The Wrath of God Against Mankind? – Part 1

The Wrath of God

Question: The tone of the scriptures (Exodus 32:7-14) confuses me.  It reads like God is angry (which in and of itself seems strange that perfection would have anger) and that Moses talks sense into him.  

Scripture: Exodus 32:7-14: The LORD told Moses, “Quick! Go down the mountain! Your people whom you brought from the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8How quickly they have turned away from the way I commanded them to live! They have melted down gold and made a calf, and they have bowed down and sacrificed to it. They are saying, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”9Then the LORD said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. 10Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them. Then I will make you, Moses, into a great nation.”11But Moses tried to pacify the LORD his God. “O LORD!” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand? 12Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Their God rescued them with the evil intention of slaughtering them in the mountains and wiping them from the face of the earth’? Turn away from your fierce anger. Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people! 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You bound yourself with an oath to them, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven. And I will give them all of this land that I have promised to your descendants, and they will possess it forever.’”  (New Living Translation (NLT))

The Wrath of God

Prologue: It may appear that God is quite angry with the people whom he has delivered from Egypt, out of bondage, from an evil and dishonest Pharaoh.  A King, who killed their male children at birth, demanded they make bricks with straw that they gleaned for themselves in the fields after already working a long hard day’s work and who beat them sorely and no doubt killed many.  God had seen the people and told Moses that they had made an image of one of the Egyptian gods, and were worshipping it and saying that, “This is the god that delivered us form Egypt.” 

This question was one of the more challenging questions provided by a knowledge seeker in this present series, requiring quite a bit of study, reflection, introspection and exposition of the scripture.

It would be misleading for readers of the Bible to deny that God seemed to be expressing angry in this passage and other similar passages as well. We must remember, Genesis Chapter 1, “26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” 27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (NLT)

So man is made in some ways like God, the ways presented in these preceding Genesis scriptures appear in an order which addresses which specific likenesses mankind will be given with respect to the image of God.  We know emphatically that God has many attributes which are wonderful to speak of. So which attributes or likenesses are being referred to in these passages? 

Well first he states 1) “to be like us”, then 2) They will reign…, 3) over the other living creature made for the earth in the water, in the sky and on the ground, and finally,  4) male and female he created them.  In Jude 24-25 God is described thusly, “24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.” (New King James Version (NKJV)

These scripture verses, from Jude, (which are most often used as a benediction) and are seldom studied or preached about, when combined specifically with the Genesis passages, give us tremendous insight and some inference into the specific attributes of our Creator, God, which he imbued in us, at creation. Well first God states in the Genesis scripture “Let us make human beings in our image”. Now is that to say, exactly as the God Head? No the statement may infer to some, that man was to be made exactly like God, but because we have been given insight into certain attributes of God through the Holy Scriptures, we know that God is not a created being and cannot be reproduced. Concurrently, we also know from the scriptures, that the God Head is whole and complete and has existed in that whole state throughout eternity, “through endless years, the same”. Therefore man was created only in specific ways… “to be like us”, as God stated in Genesis. This “like” means similar in certain areas, not exactly as God is. Now in what ways are we like God? 

Well in the first way, man “will reign”. Now is this reigning referred to here, to be over all things like the reign of the Triune God? Yes, eventually, with Christ we shall reign with him over all things, in the fullness of time (in the future). However, this initial reigning was qualified as first, a reign over things of the earth, “over the other living creature made for the earth in the water, in the sky, and on the ground”.  Then God finished the creation of mankind with, “male and female he created them”. 

The Jude scripture, gives us additional insight into the attributes of God, “25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.”  We were made similar to the Triune God Head, with some degree of knowledge given us by God; who alone can grant true wisdom, as this scripture states “Who alone is wise”; granted us some degree of wisdom. The greatest wisdom in accordance with scripture is as stated in Proverbs 9:10 “To be wise you must first have reverence for the LORD. If you know the Holy One, you have understanding. (Good News Translation). First Adam and then both Adam and Eve, walked with, and intimately knew God in the Garden of Eden. Therefore, if God gave of himself to commune with them, then he surely gave them wisdom.

In the Jude scripture God is referred to as “Who alone is wise”.  He shared some of his wisdom (“To know the Holy One”) with Adam and Eve, so that they would be similar to him. To be with God (in his presence) is to share his Glory. 

In the account of Moses with God on the mountain, we see that Moses’ face shown with the Glory of the lord when he returned from communing with God. So God along with wisdom shared his Glory with mankind, his creation.   

The Jude verse also speaks of an attribute of Majesty ascribed to God “Be glory and majesty…”  Majesty is royal power or supremacy, power and dominion. This royal power is to reign over a kingdom. God (who reigns over all creation) over all things which exist, shared his royal and mighty power of reigning with Adam and Eve. To reign means to have dominion over something. God gave Adam some power and some dominion. 

Genesis Chapter 1, “27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.”

 In our reign we have been given a kingdom to rule over, which is a dominion (the earth and the creatures in the sea, sky and land), and mankind has been created with a triune characteristic, similar to God; a man and woman were made from the same substance and God blew his spirit into mankind (male and female). 

This spiritual union (male and female) is a representation of Christ’s marriage to the Church (which is composed of faithful men and women of God), this is the great mystery of the Church, which Paul speaks of in Ephesians 5:31-31.  Christ the express representation of God stands in the midst of the Church which is given to him as a beautiful bride adorned for the wedding, betrothed by the father, in Genesis at the time of the creation of the world and mankind.    

Part 2  

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