Today we look at God’s judgment and what brings it about. Because people do not receive the love of the truth, God will send them strong delusion. This will happen at some point in the future. Derek goes back to instances that provoked God’s anger towards Israel, but holds out hope for the future in His love.
Paul says “they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved.” And then, this is a frightening statement:
“For this reason [that is because they did not receive the love of the truth] God will send them strong delusion...”
Have you ever pondered on that? It’s an astonishing statement. This is not being deceived by Satan, this is being deceived by God. God will send them strong delusion. That’s His judgment on those who play around with the truth. We don’t always like to accept it but when King Saul rejected the Word of God, God sent an evil spirit to him. Not Satan, but God. I think the ultimate judgment of God is to send you a spirit of delusion. I do believe the only safety is to receive the love of the truth and go on loving the truth. And the love of the truth is progressive. “The pathway of the just is as the shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day.” So if you’re only living in yesterday’s light, you’re a backslider because the pathway of the righteous gets brighter every day.
The Christian life is hardly ever compared to a position, it’s always compared to a walk, and that is progressive.
And so I believe myself that this force of humanism is the ultimate weapon of Satan to prepare the world to receive the Antichrist. I want to say that I don’t believe that time has yet come. It could come if we didn’t do something. But I think the Lord has the believers here in the world for one purpose, amongst others, is to hold back the power of Antichrist until God’s purposes are fulfilled.
God has two, amongst others, two main purposes: the completion of the church and the restoration of Israel. I believe you and I here in this prayer conference, one of our main assignments is to hold back that force of humanism. Personally I do not have the faith to rebuke it. I can’t just say, “I rebuke you,” and off you go. But I do believe I can ask God to intervene. Sometimes we have to say like the archangel Michael, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan.” Like the priest in Zechariah, “The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you.” God says He will be very gracious to us when He hears the voice of our cry. He waits sometimes a long while to hear that cry.
Now I want to say that God is angry for various reasons. When Ruth and I were on our way to a sabbatical at the end of 1990 in Hawaii, and don’t imagine it was a time of leisured ease, it was the hardest time of our lives. I ended up in hospital and nearly died. Ruth had to look after me and do a lot of other things at the same time. That’s where we learned the power of proclamation. But, we went there to seek the Lord. And on our way there in Dallas, Texas, in the hotel where we stayed the night, the Lord spoke to us and He said, “I am a God of anger and I am angry with those who claim to be mine but do not live as if they belong to me.” He told us at that time to pray for His elect in the United States that they would not be dragged down into the gutter together with the rest. We do need to remember that God is a God of love, He’s a God of grace, but He’s also a God of anger and a God of judgment. If you don’t believe in God’s judgments you have a very limited understanding of the Bible and of history.
And so I want to speak of two situations which provoke God’s wrath against the people of Israel. I don’t think I have to explain here what I mean by the word wrath [pronounced wroth]. I have trouble with Americans because they don’t know what I’m talking about. They say wrath [pronounced rath]. I was brought up to say wrath [wroth] and I’m going to go on saying wrath [wroth]. Anyhow, as long as you know what I mean, that’s the important thing. I want to turn to Numbers 14 for a moment. I want to point out to you two particular things which have provoked God’s anger against the people of Israel. The first is described in Numbers 14:29–30:
“The carcasses of you who have murmured against me shall fall in the wilderness. All of you who are numbered according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above, except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. You shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.”
What provoked God’s anger? The failure to obey Him to enter the land He had promised. That’s amazing to me because they had previously worshiped a golden calf. Surely that was a terrible sin but that sin did not cause God to refuse the promised land to them. But when they despised what God had provided, God said, “That’s it. None of you will ever see that land.”
I have observed in studying Scripture and looking at people’s lives that one of the things that provokes God’s anger is rejecting His grace. That’s what made God angry with Esau. God says in Malachi, “Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated.” And in Hebrews 12 Esau is equated with fornicators, although we never know he committed fornication. What provoked God’s anger? He despised his birthright and for that God said, “No more.”
I have preached both to the British and to the Americans, our nations have despised our birthright. We between us have had more light from the Word of God and more opportunity to know the truth than any other nations in history and we have despised our birthright. To me the ultimate judgment of God is inevitable. I may not be popular but I do not believe that anything can turn back the judgment of God on the United States. They have passed the point. But, God has a wonderful elect in the United States who are extremely precious to Him and for them God told us to pray.
So the first thing that made God angry, so angry that He would never revoke it, was refusing the land He had promised. That’s not according to our standards. We would expect God to be more angry about a lot of other things than that.
The second is described in Ezekiel chapter 20:32 and following, and again, these words are addressed to Israel:
“What you have in your mind shall never be, when you say, ‘We will be like the Gentiles [or the nations], like the families in other countries, serving wood and stone.’”
God says that will never happen. The Prime Minister may say it but God has said no. It will never happen. And now listen to God’s reaction to that desire of the Jewish people to lose their special identity. I’m not Jewish and so I’ve had to learn this thing, as it were, from the outside. I’m amazed that the Jewish people want to be like the other nations. Having come from one of the other nations and being a citizen of one of the other nations, I can’t see what it is they want to imitate. But I’m in a minority. Anyhow, this is God’s response to the desire to lose their national identity.
“As I live, says the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you were scattered with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead my case with you face to face.”
That raises a lot of interesting questions of prophetic interpretation, but we won’t come into that. But notice God was extremely angry with the desire of Israel to lose their God-given identity and become just like any other nation. It provoked His wrath.
I think this is a recurring feature of Jewish history. God will never permit the Jewish people to lose their identity. Never.