The “Fear Of God” Literally Means Fearing God's Wrath!

By David J. Stewart

Psalms 6:1, “O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.”

       I've heard many preachers teach that “THE FEAR OF THE LORD” only means to reverence God. Although this is the basic meaning in Proverbs 9:10 (the “fear of the LORD” is the beginning of wisdom), the word also means to literal be afraid of God, which is the underlying reason why we reverence Him!!! much more. The Hebrew word for fear in Proverbs 9:10 is yir'âh and means “fear (also used as infinitive); morally reverence: - fear dreadful, fear exceedingly, fear (-fulness).”

Fearing God means literal exceeding fear, that is, being afraid of God if you disobey Him. I'm tired of hearing sincere but ignorant preachers teach that “the fear of God” only means respect or reverence for God. We are warned as believers in 2nd Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men...” The word “terror” comes from the exact same Greek word that the word “fear” in Romans 3:18 comes from, that is, phobos. Romans 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” The Greek word phobos means “to be put in fear; alarm or fright.”

To “fear the LORD” means to be terrified of God if we strive against our Maker, knowing that the eyes of the Lord watch us continually (Proverbs 15:3), and that everything we think and do is recorded in Heaven (Ecclesiastes 12:14), and that we must one day be held accountable for the life we have lived on earth (Romans 14:10-12; James 4:12). Isaiah 45:9, “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!...” Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” The word “fearful” in Hebrews 10:31 is the Greek word phoberos and means “frightful, that is, (objectively) formidable: - fearful, terrible.” Hebrews 4:13, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

As a Biblical example, citizens normally fear their government only if they break the law. Rulers, if honest and just, are only a terror to bad works, not good works. All authority is ultimately ordained by God...

Romans 13:1-3, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.”

As we just read, good works will bring the praise of authority, if not from man, definitely from God (John 12:43). The Bible asks us in Romans 13:3, “WILT THOU THEN NOT BE AFRAID OF THE POWER?” This “power” includes God, Who is the highest authority. Thus, men revere the laws of man because they fear the arm of the law if they do evil. The reverence for the law is motivated by the underlying fear of what will happen if the law(s) are broken. Likewise, we reverence God because we believe that the Scriptures are true when Jesus warned in Matthew 12:36, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” No one is going to get away with anything!

Many preachers have diminished the wrath of a holy and righteous God against sin. Although the believer's sins have been washed away by the physical, literal, precious, blood of Jesus Christ (1st Peter 1:18-19), “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2nd Corinthians 5:10). This event will happen at The Judgment Seat Of Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11).

Being afraid of God is the beginning of wisdom. In the old days parents had the final say in raising their children (which is Biblical, Proverbs 13:24), unlike today when spanking your kids is considered a form of child abuse by the heathen world. Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” This Scripture isn't talking about leaving your child alone in any given instance; but rather, it refers to failing to discipline your child throughout their upbringing.

A child left to them self to watch TV, play video games and grow up without the love, teaching and discipline of a caring parent guarantees the future destruction of that child as a dysfunctional adult in society. It is positive character reinforcement for a child to have a healthy amount of fear of being physically disciplined if they do wrong. God put that padded area back there for a reason, that is, spankings when they need it.

The worst form of child abuse is to leave a child alone to grow up unloved, untaught and undisciplined. It is never proper to jerk a child arm's in anger and slap them. That is sinfully losing one's temper (Hebrews 12:6-8). Proper discipline is done in love, explaining to the child what they did wrong, having them admit to what they did wrong before administering any discipline, and reassuring that child of the parent's unconditional love after the chastisement has been given. A child ought to fear being disciplined when they do wrong, not fear a parent with an unpredictable hot temper.

The Bible is the answer to all our problems. A lot of folks cannot grasp that statement, but if you learn to trust God in all situations, then you have found the greatest solution to all life's problems. Psalms 1:1-3, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water...” As you just read, God doesn't want us listening to a bunch of reprobate heathens who are wise in their own eyes. The world are fools, having no fear of God. I fear God and I hope you do too. I fully realize that God cares about the way I treat others, the way I live and what I do with my time, money, body and thoughts. Most people DON'T fear God, which is why women dress immodestly, men follow the Playboy philosophy and today's youth reject Christianity.

Proverbs 9:6 and 9, “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. ... The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”

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