The gloom and the glory

David Wilkerson’s “prophetic word” regarding the coming catastrophe in New York City has been getting some serious attention in the news this week.   People are confused and panicky, wondering how we ought to respond.  Should we stockpile food like David suggests?  Should we withdraw our money from the banks?   How  do kingdom people respond to such a terrifying word?

Dr Wilkerson writes:

“An earth-shattering calamity is about to happen…  It is going to be so frightening, we are all going to tremble – even the godliest among us.”

“For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires—such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago… There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide.  There will be looting…

We are under God’s wrath.  In Psalm 11 it is written,  “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (v. 3)…  God is judging the raging sins of America and the nations. He is destroying the secular foundations.”

First I want to say that I love David Wilkerson and have the highest respect for him.  His life and his fifty-plus years of ministry speaks for itself.  Yet I’m deeply troubled by this message.  Has not God placed the church in the world as a prophetic arrow of hope pointing to the Kingdom?  Jesus said “I did not come to condemn the world, but to save it.” (John 12:47)

We invite panic and despair when we miss the kingdom.   When the church understands the Kingdom to be heaven, (as many do), then it’s easy to embrace a message of judgment:  “The sooner the world burns up, the sooner we can get on with heaven.” But when we see that God’s intention in Christ is to restore all things,  (Col. 1:20), and to bring His kingdom into the earth,  (“…Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,”), we’re reminded that the Gospel message is in fact GOOD news:  “For God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and not counting their sins against them.” (2 Cor. 5:19)

Today is a golden hour for the church as people all over grope for  answers.  “Is there any hope?” “Can there be any justice?”  “Is it possible to live together in harmony?” “Can we make a dent in poverty?”  “Can the environment be restored?” We’ve been entrusted with the good news of a resounding “YES!”  Ours is the privilege of preaching a kind King and a glorious  kingdom to a world on the brink of collapse.

Whether David Wilkerson’s word will be fulfilled is something only time will tell.  It doesn’t take a prophet to understand that when a nation rejects God it rejects the glue that holds it together.  Chaos and anarchy are inevitable.  Of course we’ll destroy and loot and set fires and turn on each other.   We’ve cursed our own way, and God doesn’t need to send judgment on us any more than he would need to curse the harvest of a farmer who fertilized his crops with salt.

Yet we are to go on preaching the kingdom, seeking the kingdom, living the kingdom, and demonstrating the kingdom in the power of His Spirit and in selfless acts of love.   There is something beautiful and glorious on the heart of God, and He has invited us into it.   Perhaps if we return to preaching the glad news of the kingdom we can yet escape the doom.

9 thoughts on “The gloom and the glory”

  1. I agree Don. With Jesus there is always a message of hope. Even in Mat 24, Jesus’ great eschatological message there is the hope of the 2nd coming. comments like Dr Wilkerson’s just might be the reason that statistics show (USA Today, just last week) the third largest religious group in our nation today is “no religion.” Every Christian denomination is on the downhill slide. People today see Christians as gloom and doom-ers, and angry people. Statistics also show that the worse day to work in the service industry is Sunday. Why? Because of Christians leaving church are often so demanding and unloving toward the people who are serving them. Where is the grace? Where is the mercy? Where is the love? In those places you will find the salt and the light!

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  2. While I agree with both of you guys, I also believe that God prepares his people through “watchmen on the wall” like David Wilkerson. Thirty years ago the Lord told me to set aside a store of food items, which He later had me distribute as He directed. I knew that experience was a “test” of my obedience, especially when I never understood the “why” of it. In these troubling times, if each of us will do what the Lord tells us to do, not out of fear but out of faith and obedience, then IN GOD’S TIME His purposes will be revealed. Just as Joseph was directed by God to store up provision for later use, so may God desire some of us to store up provisions for those He will later send our way. Even as we are called to share the TRUTH with them, we are also called to share our bread with them. We need wisdom and discernment as never before, so that when the world rushes about looking for a place of safety, we are prepared to be that SANCTUARY God has created us to be, that HE might be glorified and the name of JESUS lifted up. It’s not about us, it’s always about HIM…

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  3. That is a great word, Don.

