Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Return of the Old gods?

From the Omega Letter

Recently, there have been a few prophecy-related speculations regarding the newly elected Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras. Some have tentatively asked: "Could he be the prophetic Man of Sin?"

Tsipras is charismatic, a radical leftist and a "self-described atheist." He is the youngest ever person elected to the office and his party fell just short of an outright majority win. According to Wiki:

"Tsipras was also the first to take a civil rather than a religious oath of office marking a rupture with Greek orthodox ceremonial culture. While reaffirming the good relations between his party and the Church, he explained Archbishop Ieronymos in a meeting, that as an atheist who didn't marry in a religious ceremony nor baptised his children, he could not take a religious oath of office."

Since taking office he's been playing off the European Union against Russia. Tsipras condemns the sanctions imposed on Russia, while also stating that Greece and Cyprus might act as an EU bridge to Russia.

He denies accepting money from Moscow and recognizes Greece's debt to the EU. Is he fishing for more financial support and hedging his bets? Or is he the long sought after leader who will ignite the Greek Empire's resurrection? Time will tell.

I won't go into reasons why people have suddenly focused on Tsipras as a possible candidate for the role traditionally taken by the Left Behind franchise's Nicolae Carpathia. Ever the eternal skeptic, I thought of Adolph Hitler, Mikhail Gorbachev and even Prince Charles. Then along came Javier Solana and King Abdullah. Some have speculated that these individuals were possible candidates for Nicolae's mantle.

Will the real Carpathia please stand up?

I've even wondered if Javier Solana might be miffed at losing his formerly strong front-runner Nicolae status. I suspect he was aware of the prophetic conjecture and probably enjoyed the notoriety.

Lest you think I'm simply poking fun at speculators, note that I once had a wary eye on Nicolas Sarkozy. It's fun to speculate, even for hard-core skeptics like me. I was impressed with the way Sarkozy decisively handled the Muslim Paris riots. In contrast to other leaders he showed rare backbone. And, heck, his first name was so close to Carpathia's.

But, kidding aside, Tsipras' atheism and decision to take a civil oath reminded me of the shift away from traditional Christianity and gradual migration to paganism. According to one 2014 article, some ninety-eight percent of Greeks self describe as Orthodox Christians. Yet it notes:

"...there’s a growing number of Greeks who oppose the Abrahamic religions - not in favor of Hinduism, Buddhism, or even atheism, but in favor of Zeus." (Emphasis mine)

Zeus' name often came up in my brief research into neo-paganism.

The article notes that "hundreds of thousands of Greeks from all walks of life openly worship the old Gods (sic)." These worshippers of Zeus comprise of academics, left & right wing nationals, new agers and environmentalists, and it is "growing at a phenomenal rate." It also observes that these people consider Greece to be "under Christian occupation" and desire a "return to the ancient traditions."

Others have observed a shift away from Christianity in Britain:

'Evidence continues to mount that Christianity in Britain - and even belief in God’s existence - is on its way toward minority status. In a recent YouGov poll of British young adults, only 25 percent unequivocally affirmed a belief in God, and 38 percent said they did not believe in God or any “greater spiritual power.”'

As in the Greek model there is a trending towards paganism. So much so that in 2013, the Church of England actually proposed creating a "pagan church" with "Christian content" in order to attract young unbelievers. 2013 census data suggested that pagans were the "seventh largest religious group in the United Kingdom." The number of pagans in the UK doubled between 2001 and 2011.

It may surprise that some atheists claim compatibility with paganism. It's called Humanistic Paganism. I guess anything but the One True God is preferable! According to HP:

"The majority [of pagans] are, in fact, theists - and the majority of those are polytheists, believers in many gods. But there are some Pagan pantheists out there, too, along with some monotheists, some agnostics and yes, even some atheists." (Emphasis mine)

The writer of a recent essay (Russia: The Age of Mythology with Nuclear Rockets) draws cultural parallels to Hitler's Germany and Putin's Russia. He notes that Hitler tried to revive the "pre-Christian Aryan mythology and lifestyle" known as the Third Reich. Now Putin is moving Russia back to the ages of ancient "Slavic mythology...with its hierarchy of gods, heroes and monsters."

