The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Divine Judgment in the End Times: Dealing with a Less Patient God

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During the end times, God’s patience with rebellion will be much shorter.  In this post, we will explain what this does and doesn’t mean.

Let’s start with some basic questions.  How does God judge humans?  When does He get ticked with us?  What causes His infamous wrath to flare up?  These questions are a source of confusion for both Christians and non-Christians, with folks in both camps not understanding what the correct answers are.  When you don’t have an accurate understanding about how God judges you, you spin off into all sorts of problems.  Since God’s wrath is going to be a major theme during the end times, it’s vital that you have this issue of Divine judgment sorted out in your mind.  Once you understand why God gets mad at you personally, you will be able to see how easy it is to stay on His gracious side.

Contrary to what many people think, God is extremely easy to succeed with.  This is because He judges us solely by how our souls respond to Him.  To appreciate why this is such good news, you have to understand the difference between your soul and your earthsuit.  So let’s use an analogy.

John is a man who has a large dog named Max.  When John is out walking Max through his neighborhood, how much control does John have over Max?  Can John control what Max wants?  No.  Can he control what Max is thinking about?  No.  Can John control what Max does?  Only to a very limited degree.  You see, John has Max on a leash.  So when Max tries to chase after a squirrel, John pulls hard on the leash to stop Max from going where Max wants to go.  But Max is still straining hard at the leash, and there’s nothing John can do to stop that.  Max is the sort of dog who isn’t very trainable, because he has a very strong independent will.  John has spent many hours trying to train Max, but Max only obeys John’s commands when Max is in the mood to do so.  The rest of the time, Max does what Max wants to do, and all John can do is try and limit Max’s choices by keeping Max on a leash or keeping him confined to a house.  When Max is in a cooperative, friendly mood, he’s a great pet.  But when Max is in rebel mode, he’s a furry pain.  Max’s independent nature greatly limits how pleasant his relationship with John can become.  Some days go smoothly, but a lot of days are full of frustration as John tries in vain to get Max to submit to John’s authority.  If John had the power to change Max’s core nature, then John could turn Max into a very submissive, teachable creature.  But as it is, Max will never be a well-behaved dog.  He’s a wild thing, and he likes it that way.

This metaphor captures the strained relationship that your soul has with your earthsuit.  John represents your soul, and Max the dog represents your earthsuit.  Your earthsuit is what you see when you look in a mirror: it is the physical machine which God created for your soul to travel about in while you’re in this physical dimension.  When you die, God will release your soul from your earthsuit much like a pilot ejects from a plane that is going to crash.  Only your soul will leave this dimension and go to an eternal dimension of God’s choosing.  Your earthsuit will be left here to decompose.  This is how God designed things: your earthsuit is only temporary.  Your soul is the real you, and your soul is the only part of you that is capable of forming a personal relationship with God.

Now like Max the dog, your earthsuit has a will of its own, and you have no control over that will.  You have no say over what your earthsuit craves, what it likes, what it finds pleasant, and what it is upset by.  As you go through life, your earthsuit often gets enticed by something that it wants, and it wants to pursue that thing.  Just as Max the dog gets tunnel vision when he sees a squirrel and doesn’t give any thought to the danger of running out into traffic to pursue that squirrel, your earthsuit often gets so consumed with pursuing its desires that it makes really stupid choices.

What makes a man destroy years of hard-earned trust in order to have one brief moment of sensual pleasure?  What makes a woman turn her own husband against her by constantly belittling and criticizing him?  What makes a teen decide it would be fun to race down a highway when he is so drunk that he can barely function?  What makes suicidal people decide to kill their family members as well as themselves?  What attracts people to engage in contests where they inflict harm on themselves in order to gain the applause of total strangers?  Look around in this world, and you’ll see people constantly making choices which are utterly foolish, harmful and destructive.  Such decisions reflect how impulsive and short-sighted human earthsuits can be.  Like Max the dog, who will risk death to chase some random rodent up a tree, human earthsuits are notorious for making really stupid decisions once they lock their sights on some prize.

