The Aftermath

Thursday, April 04, 2013, 8:26 a.m. – the Lord Jesus woke me with the song “Nothing Can Separate Us” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Lamentations 1 (NIV). [I will summarize.]

The people of God in Judah and in Jerusalem, its capital, sinned greatly against God, as did the people in Israel (Israel was divided into two kingdoms at this time). They refused to repent of their wicked ways. They were obstinate in their rebellion against God, did not listen to his words, did not obey his commands, and were determined to continue to do what they knew was wrong. Time and time again God sent his messengers to them to warn them of judgment, to confront them with their sins and to call them to repentance, but to no avail. So, God said he would bring upon them all the disasters he had planned for them. Lamentations is a series of laments during the aftermath of God’s judgments on his people.

The city of Jerusalem, the capital city of Judah and the location of the temple of God for the Israelites, laid in ruins, deserted. She was once great among the nations, but now she had become a slave to her captors. The city, personified, wept. Not one of her “lovers” was there to comfort her, i.e. not one of her allies or other gods to whom she turned instead of turning to the Lord was there to give her comfort. Her friends had betrayed her and had become her enemies. No one attended her festivals any longer, and it appears no one traveled to the temple mount, either. Her friends not only became her enemies, but her enemies now became her masters. The Lord had brought her grief because of her many sins. Her leaders, in weakness, did not stand but fled before their pursuer, i.e. they deserted her. Her enemies mocked her and laughed at her because she called herself the blessed of God and now she was destroyed because of her sins, and because of her pride and her arrogance.

She became unclean because of her many sins. All who had honored her before now despised her, for they saw her nakedness, i.e. they saw her sins exposed, so there were no more allusions of grandeur related to her. She was in this condition because she didn’t consider her future. She lived for the moment, and gave no regard to God’s commands or to his threats of judgment. So, her fall was astounding. The enemy took over all her treasures, and those who did not regard as holy or even believe in God’s existence now trampled his sanctuary. The people were hungry and exchanged what treasures they had remaining for food, perhaps even selling their own children and/or wives.

The city (or the nation), personified, called out to the Lord. She was despised. She recognized that the Lord had brought all this suffering upon her in “the day of his fierce anger” because of her many sins. Her sins were like a yoke hung on her neck, i.e. she was feeling the weight and the guilt and shame of them all. She wept, not only because of her sins, and because her friends had betrayed her, but because of the strong hand of the Lord against her in judgment. Her children were destitute. She had no comfort from her friends, her allies, from her other gods, and not even from God, because he had decreed this judgment upon her. She recognized and acknowledged that she had sinned against God’s commands. She stated that she was disturbed within her heart for she had been most rebellious. Her enemies rejoiced in what God had done to her. Her only hope at this moment was that God would repay her enemies and would bring upon them all that he had brought upon her.

Although I see honest confession of guilt, at this point I do not see genuine repentance from her, but only self-pity and a longing to be comforted and to find relief for her pain.

What About Us?

Israel, as a nation, and as a people of God was in a unique situation known only to her at that time. She was not only the chosen people of God and in covenant relationship with God, as a people, but she was also a physical nation. Her temple was a physical one in a physical location, Jerusalem, and many of her leaders were thus in dual roles as both religious and civil authorities.

Under the New Covenant relationship with God via the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins, the people of God today are the true church, the saints of God. This church is comprised of a body of believers who are followers of Jesus Christ, and it is a spiritual entity, not a physical one. She is the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God and true spiritual Israel. Thus, she is a spiritual nation of people, yet she dwells within the boundaries of physical nations. The temple of God now dwells within the lives of Christ’s true followers via the person of the Holy Spirit.

This judgment of God lamented here was against the people of God and their nation. God will once again come against people in such a judgment during the time of tribulation. Many Christians, especially here in America, believe that Christians will be spared this judgment of God. I see no indication of that in scripture, though God may spare some for sure. When we read the prophecies of old that blend together the warnings and promises of old with the warnings and promises of these last days, i.e. which have dual or parallel fulfillments, we come to understand that the main reason for these judgments is for the same reasons as throughout history. They are because of the rebellion of God’s people, the church throughout the earth, who have refused to repent of her wicked ways, and are bent on continuing in rebellion, and who ignore God’s messages time and time again (see Rev. 2-3).

Yet, when God visits the earth in judgment he will judge its inhabitants and the nations throughout the earth. The true saints of God who follow after the testimony of Jesus Christ will go through a great time of persecution, imprisonments, beatings and death for the sake of Christ and his gospel.

