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WHY DISASTERS?--Is Death a Curse or Blessing?       DFO959       26 November 1980
--By Father David.

       1. (MARIA: WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE LORD DIDN'T WIPE OUT THE BIG WICKED CITY OF NAPLES IN THE ITALIAN EARTHQUAKE but instead dealt with all the little mountain towns around it?) Well, sometimes "His ways are past finding out!" (Rom.11:33.) Well, what comes to me is that He usually deals more strictly with His Own children than He does with the World & the Godless. He deals more stringently with those that know better, "Who know to do good & do it not, to them it's sin." (Ja.4:17.)

       2. THE COUNTRY FOLK & SMALL TOWN PEOPLE USUALLY HAVE MORE OF THE TRUTH & KNOW IT BETTER & PROFESS TO FOLLOW IT. They're more religious & churchy & usually more faithful to the old standards & religious teachings than are the godless or anti-God city people that God just sort of seems to let go their way sometimes until they crash themselves.

       3. BUT HE DEALS STRICTLY WITH HIS OWN CHILDREN & THOSE WHO ARE THE CLOSEST TO THE TRUTH & KNOW BETTER. Like chastisement, "They that are without chastisement are not sons but bastards." (Heb.12:8.) So we're to thank God when we are chastised of the Lord, it's a sign that we are His sons.

       4. NO DOUBT THOSE PEOPLE ARE BEING CHASTENED & CHASTISED OF THE LORD FOR THEIR SINS, the things He lets city people get away with because they're not His children & godless & are totally destroying themselves. He doesn't have to chastise them, it wouldn't do any good.

       5. HE CHASTISES THE PEOPLE THAT THERE ARE STILL SOME HOPES FOR, & He punishes them & brings down judgments & chastisements on them to try to straighten them out & get them to repent. With the city people there's not much hopes of repentance, besides, He doesn't have to destroy them, they destroy themselves.

       6. SO THAT'S ABOUT THE WAY I SEE IT, BECAUSE I KNOW GOD IS RIGHTEOUS & GOD IS JUST! God is fair & God is loving, so I know He knows what's best. If He slaughters thousands in earthquakes & so-called natural disasters which are obviously the judgments of God--"acts of God" even as they're called in insurance policies & laws--then we know that it's God's will & that God is doing it or allowing the Devil to do it for some reason, & that His reasons are good & fair & just & loving & even kind.

       7. AFTER ALL, EVEN ALL OF THOSE WHO WERE KILLED are as the World would say the "lucky" ones or the blessed ones, because if they did know the Lord or they did have faith or believe, they've gone to a better World where they'll learn better. The ones left behind & suffering either pain or grief are the ones God is still trying to reach.

       8. FOR THE OTHERS, THE LESSON IS OVER & SCHOOL IS OUT & THEY'VE GRADUATED TO ANOTHER REALM TO LEARN, possibly because they couldn't learn here. But the ones left behind are the ones to feel sorry for who are still suffering sorrow, grief, pain & deprivation. As someone has said, "the living dead," those who still must suffer in this World to learn their lessons before they're ready to go.

       9. WHEN GOD TAKES PEOPLE IT MUST BE THEIR TIME FOR SOME REASON. Of course with some, as Jesus said of the Scribes & Pharisees, the most wicked of all, the self-righteous, the hypocrites, He said their time was always ready! (Jn.7:6.) And when they asked Him about the people upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, were they more wicked than others, the Lord gave a rather indirect answer. He said, "I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish!" (Lk.13:4,5.)

       10. HE SAID OF THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS, HYPOCRITICAL, CRUEL, SELFISH, DEMON-POSSESSED SCRIBES & PHARISEES, "Ye are of your father the Devil" & "the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews but are not" (Jn.8:44; Rev.2:9), "Your time is always ready!" (Jn.7:6.) In other words, "You could go anytime because your cup of iniquity is full & you could be cut off any time & it would be due to you!"

       11. ONLY GOD KNOWS IN HIS WISDOM JUST EXACTLY WHY HE TAKES SO MANY IN A NATURAL DISASTER, like I think 20,000 in Algeria recently & 2,000 in Italy, & hundreds other places, but it's apparently their time. It's a big subject & a big question that the World has wondered over for ages, even Christians & theologians & church leaders: Why does God destroy so many people?

       12. WHY DID HE DESTROY THE WHOLE WORLD IN A FLOOD? Because they were so wicked He just couldn't let them continue! They were destroying souls, they were destroying the souls & the spirits & the lives & even the bodies of their own babies, so before they could destroy any more & destroy themselves & their children, God destroyed them all! He didn't even want them bringing any more wicked children into the World.

       13. HE DEALS MORE WITH THE GOOD PEOPLE & THE BEST PEOPLE, THE TRULY GOOD PEOPLE; He deals with them more strictly & chastises them as His children than He does with the totally Godless anti-God wicked. They're not His sons, He doesn't even care for them. He doesn't have to destroy them, they destroy themselves.

       14. THE THING THAT PEOPLE WONDER ABOUT IS WHY IT SO OFTEN SEEMS TO STRIKE THE POOR & THE NEEDY & THE HELPLESS & children & the innocent. Well, when you realise there's a better World Hereafter & the afterlife is one to be anticipated & looked forward to, who else but those who are the most suffering & the most innocent need to be relieved of this life & will appreciate the next life more than ever? Who else deserves to go sooner?

       15. AS SOMEONE HAS SAID, "THE GOOD DIE YOUNG!" Well, this isn't always true, but it seems often true. Who better deserves to go on to a better World than the good? Yet most people say "they don't deserve to die"; well, that depends on where they're going! "To deserve to die" for us means a promise & something far better than we have now.

