The Nations and Our Ties to Them
in Light of the Current Iraqi War
An Address to the International Church
Saturday 24 May 2003 - NCW 79, April-June 2003
Wartime always excites nationalistic and anti-nationalistic sentiments. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was united as in no other time during its fight against the Nazi tyrrany but once the war was over the people once again factionalised into warring political camps. The sudden and violent attack by suicide bombers on the World Trade Center and Pentagon which claimed so many innocent lives, likewise drew together a divided American people and united them in a common cause against funadmentalist Islam - and - like the response to the sudden attack at Pearl Harbor in 1941 - awakened a sleeping giant and filled it with a firm resolve. Both Great Britain and the United States, being Josephite nations by descent, have always awakened and united together in common cause in the face of tyrrany.
Britons and Americans are not, however, the only nations in the world with national sentiments. We remember the German nation which likewise possessed deep patriotic feelings but was hijacked by criminals who used a God-given love of country, twisted it, and exploited it for evil ends. Their crushing defeat in the Second World War has left the German nation with a belief that nationalism and patriotism is somehow 'bad' and - fed by socialistic propaganda advocating the dissolution of European nation states for a European Union - have, aided and abetted by the press, been taught to despise their country. Further to the East in Russia there is an equally fervent nationalistic sentiment which even in communist days, when the constituent republics of the former Soviet Union discouraged nationalism and urged national differences to be put aside to enable the proletariat worldwide to unite, was barely concealed. We have watched the bane of nationalism in the Balkans and in Rwanda create a small holocaust of ethnic cleansing.
As Christians it is most important that we have a clear-cut understanding of the relationship Yahweh intends us to have towards the nations that birthed us. And to do this we need in part to observe how Israelite nationalism was viewed by Yahweh and what Yah'shua's (Jesus') attitude was to the nations.
To begin with, the Bible makes it very clear that Yahweh is the Creator of the nations and preserves those which are righteous (Rev.21:26). They are consistently depicted as entities which have a right to exist so long as they do not cross a certain line of disobedience. Whenever wickedness came to full ripening then their doom was proclaimed and history seized them and cast them into the abyss. Assyria, Moab, Phoenicia, Parthia, Midian, Ammon, Prussia, and many others have since entirely disappeared or been absorbed into other nations.
The idea of a 'nation' is a very fluid one. History shows us that they are changing all the time. And the Bible tells us that in the Millennium, when Christ returns as Regent, there will once more be a reallignment of nations, some destined to extinction and others to be resurrected. Both Germany and the United States are very young nations, the former being birthed about 125 years ago and the latter a little over 200. Since 1990 dozens of new nations have appeared on our maps that never existed before.
I was born in the 1950s in an overseas colony of the nation called Great Britain. In the space of half a century Britain has changed virtually beyond recognition. Though certain values and habits continue to be shared by Britons, the whole spirit of the nation has been completely changed from a nominally Christian state with high values to a hedonistic semi-pagan one. A century ago nearly every Western nation made an appeal to 'God' as part of its identity. This has largely been replaced by the gods of 'democracy' and 'freedom', terms susceptible to many different kinds of definition, some biblical and some very definitely not. A decade or so ago when a spontaneous uprising by disgruntled students took place in Beijing (Peking), the capital of Communist China, they erected a statue called 'the Goddess of Democracy' which became the focal point of their brief movement prior to its being crushed. The United States has a similar one called the Statue of Liberty, donated to the young nation by communistic revolutionary France. In both cases, and indeed in dozens of others throughout the nations, people are presented with symbols through which they can channel their loyalties and affections. In the early 1930s, shortly after the Nazis came to power in Germany, a party symbol - the swastika - became the national emblem in response to an attack on a nazi flag by anti-nazi Americans on a German ship birthed in a New York harbour so that a purely political incident became transformed into a national one. In Britain we have our symbols of the Regal Lion and the Bulldog which Britons used to pride themselves in as images of our stubbornness and moral integrity. In the last decades, though, 'Rule Britannia' has been changed and reduced to to 'Cool Britannia' to reflect modern hedonism.
Belonging as I do to an international family both by blood and by Church I have been forced to look at 'flag-waving' in a more balanced way. Nationalism is a strange species with many faces. The anti-nationalist Soviets appealed to Russian nationalism in the dark days of 1941-2 when the tide of war seemed to be going against them because they knew that internationalist sentiments such as belonged to the cult of communism were not sufficient to awaken a very basic survival intinct in people. Russian Orthodox Priests were once again called out to bless the Russian armies until the tide of defeat turned and they were no longer 'required' anymore. Even Nazi Germany turned for religious support amongst the very clergy it had earlier persecuted when the fortunes of war turned against them. Until the very end of the Third Reich when Nazism was no longer believable, the people could easily fight under the slogan, Ein Volk steht auf! - One People Standing Firm. Nationalism saw them through to their nemesis.
