How Long is the Wrath of God?

Does the Bible tell us specifically how long the Wrath of God is? 7 years? 3 1/2 years, 1 year, 30 days, or a single day? Read to find out.

God poured out his wrath on Jesus for our behalf. Jesus drank the cup of the Wrath of God full strength while on the cross. His death was substitutionary; he took the Wrath of God on behalf of those those who place their faith in him . This was necessary because there is a Day of Wrath coming, a day of vengeance when God will pour out his wrath on the unrighteous:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18)

Paul makes it clear that those who reject Jesus are without excuse:

Because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not [n]honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing to be wise, they became fools (Rom. 1:19-22)

As the Day of the Wrath of God approaches, we need to be diligent about sharing the good news of the Gospel as it is a horrible thing to fall into the hands of a angry God.

How Long is the Wrath of God?

But Jesus will rescue Christians prior to God pouring out his wrath:

Wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come. (1 Thess. 1:10)

Jesus did not promise to seal us from the Wrath of God or to pour it out only on locations where Christians aren’t found. He promises to rescue us from it.  This is a key understanding.

So if we are able to determine how long the Wrath of God is and when it occurs, we may be able to tell when that rescue occurs as well. Here is a video that analyses a number of Old Testament passages from Leviticus, Isaiah, Daniel, and Job that give us a hint about that timing.

19 thoughts on “How Long is the Wrath of God?”

  1. Nelson: I tend to see the matter a little different. Romans 1:18 makes no mention of the tribulation and the Greek word translated wrath is orge (Strong’s 3709). Under part IV (of the definition for orge) in describing wrath is this: anger exhibited in punishment, hence used for punishment itself.
    A. of punishments inflicted by magistrates.

    This appears to be one of the differentiating features between the Greek words orge and thymos (Strong’s 2372). Thymos is of course used when the bowls of wrath are presented and poured out such as in Revelation 15:1, 16:1 and 16:2 …

    So we have the bowls of wrath poured out on the earth in Revelation 16. However, when the Lord returns and stands on the mount of Olives i Zachariah 14:4-5 some of His covenant people (who were not caught up and still on this earth (not born again at His coming) are aided by the Lord in their escape form Jerusalem. How can this he if the wrath of God is in judgment of all sinners prior to this?

    But that is not all. When the Lord returns Zechariah 14:12 describes the judgement of those who have come against Jerusalem. If these who are clearly unrepentant sinners are present when the Lord returns so that they will be judged by the Lord then how did they escape the wrath of God poured out on the earth, if God was indeed judging sin?

    The possible answer to both questions might be that the wrath of God during the Great Tribulation was not intended as punitive but rather corrective in nature. In addition we in the church might also understand the work of God to preserve those who He would preserve and judge those who would be judged.

    It would seem that those who are born again are not subject to the punitive judgement of God for our sins. However, it also would seem that the punitive judgement is called for it could not even take place in its completeness until after those who names are not in the Lamb’s Book of Life are judged before the Great White Throne Judgment. This judgement would not take place during the Great Tribulation.

    1. Thanks for your comment Joseph. I’m not 100% sure all that you are asking here, but I’ll try to answer it. First and foremost, we need to establish that the seals precede all the trumpets which precede all the bowls. This Chronology in Rev. sets up our understanding of where events fall. (see VIDEO). Then when we look at Rev. 6:17 we notice the orge wrath of God begins after the sixth seal. Thus all 7 trumpets and all 7 bowls are the orge wrath, which this article indicates is probably a year long. It is this orge wrath that God promises to rescue us from (1 Thess. 1:10), thus the rapture occurs prior to the first of those trumpets. Thymus and orge occur together in Rev. 19:15 btw. I think an article differentiating between those topics would be useful.

      Now once that is established, lets look at your questions in light of this chronology scripture gives.

      So you mentioned the orge wrath occurring during the Great Tribulation. This is a complex subject. Believers will endure Tribulation and not orge Wrath. They are rescued from it not selectively protected or sealed from it. It is most likely that the Great Tribulation (whose length is not given in scripture) ends with the coming of Jesus on the clouds 1 year prior to the end of the 70th Week. And that last period is solely the wrath of God.

      Does that orge wrath have a corrective function? I believe it does. The church of Laodicea (the lukewarm Christians with weak faith who are not raptured) also called the foolish virgins will be present as will the Jewish remnant who will repent. Many of these will repent and enter the Millennial kingdom as humans, ie. without resurrection bodies. So obviously some survive (but do not escape) the wrath.

      These are complex issues and we all struggle to understand them completely! That is why I suggest we go back to the bedrock we know (the chronology of Revelation seals-trumpets-bowls, rapture after the sixth seal) and work it out from that point.

      1. Nelson: Thank you for your response to my comments. I would like to suggest here that the Book of Revelation is not an easy thing to read and reach agreement on within the church.

