It is a tragic commentary on our times, that so very many Christians do not seem to understand what is currently taking place in our nation. The foundations of the society are being shaken. The institutions that made Western Civilization the envy of the world appear to be broken. Evil seems to be triumphant. The church seems powerless with a “gospel” that has little in common with the one preached by the apostles. Despair over the future of the land seems rampant.
The result is that many Christians are bewildered that this could be happening in the nation. They talk of all the prayers that have been offered up to God for healing and restoration, yet which seem to have returned void. Is God even there?
My goal in writing this short set of comments is to hopefully bring light into the darkness of confusion and provide some Scriptural insight so that we might become like the men of Issachar who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do”. (1 Chron 12:32)
Before proceeding further, we need to state an essential truth. God, the MOST HIGH, is Sovereign over all nations and peoples. It is He who rules the nations. Nations rise and fall at His command. Kings/rulers, rise and fall at His command. That which happens within nations happens at His command.
“It is He who sits above the vaults of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble. ‘To whom then will you liken Me that I should be his equal?’ says the Holy One.” ( Isaiah 40:22-25)
“For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing. But He does according to His will within the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What hast Thou done?’” (Daniel 4:34-35)
“With Him are wisdom and might; to Him belong counsel and understanding. Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt; He imprisons a man, and there can be no release… He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.” ( Job 12: 13-14, 24)
“If a trumpet is blown in a city will not the people tremble? If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it? Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken? Who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3: 6-8)
It is a grievous thing hearing so many Christians blaming the woes of this nation on the devil, as if God was some sort of sleeping giant, unaware of what Satan is doing and/or worse, powerless to stop him. Especially sad is it to have to witness those claiming to be spokesmen for God, “calling down the spirit of Elijah”, as if they are going to band the church together to banish the calamities of this nation, with fiery judgment descending upon all the doers of iniquity.
It is no wonder that the church of today has become a laughingstock in the eyes of the world. The handwriting of God is written clearly on the wall of our crumbling society, and like in Babylon of old, only Daniel, the man who walked with His God, was able to interpret its meaning.
One must understand, any attempt to fight against God, is doomed to failure. “Consider the work of God, for who is able to straighten what He has bent?” (Eccl 7: 13)
The Scriptures are given to us to provide insight into the Providence of God so that we do not remain in darkness/ignorance like the rest of the world. We are sons of light and sons of day, so says the Apostle Paul, ( 1 These 5:5) and as such, should not be ignorant of what our heavenly Father is doing or of the manner in which He manifests His displeasure at sin.
Far too many somehow think that when God manifests His wrath against all unrighteousness, it must come in the form of fire from heaven, raining down terror and destruction upon His enemies much like He did with Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim. Thus, when His hand is lifted up against a people, they fail to see it.
Having laid this foundation, let us now proceed to the signs of a nation or peoples undergoing the wrath of God.
I list them here as a short summary.
1.) Widespread Sexual Depravity
2.) Approval of Sexual Depravity; Reprobation
3.) Division – Schism
4.) Capricious Rulers – lack of true Statesmen
5.) Lies and not truth abound in the land – Jer 9:3
I do not plan on exhausting these specific points as that will be left to future exposition. Suffice it to say, that a brief explanation of each of them should be sufficient to give those who seek to know the truth a foundation upon which to further build.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness… “ (Romans 1:18).
The apostle Paul tells us that God does indeed reveal his wrath against sin. Now, if we were to stop here many would think in terms of the fiery destruction of Sodom. But Paul does not go down that road; instead what he says next is instructional.
Notice that God does REVEAL HIS WRATH against sin. For those who believe in a God only of love, goodness and mercy, that will come as a shock. This is God’s world; He made it and He governs it. He made the moral laws that He expects His creatures to obey. He has also attached penalties to the breach of those laws. Why is it that men seem to have no issue with society enforcing laws to make civilized life possible and attaching penalties to the breach of those laws yet at the same time, howl in protest at the very thought of the Creator enforcing penalties to violations of His laws?
Having established that God reveals or makes manifest or clear, His wrath against sin, Paul goes on to tell us one of the ways in which He does this.
“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God GAVE THEM OVER in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also, the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons, the due penalty of their error. ( Romans 1: 21-27)
“That is why God let go of them and let them do all these evil things, so that even their women turned against God’s natural plan for them and indulged in sex sin with each other. And the men, instead of having a normal sex relationship with women, burned with lust for each other, men doing shameful things with other men and, as a result, getting paid within their own souls with the penalty they so richly deserved.” ( Romans 1: 26-27 Living Bible).
