This is from the blog Richard's Watch:
Dave Chapman on Nationhood
It seems to me that too many Christians are afraid of standing up for our – or theirs, as the case maybe – Country. “We don’t like to get involved with politics”, we may hear, or “we are citizens of heaven, so therefore do not engage on that level”, for instance.
However, whilst ‘being political’ has to do with government and its desired nature, owning Nationhood I believe, is something quite different. Getting involved with which ‘party’ runs, rules, or governs our own Nation does involve being ‘political’, or having a ‘preferred party’ bias. But being involved with defending our own Government from other Governments, so that we make our independent and individual choices, is not ‘political’ in the true meaning of the word. That is purely standing up for our own Nation – which is also quite different from ‘Nationalism’.
Yet, there is a fine line between standing up for our ‘Nation’, and ‘Nationalism’. Here for instance, are the online dictionary definitions to help :-
Nationhood, is described as:-
“the fact or status of being a nation; national identity, culture or economic life”. (Oxford dictionary, online)
“the state of being an independent nation”. (Websters Dictionary, online)
“Nationhood is the state of being a nation, or a large group of people united by common language, culture or economic life”. (Your Dictionary, online)
“the state or quality of having status as a separate and independent nation“:(Dictionary.com)
Whereas ‘Nationalism’ is described as:-
“loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially : a sense of national consciousness (see consciousness 1c) exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups” (Merriam-Websters Dict, online)
“ideology based on the premise that the individual’s loyalty and devotion to the nation-state surpass other individual or group interests”. (Britannica Encyclopedia, online).
So we can see from these definitions that being a Nation, or having Nationhood, is a fact of life. It is a state of being as a people, and operating as an independent ‘mass’ of people from other nations, whereas Nationalism is an ideology proceeding from a form of childish pride that “our nation is better than yours“!, and so displaying a superior attitude – with a desire to impose that culture and values on other Nations or peoples.
We can see that this latter approach is the root of an ‘Empire spirit’, which has manifested itself throughout the centuries over and over again. Examples of this are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Roman, and of late the extremes of pre-War Germany, also Russia, and by the way, Britain, with its one time global Empire upon which there was no setting sun!, and finally since then, America, with its incursions into other Countries with a view to establishing democratic ideology.
Where Did The Idea, Or Fact Of Nationhood Come From?
For this though, we need to go back a long way! After the flood, from which just Noah, his wife and their three sons – with just one wife each(!) were saved, their families grew quickly. Genesis 10 gives us a list of their children, grandchildren, and so on. Quite a list that descended from Ham, Shem and Japheth. In verse 32 of this chapter it concludes with “These are the clans of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, in their nations, and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood”.
At that time we understand they were speaking the same words and language (11 v 1), though as they migrated east they came to a place we now know as Babylon (Babel), in modern-day Iraq. With the bitumen they found there, and the bricks they made under the baking sun, they conspired to build a city and a tower “with its top in the heavens”. And, “let us make a name for ourselves”… “lest we be dispersed throughout the whole earth” .
Here we see their ambitions for themselves. a) to build the world’s biggest tower! – sound familiar? b) perhaps even to reach into the ‘spiritual realm’ by themselves – modern-day multi religions and the occult, and c), to become important (make a name for themselves) – Nationalism, which exalts man and not God.
In our Genesis account we read that the Lord came down to see the city and the tower they had built (v 5) and He said “Behold they are one people, they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them” “Come, let us go down and confuse their language so that they may not understand one another’s speech. Therefore the place was called Babel” “So the Lord dispersed them from there over all the face of the earth” (v 5-9).
They obviously therefore spread across the earth with those they could understand, and with their subsequent population growth, sooner or later became known as “Nations”, since they had their own language, culture, and governmental form, whatever way that was expressed – though in those days mostly in the form of a Chief or King with his counsel. These things determined their identity. Individual, yet valuable.
Setting Up and Establishing Nations and Boundaries
Moses, when speaking the words of a song included this phrase, “When the Most High gave to the Nations their inheritance, when He divided mankind, He fixed the borders of the people..” (Deut 32 v 8)
Again, Paul in Athens stated “From one man (Adam), God made every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place…” (Acts 17 v 26)
This could not be clearer. It was God who scattered the people across the face of the earth, gave them land they could inhabit and prosper in, and set up their boundaries as individual nations. There is nowhere in the Scriptures – (of Truth, that is) – that He has revoked this set up, or removed the boundaries of the Nations. They are there today. As we have seen far too often in our lifetime, war breaks out when high-minded people, or Nations, try to change these boundaries causing terrible consequences, with much injury and death.
The Latecomer Nation!
After Moses spoke about the Nations and their inheritances, he spoke of Israel in more affectionate terms like this:- “But the Lords portion is His people, Jacob (Israel) His allotted heritage” – Deut 32 v 9. But, Moses own lament was that already – even before they entered the promised land – “they scoffed at the Rock of their salvation”… “they stirred God to anger with strange gods”…”you sacrificed to demons”… and, “you forgot the God who gave you birth” – (all in Deut 32).
Yet, still He caused them to enter the Land of Canaan at that time! But, only because of His covenant to Abraham concerning the Land, and because of His promises to “bring them out of Egypt….to a good and pleasant land….to the place of the Canaanites” Exodus 3 v 8.
The Lord also knew that following entering that Land they would depart from Him, resulting in Him having to kick them out of the Land into all the Nations of the earth, so, rather than make a Covenant over the Land just with a mere man, even though Abraham was a great man of faith, He left him out of the event – a blood covenant – so that Abraham slept through it, and instead God made it with Himself! Then, He gave the Land to Abraham because of an unbreakable covenant concerning the Land, a matter on which Abraham needed re-assurances! (Read Genesis 15 v 7 to 19).
