The God of History
World history does not consist of the random acts of men. It is God, who from the foundation of the world has ordained the rise and fall of nations for His purposes.
Significant to this message today is the following scripture:
Genesis 3:15-And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The seed that God is referring to here in this scripture is Christ, who is to come, roughly, six thousand years later.
We’ll see in this message that all the great events of history have revolved around the manifestation of this seed (Christ) two thousand years ago.
The God of History
It was God the Father, who orchestrated these events to pave the way for the coming of Christ, or the manifestation of the seed spoken of in Genesis 3:15. These events didn’t just happen at the whim of men, who chose to pursue power and greatness.
They were literally called of God to be who they were! God has used historical events to prepare Israel to give birth to the Seed of Abraham!
When God spoke this word to the Devil (Genesis 3:15), the focus of 4000years of history would transpire until this prophecy would come to pass. Kingdoms and kings would rise, and fall based on the pre-ordained plan of God already set in place before the foundation of the world. The world studies history and see it as facts and stories of events that occurred in the past and attempts to study their significance. Their goal is to try and learn from history so that they don’t repeat it.
The prevailing world view of church history is viewed as a part of world history and serves the same purpose. This purpose is the understanding of historical facts relating to the beginning and growth of the church, and its impact on the world throughout the centuries.
Unfortunately, history is not studied within the Biblical context that I’m speaking about today. We’ll come to see through scripture that God, from the foundation of the world, ordained the events, times, places, and people to appear throughout the historical landscape of time according to His pleasure and for His purposes.
When believers of Christ come to understand this truth and revelation of history, it can release them from the depression, doubt, and fear that permeates our society and the church today. This trepidation comes from an erroneous understanding of history. This worldview perception sees history as sometimes, devastating events occurring at the whim of men or even the devil. We understand that mankind, used here in the generic sense, and the devil, are used of God to fulfill His purposes, only He is in control!
When God cut covenant with Abraham, He revealed prophetically in Genesis 15:13-18 what would eventually happen to the nation of Israel in the years to come. By His divine purpose, He had ordained that they would experience 400 years of perpetual slavery in Egypt. After this horrendous episode in their history, God would deliver them by the hand of Moses. At this occurrence, He would also bring judgment upon Pharoah, and eventually the Canaanites for their iniquities.
The Lord uses good and evil men as rulers to perpetuate his own design, which was to prepare Israel to bring the seed of Abraham, Christ into the world. Paul states the following to confirm this notion in Romans 19:17 when he writes, “ For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”
Genesis 12:1-4 reveals the plan of God for the ages! His divine purpose in bringing forth the manifestation of the seed of Abraham, our Lord Jesus Christ, was to bless all of mankind. Paul confirms this notion in Galatians 3:16 where he writes: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
As we move further in the study of scripture, we see that not only did God orchestrate the rise and fall of Egypt, but four other kingdoms, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. He ordained who would rule, the time they would reign, and their very purpose for existence, which was to bring about the manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Daniel chapter 2 Daniel is called upon to interpret the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. When we read verses 20-23 below, we see clearly that Daniel believes it is our Lord who removes and sets up kings and kingdoms as He wills.
20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: 22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. 23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.
It is quite amazing that further into chapter 2, Daniel interprets the King’s dream to reveal Babylon as the gold part of the man in the dream, with the coming of Persia as the silver part, Greece represents the bronze and Rome, the iron.
What is even more remarkable is that in Daniel, chapter 8, with a little prophetic insight, it appears that Daniel describes, Darius and Alexander the Great warring against each other, with Alexander prevailing. We also see the ascension of Rome as a power after Alexander.
What we see in scripture is a historical construct, orchestrated by God, which begins with Abraham and his vision of the 400-year episode of Israelite slavery in Egypt to the vision of Daniel and the four kingdoms spoken of in the second chapter.
In Daniel Chapter 3, we see that the will of God will be done in the lives of rulers of kingdoms. While men may doubt this, biblical history teaches us that they are pawns in the hands of God and when necessary, He would let them know in no uncertain terms!
In Exodus chapter 12, the Lord executed judgment on Pharoah by taking the first born of all men and beast, including the son of Pharoah! In Daniel chapter 4 He mandates that Nebuchadnezzar live for two years like a beast of the field, so that he has no doubt who is king of the universe. And lastly, in Daniel chapter 5, God sends the word to King Belshazzar that his kingdom is doomed as Daniel interprets the words on the wall.
The very clear historical pattern of events expounded upon here indicate that God used Kings and nations to prepare Israel to produce the seed of Abraham, who we have already established, is Christ. He also prepared the Persian King, Cyrus, to release the Jews when the time was right for them
to go home.
Jeremiah spoke of their return to Jerusalem after seventy years of captivity. The Prophet, Isaiah also spoke of Cyrus releasing the Jews by Gods ordination, hundreds of years before he was born! Isaiah 45:1-4 spells this out very clearly.
45:1-4- Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
One may venture to ask, “what was God doing by causing the rise and fall of these kingdoms in succession, during the time frame in which they occurred?” I will say here that I am by no means, nor is anyone, prepared or qualified to expound upon the thoughts and ways of our Lord but let me offer some thoughts and possible insight here.
During their time in Egypt, the experience of 400 years of slavery gave Israel the motivation to leave the land of Egypt and journey to the land promised to Abraham hundreds of years earlier.
Due to the evil actions of an apostate Israel, God punished them by delivering them into Babylonian and later Persian captivity. After seventy years of captivity and punishment, King Cyrus, by the will of God released them to go home.
A little over 300 years before the birth of Christ, Alexander the Great, representing the bronze in Nebuchadnezzar’s statute, defeated King Darius of Persia, and spread the Greek culture and language throughout the known world. This language and culture became the primary means of communication even for the Roman Empire, which came to power about 27 years before the birth of Christ.
During the time of the Roman Empire, their rule came to be characterized by the term, “Pax Romana,” which in Latin meant Roman peace. The Romans established the rule of law wherever them conquered, so there was peace and protection for all the lands within the empire.
They also built roads, cities and supplied them with water by means of aqueducts that carried water from the mountains to the cities. This allowed people to travel safely and easily throughout the empire.
It’s no wonder that Christ was born during this time when there was one common language (Greek) and one ruling nation that provided a safe and effective means of travel. Now we understand why the Bible was first written in Greek. Christianity was birthed out of Judaism at the death of Christ and the Apostles began to spread the Word of God throughout the known world!