"So shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of Him." Isaiah 52:15This prophecy of the coming messiah has doubtless been fulfilled in many times throughout history: kings and earthly rulers being humbled when they see themselves in comparison to The King of the Universe. But the extent to which Napoleon verbalized this realization in the following quote spoken at the end of his life is truly breath-taking:
"What a conqueror! [Jesus is] ‘A conqueror who controls humanity at will, and wins to himself not only one nation but the whole human race. What a marvel! He attaches to himself the human soul with all its energies. And how? By a miracle which surpasses all others. He claims the love of men--that is to say. The most difficult thing in the world to obtain; that which the wisest of men cannot force from his truest friend, that which no father can compel from his children, no wife from her husband, no brother from his brother--the heart. He claims it; he requires it absolutely and undividedly, and he obtains it instantly.
Alexander, Caesar, Hannibal, Louis XIV strove in vain to secure this. They conquered the world, yet they had not a single friend, or at all events, they have none any more. Christ speaks, however, and from that moment all generations belong to him; and they are joined to him much more closely than by any ties of blood and by a much more intimate, sacred and powerful communion. He kindles the flame of a love which causes one’s self-love to die, and triumphs over every other love.
Why should we not recognize in this miracle of love the eternal Word which created the world? The other founders of religions had not the least conception of this mystic love which forms the essence of Christianity. I have filled multitudes with such passionate devotion that they went to death for me. But God forbid that I should compare the enthusiasm of my soldiers with Christian love. They are as unlike as their causes.
In my case, my presence was always necessary, the electric effect of my glance, my voice, my words, to kindle fire in their hearts.
That is the fate of all great men. It was the fate of Alexander and Caesar, as it is my own. We are forgotten, and the names of the mightiest conquerors and most illustrious emperors are soon only the subject of a schoolboy’s task. Our exploits come under the orb of a pedantic schoolmaster, who praises or condemns us as he likes. What an abyss exists between my profound misery and the eternal reign of Christ, who is preached, loved, and worshipped, and lives on throughout the entire world. Is this to die? Is it not rather to live eternally? The death of Christ! It is the death of a God.”
This is why Christ is our plumb-line, our point of intersection in everything that we study. It is because there is one person who takes precedent over all other people--one King who rules all kings, one Priest who makes final atonement, one Prophet who brings us God's final revelation once for all. And as Daniel 2 points out in the dream of the coming kingdoms of this world, empires will rise and fall, (including America) but there is one kingdom that will prevail.