Learn how and why God determines whether, when and for how long a nation becomes great and wields influence in the world.
[Darris McNeely] Have you ever wondered about the power and the wealth of the nations of the world? Why do some nations have more than others? Why do nations like America, Canada, and Australia and Great Britain seem to have more than other nations in Africa or Asia? Why are the largest wars in history centered in Europe? Why is the Middle East always seem to be full of unsolvable conflict?
Is it possible that God has arranged the world that we see today according to His eternal plan and purpose? Could it all change quickly and the world we know today become a different, more dangerous place?
Does the Bible have something to say to these nations today?
What if they are part of a larger divine plan God is working on this planet? What if the blessings of wealth and power and peace enjoyed by America, Great Britain, Australia and Canada is based on something other than what we see today? Would it make a difference?
We are at a moment in history to consider what God says to all nations through His living word. On this edition of Beyond Today we will examine “God’s Hand on Nations.”
Do you remember the story of the founding of the United States of America? Remember the story that American students rehearse in school around the time of Thanksgiving? It goes back to the beginning of the nation.
The settlement of America included people who felt moved by God to come to this New World and create a society based in the story they understood from the Bible, Bibles that they carried with them. They looked upon their travels over the sea in boats as their exodus from lands hostile to their faith. Like the children of Israel they were leaving their version of Egypt, the old World, or Europe. Ahead of them was the opportunity of a promised land where they could do God’s work unhindered from the tyranny of government. The Bible was their compass and they felt a special calling of God to build a city upon a hill.
You probably know one story quite well. It’s the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims who landed in what is now Massachusetts in November, the year 1620. These men and women, and a child born enroute on the ship, sought a new beginning in a new land. They held a deep religious motivation that led them to settle in the new world wilderness. They were part of a small group of religious dissenters in England. They left England, they settled in Holland before leaving then for the New World. They were seeking a new land to carry out their understanding of the word of God.
These people had a utopian vision. Feeling that they were on a mission from God to build His kingdom in the new land. Each step of their story shows the hand of God guiding them. Intending to land at the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, known today as Manhattan Island, they were blown off course and they landed near Cape Cod Massachusetts.
Timing had everything to do with this now famous spot. A devastating plague had just gone through the area killing many of the native Indians. The pilgrims landed a short time after the disease subsided. You see, God was guiding their landing where their envisioned society could be planted with success.
The weeks after landing were bleak. They had little food. It was bitter cold, and death began to shrink their ranks. Just as it looked like it was all was lost, two Indians, both speaking English, came into their lives with just what they needed. Hope. Hope in the form of seed and the knowledge of how to plant that seed and grow food.
Squanto was the key to the Pilgrims establishing relations with the native Indians. The colony’s leader, Governor William Bradford, said that Squanto was “a special instrument sent of God for their good, beyond their expectation.” And who are we to say that God was not with these men and women to do His will? Looking back we can see the providential hand of God was upon them.
Before getting off the Mayflower that November of 1620, the Pilgrims drew up a document stating their purpose and how they would conduct their lives in the New World. In what became known as The Mayflower Compact they made reference to King James of England and dedicated themselves to work for a common purpose “in the name of God…for the glory of God and in the presence of God.”
God honored this compact. The Mayflower Compact is looked upon as a forerunner of the United States Constitution. It has the name of God upon it. This story is part of the American Thanksgiving celebration. But it’s a whole lot more. It is a key link in a larger story of the guiding hand of God on all history and especially for our consideration here: the history of America.
You see, America exists because God intended a great nation to rise in this new world. A nation with the ability to harness the wealth hid within the soil and the rivers and forests of this vast land. The new world was a place prepared for a people to take and create a single great nation destined to become the wealthiest and the most powerful single nation in the history of the world. God’s hand was involved in the settlement of America.
Those are powerful words. Are they still true today?
I recently visited Washington, DC. On this trip I learned something new about America’s capitol. Did you know many of the buildings and monuments of the capitol contain statements from the Bible?
