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GOD’S ANGER IS UPON US

JEREMIAH 7:16-28

16 The Lord said, “Jeremiah, do not pray for these people. Do not cry or pray on their behalf; do not plead with me for I will not listen to you. 17Don't you see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather firewood, the men build fires, and the women mix dough to bake cakes for the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven.  They also pour out wine-offerings to other gods, in order to hurt me. 19 But am I really the one they are hurting?  No, they are hurting themselves and bringing shame on themselves. 20 And so I, the Sovereign Lord, will pour out my fierce anger on this Temple.  I will pour it out on people and animals alike and even on the trees and the crops.  My anger will be like a fire that no-one can put out.”
21 “My people, some sacrifices you burn completely on the alter, and some you are permitted to eat.  But I, the Lord, say is that you might as well eat them all. 22 I gave your ancestors no commands about burnt-offerings or any other kinds of sacrifices, when I bought them out of Egypt. 23 But I did command them to obey me, so that I would be their God and they would be my people. And I told them to live as I had commanded them, so that things would go well for them. 24 But they did not obey or pay any attention. Instead they did whatever their stubborn and evil hearts told them to do and they became worse instead of better. 25 From the day that your ancestors came out of Egypt until this very day, I have kept on sending my servants, the prophets, to you. 26 Yet no one listened or paid any attention.  Instead, you became more stubborn and rebellious than your ancestors.”
27 “So, Jeremiah, you will speak all these words to my people, but they will not listen to you; you will call them but they will not answer. 28You will tell them that their nation does not obey me, the Lord their God, or learn from their punishment. Faithfulness is dead. No longer is it even talked about.
    Good News Bible

WHAT IS THE MESSAGE FOR US?

Clearly the time is upon us when God will substitute individual Christian’s names for Jeremiah. It is our duty to pray for our nation but the time is coming when God will be saying to us, just as He said to Jeremiah, that enough is enough and the nation, as a whole, is not to be prayed for anymore. Nor will we be allowed to intercede on behalf of  individuals or the nation. It doesn’t take too much insight to be able to see that the world is currently heading down a lawless and Godless path, which can only bring destruction.

Sadly verse 18 is very applicable today.

18 The children gather firewood, the men build fires, and the women mix dough to bake cakes for the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven.  They also pour out wine-offerings to other gods, in order to hurt me.

Who does it refer to? I truly believe that it refers to the false religion practised by people who inhabit much of the church in the world. These people practice a religion that is not dissimilar to Christianity but does not have Christ as its centre and its lifeblood. They practice a religion that is best described as Churchianity. Sadly the world sees Christianity and Churchianity as one and the same because satan has so cleverly created churchianity to look like Christianity that ordinary people cannot tell the difference. As Isaiah so rightly said:

The Lord said “These people claim to worship me, but their words are meaningless, and their hearts are somewhere else. Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorised.”    Isaiah 29: 13

Can we really blame people? Yes and no! Yes: because they do have God’s Word and should be listening to what it says. No: because they have been so brain-washed by the false teachings so rife in our churches today that unless they are challenged to see what God is really saying, they firmly believe in their hearts that what they have been taught is the truth and nothing less. People within the churches of today have no concept, understanding nor acceptance of the power of Christ and the Truth of His Word.

The ‘no’ answer is a sad reflection on those who would call themselves Christians. The blame for the failure to correct these false teachings rests fair and square on our shoulders and we cannot say that somebody else is responsible (unless, of course, if we really aren’t Christians at all  but only churchian). When some Church leader pops their head up and openly denies the truth of the Gospel, do they chastise that person? Of course not. The response is usually - “Well they are entitled to their view point.” Thus the truth is sacrificed in order that the rights of the individual can be protected.

Verse 19, in light of this, becomes all too clear.

19 But am I really the one they are hurting?  No, they are hurting themselves and bringing shame on themselves.

Whilst churchians think that they are being really good about their actions and God will understand, they are in fact adding further fuel to the fire that will burn them for eternity, as verse 20 goes on to point out.

20 And so I, the Sovereign Lord, will pour out my fierce anger on this Temple.  I will pour it out on people and animals alike and even on the trees and the crops.  My anger will be like a fire that no-one can put out.”

Now the contents of this verse should really shake us (if what has been said before hasn’t already done so). If we substitute Church for Temple, in the first instance, we can see that those who wish to follow the path of churchianity will only face God’s anger. But this verse goes even further: it offers no exceptions - people, animals, trees and crops. What the passage tends to imply is that the people, and all they hold dear, will be destroyed by the fire of God’s anger.

If we look now at verses 24 to 26 we can summarise these things in two ways.

24 But they did not obey or pay any attention. Instead they did whatever their stubborn and evil hearts told them to do and they became worse instead of better. 25 From the day that your ancestors came out of Egypt until this very day, I have kept on sending my servants, the prophets, to you. 26 Yet no one listened or paid any attention.  Instead, you became more stubborn and rebellious than your ancestors.”

In the first part it covers the aspect of just how churchianity has taken God’s Word and twisted it to allow these broader and false interpretations of what His instructions actually say. It is so very easy to misquote scriptures by taking them out of context. For an extreme  example, let’s take Numbers 31:17 totally out of context. The verse is very clear in its instructions.

