Since today is September 11th, many cable channels have documentaries on what happened during the terrorist attacks. My husband and I have watched several of these programs and come away shocked and grieving all over again. Words can’t describe the horrors of that day.
This is why it angers us that parts of the church claim God is the source for the horrors of September 11th. Jonathan Cahn, Pat Robertson, and many more who agree with, and prop up Cahn, such as Paul Crouch of TBN, Jan Markell, Eric Barger, and Dwight Douville of Calvary Chapel in Appleton, WI, all point to the 9/11 attacks as being a judgment from God. John McTernan has been warning that God’s final judgment is coming on America and even John MacArthur believes that God is judging America.
We also thought this way at one time. We thought we had an insight into the Bible that others who didn’t love the scriptures didn’t have. We actually went to see John McTernan when he visited our community, and purchased one of his videos, As America Has Done to Israel. We watched the 700 Club for years. We also listened to Jan Markell on the radio every Sunday afternoon, went to her annual prophecy conference in Minnesota, and visited Calvary Chapel in Appleton. We were blessed by these ministries.
But last year something happened to us. John McTernan began to say that Hurricane Isaac, which was about to hit New Orleans on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, was another judgment from God. He said Isaac was expected to sit on top of New Orleans and just keep churning. He thought that the levies could break again. But they didn’t. We admit we felt puzzled that the judgment of broken levies didn’t happen. Oh, Isaac wasn’t an opportunity to see God in action? No. It was just a regular hurricane. When we realized that our hearts were thinking like that, a little crack started to develop in our doctrinal beliefs.
Then when Superstorm Sandy struck, we heard a story of two little boys getting swept away by a wave out of their mother’s arms and dying. At this time, McTernan was again claiming that Sandy was a judgment on America for her sins. After this, our hearts were prepared to question McTernan’s doctrine and we began to search the scriptures to discover the truth. Does God judge nations for sin? Was 9/11 a harbinger of judgment?
We knew that God judged the world for sins at different times in the past. He caused the flood of Noah. He judged Sodom and Gomorrah. He judged Israel and exiled them to Babylon. God is a just God, and it is necessary for there to be a system of justice in the universe. But these events happened before Jesus came.
What we knew was that Jesus took the punishment for our sins. He took our judgment on himself and paid the penalty. Isaiah 53 says he was “wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.” We thought this provision was for those who believed in him, and that those who didn’t receive Jesus were still exposed to the wrath of God (as Romans 1 seems to say). But then we thought, “Did any Christians die on 9/11?” If they did, then they received judgment from God even though they were “covered by his blood.” So how could these two views be reconciled?
What we didn’t know or understand was the power of the propitiating atonement of Jesus Christ. We spent days asking the Lord for an answer and begging him to give us understanding concerning God’s judgment on the nations. After having many discussions, wandering through the scriptures, and seeking for truth, we found this scripture:
“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
We had never heard a teaching on “propitiation,” so we began to study it on our own. It’s a hairy word, but it’s basic meaning is “to appease.” The sacrifice of Jesus not only atoned for our sin, it also appeased the wrath of God on behalf of the entire world. Notice that John only mentions the propitiating power in this verse, and not the atoning power. The atonement reconciles us to God. That is why many people describe it as “at-one-ment,” but the propitiation holds back judgment.
Some Bible teachers, such as John Piper, have a difficult time with this verse because it could seem to mean that God is providing universal salvation, so they teach that the verse is referring to the Gentile believers from all the nations who get saved. But this isn’t what the verse says. It say the “WHOLE WORLD.” The Greek words there are “holos kosmos.” Holos (G3650) means “all, whole, completely,” and the word kosmos (G2889) has many meanings, and could refer to the Gentiles, but then it would mean that ALL the Gentiles would be saved, thus it would promote a universalist position, which is not what we believe.
Instead, we think the scriptures support the view that the sacrifice of Jesus appeases the wrath of God for a time. Just as the sacrifice of a lamb, whose blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat, appeased the wrath of God for a year, Jesus’ blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat and is holding back the wrath of God until the DAY OF WRATH. That is why 2 Corinthians 6:2 says:
“In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
Romans 2:4-5 seems to support this position also. Paul is warning those who are judging sinners and hoping for the wrath of God to come down, by saying that those who judge sinners are sinners also. [Remember that verse–“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”? (Romans 3:23)] Then Paul tells them to not despise the riches of God’s goodness, forbearance, and patience, because a DAY of wrath will come, when God will judge righteously.
