Due to my health I have been struggling to keep up with my writing. In the meantime I have been keeping my eyes open for articles on subjects I would be writing about if I was able. The following article, by Pastor Mike Taylor confronts many of those difficult questions regarding Love, Mercy, Wrath, Free Will and Rebellion! Why does God allow evil to exist? I suggest you read Pastor Mike's article and see for yourself. You will find there is a very good reason for everything God does.
The Wrath of GodHave you ever heard someone say to you in light of a terrible tragedy, “Why would God allow such evil to exist in the world?” Many turn away from God and disavow Him as they cannot understand how there can be evil in the world, and a Holy God that co-exists or allows such evil.
By Mike Taylor
By Mike Taylor
Many do not believe in God as they cannot understand how this can be, so they theorize, “There is no God.”
I spoke of a fellow that I called, Mr. Frosty (some of you will remember him). He believes there is no God as there is so much pain and suffering in the world. Why is this man an atheist? People like him try to get their minds around a word that identifies this problem and the word is: theodicy. What is theodicy? According to the dictionary the meaning is this:
Theodicy from Greek theos – “god” + dike – “justice”) is a theological and philosophical study which attempts to prove possible God's intrinsic or foundational nature of omnibenevolence (all-loving), omniscience (all-knowing), and omnipotence (all-powerful). The fundamental dilemma of theodicy is the problem of evil: its continuing existence and God’s apparent inability or unwillingness to eradicate it. (Wikipedia)
These unbelievers do not understand when they say, “Why does God allow, if there be a God, evil in this world?” Or, “Why does God not make men that do not sin if He’s so powerful?” Do they not understand that He has made such creatures? They are called cows and horses. Do you want to be a cow or a horse? Of course not, we are men and women and God as our Creator gave us one thing that we are endowed with: LIBERTY also called, “free will choice.” You will find this concept in an unlikely place, which defines what we enjoy and adhere to. It is found in the pledge of allegiance:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, Under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” (The U.S. and God are intertwined and cannot be separated.)
IN THE BEGINNING
In the beginning, God made man with free will. He was made with a free moral character to choose either to following God, the Creator, or the god of this world. In a nutshell, he was free to choose between good or evil. But on the heels of what men choose in liberty, there is enacted righteous justice. Men believe erroneously of a god of their imagination, not the clearly defined God of the Bible. They do not understand the distinction of a God of judgment, a God of justice, nor a God of consuming fire that is a direct result of that liberty.
LIBERTY TO DO EVIL
Let us go back and examine several groups of people who by their own free will did evil and reaped judgment for their actions. I will try and show the error of their ways and how it applies to us, even today. In the time of the Moses and before, the Hebrew people became a great nation. Fear fell upon the heart of Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt to deal with a growing problem. They were fearful that the Hebrew nation would become so, large, that Egypt would be overrun by them and eventually the Egyptians could be defeated in battle by their alignment with an invading army. You’ll find this story in Exodus chapter 1, but let’s look at a few defining verses:
“And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.”
But the midwives feared God and did not do as the Pharaoh had ruled, but saved them alive. Then in verse 22, Pharaoh decreed this:
“And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, ‘Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.’”
What the Egyptians did was cast every male child that was born, or some believe that it included any of an age under two, to be cast into the Nile for the crocodiles. Why was this allowed to happen? Our God is a God of imparting liberty. If man is not allowed to do evil in the name of liberty, then he is not free at all, but judgment was coming and it started with the first plague given to Moses against the Egyptians.
Exodus chapter 7:20-21:
“So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that flowed in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that flowed in the Nile turned to blood. The fish that lived in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood flowed through all the land of Egypt.
This was the beginning of judgment upon a people who had killed innocent babies by throwing them to crocodiles, and God gave them blood to drink. It was a sign of judgment upon this evil. God gave the Egyptians ample time to repent of their sins and turn from their ways, but Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, as justice was being done, and judgment had already been decided against Egypt for their evil in God’s eyes. During the final plague against Egypt, a messenger from God, a death angel, came into the streets of Egypt and killed all first born male children that were not protected by the blood of a lamb upon the post and lintels of their doors, a sign of the coming Messiah.
Exodus chapter 11:4-6:
“Moses said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who works behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well. ‘Moreover, there shall come forth a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as no one has ever heard before and such as shall never shall come again.’”
Then in Chapter 12 of Exodus, the death angel came, as God told Moses, but the children of Israel were saved, because of the blood, a sign of salvation:
“For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments-- I Proclaim myself the LORD. The blood shall serve as a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” (The blood was a foreshadow of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.)
