17 Jul Israel's History
The study of Israel in light of Bible prophecy is one of the most spiritually enriching studies imaginable.
“The highest science, the loftiest speculation…which can ever engage the attention of a child of God, is the name, the nature, the person, the work, the doings, and the existence of God.” –Charles Spurgeon
The story of Israel begins in Genesis 12. The Abrahamic Covenant
It’s 2,000 B.C. when God calls Abraham to separate himself from his family, his country, and his pagan roots. God has chosen Abraham and his future descendants to begin the new nation of Israel. They would be called a “Chosen nation” because they were chosen for a mission. They would be entrusted and empowered to bring God’s plan of redemption (and His Redeemer) to a world—lost without Him.
Here is the word of God to Abraham from Genesis 12:1-3, “Now the Lord had said to Abram:
Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
The promises fall into 3 categories: Personal, national, universal. The Abrahamic covenant included the promise of:
- A great nation
- A great name
- Special favor
- All other nations would be blessed through one of Abraham’s descendants.
Did these 4,000-year-old promises come true? Let’s consider them one at a time:
1. Did Abraham become a great nation?
Nation indeed! Abraham was 100 and his 90-year-old wife, Sarah, was barren when this promise was given. That is why Isaac is called, “The son of promise.” The nation began with a miracle! This “typified” the virgin birth of Jesus.
Abraham had Isaac, Isaac had Jacob, and Jacob had 12 sons who became the 12 Tribes of the nation of Israel. Five hundred years later, Abraham’s descendants were 2-3 million strong.
They marched out of Egypt, and out of slavery without a shot being fired. Egypt was the most powerful nation on Earth! This was the beginning of the nation of Israel!
In 1,500 B.C. God gives Moses the Ten Commandments–the greatest moral code known to man.
By 1,000 B.C. the Jewish monarchy, Israel, had become a world power under Kings Saul, David, and Solomon.
David made Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and Solomon built the most magnificent (and expensive) temple in history.
So much gold and silver were used in its construction; if it were built today its estimated cost is 150 billion dollars! To put that in perspective, the tallest skyscrapers in the world today cost about $1.5 billion dollars to build.
Today, Israel has the highest per capita income and the highest standard of living in the Middle East.
- Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world’s population, yet they are number two in the world with new technology start-up firms.
- Of the just over 800 individuals who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, more than 20% are Jews!
- The Nobel Prize is an international prize awarded annually for achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology, and literature.
- Albert Einstein is still considered the most brilliant physicist in the history of science. His Theory of Relativity contributed to the discovery of atomic power.
- Israel leads the world in advanced technology and the IDF is one of the most capable militaries in the world.
Each of their military victories since 1948 has been nothing short of miraculous. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Does that qualify as a great nation?
However, the complete fulfillment of the promise to Israel of becoming a great nation is still ongoing. Remember, the promise is to Abraham and his descendants. Israel’s best days are still ahead of her.
2. Was Abraham’s name made great?
Virtually all the empires of the ancient world were polytheists. They worshipped many gods usually in the form of idols. The great world powers were:
What did they have in common? They were all pagans!
It was Abraham and his descendants were the first to proclaim the doctrine that so profoundly impacted our world—the astounding legacy of monotheism—one God!
How did the Israelites alone, surrounded by paganism come up with such a radical idea? Abraham did not create one God, the one God created (and revealed Himself) to Abraham!
And all three of the world’s great monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; 3.5 billion people) claim that Abraham is the founding father of their religion.
Would you say that qualifies as a great name?
3. How have all the families of the Earth been blessed?
Israel is the birthplace of the Word of God—written and living (the Bible and Jesus Christ). The prophets and the apostles were Jews. Jesus was Jewish.
There is no possible term of comparison between the Bible and Jesus Christ and any other religious leader or so-called “holy book” in the history of the world.
- The Bible is the run-away best seller of all time
- Jesus Christ is the most famous person who ever lived
- Christianity is the largest religion in the world
The Bible is read by more people and published in more languages than any other book. Wycliffe Bible translators are now saying that by 2020 they will have portions of the Bible in every language!
HOW WAS THE WHOLE WORLD BLESSED BY JESUS?
In Leviticus 1-17, God instructed Moses to begin the sacrificial system in order to atone for sin. God’s word says,
The life is in the blood and without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin.
Since the penalty for sin is death (all men die because all men sin), in order for a savior to save you, he would have to be sinless and die for you. That is precisely what Jesus did. If you come to God without a blood sacrifice, your own life is required!
