Joel C. Rosenberg steps up to the mic…

Well, I was wrong.

Someone decided to play the judgment card.

As reported on Matthew Paul Turner’s blog today, Christian author and prophecy enthusiast Joel C. Rosenberg wrote that the Colorado wildfires were indeed sent by God to get our attention.

Here’s an excerpt from Rosenberg’s blog yesterday:

Is it possible God is using natural disasters to get our attention? Natural disasters continue unfolding one after another here at home and around the world as they always have. But have you stopped to notice that so many recently are described as ‘historic’ and ‘unprecedented?’ Eight of the ten most expensive hurricanes in American history have happened since 9/11…

The fact is that throughout the Bible and throughout history God has used natural disasters to shake families, cities, regions and entire nations. Why? To get the people’s attention. To warn people to stop drifting and/or rebelling from God and repent…

Thousands of years ago, God told the Hebrew prophet Haggai to write down these words: “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations… I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations’” (Haggai 2:6-7, 21-22). This is Bible prophecy. This is an intercept from the mind of the all-knowing, all-seeing God of the universe. It is a weather report from the future, if you will, a storm warning… God told us well in advance that he was going to “shake all the nations.” That certainly includes the United States.

Let us urgently begin praying 2 Chronicles 7:14 for our country… time is running short.

OK, first… let’s talk about this Haggai. His oracle was addressed to Jews in the 6th century BC who, on their return from exile, needed a good kick in the pants in order to get working on the new temple.

THAT was the point of the very passage Rosenberg quoted. Not that his readers would know, since he left out the part that doesn’t fit his theory:

This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory.’

“This house.” As in, the second temple. The one built in the 6th century BC.

When King Solomon built the first temple four hundred years earlier, the glory of Yahweh descended on it (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). That same glory, God’s divine presence on earth, vacated the temple shortly before its destruction in 586 BC (Ezekiel 10).

In order to get construction of the second temple back on track, God promised Haggai that his presence would someday fill the new building, much as it had the old one. According to Christian tradition, this came to pass 500 years later. When Jesus Christ set foot in the finished building, God indeed filled “this house with glory” like never before. The aftershock of his advent reverberated across the nations, just as God had promised.

That’s what this prophecy is about. Not wildfires or earthquakes in 21st-century America. Haggai probably wasn’t even thinking about Colorado when he wrote this oracle.

It’s time we start respecting the Bible’s context — and stop treating it like a horoscope.

More importantly, let’s not take advantage of people’s pain and suffering in Colorado in order to score a few “oohs” and “ahs” from like-minded prophecy enthusiasts.

There is one thing Rosenberg was right about, though. We are seeing an increase in the frequency and intensity of certain natural disasters: droughts, fires, etc. Since 1975, the number of natural disasters has increased fivefold.

But instead of blaming God, let’s should look a bit closer to home. Climatologists have been telling us for years that global warming will have this effect. Maybe it’s time we listened. Maybe it’s time we started taking better care of the planet.

The earth is, after all, the Lord’s.

6 thoughts on “Joel C. Rosenberg steps up to the mic…

  1. Love this – “stop treating the Bible like a horoscope.”

    You are absolutely right. We are in the completely ethnocentric habit of believing that every Bible passage is directed, first and foremost, to our 21st century American culture. Thus, we rip it out of its original context and lose all of its vastly superior original meaning.


  2. I think a word study on ‘skubala’ would be in order. These modern-day ‘profits’ are just full of it. If God called anyone to truly fill the office of prophet, they should be scared to death since they were often called to physically embody the message. A dead wife, going without clothes, denial of Promised Land, those are pretty tough. I don’t see that kind of stuff among modern-day profits.


    1. Good observation that many of today’s would-be prophets want all the glory of the office and none of the hardships. Roger Olson made a similar point in his response to John Piper’s comments about tornados. If you’re going to have the audacity to attribute specific disasters to God’s judgment, then have the courage to do what the prophets of old did — and stand up in the middle of the devastation and proclaim it to the victims. Don’t just say it from the safety of an office chair thousands of miles away.


  3. I do not agree with what this “prophesy junkie” said. But a reading of the whole bible would surely indicate that God works in supernatural ways, brings judgement and uses evil to produce good in a nations or persons life – is that blaming God?

    Speaking of narcissists… “But instead of blaming God, maybe we should look a bit closer to home. Climatologists have been telling us for years that global warming will cause natural disasters to increase in frequency and severity. Maybe it’s time we listened. Maybe it’s time we started taking better care of the planet.”

    You actually believe by us taking better care of the environment we will stop natural disasters – it seems to me there is only one person who has that kind of power! I think we need to take care how we speak about other narcissists. And I do think we should take better care of our environment by the way, but not because it’s going to be our salvation. That has been taken care of.



    1. Hi Randy, I’m not denying God’s ability to work in supernatural ways, judge evil, etc. But that doesn’t mean we should look for the finger of God in every disaster, much less presume the ability to “interpret” them.

      I don’t believe taking care of the planet will stop natural disasters. Didn’t say anything of the sort. But the climate change’s role in intensifying the frequency and severity of such disasters is scientific fact. While being careful not to blame any particular disaster on climate change (b/c disasters are going to happen either way), we should accept that our actions can have serious consequences.


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