I'm having difficulty dealing with prophetic parts of the Old Testament that discuss God's wrath. I understand that the wages of sin is death and before the new covenant in Jesus, God punished people for their sins by wiping them out (e.g., Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19).

However, there are certain parts of the bible that talk about God subjecting people to His wrath by utilising the sins of mankind like sexual immorality and stealing, not just punishment by death. It's as though sin here is actually used as a tool to bring about God's justice, which seems unbelievable considering that sin was never God's will in the first place. Consider the following:

Isaiah 13:13-16

13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger.

14 Like a hunted gazelle, like sheep without a shepherd, they will all return to their own people, they will flee to their native land. 15 Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. 16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated.

Zechariah 14:1-3

1 A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.

2 I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle.

I'm comfortable with God destroying people for their sins by His own divine actions, but to take advantage of sinful man to bring about His holy justice it a little bit like abetting these sinful acts. In effect, it's like saying stealing, rape and even murder can actually be Godly acts if used to fulfil His prophecies, and this makes me very uncomfortable.

Can anybody offer an explanation as to how God can bring about justice by these means yet still hate sin and remain holy and righteous? This seems like a conflict of character to me.


2 Answers 2


Your question seems to be different than what your references convey.

In Isaiah chapter 13 and most of chapter 14 Isaiah is warning Babylon not of God striking the Nation, but of the coming overthrow by the Medes and the Persians. He is telling them that unless they change their ways God will not interfere on their behalf.

Isaiah 13:17 KJV

Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

And in chapter 14 he is telling them that they are as detestable to him as is Satan, and describes how Satan also became so despicable.

Isaiah chapter 14 KJV

10 All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

And in Zechariah chapter 14 It appears to be a prediction of that war in which Jerusalem was finally destroyed, and the Jews scattered all over the face of the earth.

Zechariah chapter 14 KJV

8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses.

11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.

The Nation of Israel was scattered around the World as predicted in Zechariah chapter 14 and their land was inhabited by others, up until 1949 when Israel was once again brought together as a nation.

  • Thanks, Cecil. It's interesting that you say chapter 13 is not about God striking Babylon because verse 9 seems to suggest (to me, at least) that the forthcoming violence is God's punishment: "9 See, the day of the Lord is coming – a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger – to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it."
    – ATG
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 22:38
  • 1
    @ ATG The fact that it is the day of the LORD does not mean that God is administering it, only that he is allowing it. It is fore known by God all things and he is using the Prophet to pronounce the future.
    – BYE
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 0:20

Sin is not what people believes today: Sin is unbelief towards God's Word. What God has spoken, if one doesn't believe it, it is sin.

John 8:24 states:

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Who is the I am he? Jesus is Emmanuel, GOD with u. Who is us? This is man, the sinners, those born of a woman, through the love of our father and mother. Don't forget, Mary was not conceived the natural way.

Therefore, if one doesn't believe that Jesus is GOD, 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the **mystery of godliness**: God was manifest **in the flesh**, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory., and there is only ONE GOD, as John saw in the book of Revelation, ONE GOD, and only ONE sitting on that throne, and the same GOD came down on earth in the flesh and was called Jesus Christ to save mankind, you shall die in your sin.

Belief is key in this instance.

The scriptures you have quoted are related to the time of wrath (the great and dreadful day of the Lord, Malachi 4:5-6), after the Bride of Jesus Christ has taken place and the 144000 jews were sealed and killed. The time of grace will be over, and God will be a judge. His judgement will be final and those who remained in their sins will feel God's WRATH. That time, God will not listen to any prayers.

I hope this helps.

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