Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Give God Thanks

In the United States, Thanksgiving is a national holiday. The tradition had its start in the early years of our people's history when settlers gave God thanks for a good harvest. The purpose of Thanksgiving is in its name, to give thanks to God.

Yet, in our increasingly secular society, many Americans do not keep it in the spirit of its name. Atheists and agnostics often observe the day as simply a day to have a big dinner with family or friends, watch football, and enjoy a day off from work. Even among those who believe in God, the actual giving of thanks often takes a backseat to other activities. Thanksgiving is also used by many to mark the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, almost as if Christmas shopping is a game or race and the day after Thanksgiving is like the firing of the starting gun - a signal to begin - "on your mark, get set, go."

Some people even call Thanksgiving, "Turkey Day", as if eating turkey is the main purpose of the day. Maybe they can't stomach calling it "Thanksgiving" when they don't feel thankful to God for anything. Maybe some are embarrassed by the name of the holiday, as if they don't want people to get the idea that they take giving thanks to God seriously.

If you watch TV, notice how often in the programming, announcements, news, and commercials the words "holiday" or "Thanksgiving" are mentioned. Then notice how often anyone actually gives thanks to God on TV for the many blessings He gives us. Very little, except in religious programming.

God does not command Thanksgiving as a day of observance. It is a national holiday, invented by men. In the United States, it may be compared to Mothers Day or Fathers Day. These days are not wrong because they do not come from false, pagan religious traditions. God does not forbid men from observing national days as long as the purpose of the day is not wrong and as long as the observance does not borrow from or mimic false religious customs and traditions. The Jews made a certain day an annual day of observation in the book of Esther as a memorial of their deliverance from destruction (Esther 9:18-32). God neither commands nor forbids such days.

For the Church of God therefore, the observance of Thanksgiving Day is optional. You aren't sinning if you keep it and you aren't sinning if you don't.

But if we want to observe Thanksgiving, we should observe it differently than many in the world observe it. We should really focus on giving thanks to God more than we focus on football, food, and recreation.

We should certainly give God thanks every day, just as we should honor our fathers and mothers all through the year, not just on Fathers Day and Mothers Day. But can make Thanksgiving Day a special day for giving thanks to God if we wish.

Some of us are blessed more than others. If you are blessed in this life, there may be many things to give God thanks for. If you have family, you can thank God for your family - not everyone has family. If you have a job or steady income, you can give God thanks for that - not everyone has a steady income. If you are in good health, you can give thanks for that. If there is a Church of God congregation you are able to attend, give thanks for that. And if you do not have these blessings, you can thank God for giving these blessings to many members of the Church of God, for we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and rejoice in the happiness of others in the Church. "And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually" (1 Corinthians 12:26-27).

Most of all, give thanks that God has given you the opportunity to know His truth and enter His kingdom.

God teaches the giving of thanks to Him in the Bible. "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1). "Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name" (Psalm 30:4). "Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!" (Psalm 105:1). David appointed men to give thanks to God on a regular basis (1 Chronicles 16:4-36). Many of the Psalms are expressions of praise and thanksgiving towards God (Psalm 136).

God promises to hear our prayers in time of trouble if we make the giving of thanks to Him our way of life and if we pay our vows to Him. "Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:14-15).

I have many things to thank God for. Here are some of them.

I thank God, as Mr. Armstrong did, for God's goodness, that the greatest power in the universe, God Himself, is a power for good and not evil. God's nature is infinite righteousness, love, and truth, and I thank Him for that.

I thank God for creating mankind, all of us, giving us life out of nothingness.

I thank God for creating this awesome universe of such immense size, complexity, and beauty, including the earth itself and all the plants and animals in it. I thank Him for creating in the human mind the ability to enjoy all the beauty and good things in the earth.

I thank God for His wonderful plan and purpose for mankind's salvation. Not only does God save us in the Church, but He has provided a way, in the general resurrection of mankind and the white throne judgment period, for everyone to have a chance for salvation. And what is that salvation that God offers us? Nothing less than entry into His divine family as His very sons and daughters, sharing in His joy, glory, and power forever, ruling the universe with Christ. How could God give us more?

I thank God and Christ for their love towards me personally and all mankind, expressed in the willingness of God to give us Jesus Christ as our sin bearer, savior, teacher, head, and high priest so we can be saved, and expressed in the willingness of Christ to die a torturous death for us. Again, how could God give us more?

