As we approach the climax of the ages, and God begins to establish His Kingdom on earth in a visible manner, the subject of national identity and sovereignty will assume vital importance. The Scriptures declare unambiguously that God favours the establishment of nations, each with its own identity, customs, and manners, even though the “Kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.” The United Kingdom of Christ is a spiritual foundation stone, but it will contain all the varieties of national characteristics. Even as each human being is unique in God’s creation, so also each nation in the Millennium will be unique. Furthermore, each nation will be self-governing, not ruled by other nations. Each nation will need to look to the Spiritual Head over all nations, even the Lord Christ Himself.
The clearest Scripture to teach this principle is found in Isaiah 13, where the prophet is told to declare the “Burden of Babylon”. The downfall of the Babylonian system, the spiritual principle of which governs this present world, is given in remarkable detail, and taken up later by Jeremiah (50 & 51), and of course brought to a climax in Revelation 17 & 18. It is all connected with “The Day of the Lord”, when “Man’s Day” of unrighteous government will be replaced by the “Kingdom of the Heavens.” And we are told that during these days of great shaking, “every man shall turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.” (verse 14) This is repeated almost identically in Jeremiah 50:16 and 51:9. Something is about to happen in this world which will reverse the tendency of man to migrate into territories foreign to his own way of life and customs. None of man’s philosophies can achieve this goal. It will be a sovereign result of the divine intervention connected with the Day of the Lord. There will be no coercion, no mass expulsions accompanied by much heartache. It will come about spontaneously and naturally. People will want to “go back home” to their own countries.
The only exceptions to this will be those minorities who have a strong desire to remain where they are, and adopt the ways and customs of the nation they have lived in and loved. An example of this principle is beautifully described in the Bible in the case of Ruth, who said to her mother-in-law, “Where you go I will go, where you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (1:16)
Because of the importance of this principle of national sovereignty, we have made a little study of nations, and extracted the following information from the latest editions of the Macmillan Encyclopaedia, and Whitaker’s Almanac. Although the world is still in a state of flux, nationally, there appears to be something of the order of 170 separate nations or states in the world, and by reading carefully in the Book of Daniel, one gets the impression that nations are governed by spiritual princes, rulers, or Archons. It is our understanding from the Lord that these rulers will gradually be replaced by Angelic Rulers of Light, and we wonder whether there will eventually be exactly 153 of these “Big Fish”.
We also understand that this process will not be “automatic”, but will come as a result of the prayers of God’s people as they see ever more clearly their duty to pray “across the dimensional barrier”, asking the Lord to give power to His Angels to establish themselves in place of the Luciferian system presently at work. This heavenly warfare may be unseen by us, but will nevertheless be very real, and is perhaps already producing its backlash here on earth as it begins to occur.
So what about the nations of this world? We have found that during the last two centuries there has been a breaking down in the overlordship of powerful nations, and the establishment of independent nations and states. In this land one is already aware of the almost complete collapse of the British Empire which was perhaps the greatest empire the world has ever known, but also the shortest lived. But other empires were collapsing before ours. The following lists have been drawn up as a result of our studies.
In 1776 the U.S.A. obtained its independence from French and British rule, and it seems to be the foundation stone for all the other independences which followed. The first list is based upon the old empire of Spain and Portugal, the “Iberian” group. In the following list, all nations and states obtained independence from Spain except those with (P) attached, which were originally Portuguese colonies.
|Chile||1818||Brazil (P)||1822||Guinea-Bissau (P)||1974|
|Peru||1821||Uruguay||1828||Cape Verde Islands (P)||1975|
|Costa Rica||1821||Venezuela||1830||Mozambique (P)||1975|
|Honduras||1821||Guatemala||1839||Sao Tome & Principe (P)||1975|
The second list is of former French colonies and their dates of independence.
|Syria||1945||Central African Rep’c||1960||Mauritania||1960|
|Libya (with U.K.)||1951||Chad||1960||Madagascar||1960|
|Morocco (with Spain)||1956||Gabon||1960||The Comoros||1975|
The third list concerns the Netherlands, which used to be Holland and Belgium, but in 1830 Belgium became independent from Holland. In the list the former Belgian colonies are shown by (B), the rest being those of Holland, (H)
|Luxembourg (H)||1815||Rwanda (B)||1962|
|Indonesia (H)||1949||Burundi (B)||1962|
|Congo (B)||1960||Suriname (H)||1975|
The fourth list is a mixture, in date order.
|Panama (from Columbia)||1903||Iceland (from Denmark)||1944|
|Norway (from Sweden & Denmark)||1905||Korea (from Japan)||1945|
|Albania (from Turkey)||1912||Laos (from Japan)||1949|
|Poland (from Russia,Prussia,Austria)||1918||Taiwan (from China)||1949|
|Czechoslovakia (from Austria,Hungary)||1918||Austria (from 4-power alliance)||1955|
|Mongolia (from China)||1924|
Finally, an exceptionally long list of British colonies, dependencies, and mandated territories.
