Impersonal Agents of God's Judgment

May 18, 2011

In my dissertation research, I compiled and analyzed many fascinating aspects about the biblical data concerning the doctrine of judgment. One of those was the many passages that show that God has judged through various impersonal agents (i.e., animals).

In the plagues on Pharaoh, God employed various animals as His agents (frogs, gnats, flies, and locusts; Exod. 8-10). In the wilderness, He sent fiery serpents to judge His people (Num. 21:6). God promised to send out beasts and venomous creatures to destroy sinners (Deut. 32:24). Mice marred the land of the Philistines after they had captured the ark of the Lord (1 Sam. 6:1-5).

God sent a lion to attack a disobedient prophet (1 Kings 13:26; cf. 2 Kings 17:25). Dogs (1 Kings 21:23; cf. 2 Kings 9:33-37) and birds (1 Kings 16:4; cf. Prov. 30:17) executed His judgments. After Elisha cursed in the name of the Lord those who dishonored God by dishonoring His prophet, two bears mauled forty-two lads (2 Kings 2:23-24). The Lord commanded locusts “to devour the land” (2 Chron. 7:13; cf. Exod. 10:13). Jeremiah announced that lions, wolves, and leopards would tear apart the sinful people of Israel (Jer. 5:6). An angel of the Lord judged Herod by striking him so that he died from being eaten by worms (Acts 12:23).

God will judge through various impersonal agents in the future. Wild beasts will execute His wrath in the future (Rev. 6:8). At the command of an angel, birds will come and eat the flesh of the armies that oppose Christ at His Second Coming (Rev. 19:17-21).

These passages display an aspect of the wealth of the biblical data concerning the doctrine of judgment to which many of us may not have given much attention. I hope that this brief sampling will elevate your appreciation for the glory of God as Judge.

Rajesh

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