Elder Oscar B. Mink
Now In Glory
“Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.” (Jeremiah 17:18)
Jeremiah prays to God concerning his persecutors, saying, “Destroy them with double destruction.” In contemporary time, with its emphasis on the philosophy that the sum and substance of God is love, that mankind is basically good, that it is the environment that makes the criminal, and not the criminal who makes the environment; Jeremiah’s prayer would be considered incongruous to the nature of God. The “God loves everyone” crowd, in order to be consistent, would have to say, “Jeremiah was overwrought from the great stress he was under and did not realize what he was asking God to do.” Well, they are the ones who suffer from mental deficiency, not Jeremiah, for we read in the 39th chapter of Jeremiah’s prophecy where God answered his prayer. Jerusalem was burned. The son’s of Judah’s king were killed before his eyes. The king’s eyes were plucked out, and all the nobles of Judah were killed, and all but the extremely poor were carried away captive to Babylon. God thought more of Jeremiah’s prayer than did the late Bishop Oxnam of the Methodist Church. He said, “The God of the Old Testament was nothing but a dirty bully.” By this time, I am sure he has a different opinion of God. Many people applaud when they hear of infinite grace, mercy and love, and many recoil when they hear of infinite sin, guilt, and punishment. God’s infinite grace, love and mercy can only be appreciated by those who realize they are guilty of infinite sin, and deserving of infinite punishment.
IMPRECATORY PRAYERS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
David often prayed unto God for the destruction of his enemies. Once he prayed, saying, “Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues …” (Psalm 55:9). When the sense of justice dies, anarchy prevails, and innocent blood flows freely. Motivated by a legitimate feeling against evil, the Old Testament prophets prayed for some manifestation of Divine righteousness by way of retribution against the carnage of reprobate men. They prayed not from a desire for personal revenge, but from a love of God and righteousness.
In the Mosaic dispensation God dealt differently with His people than He does today. Under the Mosaic economy, they were not only custodians and propagators of the true religion, but they were, at the same time, a civil state, or theocracy. Their civil well being was inseparably connected to, and dependent on their spiritual obedience. As long as they were obedient, God protected them by destroying their enemies. Thus it is we read many imprecative entreaties of God’s people in the Old Testament.
As a civil body God provided them with carnal means of protection, and guided them in the use of these weapons. David’s expertise with a sling shot resulted in Goliath’s death, and Israel’s victory over the Philistines. Samson, with supernatural strength and a jawbone of an ass, slew a thousand Philistines, and Gideon with his brave 300 fell thousands of the Midianites with Holy-Spirit-guided swords. Israel was God’s visible kingdom on earth, and they were to recognize that it was God Who gave them victory against their enemies, “For the Lord hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, He it is that fighteth for you, as He hath promised” (Joshua 23:9–10). “But (says someone), it is different today. We are living under grace.” So very right they are. Yet, we need to keep in the forefront of our minds this fact: God is not less angry with the wicked today than He was 4,000 years ago.
David said, “God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11), and the word for this age is, “… He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). The church in contrast to Israel is not a civil body, but a spiritual body. The Lord’s churches, indwelt and directed by the Holy Spirit are not ministers of God’s wrath, but messengers of His grace. We are to love our enemies, and bless them that curse us (Matthew 5:44). Yet, God is under no such obligation. He can either curse or bless His enemies, and no man can say unto Him, “What doest Thou?”
