“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And He made from one manevery nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,” Acts 17:24-26
This Scripture reveals the extent of God’s control over nations. Having established nations at the Tower of Babel by confusing the languages these verses prove God has allotted the nations “periods and their boundaries“.
Moreover, God uses the nations for His purposes. Two great examples are how God used Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon (He ruled Babylonia from 605 to 562 BC. As the most influential and longest-reigning kings of the Neo-Babylonian period, Nebuchadnezzar conducted the city of Babylon to its height of power and prosperity):
“The king (Nebuchadnezzar) answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery (Daniel 2:47)”
and Darius, King of the Medes and Persia ( He was king of Persia 521–486 BC, known as Darius the Great):
“I (Darius) make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”Daniel 6:26-27
Also, KingCyrus the Great was the founder of the Achaemenid Empire and king of Persia from 559-530 BC. He is venerated in the Hebrew Bible as Cyrus the Messiah for conquering Babylon and liberating the Jews from captivity.
“Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings, to open doors before him that gates may not be closed: “I will go before you and level the exalted places, I will break in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret laces,that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me, there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.” Isaiah 24:1-7
Read what David has to say about God, His nation Israel and His control over His universe. Above all, God established Israel as His nation for His purposes, and with Jesus as its King and Priest, it will rule over all the nations in His soon-coming Millennial Kingdom.
“Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant! For the LORD has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession. For I know that the LORD is great and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightning for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast; who in your midst, O Egypt, sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants; who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings, Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan, and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.” Psalms 135:1-12
If you ask most people what controls the wind, most people would probably answer it has to do with the relationship between the earth and the sun, temperature, and pressure imbalances. Few people think of God having control over the wind’s cause or its lack thereof.
Yet Revelation 7:1-3 says: “Then I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds so they did not blow on the earth or the sea, or even on any tree. And I saw another angel coming up from the east, carrying the seal of the living God. And he shouted to those four angels, who had been given the power to harm land and sea, ‘Wait! Don’t harm the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants.’”
In this text, the Bible says God employs his angels to restrain the winds to accomplish a specific purpose. The wind belongs to God. The winds are under his control and subordinate to his will. It’s not so much what’s behind the winds and storms; it’s who.
In his commentary on Revelation, William Barclay, the renowned Scottish Bible scholar, says that the Old Testament often pictures the winds as God’s agents employed in his acts of judgment. Here are a few of Barclay’s examples:
“Zechariah has the picture of the chariots of the winds, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth (Zechariah6:1-5). Nahum speaks of the Lord who has his way in the whirlwind and the storm (Nahum 1:3) … The winds are God’s chariots (Jeremiah 4:13). God comes with his chariots like a whirlwind (Isaiah 66:15). [Chariots were utilized for warfare and judgment on one’s enemies.] The wind is the breath of God (Job 37:9, 10). The wind rends the mountains (I Kings 19:11) and withers the grass (Isaiah 40:7, 24) and dries up the stream, the river, and the sea (Nahum 1:4; Psalm 18:15). God’s day [Judgment Day] would be the day of the whirlwind (Amos 1:14). The whirlwind of the Lord goes forth in its fury and falls on the head of the wicked (Jeremiah 23:19; 30:23). The wind of the Lord…will come from the wilderness and destroy the fertility of the land (Hosea 13:15). God will send his four winds upon Elam and scatter the people (Jeremiah 49:36).”
Other passages of Scripture provide a window for looking inside God’s pilothouse, not only for the winds but the weather in general. God can use the weather to either bless or punish. Job 37:11-13 reads: “He loads the clouds with moisture, and they flash with his lightning. The clouds churn about at his direction. They do whatever he commands throughout the earth. He makes these things happen either to punish people or to show his unfailing love.”
Perhaps one of the strongest passages which present the way God uses climate conditions to display his sovereignty is in Haggai.
“You hoped for rich harvests, but they were poor. And when you brought your harvest home, I blew it away. Why? Because my house lies in ruins, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, while all of you are busy building your own fine houses. It’s because of you that the heavens withhold the dew and the earth produces no crops. I have called for a drought on your fields and hills — a drought to wither the grain and grapes and olive trees and all your other crops, a drought to starve you and your livestock and to ruin everything you have worked so hard to get.” Haggai 1:9-11
In God’s economy, angels are also associated with affecting weather patterns. Angels have a ministry concerning the earth. They are linked to winds, fires, storms, and pestilence (Psalm 103:20; 104:4; I Chronicles 21:15, 16, 27). Throughout the book of Revelation, they are connected with fire, hail, blood, a plague of locusts, and the poison of scorpions. At certain times in history, God authorizes and directs them to use their tremendous powers to affect meteorological conditions.
