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An American Josiah

by Don McGee

DonMcGee(Gleaned from Crown & Sickle Ministries)

Things are happening so quickly on the world stage that it is hard to specifically catalogue each event into some neat framework having to do with Bible prophecy. Relating events to each other in light of scripture often seems easy…until something else happens that seriously damages our heretofore perfect analysis of things. We rest in the fact that we can know what is going to happen in a general sense, and we can even sometimes know precisely what is going to happen because God has given us great clarity on some things.
But when all events have been analyzed and categorized there remains one question paramount in the minds of American Christians: Will America survive intact before Jesus removes His church from this world? The truth is no one knows. We can speculate if we base our speculation on scripture, but even then the variables are so fluid that we often have more questions at the end of our speculation than we did at the beginning.
Our country has been on a spiritual decline for decades, and the slope is becoming more steep and more slippery. The year 2015 was a very bad year for America spiritually, and 2016 has already gotten off to a bad start with active efforts being implemented to force our country to stay on its current path even after the next administration takes over. How this will unfold is anybody’s guess.
Some Christians believe that disastrous judgment can be put off (though not totally averted) by the appearance of two things: a Josiah and a citizenry who will support him. I consider this a practical impossibility. First, an unemotional examination of the facts says that it won’t happen. Second, though we often try to construct a parallel between Judah and America it actually cannot be done. This is mainly because Israel was in a covenant relationship with God that He initiated. Though we American Christians like to appeal to 2 Chronicles 7:11-18, the fact is God has not made any kind of covenant with America. I know that we can pray according to the principle found there, and that is not a bad thing to do, but in the end we cannot make this text into something it is not. So where is all this headed?
Well, first take a look at a brief history of Israel. After the death of Solomon the country divided. The northern 10 tribes were called Israel and the Assyrians took them into captivity in 722 BC. They never returned to the land as a nation. The southern two tribes were Benjamin and Judah, collectively referred to as Judah. They went into Babylonian captivity in 605 BC and returned to the land 70 years later as God promised. Rebellion against God caused both captivities. All the kings of Israel were ungodly, but several kings of Judah were godly men. Their godliness, however, was not sufficient to spiritually revive the nation permanently and thus avoid God’s judgment. The last godly king of Judah was Josiah, but the reforms he instituted did not stop the onslaught of judgment. So, into Babylon they went.
So regarding the supposed Judah/America parallel, it is the lesson of sin-gone-too-far that is really the significant thing to note. See 2 Kings 22/23 and 2 Chronicles 34/35 for the details.
Josiah’s grandfather was Manasseh who was one of the most wicked kings of Judah. Though he reformed in his last days it was too little too late. He was more impressed with the power of Assyria than the power of God and he went headlong into their particular form of idolatry. Manasseh built altars to Baal, erected Asherah poles, practiced astrology, built altars to pagan gods in God’s Temple, sacrificed his son on the red-hot arms of Moloch, practiced soothsaying, indulged in sorcery, persecuted the people faithful to God, and even more.
Manasseh was followed by his son Amon, but he was assassinated after a couple of years so the Throne of David fell to Josiah, his grandson.
Josiah was the sixteenth king of Judah and he was only 8 years old when he took the throne. As a boy he acquired a burning hatred for idolatry in all its forms. By age 12 he began to purge Jerusalem and the whole land of Judah of the pagan high places, the groves where pagan worship was carried out, and he destroyed the carved and molten images used in idol worship. He even smashed the tombs of the idolatrous priests who came before him, and he burned their bones on the idol’s altars before destroying them. Josiah followed that up by repairing the Temple and giving it a thorough cleansing after all the idolatry that had been practiced in it.
While cleaning out and repairing the Temple the high priest, Hilkiah, found the Book of the Law that had been cast aside in one of the side rooms. When it was read to Josiah he immediately began an attempt to avert the punishments that were described therein. The prophetess Huldah said that Josiah would not live to see the pain of Judah’s national judgment, but it was going to happen. Still, he convened the people to Jerusalem, read the law to them and made a covenant before God. Further, he reinstituted the Passover to the correct time and celebrated the feast with unprecedented magnificence.
You might think this should have done it, that God’s wrath would now be averted. You might also think that God would now withdraw His hand of punishment and would begin to pour out His blessings on Judah because of Josiah’s reforms. But that did not happen. Why was this so? Why did God not change His mind regarding His punishment of Judah?
The answer is clear. The time of God’s mercy was passed. 2 Kings 23:26,27 records, “However, the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of His great wrath with which His anger burned against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked Him. The Lord said, ‘I will remove Judah also from My sight, as I have removed Israel. And I will cast off Jerusalem, this city which I have chosen, and the temple of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.'”