As an aside, the author warns that Putin has been exchanging "regular friendly messages" with the North Korean wannabe "god." The article is worth a read.

According to Bible scholar F. F. Bruce, the biblical term abomination of desolation was a derogatory designation given by Jews to the installation of the cult of Olympian Zeus (a statue) in the Jerusalem temple by Antiochus IV. The title Epiphanes expressed Antiochus' belief that he was the earthly manifestation of Zeus.

Recall also that there was an altar dedicated to Zeus in Pergamon, Asia Minor. It gets a dishonorable mention in Revelation 2:12-13 where it is called Satan's throne. It was partially destroyed. But in 1930 a museum was opened in Berlin which displays a reconstruction using frieze fragments from the original.

I found it fascinating that one candidate for the presidency of the United States felt inclined to deliver a speech in Berlin in 2008. Why Berlin?

I'm not sure I know what you do with this information and speculation. Yet it is notable how readily the world embraced this same messianic newcomer without knowing anything about him.

Anyway, this got me to wondering: Will the rise in Islamic extremism become a further catalyst for a rise in nationalism and paganism in Europe? Are the old gods embedding themselves back into the European and Russian psyches in response to world pressures and the abandonment of Christianity?

Is Europe being prepared for another Zeus to worship - one who will save them from all their troubles? I wouldn't be surprised.

Given the world's fanatical preoccupation with Israel's affairs - how would a new earthly Zeusinteract with it? I believe Jesus and Paul left us some clues (Matt 24:15-21; 2 Thess 2:4).

And, unlike me, they weren't speculating.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Many people, including President Obama, has tried to make a “moral equivalence” argument that Christianity has been just as violent as Islam and he has to go back one thousand years to do it, back to the Crusades.
Carole Hillenbrand’s book The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives (Edinburgh University Press, 1999) sets out to sensitize Western readers to Muslim views about the Crusades, in the belief that this will lead to greater understanding between the West and Islam.
In the late 1990s a “Reconciliation Walk” was organized by a group of Christian organizations and individuals. It consisted of thousands of Christians who marched along the route of the First Crusade all the way to Jerusalem, apologizing as they went for the actions of those early Crusaders over nine hundred years earlier.
The reconciliation walkers reported that “in towns and villages, people spilled out of their houses and applauded the team as they passed.” One walker reported the response from people in Beirut:
If you did this in London or Sydney, you would expect a cynical response. The response from the people on the streets [of Beirut], particularly the Muslims, has been warm. The first word I have heard is “good.” If there were such a word as “uncynical” that [would] be the way to describe it.
Michael Karam, a Lebanese writer, painted this incident in a different hue in The Times article, “Let’s forget the Crusades”:
The Reconciliation Walkers are terribly sincere and terribly out of their depth. Their words tell us more about where they are from than where they are going… We Lebanese see them as dabblers concerned with something that has been overtaken by many other, worse horrors during the past millennium. Yet in the best Lebanese tradition, they will be received with honour, listened to, offered coffee and sent on their way.
In order to take an unvarnished look at the Crusades, one needs to look at several factors that precipitated these military campaigns by Christians.

What were the Christian crusades?

First of all, the crusades should not be referred to as the “Christian crusades.” Most of the people involved in the crusades were not truly Christians, even though they claimed to be. The name of Christ was abused, misused, and blasphemed by the actions of many of the Crusaders.
Second, the crusades took place from approximately A.D. 1095 to 1230 in response to specific actions taken by Muslims against Christian lands. The actions taken by many of the Crusaders were not Christian in any way and the Bible does not teach as a general principal that one needs to hate or kill non-believers.
Third, the crusades were responses to Muslim invasions on what was once land occupied primarily by Christians. From approximately A.D. 200 to 900, the lands of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey were inhabited primarily by Christians. Once Islam became powerful, Muslims invaded these lands and brutally oppressed, enslaved, deported, and even murdered the Christians living there. In response, the Roman Catholic Church and “Christian” kings/emperors from Europe ordered the crusades to reclaim the land the Muslims had taken.

