If you’ve followed my overview of the book of Amos, you may have discovered themes that seem all too familiar, and perhaps you may have wondered how on earth did he know about Canada in 2023? Aside from being a seer, the history of men is a vicious reoccurring cycle of trading up what is good in God’s blessings to embrace that which is not. In Amos’ day, the kingdom of the north prospered economically, and they enjoyed a time of relative peace surrounding their borders. But with that prosperity came the sins of arrogance, greed, indifference, and a lack of purity especially in their worship. Men began to oppress others financially by charging outrageous prices for goods and impoverishing them to the detriment of forcing them to become slaves. They banished the mouthpieces of God’s word and threatened to have Amos brought before the king for criticizing their debauchery (Amos 7:10-17). They began to see themselves, not so much as a nation of Yahweh worshippers, but one that accommodated other forms of worship to other gods, and they weren’t too fond of criticism. They’d even gone so far as to erect a temple to Canaanite gods in Samaria (1 Kings 16:29-34) and seemingly few had a problem with it (1 Kings 19:18: 2 Kings 10:18-28). Bethel became a brothel and the people may have become a little too excited to go to that church on Sunday to participate in the sexual perversion with the temple prostitutes. The most horrible part of this delusion is that they thought they were immune to judgment both spiritually and tangibly. They thought they were fine because they still offered some form of worship to Yahweh, all the while mingled with the adoration of Baal. They banked heavily on their military position and wealth as fool proof detractors from anyone interrupting their comforts which, I might add, was proven to be dead wrong. There was a pendulum style shift in their economic standing in these periods where they went from a wealthy nation during the reign of Jeroboam, to losing everything due to heavy taxation, social chaos and losing control of their livelihoods due to their Assyrian neighbours. They eventually fell to the Assyrian army and were taken into exile.
In Case of Obliviousness: Break Glass
In case you’ve been unconscious for the last three years, the great upheaval that is a pandemic has moulded many societal frameworks and framed them back to the good old days of Israel under Jeroboam. While Amos certainly would have wondered why drag queen story hour was so popular and why so many people love to riot, he certainly would recognize some similarities from his own day. Truly there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)! We are facing a cloud of vanities much like in this period in Israel’s history. Check out home and land prices, the upshot of cost for goods including food, services and especially fuel. Watch as the business elite are taking advantage of the times by scoring some serious moolah through less production and pricier products. Much like Jeroboam, our dear leaders in government even dictated what was appropriate and what was meaningless in the worship of the church, a non-essential institution, unlike the essential establishment of the powerhouse (aka the liquor store). They did this as if they had some prophetic knowledge that none of us were privileged to. Forbidding singing, prohibiting gathering to worship, and even punishing those who did not obey with Jail time would have made Israel’s king proud. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Jeroboam is alive and well today. But our government didn’t act alone. The spirit of Amaziah is also very much present! I’m referring to the priest who threatened to rat out Amos to the king and told him to close shop and go home (Amos 7:1-13). Pastors and congregants alike were exemplifying this spirit by siding with their elected officials and phoning the police to assure that the worship of King Jesus was snuffed out, to obey the mandates of our national kings, whether in the Prime Minister or their Premiers. And thus, the chaos continues!
Put to the Vote
While a Christian may be feeling angry or hopeless or a little overwhelmed with the chaos they see through their Twitter feed, news source or their overbearing political friends, one must not panic. I write today with an exhortation.
A good reminder on those days that you feel that someone has released the hordes of hell against us, is simply to remember that God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne (Psalm 47:8). Bear in mind that the reason you are in a panic is because you have absolutely no control over this situation and you believe that they do. In this moment, recall the prayer of Jehoshaphat that O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? (2 Chronicles 20:6). Once you’ve read this text 10 times, ask yourself an all-important question: Do you really believe it? Is it more to you than simply a nice thought? Do you live your life according to it? If you don’t, you need to take a step back and stop everything. You can’t go on as a Christians in this time unless you’ve come to terms with this reality.
One of the most challenging things in a Christian’s life is to rest in God’s Sovereignty because we want to sit on His throne. We want to be sovereign and control our own lives. But we must get off of the ark of the covenant and recognize who sits there. It’s not you and it’s not your elected government officials. Whether our honourable prime minister, Justin Trudeau or the rest of the WEF groupies acknowledge His kingship, it doesn’t change a single thing. While they boast about all the great things they’ve done, and are about to do to save our planet, truly, they are merely subjects of a greater power (Daniel 4:34-35). They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless (Isaiah 40:17). It is the Lord who reigns over them and everything you see around you has purpose. God is moving the hearts of men, yes, even our Honourable Prime Minister, to accomplish His good purposes. But while we must respect our government officials being given their authority, we cannot give them the ultimate authority.
