The love of God to man is best shown through Jesus' death on the cross; God suffered to redeem man. The implication is that God hates evil and sees it necessary to redeem man from evil - man is destined to be redeemed rather than to perish through God's judgement of evil (Jn 3.16). So a God of love is also a God of wrath against evil; both attributes are necessary. And if man is to follow Christ, he should also have these attributes:
"Let love be without hypocrisy, abhor (hate) what is evil ..."
So God's love of righteousness and hatred of evil requires both the cross of Christ and His judgement. Without judgment, God's love is meaningless.
Perhaps the best known examples are found in Genesis. God saw the wickedness of man and his evil heart and judgement followed through the Flood (Gen 6.5-7). And God rained fire and brimstone on the sexual sin and wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19.24).
Then God told Israel to 'not leave alive anything that breathes' in the cities given to them for an inheritance (Deut 20.16). This essentially happened for example in the destruction of the Amalekites (1 Sam 15.1-9). The Amalekites consistently allied themselves with other nations to commit genocide against Israel. The humanist response to such OT judgements is predictable:
"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction" [Richard Dawkins]
But, as discussed, a God who loves man enough to die for him must also hate evil, and judge it. The important point here is that God gives due warning of impending judgement, either through men who live righteous lives (Noah, Lot), or through the prophets. God waited some 400 years before He destroyed the Amalekites.
Few Bible scholars would dispute the biblical claim that God is going to judge the present nations for their evil in His sight. This will happen at the end of the 'age of grace' when Christ returns:
"I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgement with them there ..." (Joel 3.2)
But the topic in this article concerns the possibility of God's judgement upon nations, governments and communities in this present age. Can nations continue in moral decline and increasing defiance of God without God intervening? Possibly, for some. But there is one criterion which God seems not to overlook - aggression in some form against His people Israel (see opposite). In the near future, before Christ returns, Israel will be invaded by Middle East nations - the 'God-Magog war'. Importantly, God will be seen as judge:
"With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgement with him ... I will magnify Myself ... and make Myself known in the sight of many nations ..." (Ezek 38.22,23)
End Times - Summary
End Time Signs
The True End Time Church
Electronic ID - Human Implants
Middle East War
Israel - its Purpose
Equality Law & End Times
Roman Catholicism - Babylon?
Climate Change - IPCC
Climate Change - Hoax
Prophecy Coming True
God Judging Nations
Second Coming of Christ
End Times - Indepth Study
End Times - The Millennium
Apologetics - Summary
Abortion: Facts & Ethics
Truth - What is it?
Truth - The Source
Laws of Life
Paths of Life
Pluralism - Ways to God
Entry to Heaven
After Death - What?
Israel's Legal Borders
Israel Goods Boycott
The Palestinian Problem
Reality - Verify the Bible
Morality & Ethics
Age of the Earth
Biblical Dating of Earth
Young Earth Creationism
God's Amazing Design
Atheism is Illogical
Evolution - the Truth
It's God's Weather
A Hurting World - Suffering
Religion Is Bad News
Steps You Should Take
Gifts For You
Promises For You
Adam: real or symbolic?
The Persecuted Church
Authority in Christ
Browse the Bible
Since the time of Christ the world has been in an 'age of grace' or 'church age'. During this time God's kingdom is being built as people turn to Christ:
"The time is fulfilled, and the kindgom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel" (Mk 1.15)
"... behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor 6.2)
"... God desires all men to be saved ..." (1 Tim 2.4)
Whilst this is very true, some Christians maintain that, because we are in a time of grace, God no longer acts in the world as judge of unbelievers. Neither people groups, or governments or complete nations are judged. They hold that this is not the day of God's judgement and this only happens at the end of the age when Christ returns. They might quote Christ's judgement of unbelievers when He returns:
"All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them one from another ... (Mat 25.32)
But does this picture of love and grace extended to the individual preclude God intervening in national affairs today? Why does this inhibit God from blessing or judging a people group, government or nation right now? If it does, then why ask God's blessing upon a government or community, or on a gospel outreach or crop planting? To expect blessing but not judgement is inconsistent.
Even today there are unseen spiritual laws that govern man's actions, either good or bad. God is not mocked: if we sow the wind we reap the whirlwind (Gal 6.7) and that applies to individuals, groups and governments. For example, history shows that tyrants invariably suffer for their actions during their lifetime, and the Bible maintains that sexually active homosexuals can expect God's judgement during their lifetime (Rom 1.27).
