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Why God Judges Nations

Watchmen from Jerusalem


At Intercessors for Israel's 2013 International Prayer Conference in JerusalemI shared a message called "The Judgments of God" - with an emphasis on His judgments on nations today. God has used Israel in the Old Testament as an example of how He deals with national sin especially when a nation based upon His laws rebels against Him. However the Bible plainly states that Israel's miraculous end time restoration brings into play another factor: in the last days God judges nations according to their leaders' attitudes and actions regarding His promise to restore Israel. God has staked His reputation His Name on this. His whole redemptive plan now focuses on Israel being in the land that He promised to them.

As intercessors,we stand in the gap for our nations pleading for mercy because of sins such as abortion,sexual perversions,violence,corruption,etc. Yet,are intercessors dealing with the one root issue that brings God's ever increasing judgments today? Praying against unrighteousness is good but in some cases the wrong actions of a people do not bring God's judgment on a nation - they are a sign that God is already judging that nation!

That one root issue is Israel. We are not talking about a few bible verses concerning this - but literally dozens. During the messageI only had time to share a few of those verses but because of its urgencyI offer many of the relevant verses here.

A biblical understanding of how and why God judges nations has been hijacked from the Church. The intercessor willing to stand in the gap for his nation and for God's kingdom purposes may have already gotten it backward. Let's build on what God Himself says about it.

Most intercessors are familiar with the scriptures showing how intercession moves God to have mercy in the midst of His judgments.

And I sought for a man among them who should make up the hedge for the land and stand in the gap before me that I should not destroy it. But I did not find one.
Ezekiel 22:30
Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem and see now and know and seek in her open place sif you can find a man if there is one who does justice who seeks the truth and I will pardon her.
Jeremiah 5:1
He said that He would destroy them if Moses His chosen had not stood before Him in the breach to turn away His wrath so that He should not destroy them.
Psalm 106:23
God's revealed way of judging nations
OftenGod's judgments are like labor pains of a woman in childbirth. The pains start small and far between - yet get more intense painful and closer together as the time of the actual birth approaches.

Leviticus 26:182123-2427-28 In these versesGod warns Israel four times of His judgments each one a seven-fold increase of the previous one. Compare this with Revelation's seven seals seven trumpets seven thunders and seven bowls which equal a four times seven-fold judgment on the nations.

For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There shall be earthquakes in different places and there shall be famines and troubles. These things are the beginnings of sorrows [Greek - lit. birth-pains]
Mark 13:8
But of the times and the seasons brothers you have no need that I write to you. For you yourselves know accurately that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. For when they shall say'Peace and safety' then sudden destruction comes on them as travail upon a woman with child. And they shall not escape.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
The results of judgment are not the cause of judgment.
The Body of Messiah becomes less effective in intercession by mistaking the results for the cause of judgment. This limits us to the lesser target treating the symptoms and not providing the cure. Here are some results of God's judgment which we might mistake for the cause:

Romans 1:18-32 Paul says that one of the ways God judges is to remove His restraining grace giving people over to what they really desire allowing society to implode as God removes His protection. Note especially v.24 - Therefore God also gave them up [delivered/surrendered them] to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts to dishonor their own bodies between themselves.v.26a - For this causeGod gave them up to dishonorable affections v.28 - And even as they did not think fit to have God in their knowledgeGod gave them over to a reprobate mind to do the things not rightHosea 4:6 AgainGod threatens to remove Himself from society. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledgeI will also reject you from being priest to Me. Since you have forgotten the Law of your God I will also forget your sons even I.

2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 HerePaul says that because people do not accept a sacrificial love [Gk. agape] for the truth (like actually spending time and energy reading His unedited Word)God sends deceptive practices for them to believe falsehoods. Then the lawless one will be revealed… whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all powe rsigns and lying wonders and with all deceit of unrighteousness in those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth so that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion [Gk. deceptive activities/actions/practices]that they should believe a lieso that all those who do not believe the truthbut delight in unrighteousnessmight be condemned.

The increase of sin in nations is often a result of God's judgment - His removing His restraining grace - but the cause is…?

