Gerry Wagoner interviewed Steve Wohlberg of White Horse Media about his upcoming July 23 presentation at Nashville 1st SDA Church, and new sharing book titled "The Coming Judgments of God."
Hi Steve. Thanks for giving us an interview on this very important presentation.
Tell us about your new sharing pocketbook, The Coming Judgments of God.
I’ve written many books, but I have never sensed God’s hand so strongly as when I was writing this one. The topic is the world’s increasing immorality and the coming (and current) just judgments of a holy God against the sins of breaking His law. I know this will be a tough pill for many to swallow, but the Bible is so clear about this. The basic premise of my pocketbook is that God’s character is a blend of mercy, compassion, kindness and holy justice, all rooted in love. Since the fall of man, the Lord has shown mercy and patience toward sinners, but history reveals that eventually a line is crossed. Then justice strikes. The flood, and the destruction of Sodom, are prime examples. Today, with the surging growth of the LGBTQ movement, rising pedophilia, and even bestiality, combined with the toxic brew of global Internet pornography, it is clear that we are about to cross that line again, “the hidden boundary between God’s patience and His wrath.”
Isaiah wrote: “When Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). Those “judgments” are surely falling now, and many more are coming—beyond anything we’ve ever witnessed. In Scripture, God used agencies as instruments of His justice, both natural (such as storms and earthquakes, see Genesis 6-9 and Numbers 16:31-33) and even wicked warriors, such as the fierce Assyrians (see Isaiah 10:5,6) and cruel Babylonians (see Jeremiah 1:14-16). I know this sounds tough, but I’m convinced that today He is again using natural disasters, and even savage Islamic terrorists, as agencies of His judgments against gross human wickedness. Tragically—and this is part of the messiness of sin—the innocent often suffer with the guilty. Look closely at this inspired quotation:
These calamities [terrible earthquakes] are becoming more and more frequent, and each report of calamity by land or sea is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is near. The world is filled with iniquity, and the Lord is punishing it for its wickedness. As crimes and iniquities increase, these judgments will become more frequent, until the time shall come when the earth shall no more cover her slain. RH, November 17, 1910 (emphasis added)
I understand you have been invited to speak at the Nashville 1st SDA church on July 23rd. Will you be talking about this topic there?
Yes, absolutely—it is the event’s entire focus. There will be four presentations: 1) The Coming Judgments of God, 2) Wise or Foolish? 3) Fire from the Sky, 4) Q & A / Panel discussion. On the panel will be myself, Tim Saxton (Administrative Director, White Horse Media), Pastor Melvin Santos (the pastor of the Nashville First SDA Church), and Pastor David Hartman (the Ministerial Director of the KY-TN Conference). Together, we will field questions from the audience, and offer practical suggestions about how we can cooperate with Jesus in warning the cities now, presenting the three angels messages now, and in saving souls for God’s eternal kingdom now. This entire event will be streamed LIVE on our newest website, www.warnthecities.com.
Why Nashville? Why is this city so significant?
1904 Ellen White had a dream. She wrote:
When I was at Nashville, I had been speaking to the people, and in the night season, there was an immense ball of fire that came right from heaven and settled in Nashville. There were flames going out like arrows from that ball; houses were being consumed; houses were tottering and falling. Some of our people were standing there. “It is just as we expected,” they said, “we expected this.” Others were wringing their hands in agony and crying unto God for mercy. “You knew it,” said they, “you knew that this was coming, and never said a word to warn us!” They seemed as though they would almost tear them to pieces, to think they had never told them or given them any warning at all (Manuscript 188, 1905, emphasis added).
In July 2015, the Ellen G. White Estate released all remaining unpublished EGW material—which included that quote specifying “Nashville,” which had never before been read by Adventism-at-large. Since then, many have been deeply stirred, especially Adventist pastors in Nashville. What shall we do? they have pondered and prayed. In God’s providence, this stirring has led to the choosing of July 23 as the date for our “Warn the Cities” Convocation in Nashville. If you can’t be there, again, you can watch it live on www.warnthecities.com.
Will those “balls of fire” that Ellen White saw in her 1904 dream fall only on Nashville?
No, definitely not. In 1906 Ellen White had another, similar dream clarifying that “great balls of fire” would hit many other cities too (see our flyer, Fire from the Sky). Thus she was not pinpointing only one city.
How many cities did EGW include in her predictions?
I’ll let her answer that:
O that God's people had a sense of the impending destruction of thousands of cities, now almost given to idolatry…The time is near when large cities will be swept away, and all should be warned of these coming judgments. Evangelism, 29 (emphasis added)
Gerry, these words burn in my soul. The word is that “all should be warned of these coming judgments.” This is what White Horse Media is trying to do. This is why I wrote The Coming Judgments of God, a for-sharing pocketbook that can be given to anyone. This is the reason for our July 23 “Warn the Cities” Convocation. We also hope this event will be used by God to spark a worldwide movement among His people to spread His message quickly, while mercy lingers. Our new website, www.warnthecities.com also contains links to many resources to help God’s people do their part. On October 6, I will also be in 3ABN discussing this same topic. Pray for us.
In the last 15 years, there has been a renewed emphasis on reaching people in the cities. What are the dangers of “pitching our tents” towards the cities?
