Tag Archives: Government

Israel map

Today’s Israel

The monstrous attacks by Hamas have thrust Today’s Israel into the news. Unspeakable brutalities against Israeli women and children fill the news reports. There is neither excuse nor justification for these terrible crimes targeting civilians, especially women and children.

Some popular news commentators, trying to rally support for Israel, are suggesting that today’s Israel is the same Israel of biblical times.  Is it? Christians may support Israel because it is our staunchest ally in the region. They see Israel as one of the most stable democracies in the world. In short, the Israelis are our friends. Supporting Israel because they are supposedly “God’s chosen people” is an error.

Today’s Israel is not the Israel of the Bible.

Origins – Biblical Israel

The Lord promised Abraham that his offspring would be a great nation. He also promised them possession of the land where nomadic Abraham traveled (Genesis 12:1-3, 7). Two generations later, God changed Abraham’s grandson Jacob’s name to Israel. He would have 12 sons who would become the basis for the Biblical nation of Israel.

Almost 500 years later, Jacobs’s 12 sons would grow to over two million people. By then, they had become slaves in Egypt. They prayed to God for deliverance; he heard their prayer and remembered his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 2:23-25). When Pharaoh refused to release the slaves, the Lord brought a series of plagues upon the land. Eventually, Pharaoh could withstand God no longer and released the Hebrews (future Israelites).

The Hebrews traveled eastward to Mount Sinai where God formed them into a nation. Because of their lack of faith, they then wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. Finally, God brought them into the land of Canaan and settled them there. Although the Israelites were in and out of captivity in their new homeland, they maintained a presence in the land until the year 70 A.D., when the Romans utterly destroyed them.

Origins – Today’s Israel

for almost 1900 years, the Jews had no homeland. In the late 1800s, Jews began to move back to Israel from their dispersion into Europe. In 1896, the development of Zionism began, which is the call for a formal nation of Israel in the original land. After World War I, the League of Nations granted Great Britain a mandate to govern Palestine. Under that mandate, Jews began to return to the British-controlled region. In 1948, as the British mandate was ending, a representative of the Jewish population in Palestine declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The United Nations had given the Jews about 55% of the land of Palestine, despite the fact that previously, the Jews only owned about 6% of the land.

Armed conflict began immediately. Since that time, multiple attempts at peace have largely failed. Today’s conflict in Israel is but the latest in a long line of wars and conflict.


God governed biblical Israel as its king (One Samuel 8:7). Later, earthly kings ruled over Israel. The ancient nation reached its zenith under King Solomon. The spiritual life of the nation was under the direction of Levitical priests. All Israelite priests were from the tribe of Levi without exception.

10 of the 12 tribes entered Assyrian captivity. Babylon took the remaining two tribes into slavery. Even after their release from captivity, Israel was little more than a vassal state to the superior kingdoms of the region. In 63 BC the Romans conquered the region. The Jews had a puppet king until A.D. 70 when conflict with Rome exploded into war. Jerusalem and the Temple were completely destroyed.

From A.D. 70 until 1949 the Jews had no land to call their own.

Today’s Israel vs. Biblical Israel: Key Differences

Ancient Israel was a theocracy. Today’s Israel is a democracy. Put differently, one was ostensibly ruled by God, while the modern-day nation is ruled by its people.

Ancient Israel was served by a large cohort of Levitical priests. Today’s Israel has no Levitical priests. Divinely specified sacrifices were daily offered in the Temple. There is no Temple today.

Ancient Israel was God’s chosen people (Leviticus 26:11, 12). Today’s Israel is not. Today, God’s chosen people are Christians regardless of their ancestry (1 Peter 2:9, 10).

Has God Broken His Promises to Today’s Israel?

By no means! Let God be true though everyone were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” (Romans 3:4)

We forget that God’s promises were conditional. For example, in the passage above from Leviticus 26, notice verse three: “if you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them then…” This is a classic if/then statement. The covenant required both God and the people to comply with the terms of the covenant. Once one party broke the terms, the other party was freed from the covenant.

