TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  God’s Supreme Authority

Set/Reset Bookmark

Go to Bookmark

Chapter 7  Part I

God’s Supreme Authority

See also:

As the one and only God, God reigns supreme in the world. He has supreme power over all things. As such, God defeats his enemies and he fulfills his plans. A realization of this produces submission to and worship of the one and only God.

The Lord Is God – the Only God

Note that God stated that the “Lord” was the name by which he was to be known (cf. Note: God declared his actual name to be the “Lord).

The Lord is God

Ps 100:3a  Know that the Lord, he is God! ▤ 

Josh 22:34  The people of Reuben and the people of Gad called the altar Witness, “For,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the Lord is God.” ▤ 

The altar was set up as a witness and a reminder between the tribes on both sides of the Jordan River that the Lord is God.

1Ki 18:21, 36-39  And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. ▤ 36And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” ▤ 

2Sam 7:28  And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true, and you have promised this good thing to your servant. ▤ 

Although this does not use God’s name, “the Lord”, he is obviously in view.

Ps 46:10  “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” ▤ 

  • The Lord is a great God:

Ps 95:3  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. ▤ 

The Lord is God of heaven and earth

See also:

Gen 24:3  … that I may make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, … ▤ 

Deut 4:39  … know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. ▤ 

Josh 2:11  And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. ▤ 

Ezra 5:11  And this was their reply to us: ‘We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the house that was built many years ago, which a great king of Israel built and finished. ▤ 

Isa 54:5  For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. ▤ 

Note that the title “the Lord of hosts” is probably speaking of God’s power or authority over all things or all forces in the universe – physical and spiritual. Other possibilities are that “hosts” refers in particular to Israel’s army or to angels.

Matt 11:25  At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; … ▤ 

The fact that the Lord is the God of heaven and earth is reflected in him being acknowledged as the “Lord of heaven and earth” (cf. Luke 10:21; Acts 17:24).

  • God makes peace in heaven:

Job 25:2  Dominion and fear are with God;y he makes peace in his high heaven. ▤ 

y Hebrew him

This points to God’s authority in heaven, where he establishes peace.

The Lord is God of all people

2Ki 19:15  And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. ▤ 

Num 27:16  Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation … ▤ 

Jer 32:27  Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me? ▤ 

Luke 20:38  Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him. ▤ 

The last clause appears to mean that all people remain “in definite relationship to Him” (AMP); no one ceases to exist and drops off God’s “radar”. In saying that to God all people including the physically dead are in this sense alive to God, Jesus has at least partially in view the resurrection of the dead (cf. vv. 27-37). He may also have in view people’s spirits existing after death (cf. People’s spirits and souls exist after death).

Acts 3:13  The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servantz Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. ▤ 

z Or child; also verse 26

Rom 3:29  Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, … ▤ 

Rev 22:6  And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.” ▤ 

This speaks of God as the one who “controls the spirits of his prophets” (CEV).

Ps 42:8  By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. ▤ 

The Lord is the true and living God . . .

See also:

Jer 10:10  But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation. ▤ 

1Thes 1:9  For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, … ▤ 

1Jn 5:20  And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. ▤ 

The last statement is most likely referring to God, although possibly Jesus Christ is in view. Particularly in view of the last statement, the earlier references to God being “true” may well more specifically be speaking of him as “the true God” (CEV, GNT, NLT). (Also note the comment on John 7:28 below.)

John 7:28  So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. ▤ 

In saying here that God is “true” Jesus could have had in view one or more of the following: God is real, the true God (as in this subsection’s theme); God is truthful (cf. CEV, GNT); and/or God is faithful. The same can be said of “true” in Revelation 6:10, where God is called “Sovereign Lord, holy and true”.

Dan 6:26  I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. ▤ 

Acts 14:15  Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. ▤ 

Heb 12:22  But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, … ▤ 

. . . He is the one and only God

See also:

Deut 4:39  … know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. ▤ 

2Sam 22:32  For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? ▤ 

Isa 44:6, 8b  Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. ▤ 8… Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” ▤ 

References to God as a “Rock” (v. 8) depict him as a secure mountain or stronghold of infallible strength, to whom his people can go for protection. With this use of “Rock”, Isaiah is in effect saying that there is no other “powerful god” (GNT).

Isa 45:21-22  Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. 22“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. ▤ 

Hos 13:4  But I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. ▤ 

1Cor 8:4  Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” ▤ 

1Tim 1:17  To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.a Amen. ▤ 

a Greek to the ages of ages

God’s deeds show that he is the only God . . .

See also:

Deut 32:39  See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. ▤ 

Ps 86:10  For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. ▤ 

2Ki 19:15  And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. ▤ 

1Chr 16:26  For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. ▤ 

All other “gods” are only idols – not real gods at all. In contrast the Lord is certainly not an idol, as shown by the fact that he made the heavens – evidencing that he is the only God.

Isa 43:9-13  All the nations gather together, and the peoples assemble. Who among them can declare this, and show us the former things? Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right, and let them hear and say, It is true. 10“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. 11I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior. 12I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God. 13Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?” ▤ 

Amongst other things, this speaks of God’s declaration of future events and their fulfillment as evidencing that he is the only God. In v. 9, “this” probably refers to the rise of Cyrus the Great and/or the deliverance of the Jews through him (cf. AMP); and “the former things” speaks of previous prophecies that had been or were being fulfilled (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV). In v. 12, “I declared and saved and proclaimed” likely has in view God stating that he would save Israel and then doing so (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT).

Isa 45:5-7, 18  I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other. 7I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord, who does all these things. ▤ 18For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other. ▤ 

Isa 46:9-10  … remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ ▤ 

The first clause refers to things that God had done long before, possibly also alluding to his ability to foretell future events, which he has done throughout history (v. 10).

Isa 64:4  From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. ▤ 

Ps 46:8-10  Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. 9He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. 10“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” ▤ 

2Ki 5:14-15  So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 15Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” ▤ 

. . . God’s deeds show that he is indeed the Lord

See also:

When God’s speaks of his deeds making known that he is “the Lord”, he is in effect speaking of them making known that he is “the Lord, the God of Israel” (Isa 45:3 ; cf. Ezek 28:26 ) – the only true God.

1Ki 20:13, 21, 28-29  And behold, a prophet came near to Ahab king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” ▤ 21And the king of Israel went out and struck the horses and chariots, and struck the Syrians with a great blow. ▤ 28And a man of God came near and said to the king of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’” 29And they encamped opposite one another seven days. Then on the seventh day the battle was joined. And the people of Israel struck down of the Syrians 100,000 foot soldiers in one day. ▤ 

Neh 9:6  b “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. ▤ 

b Septuagint adds And Ezra said

Isa 45:3  I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. ▤ 

The reference is to Cyrus, the Persian king.

Isa 49:23  Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame. ▤ 

Ezek 12:15, 20  And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries. ▤ 20And the inhabited cities shall be laid waste, and the land shall become a desolation; and you shall know that I am the Lord. ▤ 

The fulfillment of God’s threatened judgment for the people’s persistent unfaithfulness to him would make known that is the Lord.

Ezek 16:62  I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, … ▤ 

This speaks of an “everlasting covenant” (v. 60). Some think it refers to the New Covenant, but other commentators claim that it is speaking of renewing the covenant with Abraham. In either case it would or will demonstrate God’s power and faithfulness, affirming that he is the Lord.

Ezek 25:17  I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon them. ▤ 

Ezek 20:38, 42, 44  I will purge out the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against me. I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ▤ 42And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the country that I swore to give to your fathers. ▤ 44And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord God. ▤ 

Ezek 28:26  And they shall dwell securely in it, and they shall build houses and plant vineyards. They shall dwell securely, when I execute judgments upon all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God. ▤ 

Ezek 34:27  And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. ▤ 

Ezek 36:11  And I will multiply on you man and beast, and they shall multiply and be fruitful. And I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am the Lord. ▤ 

Ezek 37:13  And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. ▤ 

Here God speaks figuratively of restoring the shattered and dispersed nation of Israel.

  • God’s deeds show that he is “God of gods and Lord of kings”:

Dan 2:27-28, 47  Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, 28but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: ▤ 47The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

God Reigns Supreme

See also:

God reigns . . .

Ps 93:1  The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. ▤ 

Speaking of God as being “robed in majesty” immediately following the assertion that he reigns, appears to further point to his sovereignty.

Ps 96:10  Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” ▤ 

Ps 99:1  The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake! ▤ 

As well as alluding to God’s presence between the cherubim above the atonement cover of the ark of the covenant, this may be referring to such angelic beings being adjacent to his throne in heaven. From there God reigns, enthroned with mighty angelic beings at his side, to obey his command.

Isa 52:7  How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.” ▤ 

The “good news”, “peace” and “salvation” refer to the Jews return from exile – illustrating and leading to the assertion: “Your God reigns.”

Acts 4:24  And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, … ▤ 

The term “Sovereign Lord” acknowledges God as supreme ruler.

Job 25:2  Dominion and fear are with God;c he makes peace in his high heaven. ▤ 

c Hebrew him

. . . God is enthroned in heaven

See also:

1Ki 22:19  And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; … ▤ 

Ps 2:4  He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. ▤ 

Ps 11:4  The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. ▤ 

Ps 103:19  The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. ▤ 

Ps 123:1  To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! ▤ 

Isa 66:1  Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? ▤ 

Note that this portrays heaven itself as being God’s throne (cf. Matt 5:34 ) rather than simply being where his throne is.

Matt 5:34-35  But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. ▤ 

Matt 23:22  And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. ▤ 

Heb 8:1  Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, … ▤ 

Rev 4:2-3  At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. ▤ 

Isa 6:1  In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the traind of his robe filled the temple. ▤ 

d Or hem

Here Isaiah tells of his vision of God enthroned in heaven.

God rules over all – over all the earth

See also:

1Chr 29:11-12  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. ▤ 

Ps 103:19  The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. ▤ 

Eph 4:6  … one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. ▤ 

The phrase “is over all” means he rules over all – “rules everything” (NCV™).

Ps 47:2, 7  For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. ▤ 7For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!e ▤ 

e Hebrew maskil

Ps 97:5  The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth. ▤ 

Ps 83:18  … that they may know that you alone, whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth. ▤ 

Matt 11:25  At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; … ▤ 

Job 34:13  Who gave him charge over the earth, and who laid on himf the whole world? ▤ 

f Hebrew lacks on him

The implication is that God has always ruled over all the earth; he did not need anyone to grant him this authority.

Ps 50:1, 4  The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. ▤ 4He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: … ▤ 

God’s summoning of the earth and the heavens – and by implication, all that is in them – portrays and illustrates his rule over all people and all things.

God rules over all nations and authorities

Ps 22:28  For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. ▤ 

Ps 47:8  God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. ▤ 

Jer 10:7  Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you. ▤ 

2Chr 20:6  … and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. ▤ 

Ps 9:5  You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever. ▤ 

Being able to effectively rebuke the nations illustrates God’s sovereignty over them.

Dan 4:32  … and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. ▤ 

1Tim 6:15  … which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, … ▤ 

Rev 15:3  And they sing the song of Moses, the servantg of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!h ▤ 

g Greek bondservant

h Some manuscripts the ages

Dan 8:25b  And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. ▤ 

The title “the Prince of princes” – indicative of authority over all other authorities – is often understood to be a reference to God (cf. CEV), although some think it refers to Jesus Christ.

Ps 95:3  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. ▤ 

God is “King over all gods” (NCV™; cf. CEV, GNT) – which is indicative of the fact that he is King over all other authorities.

  • The Lord is God of all other powers:

Deut 10:17  For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. ▤ 

“God of gods” and “Lord of lords” are superlatives, “gods” not actually being indicative of the existence of such divine beings. The terms are used to describe God as sovereign over all other powers. (cf. ZBC)

God will reign forever

See also:

Ex 15:18  The Lord will reign forever and ever. ▤ 

Ps 146:10  The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! ▤ 

Lam 5:19  But you, O Lord, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations. ▤ 

Ps 66:6b-7  There did we rejoice in him, 7who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah ▤ 

Ps 10:16  The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. ▤ 

Ps 145:13a  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. ▤ 

Dan 6:26  I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. ▤ 

Dan 2:44  And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, … ▤ 

This is part of Daniel’s explanation of the meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Most understand the kingdom spoken of to be what the NT refers to as “the kingdom of God”, the spiritual and ultimately definitive kingdom inaugurated by the first coming of Jesus Christ (cf. Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom of God). Others think that it is speaking of the setting up of a millennial kingdom on Christ’s return.

1Tim 1:17  To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.i Amen. ▤ 

i Greek to the ages of ages

God is “the eternal King” (CEV, GNT, NLT) – “the King that rules forever” (NCV™).

