How to Make the World Great Again
How to Make the World Great Again
What would it take to make all nations of the world great? The solution is actually not all that complicated. The answer is quite straightforward and goes back to the story of the Two Trees in the Garden of Eden.
[Peter Eddington] President Donald Trump has famously voiced to the country and around the world that he will make America great again. I know you haven't heard that statement. This is all new to you. And as you also know, he has received quite a bit of criticism for saying this. I believe actually that all countries wish to be great, it's not just us. Every national leader should do his or her best to ensure that their country is the greatest that can be. And as you know... well, as you would you would think, who doesn't want their nation to be successful, to be prosperous, to be great?
I wrote a piece in the previous Beyond Today Magazine about this and I want to actually go into a little bit more detail on the subject today. Because unquestionably, the United States of America is the most powerful nation militarily and the most affluent economically that the world has ever seen. And many immigrants push through the country's borders for a chance at a better life. They think America is great already. And in general, I would say that most of the English-speaking nations of our world are better off than the average global population.
There have been many blessings showered upon the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa but we are seeing a moral decline with the shunning of God and biblical values across the board in the public arena. When we look outside this nation, as we look at humanity in general, we see great poverty. We see hunger. We see violence, hatred, war, and disease. And unlike the U.S., people in those situations would say that America is already great. But what would it take then to make the rest of the world great? In fact, how can we be part of making the world great again?
Maybe social media can do it for us. There's a Facebook page called “Make The World Great Again” — its mission is "to unite one big happy family in hopes of making our lives meaningful again." Actually, it's going to take a lot more than just social media post or a Facebook page. But the solution is actually quite straightforward. It's not all that complicated. So in the sermon today, we're going to look at how to make the world great again. And as I said, I did write about this in the Beyond Today Magazine, but I want to go into some more detail about it today.
“How To Make The World Great Again.” Since President Trump's bold proclamation about making America great again, a lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon and have used the phrase towards making their own lives great. And Nations and other countries are doing the same. After all, who doesn't want their life to be better, their nation to be prosperous, because we all want to have a great life, don't we?
Here's an article from The Associated Press from January 26 of this year titled “Hungary leader Orban, says it's time to take Trump seriously.” This is from Budapest, Hungary. “Hungary's prime minister says there's an opportunity for the European Union to adopt reforms that will 'make Europe great again.' Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at a conference in Brussels on Thursday that the E.U. should abandon its federalist claims because only strong member states can guarantee the bloc’s success. Orban says, ‘A continent has gone from global to a local player and has struggled even with that diminished role.’”
So it has become quite a catchphrase, hasn't it? Everyone wants their continent or their country to be great again. I find it interesting that they often add "again." This statement presupposes that at one time the world was great, “going to make it great again." So we must ask, can we go back to a period in history to a time past when the world was great? When all was good, when all was prosperous, when there was no war, when there was plenty of food for everyone, when the whole world was peaceful?
Divided this message into three main sections: it's kind of a past, present, and future. And we have to begin with the past, the distant past. And so, the first of the three points is this, quite simply, the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden. What was God's original intent for our planet? Well, He said it was “created very good.” It was great. Everything was perfect and worked together in harmony. Even the trees were pleasant to the sight and good for food.
Do you ever wonder what the Garden of Eden was like? I know as a kid I did you try to imagine it. You look at the old Bible stories and things and try to imagine what the Garden of Eden was like. It's always an interesting topic of conversation when we imagine Adam and Eve living in such an idyllic setting, with a perfect climate to the point that not even clothes were needed for humankind to be comfortably warm. It didn't get cold, didn't get too hot.
And how about all those magnificent animals dwelling in perfect peace with Adam? God even paraded all the animals past Adam and asked him to give them all names. Guess what? None of them attacked him or bit off his head or clawed open his face or disemboweled him or anything like that. It was paradise. But what became of it? Eden has come to represent a kind of paradise to us. And wouldn't we all like to live in paradise?