I thank God for His word, the Bible, for the Church and God's true ministry, and for opening my mind and the minds of all of us to understand the truth and for calling us to salvation in this life so we can be God's firstfruits in the first resurrection.

And I thank God for working with me personally, correcting me, testing me, and teaching me, even with trials that cause me mental and physical pain, because I am determined to trust that God has a good reason, motivated by love, for the trials and sufferings He puts me through.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bob Thiel and Dreams

Dr. Robert Thiel has posted about a dream he had a few years ago and about a dream one of his supporters in New Zealand had about a month before he left LCG. He seems to think these dreams are prophetic dreams from God and are supporting evidence that he is a prophet or that his leaving LCG to form a new Church of God fellowship is a right action endorsed by God. He compares his dream with Loma Armstrong's dream that Mr. Armstrong relates in his autobiography, which seems prophetic.

Here is a link to his post:

I won't cover the dream of the woman in New Zealand. To me it is a bit of a stretch to connect this dream with Bob Thiel at all. It is one of those things that require a great deal of "interpretation", and I suppose it could be interpreted more than one way. Things in her in her dream seemed to make her think she should leave LCG, and there is a reference in her dream to the Old Testament "ark of the covenant". Dr. Thiel seems to connect this with his practice of reading from the book of Deuteronomy during the 2013 Feast of Tabernacles.

But in Dr. Thiel's own dream, he dreamt that there were two lines, one representing Dr. Meredith and one representing himself. These were parallel horizontal lines, one above the other. Dr. Meredith's line was above Dr. Thiel's line. Then in his dream, the lines crossed and his line was above Dr. Meredith's line. Dr. Thiel said he had this dream a few years ago, when he was 50 years old, but does not give the date. I do not know how old Dr. Thiel is now, so I cannot say how many years ago this dream occurred. But at the time it occurred, Dr. Thiel said he had good relations with Dr. Meredith and did not understand the dream. Now that things have come to pass as they have and Dr. Thiel has left LCG, he seems to think the dream was prophetic.

But there have been indications of a parting of the ways between Dr. Thiel and Dr. Meredith long before he actually left LCG in December 2012, almost a year ago. For example, around February 2012 and earlier, Dr. Thiel was posting about his view that Church of God members should not watch football while Mr. Wally Smith, an LCG minister, was posting that it is not wrong for Church members to watch football. I sent an email to Dr. Thiel February 14, 2012 about that and another matter in which he contradicted LCG, telling him that I did not think he was doing a good job of representing LCG in his blog and he should not be contradicting his own Church of God organization he attends and their ministry while he is with them. So the disagreements with LCG had started before he left, by about a year, possibly more.

As I say, I do not know the year of Dr. Thiel's dream. But if it occurred at a time when he already disagreed with LCG about some points of doctrine or Christian living or Bible prophecy, it could easily be explained as the result of natural causes even before Dr. Thiel thought about leaving LCG. I am no expert on dreams, but I understand that things can come out in a dream in various ways that a person has been thinking about subconsciously, but has not yet consciously faced and thought out.

I will use myself as an example. I will tell you one of my dreams I had while I was in Worldwide. I do not regard it as a prophetic dream, just a dream.

Some people dream more than others. I have dreams almost every night. I usually don't remember them very clearly when I wake up, but sometime I do. Usually they are just crazy dreams. I could probably entertain you with some of them, but I won't waste time on that.

While Mr. Tkach was making changes, at first I was not upset by the changes, but researched them with an open mind. Eventually I proved from the Bible that the changes were not according to the Bible, and I left Worldwide. During this time, before I thought about leaving Worldwide, I had a dream that I was in a kind of building that was also a machine. It is hard to describe. The best comparison I could make would be with something like the Starship Enterprise in Star Trek, but this "building" was on the earth. I was inside, in a passageway, with about 5 or 6 other brethren. And in this building or machine, I felt a strong sense of uncleanness about the place, a feeling of dread, of corruption, of revulsion about the place, like the building was a bad and dangerous place to be in, or that there was an evil presence in it. It was a strong emotion. Then I woke up.

Later, after I left Worldwide, I thought that the dream could have been about Worldwide, that the building or machine I was in was Worldwide and I needed to get out.

But I never assumed it was a prophetic dream from God. Why? Because my mind and brain already had enough information at that time to know that I needed to get out of Worldwide at some point - I just didn't consciously arrive at that conclusion yet. It could easily be explained as my subconscious mind telling me something in my dreams that I was not yet ready to face when I was awake.