       16. TO DESERVE TO DIE MEANS WE HAVE FINISHED OUR JOB! "We have fought the good fight, we have kept the faith, & from henceforth is laid up for us a crown of righteousness!" (2Tim.4:7,8.) So we deserve now to die having finished our job. To us, death is literally a blessing & a relief & an exit from the horrors of this World!

       17. SO FOR THE POOR & THE SUFFERING & THE STARVING & SICK LITTLE CHILDREN, FOR THEM TO DIE IS A BLESSING! It's the ones who are left behind that are to be pitied, the ones who don't die. But those, no doubt, God is trying to teach lessons to & prepare for the afterlife to get them ready to die--which they frequently do soon after their suffering & their sorrow.

       18. DEATH IS NOT A CURSE FOR LITTLE CHILDREN & THE INNOCENT & IGNORANT & the poor & the suffering & the less responsible, less accountable. Death is not a curse for them, because they go to a better World & a better life & a relief from the evils of this horrible planet, & so death's a blessing.

       19. SO PERHAPS THIS IS WHY THE LORD ALLOWS SO MANY OF THE POOR & THE YOUNG TO DIE, those who are suffering just almost beyond endurance in this life. Therefore the Lord takes them out of their suffering & out of their poverty & out of their pain & out of their starvation, & blesses them with death--which to those upon whom He has such mercy is a mere gateway, a doorway, an entrance to a better life in which they'll be relieved of all this.

       20. SO PERHAPS THAT'S WHY THE LORD ALLOWS SO MANY OF THE POOR COUNTRY PEOPLE & VILLAGERS TO DIE IN SOME OF THESE GREAT DISASTERS, because they're the ones who are struggling & starving & suffering & poor & poverty-stricken & oppressed & in pain & oppression almost beyond endurance, so God mercifully relieves them from this life. (Maria: And from the suffering brought on by the Devil & his workings, instead of the Lord like most people try to say.) Yes.

       21. SO OFTEN THE DEVIL BRINGS ON SUFFERING TO SOME PEOPLE WITHOUT KILLING THEM, HOPING THEY WILL BLAME IT ON GOD & TURN AGAINST GOD & "curse God & die" as Job's wife advised him to do, & as [EDITED: "some"] Jews so often do. (Job 2:9.) They blame God for all their troubles & curse Him for them, because they are of their father the Devil & of the Synagogue of Satan & are not Jews but pretend to be what they're not!

       22. SO THE LORD ALLOWS THE ENEMY TO TEST PEOPLE TO SEE IF THEY'RE GOING TO ENDURE IN FAITH & TRUST GOD ANYWAY & say, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him!" (Job 13:15.) And when they express that kind of faith, either He rewards them with relief & new life, or death & new life, one or the other.

       23. THE WHOLE THING IS, PEOPLE HAVE DIFFICULTY GETTING OVER THIS HABIT OF CONSIDERING DEATH A COMPLETE CURSE, that to die is horrible & it's awful that all these tens of thousands of people should be killed in great disasters, etc. Well, that's not awful & horrible! The more people that get out of this World, the better off they are, much better off! They should be thankful, & they probably are!

       24. EXCEPT THE VERY WICKED, WHO GOD SEEMS TO ALMOST IGNORE UNTIL THE VERY END, & then He just completely wipes'm out just to get rid of'm!--No doubt send them to Hell to learn the lessons there that they refused to learn here. (Maria: But the moderately sinful won't go to Hell at all?) Everybody will be rewarded according to his works & according to his sins or whatever they are.

       25. HE SAYS THAT THEY WHICH DID THINGS DESERVING PUNISHMENT, STRIPES, HAVING KNOWN THEIR MASTER'S WILL & still did those things, shall be beaten with many stripes--they will receive severe punishment. But those who knew not their Master's will & yet did things worthy of stripes shall be beaten with very few stripes. (Lk.12:47,48.)

       26. THEIR PUNISHMENT WILL BE VERY LIGHT, CORRECTIVE, NO DOUBT OF THE CHASTISEMENT NATURE, & they'll undoubtedly then repent & be forgiven & given a new life completely--not the same as those who are saved, not the same as those who serve the Lord faithfully here & repented here & now before death, but there are going to be plenty of people repenting after death, that's obvious.

       27. JESUS WENT AND PREACHED TO THE SPIRITS IN PRISON, & there wouldn't have been any point in preaching to them if it hadn't been possible for them to repent & be sorry for their sins & to receive some kind of opportunity thereby to get forgiveness & to find a better life, to be delivered from their imprisonment in the heart of the Earth. Whatever it was or what it was like is not clear, but if it's spoken of as a prison, that's bad enough! (Mt.12:40; 1Pet.3:19; 4:6; Eph.4:9.)

       28. BUT FOR JESUS TO COME & PREACH TO THEM, IT WAS OBVIOUSLY TO GIVE THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO BELIEVE & RECEIVE WHICH THEY HAD NOT HAD, & to be released or saved. That's obvious, you don't even have to argue about it. Theologians argue about it because it doesn't fit their particular doctrine, but it's right there in the Bible plain as day! Why else would Jesus have gone to the trouble to preach to them unless there was a second chance in some way--really their first chance--& an opportunity for them to be sorry & repent & be forgiven & released?

       29. GOD PROBABLY HAS AS VARIED TERMS & MEANS OF PUNISHMENT & CORRECTION IN THE AFTERLIFE AS THERE ARE IN THIS LIFE under the System & its laws, etc. He's probably got a great & wide variety to show people how wrong they were & give them an opportunity of repentance & change--as has been manifested in many near-death experiences or of people who have had death experiences. ("Life after Death," ML #850.)

       30. GOD ACTUALLY LET THEM LEAVE THIS LIFE TEMPORARILY TO SHOW THEM THEIR MISTAKES WHEN THEY COULDN'T LEARN ANY OTHER WAY; to actually come face to face with the Judgement Angel & be told & showed & taught where they were making their mistakes & what they were doing wrong, with the opportunity to correct their life & even allowed to go back & live again in order to change!

       31. WELL, IF GOD WILL DO THAT FOR THE LIVING, THEN WHY NOT ALSO FOR THE DEAD? If there's no further opportunity or possibility of them learning & repenting in this life, then He takes them on the other side permanently to show them & teach them--& there's no point in showing them unless there's opportunity of repentance & some chance that they'll be able to change.

       32. AND IF THERE'S A CHANCE TO REPENT & CHANGE NOT ONLY HERE BUT THERE, THEN THERE MUST BE SOME OPPORTUNITY FOR FORGIVENESS & release from punishment & from chastening & such purging as Purgatory. Purgatory, as the Catholics call it, I believe in! I'm a firm believer in Purgatory, but not necessarily their kind of Purgatory, whether it's Hellfire, Lake of Fire or whatever, it's a purging.

       33. IT SEEMS FROM ALL I CAN GATHER FROM THE SCRIPTURE, THAT THE LAKE OF FIRE IS PRETTY BAD PUNISHMENT FOR THE VERY WORST! To be cast in the Lake of Fire you've got to be a pretty wicked sinner who has been really defiant of God & every opportunity God has given you to repent, & have really done a lot of damage & hurt a lot of people; like Hitler & some others, someone who has turned many astray.

       34. IT ALMOST SEEMS THAT HELL COULD HARDLY BE BAD ENOUGH FOR SOME PEOPLE!--Like some of our enemies who have persecuted their own children & imprisoned them & tortured them to try to persuade them to deny their faith! It seems to me that Hell's almost too good for such people who would take their own children & torture them & even kill them rather than have them change their faith!

       35. SO THAT'S THE KIND OF PEOPLE THE LAKE OF FIRE IS RESERVED FOR--including the Devil & the False Prophet & the Antichrist & all his crowd! That's very plain in the Scripture. (Rev.14:11; 19:20; 20:10,14-15; 21:8.) The very worst, the scribes & the Pharisees, the [EDITED: "hypocrites"], & the ultimately wicked who just are horrible & have slaughtered millions & destroyed nations & killed babies & innocent women & children, Hell could hardly be bad enough for some of those people, & it'll be plenty bad! It'll be bad enough, God will see to that!

       36. BUT FOR THE PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T BEEN THAT HORRIBLE & THAT WICKED, BUT HAVE BEEN DISOBEDIENT--especially of course for those who knew God's will & knew the truth & defied & disobeyed it--they'll receive a very great punishment even though saved! They're going to receive a certain amount of correction for their disobediences, even though they claim to be saved.

       37. IT SAYS "HIS MASTER," SO HE MUST BE THEIR MASTER, they must be saved! In this case He says, "That servant which knew his Master's will & prepared not himself neither did according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not his Master's will"--in other words, the ignorant & innocent, those who never heard the Gospel & never heard about Jesus--"and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes." (Lk.12:47,48.)

       38. THESE FOLKS, THEY NOT ONLY DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS THEIR MASTER'S WILL, THEY DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THERE WAS A MASTER, possibly! But if they didn't know their Master's will & did things worthy of stripes, they're still worthy of some punishment. Because the Lord Himself in His Word says "This is the Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the World!" (Jn.1:9.) Everybody is given some light.

       39. SO THIS IS THE GREATEST QUESTION THAT HAS PLAGUED THE WORLD & ESPECIALLY THE DOUBTERS FOR AGES: Why great disasters that slaughter thousands of the supposedly innocent & ignorant--certainly innocent little children & babies & women & mothers & old people, the helpless--why these disasters? The same age-old question, why pain & suffering & why even death? My mother used to have a message, "Why Hitler?"

       40. TO THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH, TO THOSE WHO KNOW THE LORD & HAVE IMPLICIT CONFIDENCE IN HIS LOVE & His mercy & His righteousness & justice & fairness & implicit belief in a life after death--a better life, another life, a place where things will be corrected & made right & people will be rewarded according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil--we know there's an answer, & I think the answer's pretty clear even in the Book, as well as through experience.

       41. IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM & KNOW THE ANSWER, OF COURSE, YOU MUST BELIEVE IN GOD & HIS LOVE & His faithfulness & His righteousness, goodness, mercy, justice & fairness. Then you know there's got to be an answer, a good answer, why He has to do this or allow it to happen. If He doesn't do it, then OK, the Devil's done it; but He allowed him to do it, so it's almost the same thing.

       42. GOD ALLOWS THESE THINGS TO HAPPEN! He allows the Devil to wreak such destruction & horror such as war through wicked men & great so-called natural disasters that wipe out thousands such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods & storms that take thousands of lives, usually the poor & those who are already suffering almost beyond endurance. Maybe that's why He wipes them out, maybe that's why He takes them!

       43. IF YOU HAVE TOTAL CONFIDENCE IN THE FUTURE & IN A FUTURE BETTER LIFE AFTER DEATH, then you can certainly understand why God even in His mercy would sometimes take thousands of people out of this horrible World & their suffering & their pain & their agony & their oppression & their poverty.

       44. WHEN THEY GET TO THE POINT WHERE THEY'RE POSSIBLY SUFFERING BEYOND ENDURANCE, HE RELEASES THEM & TAKES THEM INTO A BETTER WORLD where they're relieved of all this pain & agony & poverty & suffering & starvation & sickness--most of it caused by man himself & his own sins & the sins of others--& all of it caused, of course, by sin of some kind.

       45. ALL OF THE SUFFERING, PAIN, TRAGEDY, SICKNESS, WAR & DEATH IS CAUSED BY SIN, SOMEBODY'S SIN--either the sins of the people who are suffering for their own sins, or many who suffer for the sins of others. I think that's going to be part of the punishment of the wicked is to have to suffer the sight of the very suffering they caused, maybe for a long time in retrospect in God's movie houses of the future life!

