“The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; … he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.”
A NEW ADMINISTRATION will soon begin in Washington. Although there are still disputations in some states as to the results of the vote in November, it appears that none of these will change the outcome that Joseph Biden will be the next president of the United States. As is often the case, there is renewed hope among many people that the new president and his administration will be able to resolve some of the distressing problems blighting the peace and happiness of the nation, as well as bring together a country which is greatly divided politically, socially and economically.
Sixty-eight years ago, in January 1953, another noteworthy change of administration took place, when Dwight Eisenhower took the reins of government, the first Republican to do so following twenty years of Democratic leadership under Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. In his inaugural address, President Eisenhower sounded a completely different tone than we have become accustomed to hearing today. He was careful not to make definite promises, because he realized the task was too great to be handled by one man, or even by one political party. He also avoided placing the blame for the nation’s problems on the opposing party, something nearly unheard of today. Below, we quote some brief excerpts from his inaugural address.
“In the swift rush of great events, we find ourselves groping to know the full sense and meaning of these times in which we live. In our quest of understanding, we beseech God’s guidance. We summon all our knowledge of the past and we scan all signs of the future. We bring all our wit and all our will to meet the question: How far have we come in man’s long pilgrimage from darkness toward the light? Are we nearing the light—a day of freedom and of peace for all mankind? Or are the shadows of another night closing in upon us? … This trial comes at a moment when man’s power to achieve good or inflict evil surpasses the brightest hopes and the sharpest fears of all ages. We can turn rivers in their courses, level mountains to the plains. Oceans and land and sky are avenues for our colossal commerce. … We have attained a summit unmatched in human history.”
The President then raised a sobering question as to how worthwhile this exalted place in the world might actually prove to be. Speaking of the dangers facing the nation and the world, he continued: “Yet the promise of this life is imperiled by the very genius that has made it possible. Nations amass wealth. Labor sweats to create—and turns out devices to level not only mountains but also cities. Science seems ready to confer upon us, as its final gift, the power to erase human life from the planet.”
These were dramatic words, and they are particularly worthy of reflecting on in hindsight. We first note what seems to be a sincere reference to beseeching God’s guidance—a most admirable desire. Although today’s leaders on rare occasion will make reference to God, it is mostly but lip service, with no form nor substance to back it up. With great interest we also recall the sobering questions, “How far have we come in man’s long pilgrimage from darkness toward the light? Are we nearing the light? … Or are the shadows of another night closing in upon us?” As we review the events of the ensuing decades, most would likely conclude that the world’s journey from darkness to light has progressed little, if any, since these words were uttered nearly seven decades ago.
THE PRESENT SITUATION
We need only to look back at the year just ended to see the depth of problems facing the incoming administration under President Biden. To state matters briefly, the year 2020 was defined by three overriding issues in the United States, all of which were deeply divisive. First, there was the COVID-19 pandemic, which hung as a shadow over every family and household for nearly the entire year, and continues even today. Second, and despite the pandemic, the summer months produced all manner of demonstrations, riots and destruction in city after city, as protesters and counter-protesters gave evidence to the frustrations and the polarized attitudes of the populace. Third, the presidential campaign and subsequent election further served to widen these divisions, both between the candidates, as well as among the voting public.
Therefore, we ask: Will 2021 and the new administration under President Biden bring increased wisdom to deal with the myriad problems facing the country and the world? Will sincere and valiant attempts be made to heal the great political and social divides which plague the nation? Will the global pandemic subside, either through the availability of vaccines, or through other means? Will the new administration be prepared to deal with other challenges, perhaps unknown at the present time, but which may come to the forefront in the coming year?
HUMAN WISDOM UNSUCCESSFUL
In light of both present conditions and those of past decades, human wisdom’s inability to solve the problems of the world is increasingly evident, though many of the noble minds among mankind have sincerely tried, and continue to do so. One of the greatest of all hindrances to real progress in these endeavors is human selfishness. In the breakdown of a social order which has occurred in our time, religious and moral restraints are being thrown off more than at any time in the past, allowing the selfish propensities of man to have free rein.
Self-interest, uncontrolled by ethical, moral, or religious standards, manifests itself in all levels of national and international affairs. In former times, the common people would have felt a sense of shock at some of these things, but no more. In fact, among the masses in general, many now relish the “freedom” to do as they please, without regard for the lives and property of others, and with little or no consequences resulting from their actions. Under such conditions, it can hardly be suggested that the world is presently on the road to peace and happiness for all.
