Where’s the Wrath? Part One
By Fred Pruitt
A brother recently sent me the following:
Hi Fred, I so enjoy reading your articles and Website. I purchased your book, “The Axe Laid to the Root,” and it is excellent. Thank you for your ministry.
I have a question. Norman Grubb often said that God never gets angry and that, we, as sinful mankind, only interpret God as angry. However, how do we account for all of the Scriptures in the Old Testament that talk about the wrath of God and that God was bringing judgment (i.e., Sodom and Gomorrah, many passages in Ezekiel, etc.)? How do we make sense of the Book of Revelation, which also outlines God’s wrath and judgment at the end of time? Furthermore, some are saying God will soon release his wrath and judgment on America. To me, it seems God gets angry and sends judgment, but perhaps I [am] missing the point. Thank you.
I think this issue is one of the least understood in the general Body of Christ. Over the past few years I have experienced a great new liberation in receiving some new understandings of this from the Spirit. I believe these new (to me) understandings get to the heart of the key issues of our faith in Christ and our eternal salvation.
It is because when I began to understand the Gospel and our Salvation in somewhat greater depths, so many things that before were hidden revealed themselves, so many things that seemed wrong were shown to be right, so many tumblers fell into place opening things previously locked tight, and so many previously dark paths were illuminated, that for a time I was simply overwhelmed. But then after that settled, a new clarity came, along with a new joy and a new-found “umph,” to get it out to others as the Spirit walks it out!
Every little bit helps. Here we go –
We have to take this back, to start at the beginning, the beginning of personhood – to The Person of God Himself, Who has no “beginning nor end.” This Person, this One Person, is universal. What I mean by “universal” is that “this” God is everywhere equally Present in the Fullness of Himself. This is the Eternal Father, of Whom Paul says, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting.” (1 Tim 6:16). Paul also tells us in Ephesians, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph 4:6).
HE is the fountainhead of all things, the Beginning, yet extending farther in Himself (higher, lower, up, down, left, right) than all things extend, this “One God” is “above all, through all, and in you all.”
By “above all,” we are not speaking of physical height but instead we are speaking of a “level of being.” It is a level of being that is eternally beyond, eternally ongoing, a “farther beyond,” which our current minds are unable to grasp. This is God Alone, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but especially when we are speaking of the Father. It is God “as He is in Himself.”
In this aspect, the “above all” aspect, God is eternally “Another” in us, and wholly “Other.” What is the distinction? What makes the “Father” above all? It is because He is The Creator and we are the created. This is eternal; it will never change. It is not just we people that He is above. HE is above all because He created all. (However, as “sons in THE SON,” we have access to the same inner depths of the Father that THE SON has, so that we say for ourselves and our “sonship” in Him, today and forever, “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what the Son sees the Father do, the Son does the same,” and, “The Father that dwells within Me, He does the works.” (John 5:19; and John 14:10)
We cannot even conceive of Him as He truly IS, because HE is so “above all.” However, from our self-vantage point we can still inquire of the Deity. We can “seek His face,” as the scriptures say. However, we can never go in Him beyond His Eternal Word, His “Name,” which is not a “proper name,” as in John or Bill or Susan, but simply “I AM THAT I AM.”
As I understand it the Jews never spoke the name, which is represented by four Hebrew characters corresponding in English to YHWH, and is called the “Tetragrammaton.” It is usually rendered “Lord” or “Lord God” in most Bibles, though some modern ones use “Yahweh.” I’m not identifying this as a serious error which could incur some sort of penalty, because God winks at it. Still, it is true that many believers in our time have taken to speaking to God using the name, “Yahweh,” thinking it is God’s “proper name.”
The reason this has importance is that to assign to “GOD” a proper name would necessitate a perception or consciousness of separation, with God as a separated Person “over there” like all the other persons who are “over there,” except infinitely larger and possessing unlimited power. That would simply make him a “person” apart from me, sitting over there or over here, to and with whom we could relate as we relate with any other persons.
But I agree with the Jews on this point. It is not Father-God’s “proper name,” because He doesn’t have one.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” (Deut 6:4)
All the “proper names” that belong to and express God, are His individual sons, each of Whom He finds and blesses eternally in THE Son!
Finally, on this point, we say “above all,” because we can inquire no further. There is nothing beyond “I AM THAT I AM” for us to comprehend. Everything there was, is, and ever will be, is contained and brought forth from “I AM THAT I AM.”
Next Paul says The Father is “through all.” His first description of God is that He is above all, beyond the beyond. But this second description brings Him all the way back home to us, and yet not. Let’s understand that when it says the Father is “through all,” He truly means “all.” It is the same “all” in the three phrases, from “above all,” to “through all,” to finally, “in you all.” All means all. Believers, unbelievers – all!