    I just looked up Isaiah 61 and found no references there that the coming Messiah would bring a message of condemnation to the world. I don’t recall any passages in the gospels where Jesus was found condemning the world because of its sins. When listening to the words of Jesus, I am filled with a picture of a loving Father longing to restore a people to Himself. I find a God seeking a saving that which has been lost.

    A man once told me that the flood that destroyed the world in the days of Noah was caused by the tears of a grieving God over a creation that had lost its way. That is the God I have come to know in Jesus Christ.

    I remember the apostle Paul talking about being given a ministry of reconciliation – not condemnation and judgment.

    Come to think of it, I do not know a single person today who has a vibrant, confident, joyful relationship with God through Jesus Christ who came into that relationship by believe a message of judgment, fear, and condemnation.

    Furthermore, I actually came to know the fear of the Lord after I came to know the Lord Himself, not before! How does that work?

    The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
    – Psalm 103:8

    The must be another bible somewhere that reads:

    The Lord is wrathful and vengeful,
    hot tempered, and abounding in judgments.

    But that’s not the one I read!

    I am with you in your quest to see the kingdom of God. And I am thanking God today for your encouraging words and inspiring life that point anyone with ears to hear to the love of God in Jesus.

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  4. Perhaps this vision of ‘doom and gloom’ is just a clear statement of what is already going on ? Seems we received a ‘welcome to the real world’ on 9/11. Isn’t every place on earth that we hear about now full of looting, burning, violence and general mayhem ? Maybe we just take all this terribleness so for granted when we should have aching hearts over the condition of this world that God soooooooo loves !! Yes, it is exciting to know all the wonderful things God is doing in these days- but maybe He’d like us to weep w/Him more ? Just a thought. Don, your blog is a joy, not just for what you say, but what others do,too !! Smooth trip back to Bosnia. They are so blessed to get you back !!! Lovr and smiles, Janet

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  5. Good grief! I hadn’t seen this “prophesy” yet. It’s enough to make me blush! I’m so embarrassed by they way many Christians portray themselves to the media and the rest of the world.

    The thing that kills me the most, is that they are completely missing the heart of the Father. I think the Father is watching this and screaming… “Is THAT what you think I’m like? Is THAT who you think I am?”.

    I miss you Don.

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  6. I have always liked John 3:17 as much as 3:16 although it often goes unquoted: “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” That one drives my Fundie (fundamentalist) friends nuts, but we find common ground elsewhere…

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  7. 2Thessalonians 1:5-9 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering– since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might

    2Thessalonians 2:8-12 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    Matthew ch. 23

    Matthew 10:34-38 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

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  8. The previous post was for Sean. Also, read Romans ch. 1 and see who it is that is giving up men and women to their own corruption, and read Revelation and ask who is it that controls the going forth of the angels in judgment. Teachers are responsible to teach the whole counsel of God, not just the parts that give you warm fuzzies.

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  9. Do not take Gods justice ligthly! The Old Testament is filled with Gods pronouncements of judgement against nations and men. Is God changed. Yes, Jesus came to love and save the lost, but did he not pronounce judgement on the Pharisees? If you think not, then you have missed something. And what exactly was going on when Peter confronted Ananias and Sophira? God is Holy, and He carries out his judgements when He pleases.

    Thankfully, His love and grace exceed His wrath. Look at Jonah and Hosea, Judges and Kings about how God pronounced judgement on Israel only to relent when they repented. Many examples where God used judgements to provoke His people to repentance. Is this not an expression of God’s love?

    Think about your own lives. Has he not used difficult circumstances to turn you face toward Jesus. You can call them judgments, disciples, punishments, corrections or whatever you want, but looking back, have they not always revealed God’s love to us, and deepened our love for the Savior.

    I see David Wilkerson’s pronouncements as another demonstration of God’s demonstration of His great love for us. Whether or not they come to pass may well depend on how the church responds. In any case, all things work together for good for those who love the Lord.

    “Behold, I have taken you iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” Zech 3:4b

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