God never does anything without prior warning. In various ways He reminds His people to live holy lives. He warns of looming disaster, so that people can turn away from their wicked ways and escape His judgement. Let us look at how the Ruler of the Universe gives ‘advance’ notice of what He is going to do.
# God warned the Northern Kingdom.
- The Northern Kingdom rejected God and served Baal and Asherah. God called them back through prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea and Amos, but they refused to listen.
- Then their enemies attacked them. From 2 Kings 6:27-7:20 we read how the Arameans besieged the capital city, Samaria. The situation was dire, but God promised relief. It came through lepers (what a lesson to the faithless Israelites).
- That Aramean siege was just a warning of eventual destruction. The Israelites did not take heed, and In 722 BC Samaria fell to the Assyrians after a three year siege.
# God warned the Southern Kingdom.
- The Southern Kingdom refused to listen to God. All the warnings of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Micah and Zephaniah fell on deaf ears.
- God used the Assyrian siege under Sennacherib to warn them.1 They called out to God for help. He answered their prayers and destroyed 180,000 Assyrian soldiers with a plague.
- Despite this ‘advance’ notice, the people of Judah refused to listen to God. In 586 BC, after an 18 month siege, Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians.
# Jesus warned of coming disaster.
- Jesus warned about another destruction of Jerusalem. 2
- It happened when the Romans destroyed the city in 70 AD.
# What about the coming disaster in the book of Revelation?
- God always warns, but the peoples’ reactions in Revelation are almost the same as those of the Northern and Southern kingdoms:
- ‘The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshipping demons, and idols of gold, silver bronze, stone and wood…. Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.’3
- ‘They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him.’ 4
- Yet God proclaims the Gospel right up to the end, ’Then I saw another angel flying in mid-air, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth….’ 5
If we heed God’s ‘advance’ warnings in Scripture, we can escape His judgements. Matthew 24:32-33 says, ‘Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.’ It is God’s desire that all people are saved from disaster. That is why He gave us Scripture. It tells us that it is of supreme importance to prepare for our eternal future.
- Isaiah 36-37
- Matthew 24:1-2
- Revelation 9:20-21
- Revelation 16:9
- Revelation 14:6