The world is breathing a sigh of relief as it appears that the risk of nuclear war involving the United States and North Korea has decreased — for now. We may never know all the behind the scenes details of the meeting between the two leaders and it will take time before we see the full extent of any results — positive or negative. However, there is one thing that we can be certain of and that is that the West is declining in influence, just as God said it would.
God’s promises to Abraham and his descendants were real and faithfully fulfilled. What God did through Abraham would influence the entire world. God told Abraham, “I will make you a great nation … and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3). The reason for these promises was God’s great love for His created beings and His plan to “… gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth – in Him” (Ephesians 1:10). As we know so well, man was separated from the presence of God when he was removed from the Garden of Eden. Sin separated man from God. God’s plan for creating an eternal family, though, was not made null and void by sin. Their plan was for the Word to become flesh and provide an atoning sacrifice to enable mankind to be restored to a proper relationship with God the Father.
The great nation which emerged from Abraham was to be a living testimony of God’s plan of salvation. God put the nation through a series of events which demonstrated in type the way of reconciliation for mankind. The ultimate blessing, which would be extended to all the families of the earth, was the Seed, Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16).
When Abraham demonstrated his faithful obedience to God, the promises God had made became unconditional (Genesis 22:18). God made good on His promises although Israel turned in disobedience and rebellion against God. The promised “nation and a company of nations” were fulfilled in the birthright promises to Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 34:11). The emergence of the British Commonwealth and the United States of America changed the world. We believe that these nations are primarily descended from these sons of Joseph.
Having been driven into captivity and removed from the land God had given them, the tribes of Israel migrated and scattered through all nations. As God’s unconditional promises materialized, the emerging powerful and wealthy descendants of Israel dominated the world and created a legacy often referred to as “the West.” Western civilization was formed primarily by the descendants of Israel, even though they absorbed aspects of previous civilizations.
The promises to Israel in the Bible included wonderful blessings, but they also included curses for failing to live God’s way of life. Unfortunately, Israel did not repent, despite going into captivity and continued to reject God. After God fulfilled His word and bestowed blessings on Abraham’s family and descendants as He had promised, their continued rebellion meant that the penalties for disobedience, which he had also promised, had to be engaged. To put it in the words of historian Samuel Huntington in his book The Clash of Civilizations, “… the expansion of the West ended and the revolt against the West began. Unevenly and with pauses and reversals, Western power declined relative to the power of other civilizations” (p.53). He continued, “European colonialism is over; American hegemony is receding … we are witnessing the end of the progressive era dominated by Western ideologies … the ‘re-Islamization’ of Muslim societies, the ‘Hinduization’ of politics in India and the ‘Asianization’ of countries in the far east … the result is a popular mobilization against Western-educated and Western oriented elites.” (pp. 91-95). “For the first time since the Universal Declaration was adopted in 1948, countries not thoroughly steeped in the Judeo-Christian and natural law traditions are in the first rank. That unprecedented situation will define the new international politics of human rights. It will also multiply the occasions for conflict” (pp. 196-197).
Christ emphasized this decline and increase in conflicts as a sign of His coming and the end of the age (Matthew 24). The recent summit meeting will not yield lasting peace. As author Huntington pointed out, it will probably only multiply the occasions for conflict as the rise of non-Israelitish nations over those to whom God gave great blessings slowly continues. It would certainly seem strange to some that a leader who is seriously mistreating his own people would suddenly have a right to the legitimacy of the world stage. However, as God has warned, the domination of Gentile nations over the modern descendants of Israel is to be expected. The next Bible Study will address in part the “times of the Gentiles”.