The Empires of the Bible from the Confusion of Tongues to the Babylonian Captivity



The government of man himself was self-government under God, with God, and in God; and he was created thus to remain forever. But Satan in his bad ambition and thirst of usurpation came to this world; and the man chose to abandon the government of God and to take a course contrary to the will, and outside the design, of God. By this choice he fell under the power of the chief opponent of all government, and the author of anarchy. The world had changed rulers. But to the usurper of the dominion of the earth and man, God said, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.” 18 Thus God broke up the absolutism of the dominion of Satan over man; and opened the way for man to return to allegiance to God, and so to true government; for this was the gift of Christ—the gift of salvation from the sin into which man had been drawn. The history of this world as it is had begun. EB xiii.1

But even then the history of this world would not have been as it has been, had there not been even further apostasy; for if all men from Adam onward had accepted this gift of salvation, the history of this world would not have been what it is. Violence would not have characterized the course of man. There would not have been nations, kingdoms, and empires afflicting the earth with contention, wars, and oppression. The would have been Society, but not States or Kingdoms. God would still have been the only Ruler. But not all of the descendants of Adam would recognize God; not all would accept the gift of salvation. This fact immediately appeared: for of the very first two sons of the first man, one chose the Way of true government—self-government according to the will, and within the purpose, of God; the other chose the way of lawlessness and anarchy—the way of Satan. And in this first appearance of that essential separation between those who choose the Way of God and those who will not, there appeared also that which has ever accompanied the choice of separation from God—arrogance, oppression, and slaughter. Cain choosing not the way of true self-government, did not govern himself. Upon this he presumed to govern the other, and to put himself in the place of God to the other; and when this could not be allowed, he killed him. 19 EB xiii.2

Another son was born, who chose the Way of true government—self-government according to the will, and within the purpose, of God. This man was allowed to live, and he was succeeded by others of that Way. 20 Cain was succeeded by others of his way—yea by those who even enlarged his way; for his descendant in the sixth generation not only justified himself in murder, but introduced polygamy. 21 The two classes thus distinguished in the earth, continued.: the lawless elements multiplying and the lawlessness increasing until “the earth was filled with violence.” The anarchy became universal and so fixed to that quench it there were required the waters of the universal Flood. And in the ark, in the eight persons who of all the earth’s inhabitants espoused the Way of self-government, true government was preserved by the waters of the same Flood that quenched the opposing anarchy. And so the third time the Creator started mankind upon the earth upon the principle of true government—self-government with God and in God. EB xiv.1

Yet in spite of the awful demonstration of the fearful results of taking the wrong way, it was but a short time before that way was again chosen; and again was developed the two classes—those who on the earth espoused true government and those who would not. Among those who had chose to exercise their faculties and powers apart from God, idolatry was substituted for the recognition of God. For though “they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image and like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.” 22 And in just the degree in which the knowledge of God was disregarded, the absence of true government was manifested, and confusion and lawlessness prevailed. And in the nature of things, amongst the idolatrous and violent ones, the . strongest prevailed. And when the strong had prevailed, they held the power which in the contest they had gained; and, in the true spirit of the false government, having abandoned self-government according to the will and within the purpose of God, they asserted dominion over others according to their own will, and in furtherance of their own design. And such is the origin of monarchy—the assertion of man in the place of God—upon the earth. EB xiv.2