He it is who reduces rulers to nothing,
Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. (Isaiah 40:23)
The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples. (Psalm 33:10)
Many plans are in a man’s heart,
But the counsel of the Lord will stand. (Proverbs 19:21)
The Righteous Reign of Yahweh’s King
In Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:29-36), he proclaims to his hearers the fulfillment of prophecy through the Messiah, the Lord Jesus. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the judgment, and the time when those who call upon the name of the Lord to be saved was in their midst to fulfill the words of the prophet Joel (Acts 2:16-21). Peter then speaks of the Lord Jesus as One who performed many signs and wonders for them to believe, but they had rejected Him, handing Him over to be crucified (Acts 2:22-23). He then turns to speak of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, once again, fulfilling OT prophecies concerning the Messiah. Peter quote Psalm 16:8-11, a Psalm concerning David who expresses his trust in Yahweh that he will give him help in his time of need and not abandon him. This is applied to the Messiah since David did die and experienced decay while the descendant of David would raise from the dead. The fact that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day, is sufficient proof for Peter that Psalm 16 speaks about something beyond David’s personal experience.
David was not referring to himself, since Peter describes him as a “prophet” meaning that he was looking forward to a time when God would seat one of his descendants on his throne (Acts 2:30). This was promised as a part of David’s covenant through an oath, promises found in 2 Samuel 7:14 and in the Psalms (89:3-4; 35-37, 132:11). This was first fulfilled when Solomon sat on his father’s throne, but the true fulfilment of these texts was not finalized in Solomon. One of the most poignant features of the promised kingship of David was that the kingship would be forever. The only way that a king could remain on the throne forever would be through a king that wouldn’t die. Luke tells us that when David uttered these words, he was looking to the resurrection of the Christ, whom He would not abandon to Hades (Acts 2:31). The resurrection account was witnessed by many individuals, one even placing his finger into the wounds from the crucifixion (John 20:24-28).
V.33 begins with the term “therefore” meaning that the result of this resurrection and fulfillment of the promises of David would be found in the next verses. There are two conclusions that resulted in that resurrection from the dead: (1) He was exalted to the right hand of God, (2) He receives the Holy Spirit whom He pours out, which they were seeing with their own eyes. The place of His exaltation was to sit at the right hand as the King. Peter now turns to quote an important Psalm to substantiate the claim of the exaltation of Christ as the promised King. While some may have looked to a fulfillment in David, it was Christ who had ascended, not David (v.34). It was Christ as One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14 “And to Him was given dominion, Glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14). Peter makes the argument that because Christ had been exalted to the right hand and received the Holy Spirit. This is unquestionable when we consider the quotation from Psalm 110:1. God ruled Israel through a representative king, especially David, but this time He would rule Israel through an ultimate King in Jesus. This coming King spoken of in Psalm 110 was greater than David since even David refers to Him as Lord! When Christ ascended into heaven in Act 1:9, this was the time when He went to receive His kingdom. Many people struggle with this since they are looking to a time when Jesus will sit on the literal throne of David in Jerusalem, but the throne on earth wasn’t the greater throne. Solomon sat on the throne of Yahweh (1 Chronicles 28:5; 29:23).
We now come to our final “therefore” statement in Peter’s sermon. The result of this coronation of Jesus, was that all the house of Israel should know, that God has made Him both Lord and Christ! Peter exclaims that the house of Israel should “be certain” that Jesus was the Messiah and, at the same time, Lord or king as the one who sits on the throne of Yahweh, and rules over the heavens and the earth (Matthew 28:18). With all that said, we are not waiting to see the rule of Christ over the earth, it is happening as we speak. And while it may seem like chaos, it’s all going as planned.
If God rules through a representative king, and that king has authority over the heavens and the earth, rest assured that this king is reigning over your nation. But we mustn’t have theological amnesia when it comes to this especially when a certain substance hits the fan. Not only does Jesus reign over the nations, but His reign is where we find the opposite of human leadership, He reigns in righteousness.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. All the nations are as nothing before Him, (Hebrews 1:8)
The scepter, much like the throne, is an emblem of authority (Ester 5:2) and this scepter is one of “righteousness”. The scepter is one of justice in which all evil, seen or hidden, will be brought to light and judged by one who is fit to judge. All crimes that have occurred and victims that have been unfairly treated will finally be able to utter that they have received the justice they had demanded in this life. This is the righteousness that this King will Judge. In other words, the Lord Jesus reigns currently on the throne of Yahweh and He is making His enemies a footstool (1 Corinthians 15:25).