The church is now in its betrothal period in its relationship with Christ. Speaking to the church at Corinth, Paul says, “… I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (II Corinthians 11:2). In Israel the man who was betrothed was exempted from military duty, but not so with the married Israelite man (Deuteronomy 20:7). So it is with the church and her Groom during the betrothal period, militancy is checked. But soon the wedding march will be played in glory; then heaven’s militia with Christ at its head will march on Armageddon (Revelation 19:7–19). Israel’s rejection of Jesus as their Messiah (John 1:11) resulted in their being set aside as God’s representative people on earth and Christ says, “My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). At the climax of “the times of the Gentiles”, which is realized at the battle of Armageddon, the nail scarred Lord steps from Heaven’s stage with His sword of vengeance unsheathed (II Thessalonians 2:7-8), and once again fights for His beleaguered people. The Lord’s vengeance fills the valley with blood for the space of 200 miles at the height of a horse’s bridle (Revelation 14:20). The earth at this time becomes the monarchy of Jesus Christ (Revelation 11:15), and every infraction of His equitable rule will be met with impartial justice. While it is for the present age, “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (II Corinthians 10:4), let the believer remember he serves the Lord Who has determined to slay all His enemies which would not that He should reign over them, and that in due season He will answer the prayer of the martyred souls under His altar, who “… Cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, Holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? … It was said unto them, that they should rest yet a little season …” (Luke 19:27; Revelation 6:9–11).
DEPRAVITY AND DESTRUCTION
“Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood, their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, wasting and destruction are in their paths.” Isaiah 59:7
Nations now measure destructive force by the number of megatons built into a hydrogen bomb. Many people live in constant fear, for they know, never before in the history of the world, have men had the ability to destroy that they now possess. Man fears nuclear war, plane crashes, car wrecks, and cancer. He fears earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural phenomenon, but due to his depraved nature, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18).
Man’s heart and mind in his fallen state are so utterly depraved that he is continually thinking of, and studying ways and means of destroying his fellowman. Solomon says, “Their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief” (Proverbs 24:2). And Paul says, “Destruction and misery are in their ways” (Romans 3:16).
The United States Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, and Army’s West Point are schools dedicated to the idea of creating the best brains in the field of military science, which science has to do with destruction by warfare. I believe these schools are necessary. I do not complain about my tax dollar supporting them, but the fact remains: they exist because man apart from Christ is a totally depraved creature. From the depraved counsels of men have come some of the most diabolical devices, and ingenious schemes for the destruction of their fellow man. A brief view of history, and the Italian and Spanish inquisition, fostered and supported by the Roman Catholic Church, is sufficient evidence, proving the veracity of the above statement. Hitler is a classic example. He believed the war devices and schemes of Nazi Germany were superior to any other nations of the world. Germany became militarily strong; claimed for themselves the status of a super-race, and became exceedingly proud. They forgot that God long ago said, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall”. (Proverbs 16:18).
Man, with his depraved mind, not only unjustly destroys his fellowman, but he does it calculatively and systematically. After WW I, in 1919 there was discovered in Germany a resume containing the Communist Manifesto, which delineated a plan for the destruction of the United States of America. The plan called for:
Dividing the United States by races and classes, the creation of as much internal unrest as possible, Dividing the United States and her allies, Engaging the United States in diversified wars with communistic puppet states, whereby the United States would spend herself broke. Then the major forces of communism would step in, and add the finishing touches of destruction.
The rift or division now existing between Russia and Red China is, in part, due to their varying opinions as to what is the best and most expeditious way to destroy the United States Russia wants to do it systematically, through cold war tactics. Red China with her crowded and expendable populous wanted to destroy the United States with an all out war. Russia and China do not trust one another, and Russia was fearful of what United States defeat by war would cost her militarily. Supposing the cost might reduce her to the point where she would be easy prey for the Mao Se Tung regime brought them to a heated impasse. Carter’s cowardly compromise wherein Taiwan’s potential destruction became imminent has not diminished Red China’s hatred of the United States one iota, and if Russia and China solve their problems, the UnitedStates will know from experience how Taiwan feels today, December, 1978.
GOD AND SYSTEMATIC DESTRUCTION
Man is not the originator of systematic destruction, neither is the devil. God originated systematic destruction. The God of the Bible is the God of order and system. He executes His designs with absolute precision, and the devil with all his cohorts cannot frustrate God’s plan for the sparrow, much less His plan for man. The wrath of man shall praise the Lord, and God said to the devil a long time ago, “I will destroy thee” (Psalms 76:10; Ezekiel 28:16).
