Kingdom of God
From the dawn of human existence virtually every kind of government has been in place at one time or another. A country’s government is often a reflection of its people … their race, beliefs (religious or secular), moral values, ethnic upbringing and tribal territory. But sometimes government can be an ill-conceived and unwanted bureaucracy with leaders vying for power and supremacy. All too often, innocent people are victimized by such power struggles, both citizens of the country and residents of neighboring nations that take exception to such Machiavelli type systems.
The common people, representatives of those people, wealthy entrepreneurs, ambitious leaders (good and bad), or all of the above can determine whether a country will become a parliamentary or a democratic representative republic; an absolute (king/queen) or constitutional monarch; an autocratic ruler or state controlled (communism or fascism) dictatorship; an aristocratic or military oligarchy; a cleric-run theocracy or even a true Theocracy. The idea of a theocentric government is, “having God as the central interest and ultimate concern.” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).
Geopolitical experts can argue until the proverbial cows come home over the best form of human government, but there’s nothing like the proof of the pudding … hard evidence to historically demonstrate the success of great nations of the earth, past and present. We could also debate the definition of greatness, but invariably the most notable historians (those who are as objective as they can be) have identified such empires as (ancient) Israel, Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Mongol (Genghis Khan), China, France, England, Ottoman Turks, Germany, and the United States as constituting greatness, without necessarily imposing the standard of morality as a required criteria for success. Meaning that some “great” empires have been primarily evil or amoral. Mostly because their leaders were corrupt or even depraved. By and large, however, the most fundamental condition for historical prominence has been some measure of longevity.
Moreover, the destiny of nations (both good and bad) has often been determined by the benevolence or malevolence of rulers … the laws they make and enforce, the decrees they issue, decisions they make, benefits they provide, and goals they aspire to. As the leaders go, so go the people. A ruler with integrity, compassion, and wisdom can be, and often is, a moral compass to the entire nation. Conversely, a selfish, deceitful, evil ruler can bring an entire nation down. Even the United States of America, which many contemplate to be the greatest nation of all time (at least the greatest Republic), relies heavily on its President—considered by some as the most powerful position in the world—to lead … economically, socially, militarily, legally, and morally.
The rise and fall of great leaders, noble and ignoble; of great nations, moral and immoral, is the stuff that legends are made of. And many of these individual and national epitaphs can be found in the Bible as well as secular history. For example, the glorious rise and inglorious fall of Babylon.
The Fate of Nations
Ultimately, the success of any nation will hinge directly on whether the people and especially the leaders acknowledge the sovereignty of the true and living God, the God of the Bible. The truth and accuracy of the following Biblical passages can be tested and measured by examining the successful emergence and enduring accomplishments of nations down through history. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalms 33:12). Also, as God said to Abraham and as applied to the nation of Israel: “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).
When people and nations at least acknowledge the Sovereign God of Scripture; periodically thank him for his provisions and goodness; treat the Jews and Israel with some measure of respect, invariably they prosper and remain safe from their enemies. For it is God who eventually determines the fate of all nations. Of course, most secular historians loathe inclusion of these behind-the-scene national stories of prominent leaders and common folks whose purpose in life was to serve God first, then their fellow human beings … but either way, to serve.
Although the God of the Bible is ultimately in control, Scripture is clear that he has allowed Satan to adversely influence those who want nothing to do with God. Those who pursue only pleasure and prestige in a world system predicated on and propelled by greed, selfishness, and the lust for money, power, land, and domination of their fellow-man, particularly those of another race or religion.
Satan’s supreme goal is to create a universal system of belief that will: (1) internally and covertly destabilize and replace the Kingdom of Heaven currently in the hearts of men, woman, and children who have been redeemed by Christ through his great sacrifice for our sins. (2) To establish an international religious and political system that will overtly crush nations whose fundamental existence and intrinsic value is centered on freedom of worship and enterprise … a government of, by, and for the people, such as Israel and the United States.
These two satanic strategies are underway primarily through the cults of Christianity (internal subversion) such as Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, and Jehovah’s Witness; and externally through non-Christian religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Communism, and Fascism. Any “ism” is a religion if you define religion as a belief system, which is what it really is. All of these systems are predicated on a works based program of appeasing God to somehow (maybe) merit salvation. Likewise, Fascism and Communism—with the only difference that of the State rewarding meritorious conduct and service with … whatever rewards they deem necessary.