Rev 1:8  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” ▤ 

The assertion, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” implies that God is sovereign throughout all ages from the beginning to the end (cf. NKJV, NLT). This is reinforced by the second part of the verse, which indicates that God exists eternally (“who is…was…is to come”) as the all powerful God.

Rev 15:3  And they sing the song of Moses, the servantj of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!k ▤ 

j Greek bondservant

k Some manuscripts the ages

The text note indicates that the final clause is in some manuscripts as: “O King of the ages”, which would make the verse pertinent to this subsection.

  • God has reigned forever:

Ps 93:2  Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. ▤ 

Similarly Ps 55:19 describes God as: “… he who is enthroned from of old”.

God will impose his absolute rule on all

See also:

Isa 24:21-23  On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. 22They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. 23Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders. ▤ 

Note that v. 23 indicates that such will be the Lord’s reign and the manifestation of his glory, that the sun and moon will be “confounded and … ashamed” at their inferior light.

Dan 7:27  And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’l ▤ 

l Or his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him

This empowerment and rule of God’s people will be one aspect of his imposition of his absolute rule on all.

Obad 1:21  Saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. ▤ 

This refers to the implementation of God’s absolute rule – from Jerusalem, figuratively or otherwise.

Zec 14:9, 16  And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. ▤ 16Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. ▤ 

Note that the context suggests that the reference here may be to the Messiah’s rule or God’s rule through him.

1Cor 15:24  Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. ▤ 

After Jesus Christ has destroyed all demonic and worldly powers, he will hand the kingdom over to God as the ultimate ruler – with all opposition removed.

Rev 11:15-17  Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. ▤ 

The proclamation in v. 15 and the final phrase “have begun to reign” (v. 17) may mean that at this point God has begun to impose his rule on all – the actualization of the kingdom (v. 15) implemented with the imposition of God’s great power (v. 17). Alternatively the past tense may be used here to indicate the certainty of God doing so in the future. Some view these verses, particularly v. 15, as anticipating Christ’s millennial reign. Note that 10:7 also likely refers to the event in question, describing it as “the mystery of God” – “But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.”

Rev 19:6  Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. ▤ 

Some commentators point out that the statement can be interpreted as saying that God “has begun to reign,” or, “now rules as king” (CEV; cf. AMP). As such it would parallel 11:17 above, and signify God imposing his absolute rule.

  • Everyone will submit to and acknowledge God’s sovereignty:

Isa 45:23-24  By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’m 24“Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. ▤ 

m Septuagint every tongue shall confess to God

Note that v. 23 is quoted in Romans 14:11 – “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” It is also alluded to in reference to Jesus Christ in Philippians 2:10.

Note: All things belong to God

See also:

All things belong to God – as he made all things – and it is because of this that God has the right to his sovereignty over all things. This point is suggested by a number of the following verses. The subsection cross-referenced above makes it very clear.

1Chr 29:11  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. ▤ 

This verse clearly indicates that God’s sovereignty over all things arises from the fact that everything belongs to him.

1Cor 10:26  For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” ▤ 

Gen 14:22  But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lifted my handn to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, … ▤ 

n Or I have taken a solemn oath

Ex 9:29  Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. ▤ 

Ex 19:5  Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; … ▤ 

Deut 10:14  Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. ▤ 

Job 41:11  Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. ▤ 

Ps 50:9-12  I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds. 10For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. 11I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. 12“If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. ▤ 

“I know all the birds” (v. 11a) appears to suggest that God owns them (cf. GNT, NIrV, NLT), in keeping with the context.

Ps 95:4-5  In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. 5The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. ▤ 

“In his hand are the depths of the earth” (v. 4) is either implying that he owns them (cf. NCV, NLT) – as per the sense of the following clauses – or that he has control over them (cf. GNT).

1Sam 2:8b  For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. ▤ 

Ezek 18:4  Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. ▤ 

Ps 47:9  The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted! ▤ 

The second sentence may be indicating that all the forces of the world belong to God, including their leaders/kings (cf. NCV, NIV, NLT).

Ps 82:8  Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations! ▤ 

God “possesses all the nations” (NASB). The verse may be suggesting that they will all submit to God as such.

Hag 2:8  The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. ▤ 

The context is the building of the new temple in Jerusalem. God appears to be implying that he would provide the silver and gold necessary as all silver and gold – like all things – belongs to him.

Pray for persecuted Christians

God Has Power over All Things

See also:

God has power over the forces of evil

See also:

Col 2:15  He disarmed the rulers and authoritieso and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.p ▤ 

o Probably demonic rulers and authorities

p Or in it (that is, the cross)

Rom 16:20  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. ▤ 

In view of the preceding verses (vv. 17-19), Paul may be referring to God soon crushing the work of Satan carried out by false teachers. Alternatively he may have in view God’s final comprehensive crushing of Satan himself (cf. Rev 20:7-10 ), the fulfillment of the promise in Genesis 3:15 which he appears to be alluding to here.

Rev 20:7-10  And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heavenq and consumed them, 10and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. ▤ 

q Some manuscripts from God, out of heaven, or out of heaven from God

“Gog and Magog” (v. 7) are symbolic of the enemies of God’s people in the end times. The names allude to identities in Ezekiel 38-39, from which extracts are included below; see comment there.

Ezek 39:1-6, 17-21  And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog and say, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshechr and Tubal. 2And I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel. 3Then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. 4You shall fall on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples who are with you. I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 5You shall fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Lord God. 6I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands, and they shall know that I am the Lord. ▤ 17“As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord God: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, ‘Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. 18You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth—of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan. 19And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you. 20And you shall be filled at my table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,’ declares the Lord God. 21“And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. ▤ 

r Or Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech

Commentators are generally hesitant to identify this Gog with the Gog of Revelation 20:8 and this event with the final battle, but the consensus appears to be that the passage does refer to an event of the end times. It obviously illustrates God’s overwhelming power over the forces of evil.

Dan 9:27  And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week,s and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator. ▤ 

s Or seven; twice in this verse

Many commentators consider that the antichrist is most likely in view here. God’s complete power over him is demonstrated by the fact that God has determined what and when his ending will be – and will bring it to fruition.

Job 9:13  God will not turn back his anger; beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab. ▤ 

Rahab was a mythical sea monster, associated with chaos and evil (cf. CEV, GNT, NLT text notes). “Rahab” is also at times used to denote Egypt.)

God has power over death, to raise the dead

See also:

Deut 32:39  See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. ▤ 

“I make alive” may be speaking of God raising the dead (cf. CEV). Alternatively it may refer to him creating and so bringing to life (cf. ZBC). The same likely applies to “brings to life” in 1 Samuel 2:6 below.

