By Stan Goodenough - Jerusalem Newswire - October 16, 2005
Part I - Founded for this purpose
“I believe the main reason the United States was founded 250 years ago was so that our great country would be in a position to stand with the restored nation of Israel in these days.”
This astonishing point of view was expressed by a North Carolinian Conservative candidate for the US Congress in conversation with an American pastor friend early in 2004.
Apparently, David Huffman believed that when, in the early 17th century, God moved on the hearts of men to leave England and make their way west across the Atlantic, it was in His mind to plant a new nation to which He would bequeath a special honor and spectacular destiny.
When God brought about the independence of the United States in 1776, He was supervising the founding of a nation He purposed to have in place about two centuries later as the world’s mightiest superpower.
And His reason for elevating America to this position was so that she would ally herself with the surviving remnant of the Jewish people, help them take root again in their national homeland, and support them in their struggle against a hostile world.
So America exists for Israel’s sake? What an absurd thought!
By such reckoning, all the major events that shaped the United States – from the days of early settlement, through the colonial era, the War of Independence and Declaration of Independence, the launching of the Information Age, the American Industrial Revolution, the American Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, the attainment to flight, World War One, the Great Depression, World War Two, the advent of the Atomic Age, the Space Race, the Cold War and America’s victory over it – all these things took place ultimately so that the United States could be positioned to stand with the Jewish nation in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Surely a ridiculous idea!
Israel is one of the smallest nations on earth, just 26,990 square miles or 43,436 square kilometers in total surface area. It is home to 6.8 million Israelis, nearly 80 percent of them Jewish. The daily lives of its people revolve around the basic issues of survival against military onslaught, preserving Israel as a Jewish state and yet a democracy, absorbing hundreds of thousands of new immigrants, building a prosperous economy for its citizens, and battling for acceptance in a world that has never had much time for Jews. Events happening almost everywhere on the globe impact Israel in one way or the other.
By contrast, the United States could swallow this scrap of Jewish homeland 130 times. The 3.5 million square miles (5.6million sq. km) of that mammoth country are home to 300 million people, 98 percent of them Gentiles. It is the wealthiest, most powerful military and industrial nation in the world. Americans are proud – immensely proud – of their country. For the majority of its citizens, America is the center of the world. For some it is the world. There is so much going on somewhere in the US at any given moment of every day that events outside its borders often don’t penetrate the daily news bulletins and consequently simply do not happen as far as most Americans are concerned.
The United States lies half-a-world away from the State of Israel. Politically, it is largely consumed with issues affecting its relations with the other great nations on the globe – the European Union, China, Russia. It holds veto power in, and is a permanent member of, the United Nations Security Council. It hosts and attends as the most important member world summits like the G-7, and sponsors global energy and numerous other initiatives while maintaining an intensely high level of diplomatic activity with a finger in almost every political pie on the planet.
And this giant’s purpose, its primary raison d’etre, is to be allied with Israel against the rest of the international community?
How could any serious-minded person accept such a notion? Well, David Huffman and his pastor friend believe this to be true. So, for that matter, do I.
As a non-American, however, perhaps it is easier for me to see things this way.
For most American Christians, raised to be deeply patriotic and fiercely loyal to their country, and enjoying the sense of near-invulnerability offered by such a powerful motherland, reaching a conclusion like this would require a revolutionary paradigm shift.
To fathom this and ultimately embrace it means to recognize that little Israel and no other nation – no matter how large and mighty – is at the center of God’s plan for mankind.
While Israel has always held that place, Christendom has largely viewed itself as having replaced or superseded Israel in this plan. American Christians – whose nation was founded by Bible-believing Christians, built upon biblical principles, and which has therefore attained to the position of the most powerful “Christian nation” on earth today – naturally enough would see their country as being at, or near, the center of God’s “lens” as He sees the world.
For the past four millennia or so, from the calling out of Abraham until today, God has consistently viewed the earth as home to two main groups of people: Israel on the one hand, the Gentile nations on the other.
From around 2000 BC to the birth of Christ, He devoted Himself to one nation, raising Israel up, setting her apart and attaching His name to her for one reason: so that through this nation He could reveal Himself to the world He had made – to all humanity, which He loves.
Israel had 2000 years of almost exclusive God-time. While the Bible mentions other nations that were established, waxed powerful and then waned during that period, they are included in the narrative because of their interaction with Israel. They were used to bless, chastise or judge the Chosen People. Often they sought to eradicate the Jews. But one after the other they passed from the stage – great powers and empires dissolving into nothingness, while Israel endured, survived, remained.
Kingdoms and empires Israel outlived, or survived in spite of, during the 2000 year period from Abraham to Jesus include: The early Egyptian dynasties, the numerous Canaanite kings, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, Alexandrian Greece, Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria.
And then, nearly 2000 years ago, God turned His face to the Gentiles, and turned His back on Israel. Falling into the shadow of His anger and His disfavor, the Jewish people endured centuries of persecution and hatred as a scattered nation, while their land was left to them desolate.
