What’s Wrong With 2 Chronicles 7:14?

Q. Is it scriptural for one to pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 assuming one is genuinely looking for the blessed hope, has an eternal view, knows the land is not their land and is at the same time desiring for God, by His grace, to soften the hearts of Christians and the unsaved, as a last chance before he passes judgment, like Nineveh responded to Jonah’s message from God? Is the principle of repentance and forgiveness universal in this verse in your opinion?

A. First, we all want all our friends and loved ones to be saved. But 2 Chron. 7:14 is a prayer for a national change of behavior. What our friends and loved ones need is a personal change of heart. In the Church Age, salvation is based on what we believe, not on how we behave. For by one offering He has perfected (made perfect) for all time those who are sanctified (made holy). (Hebrews 10:14).

Second, I don’t believe God sees an American Church, I believe He just sees a Church. And in all the world He hasn’t given the Church one square inch of land. Earth is only our temporary residence. Our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20) and we should be longing to go home, not looking to extend our visit here.

Third, I don’t think advocates of 2 Chronicles 7:14 have really thought through the implications of what they’re asking God to do. If we’re in the end times, as I believe we are, and if God answered our prayer and healed “our land”, then what would He do with the rest of the world? Christians in many parts of the world are suffering intense persecution and deprivation that seems to get worse by the day. Would He put all His plans for the Church on hold and let them continue to suffer while we Americans enjoy a few more years of the “good life”? Would He build a big spiritual wall around America and go on with His plans, leaving us here to enjoy our fake heaven while taking the rest of the Church to the real one before bringing judgment on the world? I don’t think so.

Nineveh was powerful in an age where nations could exist independently, and where God treated them individually. Remember, He only had Jonah warn Nineveh of the coming judgment. No other city was involved. But we live in an age where nations are interdependent and where God is in the process of bringing judgment upon the whole world. It’s a whole different set of conditions.

In summary, I don’t think 2 Chron. 7:14 is appropriate for the Church. It was meant for another people in another time. If you want a good Bible passage that is appropriate for our time, I recommend 1 Tim. 2:1-4 instead.

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

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