According to Many Pastors, the Saints in Heaven are Sinning
Jeff Crippen ♦ 12th October 2016 ♦ 9 Comments
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Revelation 6:9-11 ESV)
We have heard all kinds of theological charlatanism when it comes to the application of what are called “imprecatory” prayers. An imprecation is a curse. Sometimes of course it can be a sinful thing. When someone uses foul language when we they are angry, we call it “cursing.” Uttering a “damnation” against someone unjustly is indeed a sin. And a serious one. Jesus said so —
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:22 ESV)
However, Scripture also shows us that there IS a proper and righteous prayer of cursing someone! This is called, once again, an imprecatory prayer. Here is an example:
So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love. Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin! May his days be few; may another take his office! May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow! May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit! May the creditor seize all that he has; may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil! Let there be none to extend kindness to him, nor any to pity his fatherless children! (Psalm 109:5-12 ESV)
Recently one of our readers wrote and told us that she had to endure a sermon recently in which the preacher claimed that such imprecations in the Psalms were the sin of the Psalmist breaking out which he later repented of! This kind of false teaching is sadly typical. All anger, all desire for justice is seen as sin. Victims are blamed and accused….while the wicked perpetrator folds his arms and smugly says, “Yep, I told you so. You are the one with the problem. You are unforgiving.”
Well then, consider the prayer cited above by the martyrs in heaven. Do they have sin in them? Only the craziest of false teachers would say that they do (and there are plenty of crazies out there nowadays it seems). They are in heaven! In the presence of Christ! Of course they have no sin. And here they are, praying. Praying what? Imprecations against their enemies who are also and fundamentally the Lord’s enemies. “Judge them, Lord! Take vengeance upon them! Give us justice.” That’s the prayer, you see.
How does the Lord respond to these prayers? “Now, now, now children. You must not be angry. You need to confess your own sin. You need to love these people and forgive them. You know, you are sinners too.” No way! And yet those are the kinds of words being put in Jesus’ mouth by so many professing Christians and preachers nowadays. (It’s a wicked and dangerous thing to put words into God’s mouth, by the way. To say “thus saith the Lord” when in fact He has not said it.)
No, the Lord responds to their prayer by AGREEING with it! He comforts them, rewards them, and assures them that justice and vengeance are on the way. Just a little longer and that Day will arrive.
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering — since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thess 1:5-10 ESV)
If the inspired words of Scripture, written by God’s prophets and apostles, include expressions of their own sin (that are not clearly identified as such by the inspired writers themselves), then who decides what portions of God’s Word are the sinful utterances of the biblical authors and which are not? Who decides? Who handles the cutting and pasting and deleting? You see it? This approach sets man as judge on the Word of God and leaves him free to accept or reject whatever he wants, based on what appeals to him or not.
It is right and just and proper for victims of wickedness to call for God’s justice, just as the saints in heaven are doing right now. Anyone calling such desires and prayers evil are simply revealing themselves to be ignorant of the character of God, or an intentional ally of the kingdom of darkness themselves.
How then do Jesus’ words about loving our enemies and praying for them reconcile with the imprecatory prayers? I will let you answer that question, with this hint — read ALL the verses, not just “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Read it in context. How is this love defined here?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 ESV)
[September 8, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to September 8, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to September 8, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to September 8, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (September 8, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
If you Are a Christian, then You Practice Hatred. Really!
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
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Speaking of “Thus saith the Lord,” does anyone here have experience / knowledge of Brother Branham? He was a “prophet” from the 1940s through the 60s, who frequently proclaimed “Thus saith the LORD!!” And whatever followed was held as scripture.
I ask because my abusive father’s mother is a major follower of his– even though he died years ago. She listens to tapes of his sermons every Sunday. She is one of the most twisted, unbalanced women I have ever met.
My heart goes out to you. It sounds like you’re in a difficult situation right now with your family.
To answer your question, from what I’ve read about William Branham, he taught some pretty twisted stuff such as that hell is not eternal and Eve had an affair with the serpent which resulted in infecting all women with evil. His views on women are so hateful that it’s pretty obvious he’s not getting this from the Lord. If your family member is listening to that every week, I can only imagine the pressure that is causing you.