- The sacrificial system provided the world with 1,500 years of literal, historical, and theological context, so when Jesus died on the cross, this would all make sense.
- This is how God can legally forgive sin without compromising His justice. Justice and mercy were reconciled when Jesus paid our sin debt for us.
- That is why when John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
- Jesus Christ satisfied God’s perfect justice once and for all the families of the Earth!
Would you say that qualifies as a blessing to all the nations?
A careful reading of Deut. 28 & Lev. 26 reveals that God told the Israelites, if they would trust and obey Him, He would exalt them above all the other nations.
But if they failed to trust and obey, just the opposite would happen. History verifies that the Bible is correct in pre-writing Israel’s history to the smallest detail.
It is important to realize that the promises were to Abraham and to his descendants. That means that the promises are still in the process of being fulfilled!
As mentioned the Jewish Monarchy became a world power under kings: Saul, David, and Solomon.
Solomon’s death in 926 marked the end of the united monarchy. They forgot about God and look what happened.
The Kingdom was divided into Israel and Judah. Israel (the Northern Kingdom) lasted 240 years.
The Assyrian Empire
In 720 B.C. the Northern Kingdom of Israel was crushed by the Assyrian Empire. They forced 10 of the 12 Tribes into exile.
The Babylonian Empire
In 586 B.C. Judah (the Southern Kingdom) was conquered by the Babylonian Empire. King Nebuchadnezzar totally destroyed the Temple and the Jews were exiled to Babylon. Israel and Judah were now under foreign control.
Israel would not be under Jewish control as a nation again until 1948 A.D. (2,362 years later).
The Persian Empire
In 538 B.C. (48 years later), Cyrus the Great / King of Persia conquered the Babylonians.
Daniel spoke of the” Prince of Persia” who did battle with Michael the Arc Angel for 21 days. Persia is Modern Day Iran.
The rebuilding of the Temple was authorized by Cyrus in 538 B.C.
Alexander the Great
In 333 Alexander the Great conquered the world for Greece. In a last-minute decision, he allowed the rebuilt Temple to stand.
After Alexander died, the kingdom was divided into four territories.
This was prophesied in spectacular detail 200 years before Alexander was born in Daniel Chapter 11.
In 168 B.C., Antiochus Epiphanies, a Syrian king who wanted to Hellenize the world, took control of Israel and banned all Jewish religious practices.
He occupied Jerusalem, entered Holy of Holies and desecrated the Temple by slaughtering a pig on the Temple altar.
The Roman Empire
In 64 B.C. the Roman General, Pompey conquered Judea.
Rome began its domination of the Jews and Judea which lasted nearly 500 years.
Rome was steeped in paganism. They attributed their success as a world power to the gods. They had 12 major gods and numerous minor gods.
The world divides time before and after Jesus Christ.
Gal, 4:4, But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.
The very first verse in the New Testament is fascinating. In Matt. 1:1 we read,
This is the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.
This verse tells us two things:
1. The Bible is one book:
- Who are David and Abraham? You’ll have to go back to Genesis to find that out!
2. God always keeps His promises:
- The promise was that one of Abraham’s descendants would be a blessing to the whole world.
- The promise to David was that one of his descendants would rule and reign from his throne in Jerusalem forever! Jesus is that person and when He returns that is exactly what He is going to do.
Matthew 1:1 is saying that the promises that go back 2,000 years begin now!
In 70 A.D., General Titus (later to become Emperor Titus), destroyed Jerusalem. He left 1 million dead and the surviving Jews ran for their lives to the four corners of the Earth.
The 1,000-year-old Temple was destroyed. Not one stone was left upon another precisely as Jesus prophesied.
The Roman Empire ruled the world with an iron fist.
In 330 Emperor Constantine believing Jesus could help him win his battles, decriminalized Christianity. He developed his own version which became the official state religion of Rome.
He mixed the pagan practices of Rome with Christianity and the Roman Empire became the “Holy Roman Empire” which we know today as the Holy Roman Catholic (Universal) “church.”
That is the Genesis of Roman Catholicism!
The Arch of Titus stands in Italy to this day as a memorial to Titus and the destruction of Jerusalem. Italy is bankrupt and Israel is thriving.
The Roman Empire ruled the world with an iron fist. They won all their arguments by killing their enemies. At the Roman Coliseum, Christians were fed to the lions.
Providentially, there are more Christians alive at this moment than the total number of people who made up the Roman Empire, over its entire 500-year history, and the lions and the tigers are on the endangered species list!
The Byzantine Empire
Constantine transferred the main capital of the empire from Rome to Byzantium. He changed the name to Constantinople (“City of Constantine”) which we know today as Istanbul.
In 1054 there was a dispute between Rome and Constantinople over the worship of icons.
Rome continued its practice of Catholicism and the Byzantines practiced their version of what we know today as the Eastern Orthodox or Greek Orthodox Church.
In 638 Muslims took Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock was built, in 691 A.D.
Many scholars believe that this Mosque sits on the very spot where Solomon’s Temple was originally constructed.
In 1095 Pope Urban II sanctioned a military force called, “The Crusaders” It lasted from 1095–1291.
The Crusades were originally designed to recapture the Holy Land from the Muslims.
The Crusaders were promised an indulgence from the Pope if they would fight for Rome. The promise was they would receive forgiveness for past sins, guaranteeing them a place in heaven.
Unfortunately for those who fought, they were not aware that only God has that authority.
During the Crusades, not only Muslims, but Jews and Christians were robbed, raped, massacred and sold into slavery.
The Crusades spread as Rome sought to rid Europe of “ecclesiastical heretics.”
An “ecclesiastical heretic” in this case was anyone who refused to convert to Roman Catholicism. The Crusades lasted almost 300 years!
Following the Crusades, there were widespread expulsions of Jews in Europe, beginning in England in 1290.
Then in by France in 1306.
Then it was the Spanish Inquisition of the 15th century. It is uncertain how many were killed in the name of “Jesus.”
Rest assured the Crusaders were not following the Jesus of the Bible. He said, “Love your enemies.”
In 1453 Constantinople fell to the Ottomans (the Turkish Empire). The Ottoman’s were Muslims.
In 1917 the British defeated the Turks in World War I and took control of Israel. The Brits promised they would help the Jews back into their ancient homeland but broke their promises under pressure from the Arabs and their oil.
God’s promise to Abraham is still being fulfilled.
I will bless those who bless thee and I will curse those who curse thee.
After WWI the British Empire controlled a quarter of the world. Today, England is bankrupt morally, spiritually, and financially and being overrun by Muslims!
In 1939 Satan handed the baton to Adolph Hitler. Germany invaded Poland and that was the beginning of WWII.
Hitler convinced Germany that the final solution to the world’s problems was the extermination of the Jews.
Adolph Hitler was directly responsible for the murder of 11 million people. Of those 11 million, 6 million were Jews. Their only crime was; they were Jewish!
In April 1945 Hitler committed suicide. On May 8th Germany surrendered, but not before 59 million people were dead!
Three Years Later—Israel is Born Again
More than 2,500 years earlier, Ezek. 36:23-24 said,
And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight”. For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands, and bring you into your own land.
The Next Day Israel was Attacked by the Arabs
On May 15th one day after Israel declared its independence five Arab countries—Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq — attack Israel, launching the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
Israel has suffered 5 full-blown attacks by her Arab neighbors since 1948 and each time, although vastly outnumbered, Israel routed her enemies with stunning victories. And each time Israel captured more of the land that God promised her.
Even though Israel was a Jewish nation once again, she still did not have control of the heart of her nation—the ancient city of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Back in Jewish Hands
In 1967 in the Six Day War, the Israelis captured the ancient city of Jerusalem from Jordan.
In Luke 21:24, 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem, by Rome Jesus said,
And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Jerusalem is now back in Jewish hands for the first time 2,000 years. But there is one piece of real estate inside the city of Jerusalem still in dispute.
Israel still does not have control over the most sacred site on Earth. The Temple Mount (where the Mosque of Omar stands) is still under Arab control.
WHY IS ISRAEL THE MOST DISPUTED PIECE OF REAL ESTATE ON PLANET EARTH?
Here is the truth about who the land really belongs to. In Genesis 17:17-22 God’s word says,
Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!”
Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.”
According to the Bible, God promised the land to Abraham, to his “son of promise,” Isaac, and to their descendants.
Almost 2,600 years later, Mohammed came along and claimed that Ishmael (not Isaac) is the rightful heir, and therefore the land belongs to the Arabs!
“That is why Muslims are determined to destroy Israel and take the land.
