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God and the Nations -Part 1 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 15:14

"Nations" in this paper will mean “States”, geo-political entities, a people sharing a a single political and territorial identity.  It may well also be a union of peoples with different ethnicities and cultures and languages.  Many Nations in the Bible share many of the characteristics of States. The latter is usually what the most common word for "Nation" (GOY) means in the Bible. It applies to Israel and the "Nations" around them such as Egypt and Assyria, i.e.-they were geo-political entities. Thy were ruled by Kings or Emperors. There were no modern Nation-States or Democracies in the Bible. The type of Government is irrelevant to the definition.

[Note: a Study of Greek and Hebrew words for “Nations” is appended to this Essay]

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 15:20
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God and the Nations -Part 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 15:06

As a result of Christ’s death and resurrection, Satan is “bound” 20:2 restricted, not destroyed, for a very long time (a “millennium”- not a literal number).  That period is now.  His agents, the Anti-Christ (Beast from the sea), the false Prophet as well as Babylon continue his work in the world.  Satan’s power is not unrestrained. Evil in the world is strong, but limited, and exists only by the permissive will of God in Christ.

Christ ascended to the Throne after His Resurrection and has been actively reigning in this world ever since by Spirit and Word.   His Rule, the Kingdom of Christ, began more than 2000 years ago.  The End Times have started in the Now Times, but we need the eyes of faith to see Him at work in history. 

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Just War Doctrine (first posted on my Blog 2007) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Wednesday, 23 February 2011 09:24

The classic principles that have guided Christian discussion about war since Augustine (d.430 A.D.) are collectively known as the Just War Doctrine.  [There are several versions of it, as it has evolved.  Some of its ideas go back to the ancient Greeks, but all of them are Humanitarian or Christian Ideals]  This paper is my use of it to evaluate the War in Iraq.  It was very helpful and I hope you will find it so, as well.

"The most authoritative current expression of Just War doctrine is found in paragraph 2309 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  For any war to be just, there must be at least these criteria… at one and the same time:

*the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

*all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

*there must be serious prospects of success;

*the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 09:42
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Introduction to Civil Government: Biblical Principles (REVISED) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 04 August 2008 17:26
Many Christian writers on the subject of civil government focus on Freedom and Human Rights. They rightly teach that the Declaration of Independence, our Federal and State Constitutions and various Bills of Rights were all shaped by Biblical, Judeo-Christian, principles and values. These writers do not spend much time on Biblical Principles of Government; rather, they derive most of their Teaching about government from Systematic Theology. For example, they often say the foundation of all freedoms is the freedom of the individual. It is Christianity that teaches the value of the individual and its corollary, the equality of all individuals, by its doctrine of personal salvation (Christ died for all.)  Furthermore-
  • Christianity teaches personal choice (Whosoever will may..., etc) and this leads to freedom of conscience and religion and then on to separation of Church & State.
  • The separation of Powers (Executive, Congressional and Judicial), as checks and balances, is based on the Doctrines of The Fall and Human Depravity.
  • The concept of Natural (inalienable) Rights in the Declaration of Independence is derived from the Natural Law teaching of the Apostle Paul.

This paper, in contrast to the work of those writers, will simply outline Principles derived from the Bible that are vital to the subject of Civil Government. There are only a few of them, but they are extremely important and have enormous consequences.


THERE IS A THRONE (AUTHORITY) AT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

The Basic Concept: Government, as such, is from God. Early in the Bible (in the Pentateuch), we see several types of God-ordained government. Civil Government is but one of these. The first is the government of God Himself. God is the supreme Authority, the Sovereign and Governor of all Creation.  All legitimate Authority derives from Him alone.

  • God delegated His authority to rule the Creation, to have dominion over it on His behalf, to Man [Humanity] The naming of the animals demonstrated that authority
  • Husbands have God-given authority in a marriage. Parents, have it, in God's stead, over their children
  • Moses and his Elders had authority over all the Tribes of Israel collectively and the Heads of Families had authority over the Tribes individually. Later, Judges, and then Kings, ruled the Nation. 
  • The Levites were given authority in the Temple.

Rom 13:1 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.

Authority is intrinsic to Creation, not an anomaly or evil. By God's design, this is a hierarchical world throughout, not anarchic or egalitarian.  This means that force and coercion is essential to maintaining the Creation. But iit is not valid or necessary to equate force and coercion with violence or oppression, nor is Authority to be equated with Authoritarianism.

What is crucial is who exercises force (authority) and how, why and when.

1. God is the Highest Authority- The Kingdom, Power and Glory is His alone! He is Sovereign over all.

Daniel 7:14 ...to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

Matthew 28:18 Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

John 19:10 So Pilate said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?" 11 Jesus answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.


There must be, there always will be, Authority.  There was authority in Paradise. Adam and Eve
vied for authority over each other.  They exercised authority over their environment and wildlife.  Satan tried to wield authority over Adam and Eve. They found that the authority of God is over all.
Without God, authority will be either the individual or the State. Libertarianism is the ultimate sovereignty of the individual. Conservatism is the sovereignty of Traditions or Institutions- of the Elite. This, ironically, leads to the sovereignty of the State (or one of its Branches), which conservatives avow they do not want. Biblically, God alone is ultimate and supreme sovereign.

2. Kings [all governors] are to rule for God, as His representative and minister. This is true, even of pagan Rulers.

1 Chronicles 29:22 [after Saul and David passed]...they acknowledged Solomon son of David as king..., anointing him before the LORD to be ruler... 23 So Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king

Isaiah 45:1 Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, 31 ...it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. 4 I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. 5 I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, 6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.