It is what it has always beendown through history in nation after nation, empire after empire. God describes the cause as not believing what He has promised to His people leading to nations poking Him in the eye by stripping Israel (see Zech. 2 below). Even some of the people of Israel can be guilty of this! Yes the mother of all heresies replacement theologystates that the Church has replaced Israel as the people of God implying that God Himself is either fickle, forgetful or the father of lies. Woe,woe,woe to that nation whose Church acts from this belief! The Church within it is any nation's only real protection against God's righteous judgments because it is the Church that stands together in intercession praying for leaders pleading for mercy on their people and for the fulfillment of all God's promises to Jacob!

And I will bless those that bless you and curse the one who curses [makes light of despises,sees as vile] you.

Genesis 12:3a
(cp. 27:2930:27 Laban was blessed for Jacob's sake39:5 Potiphar was blessed for the sake of JosephJacob's son)

Genesis 27:29 Through Isaac God proclaims this blessing upon Isaac's son Jacob: Let people serve you and nations bow down to you: be lord over your brethren…Cursed be every one that curses you and blessed is he that blesses you (Gen 27:29). Regardless of how Jacob obtained his father's blessing and without approving in any way of Jacob's actions God promised this blessing to Jacob. Remember that YHWH said to Rebecca while she was still pregnant with Jacob and Esau that the older shall serve the younger (Gen 25:23b). And even after Isaac realized what happened he himself confirmed that this was God's will (Gen 27:3328:1-4)and this was confirmed by God Himself in Genesis 28:13-15.

Numbers 24:8-9 Balaam declares: God brought him forth out of Egypt. He has as it were the strength of an ox. He shall eat up the nations his enemiesand shall break their bones and pierce them through with his arrows. He crouched. He lay down as a lion and as a great lion. Who shall stir him up?Blessed is he who blesses youand cursed is he who curses you.

Isaiah 60:12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you will perish. Yes those nations will be completely wasted. In context after being scattered among the nations Israel is being restored by God. (note: the Church is prophesied to help. See Isa. 60:69)

Joel 3:1-2 Againthe prophetic context is Israel's regathering and end-time restoration. This is one of the most relevant verses relating to the current 'two-statesland for peace' political process that much of the world wants to force Israel to accept. Yet these verses are a clear threat by God to judge any and all nations that divide His land. For beholdin those days and in that time when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem [Jews living in the nations are described by God as living in captivity or exile]I will also gather all nations and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat ["YHWH has judged"]and will plead with [judge pronounce sentence on] them there for My people and for My heritage Israel whom they have scattered among the nationsand divided [and/or plundered] My land. We have seen Israel herself judged for dividing God's land - in giving up Gaza and ceding areas to the Palestinian Authority for peace. Israel's judgment: terrorism and missiles.

Zechariah 2:8 Warning His people to flee Babylon God describes how He 'sees' His relationship with Israel using a very interesting metaphor. Zion escapeyou who live with the daughter of Babylon. For thus says YHWH of Hosts: after glory He has sent Me to the nations who stripped [spoiled plundered] you for he who touches you touches the apple [pupil] of His eye. Consider that we see the world through the pupil of our eye. God views the world through His chosen filterHis people and His land.

Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the peoples all around when they shall come against Judah and Jerusalem. And in that day I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all peoples. All who lift it shall be cut to pieces and all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it… And it shall be in that day I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

Zechariah 12:2-39 Keeping these scriptural principles in mind Here are other verses that I did not have time to share at the conference. Obviously the Holy Spirit can bring scriptures to mind for intercessors to pray into but it helps to know them to begin with.

Numbers 23:19-20 Balaam says to Balak who hired him to curse Israel. God is not a man that He should lie neither the son of man that He should repent. Has He said it and shall He not do it? Has He spoken and shall He not make it good? Behold I have received commandment to bless. He has blessed and I cannot reverse it.

Joshua 23:3 At the end of his life Joshua says to the tribes of Israel You have seen all that YHWH your God has done unto all these nations because of youfor YHWH your God is He that has fought for you.

Psalms 79:6-7 Based on God's promises,Aspah asks God to judge some nations based on how they have dealt with Israel. Pour out Your wrath on the nations who have not known You and on the kingdoms who have not called on Your name. For they have eaten up Jacoband wasted his dwelling-place.

