Behind several recent threads there is question that I ask myself. What is the biblical revelation of God's behaviour towards the nation state and what does he require of the nation state? In answering that question I have to ask myself what is a 'nation' as the Bible uses that word?The word that is usually translated 'heathen' or 'Gentiles' in the OT scriptures is the word 'goy' or its plural 'goyiim'. My Bible software tells me that the word is used some 559 times in the OT with various KJV words being used to translate it.Total number of verses = 511 [Strongs H1471] (559 total words) another = 1 Gentiles = 30 heathen = 143 nation = 109 nations = 265 people = 11 As far as I can tell whenever we get the word 'Gentiles' in the OT this is the word that is used. The first use may be helpful, especially for users of the KJV and NKJVBy these were the isles of the [u]Gentiles[/u] divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their [u]nations[/u]. (Gen. 10:5, KJVS) In this verse the same word is translated first as 'gentiles' and then as 'nations'. Israel too is called a 'nation' Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and [u]an holy nation[/u]. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Ex. 19:4-6, KJVS) This is an important verse as it shows God separating (making holy) a single nation from the whole family of nations. From this time forward the whole of humanity would be either from 'the' nation or from 'the nations'; they would be Israel OR the nations... the whole world from this point would be Israel and the Gentiles.Here is my first answer to my own question. Israel was a 'nation' which became God's nation. What kind of 'nation' was Israel before Sinai? It was a 'people group', an ethnic entity. It was a nation without territory and without the power of self determination. It was a 'nation' under the domination of another 'nation' but it was a 'nation' nevertheless. It had no legislature and no government, but it was a nation. It was a 'nation' within a 'nation' but it was still a nation. It was a 'nation' that became God's nation under the strict terms of a very clear covenant, but even before that time it was an identifiable people group.God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, (Deut. 4:34, KJVS)I hope this will not muddy the waters, but it was not simply a 'race'. One of my favourite OT characters is Caleb. He was chosen as the representative of the tribe of Judah when Moses sent 12 such representatives into Canaan to spy out the land. He obviously enjoyed the confidence of the 'princes of Judah'. The 'prince' of Judah at this time was Naashon, but according to the criteria of choice for the representatives each of the 12 Send thou men, that they may search out the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel. Ye shall send a man of every tribe of his fathers, [u]each a prince[/u] among them. And Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran: according to the commandment of Jehovah, [u]all of them heads[/u] of the children of Israel. (Num. 13:2-3, DRBY) There can be no doubt that Caleb was at the very heart of the tribe of Judah. The extraordinary thing is that Caleb was not a direct descendent of Judah; his father was a Kenezite. Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the LORD. (Num. 32:12, KJVS) and Kenaz was a descendant of Esau not Jacob. (Gen. 36:15) Whenever the scriptures refer to Othniel, Caleb's younger brother, they refer to him as a son of Kenaz. How could a descendent of Esau have become so embedded in the tribe of Judah that he became their unique representative at a time of crisis? Here is my hypothesis, for what it is worth... Pharaoh's invitation for Jacob to take up residence in Egypt was as follows And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. (Gen. 45:18, KJVS) Exodus 1:5 tells us that Jacob's blood descendants, who 'came out of his loins'were 70 souls, but the invitation of Pharaoh was not only for blood descendants but for their entire households; this would have included many who were not blood descendants but who were fully part of the household. If we recall Abraham's story we remember that these shared circumcision with Abraham. The multitude then that gathered at Sinai to become 'the holy nation' were not only blood descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob but included people like Caleb who was thoroughly integrated into the tribe of Judah, but whose ancestry was not forgotten.'nation' then, as used in the OT, is not race or bloodline. It is not statehood, or self government or legislature. It is not territory or defined borders. What is it? it is a 'people group', distinguishable from other 'people groups'. There are however times when the word 'nation' is used in a way which is much more in line with our modern concept. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. (Ex. 9:24, KJVS)And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. (Jer. 25:12, KJVS)And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. (Jer. 27:8, KJVS) But these are really 'kingdoms' and the concept of a modern democratic nation state is not to be found in the scriptures. In a modern democracy, as far as God perceives things, just where does 'the buck stop'. I really find it very difficult to map OT biblical concepts of 'nation' to our modern concept of the 'nation state in its own territory'. If we try to interpret Katrina as an OT style judgement, just where does 'the buck stop'? Please understand that what follows is not an attack on another 'nations' culture but should the judgments not have fallen upon New Orleans mayor? or its state governor, or on the Federal Government, or upon Mr Bush? Why is Idi Amin sunning himself in Arabia when his country when through two generations of bloodbaths as a result of his actions?And all this is just from a struggle to understand our own world from an OT biblical perspective; what about the New Testament which seems to have no interest at all in 'nation states'? Please 'talk' to me and explain why you believe what you believe in this whole area.For those, like myself, who see the images of Louisiana with a heavy heart and a cry for God's mercy may I point you to [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/article_pdf.php?aid=14837]time to pause and think[/url]. I wrote this the day after the Asian Tsunami before the body count was multiplied by ten. I 'felt' it was something God gave to me, perhaps for such a time as this...
