God’s Wrath to Come


Cal Poulsen

Scripture Insights



In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 we read, “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.”

There is no way that any of us could withstand the unabated wrath of God. The unleashing of the seven seal judgements of Revelation will take place during the first three and one-half years of the tribulation. These seals are considered to be the wrath of man against man. Yet the earth and its inhabitants are being prepared for the return of Jesus Christ.

The Seven Seals is a phrase in the Book of Revelation that refers to seven seals that secure the scroll that John of Patmos saw. The opening of the seals of this apocalyptic document occurs in Revelation Chapters 5-8.

The Scroll contains what must come to pass in the grand eternal purposes of God, but there is no one who can unfold, explain, and implement these except Jesus, the Lamb who had been slain.

Jesus takes the scroll and begins to open the seven seals one-by-one. The seven seals reveal a righteous, holy, and just God who must punish sin. The seals must be broken and the judgment must come.

What does the phrase “the wrath to come” mean?

Paul points out that he is referring to a very specific and unique period of intense wrath. Because of the intensity of God’s wrath being poured out, it’s in a class all of its own, totally distinct from any past outpourings of God’s wrath. It’s going to be an incredible time in history.  

Revelation 14:10 

The same (unbelievers) shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

Romans 5:9 

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we (believers) shall be saved from wrath through him (Jesus).

If Christ’s blood was shed on our behalf, then his blood will certainly save us from God’s wrath.

Scholars agree Paul is referring to the begin­ning of the seven-year tribulation. That future Day of the Lord will be an unparalleled time of the outpouring of God’s wrath through seal judgments, trumpet judgments, and bowl judgments. Paul is saying that Jesus, through a mighty act of power (Rapture), will carry out the deliverance that He’s already granted to us and provided for us as Christians in the Body of Christ.

The implication is that the way we will be delivered from God’s wrath is by His removing us from the earth by the Rapture before the seven-year tribulation begins. To me that implies a pre-tribulation Rapture. The Church, Body of Christ will be removed before this period of time of unparalleled wrath of God is poured out upon the face of the earth.

Now remember for the most part, the letter is personal in nature, with only the final two chapter’s spent addressing issues of doctrine. Paul's main purpose in writing is to encourage and reassure the believers there that they had not missed the rapture and to be strong in the faith. Paul urges them to go on working quietly while waiting in hope for the coming of Jesus Christ for them.

Another significant passage is found in this same letter (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Now, if you were to look at the opening verses in this chapter, you would find that Paul is talking about the future Day of the Lord. Let’s look at these previous verses beginning in verse 1.

When reading these passages, watch the pronoun usage very carefully.

1 Thessalonians 5:1 

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

1 Thessalonians 5:2 

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

1 Thessalonians 5:3 

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

When the unsaved people of the world think they have finally established peace and safety then sudden destruction will come upon them.

1 Thessalonians 5:4 

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

1 Thessalonians 5:5

Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

1 Thessalonians 5:6 

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

1 Thessalonians 5:7 

For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

1 Thessalonians 5:8 

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

1 Thessalonians 5:9 

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

1 Thessalonians 5:10 

Who died for us, that, whether we wake (alive) or sleep (dead), we should live together with him.

You and I are not going to be overtaken by the “thief in the night” phase of the Day of the Lord, which is characterized by darkness. Paul is saying to the Body of Christ that God has not appointed us to that day of God’s wrath. Instead, God has appointed you to obtain salvation. In this context the salvation mentioned is deliverance from future wrath of God.

Then Paul says that salvation comes to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. That He has provided it for us.  

What Paul is saying is what is going to be involved in our salvation. It will not matter whether you have already died as a believer or whether you’re going to be alive as a believer. In the future, we all, the dead believers and the living believers, are going to live together with Christ.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (died) that ye sorrow not, even as others (unbelievers) which have no hope.

1 Thessalonians 4:14 

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them (believers) also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

1 Thessalonians 4:15 

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep (dead).

1 Thessalonians 4:16 

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

1 Thessalonians 4:17 

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (raptured) together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:18 

Wherefore comfort one another with these words.


Your questions and comments are always appreciated.

Scripture Insights

2015 – 2016

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *