IF MY PEOPLE . . .

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
The United States is not found in biblical prophecy. This article relates the interpretation of 2 Chronicles 7:14 to Israel, the nation to whom this prophecy was directed by God.

Submitted: January 01, 2009

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Submitted: January 01, 2009

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IF MY PEOPLE . . .

 

Text:  2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. KJV

 

 

SOME DEFINITIONS

 

angelic conflict: a prehistoric battle between God and Satan that runs its course throughout all of human history and reaches its conclusion at the end of human history.

 

dispensationalism:  a principle of biblical interpretation in which human history is viewed as being divided into four different periods, each period having its own unique set of rules by which the people of that dispensation are held accountable to God the Father for the resolution of the angelic conflict.

 

five generation slide:  that period of time covering the last five generations of time reaching from this present day back to the mid-1800’s; that period of time in which Christian spirituality degenerated from a generation of maximum spirituality into a present generation of moral relativity.

 

human history:  the appeal phase of Satan’s trial.

 

SOME HELPFUL INFORMATION

 

The Angelic Conflict as the Backdrop of Human History

 

Nothing in life makes any sense until the angelic conflict is understood.  The angelic conflict is the spiritual battle that began in eternity past when the creature, Lucifer Son of the Morning, known as Satan, rebelled against God the Father whose plan it was to create in the first place.  When Satan rebelled his rebellion offended the Absolute Righteousness of God the Father, and the Father’s Justice condemned Satan to the lake of fire.  Satan appealed his condemnation, and God the Father decreed human history and the creation of man to resolve this conflict.  Man was created lower than the angels with purpose.  If man created lower than the angels would be obedient to God during his respective dispensation, that obedience would answer some of the objections that Satan had to his condemnation in eternity past.  By the end of human history, every objection that Satan raised about his condemnation will have been so sufficiently answered by man’s obedience that God the Father will be justified in sending Satan and the fallen angels to the lake of fire at the end of human history.

 

The angelic conflict, then, is the backdrop against which all of human history is being lived.  It is the angelic conflict that enables us to make sense out of every circumstance of life.  Keep this conflict in mind throughout this entire document.

 

Introduction

 

I can understand how non-dispensationalists might misapply our text to the United States of America, but it is horrifying that dispensationalists should do so.  This document will do two things:  1) Offer a possible explanation for why some dispensationalists misapply our text to the United States; and, then, 2) Offer an interpretation that shows why this text should not be interpreted and/or applied to the United States.

 

WHY DO SOME DISPENSATIONALISTS

MISAPPLY OUR TEXT TO THE UNITED STATES?

 

Dispensationalists, and I am one – but not of this ilk, generally focus their dispensational hermeneutic on the eschatological portions of Scripture – you know, differentiating among the rapture, bema seat judgment, Tribulation, second advent, millennium, and the great white throne judgment.  Their view of dispensationalism is so narrow that they neglect its application to the field of pneumatology that relates itself to the moment-by-moment walk in the daily Christian life that has a direct effect upon the Christian’s blessings-in-time and rewards-in-eternity.

 

Dispensationalists may even be motivated by an attempt to show the amillennialists the error of their way because the amillennialists view the rapture and the second coming of Christ as synonymous terms, both referring to the same event that they believe occurs at the end of human history, namely, “Here comes the judge!”

 

These views fall far short of God the Father’s perspective on human history.

 

LAW/FLESH-ORIENTATION VS. GRACE/SPIRIT-ORIENTATION

 

Christians must come to grips with the fact that Israel is never the Church, the Church is never Israel, the rules that guided Israel are unique to Israel, the rules that guide the Church are unique to the Church, and although there may be similarities between the two sets of rules, it is their dissimilarities than make them unique to their respective dispensation.