1Sam 2:6  The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. ▤ 

1Ki 17:21-22  Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child’s lifet come into him again.” 22And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. ▤ 

t Or soul; also verse 22

2Ki 4:32-35  When Elisha came into the house, he saw the child lying dead on his bed. 33So he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the Lord. 34Then he went up and lay on the child, putting his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands. And as he stretched himself upon him, the flesh of the child became warm. 35Then he got up again and walked once back and forth in the house, and went up and stretched himself upon him. The child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. ▤ 

2Ki 5:7  And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.” ▤ 

Using rhetorical questions, the king accentuates what is obvious – he is not God; he cannot kill and bring back to life as God can.

Hos 13:14a  [God:] Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? ▤ 

The first two rhetorical questions point to the fact that God can indeed do such things. As such, God can take away the power of death, as indicated by the second two rhetorical questions.

John 5:21  For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. ▤ 

Acts 26:8  Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead? ▤ 

Rom 4:17  … as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. ▤ 

2Cor 1:9  Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. ▤ 

God has power over all aspects of nature, including: the earth; the skies; . . .

See also:

The language in some of the following verses is figurative, but nevertheless illustrative of God’s power over nature.

Rom 8:20-21  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. ▤ 

God has subjected creation “to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration)” (AMP) in accordance with his will (v. 20), by which it also will be renewed at the end of the age (v. 21). The glorious “freedom” (v. 21) would appear to encompass freedom from decay and anything harmful. These verses categorically illustrate God’s power over nature.

Job 26:11  The pillars of heaven tremble and are astounded at his rebuke. ▤ 

Mountains are possibly what is referred to here as the “pillars of heaven” – poetically portrayed as holding up the skies/heavens.

Amos 9:5  The Lord God of hosts, he who touches the earth and it melts, and all who dwell in it mourn, and all of it rises like the Nile, and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt; … ▤ 

This and the following two references (Mic 1:4; Nah 1:5) use largely metaphorical language which possibly alludes to earthquakes. The images portray God’s power as he comes in judgment.

Mic 1:4  And the mountains will melt under him, and the valleys will split open, like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place. ▤ 

Nah 1:5  The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it. ▤ 

Hab 3:6  He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways. ▤ 

This is taken from a passage that some commentators think to be a poetically heightened description of the manifestation of God at Sinai. Alternatively, the comment on Amos 9:5 above may also apply here.

Job 9:5-7  … he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger, 6who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; 7who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; … ▤ 

Verse 6 appears to be another reference to earthquakes. Verse 7 is probably not speaking of God controlling the cycle of day and night, but rather of his power to seal off the light of the sun and stars (cf. GNT, NLT).

Ps 29:5-9  The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. 6He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. 7The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire. 8The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. 9The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birthu and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” ▤ 

u Revocalization yields makes the oaks to shake

This speaks of God’s power in a thunderstorm – with thunder (his “voice”) and lightning – and its effect on various parts of nature. Note the text note on v. 9.

Ezek 32:7-8  When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. 8All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord God. ▤ 

Hab 3:11  The sun and moon stood still in their place at the light of your arrows as they sped, at the flash of your glittering spear. ▤ 

This may allude to the Israelite’s victory at Gibeon – where due to God’s intervention “… the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies …” – Joshua 10:13.

Ps 78:26  He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by his power he led out the south wind; … ▤ 

. . . and the waters

See also:

Ps 135:6-7  Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. 7He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses. ▤ 

Ex 15:8  At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up; the floods stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. ▤ 

This speaks of God dividing the Red Sea (cf. Ex 14; Ps 18:15 ; Ps 74:13 ; Ps 77:16, 19 ).

Job 26:8, 12  He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them. ▤ 12By his power he stilled the sea; by his understanding he shattered Rahab. ▤ 

Ps 18:15  Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils. ▤ 

This may be alluding to the parting of the Red Sea. Alternatively David may be using figurative language with images from nature to depict God’s intervention to deliver him.

Ps 29:3, 10  The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. ▤ 10The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever. ▤ 

Verse 3 is quite possibly referring to God’s power over the seas. In v. 10 “the flood” may denote the great flood of Noah’s time.

Ps 74:13, 15  You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monstersv on the waters. ▤ 15You split open springs and brooks; you dried up ever-flowing streams. ▤ 

v Or the great sea creatures

The use of “the sea monsters” apparently is drawing upon Canaanite mythology, possibly in reference to Egypt in its defeat at the Red Sea. But note also the alternative rendering in the text note.

Ps 77:16, 19  When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. ▤ 19Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.w ▤ 

w Hebrew unknown

This appears to portray God’s forging a path through the Red Sea.

Ps 89:9  You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. ▤ 

Ps 93:4  Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty! ▤ 

Ps 107:24-25, 29  … they saw the deeds of the Lord, his wondrous works in the deep. 25For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. ▤ 29He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. ▤ 

Ps 114:3-8  The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. 4The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 6O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? 7Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water. ▤ 

Elements of nature are personified and spoken of as having a great fear of God, to portray God’s supreme power over them. Note that v. 8 is referring to the occasion when God brought water from a rock (Ex 17; Num 20) to provide for the wandering Israelites. God’s power over other forms of water in nature besides the seas and oceans is also evident above (cf. Job 26:8; Ps 74:15).

Isa 50:2b  Behold, by my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a desert; their fish stink for lack of water and die of thirst. ▤ 

Jer 5:22  Do you not fear me? declares the Lord. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. ▤ 

God has power over nations . . .

See also:

Dan 4:35  … all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” ▤ 

Job 12:23  He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away. ▤ 

Ps 33:10  The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. ▤ 

Ps 47:3  He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet. ▤ 

Ps 65:7  … who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, … ▤ 

Ps 66:7  … who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah ▤ 

Ps 78:55  He drove out nations before them; he apportioned them for a possession and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents. ▤ 

The middle clause refers to God apportioning the land of the nations that were driven out of Canaan to the tribes of Israel as their possession.

Ps 94:10a  He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? ▤ 

Isa 17:13  The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm. ▤ 

Isa 33:3  At the tumultuous noise peoples flee; when you lift yourself up, nations are scattered, … ▤ 

The “tumultuous noise” appears to speak of that caused by God – or the instrument/s of his wrath – in bringing judgment against nations.

