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 the truth, and the life

 

 

IS THE JUDGEMENT OF SOCIETY NIGH?

 

 

 

When talking with people about spiritual issues, you notice that they have all kinds of excuses they use to justify not turning to God such as: is the Bible really the word of God, does God really exist, hasn't the theory of evolution proven that Creation is impossible and is Jesus really the only way to get to God? They have these excuses that allow them to quickly reject God and avoid giving their lives to Him.

   This writing is about the destiny of society. Just as we can reject eternal life and consider it cheap, so can we be careless about this subject. We fail to note, however, that things can take a turn for the worse and God can withdraw His blessing and protection from our society. The further evil and sins proceed among people, the more likely this is. At some point, we may reach a point where God loses patience and society will be faced with judgement as in the days of Noah and Lot. The Western world may already be close to this point.

 

"Nicky, Dave said that God does have the right to pose the same question to our current society. What are the differences between the West and the corrupt Sodom? Are we better than the generation of Noah? Or the people of Lot's times? Are we better than the corrupt inhabitants of Ammon? Are we somehow more worthy than Niniva that was destroyed by God? Based on the evidence from the past, why should God save us since we are doing seven times more evil things than the corrupt people of the past?" (1)

LESSONS FROM HISTORY

 

History has repeatedly shown the same thing: people don’t learn from mankind’s history or their experiences. They always repeat the same mistakes. Even though terrible things happened in the past, people don’t change their ways. They chose the wrong thing, again and again. They repeat their mistakes everywhere: finances, morality, leadership... People are more likely to make bad choices if the only example we have is from the distant past -- decades ago -- or before we were born. Those people who have learned lessons from their own difficult experiences tend to be more cautious and understand that bad times may come again.

   Another thing many people ignore is the history recorded in the Bible. The Bible tells us about many people whose sin and evil met God’s limit and they had to face the wrath of God. These people included the Canaanites, Babylonians, Sodomites and Gomorrans (the latter two were residents of Sodom and Gomorrah. These cities are mentioned in the Ebla clay tablets found at Ebla; they were real places). The people living during Noah’s time, and the tribes of Judea and Israel all faced God’s judgement. The Bible tells us about them so we won’t make the same mistakes; we are supposed to learn from history. They are warnings given to us but we often ignore them. We refuse to believe that God will discipline our generation the same way as He disciplined others.

 

- (Jer 7:12) But go you now to my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.

 

- (1 Cor 10:9-11) Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

10 Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

11 Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come.

 

- (2 Peter 2:6) And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample to those that after should live ungodly;

 

IS GOD ONLY LOVE?

 

Nowadays, people often talk about God's love and not about His sanctity. They say that God loves everyone and does not condemn unrepentant sinners or corrupt societies. In this doctrine, God’s only characteristic is love; that He is our judge is not accepted. The act of judgement is considered incompatible with God’s good nature.

   However, there are two sides to God’s goodness. In addition to being love and loving people (1 John 4:9,10, John 3:16, Tit 3:4, Rom 5:8-10), He is a completely good and holy God. He is so good that He must hate evil. If he were to accept evil and let bad things be, how could He be good? Many people think about God in this way; however, if an entity does not react to evil in any way, this entity cannot be good. It is impossible.

   This is the most important reason for judgement; it’s why the Canaanites who sacrificed their children in fires, and other societies mentioned in the Bible, were destroyed. This happened because the debt of sin of these people reached God’s limit, and their evilness became too great. (Gen 15:16: But in the fourth generation they shall come here again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. / Gen 19:15: And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened to Lot, saying, Arise, take your wife, and your two daughters, which are here; lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city.). Theologian and teacher David Pawson has explained the way God works:

 

Why does God hate? Why does He kill? Why does He curse? Because He is so good! This does not make any sense to us because we cannot experience perfect goodness and thus cannot even fathom it. But God is so good that He must hate evil. He is so good that he must condemn anyone who is not good. He is so good that He must destroy evil people. In fact, this is the explanation for many of the events described in the Bible. (...)