Human wisdom has no cure for selfishness. This malady, which is so potent in creating world disorder, can be dealt with only by divine power. Indeed, this is the real hope of the world today, for the very circumstances which have long baffled world leaders are clearly in fulfillment of Bible prophecies. These prophecies also assure us that we are living very near to the time when a new, righteous administration will begin governing world affairs.
This is the time foretold by the revelator, when the kingdoms of this world become “the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.” (Rev. 11:15-18) If our leaders could appreciate the fact that God is already directing the outcome of present world conditions, they would understand that the blessed results will not be brought about by a Democratic or Republican administration, but by his beloved Son, whom he has enthroned to be King of kings, and who is already shaking the kingdoms of this world in order that his own righteous government might rule in the hearts and lives of men.—Hag. 2:6,7; Heb. 12:25-28
One of the prophecies we believe is descriptive of our day reads, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” (I Thess. 4:16) In this highly symbolic statement, the Greek word here translated “shout” means an incitement to action. The thought is that Jesus’ return and subsequent invisible presence would be accompanied by this “shout,” or incitement of the people to action which had previously been suppressed by governments and religious institutions.
The forces set in motion by the prophetic statement that “knowledge shall be increased,” providentially timed for these last days, have brought about this “shout” on the part of the masses everywhere. (Dan. 12:4) As a result, a great tempest and storm, like the violent waves of the sea, has come upon the continents of the earth. To the onlooker who fails to see the prophetic meaning of this incitement of the people, it seems like some evil influence at work. Concerning it the Prophet Jeremiah wrote: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.” (Jer. 25:32) Such is the symbolic language that the prophecies use to describe the events of our day.
In Paul’s prophecy, he also said that the Lord would return with the “voice of the archangel.” This connects the prophecy to Jude 1:9 and Daniel 12:1, where the archangel is identified by the name “Michael,” and where is provided the further explanation that when Michael “stands up,” there would be “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” Paul also states that the “trump of God” would be sounded in conjunction with Lord’s return. This symbolizes a message. It is God’s message pertaining to the fact that the time is close at hand, even at the doors, when mankind will be brought under the control of his promised righteous government, centered in Christ.
Together with the restoration of life itself, that new age will witness the liberation of the people from economic, social, and other forms of distress under which so many now are in revolt. Thus we see that the “shout” of incitement and the “trumpet” sounds of a coming new order are closely related; and it is because, through the increase of knowledge, the nations have been hearing these proclamations that the prophetic “whirlwind” has been stirred up from the “coasts of the earth.”
The foretold “increase of knowledge” has indeed placed the world in a position to provide an abundance for all, and it has brought about blessings to many. Yet, it has also been a time of great fear, lest man use his knowledge for destructive rather than productive purposes. Thus is fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy concerning the time of his return, that men’s hearts would fail them for fear as they looked at the things coming upon the earth. (Luke 21:24-26) By contrast, David described the attitude of the Lord’s enlightened people at this time, saying that they should not fear, “though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”—Ps. 46:2
“Earth” is used here to symbolize a social order, and the “mountains” signify kingdoms or governments. The “sea” pictures the restless, discontented condition of the masses. How graphic is the picture, and how true to present conditions as recognized by all discerning minds. It is true, of course, that the masses do not yet know what the real change is which is taking place. That is why, reiterating the sobering words posed by a United States president 68 years ago, many are frank to admit that they fear that a night darker than ever before is about to settle down over the earth. Beyond such fear, and the terrible eventualities to which present world conditions might lead, most see nothing else. That is why they are fearful, and wonder whether or not mankind has made its final steps of progress, and is now poised for its own destruction.
GOD HAS A PLAN
The prophecies of God’s Word, which so accurately and graphically describe these conditions of our day and explain the divine purpose concerning them, also assure us of their glorious outcome. It is not without reason that the great leaders of earth, no matter how sincere they may be, are unable to calm the tempest and direct the international ship of state to a quiet haven of peace and safety.
Thankfully, these issues have been removed from human hands, except as God permits them to move and act in keeping with his designs. Human wisdom will not be able to establish lasting peace, but the King of kings will, although not until the storms, the whirlwind, the shouts of incitement, and earth’s great time of trouble have fully shaken all aspects of present society, and taught the nations and the people that, apart from God, they cannot survive.
