Jan Lilleby

To go straight to the issue, there is no chance that God is executing judgments today whatsoever. I will try to explain the fact in this article. I will not use all the words and chapters and verses in the Bible that mention judgment and doom, but a few selected examples which are totally representable for how things are with God. I leave it to the Bible student to go find more of it by themselves, expanding on what I have written here.

It so happened a few years back, I read a comment in a Christian magazine of a preacher in California – discussing the aggressive increasing gay culture that emerged in San Francisco – saying something like this, ‘If God doesn’t judge San Francisco for its sinful gay community and their shameless behavior, He would have to beg for Sodom and Gomorra’s pardon!’

While I can understand this preacher’s indignation over sinful behaviors, I must nevertheless point out: No, God do not by any chance owe Sodom and Gomorra any apology for not having done away with the Californian metropole.

There are several reasons why. One is the fact that in San Francisco there are thousands of righteous believing saints, to whom Christ is Savior and Master.

Abraham, as we recall the story of the two cities, and his nephew Lot living in one of them, pleaded with God not to destroy them if there could be found at least (after starting the plead with fifty) ten righteous people, Gen 18:32.

God, if He still practiced judgment with places in which sin had reached an extreme high ‘Point-of-no-return’ level like that of Sodom and Gomorra, would certainly not destroy for instance San Francisco. There are much more than ten righteous people there, I am certain!

But the better point in this issue is: God executes no judgment whatsoever in our time. It might have been only one righteous man or woman in the metropole this very minute, but God would not destroy the place. This doesn’t mean that God accepts homosexuality or any other vice, but there will not be an immediate judgment upon the ones who practice such sin.

Atheists all over the world can keep cursing and blaspheming God and Christ all their lives, but God will not come to execute an immediate judgment against such hateful unbelievers. Still, this doesn’t mean that God has accepted atheism or blasphemy or things like that. Not at all. But He is…as Jonah 4:2 says…merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. (More on Jonah below). This implies that God has given them lots of time to repent from sin and unbelief. But once they die – all is lost, forever!

The judgment for such people and the likes is simply that God will not raise those people from the dead. They will go lost…even if God let them live for fifty, sixty, seventy years or more in the same condemnable sin. There is no tormenting eternal Hell, but only nothingness. It will be as before one was born. All will be gone. Bible says the dead knows nothing.

san-francisco-1906-in-rubblesAfter the earthquake disaster in 1906, on the morning of 18th April, many ministers cried out that God had sent His righteous doom and destroyed San Francisco for her grave sin, criminal activities, prostitution and drunkenness. But those voices did not speak for God.

There actually arose a spiritual battle between two groups of Christians; one declared that God had nothing to do with the destruction, – while an opposing Pentecostal group (several from Azusa Street Revival) told people – even by spreading tracts – that the destruction came from God’s hand and urged them to repent. A Pentecostal leader, Frank Bartelman, was such a promotor, and he and his fellow believers used the disaster to try to make people repent and seeking the Lord.

Same thing happened in New Orleans after the hurricane disaster: Oh you sinful city, God hath judged thee! But it was not a move from God, not at all.

I like what Abraham said when pleading with God, Gen 18:23,

‘And Abraham came close and said, Will you destroy the righteous together with the wicked?’ (Knowing of course what God would say!).

No, God is not killing the righteous believers together with the ungodly unbelievers!

Abraham did not plead with God from out of ignorance or misplaced fear, but because the Patriarch knew God very well, having had several visits from Him earlier. He was a very learned man having a confidential relationship with the Lord. It shines through Abraham’s words, Gen 18:25,

‘Far be it from You to do such a thing – to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as do the wicked! Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth execute judgment and do righteously?’

Abraham continued, as always (!) to stay in a humble state of mind before the Lord, – and thus we also read, Gen 18:27,

‘Abraham answered, Behold now. I who am but dust and ashes have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord.’

The reason I wanted to start the article by this dramatic story of Abraham, Lot, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra is simply to be very aware of God’s character and mercy, even if He also executes stern judgments in certain dispensations.

He actually ended the previous ones with judgments. And right before the return of Christ from heaven in near future, God the Father of Christ shall execute fearsome judgments against the Zionist-Israel for their hatred and rejection of the Messiah Jesus Christ, Eze 36:17-23.

This is what we call The Great Tribulation; a time which will be Post-Church era preparing for the millennial rule of Jesus Christ in Israel. God will not execute any judgments of any kind before the Church era is concluded.

Last time God sent judgments and strict doom, was in 70 AD as He brought down Israel by sending His army, the Romans, against them for their wicked ways. See Eze 36:17-19 which is entirely in line with the parable of the king’s servants in Matt 22:1-7, and also with His parable of the dry fruitless fig tree in Luke 13. Ezekiel 36 is mainly of the destruction in 70 AD and the coming Great Tribulation, and the time after that.

Judgments from God has been put on hold, until the time for it has come, as described for us in the Word of God, the Holy Bible.

It is disturbing and upsetting when we learn of disasters, wars, terror and all kind of evil near and far – but one thing is certain: God is not behind it in any way. Accidents happen, rebellion and unrest happens, hurricanes and twisters happens…but none of it is caused by God to perform any form of ‘Judgment against sin’.

