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One of the more disturbing trends that’s emerging in mainstream Christianity is the eagerness of some Christians to witness firsthand the destruction of God’s enemies. They try to smooth it over by saying they’re looking forward to “Jesus coming back”, but they can barely contain their glee when they talk about how all those condemned souls will finally ‘see the light’, though too late to do anything about it. It’s as if these Christians want to feel vindicated and have their I-told-you-so moment, or they’re channeling demonically-inspired schadenfreude. But this is obviously not what God wants.
When God makes his final move to deliver his judgement collectively during the tribulation, he doesn’t want us to watch. God’s judgement is not a movie. He doesn’t want us munching popcorn and peeking out from between the blinds while doing a play-by-play commentary and keeping a body count. He wants us to go into hiding, pray, stay away from windows, pray, and not come out until he gives us the all-clear.
There are many reasons for this, but the three main ones are that he doesn’t want us to rejoice over the execution of his justice, he doesn’t want us to try to intervene, and he doesn’t want us to get swept up in the ensuing chaos.
The slaughter of millions over a relatively short period of time will not be pretty. We are not supposed to be joyful about the dispatching of so many condemned souls to hell. Even if we believe they had it coming (and we should believe they had it coming), we still need to grasp the solemnity of the event. This is not a time for celebrating. This is a time for mourning, fasting, praying, and laying low.
God’s justice is perfect. As born-agains, we know that. Even so, we’re compassionate by nature, and if we see people suffering when we know we can do something to alleviate their suffering, we may be tempted to intervene and try to help them at the same time as God is delivering their punishment. This would obviously lead to all kinds of problems, mainly for us. There is a time for mercy and a time for judgement. God is able to make the switch, but we might not be as able to, which means we would be better off staying far far away from wherever the judgement is taking place.
Lot was hurried out of Sodom by the angels and told not to look back; Noah was kept holed up in the ark for half a year; and the Hebrews at the first Passover were warned not to go out of their houses when all the first-borns in Egypt were being killed. When it’s time for God to deliver his justice in the form of collective judgement, we shouldn’t be anywhere near where it’s happening, or if we are near, we need to hide and pray. The farther away we are from the destruction the better, as the less likely we’ll be to get involved.
Vengeance is God’s job. He’s not asking us to hold his beer while he takes care of business and to cheer him on from the sidelines; he’s warning us to make ourselves scarce. We are to hide our eyes from the execution of God’s judgement so that we don’t gloat over our enemies, don’t try to save them, and don’t get caught up in the confusion. God warns us outright in scripture: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” In telling us that vengeance belongs to him, God is essentially telling us to stay out of it. We shouldn’t even have an opinion on the matter, other than, like the angels in Revelation, to affirm that God’s judgement is true and just.
So the next time you come across a discussion about how Jesus is coming back soon and his enemies are going to be destroyed, remind the people that if Jesus does come back when we’re still here, we won’t be watching the destruction from front-row seats. If we’ve endured to the end (as Jesus says we must as a condition of salvation), we’ll be in the process of being gathered together by the holy angels and whisked off to Heaven before the destruction starts. And If we’re still around when some form of collective judgement is rendered before Jesus gets back, we need to hide and stay hidden for the duration. No watching, no attempting a rescue of the condemned, and definitely no gloating.
When it’s time for God to collectively take care of business, it’s time for us to collectively mind ours.
“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”