No news stories capture the attention of the world like the news of a new leader coming to power. When those who are perceived to be the “right” leaders are in power, they are exalted as great sources of hope and confidence. When the “wrong” leaders are in power, they continually derided as a major cause for anxiety and concern. (Of course, which leaders are “right” and which ones are “wrong” depends on who we choose to listen to). With these worldly fears, hopes and anxieties being continually preached to us by social media and the 24 hours news cycle, Christians need to regularly remind ourselves why we should abstain from looking to princes for our confidence (see Psalm 118.8-9).
One way to fortify ourselves against these temptations is to remember that the Bible teaches that America and all other nations will come to an end. Keeping the destiny of these earthly kingdoms in mind can help to keep the continual flood of worldly concerns in perspective.
The Destiny of the Nations Foretold in the Old Testament
Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the most powerful nation on earth. In the second year of his reign, the king had a troubling dream. He dreamed of a large statue of a man. Its head was made of gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and its thighs were of bronze, its legs were made of iron, and its feet were made of a mixture of clay and iron. This great statue was then destroyed by a stone which was cut out without hands. After being given the dream and its interpretation from God, Daniel then explained the vision to the king.
You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold. After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth. Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery. – Daniel 2.36-43
Daniel identifies the image as representing four kingdoms which would rise and fall. It is known that first one, the head of gold, represents Babylon. As history later confirms, the next three kingdoms would be the Medo-Persian empire, represented by the chest and arms of silver; the Grecian empire, represented by the belly and thighs and bronze; and the Roman empire, represented by the legs of iron and the feet mixed with iron and clay. Daniel then describes the events which would happen during the days of the Roman empire.
In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy. – Daniel 2.44-45
The stone cut without hands represents the kingdom of God. The lesson taught in Daniel 2 is that human governments (even the most powerful of all human governments) will ultimately be destroyed. Each kingdom, in its destruction, would be left to another people, with all of its strength, power and riches left to the destroyer. Ultimately, the last kingdom would be destroyed by God, and God’s kingdom would stand victoriously. The same common destruction awaited every kingdom of man. God’s kingdom would break in pieces and crush every last piece of the kingdoms of men.
The Destiny of the Nations Foretold in the New Testament
The New Testament likewise foretells the same destiny for all human governments throughout all times. As a result of the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus, God has now:
Seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He has put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as Head over all thing to the church. – Ephesians 1:20-22
In other words, Jesus currently has authority over all the nations on earth.
Yet in spite of the rule of King Jesus, the nations continue to rage and to plot in vain against His authority. They, through the power of death and the fear of death, continue to exercise their tyranny. As Paul looks forward to the return of King Jesus on the resurrection day, when the victory over death is finished, he refers to the destiny that awaits all of the competing authorities who are currently attempting to rule the earth according to their own desires.
Then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power . For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. – 1 Corinthians 15.24-26
Jesus now reigns as king, and He will continue his reign as king until every last one of his enemies is destroyed. Listed among his enemies are the rulers, authorities, and powers in this world. Once death is no more, the tyrants who have depended on the fear of death to gain their power will have lost their one and only weapon. All earthly governments will ultimately be destroyed.
John’s revelation also foresees the same ultimate destiny for the nations of earth.
He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, “To him I will give authority over the nations; and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken in pieces,” as I also have received authority from My Father. – Revelation 2:26-27
From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.” – Revelation 19.15-16
Both the Old and the New Testaments are clear. The destiny of every human government the world has ever known is to be completely and totally destroyed.
What This Means for Us
- We have no reason to fear.
In contrast to the kingdoms of the world, Christians enjoy citizenship in a kingdom which will never be destroyed. Even though the tyrants of this world may enjoy temporary power to do horrible things, we know that our victory has been secured.
Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions will serve and obey Him. – Daniel 7.27
- Remember that “the Lord has a controversy with the nations”
When we see evil in high places, we need to remember that God sees it too. He sees it, and He will be victorious over it.
“A clamor has come to the end of the earth,
Because the LORD has a controversy with the nations.
He is entering into judgment with all flesh;
As for the wicked, He has given them to the sword,” declares the LORD. – Jeremiah 25.31-32
- Do not place your trust in princes.
When we remember that God’s kingdom will be victorious, and that He has a controversy with the nations of the earth, and will ultimately crush them in pieces and destroy them, why would we ever want to look to the princes of this world for our confidence? Ultimately, America (and all the other nations of earth) will be destroyed, regardless of who is elected to power, and regardless of how wicked those rulers may be. If we place our hope in the politics of this world, we will be sorely disappointed. No matter how much “hope” the world may promise, we must remember that we have a greater hope, a greater confidence, and a greater future.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in princes. – Psalm 118.8-9