GOD ORDAINS WHATSOEVER COMES TO PASS

 

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

JUDGEMENT OF GOD

The article by Robin Schumacher “The Judgements of God are everywhere” in Christian Post February 7th is timely. I have reproduced some of it below. Schumacher makes no reference to the fact that the lawlessness and increasing persecution of Christians that we see escalating in our world matches end-times Biblical prophecy along with the many other signs. The good news for Christians is Jesus’ return is near so we need to get on with what God has called us to do, confident that He will empower us to do it.

The Judgement of God is everywhere:

“Judgment is covering our land today with respect to our choice of politicians. You can almost hear God saying, “So, you want to reject and cancel leaders who honor me? Fine.”

I’ll have you elect officials who call evil good and good evil. Who, like a lost donkey finder, do and say things so stupid you wonder how they get up in the morning and tie their own shoes. Who enshrine criminals as victims and paint their victims as evil-doers. Who take away your protection from felons while using your money to pay for their own private security teams. Who prioritize gender-neutral toy aisles over keeping criminals in jail and businesses safe from theft. Who robs your wallets by pursuing the failed scorched-earth policies of godless, communist governments. And who trample on the one true faith while lifting up false religions that belittle women and force submission. Let’s see how you do with leaders who, “are like wolves tearing the prey, by shedding blood and destroying lives in order to get dishonest gain” (Ezekiel 22:27).

So you want to abandon Me?

Romans 1:18-32 teaches that everyone knows there is a God from nature itself and therefore it is natural to worship the Creator who brought everything into existence. When people choose not to do that which is natural and abandon God, He gives them over to a life that is unnatural and abandons them.

When we look at the current state of our culture, which has shut God out of nearly every sphere, you can see His judgments springing up far and wide: “Are you actually confused over whether I exist and who or what you should worship even though you know the truth down deep in your soul?  Well, I’ll send a state of confusion upon you, to the point where you’re puzzled over even the basics of your humanity including what gender you are and your own sexual attraction.

I’ll have your most beautiful cities mocked with names like San “Fransicko” because of the depraved mind you’ll develop. Since you pollute these lands with murdered unborn children and moral filth, you won’t be able to walk down your streets without stepping over human feces. I’ll put out on open display people destroying their lives with drugs and pay for their habits with money out of your own pocket, stolen by insane-reasoning politicians. These will be the same ones who won’t lift a finger to stop violence, even as your own children continue to be killed by stray bullets from repeat offenders who are constantly released and laugh at your court house’s revolving door.”

 What about you?   

The only thing worse than being blind to the judgments of God occurring around you is being oblivious to the ones occurring to you. Contrary to what some believe, they don’t typically come as a lightning bolt from the sky but rather as the natural consequences hardwired into sin itself.

Like the prodigal son, you can get so dull to the awful end results in your life that you wake up one day in the pig pen and wonder how you got there.

But it’s no mystery really; we often ignore His repeated jabs in the side to get our attention. The wake-up calls from God are something articulated succinctly by C. S. Lewis who wrote,

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

I wish I could tell you that I have hope our culture will collectively listen to God’s bullhorn and return to Him, but my confidence in that is waning. However, individually, you and I can open our eyes and ears to His delivered course corrections and experience deliverance from the consequences of our personal sins.

It’s my prayer that we avoid God’s wrath in the first place, learn from it if that’s not possible, and realize that His judgments are many times self-inflicted wounds from our own sins:  

“They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil” (Proverbs 1:30-33).

Christians will avoid the coming wrath of God that will be poured out with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements beginning in Revelation 8:1. At the trumpet blast, when the seventh seal surrounding the scroll containing the Trumpet and Bowl judgements is opened the Saints are raptured.

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

LESSONS TO BE LEARNT FROM AMOS

Amos, possibly the first of the writing prophets, was a shepherd and farmer called to prophesy during the reigns of Uzziah (792–740 b.c.) in the southern kingdom (Judah) and Jeroboam II (793–753) in the north (Israel). During this time both kingdoms enjoyed political stability, which in turn brought prosperity. It was also a time of idolatry, sexual perversion, extravagance, and corruption. The rich and powerful were oppressing the poor. The sacrificial system is exploited and corrupt in every conceivable way. Amos denounced the people for their apostasy and social injustice and warned them that disaster would fall upon them for breaking the covenant.

In all of it, God gives examples of warning after warning, calling them to repentance, only to give the refrain, “…yet you have not returned to Me.” Thus, the inevitable result of their sin is that God’s judgment has gone forth and it will not be returned. The Lion shall come and consume them in His wrath, yet all the while, they will not see His discipline through, drought, famine, plague, pestilence, swarms of insects, warfare, and fire and brimstone. They shall come face to face with the living God Himself. Thus the summons is given to Israel, “Prepare to meet your God.”