 

Here’s a principle:  The moment anyone confuses Israel with the Church or the Church with Israel, he or she places the Church under some degree of bondage to the Law.  God forbid!  Israel is Law/flesh-oriented, but the Church is Grace/Spirit-oriented, and these two orientations are as different as night and day.  Israel’s Law-orientation is always carried out in the energy of the flesh.  The Church’s Grace-orientation is carried out in the power of the Spirit.  Law and grace, flesh and Spirit are mutually exclusive.  The

moment Law function is introduced into the Church as a way of life, grace function is destroyed for that moment.  This is the meaning of “fallen from grace” in Galatians 5:4.  Falling from grace is not a reference to loss of salvation.  It refers to abandoning grace in favor of Law.  It refers to abandoning the function from the source of the Spirit to function from the source of the flesh.  Please, get Israel out of the Church and the Church out of Israel lest you destroy the very nature of the Church and destroy its function in the resolution of the spiritual battle known as the angelic conflict.

 

ISRAEL AND THE UNITED STATES

 

Israel is not the United States and the United States is not Israel.  Spiritually, there is not relationship or connection between Israel and the United States.  In no way should they be equated.

 

A SERIOUS LOOK AT OUR TEXT

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. KJV

 

The Context of Our text

 

2 Chronicles 7:1-14

1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.

2 nd the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD's house.

3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD.

5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.

6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.

7 Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat.

8 Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt.

9 And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.

10  And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.

11  Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king's house: and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.

12  And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.

13  If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

14  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  KJV

 

CONSIDERING OUR TEXT

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. KJV

 

 1.  The first word “if” implies “maybe they will and maybe they won’t.”  It recognizes volition, and volition is the most fundamental principle in resolving the angelic conflict.

 

 2.  The word “my” is a possessive pronoun whose antecedent is “Lord” in verse 12.

 

 3.  My “people”????  Hhhhmmmm?  Who might they be?  Americans?  Christians?

Unbelievers?

 

Could “my people” possibly refer to Americans?  Absolutely not.  2 Chronicles was written in the 5th century B.C., and the United States did not come into existence until July 4, 1776.

 

Could “my people” possibly refer to Christians?  Absolutely not.  Our text is an Old Testament passage, and there are no Christians in the Old Testament.  There were no Christians on the planet until Acts 2.

 

Could “my people” possibly refer to Unbelievers?  Absolutely not.  Unbelievers as a general category of people are never referred to in Scripture as being God’s people.

 

How much clearer can this be?  Does not the context of our text indicate that “my people” are God’s people, Israel?  In case there’s any doubt, please read the context, and explain why or how someone might believe that “my people” refers to anyone other than God’s people, Israel.

 

 4.  The phrase “which are called by my name” does not refer to a proper noun by which God is called and then ascribed to the people of the nation of Israel.  The sense of this phrase is:  “which are dedicated to me.”

 

 5.  The following phrase contains four factors by which Israel as a nation of people could catch the ear of God: “shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways.”  Note the four factors:

 

· humble themselves

· pray

· seek God’s face

· turn from their wicked ways

 

 6.  The following phrase contains three results that stem from the four factors just mentioned:  “then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

 

· God will hear from heaven (their prayer)

· God will forgive their sin

· God will heal their land

 

 7.  Who is “their” in “their prayer,” “their sin,” and “their land?”  Does “their” refer to “Americans?”  I think not!  Does it refer to “Christians?”  I think not!  Does it refer to “Unbelievers” – in general?  I think not!  Well, then, who is “their?”  Remember the context?  It refers to the people of Israel as a nation – not the United States, not Americans, not Christians, and not Unbelievers – in general.  Why do I continue to use the phrase “in general” when referring to Unbelievers?  The reason is simple.  There were “Unbelievers” who were Israelites, and there were “Unbelievers” who were not Israelites.  “Unbelievers – in general” refers to Unbelievers who are NOT Israelites.

 

Is there a passage of Scripture anywhere in the Bible that would lead us to understand that 2 Chronicles 7:14 should be interpreted and applied to the United States, Americans, Christians, or Unbelievers – in general?  Is there any legitimate reason to believe that our text has a secondary application to the United States, Americans, Christians, or Unbelievers – in general?  If there is, I want to know it.  Until then, I will view any attempt to apply our text to the United States, Americans, Christians, or Unbelievers – in general, on the part of any Bible teacher or Bible preacher as misleading, either with or without his or her cognizance.

