“The kings of the earth are made ready and the rulers are gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ. ‘Let us break their bonds and cast away their yoke from us’” (Psalm 2:2-3).
The fulfillment of this ancient prophecy has been occurring throughout Christendom since World War 1, since which the “bonds of the gospel” (Philemon 1:13) and the “yoke of Christ” (Matthew 11:30) have been steadily abandoned by the democratic nations and by the churches located in their midst. The gradual reduction of the influence of Christ in the western world from, what it once was to what it has today become, echoes the gradual withdrawal of the presence of God from the temple before Israel was take into captivity by the Chaldeans.
We read in Ezekiel chapters 9, 10 and 11, for example, that God withdrew gradually, and even reluctantly. Firstly, Ezekiel sees the “glory of Jehovah” in its rightful place between the cherubim in the Holy of Holies, then he sees it lift up from the cherub and move to the threshold of the House (Ezekiel 9:3), where it evidently remained for a time “and the court was full of the brightness of the glory of Jehovah” (Ezekiel 10:4). Then he sees it move again, this time mounted on the cherubim, the symbols of God’s executive power and authority on the earth, and they stood at the door of the east gate of the Lord’s house and “…the glory of the God of Israel was over them above” (Ezekiel 10:19). Finally, the prophet saw the glory of Jehovah going up from the city to the mountain to the east where it stood for a time before it departed, and Israel was taken into captivity by the Chaldeans (Ezekiel 11:23-24).
Jeremiah follows up this story of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God and its consequent captivity, with an account of what God expected to be the impact of these events on Judah.
“Then the LORD said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. And I thought, ‘After she has done all these things, she will return to Me; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. And it came about because of the lightness of her harlotry, that she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,’ declares the LORD. And the LORD said to me, ‘Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah’” (Jeremiah 3:6-12.)
Judah failed to learn the lesson of what happened to Israel and, in the same way, but with religious “deception”, as Jeremiah records, pretended to have faith in God while behaving in a manner inconsistent with their declared faith. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see now that Judah had faith without faithfulness, which is not true “faith”, but “belief”. Faith is more than belief; it is belief plus trust in that belief, and that trust is evidenced by obedience. So God looked through Judah’s hypocrisy and saw the reality of their condition, and brought Babylon to execute His judgement against His rebellious people. Treacherous Judah, who had failed to learn the lesson from God’s treatment of Israel, was also taken into captivity and their lands devoured by Babylonians. The prophet Isaiah warned Judah, drawing their attention to their true condition;
“Alas, sinful nation, People weighed down with iniquity, Offspring of evildoers, Sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the LORD, They have despised the Holy One of Israel, They have turned away from Him. Where will you be stricken again, As you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick, And the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head There is nothing sound in it, Only bruises, welts, and raw wounds, Not pressed out or bandaged, Nor softened with oil. Your land is desolate, Your cities are burned with fire, Your fields– strangers are devouring them in your presence; It is desolation, as overthrown by strangers” (Isaiah 1:4-7)
In a similar vein, modern western Christianity is able to see how God responds when His demands for obedience and integrity of faith are absent in the manner of living of His people. Not only do we have the examples of Israel and Judah, but throughout the centuries of anno Domini, we have seen empires rise and fall, as God has searched the earth for a people who will be faithful to their professed faith.
During that time, there has been an increasing revelation by God’s Holy Spirit to guide God’s faithful people in every generation. This revelation has been handed down from one era to another so that, in the present day, mankind is better equipped than ever before to know God, His Word, His ways and His wrath when His people refuse to listen and obey. There have been many episodes when they did listen, and did obey, and were prospered as a result, and the nations in which they were salt and light shared in the benevolence that the Almighty showered upon His faithful people.
Australia was one such nation. In 1901, at the time of Federation, the people voted to approve a Constitution that began with the words; We, the people…….., relying on the blessings of Almighty God…... God was honoured and His Word was the basis for the law of the land. Now, of course, the prophecy of Isaiah 1 speaks to Australia as much as it did to Judah.
Australia is a sinful nation, that has abandoned the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him. Our country has been overthrown by strangers. And this has happened not just to Australia, but to the whole western world, which has fallen victim to the kings of the earth and the rulers of whom Psalm 2 spoke.
As a consequence, we now live in a world dominated by the spirit of anti-Christ and the spirit of the world.
The time of judgement is near; the judgement of God is coming upon the earth, just as it did for Israel and Judah, and then for sin generally, two thousand years ago. Men are fearful and lost, and don’t know which way to turn. The way of God, revealed in Christ, has been so misrepresented and corrupted by the church that mankind has turned away from any prospect of finding peace through faith in Him. This is Satan’s master-stroke; to pervert the church from its God given purpose and turn it into a vehicle of confusion and deception that leads men into following after the world.
On all the great issues of the day – the Covid scam, the climate scam, homosexual “marriage”, abortion, gender dysphoria, LGBTQ+, critical race theory, etc.- the church has either followed the world, or turned a blind eye to the predatory activities of the “rulers of this world” (Psalm 2).
The stage is set for the end times drama; firstly, the transformation of the spirit of anti-Christ and his manifestation in the flesh, to be worshipped as though he were God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). The spirit of anti-Christ, described as the mystery of lawlessness, has been working, under restraint, for thousands of years (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Now is coming the time of his manifestation in the flesh (2 Thessalonians 2:8) when he will deceive many Christians with false signs and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9) and to those who are unfaithful God will send a deluding influence (2 Thessalonians 2:11) so that they may be justly judged.
And remember, all of these things are occurring under the authority of God; the kings of the earth are “made ready” and the rulers “gathered together”; they don’t do it themselves, but it is happening because the prophetic season has arrived when the Word of God is to be fulfilled.
Then following this era of the rule of the “man of lawlessness”, Christ will return to take with Him the faithful few; those who are dead who will rise first and thence, those who are still alive at the time of His coming will be “snatched away” or “raptured” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).