God Reigns Over the Nations (Andy Robison)

God reigns over the nations;
God sits on His holy throne (Psalm 47:8)

Daniel 2 records the prophet interpreting a prophetic dream of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, a dream which predicting four successive kingdoms. History would record these as the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman. In the days of the Roman kingdom, a new kingdom, represented by a stone cut out of the mountain without hands, would be established. It would never be destroyed, and it would never be left to another. It, of course, is the kingdom of Christ (Daniel 2:1-45; Mark 9:1; Matt. 16:18-19).

In Daniel 4, God humbled Nebuchadnezzar,

...in order that the living may know
That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men
Gives it to whomever He will,
And sets over it the lowest of men (Dan. 4:17).

Are these principles still true in New Testament times? Romans 13:1 indicates that all government is appointed by God. Paul, in Acts 17:26 spoke of the pre-appointed times and boundaries of all nations. God is in control: "He removes kings and raises up kings" (Dan. 2:21). Pride ruins cultures; humility and obedience to God's morality and ethics helps built them (cf. 2 Chron. 7:14; Psalm 9:17; Prov. 14:34).

Yet, even in the midst of a "perverse generation" (Acts 2:41; Phil. 2:14-15) there is salvation for individuals in a better kingdom. This kingdom is not concerned with earthly territory, but is spiritual (John 18:36; Luke 17:20-21). This kingdom does NOT fight a physical battle with carnal weapons (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:4). Members of it have a citizenship in heaven, and eagerly await transformation to that realm (Phil. 3:20-21). "The stone from a mountain cut out with hands" can never, ever be conquered. The throne of Christ rules in men's hearts. In the last day, it will be presented to God the father for eternal existence after earth, and all its temporal nations, are done (1 Cor. 15:24).

That kingdom was established in the first century, during the lifetimes of those to whom Jesus spoke (Mark 9:1). It is not some future entity, it existed then; people were in it (Col. 1:13). It is the Lord's church (Matt. 16:18-19). One is born into it by the water and the Spirit (Acts 2:38-47; John 3:1-5).

Some nations on earth are better than others, but this kingdom deserves undying allegiance. Be obedient to the civil authorities, unless they demand un-Christian activity (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17; Acts 5:29). Always seek Christ's kingdom first (Matt. 6:33).