Wednesday, July 25, 2012

God’s Four Sore Judgments #3: Pestilence

Introduction
God’s Four Sore Judgments #1: Sword
God’s Four Sore Judgments #2: Famine
God's Four Sore Judgments: #3: Beasts

The other day I introduced a series examining the LORD'S "Four Sore Judgments." (Links just above). In other translations they are called the "LORD'S Four Severe Judgments." They're mentioned in Ezekiel 14:21: "For thus says the Lord God: How much more when I send upon Jerusalem my four disastrous acts of judgment, sword, famine, wild beasts, and pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast!"

The four are Sword, Famine, Pestilence, and Beasts. Wesley's notes says, "How much more - If they could not be able to keep off one of the four, how much less would they be able to keep off all four, when I commission them all to go at once."

It is a very dread situation when all four are unleashed. If you read Revelation 6, you will see that the four are unleashed all at once, or in very rapid succession. Jesus called it the worst time on earth there ever has been or ever will be. (Matthew 24:21). A quarter of the world will die when the seal is unsealed and these four sore judgments are commissioned to go all at once:

"When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:7-8).

Sword is war, and war brings famine. Wars and revolutions interrupt supply lines, empty grocery stores, and ruin agricultural land. War brings famine in that way.

Famine brings pestilence. When people are hungry, their bodies rapidly deteriorate, and societal scarcity makes that worse. I wrote about that connection, here, in the essay "Looking at the coming Famine". In it, I illustrated from a biological perspective just what happens to us when we don't or we can't eat.

I had noted in the essay "Looking at the coming Famine" that soon after initial starvation sets in, financial ruin and disease take over. It is really shocking how soon starvation it sets in.

The third sore judgment of the four that the LORD had linked in Ezekiel 14 is Pestilence. Pestilence is forecast for the people who dwell on the earth during the soon-to-arrive Tribulation. (Revelation 6:8, Luke 8:11). According to the Greek word used in Luke 21, loimos, pestilence is a plague or a disease. Diseases are usually considered plagues when they are widespread and contain a high mortality rate. The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines pestilence as "A highly infectious, usually fatal, epidemic disease; a pestilence."

During famine, our body is deprived of their natural vitamins and nourishment, and it weakens dramatically. A weak body has a weak immune system, and sickness sets in. That sickness is easily brought about not only due to famine but the unsanitary conditions of war. Disease always accompanies war. What kind of disease depends on the kind of war and the location of the place where the war is. But safe to say that cholera, malaria, dengue fever, and infections run rampant in war zones. Also, sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS accompany war when rape is used as a weapon. (source). How fast and how far the diseases go depends on the length of the war, conditions on the ground, and kind of weapons used. If bio-weapons are used then of course Pestilence will be widespread.

We see the set up now for war --->famine-->pestilence visibly and dramatically. They are linked and they are happening, and are just about the break wide open. I and many other watchman and qualified pastors are seeing this and are saying it.

I've shared headlines with you these last two days regarding the situations in the world where war and famine are on the rise. I know the mockers and scoffers say there have always been wars and famines. This is true, but not on the prophetic scale we see now.

"knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

As for pestilence, that is increasing too. The world is already experiencing a massive drug shortage. Here is one statistic from today that shocked me: "According to the Food and Drug Administration, the number of drug shortages has increased nearly 300% since 2005. More than half of the drugs on the shortage list are considered critical -- meaning they have no alternative." (CNN July 25, 2012). This month, Huffington Post reported that "Paramedics turn to expired drugs due to shortages".

With financial stress like our current depression, we get drug shortages and understaffed hospitals.

This article from 2010 says Hospital cutbacks may risk quality and safety of health care delivery, "During past recessions, the financial stability of hospitals seemed to be nearly indestructible. But researchers at the University of Michigan Health System and St. Joseph Mercy Health System say the current national economic crisis may be an exception."

And that was from two years ago and nothing has gotten better since then. As a matter of fact major cities have gone bankrupt and the municipal stresses have shortened delivery of services even further.

Yet the diseases come. Old ones like dengue and flu and new ones that medicos cannot figure out: Investigators probe mystery disease killing Cambodian children

Under financial, societal, and cultural conditions such as these today, we easily see how epidemics can quickly start. The perfect storm of conditions has been laid and just awaits the one catalyst to start them all rolling out. I believe that catalyst will be the Rapture of the saints. But it could be something else. The last four years' persistent food insecurity has already started a process of malnourishment in places not just in Africa or Third World Nations but in the United States too. Our health is already damaged. The persistent drug shortages and increasing unsanitary conditions in America as well as the rest of the world has set the stage for an unhealthy population over-relying on medical services that are increasingly not available, and on food and water that is increasingly scarce due to drought and constant freak weather cataclysms.

