In all His public teaching Jesus never once mentions God’s love*, yet He speaks of Hell often and without apology. (Mt 18:9) He warns of God’s justice and wrath, and exhorts us all to fear Him (Lk 12:4-5); He’s a consuming fire. (He 12:29) The terror of the Lord is the divine default in appealing to souls (2Co 5:11), not love and compassion (Jud 1:22-23), yet we’ve lost our holy trembling. (Php 2:12)
Why is God so angry with unbelievers? (Jn 3:36) He treats them like hardened criminals rather than victims. Is God unjust, or are we missing His perspective? (Is 55:8-9)
God’s anger implies the lost are without excuse (Ro 1:20-21); in our free will we’d rather rebel against God than submit to Him. (Re 16:9-11) Men glady submit to gods of their own making, but not to the God of Heaven.
I think we forget that sin harms God; it grieves Him … He hates it. (Gen 6:6) If Hell is no more than God disarming His enemies in order to end His own suffering, how can we complain against it? And if God’s heart has always been open-armed (Ro 10:21), offering His oppressors relief if they’ll just humble themselves and repent (Eze 33:11), why wouldn’t He keep doing so throughout eternity? He doesn’t change. (Ja 1:17)
From all appearances, Hell is a prison defended from within — by depraved souls and spirits who lunge at any opportunity to resist and damage a merciful, benevolent, loving God … no matter what the cost to themselves or others. If there are no victims in Hell, only deliberate fiends and devils, how is God being unjust? (Ez 33:11)
Those who know Jehovah worship Him as He is, in all His works and ways. (Re 15:3) I think it’s high time we stop apologizing for God’s anger, downplaying His indignation, vengeance, hatred and wrath. (Ps 50:21-22) He’s not being unfair; Man is. Let’s encourage joyful trembling (Ps 2:11), and as ol’ John Baptist, tearfully warn the disobedient to flee the wrath to come. (Mt 3:7-8)
* See 1st comment below
3 thoughts on “The Terror of the Lord”
When Jesus says, “For God so loved the world,” (John 3:16) He’s in private conversation. (John 3:2) This is the only time we know where Jesus mentions God’s love to someone who’s not already His disciple.
Even to His disciples, Jesus doesn’t mention God’s love until the very last day He’s with them, the night before He dies. (John 13-17)
There are only two references to the universal love of God in Scripture: John 3:16 and Titus 3:4.
God clearly loves us all, but it seems we’ve overemphasized it … much to our own hurt.
We were discussing in shul whether a person who has never heard the gospel in this life can believe after he dies. I am not sure, but I know God is just. “Rom 8:29 Those whom God had already chosen he also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son would be the first among many believers. Rom 8:30 And so those whom God set apart, he called; and those he called, he put right with himself, and he shared his glory with them.” God knows who would and who would not believe. If a person dies never having heard the Word, and they were chosen and set apart by God, might they not be given an opportunity to become like Jesus in the next life?
Amen! I do agree that a person might hear the gospel for the first time after they die and believe and be saved. For a full discussion on this, please see How Long Shall I Suffer?
We must be careful to not add to the Word, but we must also be very careful to interpret it in a way that reflects the dignity, justice, and omniscience of YHWH. Glad you are digging here and not just believing what you hear! Thanks for the comment, and keep ’em coming if you have any further insight. Bless you.