The Bible knows nothing of secondary causes. Barclay concludes: Since Adam and Eve, who were initially placed in a perfect environment, rebelled against God and fell into sin, this universe, this planet, has been negatively impacted.
We live in a fallen world. Nature itself is broken like humanity and doesn’t work correctly, and it can’t until the redemption of humankind is complete (Romans 8:19). Therefore, natural disasters are often simply the result of an ailing earth in convulsion.
Nevertheless, when a nation or nations operate grievously in sin, ignore God, reject his ways, and despise Christ and His people with increasing intensity, it shouldn’t surprise us if he intervenes and sends catastrophic natural calamities to get people’s attention. These extraordinary misfortunes mercifully remind us of who is in control. They are warnings with redemptive messages to be reconciled with our Maker.
In their book, God’s Answer for America, Darrel and Cindy Deville rightly state these environmental conditions are referenced as “global warming” or “climate change.” But the Deville’s point to a more likely cause, arguing: “No matter what they call it, these things are all part of the birthing pains and natural disasters that will increase as Jesus prophesied (Matthew 24:7; Mark 13:8; Luke21:11, 25-26).
These are not ‘global warming’ (or ‘climate change’), but they are part of God’s ‘global warnings’ as signs for these last days. These will continue to increase and shift as the return of Christ gets closer to birth a new age, his millennial reign. We also believe things will be happening and shifting in the days ahead that will cause scientists to be baffled.
Politicians claim we all need to work together to ‘battle climate change,’ but there is nothing they can do to stop it. Like a woman in labor, the contractions will become more frequent and more intense the closer the new birth gets. So, this is not about ‘climate change.’ But the earth is instead preparing for a ‘kingdom change’ – the coming glorious kingdom and reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 11:15)
Most Christians are giving no thought to Jesus second coming to earth and yet there are far more prophecies about His second coming than there were of His first coming. We need to remember that despite the many prophecies of Jesus’ first Coming, the religious leaders of the day, the Pharisees and Sadducees, totally rejected Him. What about the religious leaders of our Day?
Fortunately, there are many great ministries that God is raising up in these last days to alert Christians to the many signs Jesus has given of His second coming. The primary “end times” ministry, I would recommend is Nelson Walters’s YouTube videos. Make sure you sign up for those. Those that follow this website know that I repost many of Nelson’s videos here.
Jesus’ “end times” warnings are given in all three Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Olivet Discourse). Paul confirms key “end times” prophecies in 1 Thessalonians – The Coming of the Lord (1 Thess.4:13-18) and The Day of the Lord (1 Thess.5:1-11). In Revelation, John opens up many of the OT prophecies, particularly the book of Daniel (“Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end” Daniel 12:9). Daniel and John in Revelation give us great detail on the last seven years (70th week of Daniel) prior to Jesus’ return. For Christians, it is imperative that we recognise the Antichrist (Great Deceiver) and the False Prophet when they arrive on the scene. These two individuals are going to look really good as the apparent deliverers from the mounting chaos in the world. Fortunately in Revelation, John takes us through to the end of the story when the Antichrist is defeated and Jesus ushers in His Millennial rule on this earth. All the OT prophets were given the victorious end of Israel’s story with their Messiah ruling the nations from a magnificent new Jerusalem. Great detail is given in the Bible on the last one thousand years of this Cosmos’s existence before God destroys it with fire.
I believe one of my tasks is to get Christians thinking and praying about how they might prepare now for their role when they return with Jesus in their resurrected bodies to rule and reign with Him. Remember, Jesus’ Millennial reign is a transition period. The curse is not lifted from this Cosmos so people are still being born and dying. We are told repeatedly that Jesus and the Saints rule with a “rod of iron”. Satan is bound in the Abyss for most of this time but is released at a time near the end of the thousand years and is still able to gather an enormous army (“their number islike the sand of the sea” Rev.20:8), to come against Jesus and the Saints. Even with Jesus and the resurrected Saints here on earth people will still rebel wanting to be the god of their own little world.
I am in the process of building the website http://www.millennialkingdom.net which I hope you will use to start to become familiar with what God has revealed to us about Jesus’ soon-coming Millennial Kingdom. He has revealed it for a purpose. When you do it will make you more Kingdom-focused and in prayer about how you can fulfill your mission here and now.
