“In the days of those kings, the God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not be left to another people. It will crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, but will itself endure forever.”-Daniel 2:44
Every election cycle we face the prospect of a new wave—a revolution. Now things are going to change. To be sure, sometimes elections and changes in government do result in large-scale changes to a society. I’m thinking here of the British colonies in North America in the 1770s or France in the late 1780s. But even those revolutions failed to ultimately bring about lasting peace.
Not to rain on your Election Day/week parade, but the revolution we need started 2,000 years ago and is still going on. I’m talking about the establishment of kingdom of God—the Church. Jesus announced in Mark 1:15 that he had ushered in the new age, the age in which the kingdom of God was now at hand,
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
This kingdom is different than other kingdoms. In Daniel 2 God gave the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar a dream of what his kingdom is like compared to the massive Babylonian juggernaut of that day. In the dream earthly geopolitical kingdoms were represented by massive statues made of different metals. This week especially the specifics are worth noting:
“Then the iron, the fired clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were shattered and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors. The wind carried them away, and not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”-Daniel 2:35, emphasis mine
- Earthly kingdoms aren’t that great. In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream the massive metal statues were shattered by a stone and were blown away like dust in the wind. At their peak worldwide empires seem like a big deal, but they won’t last. In fact, they will be replaced by a greater kingdom.
- The kingdom of God is greater than any kingdom. The stone that breaks the statues is not cut by a human hand but comes from heaven. The prophet Daniel clarifies that this is God’s kingdom, and it will crush all competition. The revolutionary work of Jesus in building the Church is a bigger deal, and it is a movement that will ultimately displace all other governments.
- The growth of God’s kingdom is unstoppable. In his dream Nebuchadnezzar that the stone that destroyed earthly kingdoms grow into a mountain that “filled the whole earth.” The idea is that the stone will grow and grow and grow until it encompasses all. In the midst of political and social upheaval it is good to know that the kingdom of God will continue to grow and no government or movement can stop it.
- God’s kingdom will last forever. Crucially, Daniel explains that the kingdom of God “will itself endure forever.” Not only will the Church keep growing, it will last throughout all eternity. It’s not going anywhere, ever. Why? Because it is built by God. The Church is eternal because it is God’s work, not carved by human hands.
God’s kingdom is revolutionary because it is made up of sinners turned into saints by faith in Jesus Christ. It is a revolution of loves, where love for God and love for others replaces any other rivals. It is a revolution of morals and behavior, where holiness replaces immorality and selfishness. It is a revolution of purpose, where living for the glory of God overrides any other purpose. It is revolutionary because the Spirit of God guarantees it will succeed. And it’s a revolution that will outlast any election cycle or empire.
In light of these truths, here are a few election week takeaways:
- Check any party-based passion. While a political party can be helpful in clarifying stances on particular issues, they are no replacement for the Church. Sometimes we’re too passionate about our party affiliation.
- Sleep soundly Tuesday night. While most of our nation and many in the world will watch with anxiety as election results come in, feel free to go to bed. Whatever the results are, God’s kingdom movement has not changed.
- Watch your tone on Wednesday. It’s possible we’ll know the outcome of the election on Wednesday. If we do, be careful how you respond. Anger and bitterness are a threat should your candidate lose, and pride and boasting are a threat should your candidate win. Either way, the stone continues to grow into a mountain. So we are freed to respond to the election results with faith in God and peace rather than sinful ecstasy or panic.
These may be tumultuous times, but the mission of the Church hasn’t changed. Let’s glorify God as we make and mature disciples no matter what happens on Tuesday.