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What is God Saying - The WTC, Tsunami, and New Orleans Disasters?
上帝在说什么?—— 世贸大厦,海啸,和新奥尔良的灾难

 

The first verse that comes to mind is Amos 3:6, "When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?" This one verse keeps us from thinking that God could not possibly have been involved in these disasters. Some said that God could not have been involved because He is loving and merciful. Indeed, He is loving and merciful. But He is the creator and definer and revealer of love and mercy, not us. We must not define His love and mercy in our terms. God's love is demonstrated by the sending of His Son that those who would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. His overview is eternal, not temporal. His love is made apparent in disaster because He is trying to get our attention that we might repent and be saved, lest we find ourselves assigned to an eternal hell which will make earthly disasters --- no matter how devastating --- pale by comparison. God is indeed love, but He is also righteous and holy and He will not tolerate sin in His Kingdom.

我首先想到的经文是《阿摩司书》三章6节:“城中若吹角,百姓岂不惊恐呢?灾祸若临到一城,岂非耶和华所降的吗?”这节经文让我们明白神不是不可能与灾祸有关。有些人说,神不可能与灾祸有关,因为祂是慈爱的。是的,祂是慈爱怜悯的。但是,祂才是“慈爱”和“怜悯”的创造者、定义者和启示者,我们不是。我们不能用我们的方式定义祂的慈爱和怜悯。神的慈爱借着祂差遣独生子来到世上,叫信祂的人不致灭亡、反得永生而显示出来。祂用永恒的眼光,而不是短暂的眼光,来看待事情。在灾祸中,祂的慈爱得以清楚表达:祂要得到我们的注意力,叫我们有可能悔改并得救,免得我们至终陷入永远的沉沦——这和地上无论多么严重的灾难相比,都要可怕得多。神确实是爱,但是祂也是公义、圣洁的,在祂的国度里,不容许任何的罪。

The story of Job is mentioned in the book of James as a testament to God's compassion and mercy. But if we were sitting in the ashes scraping our sores with a pottery shard having just lost all of our possessions and children (in a building that collapsed), would we be patient and longsuffering, confident that God was working in our lives because He loves us and desires to demonstrate His compassion and mercy through us? We cannot jump to conclusions that God was not involved in these disasters. God rules the universe and Satan is an underling in the scheme of things. And as revealed in the case of Job, God allows Satan to come against His children FOR REDEMPTIVE PURPOSES. The falling of the twin towers was for redemptive purposes. In the short term it looks like Job sitting in the ashes. But we should praise God rather than coming before Him in counsel without wisdom as did Job's three friends. Of course it was Satan who piloted the planes, but God let him do it. God has redemptive purposes in mind which will ultimately lead to Satan's defeat.

《雅各书》提到约伯是神慈爱和怜悯的一个见证。但若我们自己坐在灰中,用瓦片用力刮身上的痛处,(在一个倒塌的建筑物里),失去了所有财产和孩子,我们还能忍耐吗?还能相信神在我们生命中作工,因为祂爱我们,并渴望通过我们彰显祂的怜悯和恩慈吗?我们不能下结论说:神与灾难无关。神长官整个宇宙,撒但只是一个下僚。正如《约伯记》所启示的,神为了祂救赎的目的,允许撒旦与祂的儿女作对。双子大楼的倒塌是为了救赎。短期看来,约伯坐在灰中。但是我们应当赞美神,而不是像约伯的三个朋友那样,毫无智慧地来到神面前。当然,确实是撒但策划了灾难,但是神是许可祂这么做的。神的心意是救赎,这救赎至终会把撒但彻底击败。

It was disturbing to read the prophetic statements that came forth following the WTC disaster and again following the recent tsunami disaster. Some said these were judgments from God. But some said these were not God's judgments, but were by the hand of Satan (Because God is love and would not do such a thing). The two viewpoints are as different as night and day, and reveal that we do not know our God as we should. Satan is not the boss and is under the absolute authority of God. He cannot attack God's children without God's approval. Satan had to ask God to touch either Job or Peter.