I read something about “mixture” — that at first it’s hard to tell the difference between true and false teachers because both of them start out quoting real Scripture and teaching real doctrine. But the difference is that later on after people have opened their hearts, the false teachers will start to mix truth and deception. Then people believe the lies because their hearts are already open to that preacher.
Yeah, Branham taught that “God wrote three Bibles”… the Zodiac, the Pyramids, and (lastly) the Bible. He also repeatedly called Jesus the missing capstone of the pyramid, when in actuality the Bible calls Him the chief or head stone of the corner — the chief cornerstone of the foundation (not the capstone!) Even the masons know this, and do their ‘cornerstone’ ceremonies… they know it’s not the capstone.
Branham was also very mysogynistic, as Avid Reader mentions. His ‘Serpent Seed’ doctrine is virulently anti-Semitic (it’s exactly the same as what Christian Identity believes… that the Jews are the literal spawn of Satan and Eve). It’s utterly twisted.
Is the post complete? It looks like some of it is missing at the bottom. Thanks.
Yes, it is complete.
Excellent! I had honestly not made the connection with the passage in Revelation with imprecatory prayer. Very good!
I’m at college, and my Old Testament poetry teacher recently pointed that out. We were discussing imprecatory psalms and whether they were right to pray or not, and a lot of students weren’t quite sure what to think. And then after letting us hash out ideas for a while, he took us to that passage in Revelation and made that very point. He said that maybe that type of prayer doesn’t seem right to us because we’re not yet spiritually mature enough to understand evil and God’s justice in the way that God does. (Oh, and this was at Bob Jones University.)
Jeff, when I first read this (the day it was posted) I was astounded! What GREAT understanding you have pulled out of scripture and through this, have revealed more of God’s nature and depth of understanding.
There’s so much to say to what you’ve written but this part:
Pastor Crippen, HOW THIS “RIGHT” HAS SO OFTEN BEEN TAKEN FROM US–GOD’S CHILDREN. The “right” to pray to God for justice. The “right” for us to call evil–evil. The right for us to acknowledge that we are NOT like evil ones and that it is NOT our fault, responsibility or even within our capability to change or help them and that as such we are to have NOTHING TO DO WITH SUCH EVIL PEOPLE! These very basic “rights” that Christians are supposed to have and are SUPPOSED TO PRAY FOR are raped away from us and instead we are told to make ourselves a part of the problem if we want to show “true” Christianity to others. Is it any wonder that so few of us are walking in victory with Jesus or that so few of us have found true fellowship with the brethren? Heck, we aren’t even allowed to admit that there might be MANY in the church who not only hate God, but think that they ARE God?
Thank you again for continuing to allow God to use you and to walk with us here…I want to thank your wife as well–although we don’t hear much about her, most of us here are very aware what an important part of your walk she is–and I pray for her to be blessed by what you are able to share here. Thank you both!
My former church was fine with singing imprecatory psalms, but the idea that Christians today could pray imprecation was anathema. The thinking went along these lines. Let’s say you were a Christian in Acts, and heard that Paul was coming to arrest the Christians. Your imprecation would be contrary to God’s purposes, because God was planning to show grace to Paul. It was okay for David to sing imprecations because he was a prophet and prophetically ‘knew’ God’s enemies, and it was okay for Jesus to condemn the Pharisees to their faces for the same reason, but somehow we are prevented, because we are not ‘inspired’ to know who God’s enemies are. Thus we can only pray / sing imprecation against general enemies, not specific people.
Interestingly, one of my former church’s claims against hymn singing vs. psalmody is that Isaac Watt’s desire to “Christianize” the psalms included removing imprecations, and that thought caught on that certain psalms, or at least parts, thereof, should never be sung by Christians – especially imprecations.
Where does that leave us today? I don’t know. There are not so many abusive non-Christians in my life as there are people who, by all appearances, love God, yet are driven by a behavioralist misunderstanding of God to push sacrifice and not mercy, adherence to the law rather than grace.