In the providence of God empires rise and empires fall.
“He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.” – Job 12:23
There is an emphasis in Scripture on God’s role as the judge of nations. Anyone with a handle on scripture understands this principle. In the Old Testament God moved rulers like Pharaoh to harden their hearts (Ex. 7:14) towards war and destruction, or soften it towards peace and the rebuilding of Jerusalem like Artaxerxes and Nehemiah (Neh. 2:5). In the New Testament God had Jesus cast judgment on Jerusalem (Matt. 24:2) which came to pass in 70 A.D., and in Revelation, he comes with a sword to put down all the nations of the earth (Rev. 19:11-16).
While Satan is given leniency to control nations, the ultimate shaping of history, and the lifespan of empires was limited and defined by God Himself. Satan has very limited jurisdiction under the authority structure of God’s created order in the big scheme of things. Ultimately, he can only affect the souls he wins to himself causing them to work towards his objectives, but the final outcome will always play out exactly how prophecy depicts it. Spoiler alert God wins.
The Long Life of Wicked People
Nations and empires perpetually trend toward evil. This is practically a natural law in-of-itself. Give any nation on earth half a century and they become audaciously corrupt, power hungry and oppressive.
Governmental and institutional power attracts the worst of humankind, amplifying their impulses towards evil exponentially. In the rare occasion the people have a just and fair ruler, it’s only a matter of decades they die and the cause of the corrupt win. Every generation is in a battle, a struggle with the beastly nature of political demigods. And in the providence of God when an empire is allowed to continue, look out, the lust for power and greed is again amplified tenfold. This is the cycle of empires, and this is the harsh reality of human history.
The Psalmist Asaph, records this struggle, and laments the long life and prosperity of the wicked rulers of his day in Psalm 73, by saying,
“For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.” Psalm 73: 3-5
He is crying out to God in the beginning of this chapter asking why God allows these wicked people to continue their offensive lives, all of their power and greed go on unrestrained. But by the end of this chapter Asaph is pricked in his conscious, and in contrition realizes that God in a moment will destroy them all.
“When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.” Psalm 73: 16-19
What we see here is people who understand God’s role as the judge of nations will refuse to allow their hearts to fret over the affairs of wicked rulers. God is sovereign, and when we understand the eternal punishment that He has prepared for them, it should grieve our souls and also humble us in the face of a just God.
Jesus and Paul gave us a clue as to why God allows evil nations and evil men to continue the way they do. Jesus in Matthew 23:32 speaking to the Pharisees uses an interesting phrase when confronting them, he tells them to “Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.” Meaning fill up the measure of your sin like your fathers did before them. Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:16 uses the same phrase when speaking of the Pharisees who were persecuting the church. He tells them, “fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”
In summary, they are saying that God has allowed them this space that they might “fill up the full measure” of their wickedness. So, when judgment comes their evil will be obvious to all, and their punishment will be devastatingly complete. It is apparent by these verses that when God’s wrath is finally kindled against a ruler, or a nation that the judgment begins in the physically and is finalized in the eternal.
The Merciful Wrath of God
Now, most people immediately look at the resulting war, death, famine, and economic desolation when they think about the fall of empires. While all of these things are horrible, and the human suffering involved is unimaginable the collapse of empires is actual a merciful act on behalf of mankind. God, doesn’t have to put down wicked nations and Kings, he does so, because if certain cultures were allowed to exist without opposition they would have radically distorted humanity. They would become so barbaric and beastly they would hardly warrant the title human.
Imagine for a moment if massively evil, and corrupt pagan nations of the past were allowed to exist up to this day. We very well could still be sacrificing children, practicing cannibalism and other such horrific crimes of the past.
The fact that anyone of those nations would have been allowed to continue would mean that humanity would have forever entered a period so dark that it becomes inescapable. Instead, God would judge these nations by any number of means, giving humanity a margin of chance to develop itself into divine beings rather than the beastly beings we could have become had history been shaped by these barbaric cultures.
The Truth is, God can use anything to put down empires. He has used war, economic collapse, political upheaval and revolution, famine, plagues, you name it, God has used it to prevent these nations from dominating the development of human ingenuity, divinity, reasoning and search for truth over the ages.
All Cultures are NOT Equal
A perfect example comes to us in a new revelation that the Aztec empire, who was without question one of the most barbaric cultures imaginable was destroyed by a ghastly plague.
