Some of you may have read or heard about David Wilkerson’s prophecy of impending cataclysmic judgment from God. He says God has shown him that terrible destruction is about to come upon the US. His warning is not couched in terms of warning signs leading up to Christ’s return but rather in terms of God’s unrestrained anger. He warns people to buy up at least a 30 day supply of food and other necessities. You can read the prophecy at David Wilkerson’s blog. Who is David Wilkerson? He’s a sincere and widely respected Pentecostal and Evangelical leader, who founded a tremendous church in New York City many years ago. He is also famous for his role in the true story (book and movie) called “The Cross and the Switchblade” . He is also the founder of the highly successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation outreaches known as Teen Challenge Centers.
In a few bullet statements I want to share why I think Wilkerson’s (and anybody else’s) prophecy of God’s punitive judgment on America is false and misleading. I believe Wilkerson is a sincere lover of Jesus and a man of God. But I think his theology of God’s judgments is not correct and that it misinforms his interpretation of world events. I say this with a sober sense that I too have much to learn. May God have mercy on me in any area where I still do not have the mind of Christ. Here are several reasons why I think Wilkerson is wrong in his latest prophecy:
1. I do not believe God is presently pouring out punitive judgment on nations. Has God punished nations in His wrath before? Yes. He flooded the earth in Noah’s time. But he gave a rainbow as a sign that HE WOULD NOT DO THAT AGAIN. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. But He told Abraham that He would spare Sodom for the sake of ten righteous people. But ten were not found. I believe there are many more than ten righteous people living in America presently. But this is not the main reason I think God is not going to punitively judge America.
2. God’s punitive judgment was poured out upon Jesus at the Cross. The cross was a judgment on our sin. God hates sin so much that He cannot just wink at it. He must judge it. And He did judge it at the cross. This removes God’s wrath from all who trust in Christ and turn from their sins. Those who reject Christ will pay the price of facing God’s full wrath after the great and final judgment (see 2 Thes 1:6-10 and 2 Peter 3:3-13). I’m afraid some of the prophets of judgment have failed to understand the intensity of God’s wrath that was visited upon Jesus at the Cross. God’s wrath is fully satisfied in the payment Christ gave at Calvary! But those who reject this payment are “storing up wrath for the day of wrath”, which is the final, end-time judgment of all people. As the 2 Thes and 2 Peter passages I refer to above clearly indicate, God’s final answer for the sin problem is not the Cross but the Day of Judgment. God is not punishing sinners for their sins presently, but is patiently enduring their wickedness. Yes, there are consequences for sin presently. People who sin still die. (That’s all of us.) People who sin still reap the consequences in their own bodies and minds (see Romans 1). But if God were to pour out punitive judgment on a nation presently on the piece of real estate we call America today, He’d have to turn around in several hundred years and do it again. For sinners will follow our generation and be just as wicked. The sin problem will never be answered by temporary punitive judgments. But payday is coming. And God will finally and ultimately rid His world of those who despise His authority and reject His Son.
3. We are not under an Old Testament scenario, but a New Testament one. God is patiently enduring the sins and crimes of the nations, while the gospel is being preached to all the nations. But the end will come and God’s wrath will come upon all who in the end have rejected Jesus.
4. God does presently chastise nations – and even individuals – but it is NOT punitive, it is redemptive. God has subjected the world to futility, to wars, to earthquakes, to famines, etc. All these are His merciful wake-up calls to all the earth’s inhabitants: “Repent for your time is short. It is appointed for a man to die once, after this comes the judgment.” God’s present judgments in the earth are not because His anger must be appeased, but because His mercy needs to be recognized! The terrible Tsunami several years back is a good example. God was not pouring out His anger upon Muslims and Hindus but was mercifully making them face their mortality. Many thousands have turned to Christ in those areas of the world as a result.
Someone might well say, “What about Ananias and Saphira in the Book of Acts. Didn’t God strike them down?” Yes, He did. And this should serve as a warning to us all. God is serious about preserving the purity in His church. Were they false believers or just compromised believers? I don’t know. But Peter said that Satan had “filled their heart…to lie to the Holy Spirit” (Acts 5:3). I believe God removed them for the sake of the health of the church. I think His motive was love and mercy upon His church and not rage at sin (in that moment). Ananias and Saphira still have to face the Day of Judgment in the future! Does God still judge posers and hypocrites in the church? Yes, if it will serve His purposes of facilitating the spread of the gospel and preserving the vitality of His church. Jesus is building His church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.
5. If God were punitively judging nations today, then is seems that Western Europeans would be severely punished even before America. I say this not because they are worse sinners than Americans, but because they have more fully turned their backs on the gospel as nations. All the Protestant reformers were Europeans. Europe has turned its back on great gospel light. And I don’t make this point to lull backslidden American Christians further into spiritual slumber. If God were looking for reasons to destroy nations today, He’d not have to look farther than America. But my point is that today God is looking for reasons to spare souls and nations. He finds the only reason He needs and the only reason He accepts in the Cross where Jesus died. This payment for sin at the Cross will be sufficient until the full number of those being saved comes in. At that time, Christ will return and finally and ultimately deal with His enemies.
6. America is not the new Israel. Too many Christians in America somehow confuse America with God’s kingdom. America has been a blessed nation, but America is not the Israel of God! God’s purposes and plans have never revolved around America. God has blessed America not because of America but because of a believing remnant that lives here. Christians in American are part of a heavenly family and kingdom that’s not of this world. America like every nation before and after it is terminal. Don’t confuse America with God’s kingdom and God’s church.
There you have my ideas on the subject. And I admit that this is not the final word. God’s Word is final and I only see through a glass dimly. I welcome your comments and interaction.