The Limits of Patriotism
Dec 15, 2006
In recent decades, large sections of the evangelical and pentecostal churches have been persuaded by Bible prophecy teaching to become avid Zionists. This has resulted in a seismic shift where Christians have taken upon themselves a Crusader mentality, where they view Muslims as "the enemy," and "the infidel," rather than viewing them as people who need Jesus Christ.
Christian Zionists have come to identify themselves so closely with the Israelis that they think of themselves as being AT WAR with Muslims. Once that mindset has been accepted, they are willing to justify all sorts of oppression, murder, theft, and lies, because that is how war is conducted.
It is said that the first casualty of war is Truth. Propaganda is an act of war, and governments view lies as virtuous behavior. The end justifies the means. Government cannot trust the people with the truth of a situation; they must present the "enemy" in the worst possible light in order to rouse their patriotism to fight the wars that certain leaders want to be fought.
Patriotism is also a Christian virtue--and rightly so, within the bounds of biblical law and the love of Christ. But we ought to keep in mind that patriotism can also be deadly, as in the case of Jeremiah, who was persecuted and imprisoned for his unpatriotic view that the people should submit to King Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 27:12).
Christian citizens of the Kingdom of God are truly patriotic only when they bring God into the equation, for God raises up and destroys nations. Patriotism, as currently defined, demands that we fight God's agents of judgment.
Having said that, I will say also that it is not a sin to be in the armed forces--not even if the cause for which they are fighting is ultimately fighting the purposes of God. The responsibility before God rests with those who are in authority, because authority and responsibility are always given in equal measure. A soldier is under authority and is responsible only for actions within his sphere of authority.
Many soldiers are in Iraq today and are doing a great job according to their levels of authority. I applaud them and I support their work. Reports, however, indicate that once in a while there are needless massacres, tortures, false imprisonment, and general mistreatment. Anything that does not manifest the love of Christ is sin. I do not subscribe to the idea that a soldier must learn to hate his enemy in order to be an effective soldier. Hate is not a Christian virtue, for if it were, then hatred would not eat away at one's insides.
The pictures at Abu Graib prison a few years ago were absolutely appalling to me. There is no way that a Christian can justify forcing Iraqi prisoners to strip down and pile on top of each other to simulate homosexual acts. I don't care if the person is the world's worst terrorist. Nothing justifies such unchristian behavior, even if men's carnal minds justify it as a means of obtaining useful information.
In early Christian history, there was a case where an entire army in the service of Rome, made up of Christian soldiers, was executed because they refused to sacrifice to Caesar as a god. There are limits to what a soldier may do, even when ordered by those in authority over them. These are the limitations that each Christian must discern for himself and act according to his own conscience. It makes me wonder if perhaps the soldier who blew the whistle on the Abu Graib scandal might have been a Christian. Obviously, his conscience was violated, and no doubt there were some who would like to kill him for exposing their mistreatment. I think we ought to erect a monument to honor him (or her). It should be declared in public to be a patriotic duty to expose such things.
The maxim: "My country, right or wrong" is only true to a point. Yes, right or wrong, it is still my country. I am still an American whether or not the nation is under divine judgment. And I must therefore suffer some of the consequences of that judgment. Yet Jeremiah's example shows us that God knows the ones who object to national sin (unjust laws and immoral "rights"). For this reason, he protected Jeremiah and a few others (Ez. 9:4) even in the midst of divine judgment.
In time of national judgment, it is especially important to draw near to God and to cry out to God for all the abominations being done, as Ezekiel 9:4 puts it. This is what separates normal Americans from God's people.
I have written in the past that September 11, 2001 was the day that God removed His hand of protection from us as a nation. It was not done because of the sexual sins being done here. It was not done because of the laws allowing the slaughter of the unborn. No, there are other judgments for those sins. The date of 9-11 had to do with American foreign policy since 1948. Our support of injustice toward the Palestinians has had a series of consequences, one after another, and it has finally culminated with this so-called "War on Terror."
The Iraq Study Group's report linking the Iraq war with the conflict in Palestine is absolutely correct. The Zionists are outraged, and President Bush wants to ignore that part of the report, but that does not alter the actual facts.
The point is that America came under divine judgment on 9-11. In my view, it appears to be the final great judgment that will culminate either in the destruction or repentance and restoration of America. In my view, America will repent and be restored, but the left hand of God will continue to judge us until that day happens.
In other words, we are not really in a war against terrorists. We are in a war against God--and have not yet figured that out. We think we are fighting terrorists, but in fact God has raised them up to judge us for our own sin. When we have repented, then God will deal with the terrorists, removing them one way or another.
Meanwhile, as a nation, we are as blind to the sovereignty of God as the Jews were in the first century. They thought they were fighting Rome, when in fact they were fighting God who had hired Rome to judge Jerusalem for refusing to obey the word of Jeremiah to submit to God's judgments (Matt. 22:7). They were called "evil figs" for refusing to submit to the judgment of God that had been rendered and that was being executed by the king of Babylon. In the first century, the same occurred when they refused to submit to Rome, the iron kingdom that God had empowered as the fourth beast nation in Daniel 7.
Today, America is guilty of the same sin. Most do not understand that God is judging America, and so they have decided to fight His judgment. This time He has hired the so-called "terrorists" to judge us, and we have reacted again with patriotic fervor instead of repenting before God.
Yet I do retain an optimistic view of the final results. I do believe that God is about to pour out His Holy Spirit upon us that will turn our hearts and cause us to repent. I do believe that God will bring the President to his knees, and that he will see that he has been manipulated by his Zionist cabinet to repeat the basic sin of Zionism. That basic sin is the attempt to reverse God's judgment (the iron yoke) without repenting. I covered this in detail in my book, The Struggle for the Birthright.
America has been under a wooden yoke, as described by Jeremiah (ch. 28). Up to now, we have been allowed to remain in our land under the yoke of Mystery Babylon set up in 1914. But in the matter at hand, in our foreign policy, we are moving quickly toward the point where we might come under destructive judgment of the iron yoke. I do not believe this will happen, but only because I believe that God will intervene. I have no confidence that men will change apart from divine intervention.
Dr. Stephen Jones