   So, here we have the Bible's idea of a righteous God who always acts in a righteous manner when dealing with us. This is why He must – due to his righteous nature – always punish evil. He would be less than good, less than righteous if He were to disregard evil and never punish evil people. He must do it. He is so good that He does not let anyone get away with something evil without punishment. I consider this good news. It means that we are living in a moral universe; it means that nobody will get off lightly. (2)

 

A quote from historian Josephus touches on the same subject. Josephus wrote that it was no coincidence that Jerusalem, its temple and Israel were destroyed in 70 AD. The generation of that time was more atheistic than any previous generation. The destruction took place on the same day on which the temple of Jerusalem had been destroyed centuries before:

 

It was destiny that ordered devastation like this. Inevitably it came, both for the living and the lifeless, also places. However, one cannot help but to wonder the accuracy of data, how it has been proportioned: the destruction took place on the same day of the same month (…) as the Babylonians earlier burnt the holy room. (3)

 

I presume that if the Roman attack against these rascals had been delayed, the earth would have opened and swallowed this city, or a drowning flood would have come, or it would have been destroyed by the fire and burning sulphur of a thunderstorm as the country of Sodom was destroyed. This generation was much more atheistic than those who were destroyed before in the punishment of Sodom; and then, the whole nation was also destroyed for the sake of their absurdity. (4)

 

TWO ISSUES TO BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT

 

When we are considering the damaging things and judgement, we must understand two important things. These are:

 

  • God does not want to judge us; He wants to change people.
  • Accidents and natural disasters are not always the result of sin.

 

God does not want to judge us; He wants to change people. We must understand that God does not want anything bad to happen to any society. This is a misconception. He may judge a society because of what the society has done but He actually wants every person in each society to turn to Him so that judgement can be avoided altogether. This is proven by several verses in the Bible:

 

- (Ezek 18:23,32) Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? said the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, said the Lord GOD: why turn yourselves, and live you.

 

- (Ezek 33:11) Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

 

- (2 Peter 3:9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 

A good example of this is the attitude of Jesus. Since He is the Son of God and a perfect image of God (John 14:9: Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father?), He did not want Jerusalem to be destroyed; He cried for the city. This proves that God wants people to be saved, to turn to Him and change. This is always what God wants:

 

- (Matt 23:37-39) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!

38 Behold, your house is left to you desolate.

39 For I say to you, You shall not see me from now on, till you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

 

- (Luke 19:41-44) And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42 Saying, If you had known, even you, at least in this your day, the things which belong to your peace! but now they are hid from your eyes.

43 For the days shall come on you, that your enemies shall cast a trench about you, and compass you round, and keep you in on every side,

44 And shall lay you even with the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone on another; because you knew not the time of your visitation.

 

Accidents and disasters are not always connected to sin. Another misconception is that if a society or a person experiences something bad, it is always because the person or society is worse than others. The destruction of Jerusalem was naturally foreseen, but Jesus denied the concept that everything that happens to us is in connection to sin. This does not have to be the case. Instead, he directed our attention to the fact that everyone must repent or they will drown. Paul later discussed the same subject:

 

- (Luke 13:1-5) There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.

2 And Jesus answering said to them, Suppose you that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?

3 I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.

4 Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think you that they were sinners above all men that dwelled in Jerusalem?

5 I tell you, No: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish.

 

- (Acts 17:22-30) Then Paul stood in the middle of Mars' hill, and said, You men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious.

23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him declare I to you.

