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Is effective leadership in danger of extinction? The Bible prophesies end-time changes in world leadership and promises a time in the near future when one righteous world government will rule.
When British prime minister Liz Truss resigned in late October after only 44 days in office, resulting in the election of the United Kingdom’s third prime minister in less than two months, many both in and out of the UK saw the turmoil playing out at No. 10 Downing Street in London as a “black eye” for the nation. A BBC article asked, “Three PMs in two months, is political chaos the UK’s new normal?” Britain is facing some of its biggest challenges in modern history, and this crisis in leadership seems to be happening at the worst possible time.
But the UK’s prime minister fiasco is only a symptom of a larger, global problem. Good leaders—those possessing the sorts of qualities one needs to lead others in difficult times—are an endangered species. Yet we need good leaders now perhaps more than we ever have.
No one with any comprehension of what is going on in the world will conclude that we are not living through dangerous times. Nations do fail. Even those nations that, until very recently, were considered unshakable pillars of the current world order are generating concern.
Certainly, there is no shortage of men and women eager to wield as much power as their positions will give them. But true leadership is far more than a willingness to wield power. Power exercised without true leadership never makes things better in the long run—in fact, it always makes things worse.
Where did this leadership crisis come from? Why do our current leaders increasingly fall so short? What, if anything, can be done to reverse the problem? And what nightmares await if we fail to do so?
These questions need answers if our world is to survive its growing leadership crisis. And those answers are found in the prophecies and teachings recorded in the one book fewer and fewer candidates for leadership seem willing to consider: the Bible.
Let’s take a few moments to weigh what Almighty God has revealed concerning the leadership crisis. If we are willing to do so, we will see that the ancient prophecies of Scripture not only reveal the nature of the crisis, but also why it will get worse—and why the only path forward is to change leadership’s very foundations.
Our first prophetic stop will be the book of Isaiah, which records God’s warning about the condition of leadership in the end times. Isaiah prophesies that God will remove “the mighty man and the man of war, the judge and the prophet, and the diviner and the elder; the captain of fifty and the honorable man, the counselor and the skillful artisan, and the expert enchanter” (Isaiah 3:2–3).
It’s easy to dismiss this as irrelevant. No “diviner”? No “captain of fifty”? But don’t make the mistake of dismissing God’s word without making an effort to see what He is telling us.
The Almighty warns here that He will remove anyone of competence. Each role in Isaiah’s list involves a sphere of competence and skill. In fact, some are forbidden—diviners and enchanters (Leviticus 19:26; Malachi 3:5). God is saying that when a nation turns against Him, even its sinful and iniquitous experts will be removed, and the rebellious nation will lack any competent leaders whatsoever, whether righteous or wicked.
Isaiah’s prophecies are aimed in a special way toward nations that have descended from the ancient tribes of Israel. As we discuss in detail in our free booklet The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy, those are primarily the U.S. and the British-descended nations. And, if we’re honest, we can see this prophecy increasingly reflected in the leadership of those nations.
Consider—are we seeing the seats of power in these nations filled with individuals of profound competence more and more, or less and less? No need to guess or get “political”—just look at the fruit: Border crises, economic instability, social upheaval, deterioration in international relations, COVID-related disruption of homes and workplaces. We are not living in an age of increasing competence in our leadership. After seeing American President Joe Biden bungle his nation’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and shaking our heads over Liz Truss’ minuscule 44-day term as the UK’s Prime Minister, can we even imagine national leaders today carrying out operations on the scale of the 1945 D-Day invasion?
Further still, God explains, “I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them” (Isaiah 3:4). Yes, the young and immature are increasingly growing in power and influence in Western nations—the most vital sectors of society being driven by the least experienced and most unwise among us—but the verse especially concerns the rule of those who are mature in age but immature in the worst and most damaging of ways.
Consider the adult qualities of reserve and self-control. Monitor the Twitter feed of candidates and politicians, and the odds are growing that you will see “schoolyard” language, vulgarities, and petty insults—behavior once thought below those who possess the sort of self-respect and sense of personal dignity expected of serious leaders.
Former President Donald Trump famously used Twitter to routinely mock, insult, and demean those who disagreed with him and to call them names—even some who had made personal sacrifices to support him. Though such behavior was cheered on by many of his supporters—and is increasingly common among many politicians—can we honestly say that such behavior reflects well on the current state of leadership in the U.S.? His successor, President Joe Biden—as if not to be outdone—makes confused and confusing public statements that are routinely “walked back” by staff the following day, reminding us of the nervous mom or dad who must recast or explain away their child’s uninformed and unregulated comments to friends and neighbors.
In the highest halls of power and authority, it increasingly seems as though mature, competent, self-regulating adults are no longer in charge.