There are many factors that separate the Bible from other religious texts, one of which is God’s plan of salvation accomplished through his Son’s death and resurrection from the dead. No other religion or philosophy has a Savior, as such. They all have requirements of what a man or woman must do to gain their god’s favor; not what God has done for us that we simply couldn’t do for ourselves, i.e. saving ourselves by declaring ourselves not guilty of breaking God’s laws. Or by reaching a completely unfounded conclusion that God will pardon us if we do a little more good than bad, all the while comparing our own definition of what is good with others. What court of law on this planet would allow a convicted criminal to pardon himself?!
Secondly, the amazing predictions recorded in Scripture, hundreds of which have already come to pass. One of the most spectacular end-times prophecies found in Scripture comes from Jesus, himself. When asked by his disciples what signs would usher in the last days which would immediately precede the end of the age, one of the first things Jesus said was, “And you will hear of wars and threats of wars … nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains; with more to come” (Matthew 24:6-8).
Nation against Nation, Kingdom against Kingdom
Some doubters contend that there have been perpetual wars and rumors of wars since Jesus uttered these words. Thus, there’s no reason to suggest that the past couple of generations (a hundred years or so) have been any different or should be any reason to assert that the end of the age is approaching. But they forget one important feature of this passage: that of comparing the signs to a pregnant woman whose birth pains have begun. That one of, if not the most important sign, is nation going to war against nation, kingdom against kingdom. The obvious implication is that these wars will intensify in numbers and severity just like birth pangs steadily increase during childbirth.
The number of new nations birthed into existence since the founding of the United States, especially during the 20th & 21st centuries is staggering. Many of these nations were established by and through military engagement, mostly on the African Continent, but also in Europe and Asia and the Middle East. Some wars are justified—freedom from totalitarian tyranny or abolition of slavery, such as the American Revolutionary War and then the Civil War. Most are not, i.e. pursuit of power, lust for land, or simply a love of war and violence. (Glory of war and to the victor goes the spoils mentality).
These same two centuries have produced wars and conflicts never before experienced, precisely as predicted by Jesus. Two world wars pitting one coalition of nations against another coalition, one similar form of government against another, one way of life over another. And the number of ethnic rivalries and conflicts have multiplied greatly in the past one hundred years or so. As have the frequency and magnitude of earthquakes and famines. We have seen a polarization of governments like never before, beginning with World War I and continuing even more dramatically and ostensibly with Word War II, then regional conflicts all over the world as typified by the Korean War.
What is this basic dichotomy between people, between ethnic groups, between religions, between governments and nations that often erupts in violence? It’s not really that difficult to understand, because the fundamental difference is a modern-day end-of-the-age manifestation of the ongoing universal conflict between God and Satan, as found in the hearts of men and women all over the world; and, therefore, in the forms of government that nations and ethnic groups have devised to express the desires, demands, and destiny of its people.
What it comes down to is this: On one end of the political pendulum, we have dictatorship control of the people in a nation through one tyrant or a select few leaders who impose a state controlled government based on agnostic or atheistic beliefs (man, not God is the final authority). However, the dictatorial head of these systems is often afforded god-like status by many in the elite circle of supporters and by most of the common people. Such as Fascism as found in Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy or Communism as found in Stalin’s Russia and Mao tse-tung’s China. Tragically, however, the millions of citizens killed by their leaders and millions of others who perished in the World Wars and regional insurrections are a stark reminder of the carnage caused by leaders and armies that vehemently oppose anything and everything to do with God, Jesus, and Judaic-Christian beliefs and way of life.
But there are also some fifty countries in today’s world whose government is based on some measure (moderate to extreme) of state controlled enforcement of religious laws. Of course, I’m referring to Muslim nations, many of which are or are becoming radicalized to the extent of imposing Islam’s Sharia law on its own people; and, by force, on surrounding ethnic groups as we’ve horribly seen with ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorists groups. To the ultra-extreme extent that these multi-national terrorist groups are seeking to be the first to establish a world-wide government (Caliphate) of absolute authoritarian domination of the free world. Ultimately, the Islamic path of power intends to go straight to and through Jerusalem, the heart of Israel.
