One of best things about being a Scripture professor is that I get to read a lot of the Bible. Early in the year I volunteered to teach a course this May at the National Seminary in Beijing. I sent the dean a list of all the courses I’ve ever taught, offering to teach any he should choose. But he asked me to teach on the OT Historical Books, so I got to re-read and teach Joshua to 2 Kings.
This summer I’m doing a directed readings course with a couple students on the Prophets, another course I’ve not taught before. So now I’m reading through the Prophets. One of the things that strikes me is certain parallels between the situation of Israel and Judah in the eight century B.C., before decisive judgment landed on them, and the situation of the Church and of the Western world today.
Although there was a faithful remnant among God’s people in the eighth century B.C., there were many who had adopted the pagan ways of the surrounding culture. Many in Israel were affluent, some oppressed the poor, and many engaged in idolatry and immorality. Sound familiar?
Back then those who spoke for God said that severe judgment was coming. I’m sorry to say I’m convinced that, unless there is a radical change of direction, severe judgment is coming on the Western world that once was Christian but has in large measure apostatized—including America.
You don’t have to be a prophet to reach this conclusion—just a halfway alert reader of the Bible. God acts in history to judge both his people and the nations. This is a basic teaching of the historical books and of the prophets.
So, what will happen to a Judeo-Christian society when it kills millions of infants in the womb, when it pursues wealth and uses it self-indulgently, when it surrenders itself to unrestrained sexual immorality? You don’t need a PhD in biblical exegesis to know the perspective of Scripture on this situation.
What’s amazing to me is how few are expressing this prophetic perspective and summoning the Church to repentance, despite the many indications that judgment has already begun. Where are the prophets?
Today I’m in Micah. Here are some verses that strike me:
Micah 2:6 “Do not preach” — thus they preach — “one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us.”
Apparently, words about coming judgment were not welcome then either!
Micah 2:4 In that day they shall… moan bitterly, and say, “We are utterly ruined; he changes the portion of my people; how he removes it from me! To an apostate he allots our fields.”
When God judges his people he does so at the hands of those who are not his chosen people, even at the hands of the wicked. We should not be surprised then, when secularists, Muslims, or non-Christian nations prevail politically or economically over the Lord’s inheritance, the once-Christian West.
Finally, after prophesying judgment on corrupt leaders–civil authorities, priests, and prophets–Micah cries out,
Micah 3:8 But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.
The Lord will fill some with the Spirit of prophecy to speak to our generation, to the Christian people today.
May we be those who listen and repent! May we be those who receive the Spirit and prophesy!