EGW is very clear that, as much as possible, we should move out of the large cities for the sake of our spiritual lives, and for the sake of our children. In 2008, my own family moved out of California to Priest River, Idaho, where we now live. What a blessing! But we should work the cities too, spreading God’s message, lifting up Jesus, and warning others. In general, I’m convinced that country living is God’s plan. Lot started out in the country, but soon he “pitched his tent toward Sodom.” Then he eventually moved into that wicked city. The result was disaster. He barely escaped with his life when Sodom was consumed by fire. May God help us to pitch our tents in the other direction!
It sounds like you are calling for revival. True?
Definitely. Look closely at this familiar quote:
Before the final visitation of God's judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. The Great Controversy, 464 (1911)
Gerry, I’ve read this quote many times, but only recently have I seen the connection between the final “revival” and “God’s judgments,” which are both mentioned in the same quote. Revelation 18 does the same thing. Verse 1 describes a final revival among God’s people (which lightens the earth), while the rest of the same chapter describes the judgments of God falling upon Babylon for her sins. Thus, in both the Bible and SOP, the final revival is combined with an awareness of God’s coming judgments.
What are some practical steps that our church members can do to participate in this revival?
First of all, they can read the chapter in The Great Controversy called, “Modern Revivals.” Next, they can believe every word. Third, study the character of God, His mercy and His justice. Then look at Gethsemane and at the cross. In The Desire of Ages, in the chapter on “Gethsemane,” we read: “The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ, and the sense of God’s wrath against sin was crushing out His life.” Behold Him! Sin is so awful. The judgments of God are soon to fall against all wickedness. Evil will be wiped out. Only love will remain. Now is the time to forsake all sin, and seek the Savior.
What does primitive godliness mean to you? What will it look like?
It means following the Bible, as it reads, as the early disciples did, and being fully surrendered to Jesus Christ. It means trusting fully in Christ for salvation, living for Christ, loving Him, serving Him, following His example, and helping others to know Him.
Is the Holy Spirit being poured out on people now?
Yes, there is no doubt about it. Daily I sense the moving of the Holy Spirit inside my own heart. It’s a battle. Satan hits hard. But Jesus is stronger than the devil. Memorizing His Word brings spiritual power. I think we can experience the early rain now. Soon the latter rain will fall. Let’s get ready for it.
Christians in our world have many spears pointing at them right now. How do we distinguish between God’s judgments and self-inflicted wounds?
If we make fools of ourselves, we will suffer accordingly. If we do what’s right, no matter what, we will probably be persecuted. Based on what I read in the Bible and SOP, I see all major natural disasters (whether directly sent by God, or allowed by Him, or influenced by the devil), as all classifiable under the broad heading of a “judgment from God.” Again, sin is messy. We are so feeble. We can’t always figure out what comes directly from who. But we can know this. EGW wrote:
The sword of wrath is stretched out over a people who have by their pride and wickedness provoked the displeasure of a just God. Storms, earthquakes, whirlwinds, fire, and the sword will spread desolation everywhere, until men's hearts shall fail them for fear, looking for those things which shall come upon the earth. RH, November 28, 1882 (emphasis added)
Our Nation is being assaulted from within by the deconstruction of biblical marriage & gender distinctions. Is the time ripe for God’s judgment because of these trends?
No doubt. Remember the flood. Remember Sodom. EGW wrote:
The flames that consumed the cities of the plain shed their warning light down even to our time. We are taught the fearful and solemn lesson that while God's mercy bears long with the transgressor, there is a limit beyond which men may not go on in sin. When that limit is reached, then the offers of mercy are withdrawn, and the ministration of judgment begins. Patriarchs and Prophets, 162 (emphasis added)
Amazingly, she also predicted:
The Lord calls for His people to locate away from the cities, for in such an hour as ye think not, fire and brimstone will be rained from heaven upon these cities. Proportionate to their sins will be their visitation. Last Day Events, 95 (emphasis added)
Again, there can be no doubt that these judgments from God are coming soon.
There is an increasing viewpoint that God’s love overrules His judgment. Could that be connected to the false prediction of “peace & safety” that we find in Jeremiah 23 and 1 Thessalonians 5:3?
Yes. Those who promote a false view of God’s love, while neglecting His justice and wrath, don’t really understand His true character. It is because He loves so intensely that He will finally act with holy vengeance to destroy all sin and evil—which threatens the peace and security of His universe. Thus “wrath” is the flip side of “love.” If we believe the Bible, it is clear that God manifests both attributes. In fact, it is love itself that has wrath, for the sake of His beloved. Those who are “Peace and safety” alone promoters, especially if they participate in the world’s evil, will not “escape the judgment of God” (Romans 2:3).
We appreciate the solemn call to repentance & revival you have set before us here. Any final thoughts?
Yes. Once again, your readers can watch LIVE our July 23 “Warn the Cities Convocation” in Nashville, TN, on www.warnthecities.com. Our newest 16-minute video explaining the same event, is also on that website.
Now is the time to realize that God’s just judgments are already falling, and that more are coming. Now is the time to draw close to Jesus, and to lift Him up. Now is the time to repent, and to give up all sin. Now is the time for the final revival. Now is the time to warn the cities. Now is the time to get ready to go home.
“Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments” (Revelation 16:7).
Praise His name!