When Jack’s wife cheats on him, he deals with it by getting plastered with alcohol.  Yet how does flooding his body with toxic liquid improve Jack’s circumstances?  It doesn’t.  Getting drunk actually makes his circumstances worse, but in the heat of the moment, Jack’s earthsuit doesn’t care about long-term consequences.  Instead, it identifies something that it thinks will bring it immediate relief, then it obsesses over that activity with such intensity that Jack feels compelled to go to a bar.  This is how it is with earthsuits: they’re brilliant and stupid at the same time.

Your soul doesn’t know the first thing about fighting off hostile bacteria in your bloodstream, yet your earthsuit is programmed with a vast array of brilliant defense strategies which it executes without any assistance from your soul.  While your soul goes through the day thinking of other things, your earthsuit is pulling off incredible feats which you totally take for granted.  Do you understand how many muscles, tendons, and ligaments must be perfectly coordinated in order for you to walk across a room?  Do you understand the ingenious system which allows your brain to instantly receive a report when your toe slams into the corner of your dresser?  Every day your senses are being bombarded with a flood of information which your brain is constantly filtering, sorting, and organizing in logical ways.  Human earthsuits are utterly miraculous things.  They’re so hardwired with the genius of God that they can’t even consciously grasp how complex they are.  Our physical brains are far too limited to consciously understand their own operation—how ironic is that?  Yet while they perform incredible feats of self-maintenance, coordination, and engineering, our earthsuits don’t give a hoot about morals.  Taking the moral high road, pleasing God and being gracious towards those who oppose you—these are things which your earthsuit has no use for.  Your earthsuit is all about pleasing itself, and much of what it wants is labeled as immoral and wrong by God.  This is how a crisis arises: when God says something is wrong, your earthsuit says it couldn’t care less about what God says.  Your soul finds itself caught in the middle of this conflict, with God saying “no” and your earthsuit saying “yes” about some issue.  Who will your soul side with?  How you answer this question is what God judges you by.

How pleased God is with you is a direct result of how much value your soul is choosing to put on Him.  Let’s think about this in human terms.  If you really dislike someone, you’re ruder to them, aren’t you?  You are quick to disrespect them and wish them ill.  When bad things happen to them, you’re pleased.  In this world, many souls have decided that they really hate God.  Such souls look for opportunities to disrespect God publicly, and they delight in anything that they think might upset God.  They want to see God miserable because they hate Him.  It’s their soul choices which drive their hostile attitudes towards God.  Because they are deciding to scorn His Authority inside, they mock Him on the outside.

Hating God is only one of the choices God gives you.  He also gives you the option of ignoring Him.  Think about how you treat humans who you want nothing to do with.  When they talk to you, you pretend that you didn’t hear them and you don’t respond.  When you see them coming over to you, you change your course to avoid interacting with them.  In this world, many souls are behaving this way towards God: they’re working hard to act indifferent towards Him.  On the outside, they claim to not believe that God is real, but on the inside they know He’s real, they’re just working hard to tune Him out.

Now let’s move on to the third option God gives you: that of caring about Him.  Here’s where your soul chooses to value God—to respect His Authority and care about His opinion.  But how much will you value, respect, and care about Him?  A little?  More than a little?  A lot?

God is a big fan of humans having choices, so He gives you a ton of options when it comes to how your soul will respond to Him.  He doesn’t force you to like Him or respect Him or value Him.  Instead, He gives you plenty of reasons to both like and dislike Him.  The main way He motivates you to dislike Him is by trapping you in an earthsuit which He has programmed to not give a hoot about Him and to want things which He says are wrong.  It is very stressful for your soul to be in conflict with your earthsuit—it’s rather like the stress a man feels when his car is careening out of control.  Your soul wants to stay in harmony with your earthsuit as much as possible, but if your soul also wants to please God, then it suddenly finds itself forced to choose who it cares about pleasing the most.  Because God has fixed it so that it’s often impossible to please Him and your earthsuit at the same time, your soul is forced to choose a billion times over who it will side with: God or its earthsuit.  Every time God forces you to choose between Him and your earthsuit, He forces you to put a value on Him: to declare how much He is worth to you.  It is all of these value statements which you are judged by.  By the time you die, you will have declared God’s value to you countless times.  Sometimes you will have said He wasn’t worth much to you, other times you might have said He meant everything to you.  If we pile all of those decisions into one big heap, what will your overall value of God turn out to be: low or high?  The answer to that question determines how pleased God will be with you, and what kind of eternal consequences He will give you.  So you see, it’s all about your soul choices.  It’s not about earthsuit cravings or earthsuit behaviors or earthsuit thoughts.