世贸大厦灾难以及海啸之后的一些所谓预言,读来都叫人烦恼。有些人说这些都是从神来的审判,另一些人说这些都不是神的审判,而是撒但的作为(因为神是爱,祂不会做那样的事)。这两种看法之截然不同,有如白昼较之黑夜,并且都表现出我们并不是如我们该当的那样认识神。撒但不是老板,它在神的绝对权柄之下。它不可以不得到神的许可而去碰神的孩子。撒但不能不先问过神而直接去碰约伯或者彼得。

So what then can we say that is not also counsel without wisdom? We can say, based on Scripture, that Satan is like a mad dog on a leash and is only allowed to inflict evil on God's creation as God allows. And we can say that God allows it only for redemptive purposes. Over and over in the Old Testament, God allowed the surrounding nations to come against Israel for redemptive purposes in order that Israel would repent and turn back to God. Both the falling of the tower of Siloam in Jesus' time and the falling of the twin towers in our day were promptings from our Heavenly Father calling us to repentance so that we might be saved. For He desires that none should perish. The seriousness of the warning should give us some inkling of the seriousness of not heeding it. Hell is real, and God is demonstrating His love by providing a way that we might escape it.

因此,我们可怎么说没有智慧的话呢?按着圣经,我们可以说,撒但像一只疯狗,但它脖子上是有绳子牵着的,只有当神许可的时候,它才可以破坏对神的创造。我们也可以说,神就是为了救赎的目的,才允许它这么做。在旧约里,神一而再、再而三地允许邻国前来攻打以色列,为的是救赎的目的:就是祂的百姓能够悔改、转向神。耶稣时代的西罗亚楼的倒塌,和双子大楼的倒塌,都是从天父那里来的,为要呼召我们悔改,以致得救。因为祂切望没有一个灭亡。这种警告的严重性已经给了我们信号:若不听从,后果将十分严重。地狱是真实的,而上帝显出了祂的慈爱:祂给了我们一条逃生的路。

But there is more going on here than meets the eye. Jesus defined wars and earthquakes and plagues as "birth pains", as if something good and formative is going to come out of them. Although Job repented in the light of God's glory, God had already declared Job a righteous man. The assaults of Satan against God's elect are not always directly related to the sin of the individual suffering from the assault. Jesus on the cross is the prime example of that. In the case of Job, God wanted to demonstrate something to Satan, and God had to pick a righteous man who could pass the test. In our day, God is pitting Satan against His Church for redemptive purposes which will eventually result in Satan's defeat. For it is through the Church that God desires to demonstrate His wisdom to the powers and authorities (Satan and his fallen angels). As the Church responds to Satan's assaults in the wisdom of the cross of Jesus Christ, Satan will be defeated. Good will overcome evil, though it may well cost the physical lives of the good. Jesus has given His Church the power and authority to crush Satan underfoot. But that crushing will be by the power of God released as the Church responds to Satan's assaults in the wisdom of the cross of Jesus Christ. It will be as we, the Church, allow ourselves to be physically crushed that Satan will be spiritually and ultimately crushed. For that is God's ultimate purpose in Christ Jesus and the reason for which He created all things (Ephesians 3:8-11). And in the midst of these "birth pains", the saints will be matured into the likeness of Jesus Christ. It is a glorious and victorious destiny that we, the Church, are called to . . . but let us understand that the Church discussed here is not the ecumenical stew that is so proudly being proclaimed these days, but only those reborn through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. And such a narrow-minded view will increasingly draw the wrath of certain religious ones such that Jesus proclaimed that we, those who are His disciples, will be increasingly hated and ultimately put to death by those religious of the world (who think they are doing God a favor by killing us)--- those who have a broader minded, "more tolerant" approach to spiritual "truths". But, praise God, this is the very means by which the Saints will defeat Satan. "They overcame him (Satan) by the Blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and by loving not their lives unto death (Rev 12:11)." So by "losing" the battle physically, we win it spiritually.