24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells not in temples made with hands;

25 Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he gives to all life, and breath, and all things;

26 And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

29 For as much then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone, graven by are and man's device.

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent:

 

David Pawson teaches about the same thing when talking about the tsunami that occurred a couple of years ago on Boxing Day. He warns us from deducing that all disasters are clearly directed at someone. This may sometimes be the case, but it is not a general rule:

 

Let us return to the question of natural disasters. We can view them from a biblical viewpoint. First of all, I don't think that the tsunami was directed to anyone in particular. I mean that I do not believe that God selected a specific location or time for the tsunami and the ensuing earthquake. I have heard that some people believe so. I have heard someone say that the place was especially selected. I heard a Muslim mullah say that Allah directed the tsunami against the prostitution taking place in the mostly Buddhist Thailand. He conveniently disregarded the fact that the country that took the most damage due to the tsunami, Sumatra, is a Muslim country. I also heard a Christian preacher say that the tsunami was directed towards Sumatra because Christians have suffered so much in Indonesia and Sumatra is part of Indonesia. He conveniently disregarded the fact that the tsunami caused the most devastation in India in the province of Tamil Nadu that is the most Christian part of India. 13% of the people in Tamil Nadu are Christians, and many Christians in Sri Lanka live near the coastline. This is why I don't believe that we could say that God directed the tsunami against a particular group of people. Neither do I believe that the time was carefully selected. The disaster took place on Boxing Day, a Christian holiday, and during a full moon, which is naturally connected to Islam, but I don't believe that the tsunami was directed to a particular time or place. (5)

 

HOW CAN WE KNOW THAT JUDGEMENT IS NEAR?

 

- (Pro 14:34) Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

 

Since past societies have been destroyed or been faced with judgement because of their sins, the question is, what kind of conditions were present before the judgment? Next, we will study some characteristics common to all those societies mentioned earlier. We will see that modern Western countries share many of these characteristics.

 

Wealth

 

- (Ezek 16:49,50) Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

 

Before its judgement, Sodom was wealthy. A major act of judgement is usually preceded by a wave of wealth; this was the case in Sodom. It seemed that good times were endless; there was plenty of safety, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness. These blessings are not wrong as such, but people started to take them for granted, which caused them to drift farther away from God and pay more attention to their wealth and wellbeing. 

   We can see that the same thing happened again and again throughout the history of the Israelites as told in the Old Testament. God blessed His people and gave them wealth. They became rich and prosperous but then they forgot about their Lord, the source of their blessings. They took Godthe source of their wealth -- lightly. We read about the situation in Deuteronomy:

 

- (Deut 32:15) But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: you are waxen fat, you are grown thick, you are covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

 

One way God reveals His blessings is through revivals. God does not want anyone to drown; that is why He draws people to Himself more strongly than ever before and after a period of judgement (or bad times). This is what happened around a hundred years ago, right before thefirst world war: the Welsh Revival, the Pentecostal Movement and other revivals sprang up around the world. Other revivals took place before the American Revolutionary War and the American Civil War.

 

(...) We did not want to return to America so soon, but we had to leave because of our safety. Besides, the striving of all nations was only aimed at filling the hearts of people with hate and homicidal ideas. There seemed to be no room for the spirit of the Gospel. The Sermon on the Mount has nothing in common with the principles of the "God of War". During times of war, people are expected to do everything in their might to hate, curse and kill their enemies instead of loving them. Some may do this if they see fit, but for me the Gospel remains the same – whether it is war or peace: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."

   (...) "Seven years of great plenty" in the beginning of Pentecost and "seven lean years" at the doorstep of the World War. This is how we first prophesied. We also saw that many churches would follow this. The religious situation became harsher. What next? Luther, in his time, expected for the "end of the world". (6)

 

The United States [of America] has experienced many movements of God but two of them have been so powerful and far-reaching that the word revival does not suffice. These were so exceptional in terms of their social and spiritual impact that historians have called them great revivals. During these amazing outbursts of God's grace, it seemed like the whole nation would awake from its spiritual dream to see the bright reality of the kingdom of God. Almost everybody converted in some towns and villages, and whole regions were drawn into the truth of the Gospel. Major changes took place in the society and morality increased – not because of changes of law but because of changes of heart.