God was no longer obligated to continue to bless them because Israel had broken the covenant. Remember, this was the nation that crucified his Son. They rejected their final prophet. They rejected the one who came to save them. Consider these verses:

For if you turn back and cling to the remnant of these nations remaining among you and make marriages with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know for certain that the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that the LORD your God has given you. (Joshua 23:12, 13

But just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you, if you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.” (Joshua 23:15, 16)

There are two important points in this last passage. Notice that Joshua says God fulfilled all of his promises to Israel. He made them a nation. He gave them the land. God provided the heritage through which one would come to bless all nations. God did what he said he was going to do.

Just like the previous passages (Leviticus 26, Joshua 23:12, 13), there is an if/then clause. If they transgressed against God, they would “perish quickly from off the good land.” Ancient Israel violated every command God gave them. As a result, Israel lost their place as God’s chosen people. Today, God’s chosen people are his church (Isaiah 53:1 – 12; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:12 – 14; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Revelation 5:9).

We may choose to support today’s Israel for diplomatic, military, or political reasons. But we must not support Israel because they are God’s chosen people. To do so ignores clear biblical teaching.

Jesus and Government

Christians live in two worlds, secular and spiritual. Christians live in the kingdom of God, governed by Jesus. We also live in an earthly, secular kingdom governed by whoever is in power at the moment. Tension always exists between the two kingdoms. The desires and expectations that the two kingdoms hold clash. We must carefully navigate between our two worlds.

Jesus showed us how to live perfectly in both worlds at the same time. By following his leadership, we can be faithful to the God of Heaven and to the laws of men.

His Words

Jesus was born into God’s kingdom: Israel. They were chosen by God to be his people. Still, Jesus spoke of another kingdom that was still to come (Matthew 4:17; 5:19, 20; 6:10, 33; Luke 11:2; 13:29; 19:11; John 3:3,5; 18:36).

Jesus also acknowledged the earthly kingdom of Rome. Jesus said, render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21), thus acknowledging both the legitimacy of the Roman government and the requirement for Christians to obey it. His apostle Paul would voice the same command in Romans” “let every person be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans 13:1ff). To Titus, Paul said, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work (Titus 3:1).

His Actions

Jesus applied his words to his actions. The kingdom of Judea, the remnant of Israel, was corrupt, vile and ungodly. Her king lived in open sin. Still, Jesus obeyed the Israelite rulers. When the Israelite religious leader, Annas, questioned Jesus, he submitted and answered him (John 18:19-24).

In his arrest, Jesus declared that he could call “twelve legions of angels” to deliver him. But he did not. (Matthew 26:53). Even as he hung on the cross, Jesus railed not against the Jews or the Romans.

His apostle Paul voiced his submission to Rome as he faced a death penalty. He responded to the governor that he would not refuse to die if he had done some wrong (Acts 25:11). We believe Paul would later die by execution.

His Non-Actions

There was plenty wrong with governments of the first century. Rome, like the Greeks before, was thoroughly pagan. Recall the picture of Athens, where Paul called the city “full of idols” (Acts 17:16). Rome worshipped anything. They even had an altar to the unknown God (Acts 17:23). Their worship was so twisted as to encourage intercourse between worshipper and priest. Some idol temples had male and female prostitutes who served their false gods. Soon, Rome would even demand worship of the Emperors. Meanwhile, a puppet family ruled the Jews. The Herodian Dynasty included every imaginable sin. Herod the Great was a known mass murderer (Matthew 2:1-18).

But that Jesus never embroiled himself in the politics of the day. The politics of Herod, Annas, and Caeser were not the focus of his wrath. He rebuked people for their sins, not their politics. His emphasis was to follow Him as the Savior.

Jesus led no boycotts. Jesus did not complain of high taxes. Jesus led no revolt against the troops of the Empire. He did not demand a letter campaign against Herod’s crazed behavior. Even when Rome was systematically executing Christians, there was no revolt. The business of the kingdom of God consumed Jesus. The zeal of God’s house consumed Jesus (Psalm 69:9; Luke 2:17).

