The Fall of an Empire
“See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:25-29)
Saint Augustine lived in the days of the decline of the Roman empire. The empire of Roman was not built in a day, neither did it fall in a day. The decline and fall occurred over the space of approximately 100 years – from 375 to 475 A.D. It was during this period that he wrote one of his most remembered books, The City of God. It was written in response to the crisis of Roman’s collapse. To many in that day it was perceived as the “end of the world.” But Augustine pointed the people in his day toward a greater reality. The reality that God had established a kingdom that was unshakable and eternal. Our hope can never rest in earthly empires or nations.
In the Bible we read of many empires which rose up powerfully for a time but were eventually replaced by another. The Babylonians were replaced by the Medo-Persians, who were replaced by the Greeks. The Greeks were followed up by the Romans. All of them had their day, and all were swept in the “dust bin” of history.
The Soviet Union, a powerful empire that threatened world peace, is no more. It has been replaced by those who reject many of the totalitarian ways of the USSR. It has morphed into a nation that now honors their religious heritage for instance. Such an occurrence seemed impossible to most of us thirty years ago.
I believe that we, as Americans, are seeing the decline and fall of our empire. I know that that sounds shocking to some. I know that there are those will stop reading at this point and reject what I am espousing. But I believe it has been in decline for some time. Neither do I necessarily believe it will fall anytime soon. I do believe that we are seeing an acceleration of its fall in tis present hour. Possibly, our political leaders will pull things together for a time and things will improve. But I believe that its decline will ultimately continue. Unless, there is a dramatic change of direction.
That change of course direction will only come about through another “Great Awakening.” Unless we see a major spiritual revival like that which occurred during the time of John Wesley and George Whitefield, which spared England from the destruction of revolution like that in France. Our salvation will not come through legislative change or governmental intervention. Any “fix” that can be brought about by the politicians will only be short lived. They are not solutions, they are “band-aids” put-on life-threatening wounds.
If America falls, like Rome did, it is not the “end”. It is a kingdom of this world being shaken. It is the consequence of a nation, to whom much was given, having forsaken God and reaping judgment.