   The first of these great revivals preceded the Revolutionary War and the second the American Civil War. Both revivals and both wars caused major changes in the spiritual and social weave of America. (7)

 

Continuous corruption shows that judgement is near. Continuous corruption means that people go ever deeper into sin and godlessness, and there is more violence (Gen 6:11). Children engage in worse acts than their fathers, just as happened in ancient Israel and Judea. The situation was good at first there: the people were moral. However, as years passed people became ever more corrupt. Finally, this destroyed Israel:

 

- (Jer 16:12,13) And you have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, you walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not listen to me:

13 Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that you know not, neither you nor your fathers; and there shall you serve other gods day and night; where I will not show you favor.

 

What about our modern society and its development? We can see characteristics similar to the society of ancient Israel. Our previous generations honoured Christian values and were closer to God. They did not have computers, cars or material goods to the extent that we have now; neither did they have the kind of immorality we have today. One need only watch some shows on the television to see examples of that immorality.

   An old lady now deceased described what life was like a couple of decades ago. She compared material poverty and the moral status then and now:

 

Watching things when knowing this all, one must wonder why the young people today are not grateful and happy. They have food, they have everything. The young people today have had it too well. They don't understand what life was like back then and how much we had to work to get everything we now have. I'm not saying this because I only worry about the past or because I'm bitter. I have never been bitter in my life.

   But I have to ask: why are people not grateful now? They have food, warm food at school, everything. But they are fussy about food: "I don't want to eat this or that!" Back then, I would have been grateful if I had even bread every day; that was not always the case. That was what life was like back then. This is why the modern generation should know what was the starting point when Finland became independent. It was not easy; by no means.

   (...) Somehow all the people in Finland were closer to God then because the difficult times caused people to turn to God. Nobody made fun of other people's clothes at school, even though sometimes boys came to school wearing women's shoes. Many boys did not have men's shoes: they wore what they could get their hands on, and the same applied to clothes. Many boys had a flowing women's coat. Everybody could see that the coat had been made for a woman but nobody jeered at the boy because of it. We were happy as long as we had something to wear.

   (...) There was plenty of restlessness in the world back then, too. But it was not unrest like fearing about war, not yet. I understood that humanity had somehow drifted away from God. People did talk in a civilised manner and had high morals. Drinking or swearing in public was very uncommon then. If there was a party or a gathering, people never cursed or came to the party drunk. People considered such behaviour substandard. Booze and swearing were left out at the times when Finland became independent because people were closer to God, thanks to the times of revivals. This influence lasted until the 30's or even the 40's. People did not talk dirty or rude in public. Everybody was very well-behaved, and polite towards women. Violence was very rare, too. The entire village disapproved if someone hit a woman.

   Violence started to increase later on. I understood completely why. When people started to turn away from God, the world started to take the young people in. The devil started to introduce his teachings. People talked dirty, which was unheard of. It still feels bad for me when I hear people in public or in the TV or radio cursing...

   A responsible person who has experienced these two eras had to be worried about what was to come. Praise the great Lord that He has not allowed the Word to be lost among us altogether! People started to destroy, and later on even question the existence of God! It was a horrible thing to hear for a person whose life God had guided all the way, to whom God was always talking, always explaining things, and who clearly saw that God exists. Is this how far Finns have come from God? What will happen to the nation if it rejects God this way? (8)

 

TV is one piece of evidence that proves our society has changed. TV has been a common media for more than forty years, and steady increase in immorality can be seen across its history. The people who make TV shows and the people who own TV channels are like Manasseh who fooled his people into sin and decadence resulting in the destruction of the nation (2 Chron. 33:9,10: So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. And the LORD spoke to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not listen.). It is unlikely that somebody is trying to do this now, but TV programs do show us where we are headed. People brag about sin in our society like the ancient Sodomites and Isralelites did: "The show of their countenance does witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe to their soul! for they have rewarded evil to themselves.” (Isaiah 3:9). If we use this as a benchmark, we have already reached the same situation as the ancient societies.

   The next quote is about the change that one can see in TV programming. The writer is considering a period of only ten years, but looking at even this short period of time will show us what has happened. A TV critic describes his observations:

 

It's time to stop the bar

 

Do you remember the first season of the veteran reality show Survivor in Finland in 2001? The nation was outraged by the immorality of the show: the competitors plotted, lied and stabbed each other in the back. The only thing people say about Survivor now is that it is one of the best reality shows ever. Nobody is shocked by the show anymore.