And so it has always been that nationalism has recruited religion when it has suited itself and summarily dismissed it when it felt strong enough to win the peoples' hearts without it. In Britain in the Second World War even witches were included in the ecumenical bandwagon to curse the Nazis whilst over the channel the Nazis themselves were invoking occultic forces in Illuminist rites to secure their victory, whilst the German soldier wore on his army belt the words, Gott mit uns - God with us - whilst fighing a foe across the Atlantic whose motto was In God We Trust and likewise fighting an Italian fascist nation praying to the God of Catholicism. And today a war has been fought with an Iraqi enemy on whose flag the ousted dictator had inscribed a passage from the Koran invoking the help of the Muslim god, Allah.
Biblical history starkly reveals how when a nation sinks into the spiritual abyss it clutches onto nationalism in a last ditch attempt to stall destruction. The Israelites and subsequently the Judahites did it whilst all the time appealing to Yahweh for protection. It didn't help them. Both nations were destroyed. A nation's appeal to God means nothing if that nation is living in disobedience or open rebellion to the commandments. There were probably few Israelites who did not believe in God in those times - surveys in the United States and United Kingdom reveal that the vast majority believe in 'God' and yet only a threadbare minority in both nations are actually obeying Him. The majority of Nazi Germans believed in 'God' too. However, belief - as the apostle James emphatically taught - is not enough, for even the demons believe and tremble (Jas.2:19). What counts in the divine heart is whether that belief is accompanied by active obedience or not, and a true love that always results in such obedience.
The Israelite nation, for all its disobedient faith, was destroyed and scattered. They eventually intermingled with indigenous tribes to form our modern Western nations, principally in northern Europe and - by emmigration - the United States and Australasia. These lost Israelites (lost because they forgot their identity) were used by Yahweh as the principal instruments of propagating Christianity throughout the world, even if their Christianity was corrupted early on. Later, the nation of Judah suffered the same fate, on two different occasions, and was likewise scattered. In the course of nearly 3,000 years the seed of Abraham has been scattered in every nation the world around - in every tribe, tongue and country - so that every nation has been blessed as Yahweh promised. Every race from Africa to Japan bears the seed of Israel mingled in its genes, and every race is being called to perform its task in the witness of the faith.
Throughout modern history there are many nations who have supposed that they had special favour status with 'God'. Emperor Wilhelm II of Imperial Germany believed his nation did. The British have believed it of themselves, the Americans of themselves, the Russians, and many others. And finally, the Israelites did, thinking they would remain the 'apple of God's eye' no matter what they did. Their awakening was rude and painful as Yahweh reminded them in uncompromising terms that He is no respector of peoples or nations. A nation that turns away from His statutes is rejected by Him no matter what profession of words they make - whether they are trusting in 'God', whether their legal system is founded on the Bible, or whatever excuse is given. The British believed this of themselves, had their Empire stripped away when they were no longer blessing the nations they ruled but enslaving them with the post-Christian philosophies of men. The Roman Empire, which also eventually became 'Christian' by profession, suffered the same fate. The history of every nation that has claimed 'God' as its right hand man demonstrates conclusively that they do not own God and that His divine approbation is short-lived when they turn away from Him.
Christ made it perfectly plain that He was not out to challenge the political power of Rome and declared to Pilate that His Kingdom - the Kingdom in which all true Christians claim citizenship - was not of this world system (Jn.18:36). The apostles reaffirmed this teaching. At once Christians found themselves in an apparent dilemma because they discovered their earthly and heavenly allegiances to be frequently in conflict. When Rome demanded primary allegiance to itself, Christians had to choose - and usually suffered martyrdom for it. Today we may not be thrown to lions or handed over to gladiators but we are oppressed and persecuted nonetheless.
