alone in Christ alone. It already occurred in the past, the moment you trusted Christ as your Savior.
Then God ushers us into the present tense of salvation and unlike Calvinism or Arminianism, which will say God is going to undo the first tense if you’re not a good boy or girl in the second tense. No, that’s not what the Bible says. The Bible says first tense has been totally executed once you exercise faith in Christ, regardless of how you live as a Christian. Now, if you live in a carnal way as a Christian, there’s going to be a lot of temporal problems. There’s going to be a forfeiture of rewards at the bema seat, there is the regret of a wasted life. But first tense has happened. I mean, are there people out there that say they’ve trusted in Christ, that never did?
I’m sure there are. But there are also a lot of people out there who have trusted in Christ for salvation, and because of poor teaching or a lack of attention to divine truth, they just don’t make a lot of progress in the tense too.
Arminianism will say, “Well, if that happens to you, you lost your salvation.” Calvinism will say, “Well, if that happens to you, then you never had salvation.” We see a middle ground here where you can have the reality of a carnal Christian. And if you don’t believe you can have the reality of a carnal Christian, I would encourage you to read 1 Corinthians, because that’s the whole point of the whole book, dealing with carnal Christians. So if you can’t be a carnal Christian, I mean, why have a whole book, actually two, the sequel, 2 Corinthians, in the New Testament dealing with something that doesn’t exist? It doesn’t make any sense, does it?
Yeah, but my favorite teacher says this, and my favorite teacher says that. Forget your favorite teacher. Read the Bible. Read the Bible and hold your favorite teacher accountable to what it says instead of trying to defend your favorite teacher. Because we have a mindset today which is carnal where people say, “I follow Paul. I follow Apollos. I follow Cephas. I follow Christ.” (1 Cor 3:4). Dividing over your favorite orator is 2,000 years old. And that’s what people are like when they say, “I don’t agree with what you say because my favorite teacher says different.
It doesn’t matter what I say. What matters is what God says. And it doesn’t matter what your favorite teacher says. What matters is what God says.
Don’t be one of these Christians that their whole theology is based on kind of bobbing back and forth between theological opinions because they like the way this guy writes. Or I like the way this guy sounds. Or I like the way this guy comes across on television. I like this guy’s vocabulary. Where you’re just bouncing all over the map theologically because you’re more interested in defending your favorite teacher than you are building your faith on solid biblical truth.
So the Bible then says, God ushers us into the middle tense of our salvation, which unlike the first tense that takes place in an instant, sanctification, progressive sanctification takes place over a lifetime. It’s a process where we are gradually being weaned away from sin’s presence in our daily life.
That’s why at the bottom of the screen you’ll see “saved” used in the past tense, “justification” saved used in the present tense, “sanctification” saved used in the future tense, “glorification.”
Have you been saved? Yes, I have been saved, and I am being saved, and I will be saved. That’s the right answer.
I have been saved, and I am not the man I should be, but in my daily life, thank God I am not the man I used to be. But one of these days I will be dead, or the rapture will come first, and I will be out of this body, and I won’t even have the desire to sin anymore. That’s tense number three.
When Paul says here, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation ….” He’s speaking of salvation there in the third time zone. The word salvation, you have to be very careful with it in the Bible, because it doesn’t always mean the same thing. It’s not a technical word that always means the same thing every time it’s spoken.
So what do you use to determine how the word is being employed? You look at something called context. Obviously in the context, as Paul is talking to save Christians, he’s not dealing with tense one. He’s not so much dealing with tense two, although you could probably make the argument that he could be, but he’s really talking about tense three, because he’s talking about future things.
You’re not destined for the wrath that’s coming, but here is your destiny. Your destiny is glorification. Romans 13:11-12 says, “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. …”
Well, wait a minute. I thought they already had salvation because they believed. And you read that and you say, “Well, wait a minute. I go to Sugar Land Bible Church and we just had a lesson on this. The three tenses of salvation.” Obviously, this is talking about Tense No. 3, glorification. In fact, Romans 8:30, your glorification is so certain that God looks at it as if it’s already happened. You’ll notice there glorified is in the past tense just like the other aspects of our salvation.
So you see the contrast here. I mean, there’s Christians that are biting their nails every single day thinking they’re going into the tribulation because that’s what the people on YouTube tell them all the time.
Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:9. You’re not destined for God’s wrath, which is coming. Well, if I’m not destined for God’s wrath, which is coming, what am I destined for? You’re destined for glorification.
And of course we can’t complete today without mentioning the last part of this 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “… through our Lord Jesus Christ,”. You are not destined for wrath, but for obtaining glorification through the Lord. You are destined for glorification because of what Jesus did for you.
Jesus’ final words on the cross were, “It is finished.” Don’t trust in your good works that you’re doing. Trust in the good work that He did. And if that has not happened, then these promises are non-applicable to you. Your destiny is to become an earth-dweller in the tribulation period, and perhaps through the preaching of the 144,000 evangelists you could hear the gospel and be saved. But, you know, I’m a path of least resistance type myself. Why do that?
I would rather just trust in Jesus now and have the promise that I’m not going into this time period because I’m – what does he say in 2 Corinthians 5:17? You’re a new creation in Christ Jesus. You’re not like the world. You’re brand new. You’re not going into His wrath. You’re going into glory. But it’s only applicable through Jesus who said John 14:6, “I am the truth and the life…” Excuse me. Forgot one of those. In fact, let’s just go back to the beginning of the quote. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
And you would think something like that would be clear. But just so there’s no ambiguity, no wiggle room, he adds this expression, “No one comes to the Father but through me.”
Now Peter, who was there to hear that, got it because the book of Acts records Peter’s words in Acts 4:12. ““And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must [and this is an important word here, “must,” meaning 100% essential] be saved.””
So look at that. I thought we would get through three verses, and I would show up all the people laughing at me at the beginning. I’ll show them. I’ll make it through Verse 11. And we barely made it out of Verse 9. So with that being said, you might want to study 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11 next week. Matter of fact, the way we’re going, you might want to just study Verse 10.
So let’s pray. Father, we’re grateful for Your word, grateful for the opportunity to gather and study it and teach it. And I do ask that You’ll bless us in the main service that follows. We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, in God’s people said amen.
 See minute mark 0:11:19 in video for chart.
 See minute mark 0:23:14 in video for list.
 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 457–458.
 See minute mark 0:56:09 for chart.
 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)