“They knew all the time that there is a God, yet they refused to acknowledge Him as such, or to thank Him for what He is or does, Thus they became fatuous in their argumentations, and plunged their silly minds still further into the dark. Behind a façade of “wisdom” they became just fools, fools who would
exchange the glory of the immortal God for an image of a mortal man, or of creatures that run or fly or crawl. They gave up God: and therefore God gave them up – to be playthings of their own foul desires in dishonoring their own bodies. These men deliberately forfeited the truth of God and accepted a lie, paying homage and giving service to the creature instead of to the Creator, who alone is worthy to be worshipped for ever and ever, amen. God therefore handed them over to disgraceful passions. Their women exchanged the normal practices of sexual intercourse for something which is abnormal and unnatural. Similarly the men, turning from natural intercourse with women, were swept into lustful passions for one another. Men with men performed these shameful horrors, receiving in their own personalities the consequences of their perversity.” ( Romans 1: 21-27 J B Phillips )
I provided three different renderings of the Greek text to try to give a sense of what the apostle Paul was stating as he surveyed the Gentile world of his day. The point is quite clear – any society in which there is rampant Lesbianism and Homosexualism, is undergoing the wrath of God. We are not speaking about isolated instances of such sexual perversion. Instead we are talking about societies in which this particular sin is widespread and as we shall see, accepted and applauded as normal. (Romans 1:32)
What we learn is that one of the ways in which God REVEALS HIS WRATH is to give men ( and women) over to their sins. A theological truth is that God exercises what we refer to as “Restraining Grace”. This prevents man from completely indulging his lusts and filling the earth with wickedness. Think of the days of Noah as an example when men are left to themselves. Their evil reaches heights that can make life almost unbearable for those who love righteousness. Any obstacle to men completely indulging their own lusts is removed. One of these measures includes societal pressures. When certain conduct is frowned upon by society at large, those who indulge in such are often ostracized. This tends to provide a sort of check or restraint upon the proliferation of such conduct. Remove that societal taboo, and the
check is lifted and the conduct multiplies. Is that not what we are currently experiencing today in the West?
What Paul is stating is that NATURE ITSELF testifies against the sins of Lesbianism and Homosexualism. It is unnatural as the anatomy of the human body clearing dictates. Paul calls such sexual sins, abnormal and unnatural. Thus, when such widespread practices like this abound, God’s holy justice against sin is revealing itself.
Closely following on the heels of this is point 2 – the idea of REPROBATION.
“And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved (reprobate) mind, to do those things which are not proper… and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” ( Romans 1: 28, 32)
“So it was that when they gave God up and would not even acknowledge Him, God gave them up to doing everything their evil minds could think of… they were fully aware of God’s death penalty for these crimes, yet they went right ahead and did them anyway, and encouraged others to do them, too.” (Romans 1: 28, 32 Living Bible)
“Moreover, since they considered themselves too high and mighty to acknowledge God, He allowed them to become the slaves of their degenerate minds, and to perform unmentionable deeds…More than this – being well aware of God’s pronouncement that all who do these things deserve to die, they not only continued their own practices, but did not hesitate to give their thorough approval to others who did the same.” ( Romans 1: 28, 32 JB Phillips)
The concept of REPROBATION is an uncomfortable one to the mind of the unregenerate and even to a great many professing Christians because it presents a side of God’s character than many would not like to even think about much less accept. That God would irrevocably sentence men ( and women) to eternal damnation, without any hope or possibility of being able to repent and avoid such a sentence, is difficult for a generation with such modern sensibilities as this one. Nevertheless, it is a biblical doctrine that helps those who love truth to understand that while God is indeed LONGsuffering, He is not infinite suffering.
At some point in time, known only to the Most High, men and women may reach such a height in their love for sin, that God abandons them to those sins, in the process hardening their hearts and dulling their consciences, so that they cannot repent. Why can they no longer repent? Because reprobation produces a state in which the conscience no longer functions.
The conscience is that God-given faculty in men which either approves of an action or disapproves of an action. It is an internal witness to the man/woman. The nagging sense of guilt which conscience produces makes it difficult to live with a sin or commit it on a recurring basis.
Thus, guilt over sin is something that is actually beneficial if it causes the sinner to repent from sin and seek the gospel remedy for forgiveness and restoration to God’s favor. But what happens when a person commits sin for so long that there is no longer the least bit of guilt or remorse about that sin? They no longer see anything wrong with the sin. As a matter of fact, they become guilt-free. How does anyone
want to turn away from sin if they see nothing wrong with it? The answer is that they will not and they cannot.
To be therefore given over to a reprobate mind is one of the most terrifying judgments of God because it is completely SILENT. It comes with no fanfare, no catastrophic event, no series of events to shock the individual into examining his or herself. The sinner sees no need to repent and happily continues to go on sinning meanwhile heaping up further judgment to themselves on the day in which they must stand before the Lord and give an account of their life. Their conscience has become seared and no longer functions!
Those beneath such a judgment are able to “give hearty approval” to the very sins which resulted in their own condemnation. This is what Paul describes in verse 32 of that first chapter of Romans.