Continuing the above discussion, it seems that the 'age of grace' does not preclude the possibility of God's intervention in the world. God is patient whilst people are drawn into His kingdom (2 Pet 3.9), but surely the following is still true:
"For when the earth experiences Your judgements the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. Though the wicked is shown favour (i.e. God's grace in NT times), he does not learn righteousness" (Isa 26.9,10)
"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Prov 14.34)
The implication here is that man learns righteousness not through God's favour (grace) but through God's intervention, and when he does learn righteousness he is blessed. Why does the age of grace now nullify the fact that a nation or community or individual can be blessed by God through righteous living i.e. by keeping His word? This promise of mercy is underscored by the prophet Jeremiah:
"At one moment I might speak concerning a nation ... to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it" (Jer 18.7,8)
"Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation ... to build up or plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice (God's word), then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it" (Jer 18.9,10)
Here, the Hebrew word translated 'nation' means a Gentile nation. Note also that the time of God's intervention does not seem limited to OT times; it is simply 'at one moment' - a time determined by God Himself. We conclude that God's blessing or judgement can occur at any time during this age. For example, in recent years God has intervened and blessed communities and nations that responded to Him, as amongst the Canadian Eskimos (Inuit) and in Uganda.
It is not the aim of this article to point a finger. It merely presents some interesting observations and asks the question 'Are some world events simply what we expect in a fallen world, or is God using them and speaking through them?' Decide for yourself. Clearly, the inevitable suffering is a deeply sensitive issue.
August 2005 saw one of the strongest storms to impact the US over the last 100 years. Katrina reached wind speeds of 170 mph and generated 5 inches of rainfall across a large area of SE Florida. In New Orleans the storm surge breached many levees and at least 80% of the city was flooded (some parts being under 20 feet of water). The economy suffered, particularly shipbuilding, the space program and banking. Some facts about New Orleans before Katrina are worth noting:
God hates evil and that includes homosexual acts. When the storm hit, the City Council President said 'Maybe God's going to cleanse us'. Did he know that the girl name Katrina means 'purity, chaste, holy'? Did God send Katrina as a purifying experience?
There is perhaps one action that is likely to invoke God's anger more than any other. In relation to the nation Israel, the nation chosen by God to be a witness of Himself, God warns:
"I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse" (Gen 12.3)
"He has sent Me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple (pupil) of (the Lord's) eye" (Zech 2.8)
This is severe warning indeed, especially to national leaders. Has such judgement happened in recent history, or is it happening even now?
This must be looked at from two perspectives. First, after many warnings, God finally gave up His rebellious chosen people (Israel) when they rejected Christ as Saviour:
"And all the people said, 'His blood shall be on us and on our children'" (Mat 27.25)
This opened up the way for persecution. As predicted by Jesus (Lk 19.44), the Jewish state came to an end in 70 AD and the Romans drove the Jews from their homeland. So began the post-advent dispersion (diaspora) amongst the nations. By the early 20th century Jews were living in every country of Europe and some 9 million Jews lived in the countries that would be occupied by Germany during World War II. Nazi persecution commenced in the 1930's and culminated in death camps like Treblinka and Auschwitz. So at the very start of the age of grace, it seems God judged His own people according to His warning in Deut 4.27.
The other perspective of the holocaust concerns Nazi Germany itself. The Allied powers eventually brought utter destruction to the country. Estimates of combined military and civilian German war dead range from 5.5 to 6.9 million. Many of these were ordinary Germans who did not support the Nazis. Nevertheless, they suffered as a result of wicked leaders:
"When a wicked man rules, people groan" (Prov 29.2)
Did Hitler's Nazi Germany bring God's curse of Genesis 12:3 down upon itself because of its treatment of the Jews?
"Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight" [Nasser, 27 May 1967]
Arab armies were mobilised, and by June 1967 some 250,000 Arab troops, 2,000 tanks and 700 aircraft ringed Israel, forcing Israel into pre-emptive action against Egyptian airfields. In the subsequent 'Six-Day War', the armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon (and later Iraq) attacked. Israel defeated them despite huge Arab superiority in armour, aircraft and troops. After the war Israel held the Sinai, the Golan Heights, Gaza, the West Bank and all of Jerusalem. Some 1 million Arabs and all parts of Palestine were now under Israeli rule. The area controlled by Israel after this war (defined by the cease-fire line) was the same area allotted to Israel for Jewish settlement under the 1922 Palestine Mandate!