Every human on the planet sins every day, and most of what humans think of as sinning comes down to earthsuit actions and desires.  But these aren’t the things God judges you by.  It’s not how naughty you are or how many crimes you committed or how perverse your thought life is that counts.  God judges you entirely by those value statements your soul made about Him.  When God says to your soul, “This is what I want you to do,” or “This is what I care about,” your soul chooses how it will respond to Him.  Maybe your soul says, “Shut up and go away.”  Maybe it says, “Whatever.  Who cares?”  Maybe it says, “Interesting—but let’s talk about it later when I’m not so busy.”  Or maybe it says, “I’m listening!  How can I apply this new information You’re telling me in a way that will please You?”  Which of these responses expresses a high value of God?  Which of these responses places a low value on Him?  It’s these soul choices which you are judged by.  God’s system of judging you won’t change during the end times.  From the beginning of this Creation, humans have always been judged by the way their souls responded to God.  The more we choose to love, honor, cherish, and respect Him, the more pleased He is with us.  The more we refuse to love, honor, cherish, and respect Him, the more displeased He becomes with us.

So now that we understand how God judges us, what will change when God’s patience with us grows shorter than we’re used to?  Well, right now many people view God as a pushover—the kind of spineless parent who warns his screaming child to stop screaming or else.  But then the parent proceeds to count to a hundred before dishing out any consequences, and the child ends up never being disciplined at all.  This is a very inaccurate picture of how God responds to rebellious humans.  In real life, His response to rebellion is very swift and far more severe than we recognize, but understanding that concept is beyond the scope of this post.  Right now, let’s just use the false impression people have of God today: that He’s some big doormat who is all bark and no bite.  In the end times, that impression will be drastically changed as suddenly God starts to “bite” a lot faster and a lot harder than we’re used to.  For example, today people publicly curse Jesus and no lightning falls.  During the end times, there will be times when someone says something snarky about God in public only to be instantly struck down in some supernatural way.  We’re not used to seeing God instantly retaliate in ways that fit our very limited stereotype of a “wrathful God.”  God knows all about the many stereotypes we have of Him, and He will intentionally play on these ideas we have during the end times.

Now before you get excited about seeing God swiftly strike down those who disrespect Him, realize that this isn’t going to play out at all the way that vengeful Christians would like.  In real life, the Christian community is steeped in spiritual rebellion—and that means that plenty of Christians are consistently choosing to disrespect God on a soul level.  When God’s patience grows short, it will be short with all humans, not just non-Christians.  This means that we’re going to see plenty of Christians getting nailed with dramatic and horrifying forms of supernatural discipline as well.  When God’s patience with humans becomes short, He becomes more aggressive in His reaction to our souls being snarky with Him.  Because our soul choices are hidden, private things, you can’t tell just by looking at someone how that person is reacting to God.