       46. WHAT COULD BE WORSE IN THE AFTERLIFE THAN THE CONSTANT REVIEW OF THE PICTURES OF THE PAIN & SUFFERING & AGONY THAT YOU YOURSELF HAVE CAUSED OTHERS, to hear their screams of pain & witness the horrors of their suffering! What worse punishment could you have than to see in another life, in the hereafter, all the damage you've caused & all the people you've caused to suffer; all the pain & agony you've brought through your sins & oppression & wars & cruelty, etc.

       47. APPARENTLY THERE'S SOME HOPES EVEN FOR THESE PEOPLE if God's going to allow them to suffer the sight of what they have caused to try to bring them to repentance, to make them sorry so that they can be forgiven. For others it looks like there's almost virtually no hope of their ever repenting, like the Devil, the Antichrist, the beast & the False Prophet.

       48. JESUS SAYS THEY WILL BE CAST IN THE LAKE OF FIRE & THOSE WHO FOLLOW THEM, that take the Mark of the Beast. "Cast into the Lake of Fire which burneth for ever & ever!" (Maria: But it doesn't say they're going to burn for ever & ever.) It says, "The smoke of their torment ariseth for ever & ever" (Rev.14:11), but that's where you have to go back to the original Greek to see what the actual word "For ever & ever" means.

       49. THIS DOES NOT MEAN IN EVERY CASE ETERNALLY, IT MEANS "AGES UPON AGES." "Aenon" is the word that's used in Rev.14:11, & the word used for "eternity" is a different word. Even the word using "aenon" to represent something which is virtually eternal, going on & on seemingly forever, is a doubling of the word "aenon" which means age. In some places this word aenon--which is translated in the Bible, of course, by the Catholics or Reformists or the Church of England--is translated "for ever," but literally it means "for an age," & an age has limitations; all ages have ends.

       50. THIS IS ALL IN DR. PRIDGEON'S BOOK, {\ul \i IS HELL ETERNAL OR WILL GOD'S PLAN FAIL}? & if you want to go into the details of it, then it would pay you to read that. He was a Presbyterian minister who just could not believe that God would cast everybody who didn't know Jesus into an eternal fire of Hell & fire & brimstone, the same kind of punishment for everybody, for the innocent as well as for the Hitlers & the guilty.

       51. SO HE BEGAN TO SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES--IS HELL REALLY ETERNAL? If so, then it looks like God's plan is going to fail if He can't really redeem mankind, if He can't really save man & "cause all men everywhere to repent" or "cause every knee to bow, above the earth, on the earth, & under the earth!" (Ac.17:30; Phil.2:10.)

       52. SO HE FOUND OODLES OF SCRIPTURES INDICATING THAT THE TIME WOULD COME WHEN EVERYONE WOULD BELIEVE, everyone would repent, every knee would bow, everyone would worship the Lord, every man would know Him, everyone would be corrected, & virtually everyone would change--whether they did in this life or in an afterlife of some kind; whether they did in the afterlife in a hellfire type of Purgatory, or in some milder type of punishment or retribution or chastisement & judgement for their sins.

       53. BUT VIRTUALLY ALL PUNISHMENT, EVEN INCLUDING IN THIS LIFE ACCORDING TO LAW, HAS SOME KIND OF AN END! There comes a time when the sinner has paid for his sins with his imprisonment or his fines or even with his life! This satisfies the law of man, why not the laws of God? Perhaps some people pay for their own sins, since they wouldn't believe in Christ & they wouldn't believe in His death, so they have to suffer the prescribed punishment pronounced upon sin, & that is death!

       54. EVERYONE WILL DIE, BUT THOSE WHO RECEIVE CHRIST'S SUBSTITUTIONARY OFFERING IN THEIR PLACE therefore do not have to suffer the kind of death that the sinner will suffer, but suffer only a mere momentary cessation from this kind of physical life in an almost instantaneous transfer to another life in the Spirit which is far better. (1Cor.15:51-52.)

       55. BUT THE KIND OF A LIFE THAT THE SINNERS ARE TRANSFERRED TO WHO HAVE NOT REPENTED, have not received Jesus, even have rejected Him when they had a chance & have done evil, "knowing to do good & doing it not," they deserve some pretty severe punishment, including death to begin with. They receive a lot of punishment in this life, & in the World to come they receive even more until they get straightened out.

       56. BUT CERTAINLY NOT EVERYBODY DESERVES THE SAME KIND OF PUNISHMENT & THE SAME AMOUNT OF PUNISHMENT & the same severity of judgement as do the worst of sinners. Many simply didn't know the Truth, never heard the Gospel, never even heard about Jesus, didn't know about His Love, were ignorant of their Master's will, but still they had done things worthy of stripes & had sinned.

       57. AND IT'S AN AMAZING WONDERFUL THING THAT THE WORLD OVER, even in the darkest jungles & the most remote savage places, even the worst of savages seem to know the difference between right & wrong, good & evil, & know that certain things are sins & wrong & it's wrong to do them. God's basic moral standard against, for example, stealing & killing & things like that, are pretty universal. Nearly every kind of culture, even the most savage & primitive & aboriginal culture, knows that these things are wrong & have laws against them, believe it or not!

       58. "THIS IS THE LIGHT WHICH LIGHTETH EVERY MAN THAT COMETH INTO THE WORLD!" (Jn.1:9.) The Holy Spirit by His faithfulness speaks to the heart of all, I'm convinced, & tells people when they're doing wrong. They know the difference between good & evil, even if they may not have known all their Master's will.

