The Lord promised to bless the nation of Israel if they obeyed His commandments and to curse them if they disobeyed Him. The blessings and the curses are found in Leviticus 26:3-46 and Deuteronomy 28:1-69.
God set the Israelites free from slavery to walk in righteousness because He desired to walk among them and be their God. He intended to do this if they lived within the terms of the marriage covenant.
If they obeyed the Lord, He promised the following blessings:
- To establish them as a people for Himself.
- To defeat their enemies so they would live in peace in the land.
- To raise them high above the other nations of the earth (to be the head and not the tail).
- Their enemies would fear them.
- That they would lend to other nations and not have to borrow from them.
- To bless everything they did as they came and went.
- To give them the ability to have many children.
- To give them rain so they had plenty of fruit and produce to eat.
If they disobeyed Him, He promised the following curses:
- To break the pride of their power.
- Their enemies would reign over them and dwell in their land (their enemies will become the head and they the tail).
- They would have to borrow from their enemies.
- To send disaster and frustration in all that they did.
- Their high places and incense altars would be destroyed.
- There would be no rain and the earth would not yield produce and fruit. Locusts, bugs, worms, and their enemies would eat what the land produced. Their land would become desolate.
- They would eat and not be satisfied. They would eat their sons and daughters.
- To send plagues and pestilence among them to exterminate them. He will strike them with wasting diseases, fever, inflammation, fiery heat, drought, blasting winds, and mildew. They will suffer from boils, tumors, skin lesions, and itching. He will strike them with insanity, blindness, and utter confusion.
- Enemies would take their children into captivity, destroy their livestock, make them few in number, and make their highways desolate. They will be oppressed and robbed continually. You will not enjoy or use what is yours because it will be taken away.
- Their carcasses would become food for the birds of the air.
- His soul would abhor them.
- They would be fearful and be scattered among the nations and the land would enjoy its rest.
- They would be a laughing stock among the nations and perish.
Fortunately, the Lord promised that they would not be completely destroyed. He promised to remember His covenant if those that remained would accept their guilt and repent of their lawlessness.
As we look through the Bible, we realize how patient the Lord was with His people. He frequently disciplined them with curses by using their enemies against them in the book of Judges. Despite a short time of peace under King Solomon, the Northern Kingdom was taken into exile by the Assyrians and the Southern Kingdom went into exile under the Babylonians. It’s hard to say how many curses they endured during that time. After the land rested for 70 years, the Jews returned to Jerusalem.
What can we say about recent history? During 1932-1933, Stalin caused a bloodless war on the Ukrainian people by causing about 7 million people, many of whom were Jews to die as a result of a forced famine. Their food was taken away from Ukraine and sent to Russia. During that time, Ukrainians, including Jews ate their children in an effort to survive.
During World War II, the Jews suffered horribly during the Holocaust. They were blamed for the poor economy. Some fled to other countries to start a new life. Families of those who did not escape were separated. Many were shot to death. Other people endured forced labor. Many experienced various illnesses. They ate but were not satisfied. They lived in fear in horrible conditions in concentration camps which included freezing temperatures, beatings, lice, and various diseases. They were murdered in gas chambers and then their bodies were cremated. Approximately 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust in addition to many other people such as political prisoners, Christians, homosexuals, and gypsies (Romani). It was a miracle that a remnant survived.
Many ask why God allowed these things to happen. As much as I hate to say it, the things they endured reveal that this must have been a result of lawlessness because what happened to them were the curses of the law. What bothers me more is that I believe something like that is going to happen again!
What we need to understand is that the blessings and curses are still in effect. I know that believers think they are not under the law and that the curses of the law can’t touch them. That’s not exactly true. Believers don’t need to fear the curse of the law which is eternal death. The other curses still apply because we are in a marriage relationship with the Lord Jesus. Disobedience or lawlessness still leads to curses and death while obedience leads to blessing and life.