Let's turn over to Genesis 2 and read a verse here. Adam and Eve were placed in a luxuriant garden, a kind of paradise. And in the beginning, as I said, humans were at peace with nature, not fearing bad weather or wild animals. This was a perfect setting to prepare humans for their ultimate destiny in the family of God. We heard about our Father and the family of God in the sermonette today. That's our destiny. However, something happened in that garden that forever changed the rest of human history, and it wasn't pretty. It was actually quite ugly.
Genesis 2:9, if you're in Genesis 2 now. Genesis 2:9. "And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Oh yeah, that two trees. Many of us remember a time in the church years ago when there was a huge emphasis on the message behind the two trees. In fact, this understanding is critical in our story today. It's critical in figuring out how to make the world great again, like the Garden of Eden again. How do we get back to Paradise? And you know what? It all has to do with the story of these two trees.
Look at Genesis 3. Look at how everything suddenly went horribly wrong. Adam and Eve disobeyed their God and they decided they would figure out for themselves what was right and wrong. And they shunned God's instructions and took for themselves instead the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 3:22, because of this, “The Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever—’” verse 23, "therefore" God says, 'I'll send him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.”
Genesis 3:24, “So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” So as we understand from these scriptures, Adam and Eve allowed sin to enter their lives by taking from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And this cycle of disobedience that they started became embedded in their children and their grandchildren and the great grandchildren — all the way down to you and me today, the cycle of disobedience.
The gravity of this, the gravity of humanity's sin led to the needed sacrifice of our Lord and Savior in order for us to all regain any hope and the original intent of the Garden of Eden, which as I said that hope is eternal life in the family of God. And now ever since that fateful time, our world, our globe has been cut off from a relationship with God. A flaming sword held by cherubim guard the tree of life and humankind as a whole does not have direct access to that tree or to God any longer.
And we see the results of that now all around us as we turn on the news and as we read the newspaper. The tree of life is introduced into the biblical narrative in those first chapters of Genesis, right there at the beginning, tree of life.Then it's left out of the story until the book of Revelation at the very end. Amazingly, what we see in between these two books is the story of humanity living without the tree of life. I guess you would say, "Boy does it show," when you look at all the stories in between, between Genesis and Revelation, boy does it show. So that's a little history about the Garden of Eden and the tree of life.
Secondly then, our world today, our world today, what does it look like? Let's move from the past, from the Garden of Eden to the present. What is our current situation? Well, we see the results of humankind taking from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and deciding still for oneself what is right from wrong instead of having access to the tree of life.
The majority of humanity, the majority, lives in some kind of poverty or is ravaged by war, is hungry, is poorly clothed, that does not have access to clean drinking water, the majority. Our nation and, like I said, the English-speaking nations, in general, are the exception, not the rule. And we know that that's not because of anything we did, that's because the promises made thousands of years ago by God to Abraham.
Corrupt governments and political officials keep their subjects pushed to the limits of abject poverty so that they can remain in power. Jesus Christ told us it would be like this. Go to Matthew 24. Turn over to the New Testament now and look at Matthew 24, because in fact, Jesus said that without God, without what we understand as the truth and the tree of life, Jesus said we would all eventually actually destroy ourselves and destroy the planet if He were not to intervene.
Mathew 24:3, “Now as Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and the end of the age?’” “When’s all this going to happen?" Verse 4, “Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.’" And then now, He makes a list that we've related to the book of Revelation and come to see as a list here of basically the four horsemen. Verse 5, “For many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many." So Christ predicted at the end of the age, false religion, that first horseman. Well, how many religions are there today? How confused is the religious landscape?
Verse 6, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” So Christ predicted terrible wars. Verse 7, “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines,” so that's the third horse of the apocalypse and “pestilences,” which Revelation listed as the fourth horse of the apocalypse, “and earthquakes in various places.” And Jesus said, "But these are just the beginning of sorrows." So we actually see these four horsemen riding today in our society now with pestilence and famine and false religion and war. But Jesus said, "But it's actually going to get worse." Jesus said, "It's just the beginning."
We're told that pestilence, war, hunger, and false religion will permeate our society until Jesus Christ finally does return. What we see in our world today is just the beginning. Jesus said it will get a lot worse before it gets better. The first and absolutely essential task of any government is to establish public order to get rid of the chaos. And its order has to be based on the rule of law, a law that enables citizens to live their lives in peace and security.