At the other political extreme, we have governments which (at least try) are of, by, and for the people, such as the greatest experiment of democratic representation of its kind found in the United States of America. We see this in many European nations to some extent or another, a reminder of which has been vividly stamped on the global conscience after the murderous assaults on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher store in Paris by Muslim terrorists. Incredibly, an estimated three million people plus some 50 national leaders including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marched to express their solidarity for freedom of the press (and freedom in general) as succinctly summarized in the famous French motto, “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.”
This kind of civilization values the right of the individual to believe what they will, to realize their dreams as long as it doesn’t infringe on or violate the rights of others. To embrace principles such as the separation of powers, free speech, free elections, and some form of democracy.
One writer, Jewish Professor Nissim Dana, expressed the obvious conclusion reached by those who know the history of Islam: “The fact is that Islam and the rest of the world have been in a state of war since the time of Muhammad.” Is Professor Dana correct in this analysis? Yes, because the Koran, itself, demands total submission of its followers but also of the infidels … Jews and Christians. Without submission or possibly the humiliating payment of unjust and immoral taxes (essentially a tax on one’s belief), death is demanded of the infidel.
The Jewish Connection
There are two remarkable but also insidious common denominators among oppressive state governments, whether agnostic Communism and Fascism or a state sponsored religion such as Islam: (1) an intense hatred, persecution, and even genocide of the Jews. (2) To accomplish those anti-Semitic objectives and to feed the totalitarian lust for power and conquest of nations that stand in their way, Hitler’s Third Reich (and others) have launched attacks against freedom loving nations such as Great Brittain and France and the United States (Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor). Whether by means of the Nazi Final Solution or by incessant pogroms in Russia and its satellite countries or by the avowed diabolical goal of Muslims in Iran, Turkey, Africa, and the Middle-East Arab nations to wipe Israel from the face of the earth, the past century has witnessed intensified savage cruelty against the Jews.
Yet, as if to underscore the quandary (sometimes duplicity) of those who espouse diversity at all costs, including human lives, Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas was also invited to attend the Paris freedom march. This is the very same leader who recently signed a pact with Hamas to carry out the sinister goal of killing Jews and eliminating Israel from all maps of the world. Ah … if we could only distinguish militant from moderate Muslims! The fact is: the vast majority of Muslims are militant when it comes to Jews, whether actively killing Jews or non-Jews who make fun of Muhammad; or passively condoning those killings. The brutal reality of it all: It’s okay to kill freedom-loving Jews but not freedom-loving Gentiles.
But this has all been predicted and recorded in the Bible … Satan’s ruthless plot through governmental regimes and organized religion (I am not including evangelical Christianity as anything approaching an organized hierarchy such as Roman Catholicism) to eliminate the Jews, to obliterate Israel, and to destroy the Church—the body of Christ, comprised of Jews and Gentiles alike.
When God chose Abraham to be the father of the Jews and gave him the Promised Land of Israel, he said that the Gentile nations would be blessed through Abraham and his descendants. And the greatest blessing of all was the birth, death, and resurrection (for salvation) of Messiah Yeshua … through the lineage of King David, from the tribe of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham.
The coming of Messiah and his soon return will, indeed, fulfill the very purpose for the existence of Israel—to be a light to the Gentile nations. To bring righteousness, justice, and peace to a world that is rapidly sinking into an abyss of terror, anarchy, and evil.
God’s design from the beginning was to reveal himself through nature (Romans 1), then through the people and nation of Israel (Romans 9-11); and even more specifically his mighty plan of salvation through one man, who is God’s very Son. Many prophets spoke of the coming Messiah, with Isaiah’s description my favorite: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Jesus Christ accomplished in great detail ALL of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. First to come as a Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53) to introduce an amazing new Age of Grace.
As the Apostle Paul confirmed: “So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins” (Ephesians 1:6-7).
True freedom must first begin in and with the human heart; a heart freed from the enslaving power and penalty of sin for all the wrong things every one of us has done. Then we can truly appreciate and pursue all of the freedoms that we cherish in America and as found in some countries whose government is, at least in theory, established for the welfare of the people. Even then we still have strife, because, as we know all too well, this is still not a perfect world. Only Christ is perfect. Not until he transforms (Raptures) our weak, still prone-to-sin earthly bodies into a glorious everlasting undefiled body, soul, and spirit like His, will we experience real peace, cooperation, understanding, love (unconditional), and justice on this earth.
