How God Intervenes in Human Affairs
Though many professing Christians do not grasp it, the most awe-inspiring, mind-boggling, spine-tingling events in earth's entire history lie just ahead of us!
America, Canada, Britain and the peace-loving democracies of Western Europe will experience awful droughts, famines, disease epidemics, earthquakes, storms and other "natural" disasters unprecedented in our history.
WHY? Because the Creator God is going to humble us—to teach us lessons we could not learn any other way. America has been given national greatness and power. But America has not honored the God who gave it. And, collectively, we who are Americans seem intent on dishonoring Him in the increasing decadence of our national and personal lives.
How will God bring about the awesome events prophesied to occur in the years just ahead?
Recently, Tomorrow's World has published several articles that describe what will happen over the next several years. Similar prophetic articles will appear in future issues. If you want a thorough explanation of the awesome political and social upheaval just ahead of us, write for your free copy of our eye-opening booklet What's Ahead for America and Britain?
But HOW are these terrifying events going to come about in our modern, highly technological society? Can we take steps to stop these catastrophic events from happening? Are modern food production techniques, storage and distribution systems, major flood-control dams, political organizations, medicine, science and industry already sufficiently developed to prevent such things from happening?
For a modern scientist, businessman or even a theologian who does not take the Bible literally, the biggest stumbling block to understanding God's prophecies is the failure to fully grasp the absolute reality of the true God—the Creator God revealed in the Holy Bible. Just how does God's power work? How does God rearrange the destinies of nations?
First of all, the God revealed in your Bible has the ability to exercise total power and total control of nations and individuals. "Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the balance; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.... It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless" (Isaiah 40:15, 22–23).
Do you believe that? Or is Isaiah making this up or taking literary liberties in this perspective on divine power?
The prophet Daniel described how Nebuchadnezzar, king of one of the most remarkable empires of antiquity, became insane and was driven out of office "in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men" (Daniel 4:17). God determines who will govern in the various nations, placing in office, sometimes, the basest of men.
Can Americans take comfort in this scripture after a close and contentious Presidential election? Can the British look at Prime Minister Tony Blair's recent re-election and see God's hand? Italy recently installed its 59th government since World War II, and other European nations are facing social and political turmoil. Are these nations getting the types of leaders they deserve, rather than the decent and wise leaders that they so desperately need? And who is to say what would happen if the current, aging pope should die this year? Whom would the cardinals elect to fill the shoes of this very popular, conservative pope?
The world's present political stability is no more solid than a will-o'-the-wisp.
Moses described how God orchestrated and guided the dispersion of nations and peoples in antiquity. "When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel" (Deuteronomy 32:8). As a chess master, God moves kings, queens, cardinals and pawns at will, according to His purpose. He guides various major nations to the area of the earth where He wants them and blesses or curses them in weather, war and prosperity according to how they yield to His will (cf. Leviticus 26).
God does not need to watch the Weather Channel. He decides whether tomorrow will have clear skies or not. Jesus Christ said God "sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). Occasionally God withholds rain, or sends too much, to teach people lessons!
In his epistle, James describes how a man of God "prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit" (5:17–18).
So God has power to water a land or to dry it up. The same applies to the wind, cold, hurricanes and clouds. And He uses this power on occasion to intervene in human affairs: "As when You break the ships of Tarshish with an east wind" (Psalm 48:7).
Several of the major turning points of history for the English-speaking peoples were determined by God's intervention in the weather during battle. His interventions made possible the religious freedom, prosperity and power that the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic powers of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom continue to enjoy.
In 1586–87, Catholic domination of the English throne was made impossible by the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. The following year, Spain's King Philip II unleashed his "invincible" 124-ship armada against England in an effort to reassert Catholic control. Though the English naval forces fought tenaciously, they eventually exhausted their gunpowder. At that critical point, an unprecedented gale-force wind arose and drove many of the heavily armed, lumbering Spanish galleons to their doom! The weather-beaten ships that limped home to Spain were so damaged that many could never again be used.
Queen Elizabeth, commemorating the Spanish defeat, issued a silver medal, bearing the inscription: "God blew and they were scattered." She knew who took charge of those winds at that critical hour in the history of her people!
