There are (in my opinion) three main examples of God’s wrath in the OT that are typological of the eschatological wrath of God. That’s just fancy talk for “God poured out His wrath in the past and He will pour out His wrath when Christ comes again in a similar way”. All three are in the first two books in the Bible. The first is the flood of Noah. The second is Sodom and Gomorrah. The third is the ten plagues upon Egypt.
I have three scriptures that clearly demonstrate that each example was God’s wrath. In reading through Genesis 6-9, it is difficult to find one passage that states that the flood is God wrath. It is the same with Genesis 18:16-19:29. While it is scripturally consistent that the flood, fire and brimstone, and ten plagues describe God’s wrath, I was having trouble finding a specific passage naming each event as God’s wrath.
Isaiah 54:7-10 ESV
For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger (flood of wrath) for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the LORD, your Redeemer.
“This is like the days of Noah to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
The words translated overflowing anger in the ESV are translated as outburst of anger in NASB and surge of anger in HCSB. I’m not understanding why they don’t translate it as literally as possible. The Hebrew words are sheteph qetseph and literally mean flood of wrath. KJV says “a little wrath”. What is wrong with the actual words “flood of wrath” especially in light of the comparison to the waters of Noah immediately following?
The implications of the passage are that the flood of Noah was a time of wrath upon the earth, albeit temporary, followed by a covenant of peace. The passage is describing the time of wrath against the nation of Israel which will be over when God restores that marriage relationship between Himself as husband and Israel as deserted wife, see Isaiah 54:5. Once that brief period of time is over, it will be followed by a covenant of peace. The New Testament confirms that the coming of the Son of Man can be compared to the days of Noah, see Matthew 24:37-39, Luke 17:26-27.
And the next generation, your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, will say, when they see the afflictions of that land and the sicknesses with which the LORD has made it sick – the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and wrath – all the nations will say, “Why has the LORD done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?” Then people will say, “It is because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them. Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.”
The context here is the wrath that will come upon the children of Israel if they abandon the covenant that God made with them at Sinai and on the other side of Jordan, see Deuteronomy 29:1 for context. That wrath that comes upon the children of Israel is paralleled with the wrath upon Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim (interesting that all four cities are named here). Deuteronomy 30:1-10 explains how God will be faithful to the covenant in spite of their unfaithfulness by giving them a new heart at which time the wrath of God will be over.
The days of Lot are also compared to the coming of the Son of Man in Luke 17:28-32. The comparison is that on the very day that Lot went out of Sodom is the day that the destruction rained from heaven. The deliverance of the righteous ensures the destruction of the ungodly. II Peter 2:6-10 and Jude 7 also instruct Christians that the example of Sodom and Gomorrah shows that one day judgment (God’s wrath) will come upon the ungodly while the righteous will be delivered.
He gave over their cattle to the hail
and their flocks to thunderbolts.
He let loose on them his burning anger,
wrath, indignation, and distress,
a company of destroying angels.
He made a path for his anger;
he did not spare them from death,
but gave their lives over to the plague.
He struck down every firstborn in Egypt,
the first fruits of their strength in the tents of Ham.
Here in this psalm, all the plagues upon Egypt are named as God’s wrath. What’s more, the agents of this wrath are termed destroying angels. This is significant for the eschatological wrath where the trumpets and bowls are administered by angels. The trumpets and bowls are where God’s wrath is contained in the book of Revelation. Some dispute the trumpets as being God’s wrath but fail to see the parallel with the fire and brimstone of Sodom and Gomorrah. Another passage worth noting that also has end times significance is Exodus 15:7-8, although it is referring to the destruction of Egypt in the Red Sea. “You sent forth Your wrath, it consumed them like stubble.” What is notable is the end portion where it prophetically states judgment upon Philistia, Edom, Moab, and all of Canaan, see Exodus 15:13-15. The people of God pass by and enter the place of rest, a sanctuary which the hands of the LORD have made. This is in conjunction with the reign of the LORD which is stated to be forever and ever, see Exodus 15:16-18.
This passage is more difficult to prove that there is an eschatological parallel. There is no phrase that states “the coming of the Son of Man will be like the days when the children of Israel were in Egypt”. Those statements do exist for the coming of the Son of Man being compared to the days of Noah and Lot as shown above. However, I believe there are parallels based on the following scriptures. In Jude it is noted that the LORD delivered His people out of the land of Egypt, but the emphasis is on the destruction afterward of those same people that did not believe. This passage in Jude is warning us of future judgment. Another inference is one of the miracles performed by the two witnesses of Revelation 11. In verse 6 it states that they have power to turn water into blood and strike the earth with plagues as often as they will. Turning water into blood was one of the ten plagues in Egypt, however it was also one of the miracles that Aaron and Moses performed to prompt the children of Israel to believe that the LORD had sent them, see Exodus 4:9, 29-31. The whole debate about the identity of the two witnesses could come into play here, but suffice to say that we have evidence in a parallel with the plagues upon Egypt with events in Revelation. Another inference is how the 144,000 Israelites are sealed and protected during the trumpets, see Revelation 7:1-8, 9:4. The plagues are being poured out upon the world, but a believing remnant of Israelites are spared the effects. This is parallel to the way the last seven plagues were poured out upon Egypt, see Exodus 8:22-23, 9:4-6, 25-26, 10:22-23, 11:6-7, 12:27. There is also the prophecies which talk of a “second exodus” whereby the children of Israel will be gathered again in an event that will eclipse the first exodus, see Jeremiah 23:5-8. It only stands to reason that the second exodus would be like the first in some ways.
Finally, the entire life of Moses is a parallel to the life of Christ. Moses was miraculously spared from a slaughter against infants at his birth. He was mighty in words and deeds before the children of Israel. He was rejected by his own people. He went to a far country until his rejection time was over. He came back and delivered the children of Israel through signs and wonders. This parallel is exactly what Stephen preached about just before he was martyred, see Acts 7:20-37. The same Moses that was rejected also led the children of Israel to safety after that rejection period was over. Stephen’s point should not be too subtle for us to comprehend. He was stating that those who were rejecting Jesus as Deliverer were simply fulfilling the prophecies because of the typology of Moses. At the time of Stephen’s sermon, Jesus was rejected. But the time would be coming when Christ would present himself a second time and lead the children of Israel to safety. The same Jesus who was rejected and put on a cross would be the One to deliver them with signs, wonders, and plagues being struck on those that persecute the people of God.
So now you get to do the hard work. How does this principle apply to the second coming of Christ? Which parallels can be drawn? Which conclusions can we come to?
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman