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Petty Tyrants and Crackpot Kings
Learning to face a world gone mad with the jubilant triumph of the gospel
“Make your vows to the LORD your God and perform them; let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared, who cuts off the spirit of princes, who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.” (Psalm 76:11–12)
It has never gone well for the kings of the earth when they have attempted to oppose the God of heaven. Whether we are thinking of the ancient king of Ai, whose last moments were spent strung up in a tree (Josh. 8:29); or the thirty other kings of Canaan who soon followed suit (12:7–24); or Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who was driven out of his mind until he was willing to admit that “the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will” (Dan. 4:32); or that old weasel Herod who was eaten by worms for failing to give glory to God (Acts 12:23) — whatever example we select, there is always one conclusion to be drawn: and that is that the only proper recourse for the kings of the earth is to bow to the Christ who is the Ruler of kings (Rev. 1:5). As the psalm so forcefully puts it, “[…] let all around him bring gifts to him who is to be feared, who cuts off the spirit of princes, who is to be feared by the kings of the earth” (vv. 11–12).
To put this another way, the Bible’s political theology is, minimally, one of indomitable triumph. Beginning in Eden, the Scriptures tell the story of God’s unconquerable purpose to advance His saving reign on the earth. And this purpose is one that all creaturely agents, whether human or demonic, are powerless to oppose. God will reign. He will have His people. He will have His kingdom. And every enemy, including death itself, will come under His dominion or else be destroyed.
History itself culminates with the glorious and climactic moment when all creation publicly recognizes this truth: “[…] at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11). In other words, the telos of the entire cosmos is the universal acknowledgment of the dominion of Christ by every creature. And it’s as certain as the rising of the sun.
What this means practically is that Klaus Schwab poses absolutely no threat to the kingdom of God — and the same goes for all the petty, crackpot tyrants of the earth. Whether we are considering the WEF, media and tech giants, individual political figures, or independent billionaires with creepy, globalist ideals, all these are accounted by God as “less than nothing and emptiness” (Isa. 40:17). They are dust on the scales and drops in the bucket (v. 15). Not because they aren’t truly malevolent crooks, but rather because God has ordained a different end for His story:
“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.’” (Rev. 11:15)
The need of the hour is thus for the saints of God to steel themselves with faith and courage. The angels weren’t cowering when they announced the birth of a “Savior, who is Christ the Lord” and neither should we (Lk. 2:11). Temptations to fear will always pull at the heart in times of chaos and decline, but in such times it is all the more important that the church reflect in her worship and preaching, singing and suffering, living and dying the kind of jubilant triumph that is intrinsic to her gospel.
Why? Because Christ has been raised, and this world is not the same as it once was. As the apostle put it, the “darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining” (1 Jn. 2:8).