In 1940, Hitler's forces had swiftly invaded France and the lowlands. They had cut off 330,000 crack British troops, forcing them to retreat with their backs to the English Channel at the port of Dunkirk. If the British lost this army, they could hardly have hoped to beat back the Nazi hordes ready and determined to conquer them. Word went out all over Britain: "Winnie (Churchill) needs boats."
Though the English Channel is normally rough and treacherous, hundreds of ships, yachts and small boats—anything that would move while staying afloat—were sent to rescue at least a remnant of the army. But the situation seemed grim. Then, surprisingly, bad weather on the continent grounded most of the German air force. But, instead of being rough and choppy as usual—dangerous for small craft—the channel became almost as calm as a bathtub! Men and women who had lived all their lives on its shore had never seen it so tranquil. Winnie's motley armada of naval flotsam and jetsam rescued nearly one-third of a million British troops—the backbone of their entire army! Hitler was dumbfounded. The Nazi generals bitterly grumbled under their breath for having lost an easy kill. The British were profoundly thankful and called it "the miracle of the calm seas."
I have spent four years of my adult life in Britain, and talked to several older men who were personally familiar with the Dunkirk rescue operation. They all got a certain glint or tear in their eyes when they talked about it. They all remembered the outpouring of gratitude to God by the British people after this event. Sunday, June 9, 1940, was appointed as a Day of National Thanksgiving for God's deliverance at Dunkirk, and many English vicars will tell you that their churches were packed on that day and have never been as full since.
On the day before (June 8), London's Daily Telegraph ran an article about what it called "the miraculous deliverance" at Dunkirk. A British officer who had himself been rescued from Dunkirk said, "One thing can be certain about tomorrow's Thanksgiving in our churches. From none will the thanks ascend with greater sincerity or deeper fervor than from the officers and men who have seen the Hand of God, powerful to save, delivering them from the hands of a mighty foe who, humanly speaking, had them utterly at his mercy."
Yes, God CONTROLS the destinies of nations—and individuals.
To enact His will among men, God uses His secret, invisible agents—righteous angels (and at times even fallen angels)—to influence, to deliver or to destroy.
The Bible reveals a fascinating insight into the working of the spirit world in 1 Kings 22. The inspired writer details an account of a conference before God's throne. It seems that God had already decided to take out one of the most wicked kings in the history of Israel, King Ahab. The question was how to do it. God settled on the plan to prod Ahab to personally go to an upcoming battle with the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead. But God needed someone to stir Ahab up to go fight. In this case, an evil spirit spoke up and volunteered to do the job: "The Lord said to him [the evil spirit], 'In what way?' So he said, 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his [Ahab's] prophets'" (v. 22).
On the day of the battle, God already knew that the Syrian army was stronger and would indeed defeat the Israelites. And Ahab, though he had disguised his rank to avoid being a target, was slain during the course of the battle when a "lucky" arrow pierced the joints of his armor (vv. 34–37). This was because God had determined that this evil king should neither stay behind out of danger, nor escape alive from the battle, but should perish right along with many of his defeated troops.
When Adolph Hitler rose to power, a noted German Lutheran minister, Martin Niemoller, perceptively stated, "Verily a time of sifting has come upon us. God is giving Satan a free hand, so that He may shake us up and so that it may be seen what manner of men we are."
Evidently, God did specifically allow demons to possess or strongly influence the Nazi dictator. British author George Bruce wrote, "Can the mystery of the evil of Nazism be explained? Was there a Satanic nucleus at the heart of it? One interpretation of its nature that should be mentioned is the link between Nazism and the alleged attachment to black magic and occultism of Hitler and his inner circle, including Goering, Himmler, Goebbels, Ley and, in the early days, Dietrich Eckart and professor Karl Haushofer.
"Hitler, according to what may seem to many people a far-fetched belief, was the medium through whom contact was made with supernatural powers of evil. Hermann Rauschning, who observed Hitler with a cold and analytical eye, declares that he was a medium, 'possessed by forces outside himself—almost demoniacal forces.' Rudolf Olden, political editor of the newspaper Berliner Tageblatt in the days of Nazism's rise to power, remarked how the overwhelming, almost superhuman Niagara of words that poured forth during Hitler's speeches sometimes reached a climax during which he literally 'spoke in tongues' and seemed possessed. André François-Poncet, French Ambassador to Berlin, also referred to this apparent demoniacal possession" (The Nazis, Hamlyn, 1974, p. 154).