        I would like to comment on your assertion that the orge of God occurs at Revelation 6:17. Orge is mentioned but, it the observation of those who have rebelled against the Lord who mention the orge of the Lamb. There doesn’t appear to be a mention of God (any member of the Trinity responding with an orge response until as you mentioned Revelation 19:15 (with the reference of Revelation 16:19 taken into account at the seventh bowl judgement).

        When you compare that reference with Isaiah 63:1-6 and Revelation 14:19-20) which appears to be a reference to the anger Jesus will express at his parousia which appears directed to those who have come against Jerusalem, a targeted judgement but not to all those who dwell on the earth.

        Permit me to mention one more item regarding Mystery Babylon mentioned in Revelation 18:4 NKJV, “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”

        What’s you read on who God’s people are mentioned in this passage?

        1. Joseph, I think your comment about Rev. 6:17 is a somewhat dangerous one, akin to the pretrib. comments that Matt. 24 is not for the church. God’s Word is sovereign. If He has chosen to reveal truth in mouths of unbelievers so be it. They are eyewitnesses to the timing of the Wrath, just as the martyrs under the altar. And of course this timing fits PERFECTLY with the fact that Rev. 6 and Matt. 24 are parallel passages with the appearance of Jesus in Rev. 6:16 being equivalent to his coming on the clouds in Matt. 24:30. In fact all 6 events in Rev. 6:12-17 are parallel to the same 6 events in Matt. 24:29-30 (See Rapture: Case Closed? Chapter Three).

          Rev. 14 is a vision (or separate visions) that is not in chronological order to the overall book of Revelation. It is the final portion of the vision that starts in Rev. 12. So my current understanding is that Rev. 12-14 is one vision with Rev. 14 being the Day of the Lord starting with the first fruits being taken to heaven (the 144k), the three angel warnings, then the rapture, and finally the wrath of God poured out initially with the Trumpet judgments.

          You mention Isa. 63, this is where Jesus’s garments are stained. Notice in Rev. 19, they are already stained PRIOR to him riding the white horse. How did that happen? It occurred a year earlier during the one year wrath that is clearly mentioned in Isa. 63:4. All of this fits together like a hand in glove.

          In terms of Mystery Babylon, you may have noticed I don’t write about this topic because I am still trying to gain a complete understanding of the timing and location of it. In Rev. 14, the second angel claims Babylon is already fallen at the point of the Day of the Lord (1 year prior to Armageddon). How this fits with Rev. 16, I’m not sure. Is Rev. 17-18 an out of order explanation? I’m not sure at this point.

          However, your question is about God’s warning to his people. I’m not sure who these are. A lot depends on the timing of the destruction of Babylon which I’m unsure of as I mentioned. If it is prior to the day of the Lord (most likely), then this could obviously include the redeemed that will eventually be raptured. If it is at the sixth bowl, then they would be those who come to faith during the one year wrath of God, Jews and gentiles.

          1. Nelson: There are certainly a variety of views on the interpreting the book of Revelation. However, if one uses Matthew 24 as a primary template regarding when the Lord returns according to Jesus’ statement to a direct question then we have a measure as to when the coming or parousia of the Lord is. Jesus makes no mention of an appearance prior to his parousia. Perhaps we might agree that the word parousia is in the same context as the gathering together in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 and the catching away of 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (it7s in 1 Thessalonians 4:15.

            The word parousia or coming (Strong’s 3952) appears to carry the meaning of arrival with a presence. If we apply that as a template on the issue of the wrath of the Lamb, we would not expect the Lamb to return prior to his own teaching which is after the great tribulation and thus the wrath of the Lamb would occur with the parousia.

            However, that wrath (orge and not thymos) would not seem to be all inclusive to the whole earth as that wrath against sinners would require the Romans 6:23 remedy.

            If we see however, the last 7 year period in the context of
            2 Peter 3:9 then it would make understandable sense as to why the Lord does not punish all mankind for their sins during the Great Tribulation.There seems to be several themes at work: bringing as many men as possible to repentance, holding Mystery Babylon accountable for its generation al sins (through the work of the ten kings and the man of sin) and separating the righteous from the unrighteous, and preparing His covenant people for their roll of influence in the Kingdom to come. This is not a complete list.

          2. Yes, the parousia is THE one and only “royal” visit of our Lord found in 1 Thess 4 and Matt. 24 but not in Rev. 19. This is an important distinction. Rev. 19 is not called an epiphaneia or apocalypsis either. It is none of these things.

            You said “it would make understandable why the Lord does not punish all mankind for their sins during the Great Tribulation.” The reason is the Great Tribulation is not the wrath of God. The primary folks killed during this period are Christians who refuse to deny Jesus. OBVIOUSLY that is not the punishment of God. during this period the unrighteous are even able to say “Peace and Safety”. The Orge wrath starts later, after the tribulation of those days after the sixth seal.

