If I didn’t believe that God is all sovereign over history- including the changing of kings and their earthly kingdoms (Dan. 2:21), I would have a pretty difficult time accepting the seeming finality of the results of this year’s presidential election, which became all but official and certified this week with the vote of the Electoral College, which voted for Joe Biden as the 46th and next President of the United States on behalf of the collective voters of our 50 states.
I personally did not vote for the President-Elect and his Vice-President Kamala Harris, on the grounds of their political platform of policies and an agenda which I believe can do a great degree of harm to our country, based upon the fact that their platform appears to be in great opposition to the Biblical positions on issues that matter most in my view, such as life, religious liberty and the family. My vote admittedly was made despite my character concerns of the current incumbent in the White House, Donald Trump.
But thankfully, I still take comfort, confidence and courage to go on ministering God’s word, helping to shepherd a local church and lead my home as it’s pastor, protector and provider based upon the fact God is all-authoritative or sovereign over every facet of life, including history- it’s past, present and future, which includes this election.
As per part one of this series of posts, based upon my recent preaching series at our church, I argued that we can rest in the reality that God can and will put, preserve and remove from power over the nations, whomever he wills and pleases and in doing so will often work greater good for his own and glory for himself, in making those changes (Gen. 50:20; Job. 12:23, Psa. 22:28).
Supporters of President Trump – evangelical or otherwise, can protest and petition the powers that be, that the election was “stolen” (and they could be right based upon some circumstantial evidence that fraud may have occurred and impacted the results), but would the sovereign God of the Bible who directed if not permitted Biden’s occupancy of the Oval Office, sanction rebellion or the talk in some embittered circles of a voter revolt that could bring the nation from cultural to civil war? Hardly. Is this the time for Americans- Christian Americans in particular, to panic and play God?
Sounds of shofars rang out last Saturday as thousands of the President’s supporters marched seven times across the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the Department of Justice, praying “for the walls of corruption and election fraud to fall down,” in an event called the Jericho March, in which author and radio host Eric Metaxas and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn headlined the one-day prayer rally that included several claims (visions and prophecies) of extra-biblical revelation about President Trump and the election.
Unfortunately, police in downtown Washington reported altercations between supporters and counter-protesters as night fell on the event. Vandals ripped off ‘Black Lives Matter’ banners from two historic black churches. Police reported four stabbings and arrested nearly 30 people for assault, rioting, and possessing weapons. Some eight police officers also sustained injuries.
Do we as Christians holding to a biblical worldview, believe such conflict (regardless of who instigated it) would glorify God in submission to the ‘governing authorities (Ro. 13; 1 Pet. 2) and serve as a proper witness to a lost and watching world? Perhaps it is more a reflection of the current interest in end times theology again, which seems to occur whenever the world or our nation is under great stress.
Many disciples in and around the church, are thinking we are at the beginning of the end – the ‘Day of the Lord’, the end of the age and the coming of Christ, unless we first fast, repent and usher in revival for this nation. Although fasting and prayer are justified biblical responses to the events at hand, we cannot manufacture revival and speed up or prolong Christ’s second coming any more than we would think God’s word and revealed will would have us overthrow the coming administration or secede from the United States, as some conservative politicos of late have suggested – including some I heard at the Jericho March.
We as a nation have been here before. Much of colonial America at the time of the revolution and the fight for independence thought the Lord would come in the face of what they thought was the ‘antichrist’ government of England’s King George, in cahoots with the pope and the Roman Catholic church to stamp out freedom. That was a prevailing view.
Others thought the great tribulation time had been inaugurated by the ‘Great War’ (WWI), or WWII and Hitler’s regime or Marx and Russia, or 9-11. There was a big push to think the Lord was coming in 1948, when the United Nations recognized and helped reestablish Israel as a nation with its promised land. All of those visions, prophecies and predictions were proven false of course.
The Bible has told us what the last days would be like (2 Tim. 3:2-5), without divulging the date in which it would culminate in the end of world history as we know it. The church must therefore be reminded that Jesus could return to rule and reign on the earth as king at any moment – and on the other hand he could tarry or delay that return for centuries to come (“.. as one day is as a thousand years”). Nobody knows for sure when that will happen other than the triune Godhead in heaven.
Jesus said to his disciples discussing the last days, “See that no one leads you astray… But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
What God would have us to do as the prophet Isaiah instructed Israel in a time of exile and captivity as judgment for her national sin (sound familiar?) was to remember something very important….
8 “Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
9 remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it. (Isa. 46:8-11, ESV)
What did God want his people to remember in their exile and suffering? For starters, his faithfulness to them, including all the things he had done for them in the past (the exodus from Egypt, the delivery of the law and provision of their hunger in the wilderness); in short, he wanted them to remember and be grateful to him for a history of his sovereign grace and mercy towards them.
Secondly, he wanted the nation to remember that he alone as the sovereign governor of the world, “declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done.” Only God can tell the future before it happens. So, tell your friends to forget Nostradamus or their Ouija board game, crystal balls, horoscopes and tarot cards. Isaiah says he makes known, or tells- announces the future – what is still to come, from long ago- eternity past even and often used his prophets to declare that to us in scripture.
If God wants to do something, he will in his own good timing and purposes (Psa. 33:10-11). In fact, if you were to read and study the prophetic book of Daniel (“70 7’s”), you would see how the kingdoms or empires he spoke of centuries in advance, have came to pass as well as the first advent- or arrival of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
The Lord’s sovereign plans are carried out by men he moves in and through (Isa. 46:11) like a Nebuchadnezzar, a Cyrus or a Herod, who have been used by God to judge Israel and eventually bring them out of exile (Pro. 16:9, 21:1).
That’s a big reason why I don’t worry about who will be occupying the White House for a relatively short period of time. I’ll just be praying for the new President-Elect to come to Christ by Gods’ sovereign grace and to lead rightly for now by his common grace. No worries, Psa. 47:8 says God is king of the earth and its history, God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.
So how is a child of King Jesus to respond to this week’s seemingly final election results amidst the ongoing saga that is the COVID pandemic and its far-reaching consequences? Worry? Certainly not. We have hope in a sovereign God. That should being comfort to the born-again believer.
What do we tell people who ask us about the end of the world? We start with the gospel. People need to know now is their time to turn to God and trust in Christ and the consequence of eternal danger without faith in him. The end times and the second coming’s reality should cause sinners to cling to Christ and the cross. We need to remember and remind the lost as one commentator said, “That God wins and His people will win with Him.”
Now is not the time for government rebellion or civil disobedience over contested election results. Yes, we’re in a culture war of worldviews, but we are not to let that reality result in a civil war. Rather, we are to learn, live and give God’s word and gospel to a lost and dying nation.
The song of a contemporary Christian singer of some years ago, sang it well, with the words, “If you believe he’s coming back tomorrow, oh, then live like he is coming back today.”