America was once considered a Christian nation. The blessings that were ours have been disappearing because of what goes on inside our borders—not just by the wicked but by the so-called righteous. Our country is in debt to other nations. Our jobs are disappearing due to our poor economy and because businesses operate in other countries due to burdensome legislation. Foreigners are invading our land and own many of our properties. Many but not all of them bring false religions and build high places in our land. Drug cartels are moving in and are bringing more crime into our land. Terrorists are also crossing our borders and leaving their prayer rugs behind while intending the murder our people. Our food is limited because of the lack of water due to legislation. Health care costs are out of control. AIDS, heart disease, cancer, bird and swine flu, obesity, and other diseases are present. The money of the average man is taken away through taxes and given to many who refuse to work and others who have lost their jobs. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Many would never believe America is probably a laughing stock among the nations and the pride of our power is being removed. America is cursed and doesn’t realize it. The curses will not be lifted unless believers stop supporting and participating in idolatry, sexual immorality, and other forms of lawlessness. Many prefer to ignore the truth in order to count the blessings they do still have. America, accept your guilt and repent!!
What about the future? If you read Revelation, it becomes obvious. The little book John ate in Revelation 10 was sweet then bitter. This was the marriage covenant with the blessings and curses. It was sweet in his mouth because of the blessings but bitter in his stomach because of the curses. The flying scroll that is mentioned in Zechariah 5 contains the curse of the law that goes over the face of the land. Jesus is the only one worthy to open the seals.
The seals of Revelation 6:1-17 and 8:1-5 are curses:
- 1st seal – White horse: Jesus gave this horseman the ability to conquer. Some believe this horseman is the Islamic Mahdi who is expected to ride a white horse.
- 2nd seal – Red horse: This horseman took away peace and caused people to kill one another. The red horse released the first curse of the law. (Lev. 26:16-17)
- 3rd seal – Black horse: Famine on earth caused inflation. The black horse released the second curse of the law. (Lev. 26:19-20) Famine prior to the day of the Lord is also mentioned in Joel 1:15-18.
- 4th seal – Pale (Green) horse: Widespread death [disease] took place over ¼ of the earth. The pale horse released the third and forth curses of the law. (Lev. 26:22)
- 5th seal – Martyred souls under the altar cried for vengeance. This altar in heaven is comparable to the altar of sacrifice located outside the Tabernacle. It indicates that these souls have been unjustly sacrificed. See Mark 14:14-27 and Matthew 24:15-31. These martyred souls wanted Jesus, the Kinsman Redeemer (blood avenger – see Num. 35), to judge and avenge those who killed them. There is beauty in the concept of the cities of refuge (Num. 35:13-15) – Jesus is our refuge and by being united/sealed with/by Him, we will receive eternal life and we will escape the wrath of the blood avenger. Vengeance is God’s and He will repay (Deut. 32:25). The fifth curse began. (Lev. 26:23-26)
- 6th seal – Cosmic disturbances included: a great earthquake, the sun becoming black, the moon becoming like blood, and the stars of heaven falling to the earth. The leaders of the earth hid in caves to avoid the wrath of the Lamb. They wanted the mountains and rocks to fall on them. Isaiah 2:19-21, Hosea 10:8, Joel 2:31 say something similar. The fifth curse is continued.
- 7th seal – When the 7th seal was opened, there was silence in heaven for about ½ hour. This pause may represent the time between sealing of Israel, Jesus’ arrival, and the Day of Atonement. Prayers of the saints and a large amount of incense were offered before the throne. [On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies and offered incense to create a cloud before the mercy seat so he would not die in God’s presence. (Lev. 16:12-13)] Then the angel threw a censer full of fire to the earth. There were noises, thundering, lightning, and an earthquake. This may indicate some kind of judgment comparable to the 250 men who offered incense during Korah’s rebellion in the wilderness (Numbers 16:35-18:32).
In Revelation, the first six seals seemed to affect everyone–both the wicked and those who are sealed.
The trumpets (shofars) in Revelation 8:7 – 11:19 were calls to repentance. Blessings are long gone. God’s wrath caused the destruction of only 1/3 of everything during the trumpets. It seems as if God executed the prophecy of Ezekiel 5 here (1/3 burn, 1/3 man’s sword, 1/3 scattered and pursued with God’s sword).
