The Selection of the U.S. President
Commentary for October 7, 2004 — God’s Vote Counts
It is important to do your duty as a citizen of the country where you live. It is important to vote if you have the freedom to do so. However, how the electorate of the United States votes, although counted, means little as to who will be President of the United States after this election. What counts is what God wants. What matters is the person who God selects to lead a country and how long He allows that man to lead or rule. Only God’s vote counts.
God’s Vote for Nebuchadnezzar
In history there has been only one man who was a true “world ruler.” That was Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Neo-Babylonian empire which encompassed the entire known world at that time. We should read carefully in the Bible what Nebuchadnezzar does and what Nebuchadnezzar says. He is a type of the coming world ruler, the antichrist. In a past Commentary I have noted the point made by Nebuchadnezzar, the “ruler of the world,” when he wrote to his subjects in a world-wide proclamation. It comprises the entire 4th chapter of the Book of Daniel. In that chapter Nebuchadnezzar tells Daniel the details of a second profound dream he had. Nebuchadnezzar tells some of the words he heard in his prophetic dream:
“Let his [Nebuchadnezzar’s] heart be changed from man's, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will, and sets up over it the basest of men.”This passage makes it clear that God, “the most High,” selects rulers and governors — and selects them for whatever reason he sees fit, and to “whomsoever He will.” God “voted” for Nebuchadnezzar and His decisions were, according to this passage, carried out by “the watchers,” whoever they are. Note that the last statement of Daniel 4:17 does not only relate to Nebuchadnezzar, but it relates to other rulers throughout history as well. It may in fact refer to most rulers of nations throughout history. It applies to rulers today. Although Nebuchadnezzar was the primary referent of “the basest of men,” it is highly likely — no matter how congenial or friendly or honest or open to the people — that the leaders of your country (and mine) are also “the basest of men.” By the way, Nebuchadnezzar was elected by his people. After his father died Nebuchadnezzar rose to inherit the throne. His accension to the throne was approved (voted on) by the noble families of the empire. The nobles, in a sense, represented the common free people of the Babylonian Empire. However, once he took the throne, he ruled with an iron fist. He was a butcher of men. Perhaps we should consider ourselves blessed when our “base” leaders perform even some good acts. As we near the end times hopefully laws restrict our rulers somewhat as much as they restrict the ruled.
• Daniel 4:16–17
The King’s Heart
God not only chooses which men rule nations, but God also chooses how a man will rule or govern, and even influences the decisions a man makes. The best examples, of course, are the decisions of Pharaoh before the Israelite departure from Egypt (Exodus 4:18–14:31, Psalm 105:23). The most important of them were God’s decisions, often contrary to Pharaoh’s own natural inclinations. Proverbs explains how this is done:
“The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turns it whithersoever he will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord ponders the hearts.”God changed Nebuchadnezzar’s heart from the heart of a man to a heart of a beast (Daniel chapter 4). Nebuchadnezzar had the heart or the personality of an ox for 7 years, eating grass. He remained that way until God changed his heart back to the heart of a man. Proverbs 21:2 must be considered in light of verse 1. Both talk about God’s relationship to the hearts of men. Clearly the rulers of this earth are subject to whatever changes God makes in their decisions to change the course of events. As always, subtle changes can have large effects. Young’s Literal Translation shows the proper emphasis from the Hebrew:
• Proverbs 21:1–2
“Rivulets of waters is the heart of a king in the hand of YHWH, Wherever He pleases He inclines it. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, And YHWH is pondering hearts.”The illustration being used here is that of small irrigation channels being directed so that a slight change in the flow of water is directed to greatly affect and benefit one field over another at the whim of the farmer. See other examples of God’s directing the heart at Ezra 7:27–28 and Revelation 17:17. Sometimes God allows us to harden our hearts. Sometimes He Himself hardens hearts. See the article “The Callousness of the Heart.”
• Proverbs 21:1–2, Young’s
The man elected on November 2, 2004 will, God willing, take power in January 2005 to lead and govern the most powerful nation in the world for the next four years. Remember too that if God wishes to intervene He could cause events to happen so that neither major candidate would take office. Or, the winner could be prevented from taking office after the election. Or, the winner would not serve out his full term of office. Remember that God is in charge. God has total control of events.
God’s Election — of You
By the way, your position is much higher than that of a king, more than a Prime Minister or a President. Never forget this point. God has already intervened in and directed your life so that you will inherit the universe. Understanding that point, you should act according to the dignity that God expects from you so that you will be worthy of your future and present situation — seated legally with Christ at the right hand of God the Father. In fact, this is the message of the writings of the apostles written after the revelation of “the Mystery,” how to live properly knowing your position in the world and the world to come. The Gospel of John, the epistles of 2 Peter, Romans (particularly the last chapter), Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon all contain about one-half to two-thirds of their total words on how to live as a Christian in freedom. We seem limited in power, yet we have tremendous responsibilities to study, learn, understand and to act wisely toward those who do not yet know God’s future salvation of themselves and the world. However, one area we have full authority and approval from God to act is that we have the power to pray, as Paul instructed Timothy:
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; [why?] that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.”Is it not interesting that Paul instructed Timothy to pray “for kings and for all that are in authority”? Paul knew that God chose “the basest of men.” Nonetheless he recommended prayer so that God may influence those governors to give general peace to our surroundings rather than chaos. In regard to you and your situation God has already voted. He has voted for you. He has already acted and chosen you individually — by lottery — to know the full truth of God, “the Mystery” (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 1:9, 3:3f, 9, 6:19; Colossians 1:26, 2:2, 4:3; 1 Timothy 3:9, 16; Revelation 10:7). Use that knowledge to gain understanding. Combine that knowledge and understanding to act with wisdom in all your life’s endeavors. Above all, as Peter, John, and Paul say, repeating Jesus strong admonition: “love one another” (John 13:34f, 15:12, 17; 1 Peter 1:22; 3:8; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11f; 2 John 1:5; Romans 12:10, 13:8; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 4:9; Hebrews 10:24). It was for that purpose you were elected by God. That is your service to God and to one another.
• 1 Timothy 2:1–3
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