但是,事实所包含的,比眼前所见的更多。耶稣把战争、地震和瘟疫定义作“生产之难”,好像暗示这灾难之后,有好的结局发生。尽管约伯在神的荣耀面前悔改了,神却在此之前宣布了他是义人。撒但对神选民发出的攻击,以及其导致的对个人的伤害,并不直接和那个人的罪有关。十字架上的耶稣就是一个最好的例子。神想要向撒但表明一些事,因此,祂必须挑选一个可以经过考验的义人。在我们的世代里,神让撒但和教会作对,是为着终究成全祂救赎的旨意,这救赎将最终击败撒但。因为神的旨意是借着教会来(向撒但和其它的堕落的天使)彰显祂的智慧和权柄。当教会以基督耶稣在十字架上的智慧来回应撒但的攻击的时候,撒但就被打败了。良善就胜过罪恶,虽然这可能会赔上义人肉身的生命。耶稣给了祂的教会能力和权柄,可以把撒但踩在脚下。但是这样的得胜来自教会以耶稣基督的十字架的智慧来回应撒但的攻击而得着的神的能力。就是我们,基督的教会,愿意让自己的肉身被压碎,从而把撒但永久地彻底击垮。这就是神在耶稣基督里终极的旨意,也是祂创造玩友的目的(《以弗所书》三章8-11节)。在这些“生产之难”中,圣徒会变得成熟,渐渐更像耶稣基督。这是我们,基督的教会,被呼召要去的荣耀的、胜利的终局……但是,我们必须要理解的就是,这里所论及的“教会”,并非这些年来一些人无比骄傲地传讲的 “普世杂烩”(ecumenical church),而只是指借着耶稣基督流血牺牲而重生成圣的圣徒。这种狭隘的观点会越来越引致某些宗教人士的愤怒——耶稣曾宣告说:我们,就是祂的门徒,会越来越被憎恶,最终被世界的人(他们自认为杀我们就是帮了神)置于死地——那些人的胸怀比我们宽,对于所谓“属灵的真理”采取“更为包容”的做法。但是,赞美神!正是借着我们的受死,圣徒将胜过撒但。“弟兄胜过它,是因羔羊的血和自己所见证的道。他们虽至于死,也不爱惜性命。”(《启示录》十二章11节)。因此,借着肉身的“损失”,我们得着属灵的得胜。

The falling of the twin towers and the other disasters that happened that day and most recently the tsunami disaster and the disaster in New Orleans are the indicator of things that are going to come in increasing frequency and intensity. Let us repent and turn to God that He might heal our land and delay further such judgment and allow more of the harvest to be brought in. But in the long run, we know how this is going to end. There is reference in Revelation 8:8 to what seems like an asteroid strike in one of the seas that destroys one-third of the ships in that sea. All of the cities of the world will fall (Revelation 16:19). So ultimately the cities of the nations do not repent. Amidst the increasing judgments that are coming, the Bible says, "And still they did not repent." And the Bible says that God has power over these plagues. Do you suppose that since He has power over the final plagues, He might also have power over these preliminary disasters? And since the final disasters are calling people to repentance, we have to conclude that these initial disaster are calling people to repentance as well. For God doesn't discipline us harshly at the start. He tries to get our attention as quietly and gently as possible. But if we ignore Him, He intensifies the discipline. Only a remnant who lives in those cities will repent. The road is wide to destruction and narrow to salvation. Concerning Babylon, we are counseled to "come out of her my people" so that we do not partake of her plagues. Out of the debris of a destroyed planet will be salvaged the remnant of the followers of Jesus Christ who are destined to rule and reign for eternity. So hang in there Saints. Persevere and endure to the end just like Jesus said we must. The worst . . . and the best . . . is yet to come. Jesus called these times of birth pains because the glory of a birth is in view. But we must endure birth pains to experience that glorious birth.

双子大楼的倒塌和那天发生的其他灾难,以及最近的海啸和新奥尔良市的灾难,都是将要来的更大频率、更大强度的灾难的预告。让我们悔改、归向神,好让祂来医治这地,迟延这样的审判,并且带进更多的收割。但是从长期来看,我们是知道事情将如何终了。《启示录》八章8节所记看起来好像是一个行星撞击海洋,以至于在一个海里,三分之一的船只都毁了。世界上所有的城市都将倾覆(《启示录》十六章9节),所以,至终各国各城的人还是不悔改。在更多的审判面前,《圣经》说“他们仍不悔改”。《圣经》也说神有止住灾难的大能。你会不会这样设想:神既有能力止住那最终的大灾殃,祂也有能力对付这些前奏性的灾殃?而既然最终的灾难的目的是叫人悔改,我们不能不作出这样的结论:现时的灾难也是要人悔改。因为神并非一开始就狠狠地管教我们。祂先是尝试着用尽量安静的、温柔的方式得到我们的注意力。但是,如果我们忽略祂,祂就加重管教的手。在那些城里,只有余民悔改。通到毁灭的路宽敞,引导救恩的路狭窄。关于巴比伦,我们知道“我的民哪,你们要从那城出来,免得与她一同有罪,受她所受的灾殃”(《启示录》十八章4节),因此我们不会受她所受的灾殃。从被毁星球的一堆废墟中出来的是被神救出来的耶稣基督的门徒,他们是预定了要在永世里作王掌权。所以,圣徒们,坚持住!如主耶稣教导我们所必须做的:忍耐到底。最坏的…..和最好的…..都还在后头。耶稣把这些时候称作“生产之难”,因为荣耀的生产已经遥遥可见!但是我们必须忍受生产之难,并经历那荣耀的生产。

