Friday, September 9, 2016

They Shall Not Hurt Nor Destroy In All My Holy Mountain

September 11, 2001, I'm live on the scene in New York City. It's a cool, crisp day with clear skies. It's the second day on my new job. I'm reporting for training.  I'm headed to Fifteenth Street and Eighth Avenue; that's where our training facility is. I've been hired to oversee the investment services for two bank branches of a large well known bank in New York.

It's about 8:30 am. I'm just sitting down to read the newspaper after a long commute from Long Island by train. A few minutes later someone yells, "A plane crashed into the World Trade Center!"

Those of us who are sitting down relaxing, jump up and run to the windows. We're in a high-rise office building with large glass windows. I can see lots of dark smoke coming from one of the towers. There's a large screen TV in the room, and it's turned on to CNBC. The CNBC anchors are reporting on the story. We hear them say that it was the North Tower that was struck, and speculation begins.

Suddenly, someone yells, "Another plane!"

We look on with horror as a commercial jet emerges from the sky, and roars toward the South Tower! Someone yells out, "No!"

Within seconds a huge fireball erupts from the explosion, as the jet disintegrates. 

It's quiet.

Were the events on 9/11 the wrath of God being poured out on sinners? No, I don't believe so. This was man living outside of his true image in Christ. This is man being duped! This is the human race not understanding what God has done in Christ - how God has taken all evil, hatred, perversion, and sin upon himself, taking it to the grave, and destroying it: and how we have been united with him dying to the old life of violence, and rising to the new life of peace, and love.

At times, throughout Scripture, we see the wrath of God displayed in his love. God's love opposes all evil, He opposes everything, and everyone who is bent on hurting, and destroying. The prophet Isaiah records,

"They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain (Isa. 11:9; 65:25). 

The book of Genesis tells us that God destroyed the earth with a flood, because humankind had perverted the earth with violence.

Now the earth was corrupt [destroy, ruin, decay, spoil, pervert] in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence [wrong, cruelty, injustice]. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

17 Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; (Gen. 6:11-13, 17-18).

When the disciples of Jesus asked him what will be the sign of his coming, and of the end of the age, he said his second coming will be just like the days of Noah.

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37 For the coming of the Son of Man [his return] will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be (Mat. 24:36-39).  

The Apostle Paul writes:

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord (Rom. 12:9). 

The Apostle Peter tells us:

"Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:3-7).

The Apostle John writes:

" And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18).

God's love is expressed in his anger toward all evil, violence, and everything that opposes his love. God is recreating all things in Christ Jesus.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 8 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:1-5, 8).

God is love, and his wrath is included in his love. He will not let anything hurt or destroy. His love opposes violence and evil. The first things passed away, including the nature in man that exhibited violence, and corruption. God is recreating humanity in Christ Jesus.

God's fervent anger, his wrath, is against all evil. He is against anything that would oppose the intimacy and union that he has with us in Christ Jesus. Jesus has embraced the wrath of man, and the wrath of God so as to destroy sin and death. We are awaiting the full manifestation of the kingdom of God, and his love for humanity, on earth. As the prophet Isaiah records God saying,

"They shall not hurt, nor destroy in all my holy mountain!"

Notes:   The underlined sections are my emphasis. Scripture references are New American Standard Bible (NASB). Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation 

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