And so Abraham’s descendants came to inherit the Land because of Gods promises. It is precisely because of this specific Covenant, and His promises, that in this last century Israel have again become a Nation in the Land that God gave Abraham, on the very same one Moses spoke of and Joshua took, and again the same one Ezekiel spoke of much later as he became the mouth piece God used to prophesy “TO THE LAND ITSELF”! (see Ezekiel 36 v 1, 4, 6). Why to the land? Because the land itself was bereft of its intended inhabitants once Gods people, as a result of their unfaithfulness to Him, including rejecting His own Son, had been sent to dwell among, and hounded among, the Nations of the earth.
Unbroken Covenants and Promises
But our God cannot break His Covenants, nor His promises, on which they are based, so that we see Israel are again established in the Land He gave them, as a Nation State. He set their boundaries, which mark you, are much wider than they are at present! It is an offence to the Lord that the Nations speak of them inhabiting some parts of the Land as ‘occupied land’. It belongs to them, because God gave it to them, and though He kicked them out again almost 1900 years ago, they HAD to come back again because of Gods covenant and promises to them, and to the very Land itself!
And, this statement is not my lone view. In an ‘only just come to light’ ruling in 2013 this is what an Appeal Court in Versaille, France ruled, over a dispute concerning the light rail construction in Israel:-
“The Court of Appeal of Versailles ruled that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is unequivocally legal under international law, dismissing a suit brought by the Palestinian Authority (PA) against Jerusalem’s light rail built by French companies Alstom and Veolia
To rule on the suit, the Court of Appeals had to determine the legal rights of Palestinians and Israelis in the region. Their conclusion was that the Palestinians have no right – in the international legal sense – to the region, unlike Israel, who is legitimately entitled to all land beyond the 67 line.
The story goes back to the ’90s, when Israel began work for the construction of the Jerusalem light rail. The tender was won by French companies Veolia and Alstom. The light rail was completed in 2011, and it crosses Jerusalem all the way through the city”. (Israel is the Legal Occupant of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, Rules Court of Appeal of Versailles)
Wow! that’s something quite amazing, but kept hidden from the Press, or by the Press, for several years. So it’s not occupied land, but owned land, that is recognised by a Court of Law in France! (I have also heard that land taken from an attacking enemy when defending what you already have, does not have to be returned under present International Law).
Have We Entered An Era Of The Return Of Nationhood?
Even as I am writing this, by email I receive ‘Richardswatch’ latest blog Fulfilled Propecies #15 – UK’s & USA’s Identities and Destiny. In it he quotes what I had already intended to include in this article, that which Donald Trump – yes, that man! – said in the interview for the Times with Michael Gove “People, countries, want their own identity, and the UK wanted its own identity”. It’s that simple. There is something about Nationhood in the heart of every man and woman it seems.
Consider the sporting world. There seems no greater honour or achievement for an individual than to represent his/her Nation at the highest level. Whether it’s in the Olympics, or Football World Cup, Rugby World Cup, Tennis, Sailing, Cricket, Commonwealth Games, or whatever. The list is endless, and the personal pride to represent your Nation, huge. Though we occasionally witness outbursts of anger in the highly competitively charged atmosphere, all these events are fought out in the most peaceful terms. Winning for your Country is probably their most treasured occasion in life.
It seems there is a just cause, placed there by Almighty God, in the heart and mind of every person, because He created the Nations, for identity of belonging, purpose, and destiny. He intended to bless every one. Part of that blessing is to value our own Nationhood. It is a vital part of the sense of belonging.
I am also convinced that as we accept Israel as a legitimate and God formed Nation, back again in the Land of Israel, we shall see much greater blessing upon our own Nation. The promise to Abraham was that as men blessed him, God would bless them. That applies to Nations too.
On the News round-up on TV I saw this headline on one of the tabloids “Brexodus”! Its a pithy slogan, yes, but it does remind me of what the Lord prompted us on when we first began to pray earnestly in March last year about the then upcoming Referendum – that of Moses saying to Pharoah “Let My people go” in what became their Exodus. Even tabloids are returning to Biblical stories for their headlines! God is doing something in our day.
With our return to ‘Nationhood’, there arises such an opportunity for our God-given heritage, that of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to bud and blossom in our Land again. For righteousness to spring up again, not with any sense of condemnation upon those who have forsaken that, this time around, but with an attractive lifestyle which others desire. The blessings that follow such a lifestyle are too numerous to list, and are thanks to our wonderful God who freely granted us forgiveness when we came to Him recognising we had strayed from Him.
We are in the process now of leaving the EU, hence the Brexodus label, awaiting only issuing the declaration of Article 50 of the Lisbon (EU) Treaty. Lets pray, whether we were personally for or against the result, for Gods blessings on us in course of the negotiations, and that the peace of God will cover all the talks and engagements.
It will be very difficult for the EU to make us any offers at all, as they do not want to be seen to hold up ‘carrots’ for other EU States presently considering their own Membership, to also go for an exit! But, in context of a Brexodus, lets pray we come out loaded down with benefits similar to those the people of Jacob did when they left Egypt thousands of years ago!
We want to see Britain again as carriers of Gods blessings so that we can bless the rest of the world with the freedoms He has invested in us as a Nation, primarily that of the Gospel, with all the resultant freedoms that brings. We can gladly say to the Lord “For You and for Your Kingdom”, “Your will be done”. These are incredible days, and the scene is well set for God to move in unprecedented (in my lifetime) ways in our Country for His name and purposes.
Dave Chapman 19th January 2017
- Dave is also the author of The EU’s Background and An Alternative and Thoughts and Prayer Points on the US Constitution and Election.
- Further reading, A Biblical Basis for Brexit