Preface: Following text is taken from Chapter 8 of our book God’s Answer for America
Throughout biblical history we see multiple examples and patterns of how God warns and deals with cities and nations in great sin. In the next two chapters we believe you will see how the “America, America!” prophecy of 2007 aligns with the biblical pattern of how God gets a nation’s attention.
OLD TESTAMENT VS NEW TESTAMENT EXAMPLES
Many seem to forget, the Old Testament covers about 4,000 years of human history, while the New Testament covers less than 100 years. So naturally the Old Testament holds many more examples of God’s dealing with nations than the New Testament.
Although over two-thirds of the Bible is the Old Testament, many incorrectly assume it’s not that relevant today, which is both a great shame and gross misunderstanding. The Old Testament is as relevant to the New Testament as the first floor is to a two-story building. The second floor cannot stand or be relevant without the first. We should understand that the apostle Paul wrote the following verse when the New Testament had not yet been completed or compiled:
All scripture [only the Old Testament at that time] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
—2 Timothy 3:16
BIBLICAL PATTERNS AND EXAMPLES
The truth is that from Genesis to Revelation there are two consistent themes— both the goodness (love) and severity (judgment) of God (Rom. 11:22; Jer. 9:24). The judgment and wrath of God are fundamental truths seen throughout biblical history and writings, Old and New Testaments. There are many levels and forms of judgment—from God lifting His hand of blessings and protection, the effects of sin itself, to His wrath being poured out (Rom. 1:18).
Here are some Old and New Testament examples:
Some Old Testament examples of judgment (over 4,000 years recorded)
• Worldwide flood in Noah’s day
• Sodom and Gomorrah (brimstone and fire)
• Judgment on the priests (Aaron’s sons and Eli’s sons)
• Plagues upon Philistines when ark of covenant came near
• Rebellious Korah, priests, and followers swallowed up by earth
• Canaanites (natural disasters and war)
• National disasters, enemy attacks, and invasion numerous times throughout Israel and Jerusalem’s history • Judgment on many other nations (see Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Amos)
New Testament record of God’s judgment after the Cross (less than 100 years recorded)
• Ananias and Sapphira dropped dead for lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5)
• King Herod struck and consumed by judgment (Acts 12)
• The destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70) (Jesus prophesied this in Mark 13:1–2.)
• Jesus spoke judgment on several towns because they wouldn’t repent, and these towns no longer exist (Matt. 11:20–24).
• The Book of Revelation’s future trumpets and the bowls of wrath
It Is Revealed
Jesus dying on the cross did not change the nature of God. Malachi 3:6 declares, “I am the Lord, I do not change.” Also John 3 says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36, niv, emphasis added). Note that “God’s wrath remains” is present tense.
This also reflects what Paul wrote in Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (emphasis added). Notice Paul says the “wrath of God is revealed”—also present tense. God’s wrath and judgment still remains and is revealed against sin today.
The apostle Peter, while warning the prophets, the teachers, and people of coming destruction because of their sinful ways, reminded them of God’s past judgment of sin (John 16:8–9). Peter then cited how judgment upon the angels of Genesis 6, the great worldwide flood in Noah’s day, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were examples of how God will deal in the future with the ungodly, which includes today (2 Pet. 2:4–6).
God’s Example to Jeremiah
God gave two clear examples of how He deals with nations to the prophet Jeremiah, which he records in Jeremiah 18:7–11: 64
Example 1: “If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned” (vv. 7–8, nlt, emphasis added).
Example 2: “And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey Me, I will not bless it as I said I would” (vv. 9–10, nlt, emphasis added).
Then God told Jeremiah to go and warn all Judah and Jerusalem. Say to them, ‘‘Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, I am planning disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way and make your ways and your doings good’” (v. 11, emphasis added).
We see this pattern throughout biblical and world history, and we are also seeing it again today in America. We see this reflected in the “America, America!” prophecy in chapter 2. This is how God operates.
Now let’s look at how God would work to get a nation’s attention before judgment and destruction came.
GETTING A NATIONS ATTENTION
Ask yourself these two questions: When God has something to say, how does He do it? How does God get a nation’s attention?
Word Warnings: Written and verbal
The typical biblical pattern was that in a time of spiritual and moral crisis, God, in His goodness and mercy, would send a message through His servants the prophets to the people or nation. They would warn of God’s coming judgment of sin (John 16:8–9), calling them to turn away from (repent) of their sin. These warnings usually included a word of hope and redemption if they responded in obedience to His words.
Today, just like a parent, Father God will instruct, guide, and correct us through His Word first and by His Spirit who leads and guides us into all truth (John 16:13). This is the preferred way to bring correction when needed. If we will simply abide by His ways already written, then God’s favor, protection, and blessing shines—as it once did upon America.
But, as we saw in Jeremiah 18:7–11, if a nation ignores His Word and continues in its rebellious and arrogant ways, then God in His mercy will send warnings (written or verbal warnings) through His prophets or other servants to be sure we are getting the message clearly.
Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. —Amos 3:7
In ancient Israel’s day God went to great measures to warn them because He did not want to see their destruction. Consistently He sent prophets to warn the leaders, kings, entire cities, and nations. God’s love would not easily let go, sometimes warning them for years of the consequences of their sin if they did not turn back to Him. And when the people sincerely repented, then God relented from bringing judgment.
One classic example is the prophet Jonah’s warning to the wicked city of Nineveh recorded in the Book of Jonah. They heard the simple warning, responded, and repented; then God relented and they were spared. However, about 150 years later, the prophet Nahum had to also warn them again of destruction because they had returned to their wicked ways, and this time they were destroyed (see the Book of Nahum).
We should also note that God often speaks and warns of things to come through dreams and visions which are shared through verbal or written words. We see this throughout both the Old and New Testaments.
It is God’s perfect will that we respond in obedience to His written and spoken words of warning. However, if we continue to ignore and reject His warnings, He will then use greater measures as warnings to get our attention in an effort to save us from greater judgment and destruction resulting from the consequences of sin.
Before we proceed, we offer an understanding of God’s warnings in relation to His judgments.
Warnings vs Judgment
It is important to understand there is a difference between God’s “warnings” and His “ judgments.” Warnings come to get our attention before judgment comes. Judgment is often considered more severe and final. However, it is also important to note, lesser judgments can also serve as warnings (even progressive warnings) of a greater and more severe judgment coming—the ten plagues upon Egypt is a clear example of this (Exod. 8–11).
After 400 years of slavery, God sent Moses to warn Pharaoh. He brought progressively worse warnings in the form of judgments, resulting in great destruction and suffering all over Egypt. Then came even greater judgment with all of Egypt’s firstborn killed (Exod. 11). It was God’s justice for eighty years earlier when Egypt’s ruler declared the killing of all the male babies of Israel. The other greater judgment was Egypt’s army being drowned in the Red Sea (Exod. 14). All these judgments were a collective part of God’s great judgment upon Egypt (and all it represented).
Now, if God’s verbal or written warnings are ignored, biblical history shows how He would go to greater measures (three main ways) to get a nation’s attention.
See Chapter 9 of God’s Answer for America for the Biblical Pattern: Three Ways God deals with Nations.
We have also added a Blog for Chapter 9 to cover this Topic.