A. God’s Curse on Sin is Systematically Exercised.
Adam sinned and the threatened curse took hold on him. Of Adam’s physical being we read, “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died” (Genesis 5:5). The curse brought forth the bitter fruit of death, destroying the body of Adam progressively and systematically. Job, speaking of man’s body under the curse said, “They are destroyed from morning to evening” (Job 4:20).
Man’s body suffers under the curse. In due process of time, it loses its ability to walk, run and becomes immobile. Then comes to pass the saying, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19). A great many lost people seem to be able to laugh at the thought of death. When faced with the fact of death, many say, “O well, so what?” The devil has them blinded as to what all is involved in death. They think the grave brings an absolute cessation of existence. They are totally unaware that physical death and hell are simultaneously realized for the lost, and that they shall suffer everlasting or perpetual destruction (II Thessalonians 1:9).
B. The Enemies of Israel in the Conquest of Canaan Were Systematically Destroyed by God.
“And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee little by little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.” (Deuteronomy 7:22–23) God wanted to protect Israel from the beasts of the field by keeping a balance between them. To preserve this balance the nations of Caanan were systematically (“little by little”) destroyed.
C. The Formation and Destruction of the Ecumenical Church Will Be Systematically Wrought.
“Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the time I will say to the reapers gather ye together first the tares and bind them into bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into My barn.” (Matthew 13:30) The “tare” is a darnel, a weed that in appearance looks like wheat. The tare represents the lost religionist. In the end of the age, or harvest time, the reapers gather them into denominational bundles, then into various national councils, and finally into one big bundle, known as the Ecumenical Church. The binding of the tares is systematically wrought so as not to uproot any of the wheat, or true churches of the Lord. Now, let us view history in advance, and see what happens to this great big religious super bundle. “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore (Ecumenical Church) and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire” (Revelation 17:16). Do you know why the anti-Christ and his league of nations destroy the harlot church? The scripture gives us the answer, “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will …” (Revelation 17:17).
DOUBLE DESTRUCTION – DOUBLE DELIVERANCE
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who healeth all thy diseases: Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.” (Psalms 103:2–4)
It is God who saves from destruction, not man. Man’s bomb shelters, health programs, reformation, nor his religion can save him from eternal destruction. But bless God, all is not hopeless. While He is the Sovereign destroyer, He is also gracious and everyone who trusts His power to save is delivered from destruction.
Let us note some things that avert eternal destruction.
The sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ averts destruction. “For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He seeth the blood upon the lintel and on the side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you.” (Exodus 12:23) The safety zone for the Israelite was under the shed blood of the typical lamb. Of the Anti-type of Israel’s lamb, Jesus Christ, we read, “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9).
Faith in God averts destruction. “Through faith he (Moses) kept the passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the first born should touch them.” (Hebrews 11:28) “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house.” (Hebrews 11:7)
Obedience to God’s word averts destruction. “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed, but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”(Proverbs 13:13) “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:20) “… By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.” (Psalm 17:4) Believe the Bible to be safe. Practice it to be holy. Defend it to be rewarded, and use it to proclaim deliverance from destruction.
In this present evil world the saint may be persecuted, but he can never say, “I am forsaken.” He may be cast down, but he can ever say, “I am not destroyed” (II Corinthians 4:9). It is not so with the wicked for they are “reserved to the day of destruction … and shall be punished with everlasting destruction” (Job 21:30, II Thessalonians 1:9). Not annihilation, but eternal destruction, or everlasting damnation.
Christ has mercifully warned man of forthcoming “double destruction” saying, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Double destruction, in the full sense of the word, is both soul and body suffering eternal destruction in hell.
Although all men deserve to suffer “double destruction” God has in infinite grace, granted some double deliverance having obtained eternal redemption for their souls and bodies through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:12; Romans 8:23).
(The Sovereign Grace Advocate – January, 1979)