Tuesday, June 17, 2008

God's Judgment

First, thanks to those who commented on the last post asking for feedback on whether God judges nations and individuals today. I was hoping for more, but apparently I have more readers than I do commenters. That's okay.

The ones who did comment had excellent points, and echo some of my own thinking on this issue. I'll elaborate a bit.

Whenever there is a major calamity in recent years, there are quite a few who immediately attribute the event to a judgment by God on evil of some type. Major earthquakes. Tsunamis. Wildfires. Tornadoes. And yes, floods.

Some in prophecy circles of late have tied various events in the United States to our nation's handling of Israel and the land given them by God. It is indeed interesting to see the number of bad things that happen that seem to hit when we force Israel to do something that will be ultimately harmful to her. The biblical justification for this is God's solemn warning in the Abrahamic Covenant . . . I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you (Genesis 12:3).

I could fill pages with various events that have happened in history since the Resurrection of Christ, and note how various individuals have labeled these events some kind of divine judgment. Some of them might well have been. But a lot of care is needed before we make those kind of pronouncements for certain.

We do know that God does indeed judge nations. Scripture says so. In Old Testament times, these judgments were meted out by God, typically after one of His prophets issued warnings and calls to repentance. In the New Testament era (we're in that now), we don't seem to have these prophetic warnings and specific judgments other than those given in Scripture that apply to the end times. I know my charismatic friends will beg to differ on that, but the test of a prophet in this sense is really strict. Look at the Old Testament's prophetic predictions and you'll see what I mean. When God said he'd bring calamity on a nation or an individual for their specific sins, He did it.

We know that the nations will be judged in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and that's according to my namesake prophet . . . I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land (Joel 3:2)

We know that there will be a final judgment of mankind according to Scripture. Believers will face the judgment seat of Christ, while unbelievers will stand at the Great White Throne judgment. But what about now? Aren't people judged for their sins?

We do see New Testament biblical examples of God's judgment. In my next post, we'll look at some of those.


Cindy Swanson said...

Great comments as always, Joel! I'll have to read the responses you got earlier.

I cracked up at your comment on my blog about the torturous ties. :)

Have a great day!

Strong Tower said...

I guess that all depends on what you mean by judgement?

Hebrews 12 says that God purges, scourges, spanks the devil out of every son. Chastisement happens because of wrong doing. Just what he does is hidden and I think it an error to say just what it is that is the executioner's mark. We frankly have no clue, but we all know ourselves sinners. Judgement must take place for sin and we will all die. Interesting how it works for us, though.

For the world, and this is where Christians need precission in explaining the general revelation as it is associated with the Revealed Truth of Scripture, these judgements are like other things in creation, all meant to draw man's attention to the Glory of God. We shouldn't back off when it is called unloving or uncaring, or whatever. What we need to do is clearly explain that the whole creation is under the condemnation due to sin and that is why these things happen. Then give the Gospel. There too carefully explain that the righteous perish and no one takes it to heart. Explaining just why the Righteous perished for us and how we join in that death would go a long way in presenting the Gospel.