What would it have been like to be alive when Rome fell in A.D. 476? Or when the ancient Persian empire fell to Alexander the Great in the fourth century B.C.? Or when Charlemagne stopped the Muslim conquest of the West and was crowned emperor of the new Holy Roman Empire in A.D. 800?

I think I know, because we, too, are witnessing the fall of an empire. Eastern-bloc communism, with the largest standing army in human history, has suddenly disintegrated like Jericho before the Israelite trumpets. What was once seen as a dreaded threat is everywhere in disarray.

What can a Christian believing in a sovereign God learn from these momentous events?

1. Most important of all, we should thank God that we have been spared the awful devastation that accompanied such earthshaking events in the past.

2. No human government has any permanent or inherent right to govern. When a government fails to fulfill its God-given functions—preserving freedom and justice—it becomes dispensable.

3. We ignore the truth about human beings at our peril: the depravity and the infinite worth of human beings. The communism of Marx, Lenin, and their followers denied these Christian teachings. No individual or group is wise enough and good enough to be trusted to work for the good of all. And communism reckoned that humans are dispensable and, hence, ruled with a ruthless hand that antagonized all but the most obdurate party stalwarts.

4. Human freedom is more important than food and comfort. Early communist leaders promised better food and a better life for all in exchange for freedom. The fact is that communist nations lost both food and freedom. Eventually their people could no longer be mesmerized into overlooking the facts of life about their own ...

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