The Bible Echo, vol. 11


May 18, 1896

“The Eastern Question. What Its Solution Means to All the World. No. 1.—A Look at the Past” The Bible Echo 11, 19, pp. 147, 148.



“THERE is no respect of persons with God.” And there is likewise no respect of nations with God. There being no respect of persons with God, and nations being composed only of persons, it is impossible that there should be respect of nations with God. Now everybody who has ever read the Bible knows full well that in ancient times God dealt with nations, calling them by name, and sending them direct and special messages. Who does not know the story of Jonah and Nineveh? But Nineveh was the great capital of the mighty nation of the Assyrians. BEST May 18, 1896, page 147.1

Read carefully the following passage: “In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Thus saith the Lord to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, and send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah; and command them to say unto their masters, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say unto your masters; I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me. And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him. And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the Lord, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon; for they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish. But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the Lord; and they shall till it, and dwell therein.” Jeremiah 27:1-11. BEST May 18, 1896, page 147.2

There are no less than five nations distinctly called by name, and a definite message sent to each one as to His purposes concerning them and a sixth nation, Babylon. And no one can deny that in these messages the Lord, the God of Israel, made a perfectly fair proposition. He having made all things, His is the right to bestow any or all as seems best to Him. In the wisdom of His own counsels, for the accomplishment of His own great purpose, He had given all the nations to the control of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Accordingly He sends to the people concerned the announcement of this fact, and calls upon them for their own good to accept this arrangement. He tells them that if they will willingly accept it and voluntarily submit to the government of the king of Babylon, it will be well with them,—they can remain in their own land in peace. But if they refuse to submit, then they will not only be subdued by the power of Nebuchadnezzar, but will be carried away from their own native country into a strange land. BEST May 18, 1896, page 147.3

Certainly no one could ask for a fairer proposition than this. But those people were like too many others, and thought their own way the best, and refused to believe the Lord, that it might he well with them and that they might so abide in peace; and so they were obliged by sorrowful experience to learn that they had better have believed the Lord, and in their sorrowful experience continually wish that they had believed the Lord. Even Jerusalem, the Lord’s chosen city, and Judah, the Lord’s own people, refused to believe the word of the Lord, and so refused to yield to the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar. They rebelled, joined in alliance with Egypt, and sustained a long and terrible siege before they would submit. But by Jeremiah the Lord repeated to them His purpose with the king of Babylon, and continually called upon them peaceably to submit, and assured them that Egypt and every other resource would be absolutely unavailing. For thus saith the Lord, “Behold Pharaoh’s army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt, into their own land. And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire. Thus saith the Lord: Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart. For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire. Jeremiah 37:8-10. BEST May 18, 1896, page 147.4


ONE point in the great purpose of God in bringing all nations under the sway of Nebuchadnezzar, was that He might the better bring to them the knowledge of Himself and His great power and wisdom to lead men in the right way. For after Nebuchadnezzar had subdued all the kingdoms and nations unto himself, he published to “all people, nations and languages, that dwell in all the earth” “the signs and wonders which the high God” had wrought toward him. Read Daniel 4. God knew long before, to what point Nebuchadnezzar would come in the knowledge of Himself, and what use He could make of this king in spreading to the nations the knowledge of God. And for this cause He brought the nations in subjection to him. The nations did not know this, but God knew it, and the nations should have believed the message of the Lord when He sent to them the word that even for their own temporal good they should willingly submit to the authority of the king of Babylon. In all this God was showing to the nations in that time, and it is written to show to the nations in all time, that “God rules in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will;” and that God has His own wise purpose to accomplish with the nations and kingdoms, even though the people may not know it, and though they will not believe it. BEST May 18, 1896, page 147.5

Now it is impossible to think that God dealt so personally with the nations of old, and yet that He has nothing to do with the nations now. It is certainly true that, as God is no respecter of persons, He is no respecter of nations, and He has His thought upon the nations of to-day, and has His purposes concerning, these as really as of old, or at any other time in the world’s history. God’s ways have not changed; but the people and nations have forgotten or will not believe that God still rules in the kingdoms of men and works out through them His own deep counsels and wondrous purpose. BEST May 18, 1896, page 147.6


And now the Government and people of England, yes of all the nations of Europe and even America, have, and have long had, their attention fixed upon the Government of Turkey. The Government of Turkey is a perplexity to the powers of Europe; and the powers of Europe, in their dealings with this perplexity, are a puzzle to the people. Is it true then that in this great question that vexes the mightiest powers and puzzles the peoples of the world, God has no part? Is it true that this world-absorbing question is outside the attention of God who of old time always ruled in the affairs of men?—No; it is not true. God is “the same yesterday and to-day and for ever.” With Him “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” His love and care is as great for the great nations of to-day as it ever was for nations great or smell in all time. His particular attention is not slacked with reference to these now any more than with those of old. In the words by His prophets were His counsels made known concerning the nations of old, and in these likewise are His counsels concerning the nations of to-day. And His purposes with the nations of to-day can be read in the books of the prophets of God, as certainly as they can be read there concerning the nations of old. BEST May 18, 1896, page 147.7

The only organised nation within the bounds of history when the Bible record was closed—A.D. 98—was the Roman Empire. The one only nation therefore above all others that could be considered first of all was the Roman Empire and the Roman power. This power (and such as might succeed it in the course of time) was the only one that could be directly dealt with, because Rome was not only the one great power of the world, but within its bounds was also the very centre and pivot of God’s work and purpose concerning the whole world for all time. The Roman Cesar Augustus had decreed that “all the world should be taxed,” when Christ the Saviour of the world was born. By the authority of Rome in the Roman governor of Judea Christ was delivered to be crucified. Roman soldiers watched the tomb, and the Roman seal was upon the tomb, that was burst at the resurrection of the Prince of Life. Rome therefore being the great power of the world, and being also the centre of God’s cause and purpose in the world for all time, it, and, and in the nature of things, the nations which should billow it to the end of time. A. T. JONES. BEST May 18, 1896, page 148.1