All Nations Under God

MEMORY VERSE: “He … hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” —Acts 17:26

ISAIAH 45:1-6

THE title of our lesson, “All Nations Under God,” is somewhat misleading, for until the present time the only nation of earth which has been directly under God, and acknowledged by him as being his nation, was ancient Israel. In Amos 3:2 the Lord speaks, saying to Israel, “You only have I known of all the families [nations] of the earth.”

The first part of our lesson calls our attention to God’s prophecy concerning Cyrus, spoken through Isaiah. Cyrus was the one who uttered the proclamation which set the Israelites free from their captivity in Babylon. This is recorded in the first chapter of the Book of Ezra. He was greatly used by the Lord in the release of the Israelites from bondage; and although only a relatively small portion of the Israelites actually took advantage of the situation and returned to Palestine, Cyrus did his job well.

Cyrus is referred to in the lesson as the Lord’s anointed—not THE anointed, which is Jesus and his overcoming church—but the one whom the Lord had chosen and authorized to deliver Israel from bondage; and the whole lesson indicates that God’s dealings with Cyrus were not for the purpose of exalting him, and enabling him to build a mighty empire, but in order that, in the Lord’s way, he might be a blessing to Israel.

Notice verse 3: “And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.” Jehovah was not the God of the Medo-Persian Empire over which Cyrus was the head, and God’s dealings with him were not to assure him of this, but to reveal to him, through the manner in which Cyrus would bless Israel, that Jehovah was the God of Israel.

Through Daniel, God had told Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon that whithersoever mankind dwelt he had made him ruler over them. This does not mean that Babylon under this wicked king was God’s kingdom, but simply that the Lord would overrule in the king’s affairs in a manner that would be for the best interests of his own people, the Israelites. The king of Babylon was permitted to take the Israelites into captivity; and now, in our lesson, we see him overruling in the affairs of another heathen king to release them from captivity.

AMOS 9:7, 8

In this scripture we have another example of the fact that God sometimes dealt with other nations in order that Israel be benefited. The sinful kingdoms are often destroyed, but, as the Lord assures us, even though Israel might sin by co-operating with those of the “sinful kingdom,” “I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord.” It is not difficult to discern the difference between God’s attitude toward the heathen nations of earth and the nation of whom he declared, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth.”—Amos 3:2


Here again we have a passage of scripture which can easily be misconstrued. It is the people of spiritual Israel who are here mostly concerned—God’s “holy nation” of the present Gospel Age. (I Pet. 2:9) Paul exhorts the Lord’s people to pray for “kings, and for all that are in authority.” Paul did not indicate that such prayers were to be for the blessing of kings and for all in authority, but rather that “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

This prayer, then, when offered, is actually on behalf of the Lord’s own consecrated people. Such prayers were especially appropriate in the days of the Early Church, and later under Pagan Rome, for the Lord’s people in those days suffered much persecution from civil authorities, and the extent to which the Lord overruled in the affairs of the wicked Roman rulers to give his own people periods of release would indeed be a blessing.

God “will have all men to be saved.” He has not ruled against any, but has provided Jesus to give himself a ransom for all and to be a future Mediator between God and men.


Explain the difference between God’s hand in the affairs of nations in general, and his care of his own people.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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