The Washington Monument. It honors the nation’s first president and dominates most views of the National Mall and major government buildings. And there on the top of this obelisk facing to the east is the phrase “praise be to God.” There is another stone in the monument containing a quote from the book of Proverbs chapter 10:7. It says, “The memory of the just is blessed.”
On the Supreme Court building is a frieze of Moses holding the Ten Commandments. Of course Moses belongs on this building housing the nation’s highest court of law since he is looked upon as the great lawgiver in the Bible and all history.
I began thinking, how many more references are there to the Bible in this city?
So I went to the Lincoln Memorial, one of the more popular sites for people to visit. Abraham Lincoln, the president who saved the Union during its Civil War, sits majestically looking over the National Mall. On a wall facing his statue is a copy of his Second Inaugural Address. Spoken at the end of the Great War the speech contains a reference to the powerful judgment of God, a question almost as if that war had been sent by the hand of God.
As he reflected upon the evil of slavery that had divided America, Lincoln said, “The Almighty has His purposes.” The war had brought death and suffering but Lincoln was a man who knew the Bible and he also sensed the war was part of a divine purpose. He continued, “As was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”
Let’s consider one more example. The memorial to Thomas Jefferson, America’s third President, contains a large statue and many of the writings from the man who authored the Declaration of Independence. God’s name and purpose is placed on this monument as well.
There, high on a wall are the words, “God who gave us life, gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
I was stunned to read such direct statements about God and His judgment.
These are convicting words. They shout out a direct message for the United States and for other nations who hold a belief in God, and frankly even those who have no conviction about God.
Now these inscriptions are common knowledge readily found with a little research. But why should it matter? Isn’t it good to see such references to the Bible on national buildings and monuments? Well, yes, it is. Anytime you can see a public display of the Bible it is proper. But there is something else that you should consider. It involves the truth of the Bible, the word of God.
On this same trip to Washington I visited a new museum dedicated to telling the story of the Bible and its impact on people, nations and history. The Museum of the Bible is a remarkable testimony to the Bible. You can visit this museum and learn how archaeology proves the biblical story. You can see the story of how the Bible was translated into the common languages of the world. You can learn a great deal about this Book of books.
My visit reminded me of the fact that America was settled by people who believed the Bible had a message for them. They believed that message sent them to the New World. They believed the Bible directed their efforts to create a different nation, the United States of America. The founders of America claimed God’s name and purpose at the beginning. That’s a good work and it is also very sobering. You see it’s a serious matter when a people, a nation, claim the name of God as a nation “under God.”
The emergence of such a great nation was foretold in the Bible.
Thousands of years ago, God put His name and blessing on the family of Abraham. God foretold Abraham’s children would become a powerful grouping of nations in the modern world. They would dominate their time by controlling trade routes, by economic and political power. They would be a people guided by a different set of values than most other empires. Their wealth, their power and their influence would tilt the arc of world history toward more good than evil and the nations of the world would be blessed because they were blessed by the hand of God.
In all the story of the world there is only one people we find who fit the biblical description we find in scripture. They are the English speaking peoples of history: the peoples of Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and the United States. The weight of history shows only these peoples fit the test of nations in the modern times who would wield the physical blessings that God promised to Abraham’s descendants.
The United States of America stands out from this group as the single nation grown powerful and dominant. Now this is not an idea connected to any group pushing a political, religious, or a racial ideology. This is a biblical truth. It is the key to understanding Bible prophecy and today’s world.
It’s popular today to discredit America. Other nations will malign and attack America as a “Great Satan” or a capitalist exploiter of lesser peoples and nations. And even America has second guessed itself in recent years with self-doubt and accusations for its wealth and position in world affairs. But America’s position of power and influence in world affairs is by the divine will of God. God’s purpose should be understood. God’s purpose should be respected.