There is something here that American Christians must remember. If God judged Judah, the nation of His own people, and if He allowed the pagan Babylonians to ransack Jerusalem, the city He loved, and if He allowed those pagans to loot His Temple, what makes us think He will exempt our own country from judgment?
There is another principle we need to keep in mind, and that is the fact that God’s patience has an end. We need to get this principle straight in our thinking. Though God’s grace and mercy have no end regarding the truly repentant heart, He will not be mocked by our nation’s persistent rebellion.
Judah smirked at God thinking He would continue to ignore their national sin because they were His people. They were wrong, and American Christians are wrong to think God has a special covenant relationship with our country and that He would never allow something similar to happen here. We may believe there were some in Judah who did not go along with the rebellion and who tried to do something about it. But what is clear is that their personal obedience to God did not prevent judgment.
There are many in our country who are of kindred spirit with those few righteous of Judah, but our godliness will not stay the hand of God’s wrath. Though it would not mean anything anyway, the fact is Washington D.C. is not God’s city and the White House is not God’s Temple. Those responsible for our national policies of debauchery and loathing toward Him, along with those constituents who support such executives, legislators and judges don’t have even an inkling about the One whom they have offended and the fierceness of His wrath. But the question is still staring us in the face: Will Jesus remove His church before our national judgment? No one knows, but if He does it will not be because of a Josiah becoming president.
Most readers will understand the context of these thoughts, but for those who may not understand I must make this very clear. The church will not be on earth for the tribulation that is coming after the rapture, but that does not mean we won’t see our own national judgment before then. There is a big difference between any nation’s judgment and the post-rapture, seven-year tribulation period.
Could a Josiah show up? Maybe, but it won’t stop the inevitable. Biblical precedent shows judgment is coming and it cannot be averted. What will it be? No one knows, but there are some things that come to mind.
Perhaps a financial collapse preceded by several days of stock market “corrections” when much money is lost. It has been reported that a staggering $2.1 trillion was lost in just six days in August of 2015. I am incapable of imagining $2.1 trillion. I find it interesting that the same people who say a full collapse is impossible today are the same experts who are saying, “I don’t know” when business/financial reporters ask them what is happening. That is one reason it is so important to get out of debt as quickly as possible.
Many are fearing another horrific Islamic attack, or a natural disaster like a powerful earthquake, or a category 5 hurricane, or a severe drought, or a levee-topping flood. Others fear an easily spread treatment-resistant pathogen. Any one of these things, or a combination of several, would change the way we live in America.
But such speculation is not the crux of the matter. The point is that judgment upon our country is inevitable, and the only unknown factor is the timing. Unfortunately, various distractions are smoke-screens that hide this inevitability. Billion dollar lotteries, world champion sports competition, politicians promising to make America great again…all these things command our utmost attention to the detriment of what is of real importance and what is coming closer by the day.
So, what is my advice? If you are not a Christian you need to become one because Jesus Christ is your only hope – read the book of Acts then Romans. If you just think you might be a Christian you probably aren’t.
The rest of my advice sounds knee-jerk and reactionary. But the fact is some of us have been in situations where events surrounding us were quite real, and the only way we had to deal with them might be considered by some people as knee-jerk and reactionary. You might want to do a very serious reality check on where things could be headed and reduce your expectations for continued affluence and ease of living. Learn the art of bartering and learn to be self-sufficient to the degree you can. Have a confidential plan in the case of some catastrophic event, and let your family know what that plan is. Do not be so naive as to think that people will remain civil and docile during such events.  Recent riots and so-called demonstrations show many are not civil and docile even now. And, of course, if something terrible should happen be prepared to help those who are incapable of helping themselves.
No prophecy teacher should be an alarmist for the sake of shock-effect. But it is part of our responsibility to call people’s attention to the fact that our country has an unavoidable appointment with God’s judgment, and that this judgment could happen before the removal of the church. The presence of His people in a nation is a good thing for that nation, but that does not void the immutable law of a nation reaping what it has sown. In this regard there is no such thing as crop failure. Politics are personal things, but you can believe no politician can fix things in order to appease God.
Think we could get a Josiah? Probably not. But whether we get one or not, do not think for one second that God has pardoned our persistent, in-His-face national depravity .

 

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4