Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
July 7, 1998
Last Updated :
October 8, 2013
God's Quick Harsh Judgments, Divine Chastisements Are Also A Form Of Divine Love, America's Godless Spoiled Generation, I Will Bring Evil: God Creates And Sends Evil, The Twoedged Sword: Dual Nature Of God's Word, Life Or Death And Blessing Or Curse, Satan Serves As Executioner Of God's Chastisements, Afflictions Of Patriarch Job, Extent Of Satan's Powers, False Prophets Of Baal And Second Beast Of Revelation, False God Of This World, Unseen Spiritual Warfare, Satan Tempts Jesus In The Wilderness, Our Temporal World And Futility Of Laying Up Riches, Chastisements Against Unrepentant Backslidden America, Repentance And Fruit Of Chastisements, Of Temporary Duration
Continuing our discussion from part two, on the other hand, as some of the previous verses reveal, when the children of Israel failed to heed the Lord's admonitions after a fair amount of time, then the Rod of His judgments fell upon them harshly, and without pity. Just as God is quick to extend His Love, Mercy and blessings to an obedient people, He is also quick to pour out His judgments upon a rebellious people who harden their hearts and refuse to accept His Will. His good intentions can easily turn to evil; and His great Love and Mercy can be replaced by unrelenting Wrath, as becomes clear by the following verses:
"Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the LORD your God promised you; so shall the LORD bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you."
Joshua 23:15, KJV
"For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire."
Jeremiah 21:10, KJV
"For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them."
Jeremiah 32:42, KJV
"And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good."
Amos 9:4, KJV
"And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them."
Jeremiah 13:14, KJV
"Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity."
Ezekiel 5:11, KJV
"And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the LORD . . . And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the LORD that smiteth."
Ezekiel 7:4, 9, KJV
"Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them."
Ezekiel 8:18, KJV
"And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head."
Ezekiel 9:10, KJV
For certain traditional Christians who maintain that our God is only a God of love -- such as certain Roman Catholics -- the idea that the Lord might purposely allow evil to befall His own children is quite difficult to accept. These people can't begin to fathom God acting in any way that is contrary to what they have erroneously been taught by their spiritual elders. Sadly, as I mention in articles such as "Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement", what they fail to realize, is that Divine Chastisement is in fact a part of Divine Love. I am reminded of the following verse that is found in the Book of Proverbs:
"Open rebuke is better than secret love."
Proverbs 27:5, KJV
You see, it is because God does love us, that He rebukes us and chastises us when it becomes necessary. He does not do it out of hate, He does it so that we will learn our lesson and turn back onto the path of righteousness. In similar fashion, it is because we do love our children, that we also choose to punish them as well; or at least that is what should motivate us to do so. In my opinion, to adopt the "God is only love" position is similar to saying that we are supposed to simply ignore our children when we see them misbehaving. What kind of parents would we be if we did that? Not very good ones.
Tragically, many American parents have done this very thing; and I imagine that parents in other countries have followed suit. As I point out in the articles entitled "The Plight of the Children: School Gun Violence!" and "What is Wrong With Modern America?", not only have they spared the rod, but they have likewise not given their children a godly education, and society is now paying for it. Furthermore, many children have been spoiled by a spirit and attitude of extreme selfishness, as well as by materialism.
Continuing our earlier discussion, the previous Scriptures point out very clearly that both good and evil proceed from the hand of the Lord. Those people who refuse to accept this aspect of God's nature are simply rejecting a part of the full counsel of the Word of God. Following are additional verses which confirm this same point that God creates evil, He sends evil, and He creates wicked people in order to fulfill His Divine Purposes, whatever they may be:
"Therefore, behold, I WILL BRING EVIL upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone."
1 Kings 14:10, KJV
"Behold, I WILL BRING EVIL upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel,"
1 Kings 21:21, KJV
"Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I WILL BRING EVIL upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:"
2 Kings 22:16, KJV
"Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I WILL BRING EVIL upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah:"
2 Chronicles 34:24, KJV
"The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil."
Proverbs 16:4, KJV
"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
Isaiah 45:7, KJV
"Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I WILL BRING EVIL from the north, and a great destruction."
Jeremiah 4:6, KJV
"Hear, O earth: behold, I WILL BRING EVIL upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it."
Jeremiah 6:19, KJV
"Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I WILL BRING EVIL upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them."
Jeremiah 11:11, KJV
"And there shall be no remnant of them: for I WILL BRING EVIL upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation."