God never did answer my question as to what the WTC disaster was specifically about. Probably there are well over 3,500 reasons known only to God. The Bible indicates that some suffer and die for righteousness sake, and some suffer and die as a judgment for sin. Undoubtedly there was some of both that took place on September 11. He did indicate that my priority was not to know all the answers to such questions, but to SEEK HIM. In that seeking, we will find the answers that God wants us to know. And perhaps more importantly, we will find, as did Job, that our questions are irrelevant and even forgotten in light of His glory. Our confusion and unrest will be swept away if we will but SEEK HIM. He is in control. He will win. Satan will lose. And everything that God allows between now and then will be turned to redemptive purposes. It is the genius of God to turn what Satan means for evil into what God means for good. And that good will eventually be victorious.

神一直没有具体地回答我的问题,就是为什么有世贸大厦的灾难。也许有远超过3,500条理由,都是只有神知道的。《圣经》告诉我们,一些人为了义而死,另一些人因为犯罪受审判而死。毫无疑问的,九一一那天,两种情况都有。神确实地告诉我,对我而言要紧的事情并非得到这类问题的答案,而是寻求祂。在这样的寻求中,我们会发现神愿意我们知道的答案。也许,更重要的,就像约伯那样,他最后在神的荣耀中发现自己的问题根本是不合适的。若我们寻求祂,我们的迷惑和不安都将被扫除一空。祂掌管一切。祂一定得胜。撒但一定失败。神在现在和那个时候之间所作的一切事情,都是为着救赎。实在是神的智慧,祂用着撒但的恶行,却成就祂的美善。而那美善至终一定得胜。

We must understand that God is going to allow His judgments and the demonstration of evil to ever increasingly come on this planet as the end of the age nears. Isaiah 26:9 says that when God's judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. But the very next verse says the wicked do not learn righteousness in the midst of grace. Over and over again we see that demonstrated in the history of God's chosen people, Israel.

我们必须理解,神将允许祂的审判和罪恶的显出在这地上日益增多,因为万物的结局近了。《以赛亚书》二十六章9节说,当神的审判临到地上,世人将学习公义。但是,紧接着的一节经文说,恶人就算在恩典中,也不学习公义。在以色列,神所拣选的民族身上,我们一再地看到了这点。

Evil must be displayed and it must come against the Church so that the Church can respond to it in the wisdom of the cross. This is the plan that God has elected to destroy evil. Jesus said many will fall away from the faith during these times. He said that the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). It is the remnant who will stand in the power and authority of Jesus Christ, willing to demonstrate the wisdom of the cross by laying down their very lives for redemptive purposes, who will overcome Satan and emerge victorious. For out of great tribulation will emerge those who have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14).

罪恶一定会显出,并且直接针对教会,如此,教会就可以用十字架的智慧来回应。这就是神定意用来除灭罪恶的方法。耶稣说在那样的日子,许多人会偏离真道。祂说大部分人的爱心会渐渐冷淡(《马太福音》二十四章12节)。只有余民会靠着耶稣基督的能力和权柄而站立得稳,愿意为着神救赎的目的而舍弃自己的生命,这些人会胜过撒但,得胜地显出来。因为在大患难中,会出现一批用羔羊的血把衣裳洗白净了的人(《启示录》七章14节)。

The Saints must understand and must be prepared to preach God's love in the midst of such disasters, not by the explanation that "God is love and would not do such a thing", but that God is love and these preliminary disasters are a very expression of His love, as He wishes all to repent and come to the saving knowledge of His Son and thereby escape the reality of a greater and final and eternal judgment.

圣徒必须明白并准备好在这样的灾难中传扬神的爱。不是传扬“神是爱,所以祂不会做这种事的”,而是传扬神是爱,这些初期的患难正是祂爱的表达,因为祂希望所有人都悔改,都认识祂的儿子而得救,从而免去更大的、永恒的审判。