The claim that “God is on our side” usually surfaces when politically active American evangelicals see themselves in another skirmish in the ongoing culture war–contending with secular-progressives for the soul of the nation in a Manichean struggle between good and evil. In the heat of battle, Christians invoke covenant promises made by God to national Israel, mistakenly assuming these promises apply to the United States because the United States is a “Christian nation,” and therefore like ancient Israel, allowing appeal to God’s promise of protection and eventual victory upon the condition, “if my people humble themselves.”
This tendency to apply the covenant promises God made to national Israel directly to America is one of the key indicators of a popular but erroneous assumption that American is a Christian nation because it was founded on “biblical principles” and therefore possesses some sort of unique relationship to God, just as Israel did under the Old Covenant.
But America has no national covenant with God, as did Israel under the covenant God made with his chosen people at Mount Sinai. This fact presents a serious problem for those who assume that promises God made to ancient Israel can apply directly to the United States. Covenant promises of blessing and curse were given to Israel in a particular biblical context (in preparation for a coming Messiah) and so cannot be applied to contemporary political issues given the role such covenant blessings and curses played in Israel’s unique history. Read more»
Kim Riddlebarger, “If My People” Riddleblog (March 5, 2021)
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- None Dare Call It Confused: USA is Not Israel
Both 2 Chronicles 7:14 and 1 Peter 4:17 have been in my thoughts and prayers. Dr Riddlebarger has been helpful in my de-dispensationalising. I have thought the the proper use of the ancient promises to Israel was as potentially applicable to the Church, particularly with things like repentance and faith. And similarly the passage in 1 Peter was directed to the ancient church, but can also be considered for application to any time the church is under trials. Is this an appropriate starting point in application?
I fully agree that this nation is not in covenant with the Lord. However, “my people” are clearly those who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. If they will pray and repent and seek his face, then God promises to heal their land. This promise is not confined to America, but to where ever God has established his church and people.
I think we agree in part but we cannot, thereby, transport the national-land promise from Israel to the USA. if all the Christians in the USA obeyed, there is no promise from the Lord that he will bring national blessings upon the USA because of it.
The promise belongs to his church and the blessings are spiritual and the land for which we are seeking is the city who is builder and maker is God.
Yes, we do agree in part. My point is that we cannot dismiss God’s promises to his people just because they are in the Old Testament, or to his ancient people. We Christians are his people today.
I think of the passage in Jeremiah where the exiles are told to pray for the good of Babylon, because their peace is dependent on their city. If that was true for Babylon, wouldn’t it be true for a city today?
There is a difference between praying for the welfare of Babylon and applying Israelite national promises to the USA. In the former case, we are a Pilgrim people. In the latter case, we become a quasi—national-covenanted people.
A promise to the people of the Jewish church is a promise to the church. We are the Israel of God. Just because there are now Gentiles in the church, I don’t see why the promises of God’s care don’t still apply to us. I hate to say it, but this sounds like dispensationalism to me. Like Scofield saying that the Lord’s Prayer was only for the Jews.
It does apply to the church. The United States is not the church. God has made no promises to any national entity after national Israel. Christians have long recognized that principal. The early Christians, under the Roman empire, did not invoke 2 Chronicles as a promise of the Lord‘s blessing on the Roman empire. they would’ve regarded that as a form of Judaizing. we are so deeply influenced by Christendom that we don’t even realize how much we still think like medieval Christians relative to national promises and covenants and the like.
It would be quasi-dispensational to say that the promise cannot refer to the new covenant church but must only refer to the earthly millennium or some such.
It is more like dispensationalism to transfer earthly blessings from national Israel to the United States.
This is one of the more annoying mis-uses of scripture I commonly see.
I have heard folks claim, BTW, that the US is in covenant with God, based on something George Washington did. “OK, whatever.”
Geo Washington is our Moses?