   This is a little like a force of nature, such as gravity. Once we have lowered the bar, it slowly continues its descent on its own. It would have been unheard of in 2001 for a pretty lady to be on TV almost topless, trying to get horny men to send text messages to a paid service. Such an idea would have been completely rejected then. Now it is quite normal.

   Please insert the worst reality shows you can remember here – the ones where people eat worms or the ones where stupid single people frolic around on an island. If you were outraged by all such shows, you would not have time for anything else.

   The lowering bar disrupts other natural laws, too: first of all, it will not stop even when it reaches the ground level; it will continue to sink even further. Secondly, it will never stop its descent. Now they are showing a show about horoscopes called Astro-tv in the Finnish TV; next, we will have a show about horoscopes with a hostess in bikini. And then she will take the bikini off.

   I might be wrong, too, and the bar might start to rise again. I surely hope that I am. (9)

 

One can see this same sinking morality and rise of sin in the advertisements of a couple of Finnish TV stations that are promoting their new shows. In these ads we find people doing the same thing as those residents of Sodom and ancient Israel: bragging about sin. You could not see this in TV show ads in Finland a couple of decades ago. Shows are advertised by saying something like:

 

- “Indecent, brave, dissolute…”

 

- ”Morals are loose on the weekends but on Mondays they are lost.”

 

Good and bad all muddled up

 

- (Isaiah 5:20) Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

 

One of the characteristics of ancient Israel before its judgement was that people claimed that good was evil and evil good. They rejected the things they used to consider right and started to favour the wrong things. People who preached this new type of morality were valued and even called heroes.

   What about the situation today? It’s probably not much different from that in ancient Israel. People have continued to accept more and more things that previous generations considered wrong, such as abortion (You shall not kill), free sexual relationships (You shall not commit adultery), or homosexual behaviour [See Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; 1 Cor 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10]. These have become acceptable and valued during the period of one generation; before now, people thought they were wrong. People have justified them by standing on human rights and equality, instead of accepting that such behaviour is lustful and sinful; this behaviour should be rejected.

   It is easy to see how this change in thinking occurred. Basically, it happened when people no longer believed that God is the source of morality. If people are descended from apes, like Darwin's theory states, then it is natural for them to have a variety of opinions. All views seem equal because there is no fixed point by which one can set one's moral compass.

   This is also shown in a prophecy given to the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth (1829–1912). He received this prophecy near the end of his life. The first part of the prophecy is about a new generation of political leaders ruling Europe – a generation that has no fear whatsoever of God. This is one reason why the change in morals has taken place, and why people now say that things they once considered wrong are good instead.

 

   1. "At that time politics is without God. (...) There will be a day when the official state politics of the entire West is of the kind that nobody in a leading position fears God (...) the new generation of political leaders will rule Europe; a generation that does not fear God in the least;

 

Attitude towards strangers

 

- (Ezek 22:7,29-31) In you have they set light by father and mother: in the middle of you have they dealt by oppression with the stranger: in you have they vexed the fatherless and the widow.

29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yes, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.

30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

31 Therefore have I poured out my indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed on their heads, said the Lord GOD.

 

- (Ezek 16:49,50) Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

 

Attitude towards strangers, people from other countries and refugees, is one factor that can influence the fate of society, like in ancient Israel. This does not mean that we should give refugees everything on a silver platter: expensive homes, money to live with and everything ready – this could easily cause people who are out of a job or otherwise disadvantaged to feel envious. However, one cause of godly judgement may be negligence or downright violence. If society treats refugees poorly and starts to hate them, its debt of sin is close to God’s limit. A prophecy from the 1960s describes this. It tells also about TV shows and their quality standards:

 

People will accept what they see and they will not have only one alternative to watch on TV; instead, they will have plenty to watch. The TV will work just as the radio. We will be able to switch from one show to another, and all of them will be full of violence. People will consider this entertaining. The worst imaginable murders and scenes of violence will be staged for people to see, and such behaviour will spread through society. Sexual intercourse will be shown on TV. The most intimate of things that should only be part of a marriage, will be shown onscreen. This will happen and you will see it taking place. The laws we now have will be broken and amazingly lecherous things will be shown to us.