 

LET’S MISAPPLY OUR TEXT TO THE UNITED STATES

 

The citizens of the United States will be referred to as Americans.

 

Our Text:  2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. KJV

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 If [maybe they will and maybe they won’t] my [God the Father as Author of the plan] people [since they are God’s people they have to be born-again Americans as citizens of the United States], which are called by my name [means dedicated to God the Father], shall humble [submit] themselves [born-again Americans as citizens of the United States] and [born-again Americans as citizens of the United States] pray, and [born-again Americans as citizens of the United States] seek my [God the Father’s] face, and [born-again Americans as citizens of the United States] turn [do an about face] from their [born-again Americans as citizens of the United States] wicked ways [negative volition toward Bible doctrine and its pertinent application to life’s situations]; then [at that time] will I [God the Father] hear [acknowledge the prayers of the born-again Americans as citizens of the United States] from heaven [the third heaven, the throne room of God], and [I, God the Father] will forgive their [born-again Americans as citizens of the United States] sin [which one; do we have only one?], and [I, God the Father] will heal their [born-again Americans as citizens of the United States] land [the United States of America]. KJV

 

Question:  Does this imply that if born-again Christians in the United States will get right with God, all of America’s ills will be cured.  I am not talking about physical diseases.  I’m talking about every kind of problem we face in this nation today.  So, this seems to imply that Christians are the problem.  Christians are only part of the problem.

 

Conclusion:  The United States is not God’s nation, and Americans are not God’s people, and every time you hear the message preached that implies that it is and we are, you need to reject such teaching as Scripturally inaccurate, and then come to the realization that the preacher/teacher is “wrongly dividing the Word of truth.”  There is absolutely NO connection between our text and the United States and Americans.

 

ADDENDUM

 

The Declaration of Independence states in its second paragraph:

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

 

I want to focus on the word “Liberty.”  This word “liberty” is defined in the following manners:

 

1: the quality or state of being free:

a: the power to do as one pleases

b: freedom from physical restraint

c: freedom from arbitrary or despotic control

d: the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges

e: the power of choice

 

ADDENDUM TO “IF MY PEOPLE . . .”

 

I am an American.  I am proud to be an American.  I am a patriot.  I have served my country in the United States Navy for 9 years.

 

I am concerned about the multitude of Christians who say they stand for freedom, yet use the religious background of many of our founding fathers to support the notion that taking prayer out of school, removing the Ten Commandments from the walls of our judicial buildings, desiring to remove “in God we trust” from our coins, and removing “one nation under God” from our Pledge of Allegiance” has somehow or another caused the moral decay in our country that I refer to as the “five generation slide.”

 

I am a born-again Christian, and I DO NOT believe that taking prayer out of school, removing the Ten Commandments from the walls of our judicial buildings, removing “in God we trust” from our coins, and removing “one nation under God” from our Pledge of Allegiance” has or would somehow or another cause the moral decay in our country.  Allowing prayer in schools, replacing the Ten Commandments on the walls of our judicial buildings, retaining “in God we trust” on our coins, and retaining “one nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance” neither makes the United States a Christian nation, nor does it increase the moral level of its population.  In fact, it’s NOT primarily the moral decline of our nation that has generated the zeal for removing prayer in schools, removing the Ten Commandments from the walls of our judicial buildings, removing “in God we trust” from our coins, and removing “one nation under God” from our Pledge of Allegiance.”  It’s primarily a freedom issue that has brought this about,  not a moral issue.

 

Who among us does not understand that the personal freedom belongs to every citizen of the Unites States, not just some, but every citizen without regard to race, gender, religion, or creed.  It’s freedom for all – blacks, whites, men, women, homosexuals, lesbians, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, cults, __________ (there, you fill-in the blank).

