All things end
When we look at history, our human nature, our vainglory is impressed by our great achievements: economic, legislative, scientific, architectural, musical, artistic, literary, and so on. But a broader view reveals impermanence.
My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation.
Dynasties and empires end. The plants die and species become extinct. Languages are lost, cultures destroyed, and economies unravelled. We always stand on the precipice of ruin. It is the hand of the Lord that protects us. He is the I AM, and He will raise us up at the Last Day. It is only in the resurrection and the new heavens and new earth that we will find the Sabbath Rest and permanence we seek.
Ruling the nations
Believers are promised that they will one day rule the nations.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
History reveals year after year of unrighteous rule in some part of the world or another. We long for righteous government, but we also know that we are sinners, unable to perfectly keep God’s law. The answer to this problem is in Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God. He knows both the righteousness of God and the weakness of man. He has kept God’s law and He has redeemed a people for God who, through the mystery of grace, are being transformed into the image of Christ. When God’s people are perfected, they will be ready to rule, to realise the purposes of God on this earth.
Looking back and looking forward
Looking back at the works of God strengthens our faith for the future. The great deeds that He has done give us confidence that He will complete His plan and bring in everlasting righteousness, as was promised to Daniel.
We know that things will never be the same again. The world changes and we are marching towards the consummation and restoration of all things. As in times past, the path to the promised hope lies through darkness – but we have been given the light of Christ.