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9)
The Right Honourable Prime Minister’s Head
Whether it was in the Lord Jesus’ Day under Pontus Pilate, or the apostle Paul’s living under Caesar Nero, both proclaimed that these governmental despots had no authority over anything except if it was given to them by Yahweh (John 19:10-11; Romans 13:1). Your government is voted in by God, and they choose to rule either according to God’s word in righteousness or in unrighteousness. Sadly, most fall under the latter and even like to cross the line which at times lands them in hot water before an ethics committee. But what we must keep in mind is that these leaders, even our honourable prime minister, are placed in this position by the Almighty. They are added or removed at the will of the King of Kings and will remain in power until God sees fit to remove them. The Lord has purpose in all things, and this means that even wicked kings serve a purpose. Christ is the only sovereign and king of kings whether anyone is willing to acknowledge it or not. Yes, Trudeau has a head and while he doesn’t acknowledge it, He is under the authority of another.
The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it wherever He wishes. (Proverbs 21:1)
“It is He who changes the times and the epochs;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding. (Daniel 12:1)
“He makes the nations great, then destroys them;
He enlarges the nations, then leads them away. (Job 12:23)
The Lofty One Falls
One wonders if in the job description of a politician there is a section that lists the competency of being able to showboat everything you do or can do. I assume this because it seems to me that the majority are prevalent in several forms of PR. Some may even include using everyone’s identity for their future political gain without the tokenee even knowing it. They can make things look so good when everything is going to hell in a handbasket. Yes, they could even make a 1974 Pinto look like a 2023 Lexus. But this grandstanding also creates an imbalance in feeling superior to everyone else. One can’t escape seeing in recent times the arrogance that comes in the form of government policies that are pitched as for our own good but little good can come from them. The elite politicians who are forcing a country to go broke for their progressive ideologies or promoting certain sexual deviances as “normal” and “moral”. Things that we religious folk don’t understand because we are of a different breed and the colour of the sky in our world is a little different. This creates an arrogance in them that has little constraint. But God is on to them, and He hates the proud and arrogant.
Pride and arrogance and the evil way
And the perverted mouth, I hate. (Proverbs 8:13).
What we don’t always recognize is that He doesn’t lay silently in hatred in the heavens, complaining about their condescension with the angels. Yahweh will eventually break their scepter (Isaiah 14:5) and can bring heads of state and their nations to nothing (Isaiah 40:23). If God was willing to judge the nation that He called His Son, and with whom He covenanted, believe that He will have no problem is judging our nation (Ezekiel 16:14-15; 37-39).
I’d like to just say that while I’ve disagreed with many of Prime Minister Trudeau’s policies, I’m really not here to bust his chops. I believe he’s an intelligent man with overall bad ideas, but he is the prime minister and ultimately God placed him there. Hence, rather than pull out my torches and pitchforks and start an insurrection, I will pray and hope to hold him accountable. Paul’s emphasis in his epistle to Timothy reflects this idea. Regardless of their performance, we should pray to live tranquil and quiet lives, lives that reflect reverence and dignity that exemplifies a citizen of the kingdom of God. Most importantly, we should pray for their salvation and hope they come to a personal saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:1-4). This dignity and godliness that we are to portray to our secular leaders is through prayer, lifting up holy hands without wrath and dissension (v.8). But this doesn’t inherently mean that a Christian will never be in dispute with his government officials. We’ve seen this happen throughout history and even Paul wrote about these encounters (2 Corinthians 11:23-33; 2 Timothy 1:8; 3:12). It means that we must consider that while persecution is never far off, we should attempt to be willing to suffer for the faith all the while living as godly men who exemplify the characteristics of their Saviour and who seek to live in peace under the knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things.
Perhaps one day we will hear our Prime Minister and other world leaders utter the exclamation of Nebuchadnezzar:
“But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
But He does according to His will in the host of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ (Daniel 4:34-35)
 Pillar New Testament Commentary: Acts, David Peterson, William B. Eerdman Publishing, 2009, Page 140