 

Freedom is the issue, friends, and to deem it otherwise is a repudiation of the Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights.  Freedom was more fundamental to the founding of this country than was Christianity.  Let’s remember, while Christianity may be more fundamental to you than the personal freedoms of others, the framers of the Declaration of Independence, the framers of our Constitution, and those who placed their stamp of approval on the Bill of Rights did not ask you or me for our opinion.  Yes, many of them were Christians or Deists, but what they wanted was freedom, and this included freedom to worship as they pleased.  Do you believe that they were not wise enough to know that the very freedom they were pursuing could not one day bring about the very moral decline that would destroy our country?  The answer is yes.  They did, but it did not stop them from writing and agreeing upon the three documents mentioned about.

 

Isn’t it interesting that when freedom is finally and correctly viewed as the fundamental issue in our country, it’s not all that deep to understand why the United States in the mess that it’s in today.  Freedom permits choices for and against Christianity.  It permits choices for and against religion and religious practices.  It permits choices that allow for Christian practices, religious practices, agnostic practices, and atheistic practices.  That’s what freedom allows.

 

In a free-society like ours, what is sinful to one may not be sinful to another.  Wait-a-minute.  I know that the decrees of God are absolute, and what He calls sin is sin whether someone else believes it or not.  However, freedom permits the rejection of Christianity, rejection of the Bible, and rejection of anything that may be deemed related to Christianity.  Inherent in the very principle of freedom is the possibility of moral decline of a nation of people functioning under the principle of freedom.  Does this mean that freedom, totally or partially, should be abrogated for any and all whose thinking and practices are inconsistent with Christianity?  I think not.  Not if freedom is at the foundation of our nation.

 

Let’s talk about sin from a Christian perspective.  Some sin is criminal in nature and some sin is not.  For example, murder is both sinful and criminal; however, greed is sinful, but it’s not criminal.  Since our legal system has legislated against murder, should it also legislate against greed?  Since murder is sinful and has been legislated against, should all sinful activity be legislated against?  I think not; and I believe that most Christians that I know would rebel against the notion of legislating against sinful activity that was not criminal in nature.  If non-criminal, but sinful activity were legislated against, would there be enough jail space to hold all the sinners?  It would be ludicrous to believe that there would be.

 

I believe in freedom, but I also believe in responsible freedom.  Let me define it.  Responsible freedom is that form of freedom that permits a person to pursue and even attain his own internalized goals while not precluding another person’s right to do the same.  Here’s a freedom principle:  one person’s freedom ends where another person’s freedom begins.

 

Now, let’s go back and take a look at this again.  Should I be persuaded by an eloquent and accurate delivery of the historical facts that since many of our founding fathers were Christians or Deists, I should fight against removing prayer from schools, removing the Ten Commandments from the walls of our judicial buildings, the desire to remove “in God we trust” from our coins, and removing “one nation under God” from our Pledge of Allegiance.”  I think not.  Freedom is more fundamental to the human race than is Christianity, and until we, as Christians, come to grips with the fact that freedom of choice is at the root of the resolution of the spiritual battle known as the angelic conflict, we as Christians will continue to try to abrogate non-criminal sinful activity and we will continue to introduce Christian symbolism into the public arena at the expense of freedom for all.  By public arena I mean arenas funded by tax funds.  There is no legitimate reason to permit Christian symbolism on any government property paid for by tax paying citizens without permitting every religious organization to do the same.  This is not practical; and the very absence of anything religious in the public arena should not be viewed as anti-Christian, but pro-freedom which is the very basis for resolving the angelic conflict.

 

The continued moral decay of our country may result in the destruction of our country and the loss of our freedoms as we have known them, but it will not be brought about because we remove Christian symbolism from the public arena.  It will be because we as citizens abandon Jesus Christ and His life in our private lives.  We are decaying morally in our country not because we have taken Christianity out of the public arena, but because we have taken Jesus Christ out of our homes.  Not until we as individuals freely put Jesus Christ back at the center of our lives do we stand a snowballs chance of survival as a nation in the heat of Divine pressure for this failure.

 

Christianity is not the issue.  Freedom has been the issue from the very beginning of our nation.  Force Christianity upon a nation and destroy the nation.  Permit freedom, and the resolution of the angelic conflict will take care of itself!


© Copyright 2020 drjim. All rights reserved.

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