We have opportunities to do good by being salt in the world. We can affect the direction of government through elections. But we must never speak more of the kingdom of men than of the kingdom of God. Like Jesus, be consumed with the Lord’s work.

Your comments are always welcomed.

Kingdom of God 3

“And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.”

1 Samuel 8:7

The spiritual wisdom of Israel was so deranged that they could not see the depth of their error in demanding a human king. More, they missed the higher point that they were rejecting God. We are surprised because we think God should have stopped them and demanded adherence to his way. He did not, and that puzzles us.

The Lord allows us to choose our own destiny. His kingdom has existed for all eternity. It is open to the children of men if they so choose. But when men make corrupt choices, the Creator allows them to err. The passage in 1 Samuel 8 is a story about the national destiny of Israel. It is also a story out how God deals with men. Just as the church, the kingdom of God today, is composed of individuals, the nations of earth are also so composed. We should learn from this episode how God deals with us.

God Gives Us Choice

From the beginning of time, man had the freedom to choose. In Eden, God placed a tree of knowledge but commanded the first couple to avoid it. They were not even to touch the tree. Satan intervened and convinced Eve to eat and to give to her husband, Adam. They ate and brought condemnation upon themselves. That condemnation was a choice. They were warned, and they ate anyway. The consequence of their sin followed.

The children of Israel had finally entered the Promised Land. They were settling into their homes. Their leader, Joshua, said, “choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:13). At that moment, they declared their allegiance to God. History, however, proves otherwise. Israel consistently made terrible choices. Those bad choices included the decision to leave God in 1 Samuel 8 and would include innumerable wicked decisions for centuries to come.

God gave them the power to choose, and they failed.

Men Make Poor Decisions

Inspired Jeremiah says, “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). He writes: “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13). The psalmist says no man does good; all are corrupt (Psalm 14:1-3). The son of the psalmist wrote: “… God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

The Scripture makes plain that man cannot correctly guide himself.  He can depart from God, and he can seek his own ways, but in the end, those ways are always empty and void.

People believe that mankind is the ultimate force in existence. They believe that any question, given time, can be answered through the wisdom and knowledge of man. Today, we make the same error as the ancients. Man cannot guide himself. Man cannot create a government that is capable of bringing righteousness. Once God is eliminated, all is lost.

Kingdom of God 2

“And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

1 Samuel 8:18

Governance has always been a problem for God’s people. They chaffed under the cruel hand of Egyptian taskmasters, the divine guidance of Moses, the wisdom of God’s judges, and the rule of their own kings. After Moses and Joshua died, God used judges to govern his people. While there was a judicial-like function to the judges (Judges 4:4, 5), they were largely military leaders and deliverers. Even under the laissez-faire, decentralized governance of the judges, Israel was unruly, and “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, 21:25). There was no respect of God, nor was there a concern for their fellow countrymen.

Israel settled in Caannan and soon began to seek a better way of governing. They thought they were wiser than God. The told priest, prophet, and judge Samuel that they wanted a king so they could be like all the nations (1 Samuel 8:5). Samuel was angry as he prayed. God revealed the shocking truth: “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). This is a pivotal moment in human history. Israel has repudiated God’s sovereignty over his people. The consequences of this decision would plague Israel for the remainder of its existence.

Surprisingly, God permitted their choice. He told Samuel to warn them, but allow them to have a king.

He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.

1 Samuel 10-17

Their desire would not be good. A king would bring conscription into the king’s service, taxation to support the king’s appetites, and effective servitude to the king.  It was not a pleasant future for Israel. Any government which rejects God is bound to fail. As Paul wrote, “no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). He speaks of a spiritual foundation that either will or will not bring one to salvation. But it is an appropriate reminder of what will happen when we reject God as our leader.

