This definitely a divided topic. Those who believe America will eventually get rebuked for their sins have a wealth of biblical examples to pull from. Those who believe the opposite also have a very good reason to do so. They can pull on New Testament theology as well as history to be a guide. In order to solve this riddle lets answer a few questions.
- Does God punish nations today as he did in the Bible?
- If so, will he rebuke His chosen nation or all nations?
- Can we observe any of this in history?
- Are we the next Sodom and Gomorrah?
I am sure a more thorough discussion could be had on this matter so you are welcome to place you opinion in the comments.
1. Does God punish nations today as he did in the Bible?
Old Testament examples
Before we try answering this, lets look at some biblical examples. Here is a word from God through His prophet Isaiah. At this time Israel had disobeyed God for hundreds of years after he delivered them into the Promised Land.
Look, the Lord is destroying this land. He will clean out the land completely and force all the people to go far away. 2 At that time whatever happens to the common people will also happen to the priests. Slaves and masters will be the same. Women slaves and their women masters will be the same. Buyers and sellers will be the same. Those who borrow and those who lend will be the same. Bankers and those who owe the bank will be the same. 3 Everyone will be forced out of the land. All the wealth will be taken. This will happen because the Lord commanded it. 4 The country will be empty and sad. The world will be empty and weak. The great leaders of the people in this land will become weak.
5 The people have ruined the land. They did what God said was wrong. They did not obey God’s laws. They made an agreement with God a long time ago, but they broke their agreement with God. 6 The people living in this land are guilty of doing wrong, so God promised to destroy the land. (Isaiah 24:1-6 NIV)
It is clear hear that God is punishing the nation of Israel because they made a covenant with Him but did not keep it. They turned their backs on God and did what was detestable. But what about nations that were not in covenant with God?
In the ninth chapter in Zechariah, God declares that he is going to destroy the enemies of Israel. He even goes on to list them by name! He finishes with this declaration:
God says, “I will stand guard to protect my temple from those who come to attack. I know what’s happening, and no one will mistreat my people ever again.” (Zechariah 9:8 NIV)
This is not an uncommon thing for God to say. He punished many enemies of Israel. He removed the Canaanites from the land and even killed the first born of the Egyptians. God even used the King of Persia to deliver His wrath on the Babylonians, who then let the Israelites return to their homelands.
New Testament examples
This is where things get complex. The reason is because not all scholars and theologians agree on how God is going to deal with Israel (and now Christians) when they disobey Him. Some believe that Christians are now part of Israel and that God will treat them the same as Israel. This makes sense because Christians are graphed into the vine, in which Israel is the trunk.
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. (Romans 11:17 NIV)
More could be said about the relationship between Israel and gentile Christians but I do not believe it will advance the topic at hand. The next question is: now that God’s chosen people are scattered and not actually a nation or a distinct people group, how will he deal with them? I believe the answer is can be found in another agricultural illustration.
In this passage Jesus uses a fig tree as a metaphor for the nation of Israel. We learn two things from this passage. The first is that the Children of Abraham are not natural descendants but anyone that does the will of God. The second is that God will be pruning trees, so those who do not produce good fruit will be trimmed.
And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:9-10 NIV)
It seems to me that the new covenant era is going to operate on an individual level and not a nation level. God’s children now are anyone who serves the Lord.
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. (1 John 3:10 NIV)
So, I do not think that it makes sense that God is still in the business of nation building. Rather, His people are in all nations!
2. Who gets rebuked and how?
As the previous statement above eluded, it does not appear that God is dealing with nations as much as individuals. I am sure that some discussion can be had here and you are welcome to post your thoughts in the comments.
Moreover, I do not believe that America is a “Christian nation.” It is true that many of our founders were Christians and many of the people who immigrated here were also Christian. But God did not make a convenient with the USA. Moreover, our founders specifically set America apart from Europe by declaring that the government shall establish a religion for the country. All religions are welcome, even if they disagree with Christians.
3. What can we observe from history?
Even if the USA is not in covenant with the God, many believe that our nation was blessed and made prosperous by God because so many in the nation were following God. While, I generally would agree with the theory and theology behind this idea, I do not believe that is what history demonstrates. The reason why I do not believe our nation was blessed for being Christian (but now will be punished) is because our nation was never very Christian.
The first thing that happened here is murder, enslavement, and sex trade of the native Americans. That is right. Even Christopher Columbus participated in raping the natives. Wrote in his personal journal about how they kidnapped and sold the prettiest young girls and sold the men for slave work. Others were killed outright.
After Columbus, our Christian country continued murdering the natives until their population decreased from around 75 million to about 5 million today. Let me say that again. Americans murdered millions of natives and the ones who were not murdered ended up dead from the plague or forced to assimilate into American life.
Do we honestly think God rewarded us for this?
Almost immediately after settling the new world we began importing salves. We had only a few decades of indentured servants before the states began actively importing people not as indentured servants but as slaves. Shortly after that Virginia declared that any black servant (slave or servant) could be kept against their own will for ever. That included their children and children’s children. Next, for hundreds of years Americans supported the enslavement of blacks and the systematic abuse of anyone who did not support the institution.
Is this why God rewarded us? Or was our riches built on the backs of those who were enslaved?
The post slavery years were hardly any better. We continued segregation and lynching of the blacks all the way into the 50’s and then some of the 60’s. Churches orbit blacks to enter white services. Black folks were murdered for dating white folks. Even as late as the 80’s blacks were systematically pushed into the very fringes of society.
So, we come to the present. How can we compare the present to the enslavement and murder of millions upon millions of innocent people?
Will God punish the USA for gay marriage?
I have a hunch that if He didn’t destroy us for our past atrocities, He won’t be destroying us for letting homosexuals have tax benefits and some legal rights.
4. What about Sodom and Gomorrah?
This is a good question. Sodom and Gomorrah were not God’s people but he destroyed them anyways. What is to say that He won’t do the same to us?
This is a fair question. Let’s take a look at some of what God said about this. When the destruction is announced to Lot the angels said to him:
The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it. (Genesis 19:13 NIV)
Jude mentioned this event also in the New Testament.
Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7)
Some have suggested that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of hospitality rules mentioned in Ezekiel 16:49. However, I do not think its important as to why.
I think the better question is: if really immoral nations are going to be punished, why would America be punished before countries like the ones in Europe who have basically shed all religious boundaries and sexual boundaries? What about the Arab nations killing women and Children for wearing the wrong clothes. What about the African populations kidnapping young women to sell as children brides?
If Godless nations are going to be punished I do not believe we are first in line.
Your thoughts, comments, and votes go below