Nationalism versus Globalism – the Bible’s View -
This is a major topic of discussion today. What should be our attitude toward people who served and fought for our country? Some so-called ‘christians’ actually say; “Believers who give honour to soldiers, the flag and homeland have demonic spirit, and that respect toward the people who fought for freedom is not Christian.”
There are two core issues are at hand in this debate, wars and nations. Let’s look at each separately in this study. Indeed, certain groups, even religious and particularly “Christian” ones, express anti-war sentiments for diverse reasons. They do not believe in serving in their country’s armed forces (or military). Such individuals are pacifists who shun all military activity. Some even go so far in saying we should never honor veterans. To them, it is “un-Christian” to be patriotic, salute a flag, celebrate a national holiday, and so on. Some say pride in country is forbidden on the grounds of being “evil” or “satanic.” Nationalism is viewed by some as being “racist.” Opinions and speculations aside, what exactly does the Bible say?
Every Christmas includes singing about and striving for peace. Whether people realize it or not, the Bible has influenced them to some degree. Note the passage describing the night of Jesus Christ’s birth: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13-14). The Prophet Isaiah had written this 700-years before Christ:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:6-7).
One of Messiah’s titles listed is “The Prince of Peace.” The cessation of war and hostility characterize Jesus’ ultimate reign. Consequently, the heavenly choir sang shortly after His birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Yet, in the land where “the Prince of Peace” was born 20 centuries ago, war is still the norm. The Middle East was violent long before His birth, and it is still hostile long after. What of God’s plan for peace in the Middle East, especially in light of the aforementioned verses? Can we take the Bible literally in the face if it speaking of peace on Earth while war rages now just as it ever has?
The Casualties of War: All are painfully aware that war is brutal. Maybe you have firsthand experience with it. You perhaps can testify to the fact that it is devastating, to say the least. War is costly, not just monetarily but physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Limbs and lives are lost. Survivors are mentally scarred. Families are split and burdened beyond imagination. Neighborhoods are flattened. Innocent women and children suffer. The damage is irreversible. Understandably, such adverse conditions and results cause people to oppose war. Pacifists, for example, refuse to engage in physical conflict at all. Still, is pacifism God’s answer?
The Realities of War: At the heart of human nature is ‘selfishness.’ “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” (Jas. 4:1-2) The is a war that exists in every human heart, and the more in the heart of Christians. The sin-nature, or Adamic nature, is the origin of sins (actions). Sin (the nature) works inside before it is manifested outside in behavior. In the heart of the Christian, there is also the Holy Spirit who opposes the working of sin (Gal. 5:16-26). A Christian (not a lost person) can be victorious over sin by trusting God’s Word, particularly the words of the Romans-Philemon.
Our “flesh,” or sin-nature is always ‘grasping’; loving to “get” for self’s satisfaction, glory, acquisition, etc.
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Eph. 4:17-19).
The operative word here is “greediness.” Our sin nature will take, take and take! “If it feels good, do it!” “Gimme, gimme, GIMME!” Col. 3:5 speaks of, “covetousness (acquisitiveness), which is idolatry.” Wars start among people when one party endeavors to dominate another.
At the center of the battle is something valuable; land, money, etc. The issue, however, is really power; a struggle to see which group can overcome the other. In this fallen world, all physical battles start in the heart. There’s combat in the heart because there is one overriding spiritual war. Eph. 6:12 here describes the conflict between God’s allies and Satan’s comrades: “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The God of creation has a challenger, His leading creature, Satan. All men all under Satan’s control until we are regenerated by trusting Jesus death, burial, and resurrection as the sufficient payment for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3-4). After joining God’s team by faith (not by works), we taste the reality of the crucial battle like never before. When the LORD God created and put Adam on the Earth, He charged Adam (and, indirectly, Eve) to “have dominion” “over every living thing” and “creeping thing” and to “replenish the earth.”
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth (i.e., the Serpent). So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26-28).
God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself created certain offices of rank and authority in the governments in Heaven and on Earth: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Col. 1:16). Adam and all mankind, was originally created to rule over the Earth for God’s glory, to occupy the earthly offices of authority.
But in Genesis 3 we see that Satan seduced Eve and Adam to follow him in rebellion against Almighty God; both he and them wanting to be “like the Most High” (Isa. 14:14, Gen. 3:5), the “possessor of heaven and earth” (Gen. 14:19, 22). Satan had earlier led the revolt in Heaven, recruiting many of God’s angels. Now Lucifer was then responsible for an uprising on Earth; mankind in Adam had left God as well.
