Originally Posted July 4 2016
Has the term “Nation” changed from Old testament times to New testament times?
When discussing religion, people AGAINST religions usually are quick to bring up the extreme methods of dealing with people who turned against God… Stoning, eradication, etc. I will be the first to admit this is an area I have always struggled with this… It seems so disturbing at times to read about a sinner and their family being killed out and I am not certain if I will ever fully understand this side of heaven… This raises the question though, what impact does this have on our current day structure.
While thinking of this, I noticed an interesting difference between the nations pre-fall of Israel, and post fall of Israel…
Pre fall of Israel, we see the term “Nation” used in a very strange sense… It is a family… And a club almost…. We see people added to the nation when they share the same beliefs. (Abraham) We see people given the opportunity to leave the nation if they don’t agree with the beliefs (Joshua) These bonds are taken seriously, and as such, to defy them would seem to be a betrayal of the very nation itself… But then post fall of Israel and more prominently into the new testament and modern day, we see a change of what nations are. No longer are nations about ideals as much as about land area.
Many Israelites were held captive or lived in areas that held very different beliefs than their own. Who spat on their beliefs. Paul and the apostles actively went out into these nations by choice to preach to these people.
So did God tell them to kill all who refused to repent? No! In fact they were told to serve with the best of their abilities and quite often saved the nation they were in!
Is this a complete departure from how God had been working up until now? Actually no… If we read the old testament we see several times where similar reactions took place. Be it Abraham passing through other nations, or Joseph in Egypt… In fact for all the nations the Bible covers there are very few times God actively says “Wipe them out.” There is defending against the phillistines, and there is the taking of the promise land… But when it is not in defence there is another subtle hint. “God’s Wrath.”
God specifically tells the Israelites not to attack certain nations when His wrath is not ready… Why is this important? While it never goes into too many details of that nation’s spiritual history, it suggests that God had been actively giving that nation many chances to turn back to them.
God many times says he is angered or disgusted by the acts of a nation… But it is never because of the race of that nation. What does anger God is continued running away from him and what does disgust God especially are those who claim they know His ways better than the scripture says.
So how does this apply to modern day? You don’t really have that much control over your nation…. Maybe an idiot is being voted into leadership… Maybe politicians got trapped by their own manipulations…. Maybe laws are being passed that go against what you believe. So what do you do? Do you rise up against the government? Do you force the country to listen to you?
God says you are a citizen of that country. Respect its laws and love its people. God says give that country your very best and love the people in it. So realize it is not your place to control the minds of those around you. God allows nations to rise and fall. It is not your failure that causes bad things to happen but God’s plan to let His name be praised.
At the same time, remember you are FIRSTmost a citizen of God’s kingdom… You must respect the laws of the land and the ideals of those around you. You do NOT have to agree with them or live with them yourself.
Daniel prayed proudly when it was illegal, His friends refused to bow to an idol when it meant they would burn. The church refused to stop preaching Jesus when they were threatened a torturous death.
YOU ARE NOT A SERVANT OF THIS WORLD! YOU ARE A MEMBER OF A FAR GREATER AND FAR LARGER KINGDOM!
Do not let the demands of the nation you currently preside override the instructions of the kingdom you swore allegiance to. This world can only do so much to you. You serve a far more powerful God than the can even touch.