Planned austerity measures and "anger at Wall Street elite" have triggered protests throughout Europe and the United States. In America, the "Occupy Wall Street" movement quickly grew into rage against what is seen as corrupt capitalism, called by some "a foul stench in our society" (Reuters, November 18, 2011). Much as European austerity protests spread from nation to nation, the U.S. protests quickly spread from New York to other cities, including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Portland, Oakland and Seattle. The disorder has forced already financially hard-pressed city governments to pay over ten million dollars in police overtime, and city services (ABC News, November 17, 2011).
The "Occupy" movement and similar demonstrations are not unified by a single voice. Within these demonstrations there are often anarchist, socialist, anti-corruption, anti-corporation, environmentalist, and common, disgruntled unemployed worker elements, just to name a few. Some protests have aimed at trying to "shut down" New York's financial markets (Financial Times, November 18, 2011). Others have protested the recent Russian elections (Washington Post, December 6, 2011). Still others are driven by the fear of austerity measures and deep cuts in welfare and pension programs. Some protestors may have noble ideas. Some are truly fighting for the rights of the weak and the poor. Others are misguided. Some are simply lawless. But all are frustrated and all want change.
Today, the world faces overwhelming challenges. Apart from deep economic challenges such as trade imbalances, currency manipulation and massive sovereign debt, the world is threatened by numerous other challenges such as nuclear proliferation, war, religious tensions, environmental crisis, food scarcity and disease. Consider the impact of severe weather alone. Extreme global weather conditions (whether or not they are influenced by human activity) are already affecting millions of people's lives, currently cost global economies as much as $200 billion a year and are predicted to grow much worse. (Associated Press, November 18, 2011).
Indeed, the "Occupy" movement's concern over jobs will soon pale in comparison to greater national catastrophes. As Tomorrow's World Editor in Chief Roderick C. Meredith recently wrote, unrepentant nations "will soon face increasing famine and drought. With more and more people out of work, unable to afford the rising price of scarce food and water, there will be a shocking rise in the number of families going hungry. Expect not just 'job riots' ahead, but also 'food riots' and massive civil unrest as a result!" (Tomorrow's World, September-October 2011, p. 5).
Thankfully, Scripture reveals that the fate of the nations is not left to protestors, national governments, big corporations, or anarchists. The nations are not doomed to oppressive corporate greed, runaway capitalism, social injustice, socialism or communism. Instead, the fate of nations is in God's hands (Daniel 4:32), and He will soon intervene to bring all nations under His authority (Revelation 11:15). Then, Christ will be called "Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." He will relieve the weak and the oppressed. He will establish righteousness, prosperity and social justice (Isaiah 9:6–7)!
Neither the "Occupy" and austerity protestors, nor the smoldering "Arab Spring," nor corrupt human government can relieve the oppressed, can install righteous government or can solve this world's myriad other problems. However, righteous change will come—and it will come from God! Consider these seven brief facts about the coming Kingdom of God:
First, Christ will return as the "blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:14–15). Every knee will bow to Christ (Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:10). He will be the reigning King, and He will triumph over all protests, all protestors, all multi-national corporations and all world governments! He will enact universal peace, righteousness and prosperity. He will reign from His temple in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 43:2–6), and God's righteous law will flow out throughout the entire earth (Micah 4:2)!
Second, the glorified firstfruit saints will rule under Him (Revelation 20:6). Third, immediately following Christ's return, the land will be blessed. Healing waters will flow from the temple to the east and to the west (Ezekiel 47:1–8; Joel 3:15–18). The land, the seas and the oceans will be healed. Food will be in abundance and the people will thrive (Jeremiah 31:9, 12; Ezekiel 34:26–29). Fourth, those physical descendants of Israel who live over into the Millennium will be re-gathered (Jeremiah 23:5–8), and will be repatriated to the land of Palestine. Each tribe of Israel will receive a division of the land (Ezekiel 48:1–13), and Jesus Christ will dwell in the very midst of the nation (vv. 9–10; Zechariah 8:3).
Fifth, in the Millennium, there will be care and respect for the weak. Notice just some of God's instruction regarding care for the weak in society. In Deuteronomy 15:9–15, God instructed ancient Israel to be kind and generous to the poor and indentured; they were to be released from their debts every seven years. And, in Exodus 22:25, God forbids "usury" (charging excessive interest on debt); a practice that has become a scourge today! Sixth, God demands special care for the widows, the elderly and the fatherless (Deuteronomy 24:19; Proverbs 15:25; Zechariah 8:4; Romans 15:26; Galatians 2:10). Notice how God instructed His chosen people to "defend the fatherless, plead for the widow" (Isaiah 1:17). If only all nations practiced these godly principles today! In fact, people sometimes forget that it was not only because of ancient Israel's and Judah's terribly idolatry, but also because they wrongly oppressed the fatherless, the widows, and the elderly, that God sent them into captivity and destruction (Jeremiah 22:3–6)!
Seventh, as Ezekiel 36:33–35 explains, the cities will be rebuilt. People will live in safety and security in their homes and on their land (Micah 4:4). Unemployment will no longer be a problem. Crime will be eradicated. Corporate greed will be abolished. Instead, there will be ample and honest work to do. Godly rule is not socialism or communism, but it is also not excessive capitalism. God expects people to perform honest work to sustain their households (Exodus 20:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). However, in the Millennium there will be plenty of honest work to do! There will also be an abundance of food to eat (Amos 9:13). And there will peace throughout the land (Isaiah 2:4)!
In the years to come, protests, violence, social injustice and economic disparity will intensify, but all of this will eventually end. Neither the "Occupy" movement, austerity demonstrations nor the Arab Spring will usher in an age of prosperity or peace. And humanity is not doomed to endless and increasing social injustice, corporate greed, a widening income gap, lawlessness, weather calamity and war. There are dark days to come. But, afterward, there is a wonderful future ahead. The Bible offers hope to those who understand that Jesus Christ is Lord (Psalms 31:24; 1 Peter 1:13). Christ will return. The Lord of lords will occupy Jerusalem. The Messiah—the King of kings—will rule the entire earth!