by Rayola Kelley
Q: Are all the present events that are happening around the world a matter of signs or do they signal consequences and God’s judgment or wrath?
A: This is a very good question. To be honest with you, I believe the present incidents happening in the world fall into at least three categories. Each category requires a different response on the part of God’s people. For this reason it is important to discern the season or time we are in, or are about to enter. Jesus was clear that we would be able to discern the times if we care to do so.
According to Matthew 24, many of the events such as wars and earthquakes are signs of the times we are living in. Such times serve as warning signs. These warnings are calling God’s people to be sober and prepared and ready for the times of trouble the world is about to experience. We are not to be caught off guard or asleep, but watching, praying, and waiting for the Lord’s leading, prompting, or coming. The initial signs are described as what a woman experiences when about to give birth. It is a grave time of intense struggle and travailing to bring about the final results. It entails a struggle that brings one to the abyss of death in order to bring forth new life.
At this time I also believe we are seeing consequences brought on by the fruits produced by the evil practices and root systems of the world. These roots have been growing under the cover of darkness, but now their fruits are blatantly coming to the light. The Bible is clear that in whatever state a matter is sown, it will be reaped accordingly. There is no life that will come out of such evil. Bad trees can only produce lifeless and poisonous fruits. Eventually, such wickedness will turn on itself and bring everything to utter ruin that is part of its current.
Meanwhile, the fruit of such wickedness appears to be consuming everything around it. We can see this within the wicked plans and operation of many of the leaders in our government. It is clear that the financial collapse, the loss of authority and respect as a nation, and the lawlessness that has greatly escalated in our communities are the fruits of the insane, unethical, and immoral philosophies and practices of our leaders. Such consequences will affect the just and the unjust alike. However, as God’s people, we must prayerfully identify with the conditions that are being represented by the consequences. We must not only humble ourselves before God to seek mercy, but we must be ready to repent in sorrow and dismay. In such periods, it is not time to party, rejoice, and arrogantly claim such matters will not touch our lives. Consequences of this nature will most assuredly touch our lives, and like the prophet Daniel, we must be ready to honestly identify with it in order to properly respond.
Finally, judgment can also be identified in these happenings. Judgment and consequences walk hand in hand. Consequences are a form of judgment. However, there are other types of judgments. Judgment points to a separation in a matter as it brings contrast between wickedness and righteousness. In a sense, judgment defines the line between light and darkness, forcing people to choose which side they will ultimately serve on. In such judgment there are no gray areas of indifference or compromise.
There are two conditions that will bring on the latter judgment: wrong attitudes towards Israel and moral deviation. If any nation or people have a wrong attitude towards Israel, they will stand cursed. Eventually, a curse’s existence will immerge, causing total mayhem and despair for the nation or people. Moral deviation also brings people under curses. If moral deviation is preferred and declared as being righteous, and righteousness as being evil, the land will eventually respond by spewing the people out in complete revulsion. For God’s people the choice is clear, we must always choose the side of righteousness regardless of how unpopular it may be. We must be sure that the light (life of Christ) in us shines brightly.
When I study the signs of the times, I realize that Jesus was warning us of the consequences and judgments that would signal a time of great trouble. When you read Paul’s moral description of the days in 2 Timothy 3:1-7, it is easy to understand why such consequences and judgments would be present and abound.
We are told the time of God’s wrath that will be unleashed against all disobedience in Revelation 6:13-17. It is important to point out that during the great time of trouble (or tribulation) man’s wrath, Satan’s wrath, and God’s wrath will be unleashed. Man’s wrath results in death, Satan’s wrath in utter destruction, and God’s wrath ends in judgment and purging.