“Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth, Hear this, I pray you, ye heads of the house of Jacob, and princes of the house of Israel, that abhor judgment, and pervert all equity”, Amos 5:7; Mic 3: .9

The righteous God, judges on earth now but not as He will soon. There is a certain difference between the judging of God now – which judges not the guilt of sin, but views the extermination of it in man beforehand rather. No punishment on earth will ever serve justice and righteousness upon sin – there is just not enough on earth to quench down righteousness. Sin destroys forever. If God punishes now, He means only to call attention upon the subject of the judgment to come still. Eternal death, is what is at stake here, for justice from heaven demands an eye for an eye. If anyone, someone flirts death, dies and rejects eternal life, beauty and happiness one may not conceive about ever, there is but one way to have full justice done upon that: eternal damnation with such suffering and disdain that will match up as the counterpart of whatever God proposed to grant to holy beings. The amount of horror and discomfort will match up and will be equally proportional to the amount of happiness one would enjoy with God. That is the only possible just punishment upon sin and its consequences.

But for now, God still judges upon sin on earth even though never in the same fashion. If and when He distils horror and plagues upon all men, if a child is taken away, one is never to learn from that that sin’s guilt is done away with – no, sin is meant, encouraged to be extinguished in the heart through that, either in the person or in onlookers. God is wise and wise enough to be able to use those things people value most so as to have them feel the loss when God’s wrath is become visible. God uses whatever people prize highly, so as to make a point and to be fully understood. He just means to show how displeased He really is concerning certain things and because man does not easily believe there is a hell, God takes away whatever makes man believe He is angry – those things he is able to feel the loss of, even though they are never the righteous punishment for any sin. “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:  (21) Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts”, Rev 9:20-21 KJV.  “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.  (10)  And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,  (11)  And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds”, Rev 16:9-11 KJV. It will do us good to think of repentance when God’s wrath allows us not to think upon anything else but pain, even though there are some exceptions such as Job to whom pain means not God is angry at all.

All punishment now means to draw and call attention from those who may still see the open hand of God’s wrath. These demonstrations of pure wrath serve only as persuasive means towards a genuine repentance.  Wrath now, is grace, is one of the means grace uses to the uttermost. It is able to take us to fear God. In some cases it takes to counter-wrath against God Himself too, besides the searching of God for selfish reasons. So, the whole of the law of Moses means just to achieve a purity in a nation which was meant to uphold through example the virtues of Godly things and statutes. “Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:  (13) And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it”. Deut 31:12-13 KJV. “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.  (6)  Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.  (7)  For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?  (8)  And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” Deut 4:5-8 KJV.

We may learn that all wrath on earth now is but a gracious warning from God about something worse which may become us if we sin on. These are only persuasive means for even Satan knows that “Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life”, Job 2:4. We read that “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother”, Zec.7:9. But soon all of Israel greedily perverted judgment to satisfy themselves alone, and to save their own lives instead of creating a commotion towards heaven and heavenly ways. Whatever should have been used as means to install righteousness upon earth, doing whatever God upholds and confirms as persuasive means to stop sinning, people speedily used to satisfy none but themselves whenever it best pleased them all. They stoned to death when it suited them, they killed prostitutes when these would not grant them special, free favors. That is how the land would soon despise the law of heaven, because of bribes’ power and bondage on men upon the judgment seats. Whatever God intended to achieve through the laws He Himself gave Moses, was subdued to a ridiculous amount of undesired rules and regulations which people refrained themselves to maintain because of those who upheld those laws to them. It would have certainly worked out when people were stoned to death, showing some displeasure of a Holy God upon sin. It would only grant a hint of whatever was to come still, and also serve as a persuasion against whoever was bound to be tempted to kill and rape and did not yet come to it at all. That’s why many countries still uphold the Law of Moses in their court rooms as a reference to justice.

The whole process of corrective persuasion is one of the lessons one is to take home with him. All justice on earth is never judging as it should, not even destruction is. God shows just how displeased He is with those nations He meant to destroy from the face of the earth, so as to encourage a certain amount of holiness on all those around, who looked on and heard of it. Did the prostitute Rahab save herself? Of course she did. But those who burnt their children in the fire of idolatry did not repent, yet they serve to mark a point in the minds of people who were yet tempted by sin. That destruction served to show two things: the displeasure of God, proclaiming a future judgment still, a worse one, and mercy was shown to those who were still captive in their own thinking – their conversion was encouraged through that, a conversion which God would yet decide to accept from their hand or not. We read “Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph”, Amos 5:15.  And “But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin”, Mic.3:8. 

We find not the proper judgment against sinning among the people of God. We find judging, yes, but when self is demanding it. The judging, real and clear, which is to show what sin is, full of convincing power, so as to convince people to be converted sooner then they desire to be, is not present in the preaching of conversion any longer. Mercy is shown when sin is judged on earth, for the real punishment on sin, is something worse which may yet come to happen to us all. Let’s “sin no more” then.

Now, people easily judge according to pretension, according to taste and desire, but not according to mercy and truthfulness concerning the reality of it all. They judge according to feeling, according to fear and doctrine, yet the truth still escapes them. Justice runs down but according to the taste of man. What difference does it make to have it defend self, doctrine or church believing, and to sustain a prostitute in Israel because she offers herself to a defective judge? If I read the Bible and use it to defend instead of showing mercy, does it turn me into a saint? No, I believe not! In Europe people read from the Bible and worship an idol still, every day! Shall we discredit the Bible only because people do with it whatever they wish to do? Shall we abhor judgment on sin for the sake of God because people easily judge from the pulpit according to taste? Let’s not become deceived because pulpits are given to ungodly children in the faith with itching ears on them. Allow not even yourself to deceive you. “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience”, Eph 5:6.

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José Mateus