And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.
What is “forebearance?” It means “a refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due.” Yes, God’s justice demands reprisal for sin, but it isn’t happening now! Right now, Christ’s propitiating sacrifice is causing God to refrain from judgment.
The teaching that God is indiscriminately pouring out judgment through terrorist attacks or natural disasters is wrong doctrine. I challenge anyone to find a New Testament scripture which tells Christians to preach the impending doom and judgment from God that could come to their nation. No! That isn’t the Great Commission. The Gospel is GOOD NEWS! God isn’t judging the nations at this time! Instead, today is the day of salvation! Climb in the ark (Jesus) and be safe. He loves you and died for you, providing a way to be reconciled to God for eternity.
Jesus told us the towers of Siloam didn’t fall down because of the people’s sin. (Luke 13:4) Jesus rebuked his disciples for wanting to call down fire from heaven in judgment against unbelievers, saying, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” (Luke 9:53-55)
We believe those who promote the judgment view are neglecting the Gospel and and actually profaning the name of God. To “profane” means: 1. to treat (something sacred) with abuse, irreverence, or contempt, to desecrate. 2. to debase by a wrong, unworthy, or vulgar use.
To say that God is responsible for the deaths at 9/11 is profanity! It’s treating God abusively, accusing him of something He never did. It’s the work of the devil–the accuser of the brethren. (Revelation 12:10)
In fact Jesus said, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” (John 5:22) And Jesus said he isn’t the source of destruction either, “for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” (Luke 9:56)
We’re beginning to think that the people who need to be most concerned about the return of Jesus and the day of wrath aren’t the homosexuals and abortionists (they aren’t deceived into believing they are safe before God), but the false teachers who promote the view that God is an indiscriminate and unjust judge, and that the precious, propitiating, atoning blood of Jesus isn’t strong enough to hinder His wrath. Do these teachers remember we were warned in James 3:1, “not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”
This false doctrine of God’s judgment does many evil things. We will just list three:
1. It disparages the true character of God, blaming Him for things that were caused by false religion, false doctrine, the Fall, and evil men.
2. It blends Old Testament law with the Gospel of Grace.
3. It deceives naive Christians, causing them to credit the work of the devil to God.
Because of these concerns, we feel we need to warn the church about these false teachings and encourage them to instead remember the grace of God and the wonderful power of the blood of Jesus, because it’s the “GOODNESS of God that leads to repentance” (Romans 2: 4), not the wrath of God.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
In Christ’s Grace and Truth,
Greg and Diana Lesperance
“The teaching that God is indiscriminately pouring out judgment through terrorist attacks or natural disasters is wrong doctrine.” and “..God isn’t judging the nations at this time!”
Nevertheless, God still judged Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)
and King Herold (Acts 12:20-24).
If God is not judging peoples and nations through natural disasters or international threats,
then how would you explain the bad things that happen under God’s sovereign rule?
Diana, I don’t mean to sound aggressive with my words,
but I’m always looking to refine my understanding of God’s Word and the Lamb Himself, so that I can give an answer to anyone who asks or even denigrates my faith in Christ.
I appreciate your desire to understand the true teaching of the Word. This is my desire also. I probably sound like the “devil’s advocate,” but I’m just trying to come to the truth! I totally understand your need to ask about lingering questions so that you might “rightly divide the word of truth.”
In response to your question, I would have to say the key word is “indiscriminate.” Jesus will judge the nations as either sheep or goats when he returns, but if he is a just judge, would he indiscriminately pour out his judgment or wrath on all people in a given area? In fact, didn’t Jesus tell the disciples it was wrong to believe that the tower of Siloam fell on people because they were sinners? (Luke 13) The implication there is that it’s wrong to believe that God was judging them when the tower fell on them. Perhaps the tower was just poorly built!
As far as the Twin Towers are concerned, why should God be blamed for something terrorists did in the name of Allah? This is a cunning deception. Why would a Christian want to pin that horror on God!
Herod, Ananias, and Sapphira were individuals. I believe Jesus judged them because John 5:22 says that “the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son.”