Jeremiah 11:23, KJV
"And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I WILL BRING EVIL upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle."
Jeremiah 19:3, KJV
"Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I WILL BRING EVIL upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 23:12, KJV
"And seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I WILL BRING EVIL upon all flesh, saith the LORD: but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey in all places whither thou goest."
Jeremiah 45:5, KJV
"For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life: and I WILL BRING EVIL upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the LORD; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them:"
Jeremiah 49:37, KJV
"Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?"
Amos 3:6, KJV
"Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?"
Lamentations 3:38, KJV
Please take note of the final verse above that is found in the Prophet Jeremiah's Book of Lamentations. As you can see, we are told that both evil and good proceed out of the mouth of the Lord. Furthermore, speaking on behalf of the Lord, the Prophet Isaiah likewise tells us "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil." It becomes evident then that there are two sides to God's nature, just as there are two ways in which His Word can be used. Please consider the following verses:
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12, KJV
"And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
Revelation 1:16, KJV
"And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."
Revelation 19:15, KJV
As you can plainly see, in the Scriptures, the Word of God is represented by a twoedged sword. This sword appears to represent the dual nature of God's Word. As I point out in the article entitled "Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?", for those people who receive the Lord's Word into their hearts and obey it, this sword is a blessing. However, for those people who reject the Words of the Lord and rebel against His Will for their lives, it is a bitter curse. In fact, as we learned in part one, during Old Testament times, to reject God's Word could even amount to a death sentence. Through the mouth of His Prophets and holy men, God asked the people to choose between good and evil, and life and death. Even more importantly, when it comes to Jesus Christ -- who is the living Word of God -- we are asked to choose between Eternal Life and Eternal Damnation. Following are some additional verses which prove this point:
"Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known."
Deuteronomy 11:26-28, KJV
"And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death. He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be unto him for a prey."
Jeremiah 21:8-9, KJV
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."
John 5:24, KJV
"For if by one man's offence [Adam's] death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) . . . That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 5:17, 21, KJV
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6:23, KJV
Allow me to point out here that while God will indeed permit evil to befall His children when they are disobedient, He is not necessarily the One who carries out the actual sentence. As I explain in articles such as "Satan: His Origin, Purpose and Future", that task has been delegated to Satan and his minions who are already in rebellion against the Lord; and who thus serve as His instruments of chastisement.
The story of the Patriarch Job is one clear example of this. As you may know, in this particular story, the Lord points out Job's righteousness to Satan. Satan's sarcastic rebuttal is that Job only praises the Lord because he has been blessed in a material sense. Thus, on two different occasions, Satan convinces the Lord to allow him to test Job. Before long, Job has lost his oxen, asses, camels and sheep; his servants have been slain; and his children have all been killed when their older brother's house caves in on them when a tornado strikes it. Poor Job himself is finally afflicted with boils, while his three friends -- and even his wife -- taunt him. Could a man be in a more miserable state? Please notice that in these verses, the Lord is not the actual executioner of the various tests:
"But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD."
Job 1:11-12, KJV
As you can see, while Satan tells the Lord to "put forth thine hand now", what actually happens is that God grants Satan permission to put forth his own hand against Job. In other words, what we see is that without God's permission, Satan is powerless to do anything against Job. However, in spite of all of his troubles, Job simply refuses to curse the Lord. It is at that point that Satan then asks God for permission to threaten Job's very life, as we read in the following verses:
"And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown."
Job 2:4-7, KJV
From reading the story of Job, we can learn several things regarding Satan's powers. For example, we see that he has been given power over the elements; that is, over air and fire. We also see that he has power to influence people so that they will do harm to Job. The fact that Satan is able to call fire down from the sky -- similar to Elijah -- is very interesting. You may recall that when the prophets of Baal tried to do the same thing with the Prophet Elijah, they were put to shame when nothing happened. Eventually, after revealing the power of the true God -- who sent fire to consume Elijah's offering -- Elijah slew all of those false prophets with a sword. You will find the story in the first book of the Kings, chapter eighteen.