Isaiah 41:10-14 God says to 'worm' Jacob "Fear not for I am with you: be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen youI will help youI will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness. Behold all they that are incensed [extremely angry] against you shall be ashamed and confounded [humiliated and confused]. They shall be as nothing and they that strive with you shall perish. You shall seek them and not find them even them that contend with you. They that war against you shall be as nothing… For I YHWH your God will hold your right handsaying unto youfear notI will help you. Fear not you worm Jacob, you men of Israel - I will help you says YHWHyour Redeemerthe Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 47:6 God's judgment on the 'virgin daughter of Babylon' [v.1] is a result of how they have treated Israel. While Israel was given over to them for judgment's sake still God held Babylon responsible for how they treated Israel without mercy. I was angry with My people. I have polluted My inheritance and given them into your hand. You showed them no mercy you have very heavily laid your yoke on the aged. (Isaiah 47:6) Much of this chapter is repeated in the book of Revelation - where the final judgment of spiritual Babylon occurs. Thereforeit is biblical to say that the end-of-days judgment on the whole Babylonian system is linked to how the nations deal with Israel. And this is what the Apostle John,author of Revelation must have thought because his frame of reference for what he was receiving from the Lord Yeshua was the Tanach. See below under Jeremiah 50 and 51 for other verses on this.

Isaiah 49:24-26 The context of these verses is the return of the Jewish people to the land (see verses 22-23). At that time God says to Jacob/Israel: Shall the prey be taken from the mighty or the lawful captive [Heb: the prey of the terribleruthless] delivered? But thus says YHWH Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken awayand the prey of the fearful ones shall escape. For I will contend [strive] with him who contends with you [or'is your adversary']and I will save your sons. And I will feed those who oppress [deal violently with] you with their own flesh and they shall be drunk [intoxicated] with their own blood as with sweet wine and all flesh shall know that I YHWH am your Savior and your Redeemer the mighty One of Jacob. We have seen this literally come to pass as over and over. Muslims rejoice when their sons and daughters die trying to murder Jews. Also note that the ultimate goal God has for defending Israel is that which is proclaimed in Ezekiel 36 -the sanctification of His name - that all the nations will know that YHWHGod of Israelis God.

Jeremiah 2:3 In this verse most English translations add a word that makes it seem like God is talking about past history. But the Hebrew reads Israel - holiness unto YHWH! It is a statement of present fact. The Hebraic concept of 'holiness' basically means being separate. God separated Israel from all other nations to be His own possession. Therefore she remains His even when her conduct is not pleasing to Him. Here is the verse as it would read in the Hebrew: Israel - holiness unto YHWH and the first fruits of His increase: all that devour him shall offend [be guilty]evil shall come upon themsays YHWH.

Jeremiah 30:11-17 These verses demonstrate the absolute necessity to read the Bible in context. First God asks Israel why she is complaining for being disciplined. Why cry over your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable because of your [iniquities and sins]…I have done these things unto you (30:15). Then God changes His target. It is like a parent who disciplines the children but woe to any strangers who dare touch those kids! Therefore all that devour you shall be devoured and all your adversaries [enemies oppressors]every one of them shall go into captivity. They that spoil you shall be a spoiland all that prey upon you will I give for a prey (30:16see also v. 17).

Jeremiah 50 and 51 Recalling what was said above for Isaiah 47:6 read the following selection of verses from these two chapters concerning God's rage against Babylon and all that she stands for. Even though God had raised Babylon up to be His instrument of judgment on His wayward peoplethe Babylonians' attitude,ruthlessness and lack of mercy on those whom God placed in their hands - as well as their leaders giving glory to their gods as opposed to Israel's God - all added up to God's heavy hand of judgment.

Jeremiah 50:6-7 My people have been lost sheep,their shepherds have caused them to go astray… they have forgotten their resting place. All who have found them have devoured them. All their enemies said, "We do not offend because they have sinned against YHWH the habitation of righteousness,even YHWH the hope of their fathers. Is this not also a picture of the Church over the past 1800 years - persecuting the Jewish people yet excusing it by saying that this is not sin because the Jews rejected and killed the Christ the Messiah?