Yah'shua (Jesus) told us that if we put the Kingdom of God first in our lives that everything we needed would be given to us (Mt.6:33). He did not, of course, negate our natural allegiances to our countries but did most definitely put things into clear perspective. Given that a nation is a collection of tribes and families with which we have blood ties, we are able to see just what Yahweh expects of us. When His disciples made an appeal to family loyalty to justify Him interrupting His ministry, His reply was - to say the least - shocking. He told them that unless their feelings towards their family seemed like hate in comparison to their love for Him, they could by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Lk.14:26). In short, He was saying that our allegiance to God is not on equal parity with our families or our countries. Our allegiance to the Kingdom transcends these by orders of magnitude so great that the only really satisfactory illustration of this gulf would be the difference between true love and hate.
Satan knows this, of course, and tries to make us compromise by making emotional appeals rooted in our carnal nature. I have to say that I am a very patriotic Englishman. I love my country. It is my family - my tribe. But long ago I realised that my allegiances were not godly because the balance was hopelessly wrong. I had to repent and align myself to the Kingdom of Yahweh. Today I love my country with equal fervour but I do not love its sins, I will not justify its crimes against Yahweh, or its evil laws, and if I have to choose between it and the Kigdom there is no contest: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland loses out every time. I will not disobey the Word of Yahweh to appease the political stooges of Satan who may make appeals to patriotism to win my allegiance to evil.
Marrying a non-British wife has helped, and my own Britishness has likewise made her re-evaluate her own nationalism. It has been a healthy exercise. I was lucky inasmuch as I was born in a former colony of Empire, long since independent, to which I also feel a degree of allegiance as my place of birth and upbringing, even though it is a Muslim state now. I have lived in several countries and tried to look at them objectively through the lenses of Scripture. In every one I have seen national idolatry which has been manipulated by political forces as a means to winning sympathy for unrighteousness. Today we are being encouraged to turn our nationalistic zeal to such entities as the 'European Union', to the 'United Nations', and eventually to the blantanty satannic 'New Word Older'. The political world consists of multilayered masks like a Russian doll where even the 'Christian' mask is used to win political support. When Hitler came to power he first used the 'Catholic' mask by saying that he would create a state like the Jesuit Order that would accomplish what the Catholics had failed to do (and for which they would thank him) and later that he would reflect the sentiments of Martin Luther and do the same thing. He lied to both, shamelessly using both, and both (so they thought at first) using him.
Things are not what they seem to be. The political images of nations are carefull crafted by the propagandists who intelligently tune them into righteous sentiments which are exploited for evil ends. Our democracies are but illusions as we know, as our rights and freedoms are increasingly eroded, especially those of Christians. The Monarchs and the Presidents and important political leaders from nearly every Western country are steeped in the occult. I have seen the movies made by undercover journalists at occultic retreats where these leaders have pledged themselves to the 'New World Order' and to Satan. Some claim to be good Catholics, some good Protestants, just as the corrupt and wicked Israelite kings claimed to be good Yahwists by performing all the ceremonial rites. They even waged righteous wars against Israel's enemies to preserve the nation and won popularity because of that, just as we are waging a righteous war against terrorists.
However, it is never as simple as that. The public agenda is never quite the same as the secret ones. Over the years I have heavily researched what is going on 'behind the scenes' and even met people in the know. But few, of course, want to believe these things, just as the democratic nations of the 1930s refused to see what was coming in the wake of the Nazi whirlwind. I was watching historical footage from a Nuremberg Rally the other day and listened to Hitler's speeches. He preached peace. He publically proclaimed that he had no beef with France but with the Republican Germans who sold his nation down the drain by signing the Treaty of Versailles. But as we know he not only dealt with the Republicans but with France as well. He was a gifted liar and knew the art of stirring nationalism and righteous character traits in the German people in order to hijack them for evil.
We cannot afford to be naïve in these dangerous times even though people do not want to know the truth. Lies can be carefully packaged to look delicious, and in a world of increasing uncertainty with mounting terrorist outrages, gift-packaged offers of peace and order such as Hitler once offered his people are going to become more and more attractive and people will not bother to check the poisoned core of the apple. As a species we have proven ourselves gullibe time and time again and have ignored the prophets. Imagine, if you will, how Jeremiah - a sensitive, righteous man who loved his nation - imagine how he felt having to tell the nation that it would soon be destroyed? False prophets were employed against him because the people wished to believe the lie of their undoubted invincibility. 'God is with us', they proclaimed, 'and founded us. We are the chosen race. We are the apple of His eye.' But they forgot that these promises were conditional - they were conditional upon obedience. And so, rather then repent, they chose to believe the lie that they would be delivered. They weren't.