|Australia||1901||Cyprus||1960||Gambia||1965||Papua New Guinea||1975|
|New Zealand||1907||Br.Somaliland||1960||Tha Maldives||1965||Seychelles||1976|
|Eire||1920||Nigeria||1960||British Guiana||1966||Solomon Islands||1978|
|Afghanistan||1921||Sierra Leone||1961||Bechuanaland||1966||Ellis Islands||1978|
|Canada||1931||South Africa||1961||Barbados||1966||St. Lucia||1979|
|India||1947||Samoa||1962||Nauru||1968||St.Vincent & Grenadines||1979|
|Israel||1948||Trinidad & Tobago||1962||Tonga||1970||New Hebrides||1980|
|The Sudan||1955||Kenya||1963||Bangladesh||1970||Antigua & Barbuda||1981|
|Pakistan||1956||Nyasaland Pr.||1964||Bahrain||1970||St. Kitts & Nevis||1983|
A casual glance at the five lists will reveal that there have been two distinct periods over the last 200 years when independence was gained. The first period lasted from 1800 to about 1840, and constituted mainly the Iberian colonies. The second period lasted from about 1920 to 1980, with a distinct peak around 1960. And in amongst all the other nations was one that re-appeared after an absence of about 1900 years, namely Israel. One is reminded of our Lord’s words in the Olivet discourse, “Behold the fig tree and all the trees, when they now shoot forth you see and know of your own selves that summer is near at hand. So likewise, when you see these things come to pass, know that the Kingdom of God is near at hand.” (Luke 21:29-30) In Matthew only the fig tree is mentioned, but Luke includes our Lord’s other words. It is all very instructive, because the fig tree was one of Israel’s national symbols, and Matthew depicts Jesus as the King of Israel. Focus is always placed on Israel nationally in Matthew, whereas Luke presents Jesus as “the Son of Man”, the Lord in His wider aspect as King over ALL the nations of the earth. Hence “the fig tree and ALL the trees.”
And have we not the evidence from the encyclopaedias that over the last 200 years a large number of “trees” have been coming into bud? But Jesus’ words were “the fig tree and all the trees”. He didn’t just say “all the trees”. Israel still stands out, and so it has in recent history since that climactic day in May 1948 when the fig tree came into bud once again.
And what has been happening “upstairs” in the Angelic realm? If nations are governed by Luciferian princes of darkness, then there must have been great turmoil in the heavens, as more and more nations have been granted their independence. Have we not FELT some of these struggles as we have listened to world news, and even felt the repercussions within ourselves? We may not have been even aware of the cause, but undoubtedly there has been a great turmoil in heavenly places. We wonder how many of the dark angels have already been sent down, thereby creating a polarization in the heavens, and a rise in the ferocity of the heavenly battles.
We are privileged to be living at the “cross-roads of history.” By God’s grace we may well be amongst those who do not die, but live to be changed into new resurrection bodies. In more recent days, this national turmoil has reached a crescendo. In just the last few years since the Berlin wall collapsed, we have lived to see the virtual demise of Russian Communism, the release of the eastern European countries that were within the Warsaw Pact, and the break-up of the U.S.S.R. itself, with some of the states calling for complete independence, and the rest agreeing to remain part of a federation of states.
There were 15 separate republics within the old Soviet Union. Their names are as follows:- Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Georgia, Azerbaidjan, Lithuania, Moldavia, Latvia, Kirghizia, Tadjikstan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and Estonia.
Many Christians prayed for the downfall of Communism, but when it happened with incredible speed, we were taken off balance. So much for our faith! Even more recently all our news bulletins have been dominated by the break-up of old Yugoslavia into the six separate states of Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovena and Macedonia. This process is still occurring, coupled with an intensity of hatred that is difficult for us to understand. But there are historic sores going back several decades, having the same type of origin as those we witness nearer home in Northern Ireland. It is remarkable how active is the old nature of man, to remember ancient hurts and transmit the grievance to succeeding generations, thereby preventing the balm of forgiveness from having its beneficent effect.
Finally, a word or two about the parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25:31-43. “When the Son of Man shall have come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory, and ALL THE NATIONS shall be gathered before Him.” We have the “United Nations” in existence at the moment, founded 24th October 1945, and words from Isaiah 2 are displayed in the entrance relating to the Millennium. But the “United Nations” is far from unity, and is wholly powerless to bring about Isaiah’s prophecy. But when the Lord returns in the establishment of His Kingdom, then there will be a separation of “sheep” from “goats” according to the instruction within the parable. All individuals who have lived a heartless existence on earth will be deprived from the joys of God’s Sabbath Rest. All the rest will remain on earth, or be raised from the past, to live under the leadership of God’s Elect on earth, and the Angelicoverlordship in heaven.
Often the meaning of this parable evades the minds of those who read it, because of preconceived ideas. But neither the sheep nor the goats form part of God’s little flock. It is AFTER the setting up of the Kingdom that the separation takes place, and each group admits ignorance when the Lord speaks. Judgment is based entirely on the heart’s attitude in life towards others in various plights. The elect of God will have a great and wonderful position of responsibility in those days, teaching the world righteousness in a new dimension of existence. The “sheep” are gathered into the Kingdom, to enjoy “age-during life”, whilst the “goats” are sent away into “age-lasting cutting off”, a word that signifies a disciplining process and refining, lasting throughout the thousand years. Only afterwards will they be able to enter into the future ages of God’s Kingdom. “Age-lasting life” and “Age-lasting cutting off” are expressions which refer ONLY to the thousand year reign of Christ. There is nothing in the expression to warrant the assumption of it being “everlasting.” The Greek word AION doesn’t contain that idea. In saying this, we are not in any way suggesting that a believer’s life in resurrection lasts only 1000 years! We ARE saying that during those thousand years something very special will be happening, and those who are invited to stay on earth will be privileged. They are there by divine permission and invitation, because God’s Sabbath has been designed as a very special occasion. And that is why so much emphasis was placed on its observance in Old Testament times. Even by making the most casual estimate of Bible chronology it can be seen that the six thousand years are now almost spent!