You ask, why didn’t God just whisk these Hebrew people out of the land of Egypt, instead of killing all the Egyptian first born? The answer is justice. Judgment had been passed on Egypt for the crimes against their fellow man and the murders of the innocent. Because of their free will, God allowed them to have liberty, to do good or evil, but in His righteous judgment, He enacted justice.
JUDGMENT AGAINST ISRAEL
This is a story that I cannot fathom, but it happened. After all the acts of God and His righteousness, the people of Israel became ensnared with the evil of this world, and by having liberty, did evil in the sight of a Holy God. But judgment came, as Jeremiah prophesied to them, and it came to pass. You may find this sad state of affairs in Jeremiah chapter 19. Jeremiah had been instructed by God in a two-way conversation to bring the elders and the priest down to the Valley of Ben-hinnom. This was a place of 24-hour fires, burning refuse, and dead bodies. It was like their city dump; it was there that Jeremiah prophesied what God was about do to them for their evil:
“Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent [babies and children] and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind; therefore, behold, ‘Days will come,’ declares the LORD, ‘When this place will no longer have the name Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter.
I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hand of those who seek their life; and I will give over their carcasses as food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth.
I will also make this city a desolation and an object of hissing; everyone who passes by it will feel astonished and hiss because of all its disasters. I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one another's flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them.
Then you will break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you and say to them,’ thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Just so will I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter's vessel, which no one cannot again repair; and they will bury in Topheth because they can find no other place for burial.
I will treat this place and its inhabitants like this,” declares the LORD, ‘So as to make this city like Topheth. The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will become defiled like the place Topheth, because of all the houses on whose rooftops they burned sacrifices to all the heavenly host and poured out drink offerings to other gods.’”
I spoke of this in past sermons that Israel erected pagan idols and Asheroth poles, even in the very temple of God and had taken on the practices of Baal worshipers around them by killing their sons and daughters on pagan altars and deluded themselves that this was an acceptable way of giving Jehovah praise and worship. God had given them liberty to do this evil, but being a God of long-suffering and allowing men free will, there came a time when judgment and justice was enacted on this evil among a nation that was designed to be an example to all other nations around them, or a nation of priest, a holy nation. How far did they fall from their glorious intent of Almighty God? They fell to the pit and their eventual destruction as a nation.
FLASH FORWARD TO MODERN TIMES
In our history of “modern” times, we have experienced men who have killed other men in war and desire for conquest. I think on WWII, and Hitler’s delusional desire to cleanse the earth of inferior races of men and produce an Aryan race of super men. This was dealt with by the allied nations to the total destruction of Germany and the Third Reich. Why? Because of: justice. Because of six million Jewish people, not to mention millions of what was deemed inferior examples of the human race were slaughtered by an evil tyrant. God allowed this maniac to exist and to cause untold suffering, but in the end, that liberty to do evil was met with righteous judgment, and Hitler and his armies were utterly destroyed. BUT...
There is coming a day that may not be too far off, when evil men will do even more evil to good people. History shows many instances of atrocities exist (more than what was mentioned above), coming against good people by evil men who were given the liberty to do this evil. The coming period I speak of is known as the Tribulation, which flows into the Great Tribulation. Each combined to be a total of 7 years. In Revelation we see a picture of evil that has slain many Christians from time innumerable.
“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had become slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And each of them received a white robe; and they learned that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who would suffer martyrdom even as they had been, would come to completion also.”
There have been good men and women down through the ages, (I recall the Spanish Inquisition and the Dark Ages of Catholic dominance and religious cleansing of all who would not bow before the Pope in Rome), that have died because of their faith and judgment has been withheld for their crimes. John spoke of a time when more people will be killed for the profession of the Name of Jesus Christ. As the verses and chapters progress seal after seal is broken. Trumpet after trumpet is blown and bowl judgment upon bowl judgment is poured out upon this earth in preparation for the coming Kingdom of God.
One thing I wish you to ponder, does the blood of people slain only apply to Christians who were slain? Is not the destruction of many innocents, as was done in the preceding examples describe what is going on right now in our own land of the free? There is a wholesale destruction of an entire class of people—the unborn. Is the USA ripe for judgment and divine justice? I believe we are on the cusp if right now.
We read about the plight of whole groups of people who die in martyrdom in other lands around the globe, but are we not doing the exact same thing that Jeremiah prophesied to the land of Israel, or Moses to the land of Egypt? Have we not spilled the blood of the innocent who had no right to choose? It’s enough to make a person rise up to take vengeance. I understand the emotions of people who wish to stamp out abortion clinics but is it our place to enact vengeance? My Bible says it is not.
Romans 12:19 (ASV):
“Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath `of God': for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord.
