28 March 2022

Whomever HE Pleases

“Yahweh is the One Who changes times and seasons, HE removes kings, HE sets up kings.”

Andromeda - Photo by Guillermo Ferla on Unsplash
Often, church “leaders” exhort their congregants to work diligently to elect politicians, support policies, and pass laws of which they approve, claiming it is God’s will and warning of the dire consequences that will befall us if we fail to do so. Believers must fight tooth and nail for
their chosen candidates and programs! But chosen by whom? - [Photo by Guillermo Ferla on Unsplash].

How do these men and women know which politician or political party represents God’s will, or for that matter, which proposed policy will advance His cause on the earth? Can they see “the end from the beginning”? Do they know what is in the heart of every politician? Are they able to foresee all the possible consequences of any government action?

The book of Daniel begins by declaring that Yahweh GAVE the king of Judah, the city of Jerusalem, and the “vessels of the house of God” into the “HAND of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon,” the same pagan ruler who later destroyed the kingdom of Judah, razed Jerusalem to the ground, and exiled the cream of Judean society to Mesopotamia.

What patriotic Israelite in his right mind would have elected that idol-worshipping despot to rule the Babylonian Empire? Nevertheless, with that very same king in mind, Daniel praised Yahweh as the one who “removes kings and sets up kings.” As he announced to Nebuchadnezzar himself:
  • You are the king of kings, for the God of Heavens has GIVEN YOU the kingship, the might, the power, and the dignity; and wherever the sons of men dwell, the wild beasts of the field and the birds of the air has HE GIVEN into your hand and made you ruler over them all.”
Years later, after attributing his might and majesty to his own power, an angel pronounced punishment on the great king until he learned that the “Most-High has dominion over the kingdom of men, and to whomever he pleases, he gives it, and sets up over it even the basest of men.” Thereafter, Nebuchadnezzar was removed from the throne for “seven seasons” until God restored him to office. Humbled, the mightiest ruler on the planet declared:
  • I rendered praise and honor to the God of Heaven, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation, before whom and all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and according to his own pleasure he deals with the army of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth, and none there is who can smite upon his hand, or say to him - What have you done?
This Mesopotamian emperor had discovered that Yahweh alone has dominion over the political powers of this age, and He gives the right to rule to whomsoever he pleases, and He does so to accomplish His purposes, whatever they might be.

Centuries later, writing to Christians residing in the center of the World-Power, Rome, the Apostle Paul exhorted the congregation to respect governors, magistrates, and the king, for “there is no authority except by God, and the existing ones have been arranged by Him, therefore, he who opposes the authority, OPPOSES the arrangement of God” - (Romans 13:1-7).

This was written when Christians had few civil “rights.” They most certainly had no “right” or ability to elect their political rulers. If anything, under Caesar, Christianity was an “illegal” religion, and the emperor certainly was no champion of democracy or individual liberty. He was an absolute ruler whose word was law. Yet Paul warned that to oppose his government and officials was to oppose the “arrangement” of God.

At the time he wrote those words, the empire was ruled by Nero, one of the most despotic rulers in Roman history, a man who had his own mother murdered, kicked his pregnant wife to death, and became the first emperor to persecute the Church. And very likely, Paul himself was executed during the so-called ‘Neronian Persecution’.

God's hand is not limited - He can save by many or few, and He is well able to employ evil, good, corrupt, and just plain incompetent politicians to achieve His will, and all without missing a heartbeat. Neither the form of government nor the nefarious plans of world rulers are impediments to His purpose. And regardless of its economic or military might, whenever He may so choose, He can dropkick even the mightiest empire on the planet right into the Ash Heap of History.

When Satan offered Jesus all the political powers of this age, he refused them. Instead, he submitted to an unjust death at the hands of the empire. And he taught his disciples to walk that same path, to deny themselves, take up the cross each day, and become servants to all who are in need. And ever since his elevation to the messianic throne, he has commanded his church to proclaim HIS gospel to all nations, NOT to seize political power, and certainly not to impose his reign through the coercive power of the Almighty State! After all, in the end, only one political power will be left standing, namely, the kingdom of God.

Christ did not call us to passivity or to disengage from the world, but instead, to engage it in the same way that he did - through faithful witness, prayer, enduring unjust suffering and, when necessary, martyrdom. God alone sees all things, and only He knows what is in the heart of every man, woman, and child. And He alone determines who will rule over the political powers of this age.

Having arrogated to themselves the right to decide who should govern, according to their own likes and dislikes, many "leaders" in the church have presumed upon what is the prerogative of God alone, and that is a very serious trespass.

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