America’s time on the world stage has been a remarkable period. Its freedoms, its wealth, its power and ability to project help, aid and good to the world is unparalleled. America has made its mistakes as well. I don’t pretend to whitewash every action of the United States of America. But world events among nations are not always clean and as nice as we would like them to be. When it comes to relations with other nations, America does have some problem areas. America commits great national sins that do need to be called what they are. America has exported an idolatrous culture to the world. The Bible shows us all mankind has taken of a tree of both good and evil.
But that does not negate the good work done by American men and women to advance liberty and justice and better the quality of life to many peoples who have not been so blessed.
Remember what I asked at the start of our program: “Why do some nations have more than others?” You can understand why when you know that God guides the nations and history. The creation of America has been called the greatest miracle of the last four hundred years. And every other nation in today’s world has benefitted from the good that America has done for the world.
Let me read you a key verse about how God the creator handles the nations of the world. It was said by the apostle Paul to the Athenian philosophers on Mars Hill. It’s found in Acts 17:26 Acts 17:26And has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
American King James Version×. It says, “And He [meaning God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.”
This is a key verse that tells us that God has placed the nations and races in the lands of the earth by His plan and for His purpose. God determines whether and when a nation becomes great and wields influence beyond its borders and for how long. God determined when the Egyptians would be great and when they would be small. He determined when Rome rose and when it fell. And God determined when the English speaking nations of the modern times would come to the fullness of their power and influence. And God determined when America would rise and become a single great nation, the single greatest nation in world history.
As I have shown, this understanding that God is involved in history was a part of the founding of America; the Mayflower pilgrims felt God’s hand was upon their efforts. The founders of the nation understood it as well.
Let’s look for a moment at two quotes from famous Americans to illustrate what I’m talking about. One is from Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers, observed at the meetings which produced the US constitution, “…if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?” Benjamin Franklin here is quoting the words of Jesus Christ from the Sermon on the Mount. Here is another quote from President Abraham Lincoln who said: “He [God] who made the world still governs it.”
These men, and others, believed what the apostle Paul said what we just read in the book of Acts. Their words express that biblical truth in different ways. These people, these men, they believed a biblical truth.
Now today you might not hear words like this from our leaders. The reason? The reason is God has been systematically removed from our language and from much of our culture. And this is a great national sin that I mentioned earlier.
Let’s go back to the Supreme Court and Moses holding the tablets of God’s law. Probably more than any other part of the American government, the United States Supreme Court has changed aspects of American culture causing that culture to drift further from the Biblical moorings of God’s law and God’s purpose for all peoples. The result is devastating. Let me show you by walking you through three Supreme Court Decisions.
First: in 1962 the Supreme Court ruled against prayers in public schools. It caused upset at the time because people then were used to praying to God in certain ceremonies, even opening public schools each day with prayer. This ruling in 1962 began to remove God from the public square. It happened to occur just as many social changes were beginning to move through the United States. A sexual revolution loosened morals and attitudes began to turn against institutional authority. Unknown and unseen at the time, the ruling on prayer opened the door to a turbulent decade of civil strife, political assassination and outright cultural war.
Fast forward to 1973 and the next Supreme Court decision. In a landmark case known as Roe vs Wade the Supreme Court legalized abortion in all 50 states. And since that time more than 55 million legal abortions have been performed. An entire generation of young murdered before taking their first breath of life. This one case, more than any other it seems, has driven deep social fault lines across the land. For this one case alone the judgment of God will come upon the nation. Indeed, history shows that any civilization willingly sacrificing its young to the idols of self and convenience will disappear. Could that happen to America or any modern nation willing to go down this path of destruction?
And now consider one more. In 2015 a third landmark decision of the Supreme Court took place. The legalization of same sex marriage. What for many for so long was a social taboo became an accepted part of life. Polls show that more than fifty percent of the nation is tolerant of such an unnatural act. With this decision you wonder if the Supreme Court of the United States did not cross a line from which there is no return. The court’s decision transgressed the sacred law of God: the creator of male and female for the express purpose of giving life to a new generation.
