By Irven Lee
Let us look at some of the best of men who have died through no fault of their own. At the head of the list, of course, would be Jesus of Nazareth who went about doing good. He was tempted in all points as we are, but there was no sin in His life. He was despised and rejected of men, but He showed no sign of hate in His entire life in the flesh. He was as innocent and quiet as the lamb on the day of His illegal, cruel treatment and mockery during His trials before Annas, Caiaphas, Herod, and Pilate. He prayed for the people while He was on the cross, and it was on that cross that He paid the redemption price for sinful men. He taught men to overcome evil with good, and He has turned millions from evil to good through the preaching of the story of His life, His death, and His resurrection.
Abel being dead yet speaketh (Heb. 11:4). He pleased God by his sacrifice that was offered by faith. No fault of his is mentioned, but he was killed by the jealous violator of God’s law. This first recorded murder was in the first family on earth, and the record of the unholy event is in the first book of the Bible (Gen. 4). Have you thought of how many sins that are so common in America today were found among the people mentioned in the book of Genesis? There was lying, drunkenness, murder, stealing, fornication, hate, jealousy, love of money, and lust in the heart that led to the overt acts.
“God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth . . . . and it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth . . . . And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth” (Gen. 6:5-13). When the Lord was ready to destroy the earth, it was a time when “the earth was filled with violence” (Gen. 6:11). One thing that God hates is “hands that shed innocent blood” (Prov. 6:17). Men who know something of what God has said realize that He said, “Thou shalt not kill.” This is first recorded when God spoke when mount Sinai quaked and smoked, and God Himself gave the commandment with the thundering trumpet voice so that even Moses did “exceedingly fear and quake” (Heb. 12:21). “Moses said unto the people, Fear not, for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not” (Ex. 20:20).
The New Testament speaks as plainly against murder and against the anger that may lead to it (Matt. 5:21,22). We are taught to understand that those who have “trodden under foot the Son of God” are worthy of “sorer punishment” than those who received capital punishment because they “despised Moses’ law.” It is still God who says, “Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense.” “The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Let willful sinners have the “fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation” (Heb. 10:26-31). Abel’s blood cried unto God from the ground. God had no trouble learning who was guilty of the murder (Gen. 4:10). “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Many do not realize that God has spoken and means what He says. Do you? Do your children?
Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans can stop the crime wave in our country, but parents with great faith who own well worn Bibles could in their own special realm of influence. Why write here of the wave of violence that covers this land? Which criminal will read this and be converted? We are writing this as an ounce of prevention. Some who have taken guns and entered banks and other such businesses have nominal church members as parents, and the robbers themselves, in some cases, have been baptized. I find undisciplined and untaught children in “church homes” that already show the complete lack of respect for God and man that is the background for a life of violence. I am begging those who do read this to please work at the task of building reverence for God, respect for man, and self discipline into the hearts of your children. Has God spoken in vain on such serious crimes?
Jonah; after a period of rebellion and a rude awakening, finally went to Nineveh to “preach unto it the preaching” that God had commanded (Jonah 3:2). He must have put his point across because the King said: “Let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands” (3:8). Nineveh was in great danger of being destroyed, and violence is singled out as one special reason as it was in the day of Noah when men were destroyed off the face of the earth.
In explaining the destruction of Jerusalem to Ezekiel, the Lord allowed him to get a vision of the idolatry and other abominations to be seen in Jerusalem. Here is a portion of what He said: “Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence” (Ezek. 8:17). The same prophet foretold the destruction of Tyre. Among other things he said, “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned” (Ezek. 28:16). Were they worse than many cities in America where one cannot walk the streets in safety, and where so many businesses are robbed at gunpoint daily? Does the same God rule in the kingdoms of men (Dan. 4:17, 25, 32; ,5:21)? What are the prospects for God’s hands of vengeance upon our land? Is not the whole earth being shaken by guerrilla warfare, assassinations, kidnappings, and highjackings?
Sins of violence are not new, and I am no prophet or the son of a prophet, but I am convinced that there is the strong arm of vengeance ready for a land that will bring up such sinners from innocent childhood. I am afraid for the future of our nation. I plead for more people to make zealous effort to know, practice, and teach the word of God. The rebuilding of America must start in the home, and the truth should go to every creature. More laborers are desperately needed for this spiritual vineyard. In the days when the Old Testament prophets lived and reported on some of the Lord’s activities, they told of His use of pestilence (disease), famine, and the sword (Jer. 24:10; 42:17; 44:13). The Lord can handle the populatipn explosion without any trouble. We all know the fate of Jerusalem for its rejection of the Christ, who was the gift of God’s love.
Read the last half of the first chapter of the book of Romans and compare it with your observations in this country and as you read or listen to the daily news reports. The pagan world at the time of the apostles knew and condoned the deeds of people who were guilty of the sins which are today said to be normal sexual behavior. I refer to homosexuals, lesbians, and other sex perverts. They also knew of “envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” Sinners of this nature are not to be without punishment. It is in order to preach sermons or to write the truth to any who will listen or read about any one of these sins. God has spoken on violence and on the other grievous sins mentioned here. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit has revealed of the mind of God.
Truth Magazine XXII: 24, pp. 391-392
June 15, 1978