Many nations in our world today though are not able to establish order by the rule of law. Those who do not establish order are called “Failed States.” Here's a list of countries by order of appearance in the “Fund for Peace's Fragile States Index for 2016.” It used to be called the “Failed States Index.” Now, it's called the “Fragile States Index.” I think they've tried to replace it with a more politically correct name or something. So it used to be called the “Failed States,” now it's the “Fragile States List.” But the Fund outlines that a failed state has several attributes. Here's what they look at in analyzing whether a country of our world today has failed.
It is a state whose “central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; and sharp economic decline.” So here's the list of the top five countries today that are Failed States or the Fragile States: Somalia, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Sudan and Yemen. Six through 10: Syria of course, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, and Haiti. Haiti is in the top 10. Eleven through 15: Iraq, Guinea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Burundi, and then 16 through 20: Zimbabwe, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Niger, and Ethiopia.
So there's a top 20 failed states today. Those represent a huge swath of humanity's population. So it's quite clear that while many of the Western nations of our world are considered comparatively great, there are billions of people who definitely do not live in great circumstances. In fact, they live in sub-human conditions, a far cry from the original intent of the Garden of Eden.
Let's turn to Revelation 6 now. Revelation 6, because as we look more at our current world situation, note a parallel account to Jesus' prophecies that we read about in Matthew 24. Here is a parallel account that it's in Revelation 6. And we'll pick it up with the third horse, because here in Revelation 6 we see the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
The first two, as we mentioned, are false religions and widespread war, but the next two begin Revelation 6:5. So John writes, "When He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, ‘Come and see.' So I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, ‘A quarter of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil in the wine.’" So this is the third horse of famine.
Seven, verse 7, “When He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth of the earth, to kill with the sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.”
So this is the fourth cause of pestilence that Jesus had mentioned in Matthew 24 as well. There is coming a time when sorrows will increase and the horses of famine and pestilence will ride with even greater terror than what we see today. War and satanic religion will permeate our globe as well. And so, the nations of our world at the end time will be looking for just the very basics of survival, let alone being made great again — they just want something to eat. So that's our current situation today and where we're headed.
Will paradise ever be restored? How can the world be made great again? Because at present our world is a hotbed of ethnic strife, war, religious confusion, violence, unhappiness, and a warped sense of who and what God even is. And so now number three, how to make the world great again, how to make the world great again.
So in our world today, let alone just in North America, what would it take to do this? Here's an idea. Do you think that if Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin worked together and cooperated on world affairs that the world would be made great again? Apparently, some people think so. Last November, a photograph made its rounds on the Internet and in newspapers showing a billboard featuring images of President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin above the words, "Let's make the world great again - together!”
It was widely circulated on social media. I have a picture of it here in my notes. You can't really see it. That's a picture of the billboard with Trump and Putin. The top it's in Russian, and the bottom it's in English. And the billboard was indeed real. Getty Images published it on November 16th showing a billboard in the town of Danilovgrad in Montenegro. And Reuters has also published another image of the billboard. The billboard is genuine. “Let's make the world great again - together!” with Trump and Putin on the billboard. The billboard's genuine but it's not in Russia actually, it was in the Balkan country of Montenegro where it was put up.
Well, I think you all know this is not the solution, right? How do we really make the world great again? It's not by combining the forces of the United States with the Russian Federation. That's not how Eden will be restored. That's not what's going to bring paradise back. There's a marketing website called “Make Our World Great Again.” It's at make-our-world-great-again.myshopify.com. On it, you can purchase a baseball cap with any country on it that you wish. Like you place your order and send in $9.99 and you get back a baseball cap that says, "Make Italy great again," or, "Make Australia great again," any country you want. "Make Fiji great again." And they're making a lot of money out of it. Everybody does want their country to be great again. It's not just here.
Is this all it will take, an online baseball caps store? No. Alexis de Tocqueville was a French diplomat, political scientist, and historian. Tocqueville is well known for his work, "Democracy in America." He wrote two volumes in 1835 and 1840 and he traveled to America in the 1830s from France to discover the reasons for the incredible success of this new nation.