And wrath is what is coming is spoken of in Romans 1:19-20:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Again, a warning in Revelation chapter 6:15-17:
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Never underestimate the coming judgment. It is blossoming in all its unspeakable horror all around us, and it will only get worse. We see the terror of Christians in the Middle East, who are beheaded by Muslim fanatics, or women stoned for their insane description of belief in their Koran to do so. Men killing other men, and we wonder if the Tribulation is here already.
Is it? No, but this is just a warm up of what is coming, as it will be world wide, not just a local atrocity in the Middle East, but coming to every continent on this earth. But that is at the hands of men. This coming time period we call Tribulation, is not to be compared with the evil committed by men. No, this coming time period is justice and righteous indignation of the wrath of God that will make everything else concerning the death of men, pale in comparison.
I have spoken of this in times past, but if you take the Scriptures spoken of in Revelation and the amount of death of entire populations of the earth combined of the approximately 7 billion people on this earth right now, close to 75% of them will be destroyed in God’s wrath...that is estimating 5-6 billion people killed by God’s coming wrath. And who can blame God for doing so? God has been patient for 6000 years for Man to turn to God and follow His commandments.
He even sent His only begotten Son as a substitute for the penalty that we all deserve, which is death. But the world, at large has rejected His salvation found in His only Son. God’s patience appears to be running out, as the signs and symptoms of a coming Tribulation is growing louder and louder, and the pangs earth’s redemption from sin through excising rebellion from this earth, much as a surgeon uses a scalpel to remove dead and decaying flesh, is fast approaching.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
All who have committed evil in the sight of God will meet a sure and righteous justice. Christians, make yourself ready to meet thy God:
“The Mighty One, God, the LORD, has spoken, and summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth. May our God come and not keep silence; Fire devours before Him, and it is very tempestuous around Him. He summons the heavens above, and the earth, to judge His people: Gather My godly ones to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.”
God’s Word speaks of sacrifice. Have you made a sacrifice to God? He is not speaking of the animal sacrifice of bulls and goats that foreshadowed the perfect sacrifice that was nailed to a Roman Cross almost 2000 years ago. That sacrifice was the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus the Messiah. If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, been baptized, and follow His example, then you have made the perfect Sacrifice before God.
You who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, you have been covered with the blood, which God imparts righteousness to you, because of Him. We wait for the adoption process to be completed. We have the down payment of God’s Holy Spirit residing with our spirit, but we wait for the adoption, to be born of the Spirit.
How do we know this? Romans chapter 8:16-23:
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory, which shall be revealed in us.
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
You and I were given liberty to choose the god of this world, or cast it off and believe in the only Begotten Son of God, who takes away the sins of the world. You who have believed and exercised your faith that to you, it became so simple, so easy that you cannot understand why not all of the world doesn’t see it…very simple reason, liberty.
1 Corinthians chapter 1:1-25:
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
You who read these warnings and examples of the coming wrath of Almighty God, where do you stand? You, like all of us, have been given liberty to choose. Will you stand for good or evil, life or death? To choose this life and all its trappings of sinful pleasure, is to choose death, but to give your heart and soul to the Creator of your soul and spirit, by believing on the only Begotten Son of God, is to choose life.
It is a free will decision. God will not beat you about the head into submission and He will not wait forever. He wants you to fall in love with Him and follow Him out of your own free will choice, not out of coercion, but because you see Him as He is, Almighty God and you long to be with Him and return to Him that gave you life, and He will grant you life eternal!
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
And again, Paul tell us about what our Lord did for you and I in Romans chapter 5.8-11:
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
Take that God given liberty, your free will choice and make that commitment to follow Him, Jesus Christ, wherever He may lead you. Do it today, as to stand before Almighty God without being clothed in the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ at judgment day will convict you to receive: THE WRATH OF GOD!
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, wishing God’s love and salvation through the shed blood of His Son to come into your life. If you have a need, a prayer request or need counseling in biblical Christian living email me at email@example.com. OR visit me online at: www.churchofgod-usa.org.
God bless you, till we meet at Jesus’ feet.
I hope you found this article by Pastor Mike Taylor both informative and enlightening. I follow Pastor Mike's writings at Rapture Ready, where he is a regular contributor. If you haven't already, I encourage you to pay a visit to Rapture Ready. If you are already a Christian I think you will find RR a great source for your own studies. For those with questions or desiring to give their life to Jesus Christ I strongly urge you to visit RR and contact either Todd Strandberg or Terry James (Scroll to the e-mail box at the bottom of the main RR page). They will be glad to help you.
And, as always, I welcome your comments and questions, so, please, feel free to contact me as well. I may be a little slow in answering due to my health, but I will answer. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement too!Thank you all, and may God's Grace and Peace be upon you and those you love as you grow in your faith and in your knowledge of and intimacy with our beloved Lord and Savior: Jesus Christ!