God and Country? What Kingdom Are We of?

God and Country picI used to be a rabid right-wing supporter of Americanism and “God and Country” was my mantra. Looking back, I had put them on an equal plane in my thinking. I supported America getting involved in the Vietnam War “to save the world from communism.” After all, wasn’t atheistic communism the opposite of Christianity? But after spending three years fighting in that war I saw things a bit differently. What a farce! That war was all about trading the blood of our young men and women and exploiting another nation so huge multinational corporations with politicians in their pockets could make extortionist war profits, including the then President of the United States, Lyndon Johnson. The industrial-military complex that President Eisenhower had warned America about had taken over (see http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/eisenhower-warns-of-military-industrial-complex).

For me the real lesson learned was not political in nature; quite the opposite. When I totally surrendered to Christ in 1970 after coming home from that war, I was born of the Spirit of God. I no longer was of this world system ruled over by the prince of this world (John 12:31-32). When Pilate asked Jesus why His people wanted Him executed, His answer is very instructive, “My kingdom is not of this world.” When we are born from above we become aliens to this world and citizens of God’s kingdom (1 Peter 2:9-11), not of the kingdoms of men. As such, our hearts are now His and are not entangled with the things of this world (2 Peter 2:20). Jesus was no more a Jewish patriot than He was a Roman citizen. He made it clear that He only did what He saw His Father doing. He got His direction from a Source higher than even the Jewish law and those enforcing it, the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. This is why they hated Him! He was not subject to their control. His kingdom was not theirs, since they were of their father the devil and they did what he wanted, just as Jesus said they would (John 8:42-59). His blood was on their hands as a result (Matt. 27:15-25). Jesus told His disciples that as they walked by the Spirit as He did, they could expect the same treatment He got.

Christians, real Christians, need to realize what kingdom they are of and whose voice they follow. For the first 300 years, the early Christians were martyred wholesale because they would not swear allegiance to Caesar. They counted it joy to be persecuted in the name of Christ and His kingdom. How many of us Christians today are sold out to Him like that? Daniel saw it coming when he saw the image of a man depicting the world kingdoms whose feet were a mixture of clay and iron. The scripture makes it clear that iron represented the Roman Empire because the legs of the statue he saw were iron (see Daniel ch. 2). It also makes it clear that God is the Potter and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). What is clay doing mixed with iron? The churches of the world system today are still an unholy mixture of God’s people adhering to governments that descended from ancient Rome—the empire that incorporated Christianity into its pantheon of paganism to solidify its power. Yes, Emperor Constantine stopped the persecution of the Church, but he also killed its loyalty to Christ with an embrace that smothered God’s Spirit life right out of her and became the final word in all things pertaining to Christianity. The Church has been subservient to world rulers ever since.

“In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because AS HE IS SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD.” (1 John 4:17 RSVA – emphasis added)

“Father, please show us our hearts and just what spirit we are governed by who claim Christ as our Lord. Amen.”

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18 comments on “God and Country? What Kingdom Are We of?

  1. I was so struck by your statement that Jesus was no more a Jewish patriot than He was a Roman citizen, Michael. We could say in our own day that Jesus is no more a Republican than He is a Democrat.

    Yet too many seek to fit Him into one category or another — as if the Lord of Hosts could be limited in such a way! Is it our tendency toward legalism or the fact that checking off the “right” boxes is easier than living an authentic Christian life that makes such categorization appealing to us?

    Our role as citizens of God’s kingdom and, at the same time, inhabitants of earth poses a constant challenge. How are we to live in the world, yet not become “of” the world (John 17: 14-19)? The majority of us are not called to a cloistered lifestyle or suited by temperament to the constant contemplation of God. We serve Him in other spheres of life — for the most part striving to live out our faith, as Theresa of Lisieux expressed it, by doing the small and ordinary with great love.

    There is much truth to your observation about the organized church’s subservience to (and subversion by) worldly rulers. The religious persecution in England following King Henry VIII’s break with the Roman Catholic Church would be one illustration.

    But, as individuals, we have a moral and ethical obligation to act according to conscience. That may require taking a public stand on principle…even at great personal cost. Thomas More was martyred for that very reason. The Quakers have adhered to pacifist beliefs since 1660. More than a few Quakers actively opposed the Vietnam War.

    We may not all hold identical political views. This though is what being “the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5: 13) and “light of the world” (Matt. 5: 14) involves. As Michael Youssef has put it, “Being salt and light is not optional.”

    Your sister in Christ,

    A.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you, Anna. Yes, Jesus is neither a Republican or a Democrat. He is not even an American! If we are of HIS kingdom we should be a transformed people that shine in the world. We should follow His leading in our hearts as long as HE has put His heart in us, otherwise the heart can be “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” as Jeremiah said.