The prophet Ezekiel also depicts our world’s end-time leadership in a way that observant Bible students will recognize among the modern descendants of Israel’s ancient tribes. He writes not just of political leadership, but also vital social spheres of influence, authority, and control—all descending into an end-time condition of corruption.
Look at Ezekiel 22:27. There, God speaks to the sinful descendants of modern Israel—again, the U.S. and Great Britain chief among them—and says, “Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.” As the ravenous wolf sees smaller creatures around it as little more than sources of continued personal sustenance, God warns that as the latter days progress, the political leaders (“princes”) of the land will increasingly “prey” upon those they serve out of their own self-interest.
End-time leaders will take full advantage of what their privilege and access provide—even while those they govern and “serve” may suffer.
Surely, images of then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “Partygate” gatherings during COVID-19 lockdowns when the “less privileged” were not allowed to meet in like manner are not yet too old to recall. The same is surely just as true of video footage of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi getting her hair done at a San Francisco hair salon when local regulations forbade such visits. The impression of a hypocritical “rules for thee but not for me” attitude is hard to avoid.
This is true, too, in the financial arena. While regulations exist to prevent the political class of the U.S. from personally profiting from their “insider” knowledge of how future regulations will impact businesses, Business Insider investigated the trades of U.S. Congressional staff from January 2020 to September 2021 and found that at least 182 influential staffers ignored legal deadlines in reporting their stock trades as required by those regulations. As the New York Post reported in January 2022, “Some who were caught paid paltry fines as low as $200, while others were not punished at all. There is no government system that catalogs who erred” (“Nancy Pelosi makes millions off tech stocks – and scoffs at push to ban congressional trades”).
The Post cites Walter Shaub, the former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, who said of such unethical practices, “It’s not a political issue on the right-left spectrum, but a greed issue.”
As we’ve said, a nation’s leadership is not restricted to its political offices. Consider the next verse in God’s revelation to Ezekiel: “Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken” (v. 28). And while one might not see many “prophets” in positions of leadership in most modern countries, consider what the role of the prophet was. Among many things, it was to “speak truth to power” and to proclaim to the people the real truth, before God, even when the rulers of the people might be lying to them.
In our modern context, the major media should come to mind: the news anchors, reporters, and talking heads who fill our TV screens and write our newspapers. If they do come to mind, then only a little reflection is all it takes to see “untempered mortar” as their current stock in trade.
Mortar properly tempered holds the bricks or stones of a wall together, making it trustworthy and reliable. But untempered mortar only makes the wall look good—at least for a time. When the façade eventually crumbles and the stones crash down on anything or anyone who trusted in the wall’s steadiness, the “looks” of the wall are revealed as the lie they were all along.
Such a description fits modern media depressingly well. Over the years, agenda has increasingly trumped facts, until today when many major news sources no longer even pretend to provide an unbiased look at the news—and few expect them to do so anyway. Those on the political right or left run to the news sources they know will tailor the news to their liking and help them continue believing reality is just what they want it to be—even if the “reality” they get from their news is only a dangerous façade that one day may fall and crush them under its weight.
In Canada, it seemed to some that media outlets’ level of interest in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s attempted interference in the SNC-Lavalin prosecution could be measured by their bias for or against Mr. Trudeau himself. And then there’s the matter of Hunter Biden’s notorious laptop computer, which contained information potentially damaging to his father’s presidential campaign. Rather than pursue the laptop story, first published by the New York Post, much of the “mainstream media” quickly dismissed and suppressed coverage of the matter, calling it “irrelevant” and “Russian misinformation.” Twitter blocked the New York Post over the story. Facebook used its algorithms to suppress it.
But the story was true. And post-election polling has suggested that one in six who voted for Mr. Biden in the election would not have voted for him had they known the laptop story was true.
In a half-hearted mea culpa published in April 2021—six months after the election—the Washington Post said that the truth of the Hunter Biden story was an “opportunity for a reckoning” about the “danger of suppressing accurate and relevant stories.” But, of course, such “humble” calls for a reckoning came only after the outcome of the election went the way the editorial board preferred.
So, if we cannot trust our news sources for leadership, perhaps we might look to scientists to fulfill a sort of “speak truth to power” role. After all, their job is to study and reveal to the public facts about reality—including the inconvenient facts—not to support a preconceived social or political agenda.
Well, at least that used to be their job. Now, major science journals are beginning to openly declare that they will not publish any studies that don’t support popular social narratives. The editors of Nature, one of the most prestigious and respected science journals in existence, have declared in their August issue of their sub-journal Nature Human Behavior that studies with results that could be seen as potentially disparaging to any “socially constructed or socially relevant human groupings” (for example, those who identify as “transgender”) may be refused for publication.
So, gone are the days when scientists were those brave souls who followed the evidence wherever it led. Now, they will be servants of the social order, their journals painting a picture not of reality, but of what our “enlightened” social engineers want reality to be.
