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Bible verses about Torment of the Godly
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Ezekiel 8:3

The prophet and his audience are representatives of an early group of deportees, so we can certainly say that Jerusalem still exists as a functioning city. It had not yet been destroyed.

Charles Whitaker
The Torment of the Godly (Part One)


 

Ezekiel 8:5-12

In verse 5, he sees the "image of jealousy" that had been set up in the Temple, an image that had caused God to go far away from the sanctuary (verse 6). This is probably some type of abomination that makes desolate, a pagan idol that had actually been set up in the gate of the Temple courtyard in Jerusalem.

At the end of verse 6, God tells Ezekiel he will see "greater abominations." He spies a hole in a wall in the court of the Temple (verse 7) and obeys God's command to dig around that hole (verse 8). Behind it, lo and behold, he finds a doorway. The door admits him into a very private, hidden inner chamber, the walls of which are engraved with pagan idols, which are, as it says in verse 10, "all the idols of the house of Israel."

In this idol-bedecked room are seventy elders of Israel, "each man had a censer in his hand." Ezekiel is witnessing some kind of pagan worship service going on behind closed doors right there in the Temple! It is very clandestine. Note that the worshippers are not extremists on the fringes of Israelite society, but they are the elders, the leaders of the land! They might be considered the preachers of Judah.

Did Ezekiel witness the movers and shakers of American society in a satanic Skull-and-Bones-type service attended by the President of the United States? That would be a modern, contemporary version of this type of vision, for the leaders of Ephraim and Manasseh today are deeply involved in the occult, witchcraft, and pagan practices to this day. They are all abominations, all very furtive, secret, and surreptitious.

Charles Whitaker
The Torment of the Godly (Part One)


 

Ezekiel 9:4

God spares those who suffer inner torment due to the rising societal evils around them. Why? What is so significant about sighing and crying over this world's abominable way of life?

Sigh, by way of definition, is Strong's #584, and it means "to groan," "to mourn," and "to moan." Its rather interesting first use is found in Exodus 2:23-25:

Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of their bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them. (Emphasis ours throughout.)

Note from the context that our God is a covenant-keeping God. He remembers His covenant and acknowledges those who hear Him and those who sigh among His people. In the Exodus story, He moved to redeem them from their bondage in Egypt, making a distinction between them and their oppressors (Exodus 8:22; 11:7).

Cry is Strong's #602 (a fairly rare word, used only four times in Scripture), and it also means "to groan," but it has another meaning as well: "to shriek." This word contains a great deal of emotional meaning. It involves a person's innermost feelings.

But, sighing and crying involves a lot more than emotion. For us to rightly understand what God requires of us, today, it is necessary to explain the thinking, the reason, that is behind "sighing and crying." Sound reason underlies the emotion expressed by sighing and crying, which needs elaboration before proceeding further.

Neuroscientists used to talk about compartments in the brain. Sometimes in the popular press there is an occasional assertion that one section of the brain is for sight, another one for hearing, another one for mathematical skills, and yet another for artistic skills. The faculty of reason is supposed to reside in the prefrontal cortex, and emotion comes from another area. This idea is called the "localization thesis." It is a simplistic view that has pretty much fallen by the wayside by neuroscientists who have come to know more about how our brains function. One critic of this thesis says:

. . . functions [of the brain], like properties, are distributed (they require a whole system or mechanism to be realized [or actuated]). . . . A danger inherent in the localization thesis may be illuminated by analogy to an internal combustion engine. In describing an engine, one might be tempted to say, "the opening of the intake valve is caused by the movement of the rocker arm." Except that the rocker is, in turn, set in motion by the camshaft, the camshaft by the crankshaft, the crank by a connecting rod, the rod by the piston. But of course, the piston won't move unless the intake valve opens to let the air-fuel mixture in. This logic is finally circular because, really, it is the entire mechanism that "causes" the opening of the intake valve; any less holistic view truncates the causal picture and issues in statements that are, at best, partially true. Given that the human brain is more complexly interconnected than a motor by untold orders of magnitude, it is a dubious undertaking to say that any localized organic structure [any section of the brain] is the sufficient cause and exclusive locus of something like "reason" or "emotion." . . .