Israel would learn that there were even darker ramifications to their demand for a king. Because of their kings, they would divide into two nations, undergo long periods of wickedness in the palace and their own homes, be taken into slavery by pagan nations, see God’s temple destroyed, and watch the once-powerful empire become a footnote in history. One can only ponder what might have been if Israel humbled themselves under the hand of God.

The moment of 1 Samuel 8 marks the beginning of a slow decline into oblivion for the nation. Just 40 years after Jesus died, Israel would cease to exist. The Israel of the Bible was never restored and never will be. The Lord’s kingdom, the church, does exist and will not be overthrown.

Kingdom of God

“My kingdom is not of this world…”

John 18:36

There is much confusion surrounding the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of earth.  Christians, citizens of God’s kingdom, live in and under earthly governments. But just because God approves of earthly governance does not mean those governments are identical, or even parallel to, the kingdom of Christ. Often, they are enemies of the cross of Christ. We must distinguish between the heavenly and earthly authorities.

There was a brief period when no earthly government existed. Beginning at Creation and lasting until the days of Cain. Genesis 4:17 notes that Cain built a city. Such would likely have had some kind of centralized authority. Going forward, we encounter increasing and total corruption of mankind, resulting in Noah’s flood (Genesis 6 -9).

By Genesis 10, we are reading of nations (vs. 5) established by the descendants of Noah’s sons. Egypt is already a mighty nation when Abram and Sarai travel there in Genesis 12. It would be the Egyptian monarch who would order the enslavement of Israel’s sons. After their miraculous release from captivity, the Lord crafts them into his own nation with a divinely given code of law, often called the Law of Moses. In this divine economy, there are no human kings, princes, or presidents. There is no governing body apart from God. Judges occasionally rise to adjudicate disputes and to deliver the people from external oppression.

Soon, God’s people turn on him and demand a king “like all the nations”  (1 Samuel 8:7). Though displeased, God allows them to have a king. Ideally, God would still be the ultimate sovereign. But in short order, we see faithlessness invade the throne, and God’s people begin a slow descent into wickedness. At the beginning of the reign of the fourth king, a schism divides the people into two distinct nations.

In the historical background, mighty nations have arisen and would soon enslave Israel. The larger of the two was captured by Assyria and the smaller, by Babylon. Seventy years after its capture,  the smaller kingdom is allowed to re-establish themselves in Jerusalem. Although frequently overrun by more powerful nations, Israel continues until the absolute destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. At that moment, and probably earlier, the governments of the world were fully secular.

Rome morphed into the so-called Holy Roman Empire, but it was as corrupt and wicked as anything seen before. Its governance was always rooted in humanity and never found itself anchored in the authority of God. The very existence of that Empire was an affront to Christianity.

Our point is that no human government is on par with God’s kingdom. Some are better than others, but in the end, all are inferior to “the kingdom of his beloved son” (Colossians 1:13). Therefore, we argue that any allegiance to our earthly government must be second to our citizenship in heaven. Any activity of a political or governmental nature must be viewed carefully through God’s eyes, not our own.

In coming posts, we will develop these ideas further. Please watch for future articles.


Recent legislative actions leave Christians aghast at the possibility that a child, delivered alive, could be killed without legal punishment. At the same time, some state legislatures are resisting federal courts and asserting their right to govern their states without interference from those courts. They are crafting very restrictive laws which would limit or abolish abortion for all but the most narrowly defined cases. They hope to force the U.S. Supreme Court to review their laws and dismantle abortion-on-demand laws that are common in our country. The outcome of such a ruling is uncertain. Still, abortion has regained its spot as the hot topic moral issue of our day.

Christians do not need to be confused about their role in this debate.

Jesus told his disciples that they were both salt and light (Matthew 5:13, 14). The undeniable application of these verses is that Christians must assert Godly principles where possible. In homes, in schools, in communities, and in the public square, the followers of Christ must affect their world.

Jesus was a Jewish man who lived under the occupation of the Roman empire. He had no input into the political affairs of the day. Even Paul, a Roman citizen by birth, had little input into the affairs of state (c.f. Acts 22:22-29). Today, our world is different.

