Saturday, May 02, 2009

Warning Events

In Luke 12:55-56, Jesus rebuked the Jews, because they could read the weather signs, but they could not discern the times in which they were living. They knew that when the south wind blew, the weather would be hot, but they did not understand what was happening in their own city.

Jesus comments must have aroused their curiosity. Luke 13:1-5 records how they asked about two events that had happened recently. In the first, some Galileans had been killed by Pilate and their blood mingled with Roman sacrifice. In the second, eighteen people had been killed when the tower of Siloam had fallen on them. Jesus said that the sins of the people killed in these tragedies were no worse than those of other Galileans, or other people living in Jerusalem, but he said that unless they repented they would all perish.

Jesus explained that theses two events were signs to the city of Jerusalem. The city was placing itself under a curse by hardening its heart against Jesus, the Messiah whom God had sent to them. The two events they asked about were signs of the judgement that would come, if they did not change their attitude to Jesus. This is what did happen. The Jews hardened their hearts against Jesus; they crucified him and persecuted his followers. These actions placed them under the wrath of God. In A.D 70 the Roman army besieged Jerusalem, smashed down its walls and slaughtered those who survived. The blood of many people was used in Roman sacrifices.

The principle Jesus taught is that when a people are under judgement, God often gives a warning. Sometimes he speaks by his prophets. At other times he speaks by allowing unusual or spectacular events to occur. Because they are unusual, they will be noticed by most of the people. These warning events will be on a much smaller scale, but typical of the judgement which will come if the people do not turn back to God.

God is merciful, and even when a people are full of sin, he gives warning of his displeasure by advance judgements, to save his people from something worse. If the warning is heeded it will produce repentance and reformation, and the future will bring blessing. If the warning is not heeded, then judgement will take its course. These warning events are tokens or types of the approaching judgement.

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