Is God Really Jealous and Angry?

God is love and always merciful. The appearance of an angry God in the Old Testament was necessary for the people at that time

"God cannot turn away from us or even look at us with a frown." (True Christianity 56)

When we read the Old Testament we are sometimes given a view of God being angry or jealous. Let it be clearly said: God is never angry. God is pure unending love and wisdom and completely incapable of having anything but love towards us. The appearance of an angry God in the Old Testament was necessary for the people at that time. That was the only image of God they were able to respond to at that point. They projected this image of the Lord because fear was in their hearts. The Lord loves you completely and never wishes any harm on you.

Most readers of the Bible have noticed numerous references to the anger of God. Judging from some of these passages, it would seem that God is at least sometimes excessively angry. He says, “A fire is kindled in My anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell” (Deuteronomy 32:22). “And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath” (Jeremiah 21:5). It may seem that His anger is vicious, more than the offense would call for. One time the children of Israel were complaining, and “it displeased the Lord,…and His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burnt among them and consumed” some of them (Numbers 11:1). In some cases His anger even seems to harm the innocent: “My wrath shall become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless” (Exodus 22:24).

God Is Merciful

In contrast with the teachings about God’s anger are the teachings about His mercy. We are told, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He is “merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:6). He is “good, ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy …full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering” (Psalm 86:5,15). “The Lord is longsuffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression.” (Numbers 14:18). “He has not dealt with us according to our sins…for as the heavens are far above the earth, so great is His mercy” (Psalm 103:10,11).

This picture of God as merciful and loving is quite a contrast to the picture of Him as vengeful and fierce. If these were all the teachings we had, we might suppose that He alternates between the opposites of wrath and mercy: condemning one moment, redeeming the next. “In My wrath I struck you, but in My favor I have had mercy on you” (Isaiah 60:10). “He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1). “Many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath” (Psalm 78:38).

Unchanging Mercy

The view of God as fluctuating and even capricious does not take into account all the teachings about His mercy. For there are dozens of passages which speak of God’s mercy as enduring, constant, never ceasing. “His mercy endures for ever” (2 Chronicles 5:13, Psalms 100:5, 118:29, 135:3). “The goodness of God endures continually” (Psalm 52:1). “My lovingkindness I will not take away from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail. My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (Psalm 89:33). The Lord promises that there will never be a time when He is not loving and merciful to you. “As I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from you neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, says the Lord who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54:9).

Now some people might try to explain this apparent contradiction by saying that the Lord is constantly merciful to good people, but that He takes vengeance on those who rebel against Him. But the fact is that the Lord is merciful to everyone, all the time, in everything He does.

"He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil." (Luke 6:35)

"He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust." (Matt 5:45)

"The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works." (Psalm 145:7)

"Since the Lord's face is mercy, peace, and everything good, it is clear that he never looks at anyone except with mercy and never turns his face from anyone. It is we, when we are wrapped up in evil, who turn our faces away." (Secrets of Heaven 223)

Daily Inspiration

"The Lord is within His commandments when a person leads a life in keeping with them."

Arcana Coelestia 8361