Hi Bro. Ron,I think to bring fulness to this whole study it may be helpful to view the other side of the coin which is God's 'blessing' of a 'nation'. Much of the reason why many Christian American's view this as 'judgment' is because of an underlying belief that God has 'blessed' America, and all the goodness that America has achieved has been by the hand of God's blessing (so to speak). Modernists don't believe this, but most Christians do. Hence, the whole "God Bless America" and all the other like songs. To be consistent with this view- when great calamity comes- it is easily assumed to be God's judgment, especially when the behavior seems to parallel some of what we read about in Genesis 6 and Genesis 19. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever, etc. It seems to make sense, that as a City or America drifts away from God- that He would intervene. I suppose the full implication of what I am thinking (out loud here) is that we cannot rightly on the one hand say we are blessed of God as a nation, based on the belief that this nation was founded on Christian values by godly men, and then not think when the whole of the nation including the Church at large seems to be drifting away from God, that He would not likewise chastise? I doubt I could make a strong enough case to convince anyone of this from the New Testament, but it is truly the feeling of many. Make sense? God Bless,-Robert
_________________Robert Wurtz II
I suppose the full implication of what I am thinking (out loud here) is that we cannot rightly on the one hand say we are blessed of God as a nation, based on the belief that this nation was founded on Christian values by godly men, and then not think when the whole of the nation including the Church at large seems to be drifting away from God, that He would not likewise chastise?
Part of the reasoning behind my thread was the question whether or not the USA is a 'nation' as the Bible uses that word or whether it might not be a mixture of many nations.
That is to say God blesses the good and the evil; God is like that. He delights to bless. It is interesting that this verse does not say the opposite; that all share God's wrath against the evil man.
2And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deut. 8:2-3)
I believe that in preserving and purifying of a remnant and to make for Himself a glorious testimony, God sent famine as a mercy call to the nation of Israel during Elijah's time. It was, however, the beginning of the fall of Ahab and Jezebel.
Brothers, thanks for the discussion. I learned a lot. I want to sincerely thank you Philogos(sorry don't know your name and the other guy.I agree with the idea that the "Nation" concept is skewed. I like to point the issue of this Hurricane from a different light though. Whether a specific judgement or a judgement, or a natural occurence, HOW MUCH MORE CLEARER COULD IT BE FOR US TO BEND OUR KNEES AND GIVE IN TO GOD?INDIVIDUALLY AND CORPORATELY! If we can't learn of our feebleness of our hands and minds, When will we learn as a human race?I am only saying this in the light of what some are already heralding they are going to do. Remember during the Sept 11 attacks. And just a few day afterwards, what the President and the mayor said, that they would build a bigger and better building. and then, there were the bumper stickers that everytime I saw I wanted to weep that said: "THE POWER OF PRIDE". Just in the same fashion, some most probably will want to rebuild New Orleans, making its leeves bigger and Stronger and better. Because OUR FINGERS ARE OUR GODs. I personally could careless about the discussion of what a "NATION" is supposed to be,(though, again i am grateful for the insight)- what I am grieved about is this sense of pride - that we in our feeble hands can do anything with our hands. IF YOU THINK GOD WILL PUT UP WITH THAT, Look at Rome, Russia, and every other civilzation that lifted its nose and shaken its finger driectly or indirectly at God.About two weeks ago, i wrote a comment stating how wicked and sick we are in our thinking. Put your thinking caps on with me for a second.In the old days, multitudes worshipped the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, Clouds, just natural phenomenon. Oh we scoff at them now saying they were pagans. they don't know anything. NO! I say, there was a certain wisdom in that. They at least knew in and of themselves they would not be able to create anything with their feeble hands things that could make a change in their life. OH, but we are much better now because we can send people to the moon! Ok too much writing.. you get the idea... Please have mercy on us my Savior.starting with my ignorance and disobedience
good thread, brother philologosi appreciated these points -[b]Why is Idi Amin sunning himself in Arabia when his country when through two generations of bloodbaths as a result of his actions?Maybe you know that some see a strong correlation between Rome and Greece with USA and UK. There are so many similarities between our day and that of the early church that is sends a shiver up my spine.[/b]your reference to Idi Amin is such a good point to be reflected upon also, your reference to Rome Greece America Britain is great ...my main focus is actually studying historically america's place in the history of the west and what it means - in God's eyesi think your shivers are highly highly justifiedi'd always been just lumping britain in with america as both just a part of an overall 'rome' influence ... but i think britain as greece is excellent - it lines up quite well, i thinkthanks,baruch
It was a 'nation' that became God's nation under the strict terms of a very clear covenant, but even before that time it was an identifiable people group.