There is a Mutiny in Creation: God’s will and Word are ignored, and Satan and sinful man following him are active, opposing the Creator. They desire to be their own god, manage their own lives. It’s God’s design to have peace for man, but they do not want it. They do not want to live in harmony with Him. They don’t want to follow His plan for His creation. This is true on an individual level and a national basis too.
Look now at Exo. 15:3, “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.” This is seen in the context of JEHOVAH God destroying Egypt’s armies in the Red Sea. Then He gave Israel a military victory over the Amalekites in Exo. 17, becoming Israel’s deliverer or war hero. The title “Jehovahnissi,” “Jehovah my banner” is the title given by Moses to the altar which he erected on the hill on the top of which he stood with uplifted hands while Israel prevailed over their enemies the Amalekites (Exo. 17:15). Furthermore, the LORD God purposed Israel to have a strong army. He actually instructed them to number Jewish men for battle. Israel would need to fight to overcome the Pagan Gentile powers in the land they were soon to enter and settle.
“And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,  Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls;  From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies....  So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel;  Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.” (Numbers 1:1-3, 45-46)
If we speak of war as “evil,” and some do, and ascribe to the idea that veterans are not worthy of respect, as some do, then we are in fact disparaging the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ will return at His Second Coming to fight the Battle of Armageddon. He is coming to reclaim Earth, to take it back from Satan. It has been rightly said that God’s kingdom will be brought in, not by persuasion of the preaching the Gospel and converting souls, but by power (military force — and FORCE it will be!).
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” (Rev. 19:11-13)
While man engage in wars with evil motives, military conflict can be done “in righteousness” because the God of the Bible encouraged Israel to do it and He Himself will do it in the last days, future from us. More could be said about Christ’s violent 2nd coming in wrath, but these passages must suffice.
“The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.” (Isaiah 42:13-15)
How were the Nations created? We must note here the worldwide conditions of Noah’s day.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. …  The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.  And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.  And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth....  And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.” (Genesis 6:5, 11-17)
The key word in this passage is “the earth was filled with violence” (v 11). Thus, God brought about a Great Flood to cleansed the planet of evil. Noah and his family disembarked the Ark into the ‘new world’ seen here.
“God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. 2And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 3Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 4But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. 5And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. 6Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Gen. 9:1-6)
The Death Penalty - in verse 6 the God of the Bible added the death penalty in the crime of murder; “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” Capital punishment is not a church institution or government institution. It’s a Divine institution, carrying the authority of God Almighty Himself. Someone would object, “But that was the Old Testament. Such a commandment has nothing to do with us!” Be sure to read your Bible thoroughly before you make such a careless remark!
The Apostle Paul, writing in New Testament times, says the following in with respect to human government:
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not The Sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute Wrath Upon Him That Doeth Evil.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake” (Romans 13:1-5).
Pay attention to “the sword” in verse 4. There is a particular “evil” that the “sword” should discourage. Comparing that to Gen. 9, we understand that “the evil” here is murder. Government is meant to deter murders, violence of all sorts but especially murder. Paul is writing with respect to the Roman government, so the “sword” is capital punishment (to be graphic, it is beheading). In Gen. 9 we see the basic groundwork being laid for nations, they will be the major theme throughout Gen. 10 and 11.
The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul wrote; “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 26And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27(so) That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 28For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:24-28)
God Almighty “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (v 26). This is Adam’s universal fatherhood of all people—regardless of ethnicity. There are no “superior” nationalities. Verse 26 “and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” These “bounds” are boundaries, national borders, serving a special purpose. As with the death penalty, national borders are not man’s creation, but God’s creation. God Himself instituted nations, and He defined them using geographic limits. He created those national boundaries or borders in order to compartmentalize mankind. Why?
Nations themselves do not explicitly appear in the Bible until Gen. 10, after the Great Flood of Noah’s day. This is highly significant that something happened in connection with the Flood to generate the necessity of nations. Remember, what caused the Flood to come upon mankind in the first place? It was the spread of wickedness, chiefly violence and murder. These events led to the deluge. After the Flood, with Noah and his family leaving the Ark, God established the death penalty.
