Many years ago I heard a brief discussion on the subject of bases of power, and it has intrigued me off and on since then. I am not sure if this is interesting to many people, but, for me, it helps to put things into a general context–both for understanding where we have been and for where things are going–as it relates to power and mankind. This sketch is a generalization that will hopefully frame up a perspective, helping to inform our view of the world–past, present, and future.
Before we dive into the sketch, I want to preface it with a few thoughts to aid in your understanding. I believe these ideas/concepts can be observed historically and sequentially. When the Bible talks about the end of the age, I suspect it is referring to the end (or conclusion) of the times that are in observation in this essay. For those of us who believe the Bible and what it teaches, we know that the coming millennial Kingdom under Christ will subject all his enemies. Both (and all) power and dominion will be submitted to Him. Some willingly, perhaps, and some otherwise.
Power makes its holder (a person, organization, entity, or even nation) want to be God. Its intoxicative seduction should not be underestimated. And none are immune. Unless of course you are God, which Jesus is but none of us are.
We would do well to remind ourselves that power belongs to God! Psalm 62:11 (KJV) says:
God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.
Yes, power belongs to God! It is in demonstration of His power that He created everything in heaven and on earth. The entire solar system is His creation. This denotes proper and rightful dominion, I would say.
Here is the sketch–again, a generalization meant mainly to create perspective.
Four Foundations (or Bases) of Power
Dominance – dawn of time, throughout the Old Testament, to AD300
Pre Constantine. Societal organization in the form of clans, tribes, and, eventually, kingdoms, but overall small footprints of domain.
Dominance – AD300 to 1700s
Constantine arises. Caesars, popes, and emperors with increasing scope/larger domains.
Popes confirmed the legitimate or divine power of kings.
Dominance – 1700s to mid-20th century
Renaissance to Enlightenment. Politically organized entities known as countries/nation states, including the United States.
Dismantling monarchies and empires.
Dominance – mid-20th century to present and into foreseeable future
Cash is king.
Obviously, all of these simultaneously exist and have existed. They do not vanquish one another into oblivion, but rather into subjugation. During times of military dominance, the others already existed, and so on.
As we look over the epochs of history, we may be able to pick out people that were “God's emissary” in each of these power bases. Individuals who influenced the overall foundation of power from within it, for and toward the Lord and the Kingdom of God. King David, Augustine of Hippo, Wilberforce, etc.. Jesus, in His appearing, offered some “coming attractions” of what will take place as this age concludes. He had a huge role in the historical context, but it's only a teaser of the role He has yet to come.
We can see the shifting of dominance among these power bases torch off overreaching efforts to stabilize dominance in the waning power. This is especially visible as one power fades and the other rises in influence, approaching the ultimate toppling of its predecessor. Examples can be found in the religious power base’s reaction to the political revolution, as well as in the military power base’s reaction to the religious revolution. Was Constantine prescient in his realization that “religion” would eventually displace the one source and foundation of power that the world had known up until that time? Did Luther have a hand in overthrowing “religion” as the dominant foundation of power? Interesting questions.
In each succession, we can see power consolidating and expanding its reach in terms of geography and population. It is clearly headed toward utter consolidation.
All the existing power bases continue to exert influence, even though dominance–on a grand scale–is reserved for One. It is in the times of contention and transition from one to another that we see large-scale unrest and turmoil, and great loss of life. Each power base, once dominant, attempts to consolidate control and utilize the others as tools to reinforce its own dominance. This is obviously expressed in an ultimate sense but is also recognized all the way down to the levels of fiefdom and peon! The uniformity is staggering.
Struggles for dominance within a power base are also worth considering. The Vietnam War–though it was largely a military prosecution–is an example of an internal political power base struggle against its rival polity (capitalism versus communism). There are many other examples of struggles for dominance within the power base. Think about it: the Spartans and the Persians didn't face off at Thermopylae over political differences, but rather for military dominance and subjugation of the other. Also, let's keep in mind, what ultimately displaces one base of power in favor of another is something that arises from the outside, not within. Isn't it interesting that the rival political influences of the mid-20th century (the superpowers) are already tipping toward the emerging powers of communism and capitalism?
While many of us look on, either with fear or a sense of anticipation, we can deduce that the scope of influence and the potential impact of the struggle for power grows in each succession. The consolidation of all power will happen, in human terms, and such power will face off against the Lord and His Christ. This will happen, in my view, during the dominance of the economic power base, the time we are now in. Keep in mind, we are quite early in this season, if my calculations above are at all accurate. Even with time itself speeding up, I think we yet have some time.
We can also understand that the mark of the beast is an economic mark, and that, according to Scripture, none can buy or sell without this mark. This is the classic and observable overreach of the economic power base (under the direct influence of the prince of darkness), excited by the possibility of utter consolidation and subjugation of all other power bases, even while, at the same time, it feels threatened. The enemy will use this in the final days as an attempt to create total dominance and make all subject to him through the economic power base. At the same time, we know the source of the threat to him. That threat is the Kingdom of God, and it's claim on me, you, the body of Christ at large, and on the earth. We need to understand these things so that we can remove their power to intimidate, as well as to give our faith stability and broad perspective for the days to come.
I feel sure this content may leave as many questions as the answers it provides. It's good to do the hard work of thinking, prayer, meditation, and research, so I encourage you in that direction. There is more I can say on these subjects at the appropriate time. I hope to do that before long.