Tuesday, May 13, 2008

# 249: “It is Mine to Avenge; I Will Repay”

When we learn more about how and why God functioned as He did in the Old Testament, we will become acutely aware of God’s vengeful side, which is not revealed in the New Testament to any great degree except at the end of time in the book of Revelation. Only thing is, in Revelation, it is difficult—if not impossible—to be specific as to what is happening, and to whom and when. Therefore, let us examine a few portions of the Old Testament Scriptures as warnings, to see how God will treat those who claim to belong to God/Jesus Christ but by their actions deny Him. That is how it was 2,000 to 3,000 years ago, and it is not much different in our times.

Titus 1:15-16. "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good."

Several times in the history of the nations of Israel and Judah, God’s chosen people, His loved ones, were unfaithful and turned their back on the Lord their God by disobedience to the laws He gave them (by following the ways of their sinful hearts and their ungodly neighboring countries). After all the good The Lord God had done for Israel, such as settling her in a land flowing with milk and honey, her detestable actions have infuriated the Lord. And when the people He called His own continually disobey and forsake His holy decrees, watch out; the Lord’s anger was/will be aroused.

When the majority of Israel’s population worshiped foreign gods, etc. for an extended period of time, the Lord God would raise up foreign nations to attack them and rout that whole population, killing most with the sword along with bringing some of the young, the strong, and the virgins back to their homelands as prisoners.

Remember this if you remember nothing else: The Lord is a God of love to those who love Him and prove it by their obedience to his beck and call. But to those unbelievers who reject His Son, which is displayed by their actions, although they may acknowledge His Lordship with their mouths, God’s wrath and curses are on them, as the following verses will testify.

John 3:36. "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him." That verse is seldom mentioned; in its place is a verse just 20 verses ahead of it which Christians are continually reminded of: John 3:16.

1st Corinthians 16:22. "If anyone does not love the Lord—a curse be on him." Love for God is displayed by obedience.

Galatians 1:8-9. "But if even we or an angel from heaven preaches a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say it again: ‘If anyone preaches to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned.’" The apostle Paul is speaking for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 32:35. "It is mine to avenge; I will repay."

I will quote a few verses from the Old Testament when The Lord God was angry with His people because of their ungodly lives, and released His vengeance on them.

Jeremiah 1:14-16. "The Lord said to me [Jeremiah], ‘From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,’ declared the Lord. ‘Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah. I will pronounce my judgment on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made.’"

1st Chronicles 5:25-26. "But they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers . . . So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria . . . who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh into exile . . . where they are to this day."

Jeremiah 20:4-5. "I will hand all Judah over to the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. I will hand over to their enemies all the wealth of this city—all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away as plunder and carry it away to Babylon."

Jeremiah 25:8-9. "Therefore the Lord Almighty said this: ‘Because you have not listened to my words, I will summon all the people of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,’ declared the Lord, ‘and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin.’"

Isaiah 10:6. "Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hands is the club of my wrath! I sent him against a people [Judah] who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets.”

These next verses are a bit repetitive but still noteworthy enough to make a point: Isaiah 39:5. "Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord Almighty: “The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,” said the Lord. “And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."’”

This next event comes from the book of Amos in the 6th chapter. The Lord God speaks of how He abhors their compliancy and pride. Verse 1: "Woe to you who are complacent ion Zion, and you who feel secure on Mount Samaria." Verse 8: "I abhor the pride of Jacob and detest his fortresses; I will deliver up the city and everything in it." Verse 14: “For the Lord God Almighty declares, ‘I will stir up a nation against you, O house of Israel, that will oppress you all the way from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah.’" Read some of the gruesome details in Amos chapters 7-9. I am not certain chronologically, but I believe Amos is predicting the destruction of Jerusalem in about 70 A.D., mentioned later.

If anyone wants to read a real gory part of the Old Testament, in which the Lord God reveals His deplorable, horrifying vengeance on His disobedient people, check out Deuteronomy, the 28th Chapter, verses 15 through 68. I must warn you; it is too nasty for me to print it in this post, or for any who are faint-hearted, to read; also, it is quite lengthy. And yet that may be a warning for us in this age of grace in which we are living. Remember this: Grace is only for those who are His obedient people, and that does not include any of the disobedient who just claim to be Christians.