On the other hand, according to Revelation chapter thirteen, the second Beast -- who appears to be synonymous with the False Prophet -- is likewise able to call down fire from the sky in order to deceive those who dwell upon the Earth, as we see by the following verse:
"And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,"
Revelation 13:13, KJV
Upon examining other verses in the Bible, we learn that the reason why Satan is able to control the elements, as well as manipulate certain political, military and religious events down through history, is because he is currently the god of this world. Based upon my current understanding of the Bible, it seems that the Earth and the surrounding atmosphere have been given into Satan's hand for a set time until God's Plan of Salvation is fulfilled, and the great Mystery of the Ages has been completed. The Scriptures clearly inform us that a great spiritual battle is currently being waged on the Earth, and in the atmospheric heavens around us, even though we are not capable of seeing it with our physical eyes. Consider the following verses which confirm these points:
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
Ephesians 2:2, KJV
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:12, KJV
On a related note, it is because Satan is the god of this world, that he was able to offer the things of the world to Jesus during His time of temptation following His forty-day fast in the wilderness, as we see by these verses:
"And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."
Luke 4:5-8, KJV
Of course, both Jesus and a number of the Apostles repeatedly warn us regarding the futility, vanity and pitfalls of laying up temporal treasures upon the Earth. We are told that such things are simply snares which distract us from serving the Lord, and that we should be content with whatever we have, as we see by the following sample verses:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also . . . No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:19-21, 24, KJV
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
Mark 8:36-37, KJV
". . . Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!"
Mark 10:24b, KJV
"Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed."
John 6:27, KJV
"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11, KJV
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18, KJV
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Colossians 3:1-2, KJV
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
1 Timothy 6:6-8, KJV
"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5, KJV
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:15-16, KJV
Returning to our discussion regarding the scope of Satan's powers, as we saw with the story of Job, because Satan is the god of this world, he and his minions -- by the Lord's permission -- are apparently allowed to influence both the elements and the powers of the Earth, in order to chastise the wayward souls of men. I am reminded of the United States and her current sinful, backslidden condition. Even though war may be far from her shores at this present time, God's chastisements are nevertheless being felt in various places in the form of floods, droughts, earthquakes, mudslides, brushfires, tornadoes, lightning strikes, hailstones, severe snow storms, prolonged freezing temperatures and other forms of so-called "natural disasters".
While hard-hearted men may try to downplay God's involvement in such events -- preferring instead to blame them on "Mother Nature", "El Niño", or "La Niña" -- the truth of the matter is that such disasters affect how and where people can live, how much food is produced to feed the population, the growth of the national economy, etc. While some countries may be punished for their sins and unbelief through invasion and war, all of these other less obvious forms of chastisement can be just as effective in the Lord's hands. What is truly sad is the fact that while certain Israelites viewed similar events as the Lord's punishments upon a very idolatrous and backslidden nation -- as occurred during the drought which they experienced in the days of the Prophet Elijah -- many Americans remain totally oblivious to these things. I have mentioned on previous occasions that in a spiritual sense, the backslidden United States is following a path that is very similar to ancient Israel. Thus, I am reminded of the following verse:
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV
As we discussed in part two of this series, just as parents do not delight in having to punish their children when they do something wrong, so likewise, the Lord would much prefer that we heed His warnings, so that we can avoid the different chastisements He may choose to send our way. As I mentioned earlier, we need to remember that the Lord does not willingly punish His children. The truth of the matter is that we bring His wrath upon ourselves when we choose to rebel against Him. Furthermore, being the Good Parent that He is, God will not just idly stand by and watch us repeatedly ignore His Word, and His Rules. He will become upset eventually. His Patience and His Mercy will reach a breaking point. If we consciously and defiantly break His Rules of Love, then we must expect to pay the consequences and not complain about it.
As I explain in "Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement", we need to repent, ask for forgiveness, and make things right again in order to be restored to our proper relationship with our Heavenly Father, as well as with anyone who we may have possibly offended. As long as we are just complaining about the punishment, we are not really showing true repentance for anything. Consider the sharp truth that is revealed in the following verses:
"Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens."
Lamentations 3:39-41, KJV
During the time of our chastisement, we need to remember that, as with our natural children, punishment is normally only a temporary situation, and is used to bring us to our senses. Once that occurs, once we learn the lesson that the Lord is trying to teach us, like most parents, He eases up on us, and brings us back into the circle of His fellowship. If He did not do this, none of us would certainly survive, and we would all surely lose hope. So thank the Lord that His mercy endures forever. Following are a few more verses for your contemplation:
"If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"
Psalms 130:3, KJV
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;"
2 Corinthians 4:17, KJV
"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
Hebrews 12:11, KJV
"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV
"For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer."
Isaiah 54:7-8, KJV
"Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD."
Ezekiel 39:29, KJV
Please go to part four for the continuation of this series.
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