Does God Control this World?

JesusRidingOutOfHeavenThe short answer is “no.” Yet God does enter into the affairs of humankind here on earth. He does implement certain plans that he has for humans on earth right now. But these are isolated instances and thus not the norm. Yet there will come a day when God will control this planet and forever more. But until then, God does not control this world system, this cosmos, as some Christians think.

Do you think I am out of my mind in saying this? Then tell me this: how did Satan tempt Jesus with “all the kingdoms of the world”? Upon what basis did he say that? For we read, “the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him”‘” (Matthew 4.8-10). So, Jesus didn’t tell Satan he didn’t control the kingdoms of this world and therefore had no authority to make such an offer. On the contrary, Jesus’ reply makes it evident that he believed Satan had indeed made a bonafide offer.

The Bible says God controls heaven, but not this world (Gr. cosmos). This cosmos is controlled by “the god of this world” who “has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4.4 NRSV). Who is that? Satan!

The book of Daniel declares that the God of Daniel–the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of creation and the Bible–is “the God of heaven” and “king of heaven” (Dan 2.18-19; 4.37). Yet God acts upon this world in the here and now. He enters into the affairs of humankind. He establishes kings and kingdoms here on this earth and removes them from power (eg. Dan 4.17). Still, generally speaking, God does not control this world; that is, he does not “reign” here as he does in heaven.

There is a conflict going on here on earth and far beyond it between good and evil, God’s angels and Satan’s angels, thus ultimately between God and Satan. We get some insight into this angelic conflict in the book of Daniel. Daniel tells us he was mourning and doing a partial fast from food and drink for three weeks for the purpose of seeking understanding about the visions he had received from God (Dan 10.2-3, 12). An angel then appeared to Daniel, perhaps Gabriel who had appeared to him before (v. 10; 8.16). This angel informed Daniel that he would have come to Daniel earlier but “the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me twenty-one days” (10.13). He adds, “So Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia, and have come to help you understand what is to happen to your people [the Jews] at the end of days” (vv. 13-14). Michael is the archangel mentioned in the New Testament (Jude 9; Rev 12.7). Most Bible scholars agree that this “prince of Persia” refers to one of Satan’s angels who apparently controlled Persia.

But there will come a day–called many times in the Bible “the day of the LORD,” which is synonymous with “the second coming of Christ”–when God will rise up, take to himself his great power, and takes control of this planet and forever more thereafter (e.g., Psalm 2.1-9; Isaiah 42.13). It will be when the seventh angel blows his trumpet. Then “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever” (Rev 11.15; cf. Dan 7.22, 26). God’s angels in heaven will then sing, “We give you thanks, Lord God Almighty, who are and who were, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign” (v. 17). And a great multitude in heaven will then say loudly, Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns” (Rev 19.6).

Jesus will then ride out of heaven, with angels following him. He will come to earth to destroy the Antichrist and his armies (Rev 19.11-15). Jesus will then establish his worldwide kingdom on earth that God gave him (Dan 7.13-14). Then will occur what Jesus told his disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6.10 KJV).

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