This vengeful God is the same One we call a God of love, compassion and mercy. It is no wonder most people don’t read the Old Testament more than they do, including this author. The actions of our God at times have been frightening—that He would allow or actually incite this type of treatment to a people He once called His own. Then, some might say, "That was how God acted toward them in the Old Testament, because Grace had not yet been implemented.” Not so! God forgave the transgressions of Israel, Judah and individuals many, many times. God’s mercy and grace were displayed over and over again. Nehemiah 9:31. ". . . for you are a gracious and merciful God. God does not change.” As the writer of Hebrews makes known: Hebrews 13:8. "Jesus Christ [God] is the same yesterday and today and forever."

About 40 years after the death of Jesus Christ, the vast majority of Jews still never accepted their promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, although many in the Gentile communities did throughout the Roman Empire. Therefore, God’s anger raged against these unbelievers. Then the prophesy of Jesus, and possibly Amos, came true. This was in about 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was routed by the Romans. Its walls and holy temple were knocked down until not one stone was standing on another. Most, if not all, of the Jews living in the city and surrounding towns were killed by the sword. Also, that was the end of the Jewish sacrificial system since there was no more temple to offer sacrifices.

Another event of much greater proportion was the holocaust in Europe—under the control of Hitler, the leader of Germany, in the 1930s and early 1940s—when several million Jews were systematically exterminated; it could have easily have been inspired by the Lord. Some of you would say, "How could a God of love be behind such an atrocious deed?" And I agree. But, I ask, how many of those Jews in Europe were Christian Jews? The people God raised up would not accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Therefore, God’s wrath remained on them.

As the love of God for those who belong to Him is greater than human words can express, His vengeance is also great for those who do not live as He requires, much greater than most of us would expect from a God who claims to be a God of love, as the Old Testament also reveals.

And even up until this day, it is a crying shame that the Jews still reject Jesus Christ as their Messiah. As most know, for the greatest part, the Jewish community per se runs and owns this great country of ours, and to my knowledge, not one of those tycoons has accepted Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Their God is power, money, influence and an easy life, which they call Jehovah, YHWH, Adionai or Yahweh, who promised the nation of Israel that they will be His people with an everlasting covenant. Sure, only if they obeyed Him.

They could never accept the fact, to this day, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God does not approve of people who seek wealth and prosperity; while the Jews still believe that having riches is one of the main signs of God’s approval and blessings, as in the days of Abraham, Joseph, Solomon, etc.

We must all remember that our God is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14. "Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." Nahum 1:2. "The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath." The word “jealous” is mentioned in the Old Testament over a dozen times, concerning our God. He wants His people, only for His own purpose, although God, at this time, doesn’t make Himself heard through modern prophets—if there are any—but in America, the writing has been, and is still, on the wall.

Most Americans have been brainwashed into believing that God is behind all the wealth, greatness, goodness and prosperity in the U.S. along with being the most powerful nation in the world. That is an ingeniously contrived fabrication. Who doesn’t love their own country and think highly of it? It is true that the Lord God detests countries that worship other gods, or don’t have any gods at all, except what their hands have made. Job 12:6: ". . . those who carry their god in their hands." But His anger is much greater for countries like the U.S. who should know better. The God they/we worship is America the Beautiful, who is their/our protector, savior and lord from all aggressive nations.

Let me explain: When this country was first legally established in 1776, we won our freedom from England by violating one of the most basic commands in the New Testament: love your neighbor and even your enemy. We won that war by sending our young men to get killed and by killing many British soldiers. Am I saying that was wrong? An emphatic no! What I am getting at is that it is not in accordance with the commands of Jesus Christ. We were established by ungodly principles, regardless of how much we shout from every rooftop "God shed his grace on thee" and "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." When did we change from an ungodly country to a Godly one?

That is just the same as saying that over time, we can change a leper into a lamb. This is the same as saying that we can have a good ending to the evil war Bush started. It can’t happen. All wars are immoral, regardless of whether they are justified or not, because we live in an immoral world. We, the people of the world, by our ungodly actions, have made it immoral. Please remember: When I use the word “ungodly,” I mean that what we do, most often, does not include God.

That is not the part that God hates the most. What he despises more than all else is that we call ourselves a Christian country, since about 90- some percent of Americans claim to believe in God. And who knows how many people go to church on Sunday morning claiming to be Christians. The majority of them know nothing of what God/Christ requires of all Christians. They live as the world does, while praising God on Sunday morning, calling it worship. They have made the ways of God a joke. One word would describe them: hypocrites.

Another action which infuriates the Almighty is that the majority of the Jewish community who live in the U.S. won’t accept Jesus Christ as their Messiah. In fact, I have often wondered why God hasn’t obliterated us already. The only reason I can come up with is that our sin has not reached its full measure, as it says in Genesis 15:16, referring to the Amorites. He has a purpose for letting us get away with our ungodly and hypocritical lives for many years, although I am not sure what/why. Another possibility: God might be waiting for the great tribulation when he gets even.