Stark as the language may be, the command, “prepare to meet your God” is not simply one of the inevitable reality all men must face. It is a plea. It is a plea to seek God and live. In other words: it is a plea that the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom would repent and turn back to God. He is calling Israel back to covenant faithfulness so they may avoid judgement. God’s aim is not simply destruction, but restoration. Note that the entire nation would face judgement, the book of Amos simply reveals that there was no innocent party to be found. All were commanded: return to the Lord, or perish.

Likewise in our day like Israel, “they will not see His discipline through famine, drought, pestilence, swarms of insects, plague, warfare, and fires.” The evil being done in our day takes the culturally acceptable look of ripping an infant limb from limb whilst in their mother’s womb. It dons the appearance of one who exploits those around them, seeing them as expendable objects rather than those who bear the very image of God. Likewise, it embraces the sexual perversion bound up in a culture that defiles the marriage bed in every meaningful way. Gender is a choice, not assigned by God. In all of it, the point where things terminate is in deception. Deception for the one who believes they can reject God and still be prepared to die. Likewise, deception for the one who believes they can fool God by living a double-life.

Many of the end times Bible prophecies have already been fulfilled and it is possible that Jesus has already taken off one or more seals from The Scroll (Revelation 5) containing the wrath of God. It is past time for the church to alert the world of coming judgement.

The Trumpet and Bowl Judgements of God

When the seventh seal is taken off and The Scroll of Revelation is finally opened the seven trumpet and seven bowl judgements release the wrath of God upon the earth. I have shown just the first five trumpet judgements to show their ferocity. The intensity escalates to the bowl judgements. Whilst Christians will experience the time of tribulation even great tribulation spoken of by Daniel and in Revelation during the last seven years prior to the Millennial Kingdom They will not be on earth when the wrath of God is poured out with the trumpet and bowl judgements during the last year. The saints will return to earth with Jesus to rule and reign with Him in the Millennium.

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.
The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.
The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.
Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”
​ And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.”
Revelation 8:7-13 and 9:1-6

JUDGEMENT OF GOD

Urgent Prophetic Update from Rabbi Jonathan Cahn! There is only one answer for America right now as we go into 2021. Find out what, best-selling author of “The Harbinger” has to say about the things that are to come. This is a must watch video, it demonstrates God is judging America. There is no doubt about it when you hear the details of the events that have unfolded in 2020. Make sure you get this video out to family and friends.

WORLD UNDER THE POWER OF THE EVIL ONE

That violent looters and rioters have been given a free pass as the oppressed and the people who bear the brunt of their disdain are looked at as vile is amazing to me. 

Baltimore mayor gives protesters the go ahead to riot, loot, and burn

It is an abomination that the wicked is justified and the righteous are condemned, and yet even many a professing Christian doesn’t even blush in doing so (Proverbs 17:15). It is yet another contradiction of terms in what should be a relatively plain submission to biblical teaching on authority, but we ought not to be surprised to see a rejection of civic authority when there’s a rejection of Scripture’s authority on the matter.

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:19

The reality is that we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, even within the church where we find opposition. It is quite literally demonic opposition.

Just like you and I, they are sinners, but they are comfortable in the lap of Satan. The way Scripture talks about the world laying in the lap of the evil one describes a reality much like that of a child, wrapped-up contentedly in the lap of their parent. It’s a sobering depiction, but one I think gives us the reminder that we really do wrestle against these unseen powers and principalities that drive everything. Fortunately, Biblical prophecy reveals the end is in sight. Jesus promised second coming is not too far distant. Both in the O.T. and N.T., we are told every knee will bow and every tongue shall confess Jesus Christ is Lord.

For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:10-12

Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. by myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.” Isaiah 45:22-23

JUDGEMENT OF GOD

America was set up by its founding fathers to serve God and it has received the abundant blessings of God. Moreover, it has received many warnings, as did Israel, as it has increasingly turned away from God. Jonathan Cahn documented those warnings in his book, The Harbinger. Cahn documents how in 2001, God took His hand of protection off of American and allowed the terrorist (Assyrians) strike of 9/11, since then catastrophes have intensified, just as God struck Israel, and unless America repents of its horrific sins such as killing its babies, now gay marriage and transgender madness, it may suffer the same fate of Israel, utter devastation (70AD).

The first strike hit the centre of economic power then the second the centre of military power.
The President of the USA celebrates the Supreme Court’s legalisation of same sex marriage

THE BIBLE ON JUDGEMENT AND THE WRATH OF GOD

Are we storing up for ourselves the wrath of God?

Francis Chan talks on the wrath of God and judgement and what it reveals about God and His ways.

The world and even Christians don’t like to read the following verses of Scripture, but Francis recognises we are in the “last days” when God will pour out His wrath on an unrepentant world. He is called by God to deliver this word of coming judgement regardless of the cost just as the O.T. prophets were called to deliver words of coming judgement to Israel and Judah.

“The Lord avenges and is furious.
The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries,
And He reserves wrath for His enemies;
The Lord is slow to anger and great in power,
And will not at all acquit the wicked.” Nahum 1:2-3

“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are storing up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds” Romans 2:5-6