Longing for the City of God


The terrorist attack of 911 was a milestone in the political order of the United States and even of the whole world. Subsequently, using anti-terrorism as a pretext, the U.S. invaded Iraq, and many countries became embroiled in the Afghanistani conflict for the same reason. They all enfeebled their national economies. In the seven years since September 11, 2001, the U.S. not only failed in its anti-terrorism campaign to bring peace to itself and the world, it generated the financial tsunami of the century through neglect in managing its local economy and housing, thereby confronting every other nation with its own economic crisis, and plunging the world into a greater panic than 911 itself.


Historically, the Roman Empire once dominated Europe. Its imperial power and affluence was preeminent for some 800 years. On certain Roman coins are inscribed the words: Invicta Roma Aeterna, meaning Eternal, Unconquerable Rome. Yet in the winter of 406 AD, Alaric 1 of the Visigoths and his army crossed over the frozen River Rhine and marched south to invade the prosperous yet corrupt Roman Empire. On August 24, 410 AD, Rome was sacked by 40,000 northern barbarians that had laid siege to it for a couple of years. The marauders raped, plundered and massacred for 3 days after entering the city walls. This conflict of 824 was even more shocking than the terrorist attack of 911 on America seven years ago, for it signaled the beginning of the destruction of the Roman Empire.


In response to the collapse of the Roman Empire and the turmoil that Europe had fallen into at that time, Augustine wrote the book “The City of God”. He indicated how Christians should regard history and what attitude of life they should adopt in a terrifying world. Using the viewpoint of the Bible, he argued against the cyclical theory of the wheel of history, such as espoused by present-day Eastern religions. He pointed out that human history began with their creation by God. Later, they fell into corruption, and that led to the historical pinnacle of Christ’s descent to earth and salvation. It will conclude with the judgment of God at the end of days. Augustine reminded Christians that while living on earth, besides bearing our individual nationalities, we are even more so citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom. This citizenship of the Heavenly Kingdom is more precious than the citizenship of any earth-bound country. He admonished Christians that as sojourners on earth, we should not strive to establish an ideal nation here similar to the Kingdom of God. Nor should we recluse ourselves to the wilderness because of the corruption of the world, and so transform into secret societies that fancy themselves reverential. (Augustine also had some erroneous theological concepts that fed the heresies of subsequent Roman Catholicism.)


In December 1991, the U.S.S.R. - that mighty country representing communism - officially disintegrated. Within 20 years, the financial and monetary systems of the U.S. and other wealthy countries, embodying capitalism, teetered on the edge of disintegration as well. These things tell us clearly that the nations and systems of earth can be shattered in an instant. There is security only in the Kingdom of God. Now Christ is preparing the Heavenly Home for the saints (John 14:2) - a kingdom that will not be shaken by terrorist attacks, nuclear threats, earthquakes, hurricanes, or financial tsunamis (Hebrews 12:28). If we still regard the earth that has been ravaged by human pollution and destruction to be beautiful, then we must believe the Heavenly City that is overseen by God to be even more glorious. We have accepted salvation from the Son of God through faith so that our souls will escape the future punishment of eternal fire. Then we should live by love, faith and hope, persevering to the end, so that we will be able to finally enter the “City of God” that the Lord has prepared for us.


“But our citizenship is in Heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” (Philippians 3:20-12)


By: Daniel To