Topical Studies

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What the Bible says about Reckoning, Time of
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Jeremiah 5:23-31

These verses are God's charge against Israel during the prophet Jeremiah's day. However, nothing has changed since God raised those righteous men and women as examples in their times. Nothing has changed up to this very day.

Will the descendants of Israel, scattered within the Western world, ever learn that it is not the president, monarch, congress, or parliament of any earthly nation that rules, but that God in heaven reigns over all? He is the One whom citizens must please with their good conduct for that nation to have the peace, prosperity, and health it desires.

During presidential election campaigns, how many people running for office or supporting a candidate say or write anything about pleasing God? Instead, what we witness is a continued erosion of that minority of the population that tries to live in the fear of God. Yes, God will stir awake the modern nations of Israel, but it is still a long way from happening because almost no one thinks and therefore acts with God in mind. There are good reasons He does not respond with peace and other blessings. A painful reckoning must come first.

One would think that, if anyone could possibly fulfill this need of a righteous nation, it would be the people of Israel, those descended from Abraham. God chose Abraham to teach his descendants through the ages in God's way of life (Genesis 18:19). Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and a few others set high moral and spiritual standards throughout their lives, but the nation itself never consistently followed even their patterns of living, let alone God's.

To complicate matters, God has scattered the people of Israel all over the Western world according to His purposes. One of the results of this is that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob no longer even know who they really are—and their conduct and attitudes reveal that most do not care!

It is obvious that most of the citizens of this nation are not seeking God. In fact, we can see clear indications that many are doggedly fighting Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Was Hebrews Written? (Part Eleven): God Is Not Silent

Matthew 25:14-29

The admonition here is that God, in His calling and gifting by means of His Holy Spirit, has equipped us to perform our responsibilities for Him before the world. He makes sure we understand that He is carefully judging how well we do with what we have been given. Always remember that He abundantly shows us how considerate and merciful He is in His judgments, but He also reminds us that, if we cannot live up to even His generous judgment, there is a time of reckoning.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Two): Works

1 Thessalonians 5:2-3

The "Day of the Lord" is when Jesus Christ returns, overthrows the governments of the earth and anyone else opposing Him, and establishes His Kingdom on earth. Though the ultimate end will be happy, the Day of the Lord signifies a great deal of calamity and destruction.

Those who believe in a sovereign God know that military might is of relatively small value. God protects whom He chooses to protect, and He destroys whom He wills to destroy. The size of the armies was irrelevant when Gideon's 300 men conquered 120,000. Physical stature mattered not when David brought down Goliath. The Empire of Egypt was all but eliminated without Israel so much as raising a sword. Even Satan was powerless to harm Job until God lessened His protective hedge.

This fact may be impossible for secular Americans to grasp, and even difficult for religious Americans to comprehend if they do not take God at His Word. But from these examples it is evident that neither size nor skill of armies is relevant. What is relevant is God's will. What matters is which side God is on.

How much longer will God be on our side? How long until our sins—national and individual—demand a reckoning?

There is little doubt that America is on top of the world right now. Economically and militarily, we are essentially unchallenged. Ancient Israel, too, was at the height of her power when God saw fit to allow her to be conquered. Her wealth and her armies could not save her, just as America's power will not save America if God's will is to the contrary. If God is against us, who can be for us? As history repeats itself, the same stench that arose from ancient Israel is now wafting up from modern America.

The book of Amos records an almost exact parallel account to what is happening in our day. It chronicles the social, political, economic, military, and religious conditions and attitudes prevalent in ancient Israel in about 760 BC. This was about forty years before Assyria invaded and completely devastated the nation. So awesome was Israel's defeat that, as far as the world is concerned, her people disappeared from history and are now considered the "Lost" Ten Tribes of Israel.

What were ancient Israel's sins? Ezekiel 20 lays the charges of idolatry and Sabbath-breaking at their feet. Amos goes into great detail in describing greed, materialism, pride, oppression of the weak, perverted justice, an overall moral degeneracy, and a religion that allowed them to feel good about themselves even while bringing in heavy elements of paganism. They were complacent about immorality—within themselves or in the culture at large—because of their wealth. They were "rich, and increased with goods," and by their own accounting they needed nothing—physically or spiritually. Are things so different today? Are we not mistaking our physical blessings as signs of God's acceptance of our behavior?

This nation rejoiced at demise of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and other tyrants and terrorists. But have not more human beings been killed in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade than at the command of these evil men?

God truly is merciful. But He is also just, and in being just He cannot allow blatant sins against Himself or His creation—of which mankind is preeminent—to continue indefinitely. Without national repentance, there will be national calamity. Using ancient Israel as a guide, being the world's sole superpower matters not a whit if God is against us. In this past year, decade, and century, there has been a steadily increasing moral decline that is begging for attention.

Our biggest threat is not external. Our biggest threat is our own proclivity to trample on the instructions and the intentions of the Sovereign who decides the fate of nations.

David C. Grabbe
Peace and Safety


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