I don't think that kind of thing is unusual.

Now, could God have inspired the dream? It is possible, but I never assumed that and I don't assume it now. I do not regard it as a prophetic dream, and it definitely does not make me a prophet. It can be explained as the natural workings of the human mind, and I leave it at that. Even if God did inspire the dream, that does not make me a prophet, and I know that I am NOT a prophet.

The same kind of thing could have happened with Bob Thiel and his dream. At some point, while he had disagreements with Dr. Meredith and the LCG ministry over this point or that of Bible doctrine, prophecy, or Christian living, points that may have seemed minor to Dr. Thiel at the time, yet points that suggested to Dr. Thiel that he had a better understanding of these things than LCG, these points of disagreement and the sense that he knew better than LCG may have motivated and caused this dream long before Dr. Thiel was ready to face, while awake, the possibility of leaving LCG over these disagreements. So his dream could easily be explained by natural causes. If he disagreed with LCG about anything when he had this dream, or if he felt he had a better grasp of prophecy and doctrine than LCG, then the seeds for this dream were there in his mind. It does not require any supernatural cause.

In the case of Loma Armstrong's dream, this was not the case. According to Mr. Armstrong's autobiography, Mrs. Armstrong had a dream that an angel appeared to her and said that Christ had important work for Mr. Armstrong to do. It was an unusually vivid dream. This dream occurred in Chicago (where the Armstrongs were living at the time), and this occurred long before either Mr. or Mrs. Armstrong learned the truth. Mr. Armstrong was working in advertising at the time. There was not a hint of information available to Mrs. Armstrong that would have suggested to her the possibility that her husband might become a minister. In retrospect, after Christ did begin to use Mr. Armstrong to do important work, it became clear that this dream probably was from God. It cannot be easily explained by natural causes. Mr. Armstrong was not religious and Mrs. Armstrong did not even know about the Sabbath at that time.

But I will raise the question, what if Bob Thiel does receive a dream from a supernatural source, one that cannot be explained by natural causes? What if he has a dream that an earthquake will occur in a certain place at a certain time, and he is told in the dream to use his blog to warn the Church? And what if he does post a message in his blog stating that he had a dream that there would be an earthquake, stating a specific date and time in the future, maybe to the very day, hour, and minute, and then stating a specific location by degrees and minutes of longitude and latitude, even specifying the exact strength of the earthquake on the Richter scale, and then a few days or a few weeks later it happened EXACTLY AS HE PREDICTED! Would that make him a true prophet or prove that he is a true prophet of God?


I believe it would clearly put him in the category of Deuteronomy 13:1-4: "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods'-which you have not known-'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him."

Notice we are to obey God's voice.

How would Dr. Thiel fall into the above category? He does not obey the instruction to give no heed to prophecies from pagan or non-biblical sources that do not follow the Bible. In teaching and spreading prophecies from non-biblical sources, as he does in his books and his blog, I believe he is violating the clear intent of God's voice in these scriptures: "Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:31). "When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you" (Deuteronomy 18:9-14).

"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods'-which you have not known-'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). "And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people" (Leviticus 20:6). In other words, do not give regard to "prophecies" or messages from the spirit world given by those who do not teach the truth. Do not regard spirit-inspired messages, possibly Satan or demon inspired, from a Satan-deceived world. Don't look to these pagan prophecies, publish them, spread them, in order to know or teach details of the future that God does not reveal in the Bible. That is not for God's people, as God says, "the Lord your God has not appointed such for you" (Deuteronomy 18:9-14).

When we seek out, publish, and try to learn from so-called "prophets" of this deceived world, who themselves receive messages from the occult, from mediums, etc., it is the same as if we tried to make contact with Satan and the demons themselves, for they are the source of the prophetic messages they inspire.

If Dr. Thiel has a dream which he regards as inspired from a spirit source, I hope for his sake that he is wrong, that it is just the natural workings of the human mind, not supernaturally inspired at all. For how can God use Dr. Thiel as a true prophet as long as he teaches and spreads pagan prophecies contrary to scripture?

After Dr. Thiel left LCG, I published a series of posts showing why we should not give heed to this world's non-biblical prophecies. Here is a link to one post, and in that post are additional links to posts that go into more detail about this:

If Bob Thiel stops using pagan prophecies in his publications, I do not rule out the possibility that God could use him as a prophet in the future. It seems unlikely to me, but I can't rule it out. But I believe there is NO chance God will use Dr. Thiel as a true prophet while he continues to publish books filled with pagan prophecies and publishes blog posts with pagan prophecies. Rather, if he continues on the path he is on, I think there is a danger God may allow Satan to use him as a false prophet.

