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A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Thursday, June 01, 2006

In a Dream?

Pope: How Could God 'Tolerate' Holocaust?: "Benedict walked along the row of plaques at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex's memorial, one in the language of each nationality whose members died there. As he stopped to pray, a light rain stopped and a brilliant rainbow appeared over the camp. 'To speak in this place of horror, in this place where unprecedented mass crimes were committed against God and man, is almost impossible - and it is particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a pope from Germany,' he said later. 'In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can be only a dread silence, a silence which itself is a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?'"
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You would think that an infallible pope would know better. What do you mean, "Why did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?"

As a matter of fact, God is not silent and has never been silent. He will also certainly punish the wicked and bring every evil thought and deed into judgment as Isaiah said so succinctly: Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:

9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: 10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: 11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. 12 Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. 14 And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit." (Isaiah 30:8-14)

Where is the Third Reich? Where is Hitler? Where is the Soviet Union? Where is Mussolini? All gone and in hell, where all the nations go that forget God. And where is it written that God's people don't have to suffer? People have suffered immensely since the beginning of the world, from Abel that was slain by his brother to our Lord Jesus who was crucified by those who should have known better.

Where is it written that only the guilty suffer? that God does not have a purpose in suffering, as He did in the case of Job. I think it is terrible what Hitler did to the Jews. I also think that it is terrible what happened in Rwanda, and in Cambodia, and in the Soviet Gulag. There are still piles of bones of Germans and French from the battlefield of Verdun in World War I. I recently visited the battlefield of Fredericksburg from our own Civil War and saw the thousands of graves of Union soldiers who died there--only about one-tenth of them identified. They were mostly kids in their teens.

But this does not mean that God is silent. It rather means that God is speaking fortissimo, if we only had ears to hear. Man's end is not on this earth, and earth becomes a hell for those who seek heaven here. When the Hitlers and the Mussolinis and the Stalins and the Osamas and such like, some with American citizenship, forsake the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Lord Jesus then comes to pass what God has clearly spoken in His word, for He would have us know that Scripture cannot be broken.

But the judgment of the world is not yet. God has other things to do right now. He is busy calling out His people to faith and hope, a people whose conversation is in heaven, who inheritance is God Himself and not the things of the world.

Psalms 76:10 "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain." The wicked and the righteous suffer the same things on the earth, the difference is the purpose of the sufferings and their condition in eternity.

David expressed this poignantly in Psalm 73. He fretted against the Lord because their did not seem to be any difference between the godly and the ungodly. "I have cleansed my hands in vain," he pouted. In fact, it even appears that the ungodly get along better than the godly. It was very painful for him, and he didn't "get it" until he went to the sanctuary of the Lord, the place where the eternal God made His name known: Psalm 73: 16-20:

"When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image."

The Pope needs to awake from his dream, too.
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