Jeremiah 50:810-11 Flee from the midst of Babylonand go out of the land of the Chaldeans… For behold I am stirring up and bringing up against Babylon a company of great nations from a northern landand they shall array themselves against her…Chaldea shall be a prizeall who plunder her shall be satisfied says YHWH. Because you were glad because you rejoiced O destroyers of My inheritance… This sounds very much like many Muslims today - especially but by no means exclusively Palestinian Muslims - many of whom rejoice whenever terror attacks against Israeli civilians succeed.

Jeremiah 50:14-15 Here God declares that He takes personally how the nations treat Israel labeling His judgment as His vengeance! Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around all you who bend the bow shoot at her. Hold back no arrows for she has sinned against YHWH. Shout against her all around…her foundations have fallen,her walls have been thrown down for it is the vengeance of YHWH. Take vengeance on her. As she has done do to her. [Isaiah 34:8 For it is the day of YHWH's vengeancethe year to repay for the controversy against Zion.]

Jeremiah 51:24 And I will repay unto Babylon and to all the people of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight says YHWH. Verses 19-23 seem to indicate that at some time in the future possibly in these last days God repays the servants of the spirit of Babylon by using Israel as His war club and as His weapons of war.

The violence done to me and to my flesh shall be on Babylon the dweller in Zion shall say and my blood shall be on the people of Chaldea. Jerusalem shall say. So YHWH says this: 'BeholdI will plead your cause and take vengeance for you and I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry. And Babylon shall become heaps, a home for jackals, a horror and a hissing without an inhabitant."
Jeremiah 51:35-37
As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fallso at Babylon the slain of all the earth shall fall.
Jeremiah 51:49
Ezekiel 25-28 In these chapters Ammon (25:2-7)Moab (25:8-11)Edom (25:12-14cp. Obad. 1:10-16)the Philistines (25:15)Tyre (26:2-3)and Sidon (28:21-24) are all judged specifically because of what they did to God's nation. God sums this up with an encouraging prophecy (Ezek. 25:25-26) which links the salvation of Israel with His judgment on Israel's enemies:
"So says the Lord YHWH: When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered and have been sanctified in them in the sight of the nations then they shall dwell in their land that I have given to My servant Jacob. And they shall dwell safely in it and shall build houses and plant vineyards. Yes they shall dwell safely when I have executed judgments on all those who despise them all around themand they shall know that I am YHWH their God.

Ezekiel 29:6-7 Finallyin a warning to all of Israel's so-called friends - like America and the EU - Egypt is judged because she was Israel's unreliable ally! All the people of Egypt shall know that I am YHWH because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. When they took you by your hand you broke and tore off all their shoulder. And when they leaned on you you shattered and made all their loins shake. So the Lord YHWH says BeholdI will bring a sword on youand cut off man and beast from you.

Zechariah 1:14b-15 As already mentioned concerning Babylonwhile God does at times use nations to render His judgment on Israel He rages when they take matters into their own hands and think they have free reign to destroy His people. Thus says YHWH of Hosts: I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And with great anger I am angry at the nations at ease [arrogantly think that they have peace and safety]in that I was but a little angryand they helped for evil.

Other verses also reveal this theological truth that God judges nations based on how they deal with Israel. Here are a few more references: Isaiah 17:12-1443:1447:1-654:14-1760:12Jeremiah 10:24-25Joel 3:19Zephaniah 2:8-10.

Yet there is hope!
In the midst of God's current judgments the hope of your nation is you - standing in the gap, pleading for His mercy and confessing the sin for which your nation is being judged. In your nationis that root sin found in resisting God's promised restoration of His people to His land for His Name's sake?

After all for Messiah Yeshua to return and set-up God's Kingdom on earth a saved Israel is prophesied to welcome Him back to a Jerusalem no longer under gentile rule (Matt. 23:37-39). This is why God is so zealous to see Israel's restoration come to pass. It is also a result of a 2000 year-old prayer from Messiah's Body to the Father: May Your Kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Chuck & Karen Cohen

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