A person born in the United States gains the right to vote at 18.  Even before that, he enjoys a “right of redress” provided in the 1st Amendment which recognizes the citizen’s undeniable right to petition the government to correct wrongs. It is this right, and the Biblical admonition to influence the world, that should drive Christians to petition on behalf of the most vulnerable among us: the unborn.

Life is the unique province of the Lord. He spoke humanity into existence. He began with plant life (Genesis 1:11, Day Three), then animal life (Genesis 1: 20, Day Five) and finally, humanity (Genesis 1:27, Day Six). But notice verse 26. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Man was fundamentally different from every other living creature God had created. The text shows that this newly created species was to have dominion over the rest of the creation. Man was different. He was special. Genesis 2:7 has God breathing life into mankind. He never did that with any other creature.

God controls the taking of life. Divinely ordained capital punishment is biblical. Paul writes that government, ordained by God, does not carry the sword in vain. He argues that evildoers should, therefore, be afraid of government (Romans 13:1-7). God even regulates combat and the taking of life in warfare. When nations warred without divine approval and leadership, failure followed (c.f. 1 Samuel 4, 5).

Let the reader see that life is precious to God. Humanity does not determine who lives and dies. Only God does. Therefore, we conclude that abortion is wrong for it encroaches on that which God has reserved for himself. We conclude that apart from the actual life of the mother, there is no acceptable rationale for abortion.

Let us fervently pray that abortion will end up on the garbage heap of social injustice like slavery. It is a stain upon our national character. Christians should use their influence with elected officials to bring an end to this despicable act.

Government Is Not What It Is Supposed to Be

Government is not what it is supposed to be.

You are probably not shocked by that statement. Corruption, self-serving agendas, and widespread narcissism are so common that we barely notice when they arise. In Alabama, we are finding that some Sheriffs are pocketing money supposedly given them to feed inmates in the local lockup. At the state level, we’ve seen corruption scandals affecting our state representatives and senators. Nationally…we’ll not even go there.

Government is not what it is supposed to be.

Government is not what God wants it to be either.

It is not that laws, rules, or regulations are bad. They are needed. The Law of Moses provided both civic and spiritual laws so that the new nation, Israel, could survive, function and thrive. The problem comes from the people who make and enforce the laws.

The original plan – God’s plan – was simple. He, alone, would be their King. They would live in harmony with each other and would turn to faithful Judges to resolve disputes. One of those Judges was Deborah. She held court under a palm tree in central Israel (Judges 4:5).

This system probably had its origins in the days of Moses when, at the advice of his father-in-law, he appointed respected men from among the community to adjudicated cases brought by the people. A system of appeals was created with Moses at the top to hear only the most complicated cases (Exodus 18:17-27).

Things worked well for a long time. But then something changed.

The people decided that God’s plan was not right for them. They wanted a King to lead them. Samuel tells the sad story in 1 Samuel 8. Part of the problem was that Eli’s sons and now Samuel son’s were not faithful to God.

When Samuel laid the people’s request before God he received an unexpected reply:

“Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them”

(1 Samuel 8:7 – emphasis mine).

Wow! Their rejection of God’s plan of governance was a rejection of God himself! The Lord continues to charge them with forsaking him and serving idols.  He warns them of what will happen:

  • Involuntary conscription into the King’s service (vss. 11, 13, 16, 17)
  • Swelling government bureaucracy (vs. 12)
  • Growing taxation (vss. 14, 15, 17)
  • Regret over their chosen governance (vs. 18)

Nevertheless, despite the warnings, the people wanted a king. Guess what? Every one of the warnings came true.

When God is no longer the king, trouble comes.

Today, God is no longer king. Today, God is even being pushed out of the public square. The result is corruption and evil at every turn.

So, what is a faithful Christian to do? Paul was clear:

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1)

I will be the first to say that I do not always like the laws and rules we live under. But, as a Christian, I am bound to follow those laws so long as they do not interfere with my faith. It gets a little sticky here because so many of things big government does are anathema to me. I look to the example of the original Christians who lived, worked, worshiped, and evangelized under the heavy hand of Rome.