Today plenty of really rebellious Christians are very pleasant to interact with socially.  They’re nice, they’re polite, they’re funny, and they’re well-liked.  When someone who you admire gets suddenly nailed by God’s wrath, it will confuse you.  Humans judge each other by behaviors and physical appearance.  We don’t like dirty, smelly, rude people.  We don’t like people who are violent, loud, and confrontational.  When God comes along and nails some guy who fits your idea of a “good person”, but then He acts pleased with a guy that you’ve labeled as a “jerk”, how are you going to react to that?  You’re going to feel confused. You’re not going to just agree with the way God is behaving. You’re going to think He’s being unfair. You’re going to think He was wrong to hurt the person you liked and you’re going to be grousing that He isn’t punishing the person who you think is a pain.  You and God are going to have drastically different ideas of who is doing good and who deserves to get spanked.  God isn’t going to adjust any of His judgments to please you, so you can forget about trying to influence Him through your nagging prayers.  God judges alone.  He doesn’t let angels, humans, saints, demons, or any other created being weigh in on His decisions.

So what does all of this mean for the soul who really wants to please God, yet is bogged down with some nasty addiction, or some really bad flaws, or some terrible perversity?  Well, what does God judge you by?  Your soul’s response to Him.  Suppose your soul desperately wants to please God—does that mean it will magically gain the power to control your earthsuit’s cravings, desires, and actions?  No, it doesn’t. Just as John had limited control over his dog’s actions and no control over what his dog wanted, your soul has very limited control over your earthsuit.  But this lack of control goes both ways.  Your earthsuit can’t control your soul’s choices.  Maybe your earthsuit is currently addicted to porn.  Maybe you have a really short fuse and you’re always bullying others.  Maybe you have a long history of doing sordid things.  So what?  None of these things limit your soul’s ability to respond positively to God.  You might hate people because they threaten and hurt you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be choosing to cherish God.  God is in a class all His own.  He judges you by how your soul responds to Him, not by how well you get along with others or by what your earthly reputation is.  Over the course of human history, plenty of souls who were despised by other humans ended up greatly pleasing God.

It is because God is only judging you by your soul’s response to Him that He is so very easy to succeed with.  You can’t control your earthsuit, but you can control how your soul will respond to God.  God doesn’t demand that you approve of what He does, only that you fully submit to Him.  God doesn’t demand impossible things from you and then condemn you for failing to meet His expectations.  God only judges you according to choices that He knew you actually had control over making—and since He is the One who controls all of your resources in life, He is the only One who can accurately assess what your options are in a given moment.  Where there is no choice, there is no condemnation.  God never gets angry with souls for not knowing something He hasn’t taught them, or for failing to do something that He hasn’t given them the resources to do.

God is an incredibly generous Being who delights in being merciful, kind, and compassionate.  The better you know Him, the more you’ll realize how reasonable He is being to punish rebellion, for to anger a Being as gracious as God, you have to work at it.  You have to be very intentional in your rejection and defiance of Him.  You have to put effort into warring against Him.  During the end times, the souls who God gets angry with will be souls who are intentionally rebelling against Him.  The souls who God will be delighted with are those who sincerely care about pleasing Him.  Both the rebellious and the obedient will come in a wide variety of packages.  You won’t be able to tell who is who, but so what?  How other souls are responding to God is irrelevant to you.  You need to keep your focus on your own relationship with Him and be making wise soul choices.  Then, when God’s patience wears thin with the human race and His style of discipline becomes far more violent and public than we’re used to, you will be able to know that at least you aren’t on the wrong side of God’s patience.  Souls who are sincerely submitting to God and earnestly desiring to please Him do not need to live in fear of His wrath coming down on them.  But if you decide to be a fool by privately spurning God, then His sudden lack of patience will be a major problem for you.

Our lives in this world are a critical window of opportunity which we have been given.  The choices we make now will shape our eternal futures.  When God becomes less patient, He starts drastically cutting our time short as we dish out the attitude, and suddenly we find ourselves with no more chances to repent out of our stupidity.  So it’s a very serious thing, this business about God’s patience.  We’re used to taking it for granted, and yet we need to realize that we were created by a Being who is obsessed with change, and big changes are rapidly approaching.

FURTHER READING:
Understanding Divine Judgment: Illumination, Empowerment & A God Who Delights In Mercy
Understanding Divine Judgment: How God Ranks Sin
The Inner Room: Understanding How God Judges You
Understanding the Purpose of Terror in the End Times

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