Motives for the Crusades

The Saljuq Turkish victory over the Byzantines at Manzikert in 1071, with subsequent territorial gains in Asia Minor, caused widespread consternation throughout the Christian world. The Byzantines, who had long followed a defensive strategy in their conflicts with their Muslim adversaries, looked for help from their fellow Christians. An urgent appeal for help was sent by the Byzantine Emperor to the Pope in Rome. It should be noted that relations between the Eastern and Western Christian empires had long been strained, so such an appeal points to the sense of panic felt within Christian ranks.
But there were other factors that contributed to the emergence of the Crusades. The loss of the holy sites in Jerusalem centuries earlier had been a bitter pill for Christian authorities to swallow, and they had never given up hope of recapturing the city where Jesus was crucified. Indeed, despite the loss of Jerusalem to Muslims, Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land had developed.
However, in the middle of the eleventh century, Muslim harassment of, and attacks upon, Christian pilgrims had increased in frequency. Lambert, a chronicler of the German pilgrimage of seven thousand people in 1064–65, recorded the following account:
When the pilgrims were just a short distance from Rama … they were attacked by marauding Arabs… Many of the Christians, thinking they might rely on their religion for assistance and salvation, had trusted in God’s protection rather than in weapons. They were, as a result of the first attack, brought down by many wounds and robbed.… The other Christians did their best by throwing stones … not so much to drive away danger as a desperate measure to escape imminent death.
So piety was a motivating force for such pilgrimages, as well as for certain participants in the ensuing Crusades. A belief in eternal reward justified a concept of holy war, and this proved to be a powerful attraction for many who joined the Crusades. The twelfth-century writer Guibert of Nogent clearly believed the crusading motive was primarily a quest for eternal salvation:
“What has driven our knights thither is not ambition for fame, for money, for extending the boundaries of their lands … God has instituted in our time holy wars, so that the order of knights and the crowd running in their wake … might find a new way of gaining salvation.”
Some other motives had less of a spiritual dimension. Military campaigns always brought with them promises of wealth and plunder. Motives of personal ambition also came into play, as did hopes for trading opportunities. Once again, Hallam expresses both the complexity and diversity of motives according to different groups who participated in the campaigns:
Complex though their motives were, it is easier to understand why knights joined the First Crusade than to explain the participation of hordes of peasant … The theme of Jerusalem was all-important to them. They undertook the expedition not as a military campaign but as a pilgrimage, an important feature of 11th century life.

The First Crusade (1096–99)

The First Crusade was precipitated by a statement by Pope Urban II in September 1096:
Anyone who sets out on that journey, not out of lust for worldly advantage but only for the salvation of his soul and for the liberation of the Church, is remitted in entirety all penance for his sins, if he has made a true and perfect act of confession.
Ironically, this promise of eternal reward for participating in holy war is strongly reminiscent of a similar call in the Qur’an at Sura 3:158:
And if ye die, or are slain, Lo! It is unto Allah that ye are brought together.
There are two significant differences though. First, the Christian call for holy war was made by a human pope and as such was subject to challenge by later theologians. The Muslim call to jihad, however, is cemented within the Qur’an for all time. Second, the doctrine of holy war has now largely fallen into disuse in Christian circles, whereas jihad as a military concept is still widely practiced by some Muslim groups.