If the church could grow and prosper under rampant persecution from a pagan government, we can grow today too.

Government is not what it is supposed to be. Pray the church will be.

Kingdom Thinking

earthly kingdom crownI have been thinking about the kingdom lately. I suppose that all of the tension among worldly kingdoms has me thinking about God’s kingdom of peace and security. From what I read a lot of believers are confusing the earthly kingdoms with the kingdom of Christ. That’s a big mistake and leads to some pretty horrible errors.

People are not alone in thinking that we – Americans – are special before God. America is blessed enormously, but America is not the chosen nation.

Jesus’ own apostles were confused too. After three years of preaching throughout Galilee, Judea, and Samaria they still thought Jesus was going to restore Israel to its former prominence. Read Acts 1:6-11. Our Lord was heading up the mountain to return to his prior home, and they were thinking about nationalism. A few weeks before the Jews rejoiced to see Jesus return to Jerusalem. They proclaimed him “King Jesus” and glorified his coming (Mark 11:9; John 12: 13).

Roger Dickson, in his Bible notes, refers to the nationalistic Jews who thought their redeemer would restore the splendor of the pre-Babylonian nation as a jewel among the nations. They were wrong then, and we are wrong now if we think the kingdom is a mere earthly government.

“Jesus answered: ‘My kingdom is not of this world…” (John 18:36)

God’s new kingdom had been preached by John the Baptist who declared it was near (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15). Jesus picked up the theme and preached the same good news (Matthew 4:17; Luke 4:43). The kingdom was coming. It just did not look like the royal procession they imagined.

The kingdom of heaven was to overlay all earthly rule, dominion, and kingdoms. It would not replace earthly kingdoms nor would it be centered upon the earth. It was a divine assembly of the righteous out of every tribe and tongue upon the earth (Revelation 5:9; 14:6; c.f. Acts 2:5-11). All nations would come into the kingdom (Isaiah 2:2). Paul says earthly rule will continue and must be respected by Christians (Romans 13:1 ff).

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. “

(Colossians 1:13)

According to the Holy Spirit, through Paul, the kingdom is no longer at hand but exists today. Citizens of that divine kingdom have been transferred by God’s power from denizens of Satan’s world to residents of the Kingdom of God. We have found the city with foundations (Hebrews 11:10; 13-16). Now, through steadfastness and with all glory to God, we are moving toward that beautiful habitation!

“…strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13)

Our time on this earth is brief. James says it is “like a vapor that vanishes” (James 4:14). We are just visitors, travelers who have no permanence here but look to return home. Because we are just visiting, we do not become encumbered with this world’s affairs. And, this is important, we have no interest moving here. We want and expect to go home one day. As the song says, “this world is not my home.” When we understand the kingdom of Christ and our place in it we will focus all of our efforts on revealing its glory to this world. We do what we can here and now to improve the world in which we live because we are the Lord’s salt (Matthew 5:13). But our goal is the kingdom of God.

Saber-Rattling & the Christian

saber rattling and the christian Tensions between the USA and North Korea are ramping up. News reports this morning report that the USA is sending nuclear capable bombers to South Korea as well as a missile defense system strongly opposed by the Chinese. In fact, China is reportedly re-thinking its policy against a nuclear first strike because of the missile defense system policy. Dark clouds are building over the Korean peninsula. Now, right now, is the time to begin praying specifically for peace. There is no good military outcome. Any combat will, and always does, result in the injury, maiming and death of innocents. Far more innocents have died in our recent wars than combatants. We must seek a solution that does not result in killing children. A single nuclear detonation on the peninsula would certainly result in multiple nuclear detonations in retaliation.

By the end of the first hour, casualties could exceed well over 100,000 people. In a global thermonuclear was, deaths could easily exceed 10,000,000.

