I’m still surprised by how often scripture directly challenges my seemingly normal and appropriate beliefs and practices. Recently, I have been encouraged to examine how I (and the church) relate to our nation and it’s leaders. My only standard for testing the validity of my beliefs is scripture…the refining furnace of God’s eternal word. Fortunately, the issues of nationalism and politics are addressed clearly and directly by both Jesus and Paul, leaving no room for legitimate, biblical debate. If Jesus and Paul say it, I believe it, even if it goes against EVERYTHING I have been taught and practiced for decades. May God be true…and every man a liar. Romans 3:4
I adore the United States and would never want to live anywhere else (except maybe Costa Rica). I was a huge supporter of Republican presidents from Reagan to George W. Bush, and I greatly enjoyed studying and debating public policy. However, a few years back, as I was studying the Scriptures relentlessly, preparing to embark on my new career as a street minister, I began to notice clear and unambiguous statements about God’s perspective on this dying world versus the one to come, where we will rule and reign with Jesus Christ, in paradise…forever. While we are taught to fervently pray for our leaders, we are never taught, either directly or by example, to take part in politics or become entangled in governmental affairs.
When I examine the quotations of Jesus that can be applied to issues of nationalism and politics, one thing becomes clear – His kingdom is not of this world, therefore, neither is mine.
In the verse below, some of his followers wanted to make Jesus their king. His actions in response to this, speak as loud as his words:
15 When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. John 6:15
While no explanation is given to us in John 6 (above) regarding why Jesus doesn’t want to reign as king on earth, the answer is provided for us later in the chapter:
36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36
Although we know that God is sovereign in all things, the gospels teach us exactly what our rebellion in the garden cost both us and him:
5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Luke 4:5-8
Whether or not we want to accept the unambiguous truths stated above, this world is Satan’s due to our rebellion. We, through Adam, rejected the instructions of the God who made us and loved us, and instead chose to follow His enemy. Jesus can and does reach his hand down to help those that are His, but in terms of temporal authority, we see that, whomever is in charge, no matter what party, the doctrines of demons are propagated. For some it’s abortion, for others (like the current president) it is (among other things) the LBGTQ agenda, which he proudly and vigorously promotes. Many will ignore this fact, because the future of America is more important to them than the proliferation of the gospel, but the plain truth is, whether right, left or center, the Antichrist agenda is moving forward, and nothing can stop it. IT IS WRITTEN. His kingdom is not of this world….
When we examine Paul’s life, we do not see any attempt by him to influence or even be involved with any type of temporal power structure. He preached the gospel to them, but he wanted no part of the man-made systems they represented. Paul made it clear: he lived for an eternal kingdom, one whose builder and maker was God, and while he labored diligently for God while on earth, his hope, his treasure and his crown…were in heaven.
When I read Paul’s letters in the KJB, especially the pastoral epistles, it becomes clear that Paul is concerned about: sound doctrine, preaching the word, boldness, rebuking false teachers, and the blessed hope…the glorious return of Jesus Christ. What is glaringly absent, is any concern for the power structures of this world. In fact, when addressing Timothy, his beloved son in the faith, He says:
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:3-4
Paul is making the point that we as Christians are to view ourselves, not as propagators of a political agenda but as soldiers for Jesus Christ. He even states, as clearly as possible, that we are NOT to become entangled in the affairs of this life. What this means, among other things, is that we are not to invest our labor in the short term machinations of politics and government. Instead we are to fix our eyes and hearts on eternity. Paul knew well that a concern for the things of Earth, which will ultimately be destroyed (2 Peter 3), would only serve to pull him away from the gospel and away from the realities of an eternal heaven, and an eternal hell.
Many believe that Paul wrote Hebrews, but regardless of the author, we are told exactly what we are to focus our minds and hearts on:
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:1-3
It is important to note that Paul didn’t teach us to ignore government entirely. In fact, he made it clear that we have a duty to sincerely pray for our leaders:
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Interestingly, the purpose of these prayers isn’t so that we can control, manipulate or even take over the government. Rather, the goal is to allow us to live quite, peaceable lives, doing what his letters so powerfully exhort us to do – preach the word boldly, while caring for the weak, the lonely and the poor.
America is my dwelling place, and I am extremely grateful for our Constitution and the freedoms it allows…but it is not now and never will be my home. I…we, are sojourners on the earth. We are, as Paul says, strangers and pilgrims, as we move ever so slowly to an eternal city, one whose builder and maker is God. May we lay aside the cares of this rotting, malignant world, and fix our eyes on Jesus, and HIS glorious kingdom, where we will dwell with Him in joy and peace…forever.
I chose not to vote for president in the last election, and it has borne great fruit for Jesus Christ in my vocation as a street minister. I have had many people scream at me, assuming that I am a Trump guy, and asking me why I don’t go tell HIM about Jesus. I calmly smile, and tell them that I never have and never will vote for Trump. As a result, I have had several people who would never otherwise even consider the message of the cross for one second, listen to what I have to say, and even take strong gospel tracts. THAT is what truly matters…contending for the eternal souls of precious men and women. I’d trade one atheist taking a tract for my vote any day. This place will burn. May we render unto Cesar what is Cesar’s, but otherwise may we all focus our eyes and hearts on Jesus and our families.
While the founders of America knew that the Bible and Judeo-Christian values were the only basis for a truly civilized society, few if any, expressed a sincere belief in the actual gospel of Jesus Christ. Consequently, while America has had unprecedented peace on our shores, and became an unparalleled venue for the creation and development of technology and luxuries, evil has also flourished. While the true gospel has been spread throughout the world by the numerous technological platforms developed in the US, the false gospel has also been spread worldwide by the likes of TBN and other false Christian media. Furthermore, the technology that will be necessary for the Antichrist’s economic and communications systems would not be anywhere close to what they are today without American ingenuity and cash. This government that we love so much (when our guys are in charge) uses our patriotism against us (Patriot act, etc.), by creating the type of surveillance that will be needed in the end to control the world’s population. Satan is brilliant, and he is always working. He plays every angle, and he plays them well – from handsome televangelist to violent murderer. So let us turn from this dying, world and it’s wicked ways, and focus on the glorious reality of eternity.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
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