Isa 54:15-17a  If anyone stirs up strife, it is not from me; whoever stirs up strife with you shall fall because of you. 16Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; 17no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. ▤ 

The assertion that God is the one who created both the blacksmith who makes weapons (v. 16a) and the nations that use these weapons to wreak havoc (v. 16b), carries the implication that God has power over such nations and their weapons. As such, God is able to prevent them from prevailing over his people (vv. 15b, 17a).

Ezek 36:7  Therefore thus says the Lord God: I swear that the nations that are all around you shall themselves suffer reproach. ▤ 

Hab 2:13  Behold, is it not from the Lord of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing? ▤ 

God determined that all that the nations – primarily the Babylonians – had labored to build would go up in flames.

Mal 1:4-5  If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.’” 5Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!” ▤ 

On seeing God’s dealings with Edom, the Israelites will realize how great God is – sovereign over all nations, “beyond the border of Israel!” (v. 5)

. . . God can devastate or destroy nations

See also:

Jer 12:17  But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the Lord. ▤ 

Josh 11:20  For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy but be destroyed, just as the Lord commanded Moses. ▤ 

Because of the Canaanite people’s prolonged depravity, God led them into judgment – at the hands of the Israelites.

Ps 46:6, 8  The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. ▤ 8Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. ▤ 

The first phrase may be speaking of the nations being in uproar (cf. NASB, NIV, NLT, NRSV), quite possibly due to being in terror (cf. GNT, NCV). Verse 6 appears to be implying that the nations and kingdoms face calamity brought upon them by God – particularly with v. 8 speaking of “how he has brought desolations on the earth.” Alternatively, it may be implying that amidst all the chaos, God is in control.

Isa 23:11  He has stretched out his hand over the sea; he has shaken the kingdoms; the Lord has given command concerning Canaan to destroy its strongholds. ▤ 

Isa 30:28  … his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray. ▤ 

Isa 31:8  And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man; and a sword, not of man, shall devour him; and he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be put to forced labor. ▤ 

Isa 41:2  Who stirred up one from the east whom victory meets at every step?x He gives up nations before him, so that he tramples kings underfoot; he makes them like dust with his sword, like driven stubble with his bow. ▤ 

x Or whom righteousness calls to follow?

This refers to God handing nations over to the Persian king Cyrus the Great.

Jer 25:12-16  Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the Lord, making the land an everlasting waste. 13I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. 14For many nations and great kings shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.” 15Thus the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16They shall drink and stagger and be crazed because of the sword that I am sending among them.” ▤ 

Jer 27:8  “But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, declares the Lord, until I have consumed it by his hand. ▤ 

Amos 9:8  Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground, except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,” declares the Lord. ▤ 

Hab 3:6, 12  He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways. ▤ 12You marched through the earth in fury; you threshed the nations in anger. ▤ 

Zeph 3:6  I have cut off nations; their battlements are in ruins; I have laid waste their streets so that no one walks in them; their cities have been made desolate, without a man, without an inhabitant. ▤ 

Hag 2:21-22  Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I am about to shake the heavens and the earth, 22and to overthrow the throne of kingdoms. I am about to destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the nations, and overthrow the chariots and their riders. And the horses and their riders shall go down, every one by the sword of his brother. ▤ 

God has power over rulers and can bring them down . . .

See also:

Job 12:18-21, 24-25  He looses the bonds of kings and binds a waistcloth on their hips. 19He leads priests away stripped and overthrows the mighty. 20He deprives of speech those who are trusted and takes away the discernment of the elders. 21He pours contempt on princes and loosens the belt of the strong. ▤ 24He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a pathless waste. 25They grope in the dark without light, and he makes them stagger like a drunken man. ▤ 

The clause “binds a waistcloth on their hips” (v. 18b) may be referring to the kings, in which case it would signify their humiliation by God and possibly even enslavement. Alternatively it may be referring to those from whom the bonds put on by kings were torn off (v. 18a).

Job 34:18-19, 24-25  … [God] who says to a king, ‘Worthless one,’ and to nobles, ‘Wicked man,’ 19who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands? ▤ 24He shatters the mighty without investigation and sets others in their place. 25Thus, knowing their works, he overturns them in the night, and they are crushed. ▤ 

“Worthless” (v. 18) may have wickedness in view (cf. CEV, NRSV), as per the remainder of the verse. God has the authority and power to address rulers with such a rebuke. In v. 19, the fact that princes are “the work of his hands” – as with the rich and the poor – points to God’s sovereignty and power over them.

Ps 76:12  … [God] who cuts off the spirit of princes, who is to be feared by the kings of the earth. ▤ 

Isa 40:23-24  … [God] who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. 24Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. ▤ 

Jer 25:17-27  So I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations to whom the Lord sent me drink it: 18Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a desolation and a waste, a hissing and a curse, as at this day; 19Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his officials, all his people, 20and all the mixed tribes among them; all the kings of the land of Uz and all the kings of the land of the Philistines (Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod); 21Edom, Moab, and the sons of Ammon; 22all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coastland across the sea; 23Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who cut the corners of their hair; 24all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed tribes who dwell in the desert; 25all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media; 26all the kings of the north, far and near, one after another, and all the kingdoms of the world that are on the face of the earth. And after them the king of Babylony shall drink. 27“Then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Drink, be drunk and vomit, fall and rise no more, because of the sword that I am sending among you.’ ▤ 

y Hebrew Sheshach, a code name for Babylon

Verse 17 speaks figuratively of Jeremiah pronouncing upon the nations God’s judgments of destruction – the “cup of the wine of wrath” (v. 15 ).

Jer 49:19b  For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? ▤ 

Here “shepherd” signifies a ruler or leader.

Luke 1:52  … he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; … ▤ 

Rev 6:15-17  Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slavez and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” ▤ 

z Or servant; Greek bondservant

. . . Examples of God bringing rulers down

1Ki 22:23, 34-35  Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.” ▤ 34But a certain man drew his bow at randoma and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” 35And the battle continued that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians, until at evening he died. And the blood of the wound flowed into the bottom of the chariot. ▤ 

a Hebrew in his innocence

2Ki 19:28, 35-36  Because you have raged against me and your complacency has come into my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came. ▤ 35And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 36Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. ▤ 

As with his utter defeat here in attempting to capture Jerusalem, Sennacherib’s final demise can also be attributed to God (cf. 2Ki 19:7, 37).