   People from poor countries will flood to Europe. They will also arrive in Scandinavia and Norway. People will not like the refugees being here, and they will be harsh towards them. They will treat them more and more like Jews before the war. This is when the debt of sin will be filled. This will happen right before Jesus Christ returns – and before WWIII. It will be a short war. Everything I have experienced about war will be like child's play compared to this. It will start like a regular war but it will spread and end with atomic bombs. The air will be so polluted that people will not be able to breathe, and this will happen on several continents. America, Japan, Australia – the rich countries. Water will be polluted. We will not be able to cultivate the land in these places. The people still left in the rich countries will try to escape to the poorer ones that are undamaged. They will be treated there like we treat them here, and they will not be willing to accept us. (10)

 

Critical attitude towards the Gospel. One piece of evidence showing that judgement is near is the fact that people's attitude towards the Gospel and Jesus Christ is critical. This is what happened before the destruction of Jerusalem and Israel: the people rejected their Messiah. God offered them eternal life and blessings but they rejected these and objected to them until God lost patience. Paul wrote about his people:

 

- (1 Thess 2:15,16) Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath is come on them to the uttermost.

 

What about the situation today? There may not always be outright opposition like in the days of Paul but people in the West are rarely positive towards the Gospel. They are open towards all other philosophies but not towards the Gospel about Christ. They speak of being tolerant and objective but many societies in practice reject the idea that God is the Creator and Jesus is the only Saviour.

   A couple of examples of this negative attitude are atheists and secular humanists. They try to exclude the Bible, prayer and Creation from the curricula of schools. They say that the situation would become neutral if religion were abolished from schools and society, but they are wrong. They have not removed religion: instead, they have replaced it with another one. They have replaced it with a humanistic religion that is opposed to God and based on Darwin's theory of evolution. They are open towards such teachings and the morals they have chosen but they reject the Christian view of life even though the previous generations based their thinking on this view.

 

The group called "Tolerance" was established. They demanded tolerance towards all religious ways, beliefs and practices. They said that we must stop being intolerant in our society. They had a brochure explaining their views; it was interesting that the brochure listed all the things they were against. Most of the things towards which they were intolerant were about Christianity. They actually meant that we should be tolerant towards everything but Christianity!

   (...) The true battle is about the fact that people do not want to accept the Christian faith. They do not want to accept that there is a God to whom they are accountable. This is perhaps the reason why one Evolutionist lecturer stated: "You will never be able to convince to me that evolution is a religion". In other words, he would refuse to believe that it is a religion no matter what kind of proof we were to show him. He refused to accept the fact that his view of the world is based on a religion because that would mean admitting that it is all about blind faith. And then he would not be able to say that his religion is the right religion. (11)

 

GETTING READY FOR THE FUTURE

 

Reading in the Bible about Joseph, we see that he was able to explain the pharaoh's dreams. Bad times were coming, and the pharaoh's dreams were God’s warning. Because Joseph was able to explain the dreams – another gift from God -- people could get prepared.  Bad times came, but they were not as bad as they could have been because people had time to prepare. Major problems did not occur because people were ready for the worst.

 

- (Gen 41:25-31,34-37) And Joseph said to Pharaoh, The dream of Pharaoh is one: God has showed Pharaoh what he is about to do.

26 The seven good cows are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.

27 And the seven thin and ill favored cows that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.

28 This is the thing which I have spoken to Pharaoh: What God is about to do he shows to Pharaoh.

29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:

30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;

31 And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.

34 Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years.

35 And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities.

36 And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.

37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.

