Hello, John! Thank you for always answering questions, and your answers are always wise and humble! I have a question regarding the passage in Genesis 15:16. It says that the measure of iniquity Amorites not yet fulfilled. What could this mean? Does this mean that this, and perhaps other Nations, was allotted a certain amount of evil that they could create in this world? After all, God could immediately destroy Amorites through Abraham, for example. And then there will not the 400 years of slavery, etc. I understand that then God would not be able to show Their full force and punish the people of Israel. But still, what is the measure of iniquity? 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Ge.15:16)
The passage does not provide an explanation of the meaning of their iniquity not yet being full. For this reason, we must speculate as to the meaning based on other passages. I believe what God means is that the Amorites are indeed sinful, but their sin has not risen to the point that God will come in judgment on them. The sin of this people reached its fullness much later and God used Israel to judge them when Joshua attacked and defeated them in Joshua 10.
God is patient and does not want to judge people, either individually or corporately. However, there comes a time when an individual, a church or a nation has sinned enough that God comes to judge them. This happened to the Amorites, but during the time of Abraham, they had not yet reached this point. Joel 3:13 describes God’s judgment on the nations because the winepress is full because of their iniquities. When the winepress of God’s fury is full, then his judgment will come. No one and nothing can stop God’s judgment. In the Old Testament when sin reaches its full, then comes the Day of the Lord. I suggest you do a study in the Old Testament of the Day of the Lord. Ezekiel describes the sin of God’s people. In chapter nine the sin of God’s people is full. In chapter ten, God departed from the temple, which was the precursor for God coming in judgment on his people. We can reach the point of no return. Hebrews 10:26-31 tells us that we, too. even as Christians, can reach the point of no return. We, to, can reach the point where our sin has reached its fullness.
A study on the Day of the Lord from a clas I have taught is below.
I hope this helps.
I. The Day of the Lord in the Old Testament.
Sometimes the Kingdom breaks out, judgment happens and people start dying! (esp see the OT and the Day of the Lord)
The Day of the Lord is that period of time when God openly intervenes in history and the affairs of man—in judgment and in blessing. Joel 1:15 Woe, because of that day!
TDOTL normally appears as totally bad news, but for God’s people that is not the case.
TDOTL 26 times in OT The “day” of Jesus is also used in the NT (referred to as the day of Christ)
What is TDOTL? It is a day to repent. (or better yet, to repent before it arrives)
Let us read some sample passages
Is 2:12-22 TDOTL comes on prideful individuals. The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and the lofty.
Isaiah 13:6-13, 17-21. TDOTL is destruction of Bablylon. V 17 I will stir up the Medes. (that is what happened) vs 10-13 apocalyptic language.
Judgment on those who attack Israel
Is 34:4,8-10 Edom The starry host falls
Judgment on those who stand aside when Israel is attacked
Jer 46:10 Judgment on Egypt. Judgment on false allies of Israel. (don’t read?)
Joel: 1:15 (already read) 2:1-2 Blow the trumpet!!!
Joel 2:11-17 A dreadful day v. 13 But you can still repent.
Joel 2:28-31 quoted in Acts 2
The Day of the Lord Joel 2:28-29 I will pour out my spirit in those days.
A classic passage on TDOTL Joel 3:9-14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
(Amos 5:18-20, Obadiah 15, Zeph 1:8, Zeph 1:14, 1:18-2:3) (all Zeph chapter 1 )
Malachi 4:5 Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. John the Baptist. Refers to AD 70. For us: TDOTL is the return of Jesus and final Judgment Day. (Rev 21)
II. TDOTL in the NT:
2 Thess 1:6-10 The Day of the Lord will come to those who trouble you. V. 10 “on that day” (this should give us comfort)
Matthew 24:36-39 Concerning the day or the hour… As in the days of Noah… So it will be in the coming of the Son of Man.
2 Pet 3:8-10 The Day of the Lord will come like a thief.
The theme of these passages is that we need to be ready for the coming of the Kingdom of God—for The Day of the Lord.
Phil 2:14-16 …that I may boast on the day of Christ. (also 2 Cor 1:12-14)
1 Cor 5:5 hand this man over to Satan so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on The Day of the Lord. (Also Phil 1:9-10 blameless and pure until the day of Christ.)[2 Thess 2:1-4 We do not need to fear The day of the Lord…]