The Final Kingdom of God on Earth
Paul proceeds to tell us more about God’s splendid plan for the human race. In fact he calls it a mystery, because at the time that God gave it to him even the new Christians didn’t completely understand the eternal implications of what Christ would achieve at his first coming and would continue at his second coming. Listen to these extraordinary words:
“God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth” (Ephesians 1:9-10, italics for emphasis).
That plan is none other than: THE KINGDOM OF GOD (on earth). Revealed by Messiah Jesus himself as recorded in the Gospels; and consolidated into the everlasting tenets of the Christian faith by the authors of the epistles and Revelation.
Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God; for example, comparing it to a mustard seed … the smallest of seeds that when planted grows into an enormous tree. Which is exactly what has happened to the body of Christ; an exponential growth down through the ages, to now consist of believers from virtually every nation and language on earth. It is the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and minds of those who have been redeemed by the shed blood of Christ. Next, will come the final physical Kingdom of God on this earth; at which time all people, all governments, all nations will be brought under the authority of God’s magnificent Son. He will rule the nations with firmness, but fairness.
Isn’t that what most people want? They want: law, order, equality, safety, peace. And they want someone who has the kind of authority to realize those dreams, but also someone who is kind and considerate with that authority. One who truly cares about people and what’s best for them; who can rule and judge with impartiality and kindness. A truly wise and benevolent King whose attributes perfectly reflect who and what he is: Love, Truth, Justice, Mercy.
At the right time (and that time is soon, very soon), Jesus will return in great power and glory to rescue Israel from annihilation, and defeat the very source of evil, Satan, as well as the Satanic kingdom that will be led primarily by the Antichrist.
Then, and only then, will we see an end to the horrific bloodshed that is becoming a daily reality all over the world. Death and destruction by the hands of bloodthirsty terrorists, power-hungry dictators, land-grabbing tyrants, and from entire nations and races who have created false gods and who kill and maim innocent people because their god requires it in their “sacred” writings.
Along with others who are connecting strategic pieces of the prophetic puzzle, I am here to tell you: SOON THERE WILL BE A DAY OF RECKONING!
A day when God, through his matchless Son, Jesus, will do battle with other man-made gods such as Allah and with religious and political systems that have deceived their followers by distorting and discarding the very salvation that God has freely given to all who will believe and receive his Son.
Then we’ll see who is the one and only true God. The battle, however, is actually with Satan, the force behind these man-made gods. Although other gods do not actually exist, Satan and his demons do exist. Thus, it is he and his temporary kingdom to which religious and non-religious people the world over give their allegiance … some deliberately, others unwittingly.
Speaking of gods and kingdoms and kings, listen to this powerful prophecy of Daniel who refers to the four mighty empires of the past (Daniel’s future) and the coalition empire of nations currently being assembled for the Day of the Lord: “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).
Certainly another subject for another day, but in the briefest closing summary possible for this article, we can confidently agree beyond any doubt: There is a monumental distinction between Allah, the god of Islam, and the true and living God of the Bible. There is NO comparison. Anyone who has read just some of the Bible and the Koran with any objectivity at all, can easily see the disparity. The differences are legion, but one will suffice: Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, is still in his grave. God’s Messiah, Jesus is not. “…Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” (Luke 24:5-6).
One day, “The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. All the families of the nations will bow down before him. For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations” (Psalms 22:27-28).
Things to Ponder
Kings and queens rise and they fall. Kingdoms come, kingdoms go. Nations wax and wane. Soon, very soon we will witness the rise of a Royal Kingdom and a Righteous King who will rule and reign supreme on the earth: The Kingdom of God.
If you have placed your trust in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, then you will triumphantly join the host of heaven when the right time comes. Here’s what you and I and millions of others will shout when the seventh angel blows his trumpet:
“The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).
With the twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones before God, we will echo: “We give thanks to you, Lord God, the Almighty, the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign” (Revelation 11:17).
Do you long to live and serve in a kingdom full of truth and justice? Then choose and follow the One who will give us both and who is both.
If you know Christ as your personal Savior, then you will be among the, “…vast crowd in heaven shouting, ‘Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. His judgments are true and just…’” Revelation 19:1-2).