In the Millennium, I am sure we will be using the latest technologies; ENERGY: I am confident Nuclear Fusion will be perfected as a power source. TRANSPORT: It appears that Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Battery Powered vehicles will both have a place. ROBOTICS: Use of robots will expand. Amazon’s robotic warehouses have demonstrated the benefits. Robots work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no tea and lunch breaks, no holidays or sick leave and they do not make mistakes. The biggest unbudgeted saving for Amazon was no mistakes. The savings were huge from Customer Service not having to handle customer complaints about wrong deliveries: phone calls, the cost of returns, and sending replacement products.
Just saw this video of aerial robots picking fruit.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Driverless cars and trucks will be the norm. Moreover, it is unlikely we will own vehicles. We will just order the correct-sized vehicle for whatever purpose. It will arrive on time and deliver you or your group to where you want to go and then move on to its next task. The savings will be enormous, fewer vehicles as all working most of the time, no garages at home or work.
AGRICULTURE: Fresh vegetables grown in cities close to where they are consumed will be the norm. It is already happening in places like Singapore. Gardens in the sky – echo urban architecture.
In the Millennium I think God will use me in the business segment as it was a talent He has given me and I enjoyed it. What about you? You can pray into it by asking God to prepare you now for your coming role in His Kingdom.
What does civilizational decay look like? On Wednesday afternoon, Americans received a major warning sign that their Republic is teetering on the brink. It came in the unlikely form of a Senate cloture vote — a rather obscure parliamentary procedure that sets up the final passage of a bill in the Senate. But it wasn’t just any cloture vote, and it’s not just any bill under consideration.
I’m talking about the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, it is anything but that if you accept marriage as defined by God, and it just moved one step closer to President Biden’s desk, where it will certainly be signed into law. It passed cloture by a vote of 62-37, as 12 Republican senators joined Senate Democrats to throw “people of faith under the bus” — and possibly into prison.
Whether you realize it or not, marriage is one the best indicators of the health and stability of a nation. Just like buildings societies demand a stable foundation. Without one, they will crumble and crash, leaving a wreckage of human suffering and misery in the ruins.
No matter how hard progressives try to deny it, marriage is the irreplaceable foundation for stable societies. Not just any “marriage” but one man joining with one woman in a permanent, monogamous, committed union and dedicated to caring for any offspring such a union may produce.
“But the institution of marriage itself — in law, custom, and tradition — is intimately bound up with the act of creating and raising children. Marriage, at its core, is the social institution most fundamentally oriented towards procreation. It is God’s way, (he said societies way) of harnessing, binding, and supporting the relationship that creates a new life, and it gives the child produced from that union (and his or her parents) the best chance at a stable life.”
Why is marriage the bedrock of society? Because it is how humanity endures throughout the ages, just as God intended for it to be. Jesus, Himself reminds us of the inescapable gravity of marriage.
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:4-6
Now, Jesus is addressing divorce here, but the principle, which is that God-defined marriage is between one man and one woman for life, applies to the proposed redefinition of marriage that is now sailing through the United States Congress with the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act.” They are trying to separate “what God has joined together.”
If we start unraveling this thread, there is no telling where the stopping point may be. Well, we actually do have a stark and dark preview: “sex change” operations on teenagers at top hospitals around the country, “kid-friendly” drag shows in your small town, and the rise of the acceptance of pedophilia. When you cut the brakes on God’s design for human sexuality and flourishing you can soon expect to fly off the cliff and crash into hell.
Lest I conclude on such a dark note, join me in remembering that just as human history began with a marriage so too it ends with a marriage. The arc of redemption stretches fromGenesis 2:21-25, the marriage of Adam and Eve, toRevelation 19:6-9, the “marriage supper of the Lamb,”that is, of Christ and the Church. The Senate, the Democrats, and worthless Republicans may prevail against the definition of marriage and our religious liberty here in America, but God has guaranteed that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18)
However, the Bible reveals it will take Jesus’ return to this earth to restore sanity to the world. First, Jesus comes in the clouds to take His Saints to heaven, and then He pours out His wrath upon an unrepentant world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements. The severity of God’s judgement is fierce. Below, I reveal what the Bible tells us about the first two trumpet judgements. The judgements escalate in intensity.