From Noah’s three sons; Shem, Ham, and Japheth, all the peoples of the world have descended (the genealogies are recorded in Gen. 9:18-19, 25-27, Gen.10). Nationalism, the advocacy of partisan independence for countries, patriotic feelings and principles, began here in human history. God Almighty Himself was responsible for it. Since God supports sovereign nations, distinct from each other, Satan would sponsor the opposite view of one-worldism that’s promoted today! The Bible reveals the LORD God taking a certain action and Satan following it with a counterattack. As soon as God Almighty created nations, Satan was present to advance internationalism. Cooperating with the Devil, sinful man began to unite. We see this in Gen.11 by the construction of and scattering from the Tower of Babel. Man had united politically, socially, and spiritually around Satan himself. So, God punished the nations by confusing them with languages:
“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11:1-9 (KJV)
Satan does not like sovereign nations; he prefers internationalism or globalism. The Devil wants all people to mingle with each other, having no boundaries, all fellowshipping with one another, regardless of religious, political, and social distinctions. When you hear about denominations or religions gathering today, nations uniting today, and country borders being downplayed and breached, you are seeing a modern manifestation of the attitude that drove the construction of the Tower of Babel. Satan is alive and well, and he is thrilled to have sinful man still working in accord with him!
Note in Rom. 1:18-32 says, God gave ‘the nations’ over to the spiritual darkness they so craved at Babel (Gen. 11). Lord gave the nations of the world over to Satan in Gen. 11 as seen at Babel. He turned over the Gentiles nations to idols, the evil spirits which those idols represented! (cf. Deut. 4:16-20). He had called out Abram (renamed Abraham) in Gen. 12 to form the distinct nation, Israel. The
National borders were to restrict Satan’s policy of evil. If one nation is corrupt, it does not affect all nations. God gave individuals a chance to escape that ignorance and spiritual darkness if they wanted. They could locate the one true God if they sought Him, in national borders, especially Israel’s, thus allowing the seekers to come to Him. Individual sovereignty of nation-states allows God’s truth to be found in pockets or isolated locations. God created the nations and divided them by borders (cf. Acts 17:26), “(so) that they should seek the Lord, if haply (perhaps) they might feel after him, and find him…” (v27). But we know that Israel did not guard herself, and she permitted her neighbors to contaminate her with false religion, paganism, idolatry!
As a proud American we must say our nation has truly enjoyed God’s Word for four centuries, from when it was but a colony escaping religious persecution in England. Since our immigration policies have been relaxed over the decades, religious ideas of all kinds have flooded our thoughts. America is on a downward spiral morally, as other countries. We have not yet learned the lesson from Israel’s chronicles! History is repeating itself, and God is not at fault. It’s our problem of refusing the revelation that He has provided us.
The ability to maintain a strong military is a nation’s God-given right to defend itself, lest evil cross its boundaries and affect it as it has neighboring countries. Veterans go to war, or at least should enter the battlefield, with that mindset. War should be last resort, but it is a Scriptural option nonetheless. Indeed, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18). We should certainly not go around looking for fights (both as individuals and nations), but, friend, we must be willing to defend our personal property and ourselves. Undoubtedly, we should not be the aggressors, but we can rest assured antagonists will come and we must be prepared for them. To this some would reply, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9). As we have already seen, there will be no true peace in the world until Jesus Christ returns to usher it in as “the Prince of Peace.” Matt. 5:9 is looking to that end. While we certainly should not go around starting wars, conflict is inevitable because attackers are expected, and attackers are expected because of the reality of sin working within our hearts.
Regrettably, the vast majority of Bible-quoters and commentators pretend to know what they are talking about, but, upon closer examination, they are seen to be ignorant of the deep things of God. Childish in their thinking, they so misuse and abuse the precious words of God. Friend, may we not be among them!
National pride, patriotism, can be recapped as follows. Our country of origin is part of our makeup, our DNA. It is who we are, whom Almighty God made us. Not that we boast against those of other nationalities, or believe ourselves to be better than they, but rather we encourage them to have the same satisfaction in their own country. Nations and their boundaries are vital to God suppressing Satan’s policy of evil. Believe it or not, evil conditions on our planet could be far worse than they are now if God had not founded nations!
War has impacted them most families in numerous painful ways. The living have agonizing memories of friends lost on the battlefield, and those still suffering emotional and mental distress. It would be absolutely foolish for me to ignore the sacrifices they made so I can enjoy what I do today. They should be honored.
It is important that we respect anyone who believes in his or her country’s right to exist and remain independent. The Bible would agree that nations are crucial to this fallen world not being worse than it is. Veterans—whatever nation they serve—certainly do not go to war to hand their country to the enemy. They are fighting to protect and preserve it from foreign threats (bullies). When we realize the depths of the sacrifice veterans make, we cannot help but recognize and appreciate their service. They have scars, visible and invisible.
Entering the armed forces is a personal choice. We as Christians are not required to do it, and we are not required not to do it. And, if we choose to not go to war, let us be careful not to flaunt ourselves as “more pious than others.” “I am holy, I don’t believe in war and fighting.” This attitude of haughtiness would actually be evil, satanic, un-Christian (1 Tim. 3:6). For, God has established sovereign nations and their borders.