About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Whose Vote Really Counts?


Ever since I lived in the Washington D. C. suburb of Vienna, Virginia, in 1980, American history and politics has intrigued me.  Upon moving south to Richmond, I was told I was now living in the capital of the Confederate south.  One cannot live in Virginia without being immersed in American history.  When I first visited the capital building in Richmond, it was as if the Civil War had just ended.  When I first visited Jamestown, evidence of the Revolutionary War was everywhere.  You felt like taking cover, fearing a stray British bullet might cross your path.       


As I write this article the American electorate has given the Republican Party a substantial victory in their 2014 mid term election.  Many Evangelicals are overjoyed with the outcome of the election, which wasn't the case in the 2012 presidential election.  Whether you're happy or unhappy with election results, and, as important as your vote is, from a Biblical perspective there's more to the electoral process than your vote.


The prophet Daniel spoke to this issue in Daniel 2:37.  Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Babylonian Empire from 605 to 562 B C.  This is what Daniel told him.  "Your Majesty, you are the king of kings.  The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory".  In light of the fact that this king ransacked Jerusalem and took God's people captive, you might be dumfounded to know how Daniel could make this statement.  It certainly wasn't meant to be flattery.       


The historical fact is that Nebuchadnezzar inherited his position from his father Nabopolassar.  That being said, there's more to this fact than can be seen through the eyes of history.  What isn't easily seen through the historical lens is stated in Daniel 2:21.  God "changes the times and seasons; He deposes kings and raises up others". (NIV)  The words "times" and "seasons" have nothing to do with seasons on our calendar.  These two words are translated from two Aramaic words meaning a duration of time, as in a four year presidential term.  Therefore, the NLT version of the Bible reads; God "controls the course of world events: He removes kings and sets up other kings".   


Daniel tells us that the head of any state, no matter the political system, is appointed by the God of heaven.  Men like Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Nero, Constantine, Hitler (and may I suggest President Obama) are all positioned into prominence by God.   


As a side note, the Bible does not promote any form of human government, and that includes political democracy.  Actually, I could make a Biblical case that all human forms of government in one way or another oppose the only form of government the Bible does promote, namely, the Kingdom of God.   We'll all see the first visible expression of this now invisible kingdom when Jesus returns to rule the nations with a scepter of iron.  That reminds me of what President Theodore Roosevelt said about U. S. foreign policy.  "I speak softly but carry a big stick".  Be assured, when Jesus rules the nations, He will speak softly and He will also carry one very big stick.  His foreign policy will be clear and decisive as seen in part in Zechariah 14:17.  The text states that God will prevent rain from falling on those nations who fail to come to Jerusalem to worship.


Getting back to the topic at hand, from my understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant, I believe God installed Nebuchadnezzar as king of the Babylonian Empire because God knew Nebuchadnezzar was capable of overthrowing Israelis as an act of divine judgment.  Israel had long since forsaken its God.  It was now time for judgment and Nebuchadnezzar was the man to implement God's will in this matter.            


In another divinely orchestrated turn of events, Cyrus, King of Persia, overthrew the Babylonian Empire without a fight in 539 B C.  He did so as then Babylonian King Belshazzar was partying.  Belshazzar was asleep at the wheel.  I could write an article on politicians being asleep at the wheel, but I'll save that for another day.  Anyway, the Persians had been chomping at the bit to conquer Babylon, but only in God's good time, and because of Babylon 's poor treatment of the Jews, would God choose Cyrus to bring Babylon down in another divine act of judgment.              


Evangelicals have preached that God relates to humanity one individual at a time, and that He does.  God also relates to nations, one nation at a time.  Jesus did sacrifice His human life to provide individual salvation.  His sacrifice was also one step in the process of bringing all things, including nations, under His rule.  The ultimate fulfillment of the cross as it relates to nations is found in Revelation 21:24 to 26.  "The nations will walk by the light of the New Jerusalem, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.  The glory and honour of the nations will be brought into it".  There will be nations on the new earth and they will be subject to the Kingdom of God.  


God does install ungodly people, including the anti-Christ who is yet to come, into places of power.  They are tools in the hands of the Almighty to accomplish His will.  So, if your government leaders are ungodly and oppose all things Biblical, know that God has chosen them for a specific reason.  Don't complain.  Be thankful that God's will is being done.  Also, be aware that the installation of ungodly governments as understood in Biblical terms is often an act of judgment in itself, as seen in Isaiah 3:4.  "I will make boys their officials, mere children will govern them".  It's all part and parcel of God handing a nation over to its sins of choice. (Romans 1:24 to 27)



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