By Elizabeth Prata
Recently I wrote about what oracles are. Oracles are mentioned in both the Old Testament and the New. These are specific communications from God to man, usually sought by man in answer to a specific question. Many Old Testament oracles involved queries to God from a King asking if he will win a battle, and the like.
In the New Testament, Jesus pronounced oracular woes. He pronounced doom for peoples, individuals, nations, kings. He also predicted doom for entire cities!
Of those cities that reject Him, He said-
be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near. I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. (Luke 10:11b-12).
Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. (Luke 10:13).
for Sodom—Tyre and Sidon were ruined by commercial prosperity; Sodom sank through its vile pollutions: but the doom of otherwise correct persons who, amidst a blaze of light, reject the Saviour, shall be less endurable than that of any of these. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And the sense of the whole is, that though the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah were very great, and their punishment very exemplary; yet, as there will be degrees of torment in hell, the case of such a city, which has been favoured with the Gospel, and has despised and rejected it, will be much worse than the case of those cities, which were devoured by fire from heaven; and than that of the inhabitants of them in the future judgment, and to all eternity; See Gill on Matthew 10:15. Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
One wonders with the advent of New York City’s rejection of the Gospel and acceptance at its highest levels the horrific infanticide of babies, what their judgment will be.
Scoffers set a city aflame,
but the wise turn away wrath.
And what IS wisdom? Fear of the LORD. Nineveh was wise:
Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.” (Jonah 3:5-9)
Bethsaida and Corazin were not wise, they were scoffers at the Gospel presented to them. Therefore, a whole City is to come under judgment!
This writer below seems pretty heated about the pastoral silence, especially of certain NYC pastors cough-Keller-cough, on the holocaust of the babies under the new abortion law. I don’t agree that every cultural sin requires pastoral comment in a specially developed topical sermon. I am sympathetic with most of his stance. It is an affront to me as it is obviously to him that New York preachers who have specifically trumpeted their intention to bring Gospel light to a dark city have been eerily silent on the deepest darkening of that city in decades, and whose tongues have been silent in bringing needed light and clarity for its members to understand the seriousness of their city’s sin.
The oracles of Jesus are also interesting to me for the sake of the false notion that the OT God and the NT God are different. People often point to a meek and gentle Jesus speaking softly to the woman at the well about her adulteries, or mournfully but silently pitying the Rich Young Ruler who rejected Him for his own lands and wealth. But Jesus pronounced DOOM for entire cities, that means populations of thousands if not millions. The five Cities of the Plain were a connected metropolis with enormous populations. When Sodom and Gomorrah were smote for their sin the doom also included the cities of Admah and Zeboiim. (Deuteronomy 29:23). Four of the Five Cities of the Plain gone.
Jesus came in humility the first time but will come in wrath the second time. We can be praying for our leaders, that the Lord would instill in the Christian leaders courage to withstand the secular tsunami of sin that inevitably comes against them. We can pray for the unsaved leaders for God to instill repentance into their heart and then they may do good in His name within their position.
We can also be praying for Jesus to call His Bride home in the Rapture. (2 Timothy 4:8, Revelation 22:20).
The majestic Chapter 8 of Moby-Dick, of which is mentioned in the Silence of the Shepherds article above, describing Father Mapple and his pulpit