He stated the following in his book: "On my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things… Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness, did I understand the secret of her genius and power… The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom."
Tocqueville saw the connection between Christianity, security, morality, freedom, and law. He saw that the religion here was what was the basis for the country's success. And here's where it leads us and it's quite simple. All nations must follow the Creator's instruction manual and have offered to them the tree of life. Revelation 2:7, go back to Revelation 2 for a moment, notice verse 7. Revelation 2:7, and here it is, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." So it's the tree of life that brings us back to paradise. But notice there in the first sentence, it requires overcoming. It's access to the tree of life along with overcoming. Overcoming what?
Go back to Revelation 22 now and notice the very final words printed in our Bibles. This was at the time of the new heaven a new earth when the Holy City, New Jerusalem, allows God the Father to dwell with us. Revelation 22:2, talking of this time of the new heaven and new earth and the holy city, “In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” So the tree of life is what will lead to humanity being healed. That's what will lead to our nations being healed from what we see today. And our world turn into paradise again, the paradise of God.
It requires this connection to God for our world to succeed. But there is that major requirement of overcoming. Revelation 22:14, just go down a few verses to Revelation 22:14. "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city." So if you want access to the tree of life, with that comes the responsibility and that is to do something, to live a certain way of life, to do the commandments to overcome. Here, we see that it requires obedience to the commandments of God. It requires, as we know, putting sin out of one's life and overcoming our own selfish desires. And the tree of life enables God to have a relationship with us to join His Spirit with our human spirit leading eventually to have eternal life as spirit beings ourselves.
So here we see the Bible, as I mentioned earlier, bookended with the tree of life at the beginning of Genesis and then Revelation at the end. Right? The interim books in the middle show what happens when mankind lives without the word of God. And the in-between pages between Genesis and Revelation, in the in between, we see a lot of bad and a little bit of good. It's the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. So now, let's further solidify this third point which is how to make the world great again, and go back to Deuteronomy 4. This is actually a very important passage in Deuteronomy 4, because here we see what makes a nation great.
“These are the words which Moses spoke to all of Israel on the side of the Jordan in the wilderness,” chapter 3  says, he was speaking “in the plain opposite Suph, between Paran, Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Dizahab." That's where it is in case you're wondering. Deuteronomy 4:1, "Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe," says Moses. Moses are saying this, "that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you." Of course, that land for us today is the Kingdom of God. The Promised Land for us is the Kingdom of God.
So listen to the statutes and judgments is what we're told. Verse 2, "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." Okay, so it seems important to keep the commandments, right? It's the same story in the New Testament. This is not just an Old Testament thing. Verse 5, "Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as a Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land in which you go to possess. Therefore" verse 6, "be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all the statutes, and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'"
Verse 7, "For what great nation is there that God has so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call on Him?” Okay, so we read here that a great nation has God near to it and a great nation is a wise and understanding people. And then it said again in verse 8, how to make the world great again, “And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all the law which are set before you this day?” So to be a great nation, to be a great world, it's necessary to have statutes, it says, and judgments, and commandments, and the laws of God. That's what will make a great people. That's what would make a great nation and it's mentioned three times there in verses 6, 7, and 8, here's how to be a great nation, here's how to be a great nation, here's how to be a great nation.
Following God is what will make a nation and what will make the world great. Keeping His statutes and righteous judgments is what is required, just like we read in Revelation. A nation that has God so near to it will be awesome! It would be noticed by your neighbors is what Moses said. And by extension, this is how to make the world great again. Following God is what will make the world great again. God's kingdom will not be a Failed State. It will be the most successful government the world has ever seen. It will be strong and effective. It will control its territory. It will provide the best of public services. There will be no government corruption for sure. And there won't be refugees trying to flee the borders of God's government. And the economy will flourish and burgeon, and the city of God will be established then forever.
It takes more than just knowledge however to produce lasting peace and cooperation. It requires a spiritual change in people's hearts and minds. It will be that spiritual change in the people that will inspire entire nations to want to emulate this. It's a change of spirit. It's a change of heart at the core. It's having God near. It's having access to the tree of life, and not deciding for yourself what is right and what is wrong which rejecting the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
But now notice verse 9, Deuteronomy 4:9, because here's a warning for you. It's a warning for me. “Take heed to yourself though, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.” So Moses is saying, “Watch out though. Don't forget all this, don't let it depart from your heart.”