       59. THEY MAY NOT HAVE EVEN KNOWN THEIR MASTER, they may not have known the Gospel or the Truth or the Good News of Salvation, but they knew the difference between right & wrong. If they then, therefore, in spite of that, did things worthy of stripes, it says they'll be beaten with few stripes--their punishment will be light, comparatively speaking.

       60. WHEREAS THOSE LIKE THE JEWS & EVEN THE CHURCH & THE CHRISTIANS & THE U.S.A. & WESTERN CHRISTIAN CIVILISATION WHO KNEW THEIR MASTER'S WILL, knew the Word, knew the Bible, had heard the Gospel, know about Jesus, know it in all of its fullness, & yet did things against the Lord & against their Master's will--& the worst of all rejecting Jesus completely--He says "these shall be beaten with many stripes!" They will suffer severe punishment both in this life & the afterlife.

       61. THE WICKED SUFFER NOW! THEY SUFFER NOW, ALTHOUGH IT DOESN'T ALWAYS LOOK LIKE IT. For example, riches don't make people happy. Robbing the poor, making themselves rich never has made them happy. Their wars don't really bring them happiness. Alexander the Great, a young man only 33 years of age had conquered virtually all the known civilised World in only ten years, & yet he died drunk & sobbing like a baby, "But alas, there are no more worlds to conquer!"--It didn't satisfy!

       62. SO THEREFORE THE RICH & THE POWERFUL RECEIVE A LOT OF PUNISHMENT RIGHT IN THIS LIFE ITSELF. As many of them say, "Yes, I believe in Hell--this is it! I'm living in it right now!"--And that's certainly true of a lot of the wicked! They're suffering plenty right now for their sins. And I'll tell you, particularly God's children, boy, He spanks them quick & in a hurry & they know it! They get it quick, so the Lord can immediately bring them to repentance for their sins & mistakes.

       63. BUT AS THE WORD ITSELF SAYS, "SOME MEN'S SINS GO BEFORE THEM"--in other words, they're judged even in this life & they suffer for them even here & now. "But other men's sins follow after"--they're not going to get theirs until after they die. (1Tim.5:24.)

       64. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GET THEIR FULL PUNISHMENT UNTIL THE AFTERLIFE, & that punishment is really going to be effective, I'm convinced of that, to show them the error of their ways & the horrible suffering & misery & everything else that they have caused--both to themselves & their loved ones & their families & their children & their relatives & their people & others.

       65. THEY'RE GONNA GET IT SOONER OR LATER, BECAUSE GOD IS JUST & GOD IS THOROUGH & "every man will be rewarded according to his works"! (Ps.62:12; Jer.17:10; Mt.16:27; 2Cor.5:10; Rev.2:23; 20:13; 22:12.) We'll even have to "give an account for every idle word, for by thy words shalt thou be justified, & by thy words shalt thou be condemned." (Mt.12:36,37.) That's why it's so important to confess Christ by your words, with your mouth. (Ro.10:9-10.)

       66. SO GOD IS JUST, GOD IS LOVING, GOD IS PURE, GOD IS HOLY, GOD IS PERFECT, & everything will work out perfectly in the long run. There will be perfect judgement & punishment for the wicked, & perfect reward for the righteous & the believer & the one who obeyed the Lord, but it will all be to the same end or purpose.

       67. FOR THOSE WHO STILL HAVE TO BE PUNISHED HEREAFTER, the punishment & the reward will be designed & tailored according to their deeds, for a reason. For what purpose? Just to get revenge? Just to be vindictive? God is not that type of vengeful God, vindictive, only to want to make people suffer for their sins, but for a purpose, to show them something.

       68. TO BRING THEM TO THE LIGHT, TO DEMONSTRATE HIS GOODNESS & KINDNESS & LOVE & SHOW THEM THE DIFFERENCE & what damage they did by their disobedience & their lack of love. Why? To hope for belief & to hope for Godly sorrow & repentance & a change; that if they did not choose to do good here, that they will be shown in the afterlife how important it is to do good, & will choose to do it there.

       69. THAT'S A SAD THING THAT THEY HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THEN TO FIND OUT OR TO DECIDE, & those who wait until then will never be able to walk in the Holy City, Space City, & enjoy the greatest blessings & joys of God. But obviously they'll be outside in varied degrees of punishment, reward, freedom, imprisonment or whatever it may be until such time as God deems that they have served their sentence, suffered enough, repented enough, & they will be released or relieved.

       70. HE MAKES A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FEW STRIPES & MANY STRIPES, but in that case, whether few or many, they all come to an end! A few is a number, many is a number, and whether few or many, they come to an end when they have received enough to have accomplished God's purpose to cause them to repent, see the Light & be sorry & turn away & change. Having received the punishment that they deserve because they refused Christ's sacrifice, then they have to suffer for it.

       71. IF THEY REJECT CHRIST'S SUFFERING, HIS ATONEMENT, HIS SUBSTITUTIONARY DEATH FOR THEIR SINS, then they have to suffer for their own sins. So therefore, they then will suffer the judgement & serve out the sentence until they have suffered enough to pay for it, they themselves, & then they will be released from whatever that is & allowed some better life--but not as good as those who received Him in this life & repented here & now & served him here & obeyed Him in this World & did good in what they could now, here on this Earth, & who have received Jesus Christ as their Saviour, as their substitution, sacrifice for sins.

       72. WE ARE COMPLETELY FORGIVEN, WE ARE COMPLETELY RELIEVED FROM THE PUNISHMENT OF SIN, "For the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin"--past, present & future! (1Jn.1:7.) But not them, because they rejected Jesus & they rejected His blood & they refused to believe & they refused to receive, therefore they shall have to suffer for their own sins, their own punishment.