Australia has now also legalized same sex marriage, joining their cousins in America. How does God look on such actions? Do the words on the Jefferson memorial speak a warning that should be heard? It says, remember, “God is just…His justice cannot sleep forever.”
The Bible speaks to a nation that does not want to keep God in its knowledge. God will eventually turn His back and let it go. Could we be near such a time today? With America, with Australia, with Canada?
It’s tempting to think of a great nation like America always existing, always powerful, and always here. I could not imagine a world without America. I would not want to see a world without America. But I have to be honest with the Bible. I read where God says “why will you die…? I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11 Ezekiel 33:11Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?
American King James Version×).
No nation, and America is no exception, can take the name of God and the word of God and put it on its national buildings and documents without bearing a duty to live by what that book and that God teaches and commands. They cannot trust in God in name and word only. The Bible shows God holds us accountable.
The Bible tells us God that sent a prophet once to stand in front of the temple that bore His name to warn the nation with whom he made a covenant, not to trust in that monument. “Hear the word of the Lord all of you Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord! Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’” (Jeremiah 7:2-3 Jeremiah 7:2-3 2 Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.
3 Thus said the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
American King James Version×)
These words spoken by the prophet Jeremiah told his fellow citizens to amend their ways. Start treating each other with justice. Stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows. Stop your murdering. Stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the temple is here. It’s a lie. Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “we are safe!” only to go right back to all those evils again?” (Jeremiah 7:5-6 Jeremiah 7:5-6 5 For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor;
6 If you oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
American King James Version×)
Those powerful words have meaning today. When I read those words and think about my experience in Washington, D.C. looking at these powerful monuments with the words and thoughts of God chiseled into stone, I am sobered.
And what about you? Are you moved, moved to consider your life? If God’s judgment does not sleep forever it means there is a coming day of reckoning. And now, while it is a time of peace, now is your opportunity to take God seriously, to take His word to heart and to consider your life.
I know that while you are watching Beyond Today and while you read our magazine and booklets it looks like life could go on just as it is for a long time, with no changes. But what, what if this is the time for you to consider your ways. Have you put off a deep repentance, a change in your life to begin to follow God as you’ve been learning here? Consider that this may be your time to turn your life around and to obey God. We can help you in that decision. Why not call or write to us. We can help.
During today’s program I have discussed much about America, including its founding and three Supreme Court decisions that have adversely affected it over the past few decades. However, there is much more that you can learn and you can understand. To help you do this we have prepared a highly informative free Bible study aid titled: The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy .
This valuable study aid will help you comprehend not only how the eternal God foretold the rise of these two great nations, and others, but also what will happen if—like their biblical ancestors—they continue rejecting the true Source of their many blessings.
To request your free copy of this important study aid, I encourage you to pick up the phone right now and call us toll-free, 1-triple-eight-886-8632. Here’s the number again, 1-triple-eight-886-8632. Or you can go online at beyondtoday.tv or write to us at the address shown on your screen [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
And, when you order your study aid we’ll also send you a free subscription to Beyond Today magazine. Each issue of Beyond Today includes educational and inspirational articles on practical Christian living, prophecy, doctrine and current events in the light of the Bible. We highly encourage you to read Beyond Today magazine. It can help you better comprehend the dynamic teachings of God’s Word.
Again, to order your free study aid The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy and your free subscription to Beyond Today magazine call: 1-triple eight-886-8632. Or go online to beyondtoday.tv to read or download these informative publications.
God sets the nations in their lands and He determines when they rise and fall. He has determined when America stands strong and He will determine our future. The words of the Bible which a nation chooses to put on its monuments have meaning and should be heeded. We are at a moment when God waits to see what we may do with a message that warns us to listen, to respond and to change. His hand is upon us.
We hope you will listen and we hope you will change. Please join us in praying “Your kingdom come.” Thanks for watching our program. For Beyond Today , I’m Darris McNeely.
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