How and When to Establish a Christian Nation: Part 5
Dec 28, 2006
There is a difference between a Christian Nation and the Kingdom of God. In terms of biblical types, it is essentially the difference between the reign of King Saul and the reign of King David.
The Church attempted to establish Rome as a Christian Nation after the fall of pagan Rome. They succeeded by the end of the fourth century. But they failed to establish the Kingdom of God. In later centuries, many European nations became "Christian" in the sense that they came under the authority of the Roman pontiffs. But submitting to men is not the same as submitting to God.
One of great keys to understand this distinction is knowing the story of King Saul, for that is the prophetic type being fulfilled by the Church. Throughout the book of Judges, God ruled Israel directly. Whenever they fell into sin, God judged them by putting them into captivity to various nations. By the time of Samuel, Israel had spent over a third of its history in some sort of captivity. They finally became tired of God's high standard, for he would not tolerate their worship of other gods.
So finally, in the days of Samuel, the people demanded a king like the other nations had. Samuel objected, but we read in 1 Sam. 8:7,
"And the Lord said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them."
In other words, they wanted a man to rule in place of God, a "vicar of Christ." They rejected the direct rule of God and wanted a man to represent Christ to them. Thus, Saul was chosen to be their king, and he became the type fulfilled first in the Church of Rome and later in virtually all denominationalism, for all human rule over others is political.
God says that this is a rejection of Him as "being king over them." Saul ruled a "Christian Nation" called Israel, for the original Law-giver was Yahweh, who "became my Yeshua" (Exodus 15:2). Likewise, the Roman pontiffs ruled Christian Nations later--for the same reason as Israel had been given a king. The people had rejected Christ's direct rule over them. Their hearts preferred an indirect relationship with God through the Church.
In Samuel's day, God attributed their motive to idolatry (1 Sam. 8:8), because idolatry is the desire to worship gods other than the one True God. So this was repeated in the Church without their realizing it, because they did not understand the story of Saul. They did not realize that Saul was a Pentecostal type. In their minds they were establishing a Davidic-type kingdom, but in fact it was only a Saul-type kingdom.
This is a prime example showing us how a lack of biblical knowledge can have a far-reaching effect upon the entire history of the Church and the course of world history itself.
The last thing we, as aspiring overcomers, would want to do is to repeat the mistakes of the past. But in order for us to do better than they, it is crucial that we eradicate from our hearts the spirit of idolatry that has plagued our forefathers. This spirit of idolatry caused Israel to want a king TOO SOON, and so they received a Benjamite rather than a Judahite as their king.
You see, the story goes back to Genesis 38, when Judah begat twins through Tamar, his daughter-in-law. The twins, Zerah and Pharez, were born out of wedlock under immoral circumstances. The law in Deut. 23:2 says that such a one could not "enter into the congregation of the Lord" until the tenth generation. David was the tenth generation from Pharez (Luke 3:31-33).
Furthermore, since Judah was given the Scepter (Gen. 49:10; 1 Chron. 5:1, 2), he was called to provide the kings that would rule over Israel. Because of his sin with Tamar, he was unable to do this until the tenth generation. That is why God picked a man (Saul) from the tribe of Benjamin to rule Israel when the people demanded a king too early.
Saul was thus doomed to failure from the beginning, for he was not even of the tribe prophesied to rule Israel. His rule was temporary.
When we come to the New Testament, we find a very interesting fulfillment of this Old Testament type. Jesus ministered primarily in Galilee among the Benjamites who had settled there after the Babylonian captivity. The men of Judah had settled south of Jerusalem (Neh. 11:25-30), while the men of Benjamin had settled to the north of Jerusalem (Neh. 11:31-35). And so in later years, the nation was divided in two parts: Judea and Galilee (with Samaria dividing them).
Jesus' disciples were primarily from Galilee, with the notable exception of Judas Ish-Kerioth, the "man from Kerioth-arba," (Hebron). He was of Judah. He was later replaced by Paul, the Benjamite (Phil. 3:5). And so it appears that virtually all of the apostles were of the tribe of Benjamin. Not only did this fulfill the prophetic role of Benjamin as the "light" to Judah (1 Kings 11:36), but it also fulfilled the type of Saul, the Pentecostal Benjamite.
I wrote in my book, Who is Jew?, that the Church was really an extension and continuation of the nation/tribe of Judah, because the "good figs" were those who followed the King of Judah, Jesus Christ. Perhaps it might be more accurate to say that the Church was the tribe of Benjamin led by their Judahite King. In this way it was truly an extension of the entire nation in Jesus' day--the combination of Judah and Benjamin.
To this might be added the tribe of Levi, since Matthew was called Levi and was probably of that tribe (Mark 2:14). The Levites served as minor government officials, and so he was hired by the Romans as a publican, that is, a revenue agent (Luke 5:27) for the fishing industry in Galilee. So Jesus' disciples truly did represent the three tribes present in that land.
Getting back to our subject at hand, we see that even as Saul was a Benjamite, called to rule temporarily, so also the Church under Pentecost had a Benjamite origin in Galilee and was called to rule temporarily during the Church Age.
Even as Saul started out well and then degenerated in his second year, so also the Church started out well and began to degenerate (morally) in their second Jubilee cycle (82-131 A.D.). The Sword of the Spirit was largely lost during that time, and Christian leaders began to rely more and more upon force, coercion, and carnal persuasion.
This has continued to the present day with a few brilliant but brief flashes of light when the Holy Spirit would move among the people in various "revivals." The temporary Pentecostal authority of King Saul finally ended November 30, 2000, while the election of President Bush was still being argued in court. His "Skull and Bones" name at Yale was "TEMPORARY." It was a perfect exclamation point upon the end of Pentecost's authority.
Like Israel of old, the Church under Pentecost has had to wrestle with heart idolatry manifesting as a desire (or "need") to be ruled by men representing God. Israel's request for a king affected not only them but also the Church. In both cases, they wanted an earthly king too soon and received a temporary solution.
But Pentecost has now run its course. Saul is dead. Ish-bosheth, son of Saul, is also dead. We have transitioned into the authority of the overcomers representing David. It is now urgent that we prepare our hearts to know the Gospel of the Kingdom, so that we know how to conduct ourselves as administrators in this new era of history. Part of this preparation is to understand the difference between a Christian Nation and the Kingdom of God, for it is largely the difference between the Kingdom of Saul and the Kingdom of David.
This is the fifth part of a series titled "How and When to Establish a Christian Nation." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones