Are we perhaps missing something in our “God is good all the time” stadium cheers?
God is clearly good all the time. He’s great all the time, in fact.
And yet Paul, the writer of most of the New Testament, tells us – in more than one portion of scripture – that God’s goodness in no way detracts from the fact that He is full of terror. That is who He is. Bible commentators from the 1800’s sometimes refer to our Christ as “awful” – full of awe. Yep.
Our beloved Lord Jesus is the One who will be coming up out of Bozrah:
Who is this who comes from Edom, With dyed garments from Bozrah,
This One who is glorious in His apparel,
Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—
“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
2 Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?
3 “I have trodden the winepress alone,
And from the peoples no one was with Me.
For I have trodden them in My anger,
And trampled them in My fury;
Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,
And I have stained all My robes.
4 For the day of vengeance is in My heart,
And the year of My redeemed has come.
Clearly, Old-Testament-Isaiah is prophetically looking forward to the conclusion of this age, looking to the return of Messiah to rescue (aka: finalize and complete the salvation work) of His people and to perform righteous judgment upon the (by that time) fully rebellious people of earth – the ones who have “succeeded” in ignoring and resisting the tough shaking work that the Lord told He would carry out in His violently merciful effort to get everyone’s attention (Haggai 2).
Meanwhile we are watching, day by day, as the escalating shaking increases. God is not willing that any should perish. He’s good all the time. So He shakes things.
Isaiah and Haggai are Old Testament indeed – but the timing of the prophesied events are yet to happen. Without any argument, 2019 is New Testament times – and we remain awaiting these Old Testament fulfillments.
Paul certainly got it:
2 Corinthians 5
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.
The very popular concept of “we’re under grace, we no longer have to fear the Lord”, is downright dangerous, contrary to the biblical text.
The day of vengeance (Isa 63:4) is during the year of the redeemed. Two concurrent truths. Both will surely happen. The choice as to whether the day is great or dreadful for any one person, is up to that person. It’s up to us, individually.
Daniel 11 speaks of troublesome days prior to Messiah’s time – a time unlike any other time on earth.
1 “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
That maximum-trouble wording is nearly repeated verbatim by our Lord in Matthew 24.
21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Earlier, in the same prophetic breath (Dan 11:32), Daniel assures us that those who know (“yada”) their God will accomplish great exploits. Yada implies intimacy of relationship. God is good, all the time.
And now is great time to be pressing in to “yada-ing” God. A great time to be found in Him. Paul’s perspective is this:
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
All scripture NKJV