“Through you,” or “through us,” are standard ways Christians refer to God working within and flowing out of our lives. This is a wonderful progression from “Above all,” because “above all” is obviously God Alone, whereas “through all” brings “others” into the picture. This is no longer (in this description) about God Alone, but now God over, under, around, and through everything – and most especially “through us.”
“Through us” means that every physical molecule as well as all mental and all spiritual “molecules” experience the continually flowing Presence of the Living God. This is “Emanuel,” “God with us,” every moment of every day and in and through all things. He fills up the valleys and levels the hills, and everywhere we turn we are enveloped, surrounded by the Life of God expressing in nature and humanity.
It is because He is “through all” that we have an actual inner spiritual connectedness that organically binds us all together with Him. We are not islands of self, eternally separate from each other and God, but rather springs-of-water selves dotting the landscape, all bubbling up from the Same Water Source underground, all speaking another aspect of the Same Word. We have all been begotten of the One Seed, which is Christ!
16 “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” … 29 “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:16; 29).
Paul has taken us from God transcendent – “above all,” to God immanent, Emanuel, God “with us.” That’s as far as “through all” can go.
This next one is God’s and our goal – IN YOU ALL! This is what it has all been about and will always be about. Not just God in a separate Heaven beyond, nor God only “with” us or “through” us, but still in that “with” or “through” we may still see Him remaining separate from us, with us in a role of His “subjects,” like an earthly king has. However, we are not subjects; we are Sons! It is a qualitative difference of an almost infinite proportion.
God’s subjects, like any subjects, cannot necessarily speak with authority about the actions of the Deity. Sons not only can speak with authority, they find it is a necessity that they do so, because He has moved into us in a oneness so that we act “as He” in the world. We, each of us, are God’s means of expressing and manifesting His divine Life in the world. We, each of us, are part of God’s means of “drawing all men unto Himself,” to draw men to the Father through Christ, whose office (Christ’s) we fill in the world!
Earlier I said that each of the uses of the word, “all,” includes every “all” there is. We find no difficulty with that until we reach the level of living humanity, where we might be tempted to drop back on the meaning of “all” in that verse. Since we see that those who have not yet come into the kingdom still walk in blindness, it could be that we are hesitant to say God is “manifest” in their “you.” (Self-identity.) In fact, our theology puts those folks squarely in the dark crowd, the “children of wrath,” doing the works of the god of wrath, which is Satan. How then, can we say in that instance that God is manifest, or expressing Himself in those vessels?
I think, first of all, I almost have to say it, whether I think it is true or not, because the scripture says it so plainly and authoritatively. “That God may be all in all.” (1 Cor 15:28).
Whether we are there in manifestation or not, still “God … all in all” is the Eternal reality. Once we see it, it becomes the base of operations for our lives. It becomes our everyday truth and reorients everything in sight or not in sight.
To see God all in all or Christ all in all in the current moment, is not something we “do” nor can we develop a method for doing it. It is a Spirit truth which comes from the Holy Spirit. It is a gift we receive but we enter into it just as we have entered everything in Christ since the beginning, through the way of faith. Our inner Teacher, the Spirit, opens up the reality of it to us, in His own way.
This is a sight which has layers, we might say. The over-all-encompassing layer is the total peace of God, All in all. In other words, in this instance “ALL” means, “HE IS THE ALL,” the “singular ALL,” from which all things proceed. From the bottommost and the the innermost, to the topmost and the outermost, there is only one ALL from which these things proceed. One Person, One Life, One Source.
The phrase completes with “in all.” The first ALL is a singular ALL, only One. The “in all” is plural, as in many. One complete, overriding, beyond-the-beyond ALL, fills every “in all” to overflowing so much so that there is not found any more room for anything else because there is not anything else.
When we see and use that as the framework we are building upon, everything falls into a right perspective as we walk around being ourselves every day. When we see through all things – circumstances, people, weather, state of our car, sickness, politics, personal weaknesses (and on and on) – to God filling every nook and cranny with nothing but His purposed and perfect order, all of which works day by day by day for the unbelievable good toward every one of His children.
And guess what? We stop seeing Satan everywhere! Oh, he’s still around, up to his old tricks. And there are people in our midst who do evil and mean to do evil. But the general sense in which we live in the world is that everyone and everything are all joined in the common working of all things for the total good of each of us. Those whose minds are still blinded by the enemy are still within reach, and many of them are growing anxious in their bonds are wanting to break free. This is GOD AT WORK! Don’t ever think that the enemy has won some ground or taken some territory! We give him none!
And one of the best things we can do is to pass along our consciousness of seeing all in Christ and belonging to Him, and leave any judgment behind as the Spirit works it in us. We have faith for people who have not yet come to faith on their own. We see them greater and higher than they see themselves.
When we see things through the lens of the realm we live in, which is heaven as Paul said in Phil 3:20, where all things happen for the total good for each and every one of the brethren, with this foundation and background we are ready to understand what “wrath” is and how it has its place in God.
We’ll look at that in Part Two.
END PART ONE