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Thread: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    1 Cor. 11:27-32 is also often quoted in this context.

    I personally cannot see any support in scripture for a doctrine of the Lord's discipline meted out in direct proportion to the sin of elect believers. I definitely do not see any doctrine of the Lord 'taking believers home' to punish them for specific personal sin. In the Pauline example above, the persons stricken with sickness and death are non-elect impostors who do not discern and believe the gospel when eating the Lord's supper. The discipline involved is God executing final damnation wrath on such persons to cause the elect to take the gospel more seriously in their thinking and actions.

    The Lord disciplines all whom He loves, however, there is no direct relationship between the magnitude of the sins of the elect and the exact magnitude of the Lord's discipline upon such. Some suffer greatly and others much less (seemingly) but this gives no indication of the greatness or otherwise of their sins.

    The discipline executed upon the sin of David was in consequence of his example as leader of the nation.

    Whenever the Lord takes a believer home, it is a bestowal of great blessing on the person who departs this world and graduates into the Lord's immediate presence!
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Yeah, I don't believe there is a direct correlation between punishment and sin either for the elect; but there are examples of some harsher chastisements (from the world's perspective). In my mind, it was a blessing for Samson to perish in his situation. To live is Christ, to die is gain. I see the Lord taking His own home to save them from the sins that so easily beset us...or to save them from the consequences of the sins of others.....some might see some of this as punishment, I don't.

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Thanks Roger!

    I believe the example of Samson praying 'let me die with the Philistines' is a good one to explain disasters in which many reprobates perish under the wrath of God. In such events A FEW elect believers might also experience the end of their temporal lives and enter the Lord's presence. They are not the subjects of God's wrath in any sense, while the wrath of God is poured out upon almost all others.

    But this question still needs to be answered: Are the elect preserved to a much greater degree from such tragedies as untimely death, murder, rape, etc. than non-elect?
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    Are the elect preserved to a much greater degree from such tragedies as untimely death, murder, rape, etc. than non-elect?
    Could you define "untimely" Bob?
    Isaiah 45:7, (KJV), I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Sure, untimely should probably be changed to 'strange and unusual'. A good example would be the current death of congressman John Murtha from gall bladder surgery medical malpractice--which is a very rare occurrence even for old people. Untimely would also refer to the type of rare disasters we have been discussing, such as earthquakes or volcanic eruptions which occur in a region every 500 or 1000 years.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    From Psalm 34: 4-9

    I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
    This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
    The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
    O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
    O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.



    The question I have in this context is this: how can there be NO DIFFERENCE between the elect and the non-elect on the issue of God's protective providence if this scripture is true? I most heartily welcome any responses.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    In regards to natural disasters, I think the difference is a spiritual one. The Lord grants peace to His own regardless of what He has ordained to occur in the natural world: Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

    Not sure if this is what you are looking for....

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    My personal conviction is that if the elect have special angelic protection (as the scripture states), they are not subject to the same paradigm of curses in this world as the non-elect. There are, of course, elements of commonality in the sufferings of the elect and non-elect but there are also differences.

    In a disaster such as Haiti, for instance, I definitely believe that a much larger percentage of elect were spared from death/severe injury/resultant disease than non-elect. I can't say that the elect are totally immune from such consequences that result from the outpouring of God's wrath in general--simply because God does not visibly make an absolute distinction or we would not walk by faith. A small measure of the sufferings of such an event might be used to 'discipline sons' or take them to glory. But I can't believe (if the scriptures are true) that God does not protect the elect in a special manner--physically as well as in every other way.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    I understand; I guess my thinking was going to the Scriptures that talk about having "tribulation in this world" and not yet having "resisted unto blood." I'm sure my thinking is also influenced by my love of Ecclesiastes--which continues to lose its luster as I attempt to view everything more and more through the lens of the gospel.

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Quote Originally Posted by rlhuckle View Post
    I'm sure my thinking is also influenced by my love of Ecclesiastes--which continues to lose its luster as I attempt to view everything more and more through the lens of the gospel.
    Maybe you just like the song Turn, Turn, Turn.
    Isaiah 45:7, (KJV), I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    I'm sure my thinking is also influenced by my love of Ecclesiastes--which continues to lose its luster as I attempt to view everything more and more through the lens of the gospel.
    The main thing I learned about the book of Ecclesiastes is that, when it says "...there is a time for everything..." it clearly qualifies where: UNDER THE SUN! It is here that time is time! The realm of God's decrees is not UNDER THE SUN; here may the be object (not to be confused with objective), but I don't think it is the realm of His decrees.
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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Here's an assignment: take two years to preach through Ecclesiastes. Just kidding!

    There is no question that the book contains much profound truth regarding the present short earthly life. Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins (7:20). There is even a focus on the person of God and that He will bring every work into judgment; that man has a duty to obey God's commandments. But the eternal/transcendent perspective acknowledging the mercy/grace of God is hard to find.

    On the matter of tribulation, I think we would all agree that the sufferings/trials sent to elect believers appear the same to the world at large as those experienced generally by mankind. It takes the faith perspective to see any distinction.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?

    Ecclesiastes 7:16

    It is interesting that a book in the Bible, considered inspired by God, would teach that we should not be TOO RIGHTEOUS!

