evil empires are God's instruments (part 1)

First I should mention that the word "evil" is used differently in scripture than the way we might often think of it.

Jesus said "Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? "Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him (Mat 7:9-11)!"

According to Kittle's "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament," the word behind "evil" (poneros) has a range of meaning that includes bad, useless, disadvantageous, detrimental, harmful, troublesome, unserviceable, and defective, as well as the more familiar "morally reprehensible."

The point is that "natural fathers" are called "evil" because of their imperfection. And yet earthly good is received from these evil fathers. similarly, we find the prophetic perspective on national governments to be that they are evil. Yet, people under those governments (Egypt, Babylon, Persia, China, Rome, USA, the modern nation-state called Israel are all examples) receive the "good" of being under a government. In this sense all nation-states are thoroughly evil even if they are not completely evil and yet they are instruments in God's hand.

If our minds become saturated with the prophetic perspective as found in Isaiah, even as Paul's was, then our view on the role of nation-states in contrast to the kingdom of God will "true up."

For that purpose I need to discuss Isaiah ch. 10 and 45:1 in my next entry as a glance at the framework-of-thought in which Romans 12:9-13:13 makes amazingly clear sense.

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