“If Israel prevails (or even exists), Muslims will be forced to admit that Allah is not the true God, Mohammed was not a prophet, and the Koran is false.” –Dave Hunt
THE REAL BATTLE IS NOT AGAINST JEWS AND ARABS. GOD LOVES THEM BOTH. THE REAL BATTLE IS BETWEEN THE FORCES OF DARKNESS AND THE PRINCE OF PEACE
IF SATAN COULD HAVE DESTROYED THE JEWS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT THE SAVIOR COULD NOT HAVE COME THE FIRST TIME
IF SATAN CAN DESTROY ISRAEL NOW, THE PROPHECY OF JESUS RETURNING TO RULE FROM THE THRONE OF DAVID CANNOT BE FULFILLED!
Jerusalem must be in Jewish hands for this prophecy to be fulfilled. This is clearly spelled out in both the Old and New Testaments.
In Isaiah 59:19-20 we read,
When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him. “The Redeemer will come to Zion, And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” Says the Lord.
And in Luke 1:31-33,
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
And in Zech. 14:1-4,
Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, and your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, but the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
Today there are 350 million Arabs surrounding 6 million Jews and they cannot defeat tiny little Israel! Why do you suppose that is? As usual, God’s Word has the answer.
The Bible says you’d have a better chance of changing the course of the sun, moon, and stars than from ever removing the Jews from the land!
In Jer. 31:35-37 the word of God says,
Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for light by day, and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; the LORD of hosts is His name:
If this fixed order departs from before me,” declares the LORD, “Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever.”
Thus says the LORD, “If the heavens above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out below, then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done,” declares the LORD.”
WAS THE BIBLE RIGHT ABOUT THE ISHMAELITES?
In Genesis 16:11-12 we read,
And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distress.
This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey!
He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.
As of this writing, most of the Middle East is completely up for grabs. Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, these countries that surround Israel are engulfed in a civil war (which is anything but civil).
Here’s how the ASV translated Gen. 16:11-12,
And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son. And thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because God hath heard thy affliction. And he shall be a wild ass among men. His hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell over against all his brethren.
Is Genesis 16 correct? What do you see? Sunnis kill Shiites, Shiites kill Sunnis, moderates fighting with radicals, Iraqis fighting with Iranians, Iran killing their own civilians; the Saudis are afraid of the Iranians and the list goes on and on (and on).
DO YOU KNOW WHO HOLDS FOR THE RECORD FOR THE LARGEST NUMBER OF MURDERS IN HISTORY?
Hitler was responsible for 11 million, Joseph Stalin for at least 20 million, and Chairman Mao murdered 60 million Chinese in just 41 years.
But the Ishmaelite’s, beginning with Mohammed in the 7th century up until now (the killing has been ongoing for 14 centuries and the numbers are now growing exponentially) have murdered over 250 million people.
These numbers are well documented at, https://markhumphrys.com/islam.killings.html
You can argue about it all you want to, but you cannot change history. No one else even comes close!
More than 2,000 years ago, in John 16:2-4, Jesus prophesied,
…the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.
Rest assured we are not picking on the Arabs. God called the Jews a “stiff-necked and obstinate people.” Jesus’ harshest words were reserved for the Pharisees, not because they were so far from God but because they were so close to God and they missed Him!
THE REAL BATTLE IS NOT BETWEEN JEWS AND ARABS―GOD LOVES THEM BOTH!
THE REAL BATTLE IS BETWEEN THE FORCES OF DARKNESS AND THE PRINCE OF PEACE
In John 3:16, God’s Word says,
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
What Does It Mean To Believe?
Here’s A Convicting Testimony From The Men Of Nineveh And The Queen Of Sheba
There is a curious story told by Jesus to a group of people who wanted Him to offer more proof of His authority. This was just after He demonstrated His power over the demonic realm by casting the demon out of a man and setting him free.
Jesus was speaking to a group of self-righteous, religious hypocrites who wanted God on their own terms.
They said, “Give us another sign; do a miracle!” In Matthew 12:41-42, Jesus answered with this story:
The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.
Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians were infamous for their cruelty and barbarism in the treatment of their conquered enemies. They were far from God.
Nineveh is described in Genesis 10:11 as having been founded by Nimrod, the mastermind behind the tower of Babel. They worshiped Ishtar (Easter) the fertility goddess.
Jonah preached a one-line sermon on the judgment of God to a city of 600,000 plus, and the entire city repented in sackcloth and ashes!
The Queen of the South
When the Queen of the South (probably the Queen of Sheba) heard about the wisdom of Solomon, she headed off on a dangerous one thousand, five hundred mile journey, not by plane or train, but by camel!