“Scientists say as many as 15 million people – an estimated 80 percent of population – were killed when an epidemic known as cocoliztli swept Mexico’s Aztec nation in 1545. The word means “pestilence” in the Aztec Nahuatl language.
Its cause, however, has been in question for nearly 500 years.
On Monday, scientists swept aside smallpox, measles, mumps, and influenza as likely suspects, fingering a typhoid-like “enteric fever” for which they found DNA evidence on the teeth of long-dead victims, reports news.com.au.
Ashild Vagene, of the University of Tuebingen in Germany, said: “The 1545-50 cocoliztli was one of many epidemics to affect Mexico after the arrival of Europeans, but was specifically the second of three epidemics that were most devastating and led to the largest number of human losses.” (The Sun)
The Aztecs loved war, false religion, human sacrifice, slavery, idolatry, sodomy, and the eating of human flesh. Here is an eyewitness account by Bernal Diaz attesting to the barbarism of the Aztecs.
“We heard them play the drums of [Huitzilopochtli] and many other shells and horns and instruments like trumpets, and the sound was terrifying, and we all looked toward the lofty pyramid…and saw our comrades…forced up the steps…
We saw them place plumes on their heads and fans in their hands and forced them to dance before [Huitzilopochtli] and after they had danced they immediately placed them on their backs on some rather narrow stones…and with some knives they sawed open their chests and drew out their palpitating hearts and offered them to their idols.
They kicked the bodies down the steps, and the Indian butchers waiting below cut off their arms and legs and flayed the skin off their faces and prepared it like clove leather with the beards still on…and the flesh they ate in chilmole.
[T]he bellies and entrails they threw to the tigers, lions and snakes they kept in the house of beasts. As they made the sacrifices, a squadron of warriors suddenly fell upon us shouting: “see the way you are all going to die.” [T]hen they threw roasted legs of Indians and the arms of our soldiers and yelled: “Eat the flesh of these teules [Indians] and of your brothers, for we already had our fill.” (Source: Bernal Díaz del Castillo, The True History of the Conquest of New Spain, Trans. Janet Burke, (Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company, 2012), 414.)
While liberals would have us celebrating these demonically possessed cultures, God had other plans for them. The plague that destroyed the Aztecs was within the divine providence of God, they were not allowed to continue. Instead Western Culture triumphed. This has to be seen as a merciful act, considering what would come of humanity had they not died out, or for that matter any of the barbaric pagan cultures of times past.
What we have to realize is while these cultures were not allowed to continue, western culture has been allowed to continue. Western culture is based on Biblical principles that birthed the Reformation and the Enlightenment periods. These concepts developed over centuries allowed us to understand the purpose of law, morality, and the proper role of government, all of which led up to the Revolution in America. A revolution which was like none other. The founders used their understanding of natural law to divinely exercise their rights in way that has never been done before.
The founders didn’t just create an opportunity to rebel and cause violence for selfish ambition. No, they carefully deliberated their cause among the colonies, rallied the people through the use of representation, eloquently enumerated the abuses of the British empire in the Declaration of Independence, and exercised their natural rights to succeed from the oppressive rule of King George. In short, the American Revolution respected the rule of law, the people, and the natural rights of God and was thus blessed by God. While the British monarchy used brutish force of arms in an attempt to squash those rights, ignoring the grievances the colonists had against the British Empire.
From 1776 on God began the process of putting down and upending the might and rule of the British Empire, in favor of the American Empire.
It is the divine principles set forth in scripture that serve as a guide for all nations, their success depends on their adherence to these natural laws of God. As soon as they begin the descent into tyranny and corruption it is only a matter of time before they are upended through political or like the Aztecs natural causes.
We here in America are starting to see the blessing of God wane. America is now under the same curse of empires past. War, spying, resource plundering, unlimited taxation, baby murder, police militarization, etc. America bears all the hallmarks of a ruthless empire, despite its blessed founding.
How long will God allow the American empire to rule? And what will be our end? It is only a matter of time before we too fall under the weight of our own hubris. God will not allow the abuses to continue for long, seeing that millions the world over are suffering as a result of our military adventurism, and the rights of its citizenry continue to disappear under the threat of a tyrannical and unconstitutional system.
We must realize that when that time comes, the American empire will die out like many others and that too is under the auspices of God’s mercy. The abuse of power has its limits, it always has and always will thanks be to an almighty and just God. We must dedicate ourselves to embracing the principles in scripture and educated our progeny so we don’t continue the cycle, or at the very least delay the inevitable as long as we can.
Article posted with permission from Jason Charles