Jeremiah 25:9 ...declares the LORD, ... Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant

Rom.13:2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed...3 ... the one who is in authority 4 ...he is God's servant ... he is the servant of God 6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God.

3. All people who hold authority are subject to God [not to the will of the People] and, particularly, to the Law of God. 

ISRAEL CHOOSES ITS FIRST KING

1 Samuel 8:4 (ESV) Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, "Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations." 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 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. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them."

10 So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 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. 12 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. 13He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 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. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves.... 19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, "No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD. 22 And the LORD said to Samuel, "Obey their voice and make them a king."

1 Samuel 10:15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD...20 Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, ... 24 And Samuel said to all the people, "Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen? There is none like him among all the people." And all the people shouted, "Long live the king!" 25 Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the LORD. Then Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his home.


4. If the Rulers did not “keep the Law”, eventually God's judgment [Justice] would come upon the Nation

1 Samuel 12:13 And now behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, the LORD has set a king over you. 14 If you will fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. 15 But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king.

19 And all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king." 20 And Samuel said to the people, "Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22 For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king."

Jeremiah 32:30...the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth. The children of Israel have done nothing but provoke me to anger by the work of their hands, declares the LORD. 31This city has aroused my anger and wrath, from the day it was built to this day, so that I will remove it from my sight 32because of all the evil of the children of Israel and the children of Judah that they did to provoke me to anger--their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 33They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction.

Jeremiah 44:17 But [the stubborn people said-] we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster.

22 [so the Prophet replied-] The LORD could no longer bear your evil deeds and the abominations that you committed. Therefore your land has become a desolation and a waste and a curse, without inhabitant, as it is this day. 23 It is because you made offerings and because you sinned against the LORD and did not obey the voice of the LORD or walk in his law and in his statutes and in his testimonies that this disaster has happened to you, as at this day."

2 Kings 18:12 [Israel was sent into captivity] because they had not obeyed the LORD their God, but had violated his covenant-all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded. They neither listened to the commands nor carried them out.

An ideal king [civil government] was modeled by Hezekiah-

2 Kings 18:5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. 6 He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. 7 And the LORD was with him; he was successful

The motto: “No one is above the Law” is a half-truth. The Law today may well be determined by Congress or Legislature or by the Supreme Court (if not the Law itself, the interpretation of it that is applied). That Law may be good or bad. The Biblical principle is that no one is above the Law of God. When individuals are sovereign, as in Libertarianism, all values are relative- they are individual values. The complete freedom of individuals (the philosophy of laissez-faire) is not a Scriptural or Christian value. When the State is sovereign there may be social stability, but that, too, is not a Scriptural or Christian value. In fact, true freedom and social stability are possible only when individuals and the State are both under the authority of God and the Law of God.

The role of a king [President, etc] was described in a prayer-

Psalm 72:1 Endow the king with your justice, O God... 2 [that] He will [rule] your people in righteousness... with justice.

5.Does all of this about ancient Israel apply to other nations, including ours, today? YES

The pagan rulers mentioned in the Old Testament did not know the Mosaic Law. However, they were still held accountable to God for their actions according to the most basic moral principles of that Law. See the stories of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:22f + 27f + 7), Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 25:9,11f), Belshazzar (Dan5), and the king of Tyre (Ezek 28)

The Apostle Paul tells us that God was just in His judgment of these pagan rulers, because Rom 1:19 what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that [Rulers] are without excuse. 32...they know God's righteous decree...

Rom 2:14 Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.

Pagans, whether Rulers or simply citizens, have “written on their hearts” a basic sense of moral “oughtness”. Yes, they have a “fallen nature” and they are “dead in sin”; but, they are still human beings and this inner witness of conscience is still present, as are all the other qualities of human beings, such as rationality and creativity. As Rom 2:15 says, they may well have great inner conflict over what is right and wrong and a sense of moral quilt, even if “hard-hearted”; but they still have an inner witness that some acts are morally horrific, while others are noble. This gives Believers “common ground” for discussion with their non-believing friends. This common ground is “General Revelation”. It requires Special Revelation via the Scripture to know the Gospel; nevertheless this “Natural Law” exists and it is the basis God has for holding pagan Nations accountable for their actions.

Rom 2:6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality. 12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

Absolutely, America is accountable to God for its actions, not simply on the basis of Natural Law, but on the basis of Scripture. This is a deep part of our Heritage and culture. We, as a Nation, can not plead ignorance of the Ten Commandments and we dare not claim autonomy from the God who dictated them!

6. People and Government are bound to one another by Covenant [not by Social Contract]

The Covenant that binds a Nation is not a "Social Contract" whereby Rulers legitimately rule only with the consent of the ruled.  A Social Contract requires mutual obligations on both parties. In addition, there are also mutual responsibilities for all citizens in living together as community.  This is good but it omits God.  Covenant includes Him.

The bond that held Israel together was a Covenant instituted [not negotiated or voted upon] by God with His People.  In turn, the People were bound together under the terms of that Covenant.  (See Exodus 19, the entire Book of Deuteronomy and Nehemiah 8-10).  This true of all Nations whether they acknowledge it or not.  It is particularly true of America.  It is our historical Heritage, the foundation upon which we began in 1620 and which is incorporated in our Founding Documents.

7. Civic Government requires a Constitution-

Not only is Government to be under Law, there is to be order- a system (again, see Exodus 19, Deuteronomy and Nehemiah 8-10).  The System will codify, amplify and apply the Law of God. 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 June 2013 15:06
 
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