Who’s Really in Charge Here?
Is It the Donkey, the Elephant, or the Lamb?
Starting Wednesday morning, the House of Representatives opens to the public the inquiry hearings on the potential impeachment of President Trump, aired gavel to gavel on all major networks.
Will you be watching along with a hundred million other Americans?
Commentators, historians, political and social scientists—as well as the average citizen—agree on this (even if we can’t agree on anything else): As we enter into these serious deliberations this week, we find our nation to be more divided, more polarized, more entrenched and inflexible, more paralyzed domestically and internationally than at any time since the great Civil War.
It appears we’ve moved beyond simply being “partisan” to being “tribal”—tribes identified as Democrats vs. Republicans, liberals vs. conservatives, big government vs. small government, coastal elites vs. the flyover states, white collar vs. blue collar, red states vs. blue states, Trumpers vs. Never Trumpers.
On and on, the shattering of our society continues. Battle lines appear permanently locked in everywhere.
With what is shaping up to be possibly the most hotly-contested and consequential presidential election in our nation’s history—in the face of dire warnings that the very fabric of our society is being ripped asunder, that our major institutions are being stressed to a breaking point, that our culture as a whole is in an ethical and moral freefall—we would do well to ask ourselves some crucial questions. And many Americans are doing just that.
Questions Every American Should Ask:
- At this collision of convictions and cultures, who’s really in charge here?
- Who’s able to rescue us from our deepening, deadly nightmare?
- Who’s positioned to start the healing process we so desperately need at every level?
But as Christians, there are follow-up questions we should be asking.
Additional Questions Christians Must Ask:
- As everything seems to be collapsing around us, where is Jesus Christ? How involved is he? Or is he involved at all?
- Christ, who is titled the King of kings—is he truly supreme over the dynamics and destiny of this nation?
- If so, has the time come for us to refuse to cast our lot with either the donkey (Democrats) or the elephant (Republicans) and instead to choose to turn wholeheartedly in total dependence on the ascended Lamb of God?
- Do we dare to make Jesus, seated on the throne of heaven, our exclusive hero and our only hope for genuine recovery?
- Is the World’s Redeemer the one true answer to all the other questions everyone needs to be asking?
Such issues should occupy our full attention right now. Here’s how I would approach them.
First of All:
How Much of What We’re Witnessing Involves
the Judgments of the Lamb?
I’m convinced that many aspects of the disintegration around us—whether in our communities, in our politics, in our climate, in our infrastructure decay; whether by natural disasters, by gun violence, by ethical scandals on every side, by spiritual famine in the land—show signs that they are fundamentally the judgments of the Lord of Glory.
On the one hand, for sure somewhere in the mix of all of this, it’s clear that our nation is under enemy invasion from the principalities and powers and rulers of the domains of darkness (see Eph. 2:1-3; Eph. 6:10-18; Rev. 12).
On the other hand, let’s not forget that in God’s dealings with the nation of Israel, he often used their enemies to further his judgments upon the generations that rebelled against his righteous ways. Even so today, though set on the destruction of our land, Satan’s minions must perform the bidding of the One who is able to exploit them to help serve the fulfillment of his divine decrees concerning our land.
Clearly from Scripture, we also see God’s judgments upon a nation arriving in the form of natural disasters and plagues (Noah’s flood, Pharaoh’s Egypt, locust swarms in Joel); international conflicts (from Edomites to Assyrians); through the confusion of social, religious, and political chaos (see the whole book of Jeremiah).
But in the New Testament, the primary evidence of God’s wrath upon the nations—upon our nation—is clearly laid out as involving something more troubling: God simply takes his hands off of us, letting us suffer the consequences of our rebellion. For example, we read:
What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives . . .
So, God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen . . .
Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either . . . oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.
Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. (Romans 1, MSG, emphasis added)
Be honest with me: Doesn’t that whole scene remind you a lot of what we’re seeing all around us in America today?
The process described in Romans 1 reminds me of what we read in 2 Thessalonians 2 concerning what will precede the coming of the antichrist before the return of Christ. In principle, similar spiritual dynamics can play themselves out in preliminary forms in any generation—including our own—and come out looking like this:
Don’t let anyone deceive you by any means whatsoever. That day will not come before there arises a definite rejection of God and the appearance of the lawless man . . . the product of all that leads to death . . .