This had to take 6 months to a year (or more). Day and night, in the cold, the heat, the rain, facing the danger of robbers, crossing rivers, up-hill and down, who knows all she had to go through to get there? One thing is sure; this was a sacrifice.
The point is: she was willing to go to that much trouble, even risking her life, to hear the wisdom of a man―King Solomon. Jesus said,
And a greater than Solomon is here!
How much greater? God created Solomon! The Creator is infinitely greater than the creature.
The point is: if the cruel men of Nineveh repented after hearing one message on the judgment of God, and if the Queen of the South was willing to travel across land and sea by camel to get wisdom, how much more accountable will we be compared to the people in this story?
Jesus said, in the judgment, these two groups will share their testimony. How will yours compare? Have you experienced brokenness, deep contrition, and truly repented for your sin?
It was your sin and mine that nailed Jesus to the cross, and it was His love for you that held Him there. The Bible says He died for our sin, therefore, we are guilty of murdering the Son of God (Acts 2:23; 3:36).
Have you, like the Queen of the South, sought the wisdom of God with all your heart? Many people who name the name of Christ have never even taken the time to read the Bible once! Most people who claim to be Christians have never even attempted to lead another person to Christ.
SO, WHAT TIME IS IT ON GOD’S PROPHETIC CLOCK?
Jesus was 2,000 years ago. Abraham was 2,000 years before Jesus, and Adam and Eve were 2,000 years before Abraham. So, the Garden of Eden was 6,000 years ago.
The book of Genesis says, God created the heavens and the Earth in 6 days and He rested on the seventh. The New Testament says, with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. It’s been six days, and the seventh day is dawning. What time is it? It’s time to wake up! The night is almost over and the day is almost here when no man can work.
The Lord is coming soon. Then it will be too late to say you’re sorry, too late to forgive your brother, too late to love and live and get involved in God’s ministry of reconciliation.
It will be too late to pray, too late to read God’s Word, and too late to stop living as if God did not exist. It will be too late to seek God although He is not far from any of us.
Arise and shine, for the Light is come, for the glory of the Lord is risen, the glory of the Lord is come. Arise, and let the light of Christ shine in your heart.
If the Bible is right about Israel, it’s right about everything else: Heaven, hell, God, Jesus, Satan, all of it.
The Bible says, Jesus died on the cross according to the Scriptures and on the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures. Salvation from sin is by grace alone, through faith alone, through Christ alone.
In John 3:16-17 God’s Word says,
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
And who are the true descendants of Abraham? Gal 3:6-9
just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.
The Gentiles (all non-Jews) who are trusting Jesus Christ have been grafted into the tree of life. Rom. 11:13-18,
For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? For if the first fruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
This is a great quote from Malcolm Muggeridge comparing the passing empires of men to the kingdom of God
We look back upon history and what do we see? Empires rising and falling, revolutions and counter-revolutions, wealth accumulating and wealth dispersed, one nation dominant and then another. Shakespeare speaks of ‘the rise and fall of great ones that ebb and flow with the moon.’
I look back on my own fellow countrymen ruling over a quarter of the world, the great majority of them convinced, in the words of what is still a favorite song, that, ‘God who’s made the mighty would make them mightier yet.’
I’ve heard a crazed, cracked Austrian announce to the world the establishment of a German Reich that would last a thousand years; an Italian clown announce that he would restart the calendar to begin his own ascension to power.
I’ve heard a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as a wiser than Solomon, more humane than Marcus Aurelius, more enlightened than Ashoka.
I’ve seen America wealthier and in terms of weaponry, more powerful than the rest of the world put together, so that had the American people desired, could have outdone an Alexander or a Julius Caesar in the range and scale of their conquests.
All in one lifetime. All in one lifetime. All gone with the wind.
England part of a tiny island off the coast of Europe, threatened with dismemberment and even bankruptcy.
Hitler and Mussolini dead, remembered only in infamy.
Stalin a forbidden name in the regime he helped found and dominate for some three decades.
America haunted by fears of running out of those precious fluids that keep her motorways roaring, and the smog settling, with troubled memories of a disastrous campaign in Vietnam, and the victories of the Don Quixote’s of the media as they charged the windmills of Watergate.
All in one lifetime, all gone. Gone with the wind.
Behind the debris of these self-styled, sullen supermen and imperial diplomats, there stands the gigantic figure of one person, because of whom, by whom, in whom, and through whom alone mankind might still have hope. The person of Jesus Christ.