Behold, the storm of the Lord! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked.The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly."I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds. - Jeremiah 23: 19-22 (ESV)
It seems whenever there is a natural disaster, some Christian leader with a public platform speculates that God is either delivering judgment or trying to warn the godless in this country. We saw it after Hurricane Katrina where people targeted the debauchery of Bourbon Street in New Orleans while ignoring the damage done to more Biblical parts of Mississippi. It is selective nonsense they engage in and now it is Anne Graham Lotz's turn:
The above Charisma News article from Billy Graham's daughter once again highlights the "America the idol" worshipping sect of modern Christianity. Because Washington DC was hit hard by Winter Storm Jonas, Lotz offers that God is trying to speak to the nation to repent. Because Jonas is also the name Jonah, she leverages the story of Jonah to give her false prophecies a veneer of biblical support. Of course there is no such support.
It is true that DC was hit hard with up to 24 inches of snow in some areas. But travel a little inland to Charleston West Virginia and you would see they got walloped with 18 inches. What is the significance of Charleston? It is only the 13th most biblically minded city in the entire country beloved. What was God saying there? You cannot have it both ways. Either God is a poor marksman or the notions offered by Graham-Lotz are utter nonsense. They are political in nature, not Christian. Even offering up the story of repentance of Nineveh misses the point. Yes they repented but eventually they returned to their evil ways and God obliterated them from the planet.
Here is the intricate point that America worshippers always miss. The unsaved people in the world do not need Jonah any more than they need Ezra, which false prophetess Jennifer LeClaire was trying to sell this week. They need Jesus. Without the Gospel, even if somehow all the people separated from God in the world started behaving better they still are apart from God. We are no longer under the Old Covenant beloved, where keeping the law was required. God recognized that no matter how much the Ninevites of the world tried, they could not keep the law. So He sent His only Son into this world to save us from ourselves. That is the Gospel. That is what needs to be proclaimed.
Now some may wonder if this is much ado about nothing but I would disagree. We ought to be very careful about turning a blind eye to people who twist the Bible for political reasons. People who claim God is speaking through a winter storm during winter. People who use the bible for their own agendas, no matter how benign their intent. Let us turn to a known prophet in our key verses today; Jeremiah. Remember the Bible says that God has given us the inspired Word that we might learn from it and not make the same mistakes.
The key phrase in these verses beloved is "my people." Remember that the prophets were given words from the Lord for His people. The tale of Jonah is an outlier. Most theologians conclude that the story was more about Jonah and his reactions throughout as opposed to the temporary stay of execution granted to Nineveh. It is also a beautiful foreshadowing of the grace of God being extended beyond the people of Israel. The point is that what the Anne Graham Lotz's of the world keep missing is that they are looking in the wrong direction. Repentance must begin in the church that has abandoned the Gospel of Jesus Christ for a slickly packaged, target marketed, purpose driven screed that saves no one. The church needs to purge from within it those that keep falsely prophesying. Pretending God has spoken when He has in fact not. The same problem Jeremiah speaks of. Note however the obvious point God makes in the key verses which we keep missing. If the charlatans of today had actually stood in the council of the Lord then they would proclaim His Words to His people - not vague accusations of judgment every time it snows while preaching about the new Star Wars movie on Sundays.
They would be focused on turning the people of God from their evil ways and their evil deeds. You want to speak about storms? Behold the storm of the Lord! Wrath has gone forth like a whirling tempest. Beloved we must understand that repentance is absolutely necessary but not to save this country. In the Old Testament, repentance meant to turn from ones sins and back to the law. Today it means to turn from ones sins and turn to Christ. Do the people of America who stand apart from God need to repent? Absolutely but without the Gospel they are like the Ninevites before them. There might be a genuine feeling of sorrow and a desire to do better but without the grace of God they will always fall short with the law.
So was God speaking to the nation when Winter Storm Jonas hit the east coast? No beloved. The nation is supposed to hear from God through His church, which has abandoned Him in these last days for gospels of greed, power, and pride. The only way that we can ever expect repentance of the lost is through the preached, uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Bible makes this abundantly clear:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. - Romans 1: 16 (ESV)
Until the church repents and the Gospel is proclaimed across this land we can expect that the wrath that has gone forth will not turn back until it has executed and accomplished the intents of the heart of the Lord. Behold the storm of the Lord! As for Winter Storm Jonas? It can only serve as prophetic proof that it does indeed snow during winter.