We need to warn our unbelieving family members and friends of what they are facing if they do not repent of their rebellion against God and His commandments. Show them how to ask God for His saving grace provided by Jesus. It is only by dying to self and becoming a new creature in Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit indwelling their spirit can they avoid God’s coming judgement.
The Seven Trumpets “Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.“ Revelation 8:6-9
The author William Wolfe served as a senior official in the Trump administration, both as a deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his service in the administration, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including the former Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in history from Covenant College and is finishing his Master of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Jonathan Cahn joins Erick Stakelbeck on TBN’s Praise to discuss the restoration and significance of Israel, as well as Jubilee events. Listen as they encourage you to dig deep into the Word to see all that the Bible has correctly predicted, and to see that everything God says is true. God is in control of all events in the affairs of men and nations. You will be blown away by what Jonathan reveals. How did Jonathan discover this history in such detail? Jonathan reveals that He was blown away, as you will be, as the Holy Spirit revealed these events to Him. You will want to buy Jonathan’s book The Oracle where all of this history is revealed.
Just as God appointed Italy’s new Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, its first female prime minister (see recent post “Italians Made Wise Choice“), whose focus is on protecting the institutions of God, family, and country, we now have the new UK Prime Minister Liz Truss pledged “wholehearted” support for the Jewish State during a speech at the Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) conference on Monday.
“I am so pleased to be here for the first time at the CFI event as your prime minister,” Truss was quoted as saying by the Jewish Chronicle.
“As you know I am a huge Zionist, I am a huge supporter of Israel, and I know that we can take the UK-Israel relationship from strength to strength.”
“In this world – where we are facing threats from authoritarian regimes who don’t believe in freedom and democracy – two free democracies, the UK and Israel, need to stand shoulder to shoulder and we will be even closer in the future,” she said.
Truss stressed that her country’s support for Israel is “absolute” and “wholehearted,” while adding that the UK and its allies would ensure that Iran “will never…get a nuclear weapon.”
God reestablished Israel as a nation back in 1948 as part of His “end times” plan and He has used leaders like Trump and now Truss to support His plan. We know from Biblical prophecy that Israel will suffer greatly under the Antichrist and as many as 2/3 of the population killed or deported but ultimately Jesus will return to rescue His nation at the battle of Armageddon and set up His Millennial Kingdom in a completely restored Jerusalem.
When God called Abraham, he didn’t say, “You need to ascribe to these commandments, right principles, and correct beliefs.” Instead, God told Abraham, “Go from your country, your people, and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” How did Abraham respond?
“So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.”Genesis 12.4
He didn’t say a word. He got his feet moving.
When it came time for Jesus to assemble the men who would become His apostles and disciples, he didn’t command them to discern and discover all of the scriptural rules and laws to govern their conduct and learn what they should believe. No, Jesus called them and what was their response?
“Immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.” Matthew 4:22
They got their feet moving and so should we.
In the three short years that Jesus ministered on this earth, Jesus walked over 3000 miles. He was a man on the move. He was a man of imminency and intention.
Jesus took ordinary people, made by and in the image of, his Father, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, turned them into a community, a family, of fervent and dedicated apostles, disciples, and students, thereby launching the greatest social movement in human history.
By Jesus’ death and resurrection, He made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, to indwell the Spirit of every person who repents of their past rebellion against God and given their life to Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Submitting to baptism in water they have shown they have died to their old life and been born again by the Holy Spirit into a new life in Christ.
It is possible to be born again by the Holy Spirit and yet we quench His work in our lives thereby grieving Him.
The detailed message we are given of how Elijah heard from God is tremendously important.
“And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:11-12
How did Elijah respond to the “still small voice“? He “went out..”. He got his feet moving.
“And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out…” 1 Kings 19:13
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
It is obvious from this Scripture that it is possible to grieve the Holy Spirit and we are told that we quench His work in our lives when we ignore His “still small voice“. I know in my own life that I often am distracted by worldly attractions and miss God’s best for me which means I miss the joy that we get from serving Him.
Prayer is the way we stay in touch with God, Human beings were made to be in fellowship with God. Adam and Eve’s disobedience severed the link but thank God He asked His Son, Jesus, to restore the link. What does God do for those that relate to Him in love? The Psalmist puts it well when he said,
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalms 16:11
If we are obedient and get our feet moving when He asks us to go, He will guide our steps.
“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases Him.” 1 John 3:21-22
Why does God permit what He hates? Find out with special guest Joni Eareckson Tada.
