Christianity and International Relations 2: All Nations Under God

Missionaries make the Best Ambassadors:

The second part of a Biblical covenant structure, is hierarchy. God has established a hierarchical structure of authority to govern His three covenantal institutions: church, State and family.

May He also rule from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth. Let the nomads of the desert bow before Him, and His enemies lick the dust. Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. And let all kings bow down before Him, all nations serve Him (Ps.72:8-11).

We know that God is three Persons, yet also one Person. He is God, yet He is plural. Mankind also is one, but many. We are divided religiously, racially, geographically, culturally, and in many other ways, yet we are all one blood. We are all sons of God by birth-disinherited sons. Salvation is by adoption: God adopts the formerly rebellious back into His family through Jesus Christ, and we become sons of the inheritance. Therefore the dividing line within humanity is not blood (or race) but ethics. Every person is either a disinherited son (like Cain and Esau), or an adopted son, through the sovereign grace of God shown to us in Jesus Christ.

The dividing line between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan, in terms of the nations, is the same. It is not a case of blood, or geography, but covenant. Which nations are sons of the covenant? With them, we will have fellowship.

Christ’s victory at Calvary in principle reclaimed the ownership of the whole earth from Satan, and it legally transferred this certificate of ownership to God’s people. The certificate of ownership is the New Testament itself. The New Testament is a covenant: a legal document. It assigns the inheritance to God’s adopted sons (John 1:12). The boundaries of this nation of nations in principle are the whole earth. Though sin will restrict a perfect working out in history of these boundaries, the goal of Christians all over the world should be to work toward this goal: the creation of a formally covenanted confederation of Christian nations under God. God’s kingdom must triumph in history over Satan’s kingdom. Christ’s nation of nations must triumph over Satan’s empire of empires (HON, p.51).

Just as the builders of the tower of Babel had “the same words” (Gen.11:1), the covenantal basis of Christian institutional unity will be a common confession or creed. This could be as simple as “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil.2:11). The only possible source of empowering for this kind of institutional unity can be the Holy Spirit.

Allegiances to God begin with individuals, families and churches. It must be a “bottom-up” process, but ultimately it must finish up with the nations of the world. Liberty and justice for mankind, is not merely an individual issue, but with implications for families, communities and nations. Does this suggest a theocracy? Of course. (Every government is essentially a theocracy, depending on the values of those in power.) But it is a “bottom-up” theocracy, not imposed from above. For a nation to refuse to confess Jesus Christ as Lord, is implicitly to confess Satan.

Consider what Paul was doing. He was going through the Roman Empire preaching the kingdom of God. The Jews were correct in charging the disciples with preaching another King, Jesus. That is exactly what they were doing. And in the end, pagan Rome fell to Christianity. The triumph of Christianity did mark the end of the pagan Roman Empire. Christ triumphed over Caesar in history through His people.

Was Paul an isolationist? Hardly. He was an ambassador of Christ’s international world order. He warned his listeners of the judgment to come. Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords.

This is the message of God’s internationalism. This message repels humanist internationalists as much as it repels humanist isolationists. It means that God will destroy their pretensions of autonomy. The Biblical answer to humanist internationalism, humanist isolationism, and humanist nationalism is Biblical covenantalism. The covenant is primary. Every institution must be reconstructed in terms of the Biblical covenant. This includes international relations (HON, p.75-76).

God’s Holy Mountain:

Isaiah 2:2-3 typifies the mountain is God’s dwelling place, His house. It is the place where He teaches us His ways. Out of Mt. Zion goes God’s law. It is the covenant law of God that subdues the nations. This process of subduing the nations begins with self-government under law, but it does not end there.

What is this mountain? Clearly, it is the institutional church. The institutional church preaches God’s Word. Out of the institutional church flows the law of God. The passage does not teach that the institutional church will control the world. On the contrary, it is the people who obey the law that flows out of the church who will subdue the earth. This is the notion of godly decentralisation. It is God’s Word that brings Christians victory over His enemies (HON, p.156).

This is what began on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was poured out on the representatives of the nations, who then returned to their respective nations as representatives of God’s heavenly kingdom. It is the missionary who above all, is to announce to the pagan world the two-fold judgment of God: blessing and cursing. It is therefore the missionary who best represents a Christian nation in a foreign land. He is the full-time servant of Christ’s kingdom who is best equipped to mobilize grass-roots support in favor of Christian freedom and against the tyranny of Satan’s empire. He is best equipped to begin the bottom-up process of evangelism that ultimately leads to the establishment of a covenanted confederation of Christian nations.

The office of ambassador (described by Paul in II Cor.5:20), is primarily as a representative of Christ. This office is the model for civil ambassadors. It is not that the office of civil ambassador for some earthly kingdom has become the model for the Church office of witness-ambassador. On the contrary, the Church office of witness-ambassador is God’s model for the civil government’s office of ambassador. The witness-ambassador is the person who brings God’s covenant lawsuit before the people and kings of rival kingdoms, as Jonah did. It is crucial to notice that Jonah did not ask Nineveh to submit covenantally to Israel. He informed them of God’s requirement that they surrender unconditionally to God (HON, p.158).

In a seriously Christian international world, the national witness-ambassador of a Christian nation invites the representative leaders of pagan nations to enter into a peaceful alliance (though not yet a covenant) with Christian nations, thereby giving time for missionaries from Christian nations to preach the gospel to the pagan nation’s people. Then, steadily, as the gospel brings converts into the Church, the once-pagan nation is transformed. Upon becoming officially, covenantally Christian, it is then invited to enter the family of Christian nations on a covenantal basis. It is not asked to subordinate itself to any other nation, but it is asked to subordinate itself to the Christian nations’ covenanted appeals court system. This is Christian internationalism, and it is the standard of foreign policy set forth in the Bible (HON, p.159).

We are all colonialists. Christians promote the colonization of the world under God. Humanists promote the colonization of the world under Satan. Christians do not promote the colonial ambitions of any single earthly nation, but instead promote the creation of a world Christian civilization…the answer to false colonialism is God’s colonialism: discipling the nations under God’s heavenly commonwealth (HON, p.173).

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