2Chr 22:7-9a  But it was ordained by God that the downfall of Ahaziah should come about through his going to visit Joram. For when he came there, he went out with Jehoram to meet Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to destroy the house of Ahab. 8And when Jehu was executing judgment on the house of Ahab, he met the princes of Judah and the sons of Ahaziah’s brothers, who attended Ahaziah, and he killed them. 9He searched for Ahaziah, and he was captured while hiding in Samaria, and he was brought to Jehu and put to death. ▤ 

2Chr 25:15-16, 21-23  Therefore the Lord was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?” 16But as he was speaking, the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! Why should you be struck down?” So the prophet stopped, but said, “I know that God has determined to destroy you, because you have done this and have not listened to my counsel.” ▤ 21So Joash king of Israel went up, and he and Amaziah king of Judah faced one another in battle at Beth-shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 22And Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his home. 23And Joash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Joash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh, and brought him to Jerusalem and broke down the wall of Jerusalem for 400 cubits,b from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate. ▤ 

b A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters

Ps 135:10-11  … [God] who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings, 11Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan, … ▤ 

Dan 5:18-21  O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. 19And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. 20But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. 21He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. ▤ 

Dan 5:26-28, 30  This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numberedc the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27Tekel, you have been weighedd in the balances and found wanting; 28Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” ▤ 30That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. ▤ 

c Mene sounds like the Aramaic for numbered

d Tekel sounds like the Aramaic for weighed

e Peres (the singular of Parsin) sounds like the Aramaic for divided and for Persia

Dan 8:25  By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand. ▤ 

The reference is to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, an evil king of the Seleucid dynasty which ruled over Syria and much of western Asia. He persecuted the Jews from about 171 B.C. to 165 B.C.

  • The ungodly rulers of this world are doomed to perish:

1Cor 2:6  Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

God Defeats His Enemies

No one can effectively oppose God . . .

See also:

Job 11:10  If he passes through and imprisons and summons the court, who can turn him back? ▤ 

The phrase “summons the court” appears to speak of God calling a person to account or trial.

Job 23:13  But he is unchangeable,f and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. ▤ 

f Or one

Job 9:3-4, 12, 14-15  If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. 4He is wise in heart and mighty in strength —who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?— ▤ 12Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ ▤ 14How then can I answer him, choosing my words with him? 15Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.g ▤ 

g Or to my judge

Verse 12b indicates that no one is in a position to dare question God.

Job 37:19-20  Teach us what we shall say to him; we cannot draw up our case because of darkness. 20Shall it be told him that I would speak? Did a man ever wish that he would be swallowed up? ▤ 

In v. 19 “darkness” refers to ignorance or lack of understanding – particularly in comparison to God. Verse 20 is suggesting that daring to oppose or quiz God is in effect asking “to be swallowed up”. God’s unmatchable wisdom/knowledge and power both appear to be in view.

Job 40:1-5  And the Lord said to Job: 2“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” 3Then Job answered the Lord and said: 4“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. 5I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.” ▤ 

Job 42:1-3  Then Job answered the Lord and said: 2“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ▤ 

Job acknowledges that he was in no position to question or interpret God’s counsel (cf. Job 40:3-5 ), for in comparison to God he was “without knowledge”, and he had spoken of things beyond his comprehension. Note that in v. 3a Job repeats an earlier question of God to him.

Jer 49:19b  And I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me? ▤ 

Job 41:10  No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up [the leviathan]. Who then is he who can stand before me? ▤ 

The leviathan may be the crocodile.

2Chr 13:12b  O sons of Israel, do not fight against the Lord, the God of your fathers, for you cannot succeed. ▤ 

2Chr 20:6  … and [Jehoshaphat] said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. ▤ 

No one can stand against God (cf. NASB, NCV, NLT).

Acts 5:39a  … but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God! ▤ 

John 10:29  My Father, who has given them to me,h is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. ▤ 

h Some manuscripts What my Father has given to me

God’s supremacy means that no one can snatch his people from him.

. . . The plans of God’s enemies cannot succeed against him

See also:

Ps 21:11  Though they plan evil against you, though they devise mischief, they will not succeed. ▤ 

Prov 21:30  No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord. ▤ 

Ps 2:1-6  Why do the nations ragei and the peoples plot in vain? 2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, 3“Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” ▤ 

i Or nations noisily assemble

God’s initial reaction in v. 4 shows how pathetic the nations’ plots are in his eyes; they are no threat to him whatsoever. In v. 6 God states that he will install his “King” in Jerusalem. In the context this is generally understood to point to a messianic king who will rule over all the nations, crushing any opponents (cf. vv. 8-9).

Nah 1:9-12a  What do you plot against the Lord? He will make a complete end; trouble will not rise up a second time. 10For they are like entangled thorns, like drunkards as they drink; they are consumed like stubble fully dried. 11From you came one who plotted evil against the Lord, a worthless counselor. 12Thus says the Lord, “Though they are at full strength and many, they will be cut down and pass away. ▤ 

In speaking of this plotting “against the Lord” (VV. 9, 11), the prophet probably has primarily in view plotting against God’s people, which ultimately is against him. Such plots cannot succeed (vv. 9b, 12a).

  • God’s power is so great that his enemies cringe before him:

Ps 66:3  Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. ▤ 

God takes vengeance on his enemies

See also:

God takes vengeance for the sake of his people and because of his justice – the latter leading God to punish the guilty and exact judgment on sin. God’s vengeance will be evident to all at the end of the age.

Nah 1:2  The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. ▤ 

Deut 32:34-35, 40-43  “‘Is not this laid up in store with me, sealed up in my treasuries? 35Vengeance is mine, and recompense,j for the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and their doom comes swiftly.’ ▤ 40For I lift up my hand to heaven and swear, As I live forever, 41if I sharpen my flashing swordk and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and will repay those who hate me. 42I will make my arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh— with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the long-haired heads of the enemy.’ 43“Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods,l for he avenges the blood of his childrenm and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate himn and cleanseso his people’s land.”p ▤ 

j Septuagint and I will repay

k Hebrew the lightning of my sword

l Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text Rejoice his people, O nations

m Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text servants

n Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text lacks He repays those who hate him

o Or atones for

p Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew his land his people

Ps 94:1  O Lord, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! ▤ 

Isa 1:24  Therefore the Lord declares, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: “Ah, I will get relief from my enemies and avenge myself on my foes. ▤ 

Jer 46:10  That day is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance, to avenge himself on his foes. The sword shall devour and be sated and drink its fill of their blood. For the Lord God of hosts holds a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates. ▤ 

The last statement speaks figuratively of God slaughtering his enemies.