Periods of awakening often coincide with periods of suffering for the people of God. The Bible indicates that Christians should expect suffering, for our Lord Himself suffered in this life.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:24
Joni, from her experience, provides us with a good understanding of the place of suffering in the Christian life, reminding us of our need for the Holy Spirit to sustain us as we face personal trials and even direct persecution.
Love this gem of wisdom given by Joni: God permits what he hates to accomplish what He loves. Christ in me the hope of glory.
Can I suggest that before you read this post you read or re-read my post “The Key to Evangelism is God’s Power” on June 30th, 2022.
If we go into evangelism understanding that in some cases, God actually uses the proclamation of truth as a means to close one’s mind from repentance, we can guard our hearts by recognizing that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass. What that means with respect to evangelism is that sometimes, the preaching of the gospel actually serves as the means through which an individual’s heart is hardened against God. In other words, not every instance of proclaiming a message of repentance is designed by God to bring the people who hear it to repentance and faith. In fact, Scripture often demonstrates the opposite is true—that the proclamation serves to condemn the recipients rather than restore them. A great example of this is found in the commissioning of the prophet Isaiah:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” He said, “Go, and tell this people: Keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand. Render the hearts of this people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed.” Then I said, “Lord, how long?” and He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, houses are without people and the land is utterly desolate. the Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, and it will again be subject to burning, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump.”Isaiah 6:8-13
Many tend to focus on Isaiah’s answer to the commission, but the focus of the passages itself is on the content of the commission, which is fleshed out in verses 9-12. The Hebrew denotes the continuing nature of the commands to be given to the people in v. 9, yet also the subsequent result. The Israelites will be commanded by the prophet to continually be in a state of listening, but they will never come to understanding; they are to be continually in a state of seeking out understanding, but they will never come to an understanding. They are to constantly seek after God—yet they will not find Him. In other words, they will be given an impossible task and the preaching of the prophet himself will only solidify this reality. In v. 10 the prophet is actually commanded—the imperative form of the verbs is used here—to render their hearts insensitive (lit. fat), their ears dull (lit. heavy), and their eyes dim (lit. pasted shut). As Brevard Childs puts it, “The prophet is to be the executor of death, the guarantor of complete hardening. His very proclamation is to ensure that Israel will not turn and repent.”
Notice the prophet doesn’t ask any questions concerning the fairness of God’s edict in v. 11, but rather the duration for which he is to heed this commission. The answer, of course, is devastating. The prophet’s work of preaching a message that will only harden the hearts of his people will not be completed until the Lord has rendered the capital cities desolate and carried the Israelites away to captivity.
The passage plainly suggests the purpose and result of the prophet’s commission is to be an agent God uses to harden the hearts of those who hear him. In other words, his message, though one riddled with calls to repentance and faith in Yahweh and a future restoration of the nation, will never be heeded by the people because it only serves to intensify their immediate judgment. The promise of v. 13 still carries with it the tones of judgment simply because like their fathers before them who died off in the desert, they will die off in captivity. Thus, even this promise serves as a means of hardening their hearts against the Lord.
This theme comes up time and again not only throughout the book of Isaiah, but the other prophets as well, and likewise, in the New Testament.
“The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.” Romans 11:7-10
The prophets Ezekiel and Jeremiah are called to a similar path as Isaiah, where they will preach a message of judgment and salvation, yet they will not be heeded (Ez. 2:7; Jer. 7:27). Christ Himself taught in parables for the express purpose of concealing the truth of the Kingdom of God, lest those whom it was not granted to would hear and repent (Matt. 13:10-16; Mk. 4:10-12; Lk. 8:9-10). The apostle Paul even picks this idea up when he speaks of God giving mankind up to the lusts of their hearts, dishonorable passions, and a debased mind (Rom. 1:18-32). When you look through the entirety of the Old and New Testaments, what is plainly seen is that God is at work to harden the hearts of whom He desires, which is most clearly expressed in Rom. 9:6-29. In every instance where the edict is rendered a “lost-cause” against the recipients of the message, the truth of God has been made self-evident so that man is without excuse.
None of this is a matter of controversy in Scripture. Instead, election and reprobation are simply part of the cosmic reality of judgment and salvation unfolding before us as the plan of God is revealed. In the midst of this, Scripture unabashedly upholds the tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility without much qualification. The important thing to note in all of this is that it is not as if those under this severe indictment from the Lord are under it without cause. In every instance, the people have either forsaken the covenant or rejected their Creator willingly. The commission of Isaiah serves to show us this reality quite clearly, in that chapters 2-5 give clear evidence that the people plainly rejected the terms of their covenant with God, and as a result, He would send the prophet to seal their fate.