When nations wage war on Israel, God promises to come to her aid:
"I will be a wall of fire around her" (Zech 2.5)
"I will contend with the one who contends with you" (Isa 49.25)
"No weapon that is formed against you will prosper" (Isa 54.17)
Was this just another war, or did God judge the Arab nations for their aggression?
On March 11, 2011 Japan was hit with a magnitude 9.0 earthquake which triggered a 10-meter high tsunami. This was the largest earthquake in Japan's history and the world's fourth largest earthquake since 1900. The death toll passed 18,000. Aid can still be given at Help Japan and America Cares.
Most see this as yet another of the world's major natural disasters. Such a large earthquake was possibly due to the large size of the fault rupture as well as the speed at which the Pacific Plate is continuously thrusting beneath Japan [U.S. Geological Survey]. But there might be other factors.
The global BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) aims to create economic and political pressure on Israel wrt to land occupation and Palestinian rights. In 2010, after a strong BDS campaign in Japan to boycott Israel, the Japanese retailer MUJI announced that it was cancelling its plan to open a store in Israel. Of course, boycott action is not unique to Japan and even western churches support such a boycott. But this was not new in Japan. As far back as 1994 it was noted that 'Japan was the only major economic power to strictly comply with the Arab boycott of Israel' (Reingold and Lansing, Business Ethics Quarterly, 1994). And to underscore Japan's boycott, no Japanese government minister visited Israel until 1998. It is claimed that boycott actions by Japan (and other countries) have hindered Israel's economy.
In November 2009 the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement "deploring" Israel's construction in the West Bank. This reiterated a call by Japan "to freeze settlement activities".
Did God judge Japan for her long-term opposition to Israel (as in Gen 12.3)?
In 1917 A.J. Balfour (Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, British Foreign Office) stated "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people". In 1922 the League of Nations gave Britain the Mandate to see this homeland implemented. But almost immediately Britain cut away 77% of the original mandated area for the Jews to create what later became known as Jordan. The East Bank was therefore given to Britain's Arab allies! In 1923 Britain traded the Golan Heights (again originally part of the Mandate) to France in exchange for the oil-rich lands of Mosul in Iraq. Then, in 1939 a British White Paper limited Jewish immigration to Palestine to only 75,000 immigrants over a five year period. This policy repudiated the Balfour Declaration and Britain's Mandate just at the time of greatest need for a sanctuary for Jewish refugees. In 1948 Britain turned over her Mandate responsibility to the UN and withdrew from Palestine.
Some commentators see Britain's actions over Israel (land trading and immigration restriction) as reprehensible. Given a unique opportunity to help Israel, Britain failed! It is interesting to observe what has happened to Britain since WW II. Consider:
Is God judging Britain because of her treatment of Israel?
There has been strong Congressional support for Israel for many years. Congressional resolutions unanimously passed an endorsement of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, and the U.S. was the first nation to grant de facto recognition to the new Jewish State in 1948. Some reasons for this special relationship can be traced to America's Jewish roots. So we find that, in contrast to Japan, the U.S. has anti-boycott laws to prevent or discourage U.S. companies from boycotting trade with Israeli companies. And the U.S.-Israeli alliance has provided Israel with diplomatic, economic, and military support of more than $115 billion since 1949.
But the U.S. still lays out a moral and philosophical case for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, and in this it is supported by the Arab League, the EU and Russia. According to the Bible this is a dangerous stance: God does not look on favourably at those who divide up His land:
"I will gather all the nations ... I will enter into judgement with them there ... they have divided up My land" (Joel 3.2)
As pointed out above, God judges those nations who do evil in His sight (Jer 18.9,10). So how a nation treats Israel is one issue; how a nation rejects biblical morality is another.
By 2003 all sodomy laws in the U.S. had been repealed, overturned or invalidated - in defiance of God's word on homosexuality. This was achieved through state leaders (courts) or by the Supreme Court. The next step away from God is same-sex marriage. Currently, under the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal government respects only those marriages between a man and a woman. But the nation's leaders are now sympathetic, and President Obama now endorses gay marriage. So, like ancient Israel, America is being led into defiance of God's word by her leaders:
"The leaders of this people cause them to err, and those who are led by them are destroyed" (Isa 9.16)
Will America's stance on Israel's land and her defiance of God's moral law lead to God's judgment and her destruction?
Bible quotations are from the New American Standard Bible