“and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.” ( Romans 1: 32)
In all sincerity, I ask you, can you not see the signs of this abounding in our nation? We have a plethora of opinion makers and groups advocating for widespread acceptance of both Lesbianism and Homosexualism who do not hesitate to viciously attack and revile any who dare to speak against these practices as sinful and displeasing to God. Not only that, this has further degenerated into the rise of transsexualism, in which men believe themselves to be women trapped in male bodies and women believe themselves to be men trapped in female bodies. The natural order of the sexes, based upon biology/anatomy, has now been turned on its head. If this is not a case of Romans chapter one on display, I cannot conceive of what else it might be!
“Professing themselves to be wise, they became as fools”.
We have covered points one and points two. God’s wrath is clearly revealed in the degradation of our society based on these two points alone. But there is yet more.
Point #3 – Schism or Division within a nation.
Isaiah, chapter 19 , is the clearest example of this in Scripture.
The chapter opens as follows:
“The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold the Lord is riding on a swift cloud, and is about to come to Egypt. The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.” (Isaiah 19:1)
This coming is not to bless but rather in judgment as the entirety of the chapter clearly indicates. Egypt had become an enemy of the people of God and the Lord reveals through his prophet, how He intends to deal with them. One should understand also, that the Egypt of this day was still a relatively prosperous and powerful kingdom. That would not help it one iota on their day of reckoning.
And what will be the sign of His judgment on the land?
“So I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians; and they will each fight against his brother, and each against his neighbor, city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.” (Isaiah 19:2)
DIVISION – division so intense that it would lead to great internal discord and strife of such a nature that it would rend the very fabric of the nation itself all the while weakening it internally and less able to defend attacks that might arise from without.
What did our Lord Jesus Himself say about this?
“A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand”.
Never in my lifetime have I seen such division within our nation. There have always been differences between political parties and those who make up such, but there did seem to be a common sense and agreement of what America meant. That is no longer the case. The two competing political ideologies that are manifest in this nation are mutually exclusive of each other. Both cannot coexist indefinitely. While we may not actually be in a “hot” civil war, we are most certainly in a “cold” civil war.
This very division, this rending of the garment of the nation, is in itself a sign of the wrath of God being revealed from heaven. Unity brings peace and relative tranquility to a people and a land. Division brings conflict, hatred, bitterness, resentment, anger and hostility. A land inundated with the latter as we now see, is undergoing the judgment of God.
Points one, two and three, are clearly evident in our nation. What about point four? Capricious Rulers – lack of true Statesmen
Our reference here is once again the prophet Isaiah:
“I will make mere lads their princes and capricious children will rule over them”. ( Isaiah 3: 4) “Israels’ kings will be like babies, ruling childishly” ( Isaiah 3:4 Living Bible)
The word “capricious”, has the idea of being inconsistent, inconstant, fickle. It is the opposite of constant, firm, determined, decisive and resolute. A capricious ruler is one given to being swayed easily by public opinion or pressure even if that pressure is harmful to the long-term well being of a nation. A person of deep conviction is immovable and consistent. A flip-flopping political leader is therefore best described as capricious.
A child lacks wisdom and is short-sighted seeking immediate gratification unable to look down the road to see the long-term ramifications of poor policy decisions. Combine “capriciousness” with “childish” and you can see how such leaders will bring great harm to a nation.
Understand that as a sign of judgment on a land, God gives a nation the kind of rulers that reflect the very people in the land itself.
“Woe to you, O land, who king is a lad and whose prices feast in the morning. Blessed are you, O land, whose king is of nobility and whose princes eat at the appropriate time – for strength and not for drunkenness. (Eccl 10: 16-17)
“Woe to the land whose king is a child and whose leaders are already drunk in the morning. Happy the land whose king is a nobleman, and whose leaders work hard before they feast and drink, and then only to strengthen themselves for the tasks ahead.” ( Eccl 10: 16-17 Living Bible)
The character of the leaders of a land determines to a great extent what kind of nation it will become. Nations whose leaders are fickle, childish, lack wisdom and integrity, who are self-serving, caring more about their own interests than that of the nation, will inevitably weaken a nation and lead to its decline.
We need only look at history to verify this statement. It has been proven time after time after time.
Incidentally, notice how one can see both points 3 and 4 combined together in this passage out of Isaiah. You see both division and discord in the land, combined with capricious rulers.