      What happened during 9/11 in NYC was terrible, but did it justify killing thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan since? I still remember that “holy” confab at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. right after 9-11 and how all the major religious leaders were there with all the generals, admirals and politicians in an effort to sanctify what America would do next, the Gulf War. And what did it all accomplish? What war always does, Vietnam is unified under the communist now. North Korea is a constant treat to South Korea. The Russian bear is on the prowl again. Iraq was destabilized and is now overrun by ISiS and will soon be part of the Islamist Caliphate with Syria and the rest of that region. America is in a blood feud that will never end until Christ returns. The whole world situation reminds me of a song I heard in the early 60’s by the Kingston Trio…

      “They’re rioting in Africa.
      They’re starving in Spain.
      There’s hurricanes in Florida and Texas needs rain.
      The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.
      The French hate the Germans.
      The Germans hate the Poles.
      Italians hate Yugoslavs. South Africans hate the Dutch
      And I don’t like anybody very much!”

      Your observation about the murders created by the feuds of Anglican vs. Catholic, Presbyterian vs. Anglican, Presbyterian vs. Quakers, etc. brought to mind a quote that is so true,

      “The Institutional Church has killed only two kinds of people: Those who do not believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, and those who do.” — Will Durant

      William law said it best, “When religion is in the hands of the mere natural man, he is always the worse for it; it adds a bad heat to his own dark fire and helps to inflame his four elements of selfishness, envy, pride, and wrath. And hence it is that worse passions, or a worse degree of them are to be found in persons of great religious zeal than in others that made no pretenses to it.” –William Law

      God has no religion or political party! Jesus came to establish our Father’s kingdom of love for all mankind, not another religion. Yes, we can be in the world, but not of the world IF we have the heart of Jesus in us and He has removed our old Adamic hearts of stone which divides and hates. We can manifest His love for all as HE leads us and that love is not a love for our friends only and people we agree with, but also for our enemies as Jesus said. God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thought unless we have the mind of Christ functioning in us. The natural man we are born into is not able to do the works of God, but Christ in us is.

      Keep loving and serving those He puts you in touch with, dear sister. You are a blessing to us all,
      Michael

      Liked by 5 people

  2. Every authentic living stone who endures in intimate union into and within Christ, knows with perfect faith, that his Fathers kingdom is not of this world. A living stone does not need to be convinced of this. A living stones intimacy, continually uninterrupted within, abiding in the substance of the Holy Spirit, is heavenly experience, not earthly. The systems of this present age (gov)are obscure, almost a deceptive illusion, compared to the living stones heavenly life experience, moment by moment.

    When world systems of government, or, flesh maintained religious systems, irritate, frustrate, or cause a living stone to be led in this disdainful disgust spirit, within, that living stone departs from the peace, rest, love and joy, in the kingdom of Christ. Beware! of the “anti/against” spirit of the flesh!

    I produced a video of this truth Michael, here is a link. I produced it by some of what Father revealed to me, during the time He gave me, in Idaho.

    Brother, I’m inwardly thankful for the freedoms in America, simply thankful, to my heavenly father, for the freedom, that we grew up in.

    Love Brother Russell

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Russell, I also am grateful for our freedom. But a country that uses its “freedoms” to become amoral and fight against our Christ, THE Rock upon which all other stones draw their life, no longer deserves to stay free.

      “…the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land: Because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break all restraint, and bloodshed touches bloodshed. Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwells in it shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fish of the sea also shall be taken away.” (Hosea 4:1-3 KJ2000)

      I will try and watch your video later today. Glad that something positive came from your time here in Idaho,
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Sandra Perkins says:

    Very interesting , Michael . Just this morning I read from Daniel . I really think Christians should not be politically minded but set our mind on things above rather than things of earth. Jesus is our 1st love.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Yes and amen to the whole post, Michael. 🙂

    That comparison between iron and clay is a very good one. I never heard of it before and I am grateful you pointed out an article by you and George which offers a deeper understanding (http://awildernessvoice.com/ClayFeet.html). I love particularly these quotes from your article:

    “It is God in His sovereignty who shapes us. We are not formed by a harsh iron tool that forces its will upon us but by the gentle hands of the Master Potter as He forms vessels ready for His table.”

    “Just as God did not call the Children of Israel out of Egypt to make a kingdom in the wilderness, but to go all the way into the promised land as, neither is He going to leave His people who come out of “her” standing in barren wilderness (see Rev. 17:3). Jesus gets the final word.“

    Just adding another quote of myself from my latest Facebook entry two days ago (as you might remember).

    “If Jesus had wanted to rule this earth, He could have easily changed the Roman empire into the Kingdom of God. But He didn’t since He did not come into this world in order to establish moral laws as it was in Old Testament times. The Kingdom of God is invisible and we may only enter it when we have received a new heart from God on which He wrote His Law of Love.” ❤

    Liked by 5 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Susanne, you got it! Those things which are seen are temporal, but things like love, faith and hope and the kingdom of heaven are eternal. At seventy years old, I am only interested in those things which go on into God’s kingdom for eternity and as such I am not interested in re-arranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship while the band plays, “Nearer My God to Thee.” All this American pulpit preaching about getting involved in trying to save this country with the arm of the flesh, political action, is just that!