But while He turned His back on Israel, He did not reject them. Still, it is perhaps unsurprising that the Christian world, once it had become predominantly Gentile, should have embraced the teaching that God had chosen a new people – the Church – for Himself instead.
But God had not abandoned Jacob “whom He foreknew.” Although humanity had now entered the Christian epoch Israel – the desolate land and the scattered people – outlived or survived in spite of every major kingdom and empire that existed from the time of Christ until today, including Rome, the Byzantium and Islamic states, the Crusaders, the British Empire, Nazi Germany, and the USSR.
Some of these kingdoms had even more territory than does the United States. Relative to the realities in their day, some were as powerful, as influential, as America is. Certainly many if not all these other great nations considered themselves unchallengeable and indestructible. Yet today they are either insignificant, or they are no more.
Insignificant or not, every single one of the nations of our 21st Century world are today aligned against Israel; every one, except the United States.
But America is rapidly gravitating towards the ranks of those who are anti-Israel. Will she join them, and so go the way of all those nations who preceded her? Or did God mean for her to charter a different course?
Unlike all other Gentile nations in history, America had the distinction of being built on biblical bedrock. Dig down to her foundations, and you’ll find the Scriptures there.
In 1620 it was devotion to the Bible, “to the letter and the spirit, to the Old Testament as well as the New” that drove the Separatist Puritans to board the Mayflower and hazard the journey to New England where they established one of the first settlements in the New World.
Belief in the Bible, the God of the Bible and His Son, set the course of the founding fathers, and led to the American Revolution that cut the New World free from the Old.
Said the “Firebrand of the Revolution” Patrick Henry, after the United States had declared its independence:
"It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religion, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Fifty-two of the 55 signatories to the Declaration of Independence were devout Christians.
Stated the first president of the United States and a self-confessed believer in Jesus, George Washington: “It is impossible to govern the world without God and the Bible.”
His successor, John Adams, expressed it this way: “Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
The next president, Thomas Jefferson, wrote: “I am a Christian, that is to say a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our Creator and, I hope, to the pure doctrine of Jesus also.”
According to John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, God had given America the opportunity to choose its leaders, “and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian Nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.”
John Quincy Adams, 6th president of the United States, said: "The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."
As the years passed, belief in the vital importance to the United States of these Christian biblical roots was entrenched. After he came to office in 1923, President Calvin Coolidge wrote: "The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”
From our vantage point those were fateful words.
Arguably, the faith upon which America was based is no longer universal in that country. Its erosion has been underway since the early 1900s, and is accelerating all the time. In 1947, the year the United Nations voted to partition Palestine and thereby allow for the creation of a Jewish state, the US Supreme Court banished a national prayer in which the United States acknowledged its dependence on God and begged His blessings on their country.
In America’s schools, reading the Bible in public, praying aloud over food, and placing copies of the 10 Commandments have been ruled unconstitutional during this time. Efforts to ban the Decalogue in all public places and to legalize practices the Bible classifies as abominable to God continue apace. About 45 million babies have been murdered in the womb since 1973.
But while these lengthening shadows of gross darkness are driving back the blaze of light and glory that went forward with the building of America, and while it may seem to many American Christians that the battle for the soul of their nation is already lost, there remain in that country many millions of God-fearing people “who have not yet bowed the knee to Baal.”
According to the respected Barna Group, there are at present (in 2005) 98 million Born Again Christians in the United States. Of these, 86 percent believe that “the Bible is totally accurate in all its teachings.”
It is this belief which holds the key to America’s victorious survival against the forces that want to see her go the way of all the powers before her. The Bible contains all the answers, and all the plans, that God has for individuals and for nations. And the nation central to its subject and present on all its pages is Israel.
I believe God has always had a special destiny laid out for America. And, tall order though it may be at this late hour in our era, I believe that America can yet rediscover and pursue that destiny.
It will require that God’s people in that land exchange their perspective – which has their great country at the center of the world – for God’s perspective, which has little Israel in that place, at the hub of His still unfolding redemption plan.
America’s God-ordained, glorious role and privilege, if she can find the humility to live it out, is to serve Israel by standing with her against the rest of the world, and enabling her to fulfill her mission.
In truth, the United States has already made much headway towards this. Since assuming her place at the head of the nations, she has sacrificed enormously to ensure the defeat of Nazism and the thwarting of Soviet Communism. She is now embroiled in bitter battle to prevent the Islamicization of the world in a war that has her pitted against Israel’s latest, most mortal foe. By sending American men and women deep into Afghanistan and Iraq to deal powerful blows to Islam’s frontline forces, the United States is not only confronting and working towards neutralizing the likes of those who carried out 9-11. America is de facto defending Israel at the same time.
According to all I have written here, this is what America was really founded for. She is on the way towards the realization of her calling. Will she then, as she is poised to do at the very height of this battle, sell Israel out to the very enemy that aims to consume both the United States and the bruised and bloodied little Jewish nation?
Coming next: Part II- Do you betray me with a kiss? Part III – Chastisement, then judgment – God loves America