GOD'S WRATH AND PUNISIMENT
1. Scripture speaks frequently of the anger and zeal of God and of His avenging sword and judgment, so as to give the impression that "the Old Testament God is a God of wrath and vengeance." As a matter of fact, these attributes are merely emanations of His holiness, the guide and incentive to moral action in man. The burning fire of the divine holiness aims to awaken the dormant seeds of morality in the human soul and to ripen them into full growth. Whenever we to-day would speak of pangs of conscience, of bitter remorse, Scripture uses figurative language and describes how God's wrath is kindled against the wrongdoing of the people, and how fire blazes forth from His nostrils to consume them in His anger. The nearer man stands to nature, the more tempestuous are the outbursts of his passion, and the more violent is the reaction of his repentance. Yet this very reaction impresses him as though wrought from outside or above by the offended Deity. Thus the divine wrath becomes a means of moral education, exactly as the parents' indignation at the child's offenses is part of his training in morality.
2. Thus the first manifestation of God's holiness is His indignation at falsehood and violence, His hatred of evil and wrongdoing. The longer men persist in sin, the more does He manifest Himself as "the angry God," as a "consuming fire" which destroys evil with holy zeal.1 The husbandman cannot____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Jewish Theology:Systematically and Historically Considered. Contributors: K. Kohler - Author. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1918. Page number: 107.
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