Friday, November 1, 2013

David's Prayers for Vengeance

Christ teaches us to love our enemies and to forgive them.  This is the teaching of the New Testament.

"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).  "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matthew 6:14).  "Then Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do' " (Luke 23:34). 

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (Romans 12:14).  "But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?  Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?  Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh" (James 3:8-12). 

"He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 John 4:8).  "God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16).  "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8).  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).  "And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'  Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not charge them with this sin.'  And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:59-60).

Yet many of the Psalms of David and other Psalm writers pray for God's vengeance against the wicked.

Here are some examples:

"For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; Their inward part is destruction; Their throat is an open tomb; They flatter with their tongue.  Pronounce them guilty, O God! Let them fall by their own counsels; Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
For they have rebelled against You" (Psalm 5:9-10).  "Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor Who seek after my life; Let those be turned back and brought to confusion Who plot my hurt.  Let them be like chaff before the wind, And let the angel of the Lord chase them.  Let their way be dark and slippery, And let the angel of the Lord pursue them.  For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, Which they have dug without cause for my life.  Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly, And let his net that he has hidden catch himself; Into that very destruction let him fall" (Psalm 35:4-8). 

"Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion Who rejoice at my hurt; Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor Who exalt themselves against me" (Psalm 35:26).  "Let death seize them; Let them go down alive into hell, For wickedness is in their dwellings and among them" (Psalm 55:15).  "Let their table become a snare before them, And their well-being a trap.  Let their eyes be darkened, so that they do not see; And make their loins shake continually.  Pour out Your indignation upon them, And let Your wrathful anger take hold of them.  Let their dwelling place be desolate; Let no one live in their tents.  For they persecute the ones You have struck, And talk of the grief of those You have wounded.  Add iniquity to their iniquity, And let them not come into Your righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous" (Psalm 69:22-28). 

"Set a wicked man over him, And let an accuser stand at his right hand.  When he is judged, let him be found guilty, And let his prayer become sin.  Let his days be few, And let another take his office.  Let his children be fatherless, And his wife a widow.  Let his children continually be vagabonds, and beg; Let them seek their bread also from their desolate places.  Let the creditor seize all that he has, And let strangers plunder his labor.  Let there be none to extend mercy to him, Nor let there be any to favor his fatherless children.  Let his posterity be cut off, And in the generation following let their name be blotted out.  Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord, And let not the sin of his mother be blotted out.  Let them be continually before the Lord, That He may cut off the memory of them from the earth; Because he did not remember to show mercy, But persecuted the poor and needy man, That he might even slay the broken in heart.  As he loved cursing, so let it come to him; As he did not delight in blessing, so let it be far from him.  As he clothed himself with cursing as with his garment, So let it enter his body like water, And like oil into his bones.  Let it be to him like the garment which covers him, And for a belt with which he girds himself continually.  Let this be the Lord’s reward to my accusers, And to those who speak evil against my person" (Psalm 109:6-20). 

"By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion.  We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it.  For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion!'...Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, 'Raze it, raze it, To its very foundation!' O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed, Happy the one who repays you as you have served us!  Happy the one who takes and dashes Your little ones against the rock!" (Psalm 137:1-3, 7-9). 

"Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?  And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?  I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies" (Psalm 139:21-22).

Also see Psalms 28:4-5, 40:14-15, 58:6-8, 59:5, 12-13, 70:2-3, 71:12-13, 83:9-18, 101:3-8, 104:35, 140:9-11, 141:10, 143:12, 149:5-9.

We know that the Old Testament is as much God's word as the New Testament.  Christ, in referring to an Old Testament scripture, said scripture cannot be broken (John 10:34-35).  Paul wrote, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16).

How can we reconcile the harshness of some of the Psalms with the mercy taught in the New Testament?

Both are true and right teachings, and both reflect the mind of God.  David is called a man after God's heart (1 Samuel 13:13-14, Acts 13:22).

David's prayers for vengeance against the wicked are a true reflection of God's thinking toward sinners who never repent and towards sin itself. 