  2. I wonder how many realize the wrath of God is declared twice in Revelation. The 6th seal and before the bowls. Everyone assumes it is one time deal.

      1. Some teach the wrath of God is the Trumpet judgments followed by the Bowl Judgments over a one year period which I agree with and others teach that it is the Bowl Judgments at the mid way point or during the last ten days before Armageddon and we are raptured out before the Bowl judgments.
        Then we have the Christians saying that there is 7 years between the rapture and Armageddon.
        There is one angry minister at me right now saying that he will not talk to me until I say I am sorry for believing that the wrath is more than ten days in length.
        So I wait for the rapture one year prior to Armageddon.
        Johnny Ash is John Ashcraft from Albuquerque, NM on Facebook under both accounts. My 1 page articles go to facebook until I am ready to develop them into a 3-20 page article to post to my blogs. I am autistic and my processing speed is slow.

          1. No it is slow. What you read took me six months to process. I test run them on facebook and then modify them as comments are made and then I build an article around them. Then as I read the Bible, I keep adding as the nuggets come in. Deut 24:5 says the groom can not go out to war for one year but must stay home with his bride whom he has taken.
            That is very true for newlyweds but can it be applied to the rapture. If Armageddon is war, then Jesus comes one year in advance to rapture us.
            The minister who is angry with me says that is the wrong interpretation for that verse. He then says we are raptured out ten days before Armageddon and I need to apologize to him.
            So the next question is that we need more than three witnesses to verify our findings. So as people make comments and as people write articles about the rapture, I begin to build a list. So one became 2, 3,4,5,6,7,8, 9, and then ten saying all the same thing. All ten are one year events.
            Deut 24:5; Jhn 6:39, 40, 44,54; Isa 34:8; 61:1-2; 63:4; Psalms 117-118; the Flood; Isa 54; Exod 6:6-8 to 15:19; and Jesus first coming.
            Ten articles separated but the list is one list. So I have an overwhelming list to prove that the Day of the Lord is one year of wrath between the Day of Trumpet to the Day of Atonement and there by the 7 year tribbers can not say I am wrong. So they say to me to go away. Or get so angry with me that they block me and then I block them.
            I do this with the topics in the Bible that I am interested in.
            People say we should not set dates so I make a list from the articles I compile where a verse used a set date to prove to others that the Bible says date setting is ok. So 50 articles were used to compile one list of set dates.

          2. Johnny, I mention Deut. 24:5 in both books Revelation Deciphered and Rapture: Case Closed?(RCC?). RCC? is a good book for your pastor to look at. If you read that book you’ll see my analysis of the case for a one year wrath which quotes some of the same verses as you do.

            However, I see nothing about a year period in John 6, Psalm 117-118, Isa. 54, the exodus or Jesus’s ministry. Please explain this to us.

            Oh, btw, you miss the fact that the seventh year of a sabbatical cycle is a year of rest for the people of God. Also a year period. Reading Chapter 10 of RCC? might be helpful.

  3. Great stuff Nelson!
    So can we say that the 7 trumpets and the 7 bowls which follow the trumpets will likely take a year to complete?

    We know that just the 5th Trumpet takes 5 months, so this could fit quite well. That would make the GT that follows the Abomination of Desolation to be 2 1/2 years long for the redeemed in Christ?

    God bless you. Chris

  4. Well one comforting aspect of this is, the longer the Day of the Lord is, the shorter the AC Tribulation is. I don’t think people have any concept, or ability to grasp, how terrible that period will be. God destroyed civilization with the flood because of how terrible life was then. Jesus said this tribulation will be the worst ever, none to follow, and none prior, equaling it. So it will be much worse than the antediluvian age. No wonder it is cut short –or no flesh would be saved. Hitler will look as child’s play compared to the tribulation AC. I would certainly prefer the Day of the Lord to be a year or longer–knowing that the gathering and first resurrection occur in the beginning of that Day, and the tribulation period has ended.

  5. Thanks Nelson for continually challenging us to search the Scriptures. I think what you have revealed in this presentation only reinforces the already solid case for the PreWrath position.

  6. When I read the sixth seal I already sense God’s wrath on earth. So my question is why can’t we believe that God’s wrath is closer to 2 years, rather than 1 year, or… may be the the start of sixth seal is closer to the end of sixth year.

    Have you ever thought of these 2 possibilities?

    1. AFO, in Rev. 6:17 we read that God’s wrath “has come.” this implies the beginning of something or that something is about to begin. Although the sixth seal is of the hand of God, it can’t be wrath. The reason is we learn in Matt. 24:29-31 that the rapture occurs after the celestial signs at the opening of this seal. And 1 Thess. 1:10 clearly states God will rescue us prior to pouring out his wrath. So the rapture must precede the wrath.

      Now not being wrath doesn’t mean it can’t happen on the same day or even just hours before the wrath, but the official wrath must start after the rapture IMO

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