       73. JESUS DOES NOT TAKE IT FOR THEM BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT RECEIVED HIM. He took it in a way for everybody, He died for the whole World, but only those who receive it, get it! (1Tim.4:10.) So that's the story, & I'm convinced that if things aren't squared in this life, they certainly will be in the next, good or evil.

       74. THEREFORE GREAT DISASTERS THAT SWEEP THOUSANDS OF LIVES INTO THE NEXT ARE UNDOUBTEDLY IN SOME WAY GOOD FOR THE PEOPLE INVOLVED. Those who die go right into a life where they'll certainly be taught what's right & wrong. And for many it will be a release from the agony & the punishment & the pain, like Lazarus the beggar who begged at the rich man's door & the dogs licked his sores.

       75. THE LORD SAYS HE SUFFERED HIS HERE & HAD HIS EVIL THINGS HERE, but now he's going to have his good things. Whereas the rich man has had good things here & he was going to suffer for his sins in the afterlife, that's the way it goes. (Lk.16:25.) There are lots of pictures of it in the Word of God, the difference between the rewards & the punishments.

       76. THERE'S GOING TO BE A GREAT DIFFERENCE IN THINGS IN THE AFTERLIFE JUST AS THERE ARE IN THIS, but things are going to be squared up & evened up & straightened out in the next life. Those who did evil in this life but maybe didn't suffer enough for it here, will suffer for it afterward unless they have been cleansed by the blood of Christ. In that case, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." (1Jn.1:9.) But some will have to pay for their sins by death, suffering & pain in this life & the Afterlife.

       77. WELL, IT'S A VERY VERY BIG SUBJECT & HAS PLAGUED THE WORLD FOR MILLENNIUMS & caused men to wonder & question & argue as to why--why these disasters? Why earthquakes, floods, eruptions, wars & famines that wipe out tens of thousands of people here on this Earth--why?

       78. WELL, AS I SAY, IN MANY CASES IT COULD BE A BLESSING IN DISGUISE to relieve many of the poor & the pitiful & the suffering & the oppressed & the starving from their agony & their horrible lives & the torture that they're suffering in this life.

       79. TO THEM THEY'LL FIND THAT DEATH IS A BLESSING, even if they didn't know the Lord & didn't know His Word & didn't know Jesus. I'm sure God's going to have mercy upon them & His relieving them of this life is going to teach them the things they need to know in the next life, because we didn't get to them in this life--our responsibility! (Ezek.3:18-19.)

       80. THE CHURCH DIDN'T FULFIL ITS OBLIGATION OF REACHING THEM WITH THE TRUTH & THE GOSPEL & JESUS & HIS LOVE IN THIS LIFE, so where are they going to learn it? Certainly God wants them to know it & learn it sometime, sooner or later, & if they don't get it here & now, they'll get it there & then! I'm convinced of it, & I'm sure the Scripture is quite clear on it too.

       81. IT SAYS THAT, "THEN NO MAN SHALL SAY, 'KNOW THE LORD,' FOR ALL SHALL KNOW HIM!" (Jer.31:34; He.8:11.) Well, if everybody's going to know Him, then they're all going to know the Truth & all know Jesus! They may not know Him as well & as personally as we do, because we already knew Him in this life, & learned to know Him well & communicate with Him well & love Him & Him us & live with Him & serve Him throughout this life.

       82. WE HAVE ONLY HAPPINESS & JOY & BEAUTIFUL ETERNAL REWARDS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT LIFE because we have received His substitutionary sacrifice for sin, Jesus Christ & His blood shed on the cross, so that we are relieved from the punishment & the penalty of the sin & relieved from the sentences that will be passed on others at the Great Judgement.

       83. THAT JUDGEMENT IS FOR A REASON! All the people who ever lived, whether good or bad, if unsaved, will have to stand at the Great White Throne Judgement of God. (Rev.20:11,12.) Not at the Judgement Seat of Christ, we will have a different judgement. The Judgement Seat of Christ is a different judgement in which we are judged by Christ Himself because we know Him, & there He will reward us according to our works also. (Rom.14:10; 2Cor.5:10.)

       84. CHRISTIANS WILL BE REWARDED EITHER WELL OR POORLY, because if they served poorly they'll be rewarded poorly. Or if they served well, they'll be rewarded well. Some in the Resurrection, He says "will shine as the stars" those that turn many to righteousness. They're going to be shining stars! Whereas others will be "raised to everlasting shame & contempt"--but nevertheless raised, & nevertheless rescued from death & this World. (Dan.12:2,3.)

       85. SO I'M SURE AS I'M SITTING HERE THAT GOD IS JUST & MERCIFUL & LOVING & RIGHTEOUS & IS DOING THE RIGHT THING, even if He wipes out whole populations! They say in that great earthquake of Tangshan--the great mining town & industrial center north of Peking, one of the biggest in all China--that about a million people were wiped out in that earthquake which hit there. One million people! That was a few years ago while Mao was still alive.

       86. THE CHINESE DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO LET THE WORLD KNOW ABOUT IT FOR AWHILE. I think they were afraid that in the midst of that disaster & horrible mess they were in, that some of their enemies like Russia might take opportunity to attack in their weak moment before they recovered, so they just didn't let the World know. But now the news is out, now that it's some years later, they've even let correspondents go & see some of the devastation--a million people in one stroke!

       87. WHY DID GOD WIPE OUT, OR ALLOW THE DEVIL TO WIPE OUT, A MILLION PEOPLE? Of course some people would contend, "Well, it wasn't an act of God or the Devil, it was just a natural disaster caused by natural forces & causes." Well, there's no such thing as natural forces & causes which are not designed by God, because it's all God's creation & under His control, & nothing can happen except by His will & His design, or to say the least, His permission.