People in the world, in mainstream religion, and some in the Church, say that God hates sin but loves the sinner.  This is true, as long as there is the possibility that the sinner will repent.  God loves the sinner in the sense that He desires that he repents (Ezekiel 33:11, 2 Peter 3:9).

BUT, if the sinner permanently chooses the way of Satan, the way of sin, if he refuses to repent, then the severe nature of God applies to that person (God has a severe side - see Romans 11:22), and God will hate the sinner who refuses to put away his sin with a permanent hatred, and God will, in wrath and fury, destroy the sinner in the lake of fire forever.

God is both loving and vengeful.  His love is towards those who will repent and choose His way of life.  His vengeance is towards those who refuse to repent.

Vengeance is not, in principle, always wrong, but it is wrong for man to take vengeance because it does not belong to us.  "For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The Lord will judge His people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:30-31).  See also Deuteronomy 32:35, Psalm 94:1, Romans 12:18-21, 1 Thessalonians 4:6.  Vengeance is the result of God's judgment against sinners, and only God has the right to exercise that kind of judgment.

God teaches us lessons in the Bible in a certain logical order.  The lessons of the Old Testament come first and prepare us to understand the New Testament.

In Worldwide, when Mr. Tkach began to change doctrine to become more like mainstream Protestant doctrine, they used to say that the Old Testament can only be understood in light of the New Testament, implying we should study the New Testament first to prepare us to understand the Old Testament.  But that is backwards.  God inspired the Old Testament to be written first, then the New Testament.  Studying the Old Testament first prepares us and helps us to understand the New Testament.  That is the order in which God revealed His truth.  The New Testament was written in the context of the knowledge of the Old Testament, and it can only be rightly understood in the context of what we have learned in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament teaches God's wrath and punishment for sin, and it also teaches God's mercy.  The New Testament also teaches both God's wrath and God's mercy.  Yet the emphasis is different between the two halves of the Bible.  In the Old Testament, God teaches His wrath, vengeance, and punishment against the wicked with greater emphasis, while the New Testament places greater emphasis on God's merciful side.  This is fitting, because the sacrifice of Christ is only fully revealed in the New Testament, and it is through that sacrifice that God's mercy and love is most fully expressed.  "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).

David had God's Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:11).  David was therefore living under the terms of the new covenant as well as the old.  He understood what he needed to know about the sacrifice of Christ and the resurrection to eternal life.  He understood God's mercy.  Yet God inspired David to write many of the Psalms emphasizing God's wrath towards sin and toward sinners because it was God's time to place emphasis on that aspect of God's judgment and thinking.

God hates sin.  And God also, in a sense, hates sinners who do not repent.  He hates them enough to inflict a torturous death upon them and destroy them forever.  This aspect of God's thinking is what the Psalms teach.

God loves sinners in the sense that He desires them to repent.  "Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?' " (Ezekiel 33:11).  "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).  But once that option is rejected permanently, when a sinner has the option to repent but finally, in the end, rejects that opportunity to repent and turn from sin, then God's hatred is not just towards the sin but towards the sinner who refuses to part with his sin.  The sinner and the sin become one in God's sight, and He hates them, both.  Either that, or I don't know what the word "hate" means.

Yet, even as God shows His wrath towards the sin and the sinner He hates by casting them into the lake of fire, His wrath is tempered by mercy in that the sinner's torment does not continue forever but ends as the sinner is destroyed and ceases to exist forever.

What about the sinner who still has time to repent in the future, but has not done so yet?  This, in principle, applies to the majority of the world which has not been called to salvation yet.

God's wrath, His vengeance, hangs over their heads.  They are still in their sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).  They are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).  They have not yet passed from death to life (John 5:24, 1 John 3:14).

God's will is that they repent, and in that sense, God loves them, conditional on that future repentance.  But until they actually repent, God's wrath hangs over their heads, proportional to their sin, the greater the sin, the greater God's wrath that hangs over them.  God may from time to time show mercy by answering prayers of the sinner, to show His mercy, to teach lessons, to encourage the future repentance He desires.  But God's love and mercy are not fully given till actual repentance occurs.

And because God is a true witness, He sometimes demonstrates the ultimate consequences of unrepentant sin by punishing the wicked very harshly in this life.  When He does that, He is giving them a taste, enough to let them know that they are in trouble if they keep going the way they do.

The prayers for vengeance against the wicked in the Psalms are a true reflection of the mind of God towards sinners who do not repent.

God's mercy is towards those who repent and turn from their sin and learn to believe and obey God as a way of life.