The Implications of God’s Anger towards Rebellious People

‘In Isaiah, for example, God complains that He has reared children but they have disobeyed Him. (Isa. 1:2 NRSV; cf. Isa. 30:1, 2, 3, 9, 12, 13) God then reasons with them: “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (Isa. 1:16, 17) Does God not have a purpose? Yes, God has a purpose, and God has a decree for the ages. But God also declares: “The look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom, they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.” (Isa. 3:9 NRSV, emphasis added) God pronounces blessings to the innocent (Isa. 3:10) and justice to the guilty (Isa. 3:11) — “for what their hands have done shall be done to them.” God even grieves over the willing rebelliousness of His people: “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?” (Isa. 5:4; cf. Isa. 9:13, 14, 15, 16, 17) Isaiah betrays the Calvinist.

In Jeremiah, God is, again, angry with His rebellious people, leading us to ask: If He decreed, rendered certain and necessary, and brought about their rebellion, then why would God be angry? God is not schizophrenic: He does not commit mind-control, bringing about one’s rebellious heart, only to then judge the individual for doing what He decreed for them to do. (Jer. 2:13, 14, 15, 16, 17) We find God Himself admitting that human beings have the ability to reject His authority. The LORD said, “Indeed, long ago you threw off my authority and refused to be subject to me. You said, ‘I will not serve you.’ Instead, you gave yourself to other gods on every high hill and under every green tree.” (Jer. 2:20 NET, emphases added; cf. Jer. 2:29) But how can the Israelites reject God’s sovereign authority? How can they refuse to be subject to Him, since He has strictly foreordained all that comes to pass? God, allegedly, foreordained their rebellion, which they, allegedly, “freely” committed, and then God punished them for it. Jeremiah betrays the Calvinist.

In Ezekiel, we note the sovereignty of God, rightly defined, and the free will and responsibility of human beings created in His image (Ezek. 3:6, 7, 18, 19, 20, 21, 27; 5:6, 7, 8, 9; 6:9; 9:9, 10). As a matter of fact, the prophet informs us of God’s relationship to the thoughts of people: “Mortal, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are prophesying; say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination; ‘Hear the word of the LORD!’ Thus says the Lord GOD, Alas for the senseless prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” (Ezek. 13:2-3, emphases added; cf. Ezek. 13:8, 9, 10, 17; 20:32) God does not wish for their adversity and treachery: “You have discouraged the righteous with your lies, but I didn’t want them to be sad. And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they continue in their sins. Because of all this, you will no longer talk of seeing visions that you never saw, nor will you make predictions. For I will rescue my people from your grasp. Then you will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezek. 13:22-23 NLT, emphasis added) Ezekiel betrays the Calvinist.’

source: Will Birch, “James White, Twitter, and God decreeing Evil” (williambirch).

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