It’s a story I heard many times while a missionary in the Philippines. It goes like this: There was a visiting preacher who did not understand the Cebuano language of Mindanao, so he had to have an interpreter with him when he preached. But the interpreter could not understand his English very well, since he had a heavy accent. One night while he was preaching, the preacher mentioned the wrath of God. But the interpreter did not quite hear him correctly. So, the interpreter confidently belted out the phrase ilaga sa dios. Laughter ensued, and the legend of God’s mouse was born!
While the story is funny, the reality of God’s wrath is not. It is a horrible reality. Jesus taught that everyone deserves that wrath, and that everyone will experience it except those who put their faith in him. He said “The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him” John 3:36. So, according to scripture, the wrath of God is not a form of eternal life. It is the opposite. God’s wrath puts an end to life.
The apostle Paul said that those who refuse to obey the truth are actually storing up wrath which they will experience on judgment day. He said “because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourselves in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed! He will reward each one according to his works: eternal life to those who by perseverance in good works seek glory and honor and immortality, but wrath and anger to those who live in selfish ambition and do not obey the truth but follow unrighteousness” Romans 2:5-8. So, according to scripture, the wrath of God is a sentence of judicial punishment which keeps getting worse and worse as long as you live in rebellion against God without repenting of that rebellion. Those who have repented are free to seek glory and honor and immortality, and the end result of that perseverance will be eternal life. Once again, the wrath of God as a punishment is contrasted with eternal life. The wrath is not a form of eternal life.
The Bible teaches that there will come a day when all of this wrath will be fully poured out on unbelievers. It says “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and another book was opened–the book of life. So the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to their deeds. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each one was judged according to his deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death–the lake of fire. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire” Revelation 20:12-15. So, according to scripture, the wrath of God is not experienced at death. It will be experienced on judgment day. It will not be a process of perpetual torment, but an event which will end in the second death, eternal death, from which there will be no resurrection.
No, it’s not funny. But it is a terrible reality. If you are an unbeliever, escape the coming wrath by repenting of your sins and trusting in Christ today!
If you have any questions about this teaching, you can ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join me for this entire series as we search the scriptures to learn about the gift of life.
(audio file available at Afterlife)