Recently, someone pointed me to a video circulating on the net in which a pastor from Florida claims that the oil spill catastrophe is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy! To be fair, Pastor Carl Gallups would probably say that he does not claim this, but rather asks if it could be the judgment of God and fulfillment of prophecy. (I've invited Pastor Gallups to reply to this posting, and I will post any reply I receive from him. I am very open to debating this with him so that we can arrive at truth.) Let's be clear, to ask a leading question like this is to imply the answer. Most people viewing the video or listening to the original radio broadcast would conclude that Gallups believes the oil spill disaster is God's judgement on the US for turning against Israel. But see for yourself...
The conclusion Pastor Gallups gives in the video sums it up nicely: "April the 19th, Israel celebrates its independence in 2010. On April the 19th, Fox News reports that the U.S. will no longer automatically support Israel in the United Nations. The next day, on April the 20th, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes. Coincidence? Or the hand and judgment of God?" World Net Daily interviewed Pastor Gallups and they got Bible prophecy heavyweight Hal Lindsey (author of The Late Great Planet Earth) to back him up, "I believe this is evidence that when you turn your back on Israel, especially when you've been a supporter, you're gonna see judgments come from God." Really? I object to Lindsey and to Pastor Gallups.
There are at least three good reasons why this horrible disaster is NOT God's judgment on the US: (1) God gave no warning, (2) Fox News isn't presenting actual facts about the US and (3) the Genesis prophecy ultimately concerns the children of Abraham by faith not by land.
1. God gave no warning. Here's how biblical prophecy about judgment works: (1) God decides he must judge the people's sin so He sends a prophet, (2) if the people listen and repent He does not judge them, (3) but if they continue in sin, having been warned, they are then judged. Think about the Ninevites, for example. God sends the prophet Jonah and even though his prophetic message is, "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown," when the people repent, God does not overthrow their city. If you think this through, the judgment-punishment must be clearly connected to wrong behaviour if it is to be effective. Philip Yancey illustrates this very well: "Think of a parent who punishes a young child. It would do little good for that parent to sneak up at odd times during a day and whack the child with no explanation. Such tactics would produce a neurotic, not an obedient, child." So regarding the oil spill crisis, where was the warning? How is the US to know that they are being punished for their policy towards Israel if God has not warned them? Wasn't it clear to the Pharaoh of Egypt why the plagues came upon his land? Why wouldn't God warn President Obama? As Amos 3:7 says:
Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing2. Fox News is reporting gossip which cannot be substantiated. This article fails to meet the standard of journalistic credibility. Let's get real: there was no significant change in US policy toward Israel on April 19 and not even the Fox article is claiming any change took place on April 19. The only sources that Fox News refers to in this article actually deny that any policy change has occurred! Now, here's the real kicker: the Fox News articles claims that the US has a history of using its veto at the UN Security Council on votes against Israel making new settlements in the occupied territories. Examine the history for yourself and you'll see this is wrong. The US voted for UN Resolution 242 in 1967 which forbids Israeli settlements in the territories and so far as I know the US has consistently called on Israel to stop building these new settlements. Even if what Fox News is alleging about President Obama were true, I don't see how this would be a "major shift in policy" — it sounds rather like a consistent confirmation of ongoing US policy.
without revealing his plan
to his servants the prophets.
3. The Genesis prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and has nothing to do with the modern state of Israel. In Genesis 12, God made this promise to Abraham:
I will make you into a great nation,While many (dare I say dispensationalist?) Christians think a prosperous nation of Israel in the promised land is the fulfilment of this promise, they are at odds with the New Testament. (Personally I vote for the NT over and against dispensationalism.) Paul and the other apostles were quite aware of the promises made to Abraham and they saw them as being fulfilled through Jesus Christ, the seed of Abraham. In Galatians 3, explaining how this very promise made to Abraham is being fulfilled, the Apostle Paul declares:
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you. (Gen 12:2-3)
Those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Gal 3:7b-9)The blessing of the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord is how God blesses the nations (ie. Gentiles) through Abraham. And as Christians today carry this message more nations and more Gentiles will be blessed. And, to continue Paul's thought into Genesis 12:3, those who bless Christians who are sharing the gospel will themselves be blessed, but those who curse Christians proclaiming that Jesus is Lord will themselves be cursed — well, Jesus changes our perspective on that, saying, "Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:28). Sorry, there's just no way that the Bible ever gives some kind of blanket promise of blessing to the nation of Israel (past or present). And I would argue that the US should certainly not automatically vote with Israel in the UN. It is a lousy interpretation of Genesis 12:3 to suggest otherwise. In conclusion, I want to underscore again what a horrible tragedy we are seeing in the Gulf of Mexico, worsened now by Hurricane Alex. It seems apparent that many mistakes were made, many "shortcuts" taken in the construction of the Deepwater Horizon. Human error, human greed and human arrogance are to blame for this disaster, not God. Pastor Gallups looks at the oil spill crisis and sees the righteous judgment of God; I look and cry for what we've done — clearly not what God has called us to do with this good earth and its resources. What we should be able to hear from the Gulf of Mexico and its beaches is creation groaning for redemption, having been subjected to frustration due to sin (Romans 8:18-25). God help us! Please, Lord, stop this oil from ruining sea and land. Have mercy on us.
For a similar viewpoint: BP Spill: Israel's Revenge?
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