A much bigger portion of the Holy Scriptures being used to open an article than normal. However, sometimes in order to have a full understanding this is necessary.
“And the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon and set it next to Dagon. And when those of Ashdod arose early the next day, behold, Dagon was fallen on his face to the earth before the ark of Jehovah. So they took Dagon and put him back on his place. And when they arose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face to the ground before the ark of Jehovah. The head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were broken off on the threshold; only Dagon’s torso was left to him. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon’s house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day. And the hand of Jehovah was heavy upon those of Ashdod, and He ravaged them and struck them with tumors, both Ashdod and its territories. And when the men of Ashdod saw how it was, they said, The ark of the God of Israel must not remain with us, for His hand has been severe upon us and Dagon our god. Therefore they sent and gathered to themselves all the rulers of the Philistines, and said, What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel? And they answered, Let the ark of the God of Israel be brought to Gath. So they brought around the ark of the God of Israel. And so it was, after they had brought it around, that the hand of Jehovah was against the city with a very great destruction; and He struck the men of the city, both small and great, and tumors broke out on them. Therefore they sent the ark of God to Ekron. So it was, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, They have brought around the ark of the God of Israel to us, to kill us and our people! So they sent and gathered together all the rulers of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go back to its own place, so that it does not kill us and our people. For there was a death panic throughout all the city, because the hand of God had been very heavy there. And the men who had not died were stricken with tumors, and the cry of the city went up to the heavens.
1 Samuel 6
And the ark of Jehovah was in the land of the Philistines seven months. And the Philistines summoned the priests and the diviners, saying, What shall we do with the ark of Jehovah? Make known to us how we shall send it to its place. And they said, If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty; but turn it back to return it to Him with a trespass offering. Then you will be healed, and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you. So they said, What is the trespass offering which we shall return to Him? And they answered, Five golden tumors and five golden mice, according to the number of the rulers of the Philistines. For the same plague was upon all of you and upon your rulers. Therefore you shall make images of your tumors and images of your mice that are ruining the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel. Perhaps He will lighten His hand from off you, from off your gods, and from off your land. Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He did mighty things among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? Now therefore, make a new cart, take two milk cows which have never been yoked, and when you have tied the cows to the cart, take their calves home, away from them. And take the ark of Jehovah and set it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you are returning to Him as a trespass offering in a chest by its side; and send it away, and let it go. And watch: if it goes up the way to its own territory, to Beth Shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we shall know that it is not His hand that has struck us; it has happened to us by chance. And the men did so: They took two milk cows and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. And they set the ark of Jehovah on the cart, and the chest with the gold mice and the images of their tumors. And the cows headed straight for the way to Beth Shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right hand or the left. And the rulers of the Philistines went after them to the border of Beth Shemesh. Now those of Beth Shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley; and they lifted up their eyes and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. And the cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh, and stood there; and a large stone was there. And they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering unto Jehovah. And the Levites took down the ark of Jehovah and the chest that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the large stone. And the men of Beth Shemesh offered burnt offerings and made sacrifices that day unto Jehovah. And when the five rulers of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day. And these are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned as a trespass offering unto Jehovah: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron; and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five rulers, both fortified cities and rural villages, even as far as the large stone of Abel on which they set the ark of Jehovah, which stone remains to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth Shemesh. And He struck the men of Beth Shemesh, because they had looked into the ark of Jehovah. He struck fifty thousand and seventy men of the people, and the people mourned because Jehovah had struck the people with a great slaughter. And the men of Beth Shemesh said, Who is able to stand before Jehovah, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us? And they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kirjath Jearim, saying, The Philistines have brought back the ark of Jehovah; come down and take it up with you.
1 Samuel 7
And the men of Kirjath Jearim came and took the ark of Jehovah, and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated Eleazar his son to keep the ark of Jehovah. So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim many days; it was twenty years. And all the house of Israel mourned after Jehovah. And Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, If you are returning unto Jehovah with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts for Jehovah, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines. So the children of Israel put away the Baals and Ashtaroth, and served Jehovah only. And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray to Jehovah for you. And they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before Jehovah. And they fasted that day, and said there, We have sinned against Jehovah. And Samuel judged the children of Israel at Mizpah. Now when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel had gathered together at Mizpah, the rulers of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid before the Philistines. And the sons of Israel said to Samuel, Do not cease to cry out unto Jehovah our God for us, that He may deliver us out of the hand of the Philistines. And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering unto Jehovah. And Samuel cried out unto Jehovah for Israel, and Jehovah answered him. And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But Jehovah thundered with a loud noise upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were smitten before Israel. And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car. And Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, Thus far has Jehovah helped us. So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of Jehovah was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath; and Israel recovered its territories from the hands of the Philistines. There was also peace between Israel and the Amorites. And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year on a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and judged Israel in all those places. And he returned to Ramah, for his home was there. There he judged Israel, and there he built an altar unto Jehovah.” 1st Samuel 5-7
The photos and video coming out of Paradise, California are horrific. Truly it is a landscape of pure devastation, horrendous to imagine that having been a thriving small city. I also live in the small city of Kalispell, Montana. Really Kalispell and Paradise are pretty similar in size.