      “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3 KJ2000)

      Thank you so much for your comment, Susanne. ⭐

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re very welcome, my brother! I so like what you said here,

        “I am not interested in re-arranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship while the band plays, “Nearer My God to Thee.” All this American pulpit preaching about getting involved in trying to save this country with the arm of the flesh, political action, is just that!”

        Ha! That made me grin, Michael. 😀 But you hit the nail smack on the head, in a striking and humorous way. Very good! ⭐

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ken Dawson says:

    Yes Susanne that facebook quote of yours backs up Michaels post very well.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Michael says:

    This article was re-posted on FaceBook by a sister named Becky McLendon, a wonderful sister in Christ we have known in Texas years. Another sister named Traci Carson commented on it there and here is our exchange. Below her comment is my reply:

    Traci Carson wrote:

    This is very good. We’ve said similar. May we apprehend who we really are, and where our true citizenship is. And may we also realize that each one of us in Christ have a responsibility in the natural country we’ve been placed in. Indeed we are not of this world, but we are in it. I know this much, what America and other nations have been, will not be again. When the righteous make a stand and turn the people back to the One True God, the nations will be in right standing before the Lord. His panoramic view is of the kingdoms in this world. The world is His and the fullness thereof. It is His purpose that they become His kingdoms and of His Christ (Rev.11:15).”

    Michael Clark wrote:
    Traci, Thanks for your comment. (She referred to this verse,) “The earth [Grk. ghay – the globe] is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.” There is the earth and there is the kosmos which is the kingdom of Satan. It was translated world as in “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31 KJV)

    Thayer’s Greek Deffinitions defines kosmos as:

    “6) the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ
    7) world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
    7a) the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ”

    As for your statement, “And may we also realize that each one of us in Christ have a responsibility in the natural country we’ve been placed in,” here is the rub. Yes, we are to pay our taxes, pray for our leaders and obey the laws, but what drummer will we march to? Will we obey all that our country requires us to do at the sacrifice of listening to the voice of God and doing what He requires of us in HIS kingdom? This is what Peter and the apostles were up against the first time they were arrested for preaching Christ in Jerusalem after Pentecost. “Whether it is better to obey man or obey God, you be the judge.”

    More and more the kingdoms of men are becoming anti-Christ and restricting Christian religious freedoms that the early church clung to, often at the cost of their lives. We can expect the same if we obey the Spirit and manifest Christ’s kingdom in this kosmos system.

    You quoted part of Rev. 11:15, “The kingdoms of this world [Grk. kosmos] are become [the kingdoms] of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

    The Greek word translated kingdoms is:

    basileia
    Thayer Definition:
    1) royal power, kingship, dominion, rule
    1a) not to be confused with an actual kingdom but rather the right or authority to rule over a kingdom
    1b) of the royal power of Jesus as the triumphant Messiah
    1c) of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom

    As you can see this is not about physical kingdoms, but about the right and authority to rule over the kingdoms. Christ’s rule will be established over what was once the kosmos rule of Satan [This verse has nothing to do with national boundries]. Jesus said,

    “If the world [kosmos] hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also.” (John 15:18-20 RSVA)

    My God, my Savior and those who are His are not of this kosmos!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The political union that the 501c3 sets in stone between church and state is finally going to be dissolved. I call it the tax evasion agreement. All for the want of mammon.
    The homosexual marriage made legal by the state will eventually force churches to perform the weddings by threat of losing their tax free mammon.
    May be forced to close the dens of thieves. Oh happy day. The ‘pastor’ may have to go get a job. See: Acts 20.
    Christians may be forced to meet in homes or on the river bank. One can only hope!
    The word says that ‘judgment must begin at the house of God’.
    God wants to replace the adored ‘pastor’ with Himself. What a novel thing that would be.
    Jesus allowed to lead and conduct the gathering. Let’s pray this is where this all will lead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Samalabear says:

      I agree. It will be a good day. I left the Catholic Church finally. I know there are really good folks, who think they can “clean it up from the inside,” but I read the article on this site “The Clergy System.” [by W. Carl Ketcherside – http://awildernessvoice.com/ClergySystem.html ]

      It really does hit the nail on the head.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Thank you for your comment, Sam. That article by Carl Ketcherside does nail it for sure. This whole system that has come down to us today, both Catholic and Protestant, has taken over 1700 years to design and ingrain itself into the minds of men. What makes us thing that we can change it back into what Christ established 2000 years ago in our lifetime? The mother of harlots and her daughters are under a curse. Why? Jesus said it quite clearly:

        Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” He answered, “Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:12-14 RSVA)

        Like

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Devon, I agree. The best example of what you are predicting is what happened to the church in China when communism outlawed organized religion in that country. The western missionaries fled and the government took over the church buildings for communist party meetings and forced the real church to go underground. The result was the rise of the strongest rebirth of true Christian fellowship and growth in the world. The REAL church thrives on persecution and it purifies its ranks.

      ‘When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Ico’nium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:21-22 RSVA)

      Like

  8. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you, Bro. Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

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