To put it in as blunt of terms as I can: there was no hope for their escape from judgment, as God made it an impossibility for them to hear the words of His prophet and repent. The fullness of the consequences had come upon that generation, showing the patience of the Lord had long been extinguished. The only thing one is left to conclude then from the call given to Isaiah is that his words would not serve to be a message of hope; his words tell them, “I have been given a command by Yahweh to preach in such a manner that your hearts become hardened, your ears become blocked, and your eyes become darkened.”
What all of this means for the church then is that we are simply to be found faithful to the task of heralding God’s message. We are to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, which for most people, means you are to bring the gospel into your workplaces, friendships, families, and so forth. All that is required of you is to look to where God has placed you currently and simply be found faithful to the task of proclaiming the good news to those who are dead in their sins. It requires that we not be ashamed of the good news of the gospel, which includes not being ashamed of the bad news of God’s judgment against sin. Whatever the result of that proclamation of the gospel may be, whether a hardening or a softening of the heart, God effectually uses this message for His purposes. We may not necessarily like the implications of God using our proclamation of judgment and salvation to effectively harden an individual’s heart. We may not believe the implications of this are even fair—but we ought to remember in the midst of everything that we don’t want fair because our idea of what’s fair doesn’t square with God’s.
The gospel is a scandal to the world because it sees the murderer, rapist, racist, and the like, on equal footing with the sweet old lady who doesn’t confess Christ—and offers them all the same grace of God in Christ. What that very simply means is that the gospel is not barred from anyone on the basis of their own doing or choosing, but rather, on the sovereign choice of God Himself. If those who struggle with evangelizing were to focus on the sovereignty of God in evangelism, it would free many a burdened soul up to take joy in the work that God has given them, realizing that whether the person they share the gospel with rejects or receives it, God is glorified in accomplishing His work through the preached word.
Adapted from an article by Grayson Gilbert “God ordaims whatsoever comes to pass: including your suffering” http://www.patheos.com
In times of great political change, major cultural transformation, and social upheaval like you and I see today, we have to remember that God is in control.
This is of extraordinary comfort to the Christian. God knows His people and He cares for them.
That is the story of Scripture and of history. And that is your story. He will not leave or forsake you – that is one thing you can be certain about.
There is not one square inch of all creation over which God is not sovereign. He governs all things; He ordains all things. He sits above and behind all things and gives all things their meaning – including the government.
Daniel 2:21 tells us: “He changes times and seasons, deposes kings, and sets up kings.”
Romans 13:1: Paul said: “there is no authority except God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.”
God can’t be shut out of government.
Some want to say, “No, this is a secular society and God cannot come in.” But it’s not possible. It matters not whether the people in government have faith or not. God was, and is, already there.
And you and I are in a rare situation today – it’s called a democracy.
That means as Christians in this nation, you and I can be a voice of righteousness when leaders are weak, failing, or evil. It means you and I have an opportunity to speak up. We can tell the truth. We can mobilise.
Some may say, “Does political action really matter? Shouldn’t we just preach the Gospel?” My response would be: “Why can’t we do both?”
You and I need to be whole Christians. We need to be Christians who live and speak the Gospel in the workplace, in the community, and in the public squares. That’s when people will ask, “What’s different about you?” and they’ll come on the journey towards Christ.
That is desperately needed right now. YOU are needed right now – to be salt and light in a society that is gripped by uncertainty.
In difficult times the work of God becomes more urgent, not less. People need to hear the truth with more urgency and clarity because the stakes are higher.
You and I are called to speak of Christ, represent Christ, and do good. To be salt to stop the decay, and light to drive out the darkness.
Democracy is a precious gift we can use to be the voice that our leaders sometimes are not.
And that leads me to the upcoming elections. If you want to know how you should vote, I will tell you … Vote for righteousness.
Don’t vote for the widest motorway or the biggest welfare cheque. Vote at a macro level for right and wrong.
Obviously, it’s never a perfect choice. But vote for the one who you truly believe will promote that which is good, and restrain that which is evil, more than the other. That’s what the government is meant to do!
ACL is here to inform you, equip you, and mobilise you to be a voice of truth and righteousness at a time when there are many conflicting messages, and when our government is making critical decisions for our nation.