On one side of my home I can see the Rocky Mountains in the distance, rising beautifully towards the skyline. On the other side of my home I can see some small mountains, that are barely in the distance. Ever since a wildfire decimated a city in Canada, one of around 50,000 people, I have looked out that window and realized that the possibility of a major fire entering town from that landscape could happen.
Montana is definitely on the ball when it comes to putting out fires, however, I am sure California also is. There are times that the fires here in Montana can become a nightmare scenario, like the Seeley Lake fire that we had here last year. This year we had some pretty bad smoke in the summer, but it was much better than last year. This is an unfortunate reality that we have had to face for many years. For California, the past several years have been much worse.
Everyone knows about the California droughts, the ravaging wildfires that continue to hit the news over and over again. President Trump recently made a comment about forest management, regarding the crisis in California. I had a similar discussion this summer with workers from the United States Forest Service.
They admitted that since all of these logging restrictions took place, there has been an increase in wildfires. They were open to the government taking a look into the policies of forest management. However, there are some who preach that question on whether or not this is God’s judgment, myself included. This has been addressed in the past.
So how would the United States know or other countries of the world? Well I don’t have a cut and dry answer at the moment. One thing I do know, is irregardless of God’s Just Judgment during the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7), better known as the Tribulation, there are those who will still refuse to repent.
“But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not do homage to demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which are not able to see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders nor their sorceries nor their sexual perversions nor their thefts.” Revelation 9:20-21
“And they blasphemed the God of Heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.” Revelation 16:11
I would imagine that people would come up with theories as to why this or that is happening, the government will perpetrate lies, the media will lie, there will be lies. Yet there will be the Two Witnesses who will proclaim, for the first half of the Tribulation, that men need to repent. Certainly they will make clear that God’s Judgment is coming upon the earth???
“And I will give to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. And if anyone tries to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone tries to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have authority to shut the heavens, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have authority over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. And when they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three and a half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. And after three and a half days the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet, and great terror fell on those who saw them. And they heard a loud voice out of Heaven saying to them, Come up here. And they ascended towards Heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. And in the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of Heaven. The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.” Revelation 11:3-14
So what to do? Can we see if it is truly is at least partially God’s judgment against our country?
“Come now and let us reason together, says Jehovah: Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18
“So, tear your heart, and not your garments; and return to Jehovah your God. For He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and He has compassion concerning the evil.” Joel 2:13
Could it be that we are experiencing God’s judgment on this country? At least the Philistines didn’t pretend to serve God, while defying Him in works and deeds. At least they openly served pagan gods, who can not see, nor hear, but are the vanity of their own works.
“Thus says Jehovah, Do not learn the way of the nations, and do not be dismayed at the signs of the heavens; for the nations are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain; for one cuts a tree out of the forest with the ax, the work of the hands of the craftsman. They make it beautiful with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers, so that it will not totter. They are crafted into hammered work like a palm tree, and they cannot speak. They must be lifted up and carried, because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them; for they are not able to do evil, neither is it in them to do good. There is none like You, O Jehovah; You are great, and Your name is great in might. Who would not fear You, O King of nations? For fear is befitting to You, because among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like You.” Jeremiah 10:2-7
Well the Philistines were apparently smarter than those who are in our country nowadays. At least they pondered whether or not what happened to them could be the judgment of God. They tested their theory and quickly found out that indeed their suspicions were correct, indeed they were experiencing the judgment of God, due to keeping the Ark.
Has our nation walked so far contrary to God that we could actually learn from a pagan nation? Sadly, I think so. The sins of the United States of America is great, in fact even more because we proclaim to be a Christian nation. What we do is allow ourselves to be called the ‘great satan’ by foreign countries and are known as a hypocritical nation all around the world.
Could it be that if we followed such an example in California we might be shocked at the outcome? Yet would even those who call themselves preachers in California allow such a thing? For are they not mostly a holy people towards their Creator, so they say. What if for one month Californians decided to abhor the garbage from Hollywood? What if they turned off the televisions, turned off their garbage music, respected their neighbors, quit practicing abominations? What if instead of filth on the streets, they started repainting churches, cleaning up their homes of things that are unholy? What if they got rid of their assisted suicide and right to die laws, their transsexual movements, their pride parades? What if the preachers started preaching from the Bible, instead of new age and self ideas? What if on the street corners men simply began to read the Word of God outloud? What if people dusted off their Bibles and read them as a family on a nightly basis?
Could it be that the fires would stop? Could it be that the rains would begin to fall?
Then what would they do, would they realize their error and repent and seek God with their whole heart? Or would they simply believe it was a coincidence and return to their vile ways?
The Philistines realized that it was God’s judgment, though we don’t ever hear of them crying out to God and seeking to follow Him. At least they didn’t proclaim to serve God Almighty, while walking contrary to Him. Just how long will America be able to hold out before something truly horrific happens, something that will make the Camp Fire look like a walk in the park? I don’t know the answer to that and maybe the answer is it won’t happen until during the Tribulation, but what I do know is the sooner our people repent and believe the Gospel, the better off we would be. For who knows whether or not God might have mercy on such a people as wicked as us.
“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus to himself, God, I thank You that I am not like other men; extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess. And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner! I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14