Because of the atoning blood of Jesus, the Father has been appeased, meaning his anger has been held back, so the only one who can judge anyone is the Son.
This leads to the question of whether individual unbelievers are able to be judged by the Lord. The scripture seems to teach this. But it doesn’t seem to teach that the wrath of God is being indiscriminately poured out upon nations that have displeased him.
Instead, I believe bad things happen in the world because:
1. We reap what we sow. If we don’t pay our bills, we get our electricity cut off. A nation (such as Nazi Germany) which has sown destruction will reap destruction.
2. Evil exists. Satan and his minions are seeking to devour us. They use false religion to persecute and destroy us.
3. We live in a fallen world that is experiencing birth pangs.
Yes, bad things happen in the world, but I don’t believe they can or should be attributed to God.
I keep thinking over this subject for a definitive answer, which I admit I don’t have pinned down. I would appreciate your thoughts on this subject. It helps me to fine tune my answer.
AMEN! I have always struggled with the “God is judging our nation”. It would seem like no matter what you did, the evil would dictate what happens, even if the good outweighed the evil. So, why bother? People tend to blame all the bad on God when clearly scripture says “All good things come from God”…it does not say “and some bad things”. God would be considered bi-polar by today’s standards if one day He is promoting good and then the next day He is doing bad things. John 10:10 clearly defines who causes what. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” So, if you put everything through that filter, you will clearly see that those disasters are not from God as judgement.
Thanks for this excellent article!
Harvey Milk Stamped “Out” Forever !
The Obama Cabal is behind universal GAYety with a “forever” postage stamp glorifying Harvey Milk, a Jewish homosexual predator “attracted to boys aged 15-19,” according to WikiAnswers! (Also see Wikipedia.)
Global gaydom was even predicted by Jesus (see “days of Lot” in Luke 17 and compare with Genesis 19).
And the Hebrew prophet Zechariah (14th chapter) says that during the same end-time gay “days” ALL nations will come against Israel and fulfill the “days of Noah” at the same time (see Luke 17 again) – a short time of anti-Jewish genocide found in Zechariah 13:8 when two-thirds of all Jews will die.
In other words, when “gay days” have become universal, all hell will break loose!
Shockingly, the same “days” will trigger the “end of days” – and when they begin, worldwide human government will quickly wind down in just a few short years! For the first time in history there won’t be enough time for anyone to even attend college, let alone have a family, save money, enjoy retirement, etc.
One final thought. The more we see gays “coming out,” the sooner Jesus will be “coming down”!
For more, Google or Yahoo “God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up,” “Jesus Never Mentioned Homosexuality. When gays have birthdays…,” “FOR GAYS ONLY: Jesus Predicted…” and “USA – from Puritans to Impure-itans!”
When THY Judgments are in the earth O Lord, the inhabitants of the earth will learn righteousness. God is no respecter of persons. The wheat and the tares are together until the great white throne separation. There is no other way. Andy
I don’t quite understand your point. Are you saying that things like 9/11 happen so people will learn righteousness, that all are under God’s educational judgments until the final judgment? That even Christians suffer the wrath of God? Or are you saying that all people suffer together and then God will separate them at the final judgment? I’m not sure I follow what you’re saying . . .
Did Jesus Christ suffer the wrath of God on the cross? What about Peter, Stephen and other believers? Why did/do other Christians suffer? For righteousness sake. The Just shall live by Faith. Do not be conformed to this world, but be thou transformed by the renewing of the mind. Christian believers are not their body, they are the body of Christ, in Spirit.
The apostle Paul said. “I die daily.” This world passeth away. I didn’t say it, I read my Bible. To my carnal mind, it sounds sick. So. I need to put on the mind of Christ. I am not too smart. God is grieved in His heart that He made man, because there is no good thing in man. That is why God sent His Son, to make for Himself, One New Man. And to put Him, Jesus, on the Cross; to tell us that He is sorry, and “Come on Home;” Referring to, the many- membered-body of Christ. Our hued-man mind cannot conceive it. Jesus said, “I, if I, be lifted up above the earth will draw all men unto Me.” Men meaning mankind (male, female, babies, children).