Jer 50:14-15  Set yourselves in array against Babylon all around, all you who bend the bow; shoot at her, spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the Lord. 15Raise a shout against her all around; she has surrendered; her bulwarks have fallen; her walls are thrown down. For this is the vengeance of the Lord: take vengeance on her; do to her as she has done. ▤ 

Mic 5:15  And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that did not obey. ▤ 

God repays his enemies for their deeds

See also:

Isa 59:18  According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. ▤ 

Isa 66:6  The sound of an uproar from the city! A sound from the temple! The sound of the Lord, rendering recompense to his enemies! ▤ 

Jer 51:6  Flee from the midst of Babylon; let every one save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance, the repayment he is rendering her. ▤ 

Jer 50:29-30  Summon archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow. Encamp around her; let no one escape. Repay her according to her deeds; do to her according to all that she has done. For she has proudly defied the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 30Therefore her young men shall fall in her squares, and all her soldiers shall be destroyed on that day, declares the Lord. ▤ 

  • The descendants of those who hate God also bear his punishment:

Deut 5:9-10  You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10but showing steadfast love to thousandsq of those who love me and keep my commandments. ▤ 

q Or to the thousandth generation

This appears to speak of the ongoing effects of severe punishment still being felt by future generations. Some commentators think that it alludes to the sin itself filtering through to later generations, and so being accompanied by appropriate punishment; certainly repentant children would not be subject to such punishment. Note the contrasting blessings for those who love God, with God blessing them with his love to a thousand generations (v. 10).

God destroys his enemies

Ex 15:6-7  Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power, your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. 7In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. ▤ 

Num 14:35  I, the Lord, have spoken. Surely this will I do to all this wicked congregation who are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die. ▤ 

Deut 7:9-10  Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10and repays to their face those who hate him, by destroying them. He will not be slack with one who hates him. He will repay him to his face. ▤ 

1Sam 2:10a  The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. ▤ 

Ps 68:21  But God will strike the heads of his enemies, the hairy crown of him who walks in his guilty ways. ▤ 

The “hairy crown” refers to long hair, with the term quite possibly being used to allude to the wickedness of God’s enemies.

Ps 78:66  And he put his adversaries to rout; he put them to everlasting shame. ▤ 

Ps 92:9  For behold, your enemies, O Lord, for behold, your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered. ▤ 

Ps 97:3  Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. ▤ 

This may be using poetic imagery or possibly be prophetic of God’s final judgment.

Jer 50:23-24  How the hammer of the whole earth is cut down and broken! How Babylon has become a horror among the nations! 24I set a snare for you and you were taken, O Babylon, and you did not know it; you were found and caught, because you opposed the Lord. ▤ 

Nah 1:8  But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries,r and will pursue his enemies into darkness. ▤ 

r Hebrew of her place

  • God’s enemies will vanish:

Ps 37:20  But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

God Fulfills His Plans

See also:

God carries out his purposes and plans

See also:

Isa 14:24  The Lord of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, … ▤ 

Isa 44:28  … who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’ ▤ 

Isa 46:10-11  … declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ 11calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it. ▤ 

Note that the “bird of prey from the east” is the Persian king Cyrus (cf. Isa 44:28 ), who God would use in fulfilling his purposes.

Gen 41:31-32  … and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. 32And the doubling of Pharaoh’s dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. ▤ 

2Sam 7:21  Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. ▤ 

This speaks of the fact that God’s prophetic word is fulfilled; his will is carried out.

Prov 19:21  Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. ▤ 

Isa 48:16  Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit. ▤ 

The words “from the time it came to be I have been there” imply that God is always present to ensure each “announcement” (NIV®) of his plans comes true (cf. GNT).

Isa 55:11  … so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. ▤ 

God’s word accomplishes the purpose for which he imparts it.

Jer 23:20  The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly. ▤ 

Jer 51:12, 29  Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon; make the watch strong; set up watchmen; prepare the ambushes; for the Lord has both planned and done what he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon. ▤ 29The land trembles and writhes in pain, for the Lord’s purposes against Babylon stand, to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant. ▤ 

Ezek 17:24  And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it. ▤ 

The “trees” symbolize nations.

Ezek 39:8  Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord God. That is the day of which I have spoken. ▤ 

Dan 11:36  And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done. ▤ 

Zec 1:6  But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? So they repented and said, As the Lord of hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so has he dealt with us. ▤ 

The rhetorical question indicates that God’s warnings and plans that he proclaimed through his prophets caught up with their forefathers. They were fulfilled and so the forefathers suffered the punishment prophesied.

Rev 10:7  … but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servantss the prophets. ▤ 

s Greek bondservants

Commentators generally consider that the “the mystery of God” refers to – or at least encompasses – the establishment of God’s kingdom and his absolute rule. This had been announced to and spoken of by the prophets, but aspects of it – such as the time of its fulfillment – remain a mystery.

Rev 17:17  … for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. ▤ 

  • God’s will is good and perfect:

Rom 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world,u but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.v ▤ 

u Greek age

v Or what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God

See also Note: God and his ways are perfect.

God’s plans were determined long ago – from the beginning

See also:

2Ki 19:25  Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into heaps of ruins, … ▤ 

The phrases “long ago” and “days of old” do not necessarily denote the beginning of time, before creation, but quite possibly that is what is implied. This may also be the case in the use of “long ago” and “of old” below in Isaiah 22:11; 25:1; and Isa 48:3.

Isa 22:11  You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago. ▤ 

Isa 25:1  O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. ▤ 

Isa 46:9b-10  I am God, and there is none like me, 10declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ … ▤ 

Isa 48:3  The former things I declared of old; they went out from my mouth, and I announced them; then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. ▤ 

Matt 25:34  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ▤ 

God has planned since the creation of the world that his people will inherit his kingdom.

1Cor 2:7  But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. ▤ 

This “secret and hidden wisdom of God” is the gospel of salvation, which God purposed before time began to effect our glorification.

Titus 1:2  … in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages begant ▤ 

t Greek before times eternal

1Pet 1:20  He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you … ▤ 

This suggests that God’s purposes for Jesus Christ were determined before the creation of the world.

When the time comes, God’s plans are promptly fulfilled

See also:

Hab 2:3  For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. ▤ 

At the appointed time God’s revealed plan would come about without delay.

Isa 60:22  The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it. ▤ 

The use of “hasten” is indicative of prompt fulfillment.

Ezek 12:25, 28  For I am the Lord; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it, declares the Lord God.” ▤ 28Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord God: None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be performed, declares the Lord God. ▤ 

God’s may delay or prolong fulfillment of some of his plans. But when the right time comes – here, “in your days” (v. 25) – they are fulfilled.