So now kill every boy and kill every woman who has had sexual intercourse.    Numbers 31:17

Clearly the Bible’s instructions to us is to kill every boy and to kill every woman who is not a virgin. You may well say, how ridiculous, but there it is in black and white. I recall a student I was at school with who used God’s word as a most powerful tool to convince people that Christianity was wrong. I have never ever met another person who could quote scripture like he could but it was all for satanic use. Now whilst false teachings may not go to this extreme (though some sects are known to be so extreme), it shouldn’t be very hard to see that if we don’t look at the overall picture, we can be painted a “Biblical picture” that is not truth. Sadly this is something that is too frequently happening and is usually accepted without question. We must read God’s word regularly and totally in a way that allows it to be a Living Word, making sure that  we allow the Holy Spirit to speak directly to us through God’s Word and not through the way someone else would have it speak to us. When we allow God’s Word its freedom it will meet our every need. If we restrict it then its is just another book that contains some nice things.

Events of recent times really show how sad the world has become. We see a great tragedy occur and we stand and condemn the action and then, hypocritically, say that we should retaliate with further terrorism (that is what George Bush was really proposing back in 2001 after that terrible tragedy in New York). The Bible is very clear about one thing Vengeance is mine, says the Lord Romans 12:19. Although there are those who believe the President of the USA is a god, he is NOT God and therefore acts of retribution only further the lawlessness of our society, the very reason this act was perpetrated in the first place.

Verses 24 to 26 go on to describe what really happened despite God’s commands to the contrary and, such commands coupled with such great promises of reward.  You would wonder how people could be so stupid as to sacrifice such great rewards for a little bit of disobedient pleasure, but a close look at our society within the world clearly shows the very strong evidence of this disobedience to God’s clear commands.

The burden of responsibility is clearly laid on the shoulders of true Christians. It is our duty to tell people they are wrong. This, of course, will not go over real well, particularly in our “politically correct” society  where we must adhere to the rules of men rather than the rules of God. In a society where the lawbreaker is guaranteed more protection than the victim, how can we expect that people will want to listen to the truth. The old saying the truth hurts has been shielded from people in our society because if you tell the truth and another person doesn’t like that truth, then they have the right to sue you. Truth no longer matters and may well be dead in our society.

Many of us think that if we face these trials, we will be the only ones and God really won’t understand how we feel. Let’s take a look at what God had to say to Jeremiah.

27 “So, Jeremiah, you will speak all these words to my people, but they will not listen to you; you will call them but they will not answer. 28You will tell them that their nation does not obey me, the Lord their God, or learn from their punishment. Faithfulness is dead. No longer is it even talked about.
Clearly this passage tells us that God does know exactly what will happen and how people will react when they are told the truth.
I remember reading a very interesting book when I was at school and the essence of that book was the re-writing of the Gospel story with a setting in the 1960's. The author concluded, and I now believe quite rightly, that it was the church of its day, in particular church leaders, who would have again sent Christ to his death. Nothing changes. Where does the greatest criticism of Christ’s truth generally come from - it comes from church leaders whom you would think would know better.


BUT WHERE DO I FIT IN?

Clearly, God’s elect are starting to be called to identify themselves and if we look carefully at scripture we will realise that the price for being chosen by God will be high. Look at the prophesies of the end time throughout the New Testament and you will see that it promises a really tough time for those who will make their stand for Christ.

I, personally, have been told that death is the resulting option for my faith. This was revealed to me some 40 years ago. I could choose which path I walked down, but if I chose God, the path would be very rough and would ultimately lead to my death. It took me many weeks to come to grips with that and many a false prophet has tried to tell me since that such a prophecy could not be from God because God looks after his chosen people. That He does, but it is a promise for the afterlife and not necessarily for this one.

My road of faith has been a rough one: I don’t say I haven’t had any blessings along the way for that would be clearly a lie, but the choices I have had to make have often left me hurt, sometimes badly, and that has been reinforced in recent years. But I have found a great deal of strength in the life of St Paul and those famous words from Phillipians

All I want to know is Christ and to experience the power of His resurrection, to share in His suffering and to become like Him in His death, in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life.        Phillipians 3:10-11

You may be thinking, “How could God be a God of love and yet take such a hard line?” I suggest that a look through Biblical history will show that God clearly gives us plenty of chances to change our ways but if we continue to ignore His message then His promise has always been to punish those who persist in disobeying Him. Its far from being a new message. In fact, in human terms, God is far too tolerant. If we were to allow such tolerance in our society it would be ten times as bad as it is these days and we would be the first ones to complain, but when it comes to God, then the attitude of “Oh it’ll be all right - God will forgive” comes to the forefront and we just go on ignoring His message. The time is rapidly coming when this will no longer be the case.

In conclusion, let me just say this. Take a very close look at where you walk in the way of faith. Follow only what is written in God’s word and cross check most church teaching. It is a sad state of affairs that most churches are not in line with God’s Word but, in fact, have followed thee path that Judaism had taken by the time of Christ and received His condemnation.

Be sure you do not stand condemned when judgement comes.


R.J.Burling