 

People nowadays do not think much about the future. They think that everything will continue as it has been and that no bad times will happen. Policy-makers and individuals continuously take on more debt to secure their future instead of trying to get rid of the payments burdening them (Rom 13:8: Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.). People refuse to believe that harder times are ahead for us, even though many have warned them.

   A female prophet, now deceased, wrote about this. She wrote about the bad times that are coming:

 

He said: "Lastly, I will give the Nordic countries the blessing of growth." He announced this famine already in 1974. He said: "First there will be unemployment all through the country and then there will be a global economic recession. Catastrophic global famine will ensue right after these. You will tear the trees out with their roots from the fields that you are now planting; you will be so busy getting to the world to get food because I will give the blessing of growth last to the Nordic countries."

   He did not say what would happen in Central Europe, what would happen because of pollution or what would otherwise happen there but He did say: "In Finland, place three years worth of grain and seed in storage; dry wheat will keep."

   And what do we have in store? I think almost nothing! Here we are: the nation is not obeying Him even though people are saying to them time and time again that the Lord would want to help us to help others! (12)

 

However, even more important than being prepared for this life is being prepared for eternity. The Bible says that we are eternal beings; if this is true, we should take this into account. We should all turn to God before it is too late to be forgiven our sins and get eternal life from God. The following must be taken into account here:

 

The significance of Jesus. The most important message in the Bible is about Jesus Christ. The Bible shows that through Him God has prepared our access to Heaven and to Himself. We do not need to do anything: through Jesus we can all be forgiven our sins and get in connection with our Heavenly Father. This is proven by the following verses. Don't reject Jesus Christ, who is the door to our salvation and eternal life.

 

- (John 10:9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

 

- (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.

 

- (Acts 4:11,12) This is the stone which was set at nothing of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

 

Reject your sins! Rejecting your sins or repenting is connected with salvation. We do not earn eternal life from God through repentance, but if we fail to repent, we have not truly changed. John the Baptist warned his people about their attitude of no real change:

 

- (Matt 3:7-10) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say to you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

10 And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

 

So confess your sins to God and turn to Jesus Christ. The Bible shows that if you turn to Him and welcome Him, you will be given eternal life as a gift. This is proven by the following words of Jesus Christ:

 

- (John 5:40) And you will not come to me, that you might have life.

 

- (Rev 3:20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

 

So, if you have turned to Jesus Christ and received Him in your life, you are a child of God and have eternal life. You have the eternal life regardless of what you feel right now. Do not base your assurance of salvation on your ever-changing emotions, but rest in the word of the Bible and on Jesus Christ, just like the anchor of a ship is never thrown inside the ship but always outside.

 

- (John 1:12)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name

 

 - (1 John 5:11-13) And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.

13 These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.

 

THE PRAYER OF SALVATION: Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn away from my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven through Your atonement and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation that You have given me. Amen.

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

1. Nicky Cruz: David Wilkersonin viimeinen varoitus (David Wilkerson: A Final Warning), p. 46

2. David Pawson: Miksi Jumala sallii luonnonkatastrofeja? (Why Does God Allow Natural Disasters), p. 58,60

3. Josephus Wars of the Jews, 6.4.8.581.

4. Josephus Wars of the Jews, 5.13.6.570.

5. David Pawson: Miksi Jumala sallii luonnonkatastrofeja? (Why Does God Allow Natural Disasters), p. 87,88

6. Frank Bartleman: Azusa-katu 312 (Azusa Street), p. 224,230

7. Rick Joyner: Ennen taivasta (A Prophetic Vision for the 21st Century), p. 297

8. Kerttu Kalmari: Jumalan ihmeitä, p. 12,19,25

9. Marko Ahonen: Huuhaata, Etelä-Suomen Sanomat 14.7.2010

10. A Norwegian Prophecy. Emmanuel Minos has told people about it.

11. Ken Ham: Valhe: Evoluutio (The Lie: Evolution), p. 23,57

12. Kerttu Kalmari: Jumalan ihmeitä, p. 217,218

 

 

 

 

Jari Iivanainen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





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