Since the day of Pentecost when the New Testament Church of God began, because we're thinking about that just two weeks ago, a small group of people, a small church called the firstfruits has been given access to the tree of life. Unlike the rest of the world, a small group has been given access to the Holy Spirit of God. You and I now already have access to the tree of life. Our lives then should be different. “Therefore, take heed to yourself and don't forget what you've seen and what you've been given. Don't depart from the truth of God or the days of your life," is a warning that Moses gives but is relevant now for us today.
We've already been given the tools necessary to become great in God's family. We have received the promise of the gift of eternal life. Spiritually, we're already rich no matter how physical money… how much little physical money we have, spiritually we're already rich no matter economic social or health circumstances. Spiritually, we're not in poverty. We're not in confusion. We're not mired in unhappiness or strife. And one day, what has been given to the firstfruits will extend to everyone who has ever lived.
As I wrap this up here now, it seems that every person, every nation, wants to be great again. I mentioned the prime minister of Hungary calling for Europe to be great again. But it's not just there, you can do a search for almost any country and see their wish to be great again. And so, I tried it. I Goggled, "Make Australia great again, make America great again, make England great." And sure enough, all these results come up with people trying to make their country great again. The whole slogans caught on around the world.
So I typed in “make India great again” in a Google search and a result from Fox News was the top piece, a piece by Cody Derespina from December 8th of last year. It was called, "Make India great again? Fighter jet giants looked to move production to India." "Donald Trump may meet his match," it says, "when he goes toe-to-toe with another world leader who's showing prowess strong-arming American companies into helping make his country” India, “great again. Lockheed Martin and Boeing are the two major companies involved in discussions to build fighter aircraft production plants in India as part of that country's ‘Make in India’ initiative… The ‘Make in India’ program, is the brainchild of Prime Minister Narendra Modi…”
So, if a nation gets a contract to make U.S. fighter jets, will that then make them great again? India is hoping so. How about in Nigeria, a nation with definite social economic and political issues at hand? So I typed in “make Nigeria great again.” He's what came up. It's a story from the Nigerian Tribune from November 17th of this past year by Dr. Ben Ajai. It's titled “Let's join hands together to make Nigeria great again.” Right at the conclusion of the article in the newspaper he says, "President-elect," he's elected at that time, "President-elect Donald Trump has sounded the trumpet. His mission is to make America great again. Nigerians and all those who stand in his way will be sent back to their countries. He has challenged Nigerians abroad and at home; he has challenged the politicians and the government. Using DT’s slogan, let us join hands together to make Nigeria great again. Then we shall learn respect in international circles."
No, it's not going to come from getting fighter jet contracts, nor is Nigeria going to be saved by joining hands with a “Make Nigeria great again” slogan. It's going to come from God and by obedience to His commandments and His laws. That's how, as we read in Deuteronomy 4:6, “this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”
And so to summarize, the world at one time was created perfectly with the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. But because of the sins of Adam and Eve and every person ever since, our world today is barred from access to that tree. And our world has decided to figure out for himself or for herself what is right and what is wrong. And we certainly see quite a diversity of what's considered right and what's considered wrong. That's called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
But very soon, Jesus Christ will return and give access to the tree of life once again to all of humankind, and that will truly allow all nations, all peoples to be great again. It will require a change of government, a change of heart, it will require overcoming sin, and giving obedience to the law of God as we've read. Yes, there is a definite plan for the ideals of Eden to be brought back to make the world great again. We've actually been on quite a tragic ride these past 6,000 years since Adam and Eve first sinned and took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we've all followed suit. Humanity is followed right along. We're all to blame. But it is time for a true godly paradise to be restored.
We must be thankful for the truth and understanding we have, currently having access to the tree of life ourselves and access to God's Spirit, because our dream of a Utopian, almost impossibly ideal world will come. That is how the world will be made great again and it all goes back to the story of the two trees. But remember the warning for you and me, “take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.”