After citing a number of other observers who felt Hitler had dark spiritual help, George Bruce speculated, "And does not this theory of Hitler being dominated by evil supernatural forces throw light for the first time on the reason for Auschwitz, Treblinka, the deaths of six million Jews, the plan to murder 33 million of the Slav population of Russia, the readiness to sacrifice three or four million of Germany's young manhood in war and, finally, the long-term aim, reported by Fabian von Schlabrendorff, for the total and permanent destruction of Christianity throughout the world?" (p. 156).
Hitler's Europe was a mild precursor of what God's inspired Word prophesies concerning the future revival of a satanically influenced "Babylonian-Roman system": "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!" (Revelation 18:2).
It is a sobering thought to consider that some of the most important players on the world scene who are shaping our destinies cannot be seen. We need to be much more aware of the very real spirit world around us. And we must make absolutely certain that we are guided by the Spirit of God!
How does God know what will take place in the future? How can He prophesy about some event hundreds or even thousands of years in advance? From the beginning, God has been an acute and perceptive observer of human behavior. He really knows what we are like. God fully understands how humans tend to degenerate, to compromise and to forsake the right way.
Right after giving ancient Israel the details of His law through Moses, God told Moses: "Behold, you will rest with your fathers; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, 'Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?'" (Deuteronomy 31:16–17).
God, who created us, has unique and profound knowledge and insight about us. He can authoritatively predict what the basic conditions of peoples and nations will be in the future. Then, by skillfully manipulating the determinants of national power such as the weather, human leadership and other circumstances, God can fulfill specific prophecies that are sometimes astonishing in their minute detail.
An example of this divine intervention is the remarkable story of Cyrus the Great, king of the Persian Empire. Incredibly, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to describe Cyrus by name and by deed almost two centuries before Cyrus was born!
Around 740–720bc, Isaiah wrote under divine inspiration: "Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, "you shall be built," and to the temple, "your foundation shall be laid."' Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut" (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1).
Today, many scholars say that these scriptures in the book of Isaiah must have been written contemporaneously with the events they describe. They deny that Isaiah wrote a prophecy 200 years in advance of its fulfillment. On what basis do they deny this? They do not have facts to prove their point—only a lack of faith that God is the Almighty who truly intervenes in human affairs!
Look at what historians know about the events which took place about 539bc when Cyrus conquered Babylon, an "impregnable"city-fortress renowned throughout the earth for its power. Unable to surmount the massive fortified walls around Babylon, which had repelled so many other invaders, Cyrus' men diverted the Euphrates River, which normally flowed under the heavy city gates as it passed through the city. By lowering the river level and by having a spy unlock the inner gates along the river, Cyrus' army invaded the city in a totally unexpected manner and took the Babylonians by complete surprise.
Was God surprised? No. He had described nearly 200 years earlier how a leader specifically named "Cyrus" would conquer great kings by going through "the two leaved gates"!
Soon after this, Cyrus issued the order to allow the Jews to voluntarily return to their homeland and Jerusalem and—in another remarkable fulfillment of prophecy—he instructed them to rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:2–4; 6:2–5).
God foretells during these "latter days" that man's "knowledge shall increase" (Daniel 12:4). Perhaps the distinctive hallmark of our time is the explosion of material knowledge. Technological changes are totally overturning what we used to think of as "normal." In His wisdom, the Creator knew that when our focus would be primarily on materialism, our lives would be entrapped by idolatry and paganism. What we are sowing today, we shall reap tomorrow. The One who delivered us again and again from past national threats like conquest by the Spanish Armada and annihilation by the Nazis at Dunkirk, has definitely prophesied that since we have rejected Him and His Ways, He will now set His hand—in love—to punish us and humble us in a coming Great Tribulation!
We could only forestall this by a national change of heart and, individually, by a sincere return to God that demonstrates a willingness to follow His Ways, His righteous laws and His rule over our lives. Will we?
If not, the great Creator of heaven and earth will intervene in our leadership and that of other countries. He will distress us through weather and other disasters. And He will allow perverted demon spirits to strike at and destroy the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic nations and their allies through their influence over envious, hateful leaders yet to appear on the world scene!
God is Almighty! He has the power to bring about the inspired prophecies of His Word. God's will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven.