Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4
Thesis: That wrath "arrived" was all a part of the "telic" approach that God has taken from the beginning.
Introduction: The behavior of the Jews, as the major adversaries of God in union with His main adversary, was a "filling up" of their sins in harmony with God's Plan. He allows things to run their course as He oversees the entire process, using all things to develop the overall Plan. The murder of the Lord Jesus was a classic example of "filling up" the intentional sinfulness in opposition to God, but it was also the seed of the divine victory against "Sin". God uses all things together in infinite wisdom to bring about the intended end.
This evening we are going to look into Paul's last characterization of the behavior of the Jews as he turns it toward the consequence that has been imposed. He calls it the "arrival of the wrath upon them".
July 27, 2014
- I. The Problems.
- A. There is a difference between the way the translators render the connective (the Authorized Version has "for" and the ASV/NASB has "but").
- B. There is a sameness between the translations that render the last phrase (the Authorized Version has "to the uttermost", and the NASB has "to the utmost").
- C. The "connection" is not an "explanation" (requiring "for"); it is an on-going development that has just a hint of the unexpected (requiring "but").
- D. The translations "to the uttermost/to the utmost" both make a major assumption that simply does not fit the facts or the apostle's intention.
- II. Paul's Meaning.
- A. The first issue: "unto an [intended] end".
- 1. The word translated "to the uttermost" is not typically so rendered (of 41 texts in the New Testament that contain this term, only one has the translators of the Authorized Version rendering it "uttermost").
- a. There is a sense of "uttermost" built into the word, but only because it is a word that defines an objective and the accomplishment of an objective has the sense of accomplishment built-in.
- b. But the English "uttermost" implies a kind of climactic fulness, leading the readers to look for some kind of outstanding/perceivable finality.
- 2. Paul is not addressing "uttermost wrath" except as a known factor in the revealed Plan.
- a. Twice in this letter Paul refers to "wrath" as a kind of final outworking of Justice (1:10 and 5:9).
- 1) The strong implication of "the wrath to come" is that there is, in place, an incremental pursuit of a long-term objective that has many particular parts that need to fall in place.
- 2) This exactly fits the sense of Paul's statement that the Jews are "always filling up their sins" in that there is an "always" and a "process" of "filling".
- b. That this is an "arrived" reality makes us look for something that is evidently "on hand" and visible and no "uttermost" example sticks out.
- B. The second issue: "the wrath arrived upon them".
- 1. In the large context of God's dealings with the Jews as His adversaries, there are some very specific statements that constitute "wrath".
- a. The primary texts for this concept of "wrath" are the "curses" placed upon the Jews if they refuse to obey "all of the things written in the Law to do them", and the prophecies of Daniel wherein we find a blank spot between the 69th week and the 70th week of Daniel 9.
- b. Historically, this blank spot turns out to be the very extended period that we know as the age of the Church, and it constitutes an outpouring of "wrath" in that God makes a very specific and very long term turn away from the nation to the nations, relegating them to the back burner in the Plan (this is a kind of ultimate fulfillment of the curses: Deuteronomy 30:1).
- 2. The idea that "the wrath arrived" upon those who "killed the Lord Jesus" fits exactly with history in that God announced His turn from the nation to the nations shortly after "they killed" Him, and then proceeded to follow through with The Plan.
- III. Paul's Point.
- A. When under persecution, people often wonder why it is necessary for "this" to be a part of the wisdom of God.
- B. Paul's statement that God is involved in the process is a strong encouragement to remain faithful so that the obstacles do not produce a selfish rebellion.