[For instance] the amygdala is said to be the seat of emotion, the prefrontal cortex of reason. Yet when I get angry, for example, I generally do so for a reason; typically I judge myself or another wronged. To cleanly separate emotion from reason-giving makes a hash of human experience. . . . (Matthew B. Crawford, "The Limits of Neuro-Talk," The New Atlantis, Number 19, Winter 2008, pp. 65-78)

Emotion and reason are not separate entities. They do not occur in discrete areas of the brain, and it is far better to understand them to be two sides of the same coin. One needs both sides; one cannot have a coin with a single side. It is an impossibility.

Therefore, sighing and crying are not just emotions or feelings. They are not just matters of the heart but also matters of the head. These expressed feelings have reason—thought—firmly attached to them.

Charles Whitaker
The Torment of the Godly (Part Two)


 

Ezekiel 9:4

Obviously, to sigh and cry over the abominations of Israel, we have to know what sin is and what God considers abominable. The apostle John tells us that "sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4). In Romans 3:20, Paul instructs us that "by the law is the knowledge of sin." In Romans 7:7, he reflects that he "would not have known sin except through the law." So we must know God's law in order to identify sin properly.

This is knowledge, pure and simple, not just emotion. Without this knowledge of the law, we would become subverted by the deceitful rudiments of this world, which are, in reality, demons. Paul writes of this in Colossians 2:8: about demonic philosophies that float around all over this world today, teaching, for instance, that abortion, bestiality, and gluttony are okay because they are simply personal expressions. Liberals here in the United States proclaim that they are acceptable choices! Nevertheless, by knowing God's law, we understand that they are not mere personal expressions and they are not acceptable—they are indeed sins and abominations.

The psalmist writes in Psalm 119:136, "Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep your law." The psalmist weeps because he recognizes that people are not obeying God's law, and he can see where it leads: to ruin and death. It is not just emotion, but it is real feeling connected with an understanding of God's law.

Charles Whitaker
The Torment of the Godly (Part Two)


 

Ezekiel 10:6-7

This is a very interesting passage. It makes no mention of the Babylonian troops who would later descend upon and lay siege to Jerusalem, who were going to slay and burn. Spiritually speaking, those who died in that catastrophe died at the hands of the angels whom God had sent, and Jerusalem burned with the fire of God!

Herbert Armstrong taught that the book of Ezekiel is for the modern nations of Israel, which are presently led by the United States of America. Truly, it is a vision, but it points to a reality: that America's fall will be the greatest of any nation in the history of the world. Yes, and the vision seems to tell us that when she burns, America will burn with the very fire of God.

Ezekiel, as verse 19 indicates, watches as the cherubim "mounted up" and left the earth. God returns to His throne in heaven, but the impact of the visions remain on Ezekiel's psyche. Thousands in Jerusalem had perished, and the city was in flames. Ezekiel must have been absolutely terrified to see God leave, to see such utter devastation in advance and probably in living Technicolor, to witness the destruction of God's Temple, the slaughter of myriads of people, and the end of his homeland as he and his forefathers had known it for centuries.

He may have asked, "Could Israel have become so decadent? Could this happen to the city of God?" He must have wondered, but he knew the answer. He had seen it in visions from God Himself.

Similarly, we could ask today, "Could America drift so far from the principles of its founding?" and "Can the destruction of America as we have known her really be happening right before our eyes and her final dissolution be so relatively close?"

We, too, know the answer, for we have seen it in God's Word.

Are we tormented by what we see around us? Are we spiritually tortured by the evil that we hear and see?

Charles Whitaker
The Torment of the Godly (Part One)


 

2 Peter 2:7-8

Peter's description is really quite interesting. Lot was not tormented as if by demons or by fiendish persecutors at all, but it was what he saw and heard in the streets, homes, and businesses of the perverse and depraved city of Sodom that bothered Lot. He knew the inevitable consequences of sin or lawlessness, and it distressed him significantly.

Charles Whitaker
The Torment of the Godly (Part One)


 

 




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