       88. EVEN IF HE LETS THE DEVIL DO IT, HE ALLOWED IT & PERMITTED IT. So as the [EDITED: "ACs"] accuse Him of, it's still His fault even if the Devil did do it. The [EDITED: "ACs"] are the converse of that little story I tell about the dear old lady who thanked God for the bread even if the Devil did bring it. Well, the [EDITED: "ACs"] & those who hate God & Christ are just the other way around, they still blame God for it, even if the Devil did bring it!

       89. EVEN IF IT WAS SATAN, THE "FIDDLER ON THE ROOF," THAT WAS THE IMMEDIATE CAUSE, they still know he's working for God & couldn't have done it without God's permission, so they in a sense rightly blame God for it; but of course it's in punishment for their own sins. They always blame somebody, but they never blame themselves.

       90. THE STUBBORN REBELLIOUS PEOPLE, BE THEY JEW OR GENTLE, ARE SUCH A TYPE OF ALL SELF-RIGHTEOUS HYPOCRITES who are more righteous than God Himself. They wouldn't have done things the way God did things! They wouldn't have run things the way God ran things, they would have done better! "If I were king," the old song goes, "I wouldn't let all these things happen!"

       91. THAT SONG WAS ALMOST LIKE THE VOICE OF THE DEVIL! It's an old song, "If I were king I would do this & do that & so on." Just like the Devil speaking, "If I were king!" Just like David's own son Absalom who stood at the gate & said, "Well, if I were king I wouldn't let these things go on, I wouldn't let you be treated like this!" What a treacherous traitor & conniver! (2Sam.15:2-6.)

       92. AND THAT'S WHAT ALL THE WICKED & THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS OF THE WORLD ARE SAYING, "WHY DOES GOD DO IT?" You know what they're really saying? They're saying, "Well, if I were God I wouldn't treat people like that! If I were God I wouldn't do terrible things like that! If I were God, I wouldn't have let that happen! If God's a God of Love, He shouldn't have let it happen!"

       93. --ALL BECAUSE THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND GOD & THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND HIS LOVE & THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED, that thousands of people have been relieved, usually the poor. The poor little farmers & villagers & children are relieved of all their hard work & toil & suffering & are cast instantly into another new & better life & relieved of all that, thank God! That's the difference!

       94. HOW YOU INTERPRET IT DEPENDS ON WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IN GOD OR NOT! How you interpret it depends on whether you believe in the afterlife or not. Of course, if there were no afterlife, then the whole thing is a farce & a tragedy & travesty against justice. But of course there has to be an afterlife to square things up, to reward the good & the righteous & to punish the evil.

       95. SO OF COURSE TO US WHO BELIEVE, IT'S OBVIOUS WHAT GOD IS DOING! He's either punishing the wicked in this disaster, or He's releasing & relieving the righteous out of this evil life--or both! To some it's a punishment, to some it's a reward, & it's a reward whether it's good or evil! They'll be rewarded evil for their evil works, or they'll be rewarded good for their good works. (Jn.5:29.)

       96. SO PROBABLY MANY OF THOSE WHO SUFFER & DIE IN THESE DISASTERS ARE BEING PUNISHED FOR THEIR SINS, & quite possibly & likely, many of those who are suffering & dying are, through their suffering, being prepared for the afterlife, & in dying are relieved from their suffering in this life. So in it God is either punishing the wicked or teaching them a lesson, or He is relieving the good from their suffering & sending them to their reward in the afterlife & relief from this Hell on Earth.

       97. SO WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?--WE ALL DIE SOONER OR LATER! And if you are good & you are righteous & you are saved & you know & love the Lord, the sooner the better, really, except for the fact that others need you to help them to find the way & to help them to live it & make it.

       98. SO THAT WE WHO ARE ALREADY SAVED, THE SOONER WE GO THE BETTER! The sooner we can go, the sooner He'll let us go, the sooner we'll be relieved from the suffering & the agonies & the hardships of this life, the sooner the better. Maybe that would be a good title: "Death!--The Sooner the Better!"--for us who know the Lord!

       99. OF COURSE THOSE WHO ARE GOING TO EVEN WORSE PUNISHMENT & WORSE CHASTISEMENT & worse suffering in the afterlife for their cruel wickedness & unbelief & Christ-hating in this life, they want to put it off as long as they can. They dread death & are horrified at the prospect because they sense they're going to get something worse hereafter. They had it bad enough in this life, some of them, but they're going to get it even worse there because of their sins.

       100. BUT WHY WEEP FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN TAKEN & GONE ON TO THE NEXT LIFE? They're the blessed ones! It's those who didn't die, who still stay behind & suffer that you are to pity & be sorry for, because apparently they weren't ready to go & God's still teaching them lessons to prepare them. They're still having to suffer in order to learn what life is all about, & suffering helps us to learn.

       101. AS DAVID SAID, "BEFORE I WAS AFFLICTED I WENT ASTRAY, but in my affliction I cried unto the Lord & He saved this poor man out of all his troubles. (Ps.18:6; 34:6 & 119:67.) Affliction & suffering drives people to God, at least those who can be driven. With some, like with the [EDITED: "ACs"], affliction & suffering causes them to curse God all the more because they're still unrepentant, still hardened of heart & rebellious & stiff-necked as all of God's Prophets said of them. (Ez.3:7; Mt.23:37, etc.)

       102. SO SUFFERING IS A CATALYST, SUFFERING IS THE TEST-TUBE-TIME to see if you either have got the grace already to take it by faith, or if it can turn you to grace, cause you to call upon God & ask Him to forgive you & cause you to repent & cause you to seek His mercy & His Love & His salvation; or whether the same suffering is going to cause some to hate God all the more & curse Him the more & reject Him the more & deny Him the more!