Subsequent Crusades

Many crusading campaigns followed on from the first. These crusades have many aspects in common.
The Second Crusade lasted from 1147 to 1149 and was launched in response to the loss in 1146 of the Crusader principality of Edessa to Muslim attackers. Pope Eugene III called for a new crusade to recover the lost territory:
We enjoin you in the name of the Lord and for the remission of your sins … that the faithful of God, and above all the most powerful and the nobles act vigorously to oppose the multitude of the infidel … and strive to liberate from their hands the many thousands of our brethren who are captives.… We accord them that same remission of sins that our predecessor Pope Urban instituted.
Again there is a promise of forgiveness of sins associated with the campaign. This crusade ended in a failed attempt to capture Damascus.
The Third Crusade lasted from 1189 to 1192 and was launched after the fall of Jerusalem to the Muslim warrior Salah al-Din (Saladin) on October 2, 1187. Saladin’s armies had also captured Acre, Beirut, Sidon, and other prominent Christian strongholds.
Pope Gregory VIII called for a crusade on October 29, 1187, in similar terms to the calls of his predecessors. Some land was recaptured, including Acre in July 1191 after a two-year siege, but not Jerusalem. It was to remain under Muslim control for over seven hundred years.
The loss of Jerusalem and the tentative hold the Crusaders had on the recaptured land led to an increase in the frequency of subsequent Crusades.
In 1198 Pope Innocent III issued a call for a crusade to consolidate Christian territory in the Holy Land and offered an indulgence:
All those who take the Cross and remain for one year in the service of God in the army shall obtain remission of any sins they have committed, provided they have confessed them.
The resulting Fourth Crusade lasted from 1202 to 1204. From a Christian perspective this was one of the most disastrous. Events took an unexpected turn due to political intrigue and power struggles. The crusading knights eventually directed their campaign not against Muslim adversaries but against the Byzantine Empire itself, because of Western suspicion at seeming Byzantine willingness to compromise with Muslims. Constantinople was attacked and captured by Crusader forces, and a Western ruler was put on the Byzantine throne.
Pope Innocent III was furious at the conquest of Constantinople. He bitterly rebuked the papal legate who accompanied the Crusaders:
It was your duty to attend to the business of your legation and to give careful thought not to the capture of the Empire of Constantinople, but rather to the defense of what is left of the Holy Land and, if the Lord so wills, the restoration of what has been lost.…
How can we call upon the other Western peoples for aid to the Holy Land … when the crusaders having given up the proposed pilgrimage, return absolved to their homes; when those who plundered the aforesaid empire turn back and return with their spoils, free of guilt?
After such a development, subsequent crusading campaigns were tainted. Further Crusades took place, but they were unsuccessful. Little by little the various Crusader strongholds fell to Muslim armies, often with great brutality. A chronicler described a Muslim raid on Sidon (Saida) in 1253:
When [the Saracens] heard the report (a true one) that the king had sent no more than a very small contingent of good men to fortify the city of Saida, they marched in that direction.… The Saracens poured into Saida and met with no resistance, for the town was not completely surrounded by walls. They killed more than two thousand [sic] of our people, and then went off to Damascus with the booty they had gained in the town.
The year 1291 witnessed the end of the crusading venture with the fall of Acre, followed by the loss of the last remaining coastal towns.

An Assessment

The Crusades were characterized by savagery and intolerance. But it was mutual mistreatment, following on from centuries of bloody conflict, massacre, and Muslim imperial expansion. The victims of this recurring cycle of conflict were Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Likewise, the perpetrators were both Muslims and Christians.

Ancient Criticisms

Criticism of the Crusades among Christians is not a recent phenomenon. Indeed, there was a vigorous debate during the time of the Crusades, as recorded by Humbert of Romans, who wrote a response to critics of crusading in the late thirteenth century:
“There are some … who say that it is not in accordance with the Christian religion to shed blood in this way, even that of wicked infidels. For Christ did not act thus.… [But Christianity] must be defended when necessary from its enemies by the sword.”
It should be remembered that the Crusades were a link in the chain of history. They represented the response of the Christian world to the earlier Islamic expansion and to the loss of the Byzantine territories in the Middle East and North Africa. They do, of course, raise substantial moral issues, but consideration of these should not be divorced from the historical context.
For Christians, there is much to apologize for in the Crusades, but they in no way can be used to justify the brutality and carnage that is taking place in the world today in the name of Islam.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Wall Street Journal, this week, ran articles about Southern Baptists and Apple Corporation's Tim Cook on the same page. Interestingly, Cook's "coming out" announcement actually was verification of old news. Running a story about Southern Baptists above the fold was a shock.

The headline read, "Southern Baptists Soften Tone on Gays." Really?

Unlike the Roman Catholics who change at the whim of a pontiff, Southern Baptists on the whole have changed nothing because our core belief system is based on the unchanging absolutes of God's Word. At the very least, the headline is misleading.