    15All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. 16Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?
    17Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?.


    This is the context though: No matter what "it is" everybody has the same end... (fatalism?) So, why would we be so "righteous"?


    It says right here that the righteous and the wicked have the same end...



    Off topic? Yes!

    Milt
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    My pledge to other members:
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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Quote Originally Posted by GraceAmbassador View Post
    Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?

    Ecclesiastes 7:16

    It is interesting that a book in the Bible, considered inspired by God, would teach that we should not be TOO RIGHTEOUS!

    15All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. 16Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?
    17Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?.


    This is the context though: No matter what "it is" everybody has the same end... (fatalism?) So, why would we be so "righteous"?


    It says right here that the righteous and the wicked have the same end...



    Off topic? Yes!

    Milt
    It is DANGEROUS when I quote myself!

    Before we go on proscribing the book of Ecclesiastes or the text I quoted from it in my previous post, from Biblical inspiration, note that a few verses below is a verse quoted by Paul and one of the backbones of the doctrine of Total Depravity:

    verse 20:

    Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who never sins...

    Or is Paul's quote form Psalm 14:3?

    Well, anyway, the Book of Ecclesiastes seem to indicate that the righteous and the wicked have the same end and if anyone takes advantage at all, as per the scripture above, it is the WICKED who prolongs his life in doing evil...

    Thanks!

    Milt
    Grace Ambassador
    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
    Maybe you just like the song Turn, Turn, Turn.
    Yeah, I always was a sucker for a good twelve string...

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    I like the references; I was thinking particularly of this passage in the context of this thread:

    Ecc 9:1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them. 2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. 3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

    But my favorite verse (in Ecclesiastes) has always been:

    Ecc 5:18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

    ...because we never know when "all things come alike unto all".....

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Quote Originally Posted by rlhuckle View Post
    I like the references; I was thinking particularly of this passage in the context of this thread:

    Ecc 9:1 For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them. 2 All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath. 3 This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.

    But my favorite verse (in Ecclesiastes) has always been:

    Ecc 5:18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

    ...because we never know when "all things come alike unto all".....
    By the way brother, your favorite verse is also the favorite verse of the Charismatic except that they blow it out of proportion.

    As to chapter 9, particularly on the verses you cited, it is interesting to note that many things sound really fatalistic and pessimistic. One may read these verses and wonder: How good then is to be good?

    This is an excellent passage in terms of its pertinence to this thread because it clearly declares that "all things come alike to all" and then qualifies what he means by "all things" stating about the "evil" UNDER THE SUN.

    I really believe that the expression UNDER THE SUN means more than just a passive poetical term. It really means in our REALM specifically in our REALM without the providence of Jesus' sacrifice! All of us are evil and God declares the Elect righteous in His sight and that settles it!

    You take the book of Job and his experience and the book of Ecclesiastes and in them God demonstrates what it would be if we all lived without Christ!


    1. Job: God would take a "dispute" with the devil concerning our allegiance
    2. Ecclesiastes: We could not expect anything good from men or anyone and not expect anything from BEING GOOD.
    3. THE GOSPEL: the GOOD NEWS!


    Now, in a lighter note, I did not know, or had not notice before that the popular saying: "Life is a @#$ and then we get old and die" is based in the Bible. Read the f.f. of verse 3

    "yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead."

    Milt
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    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Re: Can We Discern God's Sovereign Will in Massive Natural Disasters?

    Quote Originally Posted by GraceAmbassador View Post
    By the way brother, your favorite verse is also the favorite verse of the Charismatic except that they blow it out of proportion.
    I wasn't aware of that.

    Quote Originally Posted by GraceAmbassador View Post
    As to chapter 9, particularly on the verses you cited, it is interesting to note that many things sound really fatalistic and pessimistic. One may read these verses and wonder: How good then is to be good?
    Yep; I always found it to be a strong support of God's grace and sovereignty. Any good we do is a gift of God--yet even though the reprobate may do many good things in the eyes of the world and his peers--and take and accept all the credit for doing it, it matters not to God.

    Quote Originally Posted by GraceAmbassador View Post
    This is an excellent passage in terms of its pertinence to this thread because it clearly declares that "all things come alike to all" and then qualifies what he means by "all things" stating about the "evil" UNDER THE SUN.

    I really believe that the expression UNDER THE SUN means more than just a passive poetical term. It really means in our REALM specifically in our REALM without the providence of Jesus' sacrifice! All of us are evil and God declares the Elect righteous in His sight and that settles it!
    Amen! Even though our righteousnesses are filthy rags, we are still righteous in His sight by the blood of Christ.

    Quote Originally Posted by GraceAmbassador View Post
    You take the book of Job and his experience and the book of Ecclesiastes and in them God demonstrates what it would be if we all lived without Christ!
    I don't think I've ever looked at it that way...

    Quote Originally Posted by GraceAmbassador View Post
    Now, in a lighter note, I did not know, or had not notice before that the popular saying: "Life is a @#$ and then we get old and die" is based in the Bible. Read the f.f. of verse 3

    "yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead."

    Milt
    LOL! I never made that connection either. There's gotta be a classic rock song about that passage somewhere....

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