There were many wars in the Old Testament. Examples would include Jericho, Ai, the Philistines, the Amelikites, et al. These were not wars over policy or politics. The conflicts were not motivated by gain. They were examples of divine judgement against the offending nations. When 300 Israelite warriors destroyed over 100,000 Midianite soldiers, It was God Himself who directed and fought the battle for Israel (Judges 7:1-8). We cannot point to the Old Testament to show that war is good. It is not.

So what can we do in the face of a nuclear-powered leader who seems more like a spoiled brat with a screw loose? The North Korean government is a tightly closed society that adores their leader like a god. There is no one to restrain him. What can we do? We must pray frequently and specifically for the leaders involved. I am asking for daily prayers for these people.

  • Donald J. Trump, President, United States
  • Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)
  • Xi Jinping, President, People’s Republic of China
  • Moon Jae-in, front runner in upcoming presidential elections, Republic of Korea (South Korea).

These names are odd to westerners but they may be the four people who can bring peace to the region. By praying now, we can beg our Lord to stifle the drumbeats of battle before thousands die. Our goal as Christians is to advance the cause of the Kingdom of Christ.  We are Christians first, citizens of the USA second. How can one spread the gospel in the hatred of war?

One more thing: When the lifeless body of a child lies in the dirt of a small village in a far away place, does it really matter whose fault the war is?

As always, your comments are welcomed and especially desired on this topic.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.

Expectations of President Trump

President Trump White HouseMuch ink (and electrons) has already been spilled discussing our new President. I don’t intend to re-plow those fields. He is your President and that is all there is to be said. I do want to talk about our expectations, especially the expectations of our conservative readers. It worries me that we have set the bar so high that only disappointment can follow. We expect too much from an election. Some have clearly taken a break from sound Biblical reasoning to vacation among the rejoicing voices. Let me explain.

President Trump Is Not Our Savior.

Donald Trump is a moral failure. To be sure, he may not be as bad as the other choice but there is no way that his behavior can be excused. Especially his claim that he does not forgiveness and therefore as never asked God to forgive him. We could add many other failings to that but John Piper has already done a fine job in an article he calls How to Live Under an Unqualified President and I’ll not duplicate his work further.

It is possible that the Trump administration will do much for our nation but he is not our savior. Jesus alone is. We all know that but it seems our enthusiasm gets the best of us. You can sure support him but not think he will solve all of your problems.

The United States Is Not Our Hope

Many of us have been troubled by the direction of our country. Unending wars, legalized sexual immorality. abortion, and a system that rewards the lazy have given plenty of angst. We desperately desire a better place to live. But our hope must not be based on our flag. Our hope is in the Lord. I suspect most of the things listed above will continue regardless of who is in office. If we center our hope on the flag we will surely be disappointed.

The sweet opening line of the old hymn says “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” The psalmist says, I will hope in your word” (Psalm 119:81). Paul reminds that in Christ “we have set our hope” (2 Corinthians 1:10). Peter says we have been “born again to a a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). No where do the Scriptures tell us to place our hope in our nation.

Jesus Christ is our Hope and Our Savior

We can expect that the Lord will always be true to his covenant promises. He has an unbroken track record of truth. His word is truth (John 17:17). Unlike the President, he has no moral failings. Unlike our nation he can deliver redemption that leads to salvation. His work is not temporary but lasts forever. The Christian needs no inferior view of redemption nor failed expectations. Let us keep our vision focused on Christ.

One wonders why we talk so much about politics and so little about faith. Why do we pray for soldiers and not for Christians who suffer horribly for believing that Jesus is the Son of God? I recently heard a prayer in worship in which the brother prayed and prayed for our leaders and soldiers. Then, as a 15 second afterthought, he prayed for the church. It is not that ought ignore our country or our leaders, indeed the Bible teaches us to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-4). I just suggest we reconsider our own expectations and priorities. Our kingdom is the kingdom of heaven!

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear your thinking. Please leave a comment.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at bryantevans.com. You can follow Bryant on Twitter @J_Bryant_Evans.