Let us not be so naïve and foolish as to believe that we can justify our sinning because of the righteousness of our forefathers. The Jews hid behind Moses and Abraham and were exposed. "If you were the children of Abraham," Yah'shua (Jesus) declared, "you would do the works of Abraham" (Jn.8:39). And then He reminded them how insignificant and immaterial race and nationality were in the divine scheme (Mk.11:17) when He pointed out to them that if Yahweh wanted to He could turn stones into the children of Abraham (Lk.3:8), implying that inanimate stones were more respectful of the truth than they were.
Some years ago I received a revelation on patriotism which I would once again like to share with you because it restores the correct balance between our allegiance to Yahweh and the Kingdom and our allegiance to our countries. You can check it with the Biblical teaching for confirmation. I pray this will serve as a pertinent reminder to us to be level-headed in these unstable times:
1. Thou shalt love thy country as thou lovest thy wife or thy husband, or thy mother or thy father, or thy sister or thy brother; for thou art of the fathers and mothers of thy country in the spirit and in the flesh. 2. But thou shalt not exalt thy country above another country, for all are as one, even the children of Adam. 3. Thou shalt not make thy country an idol, nor shalt thou be consumed in thy zeal for thy country that thou art lifted up unto boasting. 4. Thou shalt love all men and women, and shalt forgive their tresspasses unto thee; 5. And thou shalt love all families, and tribes, and nations, and families of nations, even the world, 6. For the Father so loved the world and its peoples that He sent His Only Begotten Son, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), to die for the world that it might be redeemed.
7. Be thou not deceived, for Yahweh loveth not one tribe above another, nor one nation above another, if they live in righteousness and peace. 8. Thou shalt leave judgment unto the Father and love the nations as though they were thine own, for behold, they are all of one family, the sons and daughters of Adam.
9. But ye saints of the New Covenant, hearken and consider, saith the Lord, yea, even ye sons and daughters of all the tribes of the earth, for when ye were born again ye entered a Heavenly Kingdom wherein there is no unrighteousness. 10. And behold, this is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son, which is New Israel; and ye are its heavenly citizens. 11. And thou shalt love the Heavenly Kingdom more than the kingdoms and nations of the world, for the Kingdom of Heaven is eternal and abideth for ever. 12. But the nations of this world are not eternal if they abide in sin, and there is not one nation which abideth not in sin, for they have all fallen short of the glory of even the lowest degree of the glory of the Father.
13. It is said by some that a man should forsake his country for the greater Heavenly Kingdom, but I the Lord have not spoken this. 14. What man ever hated his own flesh? For if thou forsakest thy country, thou forsakest also thy people, for whom I, Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), came into the world. 15. Thou shalt forsake and speak against the wickedness and injustice of thy country but thou shalt love its people. 16. Thou shalt forsake and hate the sin, but not the sinner, for all are called unto Christ, yea, every one, from the least to the greatest, rich and poor, bond and free, black and white, male and female, for Yahweh is no respecter of persons or countries. 17. Nevertheless I, the Lord, must judge the nations according to the righteousness or wickedness which is in them, but all judgment is Mine, saith the Lord, for I am the ruler of the world, and all things shall be subject to Me.
18. A man should not take up arms that one nation might war against another, for I the Lord hate the shedding of blood. 19. But let every man be persuaded in his own mind and heart, according to the Spirit of revelation, if he shall bear arms or not, for he alone shall be answerable unto Me, saith the Lord, and not unto men. 20. Ye shall only take up arms as a last resort; nevertheless, if ye are faithful and listen unto My Voice, behold, I will call you out of the nations and unto Zion, to the cities or colonies of refuge, of which there shall be twelve in the last days, 21. That ye may be spared the tribulations of war, disease, and famine, and be prepared for that day when ye are liftedup into the clouds to greet the Son of Man. 22. For behold, I am coming in much anger to punish the pride of the nations and their stout hearts, and it shall be even as it was written by My servant John.
23. Therefore, ye saints of the New Covenant, gather into the Colonies of Zion that ye may be prepared against the stormy blasts and become endowed with much Light. 24. For behold, I shall send you into the nations to gather out the elect of New Israel, for the Day of the Gentiles endeth.
25. Let your hearts be filled with love for all people that ye may minister unto them and discern the children of the Church of the Firstborn who have been hidden in and from the world until the day of the last prophets. 26. Seek Me diligently, for I am your advocate with the Father, the eternal Amen, and I desire to pour upon you the richest blessings of Heaven if you will open your hearts and receive Me. Amen. (The Olive Branch, Chapter 18, New Covenant Press, Moss, Norway, 1988).
A Question of Military Service (Apostolic Interviews #15, 1991)
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