God not only has a plan, but he guarantees its success by his infinite wisdom and power. Jesus is the ruler in that plan, not elected by the people, but chosen by God. His enemies killed him when he was here on earth twenty centuries ago, but divine power raised him from the dead. After his resurrection Jesus announced to his disciples, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”—Matt. 28:18
By the use of this God-given power, Jesus will have no difficulty in establishing divine control over the peoples of earth. Associated with him in that government will be his faithful followers who, throughout the age, have suffered and died with him. They, too, are raised from the dead in what the Scriptures describe as the “first resurrection.” This is in order that they may share with Jesus in his righteous administration.—Rev. 20:6
These will be the invisible rulers over the new social order upon the earth. They will have human representatives to assist in the work of governing the people. These will be the heroes of faith of past ages, those such as Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and many others, both men and women. (Heb. 11:1-40) These also will be raised from the dead before the new kingdom is ready to function for the liberation of the people from their bondage to sin and death. In all this, however, the most important consideration is that divine, miracle-working power guarantees the success of God’s plan for solving the present problems of the earth.
GOVERNED BY DIVINE WISDOM
All the associate rulers in God’s kingdom will be directly under the headship of Christ, and will be wholeheartedly in harmony with all the righteous principles by which he will judge and govern the people. Our opening text reminds us of some of these principles. “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,” we are told, “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” If we had no other assurance than this, we would know that Christ’s kingdom will be gloriously successful, and that it will victoriously fulfill all the gracious promises which the Creator has made concerning it.
Without questioning the sincere desires of many of earth’s leaders to find a solution for the dilemma of the people, there is no assurance that the Spirit of God rests upon them to give wisdom and sound judgment. They are governed, at best, by constitutions and principles developed by limited human wisdom. At the same time they labor under tremendous pressure from all sides, and often from expediency, deviate from what they might otherwise accept as guideposts to action.
How different it will be with the King of kings! He will be guided and empowered by the Spirit of God, the Heavenly Father. Christ’s spirit of reverence for the divine will and laws will prevail throughout the entire framework of his administration. He will not be under the necessity of placating various conflicting elements and divergent interests of those who will work with him in that divine government.
“He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.” In other words, earth’s new king will be able to read the hearts of men. He will know and understand their innermost thoughts, and, through his representatives, will deal with the people according to what they really are at heart, and not upon the basis of what they profess to be. We can only imagine what changes this will make in governmental administration!
“With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.” The shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God, which have resulted in such a tempest throughout the earth, are not designed merely to arouse the peoples of earth to a sense of their needs, and then not satisfy the heart hunger thus awakened. Under the rulership of this righteous king, the legitimate desires of all mankind will be satisfied.
The “poor” and the “meek” will then have someone to speak for them. David wrote concerning earth’s new ruler, “He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.”—Ps. 72:12-14
“All kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.” (Ps. 72:11) The great and mighty, as well as the meek and humble of earth, will recognize the virtues and qualifications of this new king. He will not pamper the rich and exploit the poor, nor will he exalt the poor and destroy the rich. All will be treated equally and impartially.
One of the symbolisms descriptive of the effect of Christ’s rulership pictures the valleys being exalted, and the hills made low. (Isa. 40:4; Luke 3:5) This indicates a just distribution of all the bounties of the earth, and a recognition of the fact that God has “made of one blood all nations.” (Acts 17:26) Therefore, from the divine standpoint, there will be no dukes and lords, neither will there be peasants and paupers, under the kingdom arrangement.
Beyond this, and even more wonderful, is the fact that this new administration will give health and life to the people—everlasting life. This is why God allowed Jesus’ enemies to put him to death. It is why Jesus voluntarily gave himself up to die, for it was the divine purpose that his rulership should not be over a dying race, but over one being restored to life. It was, therefore, necessary that first of all he should die to redeem mankind from death. Paul wrote that Jesus gave himself “a ransom for all,” and then added, “to be testified in due time.”—I Tim. 2:4-6
Jesus gave himself as a ransom at his First Advent. It will be during his Second Advent, or presence, that the glorious truth concerning this will be testified, or made known to all. All who, when they learn of this provision, accept God’s grace through Christ and obey the laws of that “government” which will then be upon “his shoulder,” will not need to die. (Isa. 9:6) They will be restored to perfection of being and live forever in happiness and peace upon the earth.
As for the immediate future under the new administration in Washington, we know not what may develop in America and throughout the world. We know from the prophecies, however, that only the Heavenly Father will be able to speak peace to the nations with an authority which will accomplish his eternal design. This he will do, in his own due time. Without doubt, we believe, that time is near. Therefore, let us continue to watch and pray and wait, knowing that ere long, there will be heard throughout the earth the divine command: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”—Ps. 46:10, Revised Version