- 1st trumpet – Hail and fire mixed with blood was thrown to earth. One third of trees and all grass were burned up. Destruction by fire is mentioned when the day of the Lord is at hand in Joel 1:19-20.
- 2nd trumpet – A burning mountain was thrown into the sea. One third of the sea became blood, a third of living sea creatures died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. This burning mountain is probably a city or country because in Jeremiah 51:24-64, Babylon was referred to as a mountain that would be destroyed and left desolate forever.
- 3rd trumpet – The burning star Wormwood (bitterness) fell from the sky and struck the waters and many men died from the water.
- 4th trumpet – One third of the sun, moon, and stars were struck and darkened. A third of the day and night did not shine. In Joel 2, the sun, moon, and stars are struck and darkened when a great army comes against Jerusalem on the Great Day of the Lord.
- 5th trumpet – In Egypt, there was a plague of real locust that caused great destruction. They were driven by the Lord into the Red Sea. In other parts of the Bible, armies are described as locusts (Judges 6:3-6; Jer. 51:14, 27; 2 Chron. 7:13; Joel 1:1-7, 2:25). Many believe the plague of locust mentioned in Revelation are Islamic extremists executing jihad (holy war). This is due to their description of the armies of the Arab/Islamic Caliphate Empire. These armies have been compared to locusts that scourge the land or to scorpions that sting, poison, and kill. The plague of locust seems to have already been unleashed again today in the form of Islamic extremists but perhaps this is only a precursor. Revelation says they will inflict pain only on those without the seal of God for 5 months so it’s hard to say for sure exactly who or what they really are. These who will experience pain will long to die but won’t be able to. They are not allowed to harm those who have the seal of God on their foreheads.
- 6th trumpet – Four angels (horsemen) who are bound at the Euphrates River were released to kill a third of mankind. The locusts continue in battle but the remainder of the people does not repent. They continue to practice idolatry, commit murder, occultic activities, drug abuse, stealing, and sexual immorality. The 6th trumpet seems to be in preparation for the 6th bowl (Euphrates River dries up to prepare a way for the kings from the east for the Battle of Armageddon). It’s wonderful how this drying up of the Euphrates also makes a way for the remnant of God’s people to return (Isaiah 11:15-16, Rev. 16:12).
- 7th trumpet – The Millennial Kingdom is proclaimed. The 24 elders worship God and the temple is opened and the Ark of the Covenant is seen in the temple. This is a reference to the Day of Atonement which was the only day of the year when the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant was located! (Lev. 16:2-3a) There were noises, thundering, lightning, an earthquake and great hail.
The first four trumpets affected everyone but the locusts of the fifth and sixth trumpets are not allowed to harm those who are sealed.
The bowls of plagues only fall on the wicked that reject the marriage covenant:
- 1st Plague – Foul and loathsome sore.
- 2nd Plague – Sea turns to blood, as of a dead man and kills every living creature in the sea.
- 3rd Plague – Rivers and springs of water turn to blood.
- 4th Plague – Men scorched with heat from the sun.
- 5th Plague – Kingdom of the beast suffered darkness and pain causing men to gnaw on their tongues.
- 6th Plague – Euphrates River dried up and three unclean spirits like frogs came out of the dragon, beast, and false prophet to gather people for the Battle of Armageddon.
- 7th Plague – Noises, thundering, and lightning came out of heaven. Great hail came down on men and an earthquake divided Babylon the Great into three parts causing the cities of the nations to fall.
This should be expected because Deuteronomy 30:7 says that God would put all the curses on Israel’s enemies and those who hated and persecuted them.
The covenant of the Torah will be the basis for judgments and rewards. For now, the only commands we don’ need to worry about fulfilling are those that are directly related to the Temple at this point because there is currently no Temple in Jerusalem. However, we do need to be concerned with how those particular commands affect our bodies which are Temples of God. Remember, the Torah will not be abolished until everything is fulfilled and that won’t be until heaven and earth pass away so the curses of the law still apply (Matt. 5:17-20).
Remember that obedience to the law has and will always bring blessing and life while disobedience to the law or lawlessness has and will always bring cursing and death!