I live in the United States of America. The Holy Spirit of God has been giving me messages of judgment against the idolatrous church (and/or the institutional church) and against our government now for the past nine years, but nearly daily since 2006. The judgments against the institutional church will be because of her yoked relationship with the U.S. government, which is an instrument of Satan. It will also be because of her idolatry and spiritual adultery and her refusal to listen to the words of God and to repent of her ways. As well, this judgment the Lord has been showing me will come against our government because it makes claims to being a Christian nation blessed of God, under God, and trusting in God, yet the very roots of our nation reveal a government formed in the image of Satan, full of idolatry and the worship of other “gods” (evil spirits), which is part of the “beast system” and much of which intends to betray their own and to turn us over to our enemies.

So, I see many parallels between the descriptions of judgment in this lament and what I believe God has planned for America and for the idolatrous church in America if we do not repent of our evil ways. I believe we will see our institutions of church and of government deserted, and we will be taken over by “the beast,” i.e. by a global rule of order (a dictatorship), not unlike Hitler’s rule, only globally and targeted against followers of Christ. Many of our allies (lovers) and “friends” will betray us and turn against us. America will be exposed for her many sins, and no longer honored among men. And, she will lament of much the same treatment as did Judah, Jerusalem and Israel of old.

No Condemnation

Many Christians will use the argument of “no condemnation” for those in Christ Jesus (see Ro. 8) to say God will not judge, i.e. not discipline (punish) his idolatrous and wayward church with disasters, hardship, famine or sword. Yet, in context, this is speaking of our salvation in Jesus Christ, and Christ no longer condemning those “in Christ” to eternity in hell (eternal punishment), thus setting us free from the law of sin and death. Yet, Jesus promised us that we would go through difficult times, hardships, persecutions, etc. and that he does discipline (correct; punish) his children as a loving father would correct his wayward children in order to bring us back into an obedient and intimate fellowship with him (see Rev. 2-3 and the entire book of Isaiah). God’s judgments of his people were always with the goal of revival, forgiveness, restoration and healing.

Yet, also in context we get a clear picture of what it truly means to be “in Christ.” We are described as those who “do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit,” who have our minds set on “what the Spirit desires” and whose minds are controlled (governed) by the Spirit; who are “led by the Spirit of God,” who love God (see 1 Jn. 2:3; 5:3 – love = obedience), and who, by the Spirit, put to death the misdeeds of the body. This is what it means to be in Christ. And, this is what is involved in coming to faith in Jesus Christ, too (see Ro. 6; Eph. 4:17-24; Luke 9:23-25; Gal. 2:20, et al).

Yet, is it possible for those truly in Christ to, at some point in their lives, fall back into the trap of sin and rebellion? I believe it is, for the letters to the seven churches were written to the churches, many to whom God gave both good and bad reports, called them to repentance and renewed faith, and warned of his judgments against them if they did not turn from their wicked ways and return to following their Lord Jesus in obedience.

Yet, if we live according to the Spirit, have our minds set on what the Spirit desires, and our minds are governed by the Spirit, and we are led by the Spirit, we demonstrate our love for God by obeying his commands, and we daily put to death the misdeeds of the body, then, no matter what we go through or what God allows us to suffer, the Spirit of God is there to help us in our weakness, he intercedes for us on our behalf in accordance with God’s will for our lives, and God will work everything out for good and for his purposes, to conform us to the image of his Son. And, we won’t have to be concerned about having physical enemies because God is for us, so those against us are of no account to us, i.e. they have no real control over us. God will provide all we need or he will take us home to be with him in glory. Nothing (no hardship, famine or sword) will be able to separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ within us we can be conquerors in all these things that come against us. They don’t have power over us, because God is in control over our lives.

Nothing Can Separate Us / An Original Work / March 28, 2013

Based off Romans 8:28-39

Nothing can separate us
From Christ’s love now within us:
Not trouble, hardship, nor famine,
Nor danger, nor sword.
No, in all of these things
We are more than conquerors!

For your sake we face hardship.
We are sheep to be slaughtered.
I am convinced that death,
Nor life, nor anything else
Will separate us from
The love of God now in Christ.

What, then, shall we say to this?
God for us: who against us?
He who did not spare His Son
But gave Him for us all –
How will He not, with Him,
Graciously give us all things?

Who brings a charge against us?
God justifies His chosen.
Who is He that condemns?
Christ Jesus; died, rose again.
He’s at the right hand of God,
Interceding for us.