How much more, the Lord asked, when he sends all four sore judgments upon us? The world has a hard enough time with one at a time. Behold!! The blessed assurance of Jesus Christ our Savior is that born-again believers will not have to endure them during the Tribulation! We may be enduring trials now, hunger or famine, depending on where you are in the world. Want and lack and scarcity, or disease or war. But when He unseals them all at once, meaning, His wrath upon the world, we will not be here.

How about your neighbor? Will they be here? Can you share Jesus with them? Disciple them? Let them know the times and let them know of Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life? (John 14:6).

The times are very late, and they are very dire. But we, children are not in the darkness, (1 Thess 5:4).

"Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining." (1 John 2:8). He is the Light! He is shining in heaven, and in the faces of each of His sheep. Soon, His light will be seen not by faith but by sight. Praise Him for His love and His wrath, for He is HOLY!!!

The last part in the series 4 Sore Judgments tomorrow: Beasts.

2 comments:

  1. Hi there. From several of your blog posts, could you explain the differences between Paul's usage of the word "wrath" in Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, (Wrath IS being revealed - present tense)

    Romans 4:13 It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. (BRINGS present tense, John Calvin explained this as wrath = judgement.)

    I Thessalonians 2:16 In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last. (Wrath HAS COME - aorist tense, indicative, has happened)

    I Thessalonians 5:9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. (here Christians do not suffer wrath (judgement) but receive salvation - present tense)

    And then John the Baptist's words about Christ, John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (unbelievers already have the wrath of God on them)

    If I understand what you wrote, unbelievers do not yet have the wrath of God upon them because Christians are still here on earth, but Christians will be taken off the earth and then God's wrath will be poured out on those non-Christians still here? What about all of the non-Christians who have lived and died already - did they not suffer God's wrath? I'm confused by the way you've used the verse from I Thess. 5 in light of other verses in the Bible.

    And yes, I believe with all my heart and soul that Christ will return soon! Very soon! I am not questioning that at all!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there,

      Good question. Thank you!!

      First, I am sorry for any misunderstanding. Unbelievers DO have the wrath of God on them already. The text is clear in Romans 1. The Holy Spirit’s restraining ministry of holding back sin is what will change when the rapture happens. Wrath of God on unbelievers is here today as it will be in the future.

      And you asked what about Christians who die...I am surmising you mean persecuted or the ones in trials. Man’s wrath is not God’s wrath. Sin happens. Men die, trials come. Jesus promised that. But Christians who die because of man’s wrath and sin are not destined for hell, having already escaped the eternal punishment of God’s wrath, in hell.

      In Romans verse you mentioned, He is presently revealing His wrath on “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). This means that God is judging men for their sin today, and very few even know it is happening. Unbelievers are unaware of God’s judgment. He is not judging us, though, because we have escaped His wrath, being forgiven of sins and pardoned.

      But are we affected by it? Yes. Bible,org has a wonderful essay on this question of wrath and the distinctions of the same, mirrored in the passage in Romans you cited. Here:

      “God’s wrath, according to Paul’s teaching, is both present (1:18-32) and future (2:1ff.). In addition to the factor of God’s timing in judgment, there are several other clear distinctions between God’s present wrath and His coming wrath:
      (1) While God’s present wrath is largely passive, His future wrath is active.
      (2) God’s present wrath allows sin to increase; God’s future wrath will put an end to sin, causing it to cease.
      (3) God’s present wrath is often not recognized as such, and Christians must believe it by faith; His future wrath cannot be missed.
      (4) God’s present wrath is reversible; His future wrath is not.
      “God’s present wrath is really a gracious gesture on God’s part. It is not permanent, and it is not irreversible. When God gives men over to sin, He is not giving up on men. Giving men over to sin is God’s way of encouraging men to forsake their sin and to be saved. While God’s future wrath, once in force, cannot be reversed or escaped, God’s present wrath can be reversed, and men can escape. The reason for this is that God has already poured out His “future wrath” on Jesus Christ. This is the good news of the gospel. ... Those who have trusted in Christ have already been punished, in Him.” source--
      http://bible.org/seriespage/present-wrath-god-romans-115-32

      Biblestudytools explains in their short essay Delivered from the Wrath to come: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/related-topics/delivered-from-the-wrath-to-come.html
      : “The wrath of God here [1Th. 1Th. 1:10] is future, and hence, cannot refer to the general wrath of God against sin which is a present reality. This wrath is future. While Hell and the Lake of Fire are also future, they cannot be what this passage is referring to. By virtue of salvation, the believer is already redeemed from Hell. . . . the wrath that the Church is being delivered from is the wrath of the Great Tribulation. He is coming for the specific purpose of delivering the Church from the wrath to come, namely, the Tribulation period”

      And finally from John MacArthur, a sermon you can listen to or read on the different kinds of wrath: eternal wrath, eschatological wrath, cataclysmic wrath, sowing and reaping wrath and wrath of abandonment.
      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-184

      I hope these resources helps you as you go forward in exploring your very interesting question!

      Delete

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