       103. AS RALPH UNDERWOOD THE FAMOUS ATHEIST ONCE TOLD ME--he was head of the AAAA, the American Association for the Advancement of Atheism, the biggest Atheistic outfit in America at that time, really, before Communism--he said, "Dave, all those years I went around preaching against God & claiming He didn't exist, I knew He existed, but I just hated Him, & therefore I didn't want people to believe in Him. So I tried to destroy their faith, undermine their faith & wipe out their faith in God if they had any." Of course if you have any real faith in God, it can't be wiped out.

       104. WHAT LITTLE THREAD OF CHILDLIKE BELIEF OR WHATEVER IT WAS THEY HAD, HE WENT AROUND TRYING TO DESTROY because he hated God & didn't want people to believe in Him. He said, "I cursed God & hated Him for the life I'd had to live. I had been an orphan when I was a child, & I learned to hate God." But look how the Lord in spite of his hatred & working against God for years finally saved him--through suffering! He had some kind of a horrible crash or accident that brought him to God finally.

       105. SO SUFFERING DOES ONE OF THOSE THREE THINGS: It purifies & humbles & cleanses the saved & draws us even closer to God; it turns some of the unsaved to God, it brings some of the wicked to repentance & salvation as in their suffering they cry unto the Lord; & then the totally unrepentant, the totally renegade or utterly wicked, it causes them to curse God all the more & therefore be all the more deserving of His judgements.

       106. SO I'M COMPLETELY UTTERLY CONVINCED OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD & His Love & His mercy & His justice & fairness & that He does only the right thing & the good thing that's good for us; or the bad thing that is bad & deserved by the wicked, which is also good, of course. Even the judgements of God are righteous! Even the disasters of God are righteous & right, & either the wicked deserve them as punishment or the righteous as deliverance from this life.

       107. SO WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE 2,000 DEAD IN ITALY, DON'T FEEL SORRY FOR THEM UNLESS THEY WERE UNSAVED, of course, & they'll still have to suffer for their sins until they repent & have paid for them. But think of those who are still living, the righteous who are still suffering, that it has helped purify & purge them & draw them closer to the Lord & to glorify God in that the wicked are receiving their just desserts & punishment that they deserve. One way or the other, however, it's good.

       108. THE WORKS OF GOD ARE GOOD & NOT EVIL! They may seem evil, look evil & appear to some people to be evil, but even so-called evil is good if God is in it. The 20,000 slaughtered by the great earthquake in Algeria, they deserved it one way or the other. They either deserved the justice & judgement & punishment of God for being wicked, or they deserved the release & relief from suffering for being good, so it works both ways.

       109. AND WE'RE CERTAINLY NOT TO BE SORRY FOR THE DEAD, ONLY EXCEPT PERHAPS FOR THOSE WHO DIED IN UNREPENTANCE & UNBELIEF & in rebellion against God, I'm sorry for them. And from what God has shown us, we're even to pray for them that they will yet turn & repent in the afterlife. If they can't be saved as we are, that they will be spared from further retribution & punishment.

       110. AND FOR THE GOOD POOR WHO DIED, IT WAS A RELEASE & RELIEF FROM THEIR SUFFERINGS & from their hardships & hard life & oppression, depression, pain, deprivation, & I'm sure that God has a fair & just reward for them, & relief from this life was undoubtedly with thanksgiving & pleasure.

       111. IN A SENSE WE ALL LIVE IN A MEASURE OF SUFFERING IN THIS WORLD UNDER THE CURSE OF SUFFERING, PAIN, SICKNESS, DEATH, etc. So it's for the living that we need to pray--for the mercy of God & relief of suffering if they repent, or a tightening of the screws if they don't. Pray for the millions of the poor who still suffer, who'd be better off if they were wiped out in some kind of great disaster.

       112. IT'S FOR THE MILLIONS WHO STILL LIVE THAT WE NEED TO PRAY & WHOM WE NEED TO REACH WITH THE GOSPEL & THE LOVE OF CHRIST & the Message of Salvation & His forgiveness & His joy & happiness, His Love. These are the ones that we need to be praying about & worrying about or at least concerned about & caring for & striving to help--the living dead--not those who are already dead & have passed on to their reward, whatever it may be.

       113. WE'RE NOT TO WEEP FOR THE DEAD IN THAT CASE, UNLESS THEY WERE WICKED & EVIL & HAVE GONE ON TO MORE SUFFERING, in which case perhaps our prayers might help them. "All things are possible with God & the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (Mt.19:26; Ja.5:16.) Since they are still in a stage of learning & being taught in hope & preparation of their repentance & turning & changing & becoming purified & purged in Purgatory, then surely we can pray to that end & that's good prayer. In that case we can yet pray for the dead, the unsaved dead, that they may learn in the afterlife what they failed to learn here.

       114. BUT MOST OF ALL WE NEED TO PRAY FOR THE LIVING & THOSE WHO ARE STILL ALIVE & CAN STILL BE SAVED HERE & NOW & MISS ALL THAT, be spared having to go through even more suffering & agony & teaching & training & chastisement & judgement & punishment in the afterlife. We need to be concerned with trying to save the people now, building a fence at the top of the precipice instead of a hospital at the bottom.

       115. WE NEED TO WORK ON THE OUNCE OF PREVENTION NOW RATHER THAN WORRY ABOUT THE POUND OF CURE LATER, because it's so simple & so easy that they be saved now & spared all that, so that the quicker they die the better, the sooner the better, except to live for the sake of others. So praise the Lord!

       116. GOD IS JUST, GOD IS GOOD, GOD IS MERCIFUL, GOD IS LOVE, & I BELIEVE IT WITH ALL MY HEART. No matter what happens or how it happens or what great disasters befall the poor & the meek, "they shall inherit the Earth!" (Mt.5:5.) So PTL! And those who die, if they were good & did the best they knew how, they're better off & they're out of the suffering & agony of this World. Amen? Which are you?

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family