Rom 9:28  … for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay. ▤ 

Luke 1:19-20  And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” ▤ 

  • God has a right time for everything:

Eccl 3:11a  He has made everything beautiful in its time. ▤ 

This is usually understood to mean that God has a designated time for every activity in which each activity is “appropriate” (NASB) – God “has set the right time for everything.” (GNT; cf. CEV, NCV).

God does not change his purposes and plans . . .

See also:

Num 23:19  God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? ▤ 

Ps 33:11  The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. ▤ 

Isa 31:2  And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words, but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity. ▤ 

Isa 45:23  By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’w ▤ 

w Septuagint every tongue shall confess to God

Acts 2:23  … this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. ▤ 

This exemplifies that God’s plans are “definite” – “definite and fixed … and settled” (AMP).

Eph 3:11  This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, … ▤ 

Heb 6:17  So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, … ▤ 

Heb 7:21  … but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever.’” ▤ 

Rom 11:29  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. ▤ 

This illustrates that God’s purposes and plans are irrevocable.

. . . though God may have reason to alter something he did – or relent from something he proposed

See also:

As seen also in some of the above cross references, in some of God’s intentions or plans he makes allowances for different outcomes, whether expressly stated or not. Reasons prominent amongst the following passages as to why God would change something he did or proposed, include: people’s sin; God’s grief; God’s control of his anger; God’s love and compassion; and the prayers of his people. A further reason shown in the above cross references is people’s repentance.

Gen 6:5-7  The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” ▤ 

Humankind’s wickedness was such that God was grieved about having created them. So in a sense he changed or altered what he had done – though this is not shown to be outside of his plans – by wiping them out and continuing on with just Noah’s family.

1Sam 15:11, 22-23, 29, 35  “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night. ▤ 22And Samuel said [to Saul], “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” ▤ 29And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.” ▤ 35And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel. ▤ 

Note that vv. 11, 35 speak of God having regret, in contrast to v. 29 which states that God does not have regret. This appears to be due to differences in the way that the Hebrew term involved can be translated. It can speak of sorrow (as per vv. 11, 35) or of actually changing one’s mind (as per v. 29). (ESVSB)

Hos 11:5-10  They shall notx return to the land of Egypt, but Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. 6The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them because of their own counsels. 7My people are bent on turning away from me, and though they call out to the Most High, he shall not raise them up at all. 8How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. 9I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.y 10They shall go after the Lord; he will roar like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west; … ▤ 

x Or surely

y Or into the city

The Lord is the Holy God; he does not act out of unbridled wrath. Even amidst his great wrath and judgment there is allowance for his great love and compassion. He would not simply destroy his people because of their refusal to repent – an option he appears to propose or air (vv. 5-6). Rather, because of his great compassion (v. 8) he would turn them trembling to him (v. 10).

Isa 38:1-5  In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover.”z 2Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3and said, “Please, O Lord, remember how I have walked before you in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. 4Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5“Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life.a ▤ 

z Or live; also verses 9, 21

a Hebrew to your days

Ex 32:9-14  And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. 10Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.” 11But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. 13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people. ▤ 

Some translations render v. 14 to indicate that God had earlier “threatened” (CEV, GNT, NIV, NLT) the punishment spoken of earlier (v. 10) – as opposed to resolving to carry it out. As such, God did not change any firm plan here.

  • God may relent from implementing proposed plans, but not from any firm plan:

Amos 7:1-9  This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, he was forming locusts when the latter growth was just beginning to sprout, and behold, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings. 2When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said, “O Lord God, please forgive! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” 3The Lord relented concerning this: “It shall not be,” said the Lord. 4This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, the Lord God was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. 5Then I said, “O Lord God, please cease! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” 6The Lord relented concerning this: “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God. 7This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. 8And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass by them; 9the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.” ▤ 

With the first two proposed judgments God relents at Amos’s intercession, but with the third proposed judgment it is implicit that no allowance will be made. Note that in the third judgment specific mention is made of improper worship and the house of the idolatrous King Jeroboam (v. 9), two of the main things characterizing or behind the people’s sin.

No one can thwart God’s purposes and plans . . .

See also:

Job 42:2  I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ▤ 

Ps 33:10-11  The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. 11The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. ▤ 

Following on the teaching in v. 10 that God is well able to foil the plans of the nations, v. 11 appears to be implying that not only does God not change his plans and purposes, neither can anyone else foil or alter them.

Isa 14:27  For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back? ▤ 

Dan 4:35  … all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” ▤ 

No one can stop God doing what he wants to, neither can anyone call him to account for what he does.

Acts 5:38-39a  So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God! ▤ 

1Sam 14:6b  It may be that the Lord will work for us, for nothing can hinder the Lord from saving by many or by few. ▤ 

. . . Nor can anyone alter what God does

See also:

Isa 43:13  Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back? ▤ 

Eccl 3:14  I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. ▤ 

Eccl 7:13  Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? ▤ 

The question posed may be making the general point that no one can change what God has done. But some scholars interpret “what he has made crooked” to refer in particular to things that appear to be incongruous or unfair, with possibly adversity primarily in view.

Job 12:14  If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he shuts a man in, none can open. ▤ 

Ps 104:5  He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. ▤ 

  • No one can deliver someone from God:

Ps 50:22  Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver! ▤ 

Isaiah 43:13 and Job 12:14 above also speak of this truth.

God works everything for his purposes and plans

Eph 1:11  In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, … ▤ 

Rom 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,b for those who are called according to his purpose. ▤ 

b Some manuscripts God works all things together for good, or God works in all things for the good

God works in all things for the good of his people, in accordance with his purpose in calling them.

Phil 2:13  … for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. ▤ 

God works in his people, so that they both desire to act in line with his purposes and actually do so. As such, this illustrates that God works things for his purposes and plans.

Prov 16:4  The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. ▤ 

God has an end or purpose for everything – even evil and negative things fit into his purposes and plans.

  • God predetermines all things:

Eccl 6:10  Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what man is, and that he is not able to dispute with one stronger than he. ▤ 

“Whatever has come to be has already been named” appears to mean that everything that happens has already been predetermined by God (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT). The clause “it is known what man is” may mean that God also predetermines each person’s nature, although his foreknowledge of them may instead be in view. The “one stronger” is quite possibly referring to God (cf. CEV, NCV, NLT). As such the final clause may be teaching that no one can alter what God does (the theme of the previous subsection).

Pray for persecuted Christians