I spoke on the Judgment of God this morning in church. The message was prepared and preached before I read of the horrible tragedy in Orlando. Now that I’m caught-up on the current events I want to share this with others and clarify even more points. These sort of senseless killings are baffling. I have never felt the kind of hate or rage that I think it would take to want to kill another human being or dozens of human beings. I’m also disheartened when I see pastors and other Christian leaders declaring events such as this one to be the judgment, wrath, or punishment of God. It was everywhere following 9/11, common during the tsunamis that ravaged Asia, and always sprinkled around social media after every horrible catastrophe whether man-caused or by natural occurrence. I have personally NEVER claimed something was God’s direct action without direct word from God. Thus I have never claimed what God was doing as if I was a prophet of God. Neither have I heard any Christian “pundits” claim to have specifically and deliberately heard from God claiming these actions to be His own. There is no doubt that there are plenty of times we read about the Judgment of God in Scripture and especially in the Old Testament. It is for the following 3 reasons that I DO NOT believe that the recent mass shooting and/or terrorist attack was the Judgment of God.
First, we should have heard a prophetic word
God does not want His message to be missed. If He is about to bring His Judgment, He will surely bring Word of impending doom. Whether Jonah bringing word of God’s destruction to Israel’s enemies the Ninevites, or Obadiah warning Edom, or Jeremiah warning Judah; God always seems to bring verbal warning through a confirmed prophet before the destruction comes. Unless God uses a prophet or other type of special revelation than no one can be sure what God is specifically doing or what He wants to communicate. To claim that God brought death to a certain community for a certain purpose without specific knowledge is irresponsible and dangerous. I am in no way pretending God is not in control of all things. He is sovereign over everything. However, a discussion of the Problem of Evil is different from God’s wrath. God’s wrath or judgment is His specific action for the destruction of the wicked. If God is going to display His wrath it will be for His Glory.
Second, we should clearly see God being glorified
How God would receive glory through destruction is revealed in Romans 9:22-23 “What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.” God receives glory for all He does, otherwise He wouldn’t do it. But we see both biblically (and logically) that for God to show mercy by definition means we deserve punishment. If God had no wrath and judgment there would be no need for mercy. If He is not holy and good there is no need for wrath and judgment. If we want our God to be good we can’t want there to be no judgment from God. However, when looking at this present tragedy and other recent ones there are no words from God before the event prophesying it, or words after explaining it. How is God being glorified by those who are receiving His mercy if there’s no message? There are those that say the Bible itself is the message from God, and those who are being disobedient to it are facing God’s wrath. Well, we clearly all deserve God’s wrath and anyone who faced it would be worthy of it. The fact that we all aren’t judged is His mercy. The problem is, is that this does not fit the prophecy of the New Testament. It states that the one who knows Jesus has eternal life and the one that does not know Jesus won’t have eternal life. Hebrews says we are all destined to die and then the judgment. I submit that the next judgment on earth by God will take place during the Tribulation described in the prophecy of the Apostle John. All other judgments are taking place after death.
Third, we should have seen complete destruction
All of the clear-cut moments in Scripture that are truly God’s judgment, the destruction is complete. God does not proverbially take a “shot across the bow.” God warns of complete annihilation, and it is either subsided by the true repentance of the wicked or enacted resulting in the total destruction of the rebellious.
I would never guess why God allowed this event or anything like to happen. I guess it bothers me that when other Christians declare what they believe God’s message was, it mutes the true Words from God found in the Bible. “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us” (1 John 5:5-9).
I pray for those who were injured. I pray for those who lost loved ones. I pray Jesus puts His comforting arms around them in a way only He can. I pray for Believers to be a light in that community that they may see their good works and glorify the Father in heaven because of it. I pray for people in that community and every other to come to truly know Jesus Christ. I pray they can experience that peace that passes all understanding.