Christian theology, Christian politics, Freedom Theology
Summary- Is God actively engaged in His Creation or does He only act as a passive observer? Does God actually rule over the nations?
God Rules Over The Nations
The idea that nations can do whatever they like even in disobedience to God without Him responding in some way defies the very nature of an intelligent Creator. Disngagement in Creaton by an inteligent Creator would seem to be most un-intelligent! If our Creator is intelligent, and we say that He is, it is self-evident that He will never play a passive or disinterested role in His Creation.
God is the one who establishes the “thrones”, or rulership, of the nations. (2 Samuel 7:12-13 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.)
God gives the rulers of the nations but so many days to “get it right” before He decides to remove them and, even if they do get it right, they obviously can’t live forever, so a change in rulership is always a future inevitability.[sam id=”2″ codes=”true”]
Make no mistake, God is absolutely in charge! Even if a nation rejects God, He holds them accountable to His righteous standards. (2 Chronicles 20:6 And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?)
One of the key principles of God establishing a ruler over a nation comes from how we know God has dealt with the nation of Israel. If God is not changing it stands to reason that He doesn’t have one way of dealing with one nation and another of dealing with other nations.
While in details, every nation, like every person, might have a unique covenant with God, every person and every nation has an opportunity to enter into a covenant with God on the basis of the New Covenant.
In 2 Chronicles 13:5 it reads “Ought ye not to know that the LORD God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?”
What is this “covenant of salt” and is this a typical means by which God chooses to bless the rulers of other nations?
There are three passages that mention a “covenant of salt.”
Numbers 18:19 reads, “All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the LORD, have I given thee, and thy sons and thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD unto thee and to thy seed with thee.”
Leviticus 2:13 reads, “And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.”
Salt does two things, it adds flavor and acts as a preservative. Jesus tells Christians that we are to be the “salt of the earth.” Matthew 5:13 says, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
The Bible says in Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
God commanded Israel that every sacrifice was to be seasoned with salt as a sign of their Covenant with HIM (Lev. 2:13, Ezek. 43:23-24). Even the Holy ingredients used for the incense offering were to have salt added. “You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure and holy” (Ex. 30:34-35).
In ancient times, a covenant of salt was used to seal alliances between nations- the final treaty was ratified by each side taking a lick of salt to signify that any differences between them were healed.
A covenant of salt, therefore, is a formal agreement between two nations in which they agree to certain things on the basis that any differences between them have been healed.
If God uses this standard practice with Israel, in particular the House of David, to establish His unique covenant with that nation and heal any differences between Him and them, which is His Grace and Forgiveness, it stands to reason that this approach is not a “one-off” approach, it is standard practice!
While God has a special place for Israel, He has given each nation their own allotment of space and time to find Him, to serve Him, and to enter into a relationship with Him.
Genesis 10:5 By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.
Genesis 10:32 These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood.
Deuteronomy 32:8-9 When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
Acts 17:26-27 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.
Clearly, God has plans for the nations, He is NOT a passive witness but a pro-active and involved Creator who seeks to draw men, as individuals and whole Nations, to find Him and serve Him.
Indeed, God sees us and hears us, and even responds to us, while watching what people and nations do.
Proverbs 15:3- The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good
Hebrews 4:13- Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight
1 Peter 3:12- The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers
There should be no doubt that God is actively engaged in His Creation!
Here are a few samples from Psalms about God, His Kingdom, and His reign over everyone and everything on this earth-
Psalm 45:6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Psalm 103:19 The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
Psalm 145:12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.
Psalm 145:13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
Does God rule even over the godless nations that are not willingly submitted to His authority, and does He hold them accountable for failing to obey His call to submission?
Daniel 4:17 shows us, “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”
God wants “the living” (people alive right now) to KNOW that He rules IN “the kingdom of men.”
It is true that God’s Kingdom is “not of this world”, but it is not true that God is not in charge, as if the nations can behave any way they like without reference to Him and His Word!
As we see from Daniel, God chooses rulers, He may even choose “the basest of men.” Why?
Well, consider what Ecclesiastes 10:16 says, “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!” In other words, a nation is under a curse if its rulers act like self-indulged children.
Since God ultimately chooses rulers, or allows them to rule, it is reasonable to say that when rulers who act like self-indulged children are allowed to rule over a nation that this is the hand of God. So, when God is moving against a nation that denies Him, part of His judgment against them will involve letting a ruler who acts like a self-indulged child have power.
The plain truth is this- that God is not a passive observer but an active Creator and that, while HIS Kingdom is not “of this world”, He is in fact actively in daily authority over the nations, holding them accountable to His righteous standard and offering to each their own “covenant of salt.”