The Lord Still Rules in the Realm of Mankind

 

The Lord Still Rules in the Realm of Mankind

(Thoughts on the 2012 American Election)

Richard Hollerman

While he was lying on his bed, Daniel saw an angel appear to him in the form of a vision (Daniel 4:13-18). Toward the end of the angel’s message, we read that God is overruling the nations of the world and He installs earthly rulers to carry out His purposes.  Note these significant words: “. . . in order that the living may know that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes and sets over it the lowliest of men” (v. 17b; NKJV has “lowest” rather than “lowliest”).

This was a message directly applicable to the cruel tyrant of a king, Nebuchadnezzar, and it indicates that God had something to do with raising this man up to accomplish his purpose on earth at that time. In fact, God used the king to invade Judah three times, the last of which he totally destroyed Jerusalem, including God’s temple, the city walls, and the houses. He also killed numerous Jews and carried off thousands to Babylon. How could it be said that God was still the “ruler over the realm of mankind” in light of this kind of evil and atrocity?  How could it be said that God bestowed rulership on Nebuchadnezzar since he was such a proud, cruel, and wicked man?

This activity of God is not unique to this one ruler.  God also worked through the Assyrian king in the destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel and He worked through Cyrus, the king of Persia, who was the idolatrous ruler who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland after the 70-year Babylon captivity. 

In the first century, when the barbarous Nero was emperor over the Roman empire, Paul could write, “Every person is to be submissive to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Romans 13:1-2).  Was Nero really an authority established by God?  Was his reign “established by God”?  Peter likewise commanded that we obey the civil authorities and went so far as to say, “Honor the king,” when he must have had Nero in mind—the very emperor who would kill him!

Do we believe that God still works in and through the civil government?  Or does He no longer work through governmental authorities?  Yes, He does work through the rulers of the United States and other nations of the world. He continues to work through evil, wicked, sinful, and perverse humans who rule over others. We must bear this in mind as we assess the continued slide of America into further and further humanism, into increasing immorality and perversion, and into astronomical debt. God has not abandoned His active working in this country and in other countries of the earth. God providentially works behind the scenes to carry out His will even when it seems that He has abandoned America since this country had abandoned many of its former principles and values.  He continues to be “ruler over the realm of mankind” (Daniel 4:17).

In light of this Scriptural principle, how can we endure the catastrophic downward spiral of lawlessness, immorality, inhumanity, and evil in America? Are the Islamic countries correct in their assessment that this country indeed is the seat of sin, immorality, and lawlessness?  With the voting for a continuation of the current president in 2012 (to be inaugurated in January of 2013), how can the Christian who aspires to righteousness live with the current situation?  With the domination of the Senate by the President’s supporters, how can there possibly be justice and righteousness in America?

From our perspective, we suspect that many negative factors will continue and accelerate.  Probably President Obama’s endorsement and advocacy of homosexuality will continue. Probably sodomite unions (misnamed “marriages”) will continue and this may become a law of the entire nation. Probably  President Obama’s encouragement of killing babies even when they are being born (so-called “partial birth abortion”) will continue and perhaps more of the American public will accept this sin (already more than half of the citizens endorse abortion).  Probably the debt will continue to grow greater and greater.  Probably Obamacare will be forced on people and companies, along with the requirement that insurance companies pay for abortions.  Probably persecution of Christians will continue and increase.  In fact, probably the nation will continue to be overrun with humanistic and immoral thought and practices.

As we consider President Obama’s wicked, heartless, and immoral policies on sodomy, on murder of babies, and other issues, and as we consider his secular and irreligious perspectives, let us be willing to speak out on the will of God on these issues. Although our cry may be in vain and we may influence very few, at least we can speak.  We can be like John the baptizer who was willing to call Herod to account by accusing him of his unlawful marriage (that constituted adultery), although it did result in his own martyrdom (Mark 6:17-18; cf. vv. 19-29). We also may face persecution, suffering and rejection by others as we speak out against the outrageous immorality promoted by President Obama and other leaders in America.

Shall we give up and move to another country?  Probably many other countries are as bad or worse and we must not overlook the fact that in several dozen Islamic countries all freedom to preach Christ has been taken away. Even Israel prohibits open preaching of Jesus as Lord! Communist countries persecute believers, as do Hindu and Buddhist countries. So moving to another country will not give one freedom from suffering and it wouldn’t be a righteous response.

Let’s be willing to be a light to a world of darkness, as Paul stated!  He wrote, “So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life” (Philippians 2:15-16a; “holding fast” can also mean, “holding forth”).  In other words, even if we live in a lawless and immoral America, we can determine to be “blameless and innocent” and live as children of God “above reproach.”  As in the Roman world of the first century, we can live in the midst of “a crooked and perverse” generation, and we can “appear as lights in the world” as we hold fast the word of life!

Even if we do face increased pressure to conform to the world around us and if a government dominated by evil forces oppresses us, we can stand strong and unmovable.  The early Christians lived in a wicked, idolatrous, and immoral age but the way of Christ continued. They were determined to shine brightly in the darkness.  Paul wrote to one assembly of believers, “The word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth” (1 Thessalonians 1:8). Although a wicked government reigned, Paul could see the positive outreach of the good news of Christ to a dying and lost world.

Paul wrote to Titus who lived in Crete: “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed” (Titus 3:1).  Just as Paul and the early followers of Christ were called upon to render obedience to disobedient pagan authorities, so we must give our own obedience and submission to a neo-pagan government.  Just as Paul urged submission to a Nero, we are to render respect and submission to another compromising and evil ruler, President Obama.  Let us do so for Christ’s sake.

Along with our submissive obedience to those in authority, we must remember that God has all authority and He exercises this through Christ Jesus (Matthew 28:18).  This means that if there is ever a requirement of the government that conflicts with the will of God, we must be steadfast in our commitment to Him and His Word.  With Peter, we must be willing to say, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We must be willing to follow the ways of Christ rather than the requirements of the state—when there is a conflict (Acts 4:19-20).  We will “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). In our context, we will render to the President the things that are the President’s, and to God the things that are God’s!

Although many God-fearing people are downhearted with the way this once-fair country has plummeted from the heights to a regretfully low level, if we are with God and He is with us, we can face whatever condition Satan can bring on us.  “If God is for us, who is against us?” 

The majority of American citizens have spoken and they have indicated their desire for further sexual immorality, for the murder of unborn babies, for increased Christian persecution, and for greater secularism in contrast to religious conservatism.  All indications are that this downward trend will continue. 

Polls indicate that younger voters are generally more liberal and more inclined to immoral positions in the issues of society. Further, polls indicate that most immigrants also favor those who promote immoral stances; this also may continue.  As the older and more conservative citizens age, there may well be fewer people voting for some degree of morality and spirituality. The future of this country does look negative and depressing.  But with the increasing darkness, determine to be light—the light of the Lord—in this dark country!

Now is the time to pray for wisdom and strength to face an increasingly-hostile world around us. Let us do so with love for the souls still in darkness and with a trust in a God who still is “Ruler over the realm of mankind” and who “bestows it on whom He wishes” (Daniel 4:17).


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