Historically in Scripture, ancient
There is an irony, intended by John, in the description of
Yet they were not great in the sight of God for two reasons. One, no matter how powerful they seemed on the scale of human history, they paled before the scale of God, creator of the cosmos and lord of all history, from beginning to end. Two, they failed – even warred against – the peace, righteousness, and justice of God that, had they fostered them, would have made
Even as all humans sin and fall short of God’s good purposes and plans, so all human systems and institutions sin and fall short of the good that God intends. Empires, nations, and governments are no exception. Some fail more than others; and some actually war against God’s peace, righteousness, and justice. But all fall short. The temptation for nations is to act as if there is no God; or even more, to act as if they can be God over life, history, and destiny for themselves and for others.
As John vividly pictures in Revelation, our hope is not in empires, nations, or governments. Our hope is in Jesus, the Lamb who was slain. The Lamb rules history not through power as understood and exercised in human terms. The Lamb accomplishes God’s purposes – peace, righteousness, and justice – through sacrifice. May we love and worship the Lamb by following his example as we live in but not of the world.