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January 27, 1904
“History of Government. IV. The Establishing of Imperialism” The Signs of the Times 30, 4, pp. 3, 4.
IV. THE ESTABLISHING OF IMPERIALISM.
IT took 1,700 years for imperialism to establish itself in a position of recognized authority. While the heads of the tribes, or collections of tribes, were all ready to follow the example of Nimrod in assuming the title and asserting the power of king; and while the tribes, or collection of tribes, were willing to recognize this claim of the king; yet no tribe, no collection of tribes, nor any king, was willing for a moment to consent to the claim of any one to the title, prerogatives, and power of king of kings—imperial absolutism. And this persistent refusal on the part of both the kings and the people to submit to any such power or authority as that of king of kings, kept the imitators of Nimrod busy for 1,700 years.SITI January 27, 1904, page 3.1
The single Bible sentence touching Chedolaomer’s empire and experience—“Twelve years they served Chedolaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled”—is the story of the peoples and kings, and is the experience of every would-be king of kings, from Nimrod forward for 1,700 years. Each would-be king of kings was compelled to conquer his way to imperial dominion; and, after having acquired it, was compelled to exercise constant watchfulness and activity to maintain himself in the power which he had gained, against the ever-ready and persistent disposition of kings and people to break the yoke and enjoy their native freedom. He was also in constant danger of being swept aside, and his empire possessed, by some other aspirant to empire.SITI January 27, 1904, page 3.2
The most notable of the far-ancient imitators of Nimrod and Chedolaomer, was King Thothmes III., of Egypt. He succeeded in establishing his power over all the people and tribes and nations of the East as far eastward as to the borders of India. Indeed, the empire of Egypt was as truly universal in that day as was that of Alexander or Rome in their later days. This power was maintained, and people were held in subjection, through the reigns of his three immediate successors; but in the reign of the fourth the whole structure went absolutely to pieces. Every king and every tribe, however petty, broke loose from Egyptian power and asserted the independence of their native freedom; and it was not until the time of the third of this king’s successors that imperial power was against gained by Egypt. Then Seti I. succeeded in establishing the power of Egypt over the same extended territory as had Thothmes III.; but at his death, revolt occurred in Ethiopia, and Egypt’s claim of empire was disputed by the Hittites, the outcome of which dispute was, that the king of Egypt was compelled to enter into a treaty with the king of the Hittites, recognizing that nation on an equality with Egypt. And no sooner had this king passed away than the Egyptian empire went finally to pieces before invading powers, who founded dynasties in all parts of the country, sacked and burned the cities, and compelled the Egyptian people “to bow the neck to kings of foreign rulers.”SITI January 27, 1904, page 3.3
An Empire of Peace and By Peace.
The next universal empire after that of Egypt was the empire of Israel under Solomon. The conquests and empire of Solomon were no less extended than were those of Egypt; and the empire of Israel under Solomon was as truly universal in that day as were those of Egypt and Alexander in their respective days. Yet the conquests accomplished, and the empire established, by Solomon were altogether by peace. And the power exerted in these conquests and the government of this empire was only the power of the peace, the wisdom, and the righteousness of God. For “God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the seashore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the East country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; ... and his fame was in all nations round about.” And “all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.”SITI January 27, 1904, page 3.4
All these kings came to him, not as mere curiosity seekers; but to recognize his supremacy and to do him honor in it. For “they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.” The “presents” themselves were a recognition of sovereignty; and their bringing them as “a rate” and “year by year” shows that they were an annual tribute rendered to recognition of the sovereignty of Solomon and of the empire of Israel, by “all the kings of the earth.” It is true, as already stated, that this conquest of all the kings was not by force of arms, and the carnage of battle; yet it was none the less a fact. For there is more power in the wisdom and righteousness of God manifested through sincere hearts of men than in all the governments, armies, and weapons of war that this world can ever know.SITI January 27, 1904, page 3.5
For immediately, upon Solomon’s turning to the ways of the heathen, adversaries arose on every hand; and the empire of Israel went the way of all the empires that had been before it. But in this universal conquest and empire established by the peace, the wisdom, and the righteousness of God, God demonstrated to His own people what He would have done for the world by them, if they had been loyal to Him in peace, wisdom, and righteousness, and had not gone into idolatry and the evil ways of the heathen, and then rejected God and demanded a king “like all the nations.” And in this God also gave witness to all the nations of the earth of what He was ready, willing, and anxious to do in all the earth, even in the great apostasy that brought kingships, if only those kings would recognize Him and serve Him in holiness of heart.SITI January 27, 1904, page 3.7
The Subject of the Peoples.
This peaceful empire of Israel under Solomon brought a respite to all the nations from the long succession of oppression of the despotic imitators of Nimrod. And this inspired them anew with a love of freedom and government of their own choice. This made it harder for the despotic, world-conquering kings of Assyria to again establish an empire of the Nimrod stripe. Yet, in spite of all difficulties, the kings of Assyria in straightforward succession for 400 years persistently asserted imperial power, and nothing short of universal conquest and empire. And their work was as tedious as it was persistent; for there was not a king who succeeded to the Assyrian throne who was not compelled on his own part to conquer all that his predecessors had conquered; and, in many instances, they were compelled to repeat their conquests year by year throughout their whole reign. Shalmaneser II., whose reign was one of the longest in the Assyrian annals, made thirty-three campaigns in the thirty-one years of his reign; and many of these were made into the same countires and against the same peoples that his father had conquered in his reign. And the work of these two was only the repetition of what their predecessors had done, and was what their successors were compelled to do during all the following 300 years, through the reigns of Tiglath-Pileser, Shalmaneser, Sargon, Sennacherib, Esar-Haddon, unto the pinnacle of Assyrian supremacy in the reign of Assur-bani-pal. Then Assyria was broken down, and the kingdom of Babylon under Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar was expanded into empire by the same means by which the persistent power of former conquests had established the universal empire of Assyria.SITI January 27, 1904, page 52.1
And this perpetual hammering during the 400 years of Assyrian supremacy, which was immediately taken up and continued by Babylon, so broke the spirit of the peoples of the earth, that practically there was no further attempt of the conquered peoples to throw off the incubus of imperialism. They submitted to the inevitable, accepted imperial power as final, and left imperialism free to manifest itself fully in the world, and to show what it could do when it had its own way untrammeled and undisputed.SITI January 27, 1904, page 52.2