And God’s reproach of the leadership crisis among the many modern nations descended from ancient Israel does not remain in the secular realm. Earlier in Ezekiel 22, the Almighty singles out the priests of the people for special condemnation:
Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them (v. 26).
The “priests” of a people are to represent God to that people—His will, His desires, His law, His love, and His requirements. And the words of this prophecy castigate any and all who would represent God as a religious leader while failing at these things, noting that, in the end times, religious leaders would utterly turn their backs on distinguishing “between the holy and the unholy” and would not be teaching the people to differentiate “between the unclean and the clean.”
Clergy who turn their backs on God are rampant today—for instance, in the growing number of major denominations who ordain LGBTQIA+ “ministers,” blatantly defying Scripture as to matters of sexuality and the divine design of humanity and the family. And how many ministers are truly teaching their flocks to keep all the Sabbaths of God—both the weekly, seventh-day Sabbath and the annual Sabbaths? Today, one is hard-pressed to find clergy even willing to confront their congregations on sex outside of marriage, or fornication—which is still sin, by the way.
In every way in which the world needs real leaders and in every arena in which their presence matters, those real leaders are increasingly hard to find.
Opportunists? Sure. Power-seekers? Absolutely. Master manipulators? Of course.
But real leaders? Not so much. With each day that goes by, God’s prophetic condemnation of end-time leaders seems to apply more and more fully to the leaders we find around us.
It is easy to blame only the leaders of modern civilization for the terrible qualities manifesting among them, but that would be unfair. They are to be blamed, to be sure, yet leaders in the West rise and fall on their ability to appeal to their constituents, customers, or consumers. Politicians attain their offices by appealing to enough voters. Media figures gain prominence by resonating with enough audience members. Influencers and celebrities are provided platforms by feeding fans what tastes good to them.
While many on both the political right and the political left cry aloud that we are living through the demise of democracy, they refuse to acknowledge how democracy has contributed to bringing us to this point. And while finger-pointing has become the most predictable reaction to complaint and criticism, each side continues to exploit the worst of what democracy enables to achieve its ends.
For all the complaints some make about former President Trump’s crass style and rude demeanor, many of his supporters were looking for exactly that—and he fulfilled their expectations. And while others complain that President Biden seems to act as an “empty suit,” he has many supporters who are grateful that he provides a face for the power brokers working behind him to achieve their policy goals. These are what so many people voted for.
Polarized voters and donors are motivated voters and donors. Therefore, increased polarization is the rule of the day. A demonized and dehumanized opponent is far easier to attack and degrade—and thus defeat. Therefore, politicians naturally choose to demonize and dehumanize their opponents.
The stories of ancient Israel and Judah were often of people following their leaders—good kings influenced their people to be good, and bad kings shifted their people toward wickedness. Today, through the “magic” of the popular vote, the influence goes both ways. Leaders still influence their people, but the people select the leaders they want. It is a vicious cycle that promises a terrible conclusion. “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land…. And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30–31).
We should recognize that while we can point our fingers at a leadership crisis, to a great extent those fingers point back at us—as it is a crisis of our own creation.
Around our world today, we can see how easily a charismatic leader can cut his own keys to power, morally compromising in whatever ways he feels are necessary and feeding his public whatever it most wants to eat. On the right and on the left, authoritarian leadership is becoming more and more common in modern global politics.
And biblical prophecy reveals that the time is soon coming when such an authoritarian leader will rise in Europe—not just to take power in one European nation, but to lead a continental superpower when he convinces ten other leaders to empower him to become a despot the likes of which the world has never seen before. With the power and authority these ten “kings” share with this prophesied tyrannical “beast” (Revelation 17:12–13), the old lines of leadership will be redrawn.
The U.S. and Great Britain will collapse under this beast’s crushing heel, and—in conjunction with a miracle-working false prophet—he will bring persecution on anyone unwilling to embrace the counterfeit “Christianity” his European empire will militantly proclaim (Revelation 13). Though many will grow rich under the political and economic gains this militaristic empire will bring, its leadership will ultimately bring warfare, destruction, and calamity that would bring a violent end to literally all life on the planet (Matthew 24:22).
But before that end can come, a real leader will arise—or, more accurately, will descend. At the return of Jesus Christ from heaven, heralded by the angels of God and accompanied by His saints, those who lived and died as His faithful followers in this present age. He will “cut short” those coming days of destruction.
The Lord—the King of kings, the Leader above all other leaders—will then take rightful possession of the kingdoms of the earth (Revelation 11:15), leading with righteousness, truth, love, and power. Seeing Him on His throne and prospering under His rule, the people of planet Earth will come to recognize Him as the true leader they have needed all along. And the leadership crisis will have passed—for good.