“I will make mere lads their princes and capricious children will rule over them. And the people will be oppressed, each one by another, and each one by his neighbor; the youth will storm against the elder and the inferior against the honorable.” (Isaiah 3: 4-5)
“Israel’s kings will be like babies, ruling childishly. And the worst sort of anarchy will prevail – everyone stepping on someone else, neighbors fighting neighbors, youths revolting against authority, criminals sneering at honorable men.” (Isaiah 3: 4-5 Living Bible)
What have we thus far? Rampant perversion, hearty approval of such perversion, lack of properly functioning consciences among many, the inability to distinguish between righteousness and sin, division, discord, strife, foolish and inept leadership. Can you not see this in our land at the present time? If so, then you are beginning to be able to decipher the handwriting of God upon the wall of this society. His right judgments are manifest for those who have eyes to see.
Do not be like those people to whom the prophet Isaiah spoke in his day when he stated of the Lord God:
“O Lord, Thy hand is lifted up, yet they do not see it.” (Isaiah 26:11)
We come now to our last point #5, Lies and not truth prevailing in the land. The rejection of truth in favor of the lie.
“…Lies and not truth prevail in the land’; for they proceed from evil to evil and they do not know Me, declares the Lord” ( Jer 9:3)
“…and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved, therefore, God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false in order that they may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.” ( 2 Thes 2: 10-12)
“…so God will allow them to believe lies with all of their hearts, and all of them will be justly judged for believing falsehood, refusing Truth, and enjoying their sins.” ( 2 Thes 2: 11-12 Living Bible)
“God sends upon them, therefore, the full force of evil’s delusion, so that they put their faith in an utter fraud and meet the inevitable judgment of all who have refused to believe the truth and who have made evil their pleasure.” ( 2 Thes 2: 11-12 JB Phillips)
Individuals or peoples or nations taken as a whole, are liable to another “silent judgment” of God when they deliberately close their eyes to the truth, rejecting it in favor of lies. This is particularly evident in our nation in which the very concept of absolute truth is ridiculed in in favor of “relativism”. In that view, there is no such thing as absolute truth; the “truth” of one person is every bit as good as the “truth” of another. Thus, when Biblical truth is espoused, it is held up to scorn for being “intolerant”, “non-inclusive”, “unkind”, etc.
This is how we end up with the biblical doctrine of sin and unrighteousness lampooned as “old fashioned, backward thinking” in our enlightened age. Sins such as adultery, fornication, sexual perversion, etc, instead of evil that provokes the anger of God, are instead defended as expressions of the new tolerance and acceptance of a modern era. Humanity has advanced beyond the old stigmas of the bygone past; so they tell us.
The problem for those advocating such things is that they reject the nature of an unchanging God, an Eternal Being that exists outside of time and whose righteous nature does not change with the passing of the generations. What was sin to Him thousands of years ago, remains sin to Him today and will remain so, as long as the world endures. Truth in itself is eternal, unchanging, even if it happens to conflict with the ephemeral values of society.
When a society at large therefore rejects truth in favor of transitory “morals”, God is not indifferent but deals in righteous judgment by giving that nation over to the lie. It is very similar to how he deals with those wedded to sin as points one and points two detailed. In this case, He turns them over to embracing falsehood. In a sense, it is as if God says to them, “ You love falsehood so much; then here, have your fill of it and learn the consequences of your rejection of truth”.
The end result of such a turning over to falsehood, is that the people as a whole can no longer discern what is obvious to all but those such blinded.
They call evil, good, and good, evil. Bitter, sweet and sweet, bitter. Light, darkness and darkness, light. See Isaiah 5, verse 20.
When the murder of innocent life in the womb is euphemistically renamed, “ a woman’s choice”, you are seeing the result of God abandoning a society to the lie. When corruption at the highest levels is ignored or sanitized as if it matters not at all, you are seeing a society given over to falsehood. When gender is said to be “fluid” and not fixed at birth, you are witnessing a society given over to delusion.
The conclusion of all that has been written above, should be obvious to those with an open mind to truth as it is revealed in Scripture. God, the author of all life, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, the one whose very nature demands that he avenge the breach of his laws and the rejection by his creatures of His own truth, is showing this nation that His wrath and justice are real. That He will avenge sin in His own time and that His judgments, while long delayed, will always come. We would do well to acknowledge the lifting up of His hand and examining our own hearts and our walk with Him.
“Come my people, enter into your rooms, and close your doors behind you; hide for a little while until indignation runs its course. For behold, the Lord is about to come out from Hs place to punish the inhabitants of the land for their iniquity…” (Isaiah 26: 20)
Christ alone is the secret place of the Most High. To be TRULY hidden in Him is to be safe and secure from all eternal harm. Christian – you are truly in Christ or you an empty professing, claiming by words that you belong to Him but by your deeds denying Him? (Titus 1:16). Do you truly belong to Him or are you placing your trust in a:
“different Jesus from that preached by the apostles, or a different spirit or a different gospel other than the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints? (2 Cor 11:4) and (Jude 3)
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith, examine yourselves! (2Cor 13:5)
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that he will reap”. (Gal 6:7)
Dan Norcini SS