Although I don’t claim to be a prophet of God, I can say this: Sooner or later, we will get what is coming to us. How can I say that? Just quickly analyze what the vast majority of Americans are engaging in. I will mention just a few: Entertainment, meaning movie stars, etc. are more famous and well-known and receive more accolades than any other group of people; filthy music is accepted as the norm; pleasure, meaning that if it feels good, it must be good, so go after it; greed, meaning we want as much wealth as we can get; sexual sins, watching and engaging in explicit sexual activity, along with finding it an acceptable practice to be promiscuous, and for unwed mothers to stand side-by-side with their heads held high when standing next to their married peers; laziness, meaning we want everything fast and easy, with as little effort as possible; gluttony, meaning we eat much more than our bodies need. Can anyone believe that over 66 % of Americans are overweight, while there are billions in our world who are starving? Hooray for Americans. There is a descriptive adjective for most Americans: voracious.

Also, let us not forget: We are a debtor nation; most Americans are in debt over their heads, by living beyond their means. The apostle Paul commands in Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continued debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law." To be more explicit, here is an abbreviated version of the Holy Book: When, because of our faith in Jesus Christ, we love our fellow man as we love ourselves, that action encompasses all that is commanded in the entire Christian Bible. Do we see that type of attitude in America by so-called Christians?

Also, another sure sign of our pending destruction is our open acceptance and coddling of active homosexuals, under the guise of "Equal rights and justice and liberty for all." In the Old Testament, God commands us to stone all such people. Leviticus 20:13. Another thing that God hates is our government plastering the name of God on our money. To be absolute truthful, our money should say "In Greed We Trust." Wealth and prosperity, as seen in America—actually, we are the richest country in the world—are greater signs that our doom is near. Wealth is Almighty God’s biggest rival, as the New Testament and this blog have mentioned many times. As most of us know, money wins most arguments in all matters and leaves God far behind. And still, of all the signs of what America is made of, one of the biggest is the fact that the city of Las Vegas has been and still is one of our fastest-growing cities. That has much to say about what we really are made of. I could go on and on, telling of all the other ungodly practices Americans are engaged in, but we are so used to them that we don’t call them ungodly; we see them as a form of pleasure or leisure resulting from “The good life,” or “The American dream,” as most of us are seeking or have acquired.

About 72 % of the American people don’t trust our government; I mean the government that is run by George W. Bush. This man claims to be an Evangelical Christian. By his self-glorifying persona, he has brought this country into a shameful condition, world wide and here at home, mainly by several policies he has initiated. The first is the stupid, unnecessary war he got us into, with no right or honorable way to get out. If we stay in and continue to fight, in time, that spending of our money will cause our government to go bankrupt, not to mention the preposterous debt he is leaving us with after he leaves office: close to 9 trillion dollars at the last count. How is this even possible in almost 8 short years of his presidency?

If I were to say he is the modern-day anti-Christ, I would not be too far off. He is not the only rotten egg in the basket; most politicians are self-seeking and are only looking out for their own legacy, or after their terms have expired, looking to become lobbyists for big corporations, and then have great influence on their peers still in public office. Believe it or not, the majority have done just that. That is a crime against the small guys and dolls like you and me. I believe the two-party government we have has been, and will continue to become, even more destructive to the good of this country. I mean when Senators and members of the House of Representatives stand on party lines, that is where the majority of the trouble starts and never ends, along with the veto power of an idiot. Regardless of how we look at it, our government has been—and still is—corrupt.

Is there a better way? Absolutely: Put our faith in Jesus Christ as our only leader, by total obedience to all that is commanded in the New Testament. Don’t hold your breath. We are too far gone for any such thing to come to pass.

Concerning the coming election, I would love to see Hillary Clinton win the Democratic nomination, but in a way it would be better for her if she doesn’t win. The next president will inherit all of “Bush’s blunders.” And believe it or not, there will be no good, correct or easy way to “turn a toad into a princess,” meaning Bush’s bloopers. Therefore, let the most unlucky candidate become our next president.

What I am getting at is that there is not a bit of holiness or godliness in our government, and not much more in our lives, other than the hocus-pocus we see on TV. That is just another reason for God’s vengeance toward our great but ungodly country. Since politics is not my forte, I won’t say any more. If I don’t get at least a few nasty comments, I will be disappointed; I welcome them all.

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