Consequently, allow me to list of five simple things to remember about Baptists, especially in the context of the social confusion created by a small minority of American citizens:

First, Baptists are people of the Book.
The principles of God's Word are neither for sale nor are they negotiable. That makes Baptists a stubborn lot. When Baptists have made mistakes by following cultural prejudices instead of scriptural truths, they on the whole tend to repent and move forward, hoisting high the Word of God as the authority for life, liberty and purposefulness.

While biblical principles are for all people everywhere, embracing the Gospel by faith gives individuals the opportunity to enter a personal relationship with the ultimate Author and Teacher of the Word. As a result, Baptists tend to test their worldview by the Word of God and desire that every aspect of life is compatible with its truths.

Second, Baptists love people.
Collectively, Baptists love people so much they invest millions of dollars in ministries to help people in the United States and around the world. They volunteer for all kinds of helping ministries. They know that being part of a church is more than the number of noses at some church gathering. They are part of a community of believers involved in touching the world with the Gospel.

Baptists believe they have experienced the transformational love of God for their personal lives, and as a result they want to communicate God's love to individuals and all cultures. They love people who are broken. After all, they were one of the major players pre-WWII in building hospitals to serve people with medical needs. They love people who lack basic literacy skills by launching educational ministries to teach knowledge and wisdom. Through ministries to children and the sexually exploited, Baptists demonstrate love for people who are abandoned.

When calamities strike, it is Baptists with those bright yellow shirts who are some of the first on the scene to help people through the crisis. It is in our spiritual DNA to love people and help them walk through their trials. Our hope is that others see the love of God through us.

Third, no Baptist can speak for all Baptists.
Someone can speak in a general way about Baptists. Someone can speak to Baptists. But to speak for all Baptists is contrary to our autonomous nature. Beyond Scripture, the closest thing we have to address the sentiments of Baptists relating to moral or social issues are the various resolutions that are passed at annual meetings. Even that is the reflection of thought of the Baptists meeting at that moment in history.

Fourth, Baptists trust the transformational Gospel more than psychotherapy.
As one media source put it, "reparative therapies aimed at ridding patients of unwanted same-sex attractions" were discussed during the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission's national conference on "The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage" last month in Nashville. While there is a place for the psychologist, Baptists are highly suspicious of that work when it sterilizes the transformational power of the Gospel.

ERLC President Russell Moore suggested that instead of looking to psychologists for a cure for same-sex attraction, people need to look to Christ for the power to overcome temptation of all forms. "The Bible doesn't promise us freedom from temptation," Moore said. "The Bible promises us the power of the Spirit to walk through the temptation."

Fifth, Baptists are the standard bearers for religious liberty and good public policy.
The current debate in our nation is actually whether dichotomous worldviews can exist with equality. While in theory that sounds compelling, in a practical sense it is next to impossible. In the context of religious freedom, the majority worldview must accommodate the minority. Currently, the minority worldview of the LGBT is clamoring for acceptance and does not tolerate the biblical convictions of believers who have influenced this culture for decades.

Will Baptists withdraw from the discussion? Not on your life! And do not mistake our compassion for people as acquiescence of our biblical convictions.

As part of convictional living, Baptists have a history of promoting justice and the common good. We work for laws that are historically founded and generationally positive. We cannot shrink from the responsibility that God has called us to lead people to repentance and faith in Christ. Remember, the law is to be a tutor to show people what unrighteousness looks like.

As Baptists living in a representative form of government, we promote laws for better health for women and the lives of children in the womb. We encourage legislators to protect the aged from social engineers who devalue the life of those who no longer make a recognized contribution to society. We oppose elected officials who abuse the power of their office by rewriting policy and by failing to enforce constitutional measures the citizenry has overwhelmingly adopted. We applaud statutes that protect minors from abusive persons. The list of good practices that promote the common good is huge, and Baptists are involved with a history of being convictional people more than culturally relevant.

As I wrote this article, additional news broke about the 276 school girls who were kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria. The leader, Abubakar Shekau, dashed hopes for a prisoner exchange to get the girls released. He boasted that these young girls were married off as the spoils of war.

