My most recent daily Bible readings are from the Old Testament books that major in the judgments of God against the kingdoms of Israel and Judah at the hands of the Assyrian and Babylonian invaders.
One cannot miss the point that God was delivering repeated warnings to the kings, leaders and people of both kingdoms over a long period of time. Through a number of His prophets He warned that severe judgments would follow with certainty and precision should the rebellion against Him continue.
God was not angry because his people were involved in some petty, minor and mischievous sins. One does not need to go beyond reading Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel to notice that God’s judgments visited Israel and Judah due to their offensive lifestyles. Demonic and promiscuous idolatry blended with syncretism, attack on human dignity, abuse, injustice and oppression of the week and poor prompted God to act severely.
The list of relational and social sins, which were spiritual sins too, was a lengthy one. It included “shedding of innocent blood”, “oppression of alien (immigrants, refugees)”, “mistreatment of fatherless and widows”, “acting wickedly”, as well as pursuing corruption, sacrificing their own children to demons, and leading unapologetically promiscuous lifestyle … (Ezekiel 22).
Previously I used to read those Old Testament passages somewhat academically, by distancing myself from a possibility of any real personal impact. But today, as I am observing the rapid and global growth of moral, social, political and religious decadence, the judgment passages of the Old Testament are forcefully coming to life. They are no longer only some ancient tragedy stories removed far from having anything to do with our days. They are coming to life as the harbingers of our own days, very much paralleled in the apocalyptic pages of the Book of Revelation.
Most of us do not like to talk about it, but the day of big reckoning is coming, fast and certain. The sins of our age and civilization are no less grave than those so graphically painted by the Old Testament prophets. And just as God could not tolerate the sins of the ancient civilizations forever, He will not tolerate the sins of our generation much longer. “Once more”, quotes the author of Hebrews the Old Testament prophets, “I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens” Hebrews 12:26. My friends, this warning is not a metaphor. And this time it will not happen at the hands of the world superpowers, but by the mighty hand of the King of kings, the Lord Jesus himself.
Contrary to the musings of liberal interpreters of the Scriptures, who would like to suggest that the final stage of the Kingdom of God will be established gradually, by the means of some kind of friendly spiritual evolution, the coming of the King of kings will be shockingly sudden and obvious, terrifying and beautiful at the same time. This will be the final act of liberation, as well as the final act of judgment of which the Old Testament judgments were only a type. From that day forward everything will be radically different. The power brokers of today, exposed or hidden, will have no say whatsoever in the shaping of this new world. “There’s a slow, slow train comin’ up around the bend” (Bob Dylan).
Can you hear the engine roaring?
Zagreb, Croatia, 24th March, 2017.