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Why are the Nations so Angry?
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever . . . Thou hast taken thy great power and hast begun to reign. And the nations were enraged." Revelation 11:15, 17, 18 -- New American Standard Version
Why would the nations be enraged and angry if Jesus Christ was reigning? Wouldn't he rule justly, fairly and rightly for everyone in the world? That's the problem. Since certain nations are tyrannizing others and since certain groups of people within nations are tryrannizing some, the tyrants would resent anyone changing things. Just how does the "kingdom of the world" "become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ"? Is this a peaceful process of negotiation and peace treaties on paper? Is it even a process -- or is it instantaneous?
The nations of the world make up the "kingdom of the world" which belongs to
its god, Satan. "The god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe
not . . ." (2 Corinthians 4:4) Satan would not be pleased that his
"kingdom" was being disturbed or invaded. Neither are the selfish, greedy
nations who serve Satan interested in surrendering peacefully and quietly.
What does Jesus do when he is installed as a king "upon my holy hill of Zion" and given the "nations for thine inheritance"? (Psalm 2:2-8) They are broken "with a rod of iron." (vs. 10) No wonder they are angry. Where is Christ's peaceable Kingdom?
Daniel prophecies that when Jesus uses his authority as king, one of the first major effects would not be peace. "At that time shall Michael stand up . . . there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time." (Daniel 12:1) Jesus is "Michael" which means "who as God." How appropriate because it is Jesus ruling for God when he would stand up." ["Stand up" -- as identified in the Book of Daniel -- means to rule, for example, "And a mighty king shall stand up, that shall rule with great dominion. . ." --Daniel 11:3]
The Nations Have Always Been Angry!
But haven't the nations always been warring and fighting? Haven't the oppressed always been angry? The unique factor when Christ would begin reigning would be that the trouble would be globally unprecedented --- "such as never was. . ."
Christ could inaugurate his Kingdom immediately, but then the peoples of earth would not understand the need for his rule of justice. They need to manifest their own character and reach exasperation with their own attempts at peace. The setting up of his righteous Kingdom would be a painful process. World War I was a turning point that broke up the ruling houses of Europe which had endured for centuries. Out of the ashes of colonialism, over a hundred new nations sprouted, each demanding its right under the sun. For the first time, though, the whole world began to wobble down the road of self-destruction. Despite all the peace agreements for arms control, the nations now have achieved MAD. ("Mutually Assured Destruction") No matter the Soviet Union is gone; Russia is selling nuclear reactors to Iran, etc. But even the poorer nations have their bombs: germ and chemical. Jesus describes these days as a time when "there should no flesh be saved." -- Matthew 24:22
Societies are breaking up within nations -- with each layer and segment demanding rights and dignity as never before. And each ethnic grouping is demanding rights and dignity as never before. And each ethnic grouping is demanding to be free of oppression. Human rights are demanded everywhere. Everywhere the truth on every subject is emblazoned. When Christ reigns, he uses the sword of Truth, "And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that it should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron . . . on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:11-16) Truth is what will finally triumph. If Christ is reigning and causing all this trouble among the nations, when and how will it all end?
The Positive Effects of Christ's Reign
What would be the positive effects when Christ begins to reign? The same prophecy in Daniel (12:1) that says when Christ stands up to reign over the nations -- causing a "time of trouble" -- also says he will stand "for the children of thy people." Who are the children of Daniel's people? Israel, of course.
Few people can deny the incredible phenomenon of the reemergence of a lost people, who
for almost 2,000 years had been scattered all over the world. Few Christians can deny the
prophetic significance of the regathering of Jews to their ancient homeland. Even many
Orthodox Jews associate the restoration of Israel with the coming of Messiah.
What is not generally understood, though, is that through His "arm," Jesus, it is God who is ruling over them to bring them back to the Land. "As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm and with fury poured out, will I rule over you. And I will bring you out from the people and will gather you out of the countries (of the whole world, not just Babylon) wherein ye are scattered. . ." (Ezekiel 20:33,34; also Isaiah 52:10; 63:5) The gathering process is not gentle, but "with fury."
The word here for "rule" (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, #4427) literally
means in Hebrew, "to ascend to the throne." It is the same word used when all
the kings of Israel began their reigns. Just as the kings of Judah sat on the "throne
of Jehovah" (1 Chronicles 29:3), so Christ reigns for God when Israel is being
gathered and restored. "O sing unto the LORD a new song, for he hath done marvelous
things; his right hand, and his holy arm hath gotten him the victory." -- Psalm 98:1
The Jews would be gathered step by step and prepared gradually for their place in the Kingdom. As Ezekiel's prophecy foretold, the scattered people would be gathered like "dry bones." Then sinews and skin would be put on them as a people. Finally, they would be infused with the spirit of God. (Ezekiel 37:1-14) In the meantime, Jerusalem would be a "burdensome stone for all people." (Zechariah 12:3) The nations of the world would have trouble knowing what to do with Jerusalem. They would be angry about that too.
Christ, the Scepter of God
So if we see the miraculous process of the restoration of Israel, and we observe
the painful process of the disintegration of the nations -- only one conclusion is
possible . . . Christ is reigning!
Christ has always reigned in the hearts of his people. That is where his kingdom started. But now he is beginning to rule over his enemies. "The LORD (Jehovah) says to my Lord (Jesus): Sit at My right hand, until I make thine enemies a footstool for thy feet. The LORD (Jehovah) will stretch forth Thy strong scepter (Jesus) from Zion, saying, Rule in the midst of thine enemies . . . The Lord (Jesus Christ) is at thy right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. He will judge among the nations . . ." -- Psalm 110:1,2,5,6 NAS
The nations resist the righteousness of Christ's incoming Kingdom. They will in the end try to destroy Israel. Most Christians see the invasion of Gog and Magog against Israel as a final punishment on Israel. (Ezekiel 38, 39) In reality, that is when God will fight for His people as He did in the days of old. (Zechariah 14:1-3) In reality, though He may be chastising Israel, He will make "a full end of all nations (governments) whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee (Israel)." -- Jeremiah 31:11
Christians should not wait to acknowledge, with the rest of the world, that the reign
of Christ is begun. They see him at work in setting up his Kingdom, both in the tearing
down of the old order and the preparation for the new.
An illustration from the days of the Kings of Israel demonstrates this early recognition. King David's reign was forty years. Yet he only reigned in Jerusalem thirty three years. (2 Samuel 5:4,5) The first seven he reigned in Hebron, where only his "brethren" acknowledged and served him. Christ's "brethren" too would first comprehend that he is reigning. They are encouraged and energized by this fact. They tell others.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth." (Isaiah 52:7) The last "feet members of Christ announce this peace in a tumultuous time. They see his reigning work through the eyes of faith . . . based on the Scriptures.
Christians who are awake and watching see the vision of the Kingdom when all peoples of the earth will not be gathered against Israel to destroy it but to go up and learn about God. "And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain (Kingdom) of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains . . . and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain (Kingdom) of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion (spiritual Israel) shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem (natural Israel)." -- Isaiah 2:2,3
The nations will then be humbled and ready to learn. "Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to pray before the Lord . . . In those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you." -- Zechariah 8:22,23
This will not be the time when Christians first comprehend that Christ is reigning. This will be the time, though, for the peoples of the angry nations to serve Christ and be healed. -- Revelation 22:1,2