King Belshazzar of Babylon, grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar, was personally judged by God when his cup of rebellion (iniquity) was filled! Daniel also warns King Belshazzar that his grandfather also personally came under divine judgment by God and temporarily repented.
We are all servants of God whether we realize it or not. One can be a slave without their agreement. King Nebuchadnezzar did not know that he was serving God’s purposes when he destroyed Jerusalem. But, when Israel’s cup of iniquity was full, God used King Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Israel, and God used King Darius to overthrow the Babylonian empire.
Daniel 5:30-31: “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.”
King Cyrus of Persia was another unwitting servant of God (Ezra 1:1-2: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”
Isaiah 44:28 reads: “That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure...” (also see Isaiah 25:1-12).
As we can see, God raises up military leaders to take the sword and use it to bring judgment on those whose cup of iniquity becomes full, even though the leaders chose to do what they wanted.
In Romans 2:5, 6, 8 Paul warns the sexually immoral Romans of “the full cup principle”: “...you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed, God will give to each person according to what he has done. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”
Paul clearly understood the “full cup of iniquity” rule. Colossians 3:5, 6: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.”
In 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, the believers in Thessalonica are encouraged to be patient until the enemies of Christ had filled their cup of iniquity. “…You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches (in Judea) suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They (the Jews) displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.” At the time of this writing Paul knew that the Jews had “filled up their cup” and that they were doomed to destruction by the Romans, which began in 70 AD.
Jesus warned about the “full cup rule” during a discourse with the Scribes and Pharisees after pronouncing seven curses (woes) upon them for their hypocrisy.
Matthew 23:32-33 states: “Fill ye up then the measure of your forefathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?”
When a nation, city, people or a person’s cup of rebellion has been filled, then divine love manifests itself in judgment. God breaks His silence, for divine mercy has its limits, and out of divine grace for the innocent, His wrath is poured out.
Revelation 18:4-8 warns of the principle of the “cup of iniquity,” and of redemptive and utter destructive judgment: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and god hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”
God’s behavior toward the nation of Israel is no different than toward any other nation. God’s behavior is universal and unchanging. The “full cup principle” with Israel is as follows: Israel becomes wicked; Warnings are sent from God through prophets; When the warnings are repeatedly rejected by the people or nation, then God sends destruction!
Note: For example, God sent eight prophets to Israel over a period of 130 years prior to the destruction of the ten northern tribes to warn the people to repent and obey the laws of God or He would send destruction. God sent the prophets Elisha, Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Mica. When the majority of the people continued to reject the warnings of God, which is the grace and mercy of God, finally the cup of iniquity became full. God broke His silence and used the Assyrian king to bring His judgment upon Israel by destroying the ten tribes of Israel in 722 B.C. Later, when the Assyrian’s cup of iniquity became full, God sent another nation to destroy the Assyrians. The cup of iniquity principle always takes place as it is a rule/law of design by God Himself. It is the Science of Judgment!
Prior to the destruction of the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin, God sent five prophets out of compassion to warn them to repent. For 65 years the prophets Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Jeremiah and Ezekiel tried to warn them of God’s anger toward their sins, but they continued to reject the warnings of the prophets. We must realize that God is predictable. There are certain patterns of apostasy that are scientific for all nations. God’s character of justice and mercy is known and balanced into what I call divine love.
When patterns of apostasy continue and the cup of iniquity becomes full, then first redemptive and finally destructive judgment falls. God sends a destroyer upon a nation to judge it. God uses kings of nations as His arm of destruction. He uses them as His destroyer to conquer and destroy that nation in apostasy. The people of Israel were warned about violating the terms of God’s covenant!
THERE COMES A POINT OF NO RETURN!
Jeremiah 7:16: “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee.”
Jeremiah 11:11, 14: “Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them…Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.”
Jeremiah 14:11-16: “Then said the Lord unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place. Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword: and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.”
Jeremiah 30:12-15: “For thus saith the Lord, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines. All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased. Why criest thou for thine affliction? Thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.”
Ezekiel 5:11-12: “Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord God; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity. A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them.”
Ezekiel 7:8-9: “Now will I shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations. And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth.”
Ezekiel 8:17-18: “Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? For they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them.”
Ezekiel 9:9-10: “Then said he unto me, the iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, the Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not. And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head.”
Ezekiel 14:13, 14, 16, 18, 20: “Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God…Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate…Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves…Though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.”
Deuteronomy 28:15, 45, 48, 49: “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee…Moreover, all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee…Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies, which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he hath destroyed thee. The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand.”
Nahum 3:19: “There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous; all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?”
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Dr. Jonathan Hansen