Not many years ago – and I remember this well – we could see on the news channels here in Norway the ‘Estonia disaster’ – the sea vessel which left Tallinn for Stockholm, but went down in a storm in the Baltic Sea. It happened because the car-port in the fore had not been properly secured before the ship left the harbor, and waves broke into the car deck.

A few foolish preachers cried up of ‘God having judged the ship for the sin onboard’ – (you know, drunken passengers and what not…). Voices that did not speak for God.

Now, it so happened that onboard were also 40 Bible students from a Christian church in Estonia. They all went down with the ship. Also, I had a near friend who was a Christian preacher, and he and his co-workers had been on a mission trip to Tallinn and other places in Estonia, and hoped to find a ticket to go with the ferry. But they were denied access for the ship was full. Disappointed they had to watch the ferry leave for Stockholm, and they had to find a place to stay for the night.

Here’s the obvious expected question: If God had executed a judgment against that ferry – how is it that 40 Bible students were killed by drowning in the Baltic, while my friend and his party were spared due to a full ferry? Two groups of Christians having faced same event. One thanked God for ‘making them left behind’ at the docks, and the other Christians died and went into eternity.

The simple answer is that God was in no way engaged in that ship going under, neither was He engaged in ‘saving’ the ones left at the docks! He is not interfering like that, passing out judgments and deciding who is to die and who is to live in such detail.

Same as with the New Orleans hurricane; leaving great parts of the big city in rubbles. They are still struggling to get back on their feet if we should believe the reports in Medias. Many Christians died in the dangerous hurricane, but a great number were spared. Did God ‘Take many Christians home’ letting them die, but others were spared so they could live on – as a blessing? No way. God does not make any such judgments. It is not time for such actions. Judgments don’t start up again before the Church age, or dispensation, is concluded.

Until then, we live in an era characterized as the era of the free grace of God by faith in Christ, no works demanded so that nobody should go boasting, Eph 2:8.

We can often watch films, and some of the story implicates that a family member dies, either of a disease or an accident, even murder. And always (it seem to me) the writers of manuscripts have the remaining family declare: ‘God took our daughter from us. I hope the Police will catch the killer!’ As if God sent a killer to take a beloved family member to heaven, like, by the hand of a murderer. (Notice: I do not believe one can by death go directly to heaven.  It takes a resurrection to come there. I only use that expression due to how people think). How insane and helplessly foolish to have such a twisted impression of God’s character and way of dealing with His believers!

God’s character is seen throughout the entire Bible. One of the most touching scenes is the case with Jonah and how God chastised him because Jonah knew that God would spare Nineveh from being destroyed, and we read of our great God and Savior, Jon 4:10, 11,

‘Then said the Lord, You have had pity on the gourd, for which you have not labored nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons not yet old enough to know their right hand from their left, and also many cattle (not accountable for sin)?’

In chapter three we learn that Jonah’s warning to them of a coming destruction in forty days, made ALL OF NINEVEH repent and turn to God! Which was the condition for God, should He spare the place. It is almost hair raising and shocking to read verses one and two in chapter four, of Jonah’s objections, but it is just as pleasing, however, to notice his correct knowledge of God’s character,

‘But it displeased Jonah exceedingly and he was very angry. 2: And he prayed to the Lord and said, I pray You, O Lord, is not this just what I said when I was still in my country? That is why I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and (when sinners turn to You and meet Your conditions) You revoke (the sentence of) evil against them.’

Today, as we are Christian believers in the faith in Jesus Christ according to the gospel of grace, we are ALL OF US meeting God’s conditions for salvation, which is seen in Eph 2:8 and many other Scripture of the grace faith. A sentence fell at Calvary: Jesus took upon Him the punishment that was in a way meant for us hopeless sinners: Death. So, by faith in Him we are all free, we are all saved!

Paul secured us a specific understanding by giving his exhortations in Eph 5 and Col 3 – the moral codex which must guide us in life in the faith in Christ.

Paul expressed on our behalf…that we as believers already knew what would be the proper way of living, staying as much as humanly possible away from all sin, displaying that we are against sin, even if we cannot fully live perfectly without committing sin. Neither are we capable of having absolutely zero sinful thoughts. We inherited Adams nature, for sure. Christ is the cure for it all.

Eph 5:3-5 is an instructive piece of teaching for us to follow,

‘But immorality and all impurity (homosexuality etc.) or greediness must not even be named among you, as is fitting and proper among saints. 4: Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness to God. 5: For be sure of this (Notice: In Norwegian Bible 1988 it says, For this you know and are aware of) – that no person practicing sexual vice or impurity (homosexuality) in thought or in life (notice: It exist dispute among translators of the concept of ‘sin in thoughts’) – or one who is covetous (who has lustful desire for the property of others and is greedy for gain) – for he (in effect) is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.’

Coming to an end for this article – it could be tempting to have a closer look on the much misunderstood judgment from God upon the world in the days of Noah and the great flood.

But I feel it is better not to involve this at this time. Maybe I shall write a piece on the event later, I am not sure.

But in very short terms, that was a judgment not against mankind, but a hunting-down and destroying a hybrid kind of creatures: The vile Nephilim (called Giants) which were a result of fallen angels having offspring with normal women. And God had to send a big flood to keep this forbidden and evil race of humanlike hybrids away. The flood only hit the Middle East, and not the entire globe, mind you!