You will probably also remember how I used to talk about a “restraining power” which would operate until the time should come for the emergence of this man. Evil is already insidiously at work, but its activities are restricted until what I have called the “restraining power” (of God) is removed. (PHILLIPS, emphasis added)
Again, let me ask you: Does it not feel to you these days that more and more the restraining hand of God is being removed from our land on every side? Does it not seem that we are currently reaping what we’ve sown as God gives us the freedom to pursue and embrace the works of the flesh in every arena of our lives? And the outcome is ultimately the way of death.
The Lamb of God Is in Charge.
That Means He’s Our Only Way Out.
God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven,
in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments,
no name and no power exempt from his rule.
And not just for the time being, but forever.
He is in charge of it all,
has the final word on everything.
At the center of all this, Christ rules the church.
(Ephesians 1, The Message, emphasis added)
Therefore, I suggest, for Christians these questions listed above need to be answered at this critical hour in a way that forces us back to the LAMB OF GOD as our only way out of our long, intractable, national nightmare—that grows more ominous daily, especially as on this very day the House Judiciary Committee launches the public phase of its investigation into possible presidential wrongdoing.
Whatever your current position on the historic drama unfolding this week in Washington, DC, the fact is this: If you belong to God’s Son, our Redeemer King, then you already know that the only exit from this intensifying horror show is found not in any political party’s agenda or campaign nor in which candidates end up in office.
Ultimately, liberation from disintegration rests in the Lord Jesus Christ—“the name that is above every name in this age and in the age to come” (Eph. 1)–who is both Savior and Judge for all peoples, for all eternity.
As Jesus said, the Father has placed all judgment at his disposal forever (John 5). As we read in the poetic, apocalyptic language of Revelation 6 (emphasis added):
They cried to the mountains to crush them. “Fall on us,” they pleaded, “and hide us from the face of the one sitting on the throne, and from the anger of the Lamb . . . who can survive it?”
Or again, in Revelation 19:
He was named Faithful and True . . . His eyes were like flames, and on his head were many crowns . . . In his mouth he held a sharp sword to strike down the nations; he ruled them with an iron grip . . . On his robe and thigh was written this title: “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” (emphasis added)
John summed up Jesus’ supremacy best when he declared in Revelation 1 (emphasis added): “Jesus Christ is the Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of all earthly kings.”
And that includes the leaders up on Capitol Hill meeting during these watershed weeks of testimonies.
But let’s be sure we always proclaim them to be “SAVING judgments.” That’s because in all of the actions Jesus takes as he rules among the nations—even when he removes his restraints and allows people to taste the dregs of their own human depravity—his one desire even then is that by bringing a person or a whole nation to the end of their ingenuity and strength, they will be compelled to turn to him so he might extend his salvation to all who believe. That applies to our people as well as all others on planet earth.
Peter put it this way (2 Peter 3, emphasis added):
The Lord is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent. However, the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief.
The overarching reality is that at this hour, primarily Christ employs his saving judgments to accelerate the spread and impact of his redeeming gospel. This is what inspires the multitudes in Revelation 5 to fall down and worship him, declaring that the “slain Lamb” is worthy to receive all glory and honor and dominion and blessing.
Let’s Exult Again in Christ’s Rightful Place—
Both in Our Lives and in Our Nation
In the months ahead, whatever the outcome of President Trump’s impeachment proceedings, our nation will remain under the judgments of the Lamb of God—who alone can deliver us from their tragic afflictions.
As you know from all I have shared with you through ChristNow.com—as well as in my writings, such as my book Christ Is NOW! or on my podcast, Christ Today—I am convinced that the one great promise of deliverance by a spiritual and moral renovation of America lies in a sovereign work of God that I call a “nationwide Christ Awakening movement”—as God’s Son becomes increasingly the central hope and passion of our life together as God’s people and, as a result, increasingly for the country as a whole.
The Bible is unequivocal: Jesus alone is able to bring about the fulfillment of our national motto; he alone can make America become “one out of many” as he does so by bringing us together to himself (see Colossians 1:18-20).
However, this Christ Awakening miracle must begin among God’s people, first of all.