Yes, I believe God is pouring out His wrath, especially on USA, because there is a falling away from the principals on which this country was founded since the Pilgrims landed in the 1600s; the Mayflower compact and later the Declaration of Independence. Look at all the addictions: Alcohol, drugs, pornography; filthy movies,books, TV programs, advertisers; cheating businesses that are selling inferior products to the public at exorbitant prices; A government whose representatives have become so self serving and corrupt and so on and so on.
We turned our backs on God. So, with the Judgment, I guess there must be collateral damage along with it. That is the goodness of God.The question is, are we ready?
Andy, I’m sorry to say this, but your response sounds irrational: people are the collateral damage of God’s teaching judgments and that’s the goodness of God?
What about John 5:20-22 which says the Father judges no man, but commits all judgment to the Son?
What about God being a righteous judge?
Do you say God was responsible for 9/11 then?
Diana, I will go with whatever you say. God bless You. Keep the faith.
Here is something to ponder; God fore-knew the “time” that 9-11-2001 would occur. Do you know what a palindrome is? It is when you take numbers in a string like this: 91120011002119 ( that is 9-11-2001, forward and reverse). Now, multiply all the digits and the result is 32400. In the Old Testament God judged and destroyed the whole earth during Noah’s time. This occurred when Noah was 600 years old at the year, 1656 from Adam. Multiply the digits of that “time” in a palindrome (16566561) and the result is 32400 (1x6x5x6x6x5x6x1=32400). That was “the-end” of the old world, everything was destroyed;
If you will divide the number 324 by four, you may form a square whose four sides measure 81 each; Now draw a circle around that square touching the four corners and the result of the circle will be exactly 360 degrees, using Pi as 22/7. The four corners of the square also total 360 degree, meaning a completeness and “the-end.” In the year 1999, you have the 6000th year from Adam signifying the end of man’s “time, which is also three thousand years from the birth of Jesus,” the date was 9-11-1999 (September 11, 1999) which was also the Hebrew calendar day, Tishri 1, 5760, the day of blowing of trumpets and the feast of Tabernacles. Take the number 9-11-1999, and multiply the digits (9111999=6561). the number 6561 is the total amount of inside the square of 81, which agrees with the former two squares stated above. So, we have the time of the flood, the time of September 11, 1999 and the time of the WTC all agreeing to end time dates coming from scripture, signifying God’s “hand “in it.
I did not realize that I was responding to a accomplished author, the narrow way, as well as caring for a large family. Please excuse my e-mailing to you and erase them from your site. I didn’t mean to be rude. I apologize to you. Forget all that I wrote you.
This is an interesting subject. My friend and I have argued opposite opinions for a long time but neither of us has a lot of solid proof for what we say. She thinks that every ‘natural disaster’ is punishment by God. But…I think by God’s ‘ways’ we see in the Bible, there is a big difference between God’s ‘causing’ and his ‘allowing’ evil to happen. He didn’t cause Joseph’s brothers to be mean to him, but doesn’t it say he allowed it so that good would come out of it? (I’m too tired right now to look that up.) I just tend to think that all good comes from God and all evil comes from Satan. And that things like 9/11 and hurricanes are allowed but not caused by God. (Although I know God can stir up the weather and tell it to be still at will.) Maybe in the same category are questions like…does God cause or allow us to ruin ourselves, and does God cause or allow us to be saved? Well…God himself says that he is willing that all be saved (1 Tim 2:4) and wills that none perish (2 Peter 3:9). This shows that God’s heart is “good will toward all men” (Luke 2:14) although some will reject him.
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I vacillate back and forth on this subject too. I have a friend who is actually angry with me because of this article and will no longer debate.(I hope you still have your friend!) I also wrote other articles you can read on the subject of God’s judgment:
I think perhaps a portion of the church may have forgotten what the “good news” is! I also think that “grace” is a time period for people to repent before the judgment takes place. Grace will end one day and then the wrath will come. But for now, “today is the day of salvation.”
The stickler for me is the story of Ananias and Sapphira. But then this leads me to believe that judgment of individuals can occur. I just don’t think I believe huge events like 9/11 or tsumanis are judgments from God because Christians die right along with non-Christians. But individuals can be judged…even Christians who took the Lord’s supper unworthily died. I don’t have the subject nailed down…I continue to seek the Lord and ask for wisdom concerning this subject.