Such a notion is anathema where biblical Christianity flourishes. If anyone questions the importance of Baptists being Baptists, point them to the tragedy of a culture that exists for the whims of human deviance. Let us continue to be convictionally compassionate and diligent intercessors so "that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good acceptable in the sight of God our Savior" (1 Timothy 2:2-3).

John Yeats is the author of this article. Yeats is executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention. This column first appeared in The Pathway (www.mbcpathway.com), the convention's newsjournal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Praying For Our Leaders

The substantial majority of readers of blogs of this type do not care for Barack Obama’s presidency. This assertion is to understatement something like a kitchen faucet is to Niagara Falls.

Yet Christians are not given the option of letting their disagreement with their political leaders prevent them from praying for those leaders. The apostle Peter wrote that believers are to “be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good … Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (I Peter 2:13-14, 17).

Similarly, Paul wrote to Timothy, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (I Timothy 2:1-3).

Who was emperor when Peter and Paul wrote these words? None other than one of the most notorious political leaders of history, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, known generally simply as Nero.

What kind of ruler was Nero? He murdered his mother and both of his wives, for starters. But his grotesque brutality far transcended his immediate family. According to the Roman historian Tacitus, after fire had consumed roughly half of Rome and his popularity was in free-fall, Nero decided to blame the fire on Christians. Tacitus records that, among other things, the early Roman followers of Jesus “were covered with the skins of wild animals and then torn apart by dogs, some were crucified, some were burned at torches to light as night” (The One Year Christian History, p. 322).

Thankfully, none of America’s political leaders – local, state, or federal – can claim such infamy. This does not diminish the wrong that they have done or allow. For example, the silent cries of more than 56 million unborn children aborted since 1973 echo through the corridors of power. Yet we are called to pray for those in authority; God’s Word says it, and Christians must do it.

How, then, should we pray for those in authority over us, whether they be persons we respect and/or with whose political judgment we agree or persons whose character and/or official policies we cannot endorse?
  • 1. We should pray for their health and safety. As recorded in Ezra 6:10, the pagan king Darius asked God’s faithful people in Jerusalem to pray for his life and the lives of his sons. In light of the recent intrusion in the White House of a man armed with a knife, we certainly can pray that the Obama family and all those in power, whether in Washington or the county courthouse or anywhere in between, would be protected and upheld in good health.
  • 2. We should pray that they would execute justice. Honoring and protecting those who live decently and productively and punishing those who do wrong are the fundamental duties of the state (Romans 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:14). We should ask the Lord that those in authority would fulfill them well.
  • 3. That they would follow the Lord’s ways and repent if they don’t. The horrific reign of Manasseh over Judah and his later repentance (II Chronicles 33:1-20) should remind Christians that for those in government leadership, personal character and political actions are entwined. Yet Manasseh should also remind us that even evil men, when they repent sincerely, can be used by God to restore what they have ruined.
  • 4. That they would govern with wisdom for the “welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7), not for personal gain or for the advantage of a favored few. Their concern must be for the well-being of all.
  • 5. That God would accomplish His purposes through them regardless of their willingness to be used by Him. Proverbs 21:1 tells us that “the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He will.” We can petition the Most High to work through even those who are resisting Him to fulfill His purposes.
It’s noteworthy that God is unimpressed by political power, including those who think they can defy Him. Consider some passages of Scripture about how the Sovereign of all views such persons:
  • The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision” (Psalm 2:2-4).
  • Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, He takes up the coastlands like fine dust … All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and … brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. (Isaiah 40:15, 17; 22-24).
Terms like derision, laughter, “brings to nothing” and “as emptiness” make clear that God is not especially threatened by those who believe they can unseat His omnipotent and eternal rule. We should not be either.

Daniel 4:17 reminds us that “the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.” The Hebrew the word translated as “lowliest” probably refers to persons of humble origin. In other words, God can raise up a shepherd boy like David, a backwoods workman like Abraham Lincoln, or the son of a ne’er-do-well Kenyan economist like Barack Obama to accomplish what He wants, whether they want Him to or not. God’s people must never forget, and should always take great comfort, in that truth, even as they work actively for public policies pleasing to their Eternal King.

Family Research Council.