Monday, March 21, 2011

Types of Prophetic Event (1) - Shaking Judgments

Four different types of disaster can take place on earth, depending on the situation that prevails and the level of God’s influence.

1. Shaking Judgments
God will sometimes send a tumultuous event on earth as a judgment to shake up people who are forgetting about him. These judgments may be political, economic or natural events. Shaking Judgments usually take place when God’s people are in a majority and God still has wide freedom to act on earth. People will be beginning to open the door to evil.

These Shaking Judgments have several important characteristics.
  1. God’s judgment of his people is always redemptive. His sole purpose is to draw them back to him.

  2. God does not actually send the shaking. He just withdraws his protection allows people to experience the consequences of their behaviour for a short time.

  3. The event occurs when God temporarily lifts his protection in a particular time and place, rather than because he decides to something evil.

  4. People who are slipping into rebellion against God may be shaken from their complacency. Those who are getting casual in their relationship with God can be jolted back to faith.

  5. The Shaking Judgment is a short sharp shock that lets people briefly experience the consequences of continuing down the dangerous path they have chosen.

  6. The Shaking Judgment gives people a glimpse through the door to evil that they are thinking about opening.

  7. God warns of the shaking in advance by his prophets (Amos 3:7). This confirms that the event is allowed by God and not just a random event.

  8. The prophets specify the sins that are upsetting God and tell the people what they must do to get back on track with him (eg Jer 38:17-18).

  9. The fulfilment of the prophecy confirms the prophet’s message and the need for people to change their behaviour.

  10. People who listen to the prophets can prepare in advance. Often the prophets will tell them what to do to survive through the judgment. Heeding the warning enables them to survive through the disaster. (God’s protection is not magical, as Christians assume, but comes from knowing what to do and doing it).

  11. Christian who refuse to prepare and change will sometimes fail the test. The Letters to the seven churches warned that was God was going to shake the churches in Ephesus, Pergamum, Sardis and Laodicea and that some would not survive the shaking (Rev 2,3). Warnings of shaking should not be taken lightly.

  12. People who are protected and prepared can reach out in mercy to those who are feeling lost and shaken.

  13. Shaking Judgements often affect the ungodly most, not because they are picked out, but because they are not prepared.

  14. Shaking Judgements are primarily directed against God’s people, The Old Testament prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah mostly warned of events that would shake Israel. Jesus spoke judgment against Israel in his big prophecy (Matt 23:33-24:34), but his primary purpose was to warn his people how to escape the destructive judgment by fleeing to the hills at the right time.

  15. In the New Testament, Shaking Events were primarily directed against the Church. The Jerusalem church was persecuted, because their leaders had refused to take the gospel out into the world (Acts 8:1).

  16. God disciplines his children, as a father disciplines his sons.

    Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world (1 Cor 11:32).
    God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. (Heb 12:10)

  17. Shaking Judgments are always redemptive. God’s sole purpose is to draw people back to him.

  18. Shaking judgments are often covenant judgements. The troubles are often the consequence of failure to keep a covenant between God and his people.

God sometimes uses traumatic events to shake people loose, so he can draw them back to him, but he does not do this just for fun. He will only send shaking judgement, if he has a remnant faithful to him, who are equipped to serve those who are shaken and get them back on to the right way. If the remnant is not prepared to demonstrate the love of God during the crisis, it is wasted and evil benefits. A crisis can open people’s hearts, but if no one is there to pour oil on their wounds, the scars will harden their hearts to the gospel.

An earthquake cannot preach the gospel. This was true in Paul’s day. The Philippians jailor became a Christian after the earthquake that opened the gates of his jail.
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:29-30).
This was not a spontaneous response to the earthquake. What made the difference was seeing the faith and joy of two men who had been “stripped and beaten” “severely flogged” with “their feet fastened in stocks”.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them (Acts 16:25).
The jailor became a Christian, because he had seen two wounded and bound men praising and worshipping God in the middle of the night. The jailor was a hard, tough man. His heart was blown open, because he saw the Holy Spirit working in the lives of Paul and Silas during their time of crisis.

If his earthquake had struck on any other night of the year, the jailor would not have become a Christian. He would have cursed and beaten the prisoners and carried on with life. The living faith of Paul and Silas made the difference.

A Shaking Judgment is mostly wasted without a prepared remnant.

America is still quite a long way from the tipping point, so people with discernment should expect to see Shaking Judgments, as the Father attempts to shake those who are slipping away in hope of drawing them back. Prophets should be active in providing advance notice and helping God’s people to prepare. Christians should make the most of the time to proclaim the gospel and turn their nation around, before the tipping point is reached.

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