As Peter reminds us:
For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? (1 Peter 4, emphasis added)
Remember how Jesus said to those in the church in Ephesus (and to all of us through them): “If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.” (Rev. 2)
Or again, to the church in Pergamum: “Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.” (Rev. 2)
Or again, to the church at Thyatira: “All the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.”
To what degree have Christians in America substituted human leaders for the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of our political (and other) strivings and machinations?
To what extent have we failed to give Jesus the supremacy in all things—but instead turned to solutions the world offers (which are all failing us miserably right now)—and in that dereliction committed acts of idolatry?
Well, to that measure, we should stand in the fear of God—the fear that our light for Christ to the nation is being snuffed out; the fear that the sword of his living word is slaying us; the fear that the fiery penetration of his holy eyes will lay bare the shallowness of our affections for him and our obedience to him.
It’s Time to Raise Up a New Kind of Repentance Praying
in Pursuit of a Nationwide Christ Awakening
The only hope for our nation at this crucial moment is that the Christians of our nation come back to the reigning Lamb and repent of all we have done to him and against him—especially by our neglect of him.
That is a kind of repentance praying most Christians have never even heard of, let alone experienced.
But truly it is the only recourse that we have in this desperate hour.
What would such prayers of repentance sound like? Let me close by offering some examples.
Maybe you’d like to make them your own prayers before you close this blog post.
Maybe you’d like to pass them along—pass this blog post along—to your Christian friends and ask them to join you in this kind of praying.
I believe the spiritual reclamation of our nation under the righteous reign of Christ depends on such deliberate, sincere, consistent prayers of repentance by hundreds of thousands of believers across our land. We must become broken over our sin before the slain Lamb on the throne—and then from now on, look to HIM ALONE!
Will you be one who bows before the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and complete surrender? Will you persuade others to do the same?
As others try to impeach, will you strive to reach—to reach up to our victorious Sacrifice, King Jesus, and reach up for all the promises of God that are flowing from his throne in his name?
Dear Father, WE REPENT — individually and on behalf of all your people.
- We repent . . . for how we have diminished your Son, regarding him more like a Christian mascot than the Monarch over our churches and our country, regarding him as the guarantee of our efforts to make our nation what we think it should look like.
- We repent . . . for how we have manipulated your Son, coming to him only as far as we think we need to come in order to get him to do what we want him to do—that far and no more; often using him to advance our social and political agendas, claiming we are speaking in his name and representing his desires, but really just reshaping him to sound like the rest of our tribe.
- We repent . . . for how we have hoarded your Son, seeking his blessings for ourselves, with little thought about bringing those blessings to others. We’ve assumed that he was there only for us. We’ve acted as if he were not Lord of neighbors and nations—or of our nation and of our life together in him.
- We repent . . . for how we have resisted your Son, withholding our affections from him because we were afraid of what it would cost us to surrender our lives completely to him—and thus we have denied his supremacy, not only in our lives but also over everything and everyone else.
- We repent . . . for how we’ve replaced your Son with creeds, programs, organizations, political parties, culture wars, and moral renewal campaigns—often performed in his name but without the consuming passion for his glory and the advance of his Kingdom at all times. We’ve failed to give him the preeminence he deserves as the Center and Circumference of everything, both for us and for all peoples.
- We repent . . . for all the ways we have sinned against your Son, defaming his wonderful name among the peoples of our nation by how we have diminished him, manipulated him, hoarded him, resisted him, and replaced him.
O Lamb of God,
Forgive us! Cleanse us! Purify us!
O Lamb of God,
Resurrect us! Reconvert us! Restore us!
O Lamb of God,
Refill us! Recommission us!
Dear Lamb upon the throne,
by your incarnation, by your crucifixion,
by your resurrection, and by your ascension
we are yours forever!
About the Author
Over the past 40 years, David Bryant has been defined by many as a “messenger of hope” and a “Christ proclaimer” to the Church throughout the world. Formerly a minister-at-large with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, president of Concerts of Prayer International (COPI), and chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee, David now provides leadership to ChristNow.com and Proclaim Hope!, whose mission is to foster and serve Christ-awakening movements. Order his widely read books at DavidBryantBooks.com.
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