I want to introduce a thought that I’ve been having for a while, but haven’t quite figured out how to express it. Because the thought is rather deep, I wanted to introduce it in a way that wasn’t so deep. I’ll first put the thought out, and then we’ll go into a further explanation.
Every nation that is mentioned in the Bible is stemmed from Genesis 10. Genesis 10 is called “the Table of Nations.” It gives you the lineage of the original three sons of Noah, and each of these patriarchs made a nation. From these nations in Genesis 10 come every other nation. Knowing how they are all linked back gives us a good insight into these nations for multiple reasons:
1) God still holds these nations accountable, even though they are not “technically” still around today.
2) All current nations and past nations stem from those peoples, and God sees a continuum from them to the present day.
3) Each nation has a spirit, or characteristic, that is intrinsic to that people.
The nations mentioned in Genesis 10 have a certain characteristic about them that distinguishes them from all other nations. It isn’t enough to say that they have this or that lineage, and they were named this, and so that is what makes them different. What makes them different is the spirit – the principality or power – that is ruling over that nation. We can be of a certain lineage and act quite contrary. Jesus said to the Jews that were questioning Him in John 8, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would act like Abraham.” They were technically Abraham’s offspring by birth, but that did not count them worthy of that title. If Jesus saw it this way, then God always sees it this way. The two views are the same.
When we dive into our Bible, we find many times that God will somehow throw out these strange phrases. An example would be when He said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam,” Micah 6:4. Was the generation that Micah spoke to the same generation that God called out of Egypt? No. This isn’t wiped away by playful metaphor or rhetorical language either. God charged the people that Micah spoke to as if they were the very same generation that came out of Egypt. He saw no difference, though it were centuries later and completely different people. He sees an unbroken continuum between these generations according to character, and not according to name.
When we look at the nations in the Bible, we find that certain nations seem to be condemned with no remedy. Why? Because what God is condemning is not the people of Egypt, but the spirit of Egypt. He is condemning the spirit of Babylon. He is condemning the spirit of Tyre. When we lose this understanding, we find it excruciatingly difficult to see how it could be that God would speak such harsh things against these nations. He speaks against what they represent. Any person that would subscribe that that spirit is to receive that judgment, but anyone who subscribes to this spirit will receive of this blessing.
Lets look at the Amalekites. Who were they? We find that the Amalekites are a descendant of Esau. Esau is Jacob’s brother. We read in Exodus 17 about how the Amalekites, when Israel came out of Egypt, would stay afar off behind the house of Israel and would slay the weak, the fatigued, the elderly, the children, and anyone else that could not keep up with the majority. They would hunt like wolves. They swarm the sick, the ones that are not able to defend themselves.
Jesus said of such people, “Beware.” They come to you in sheep’s clothing – pretending to be a descendant of your brother, or in modern language, a part of Christ’s Body – but they are inwardly ravenous wolves. A wolf is one that stays away from the strong. They take the weak, the sick, the young, and any who cannot defend themselves. Wolves are cowards. They bite at the leg so that you cannot get away, and then they all come in and swarm around you gnashing their teeth.
This is exactly what the Amalekites did. Saul was charged by God to slay them. But he didn’t. He was told to utterly destroy them – don’t even allow for the animals to survive. Instead, Saul allowed the king and all of the best of the animals to survive. He took the animals “as an offering” unto the Lord. It was this kind of disobedience that caused the prophet Samuel to weep through the night.
What is so horrible about allowing some animals to survive? After all, they were supposed to be an offering unto the Lord.
Saul did not recognize that he was being called upon to take out the enemy of God. He was being called upon to eradicate an enemy that torments and exterminates the weak and oppressed. God was calling upon Saul to stand up for the weak, stand up for the small, stand up for the child, stand up for the elderly, and stand up for those that cannot stand up themselves. Instead, Saul took it as a bizarre sort of command, and did not take it seriously enough.
That kind of half obedience is not obedience. It caused the prophetic man who understood what they Amalekites represented to weep through the night.
Only a few chapters later we find that Saul completely and utterly destroys Nob. Nob was a town of priests. The very time of extermination that was required of Saul to kill the enemy of God, which he could not perform, was the degree of extermination that Saul was able to slay the priests of God. What would cause him to be able to exterminate the priests, but not the enemies? The priests helped out David, and therefore Saul figured they were not fit to live.
Ministers, elders, deacons, pastors, and the fathers in the faith are called to this one task: utterly destroy the Amalekites. Those that would purport to be sheep, but are inwardly ravenous wolves: kill them. There is no other option. Those that are wolves in our congregations, in our fellowships, in our friends, in our families, or any other kind of relation where they might attack the weak, we are given the command of God to protect the weak at any cost – even the cost of wolf bashing. You will offend. It takes that kind of offense to ensure the safety of those that God has entrusted to you.
Those that are rams are to guard and protect the flock. Any goat or wolf or fox that acts like a sheep, but is not a sheep, is to be opposed to the uttermost. Don’t allow one to continue to stand. That spirit that was in Saul that did not equip him to destroy the Amalekites is alive and well in our leaders today. It took David to destroy them. Nothing less than a David, which is in every point and particular the spirit of Jesus, will suffice. Our leadership needs to lead in the spirit of Jesus, and never in the spirit of our own ability. “Not by strength, nor by might, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”
Every nation has a spirit that they represent. The enemies of God are to be overthrown. Many of us have not come into that Land that God has promised – which is Zion – because we have not yet began to overcome the 7 spirits that are bigger and stronger than you. It takes the power of the Spirit to overcome these nations. Nothing short of the cross and death working in our own lives will deliver them into our hands. One of the biggest battles of the book of Joshua was won because God sent hailstones down from heaven, and God killed more that day than the entire army of Israel.
This is the beginning of my thought. I haven’t quite wrestled with all of the implications, but I believe that at the end of the age, Jesus will separate the nations as a Shepherd separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:32). When we have been content to assume that God will judge each man according to his work, maybe the words of Jesus speak a bit more of a truth that we will all be gathered according to the nations that we represent. Each man will be judged accordingly, and I have no doubt that God is able to judge us as individuals, but maybe there is something to this nations thing. I haven’t quite gotten my head around it, but I find that even in Revelation 22, when there aren’t supposed to be nations, there is a mention of the nations outside of the City of God that must come up to the City and take of the fruit of the Tree of Life. This is supposed to be heaven, and yet there are nations that didn’t make it into being the Bride of Christ, and at the same time are present in heaven?
Maybe our understanding is all too Greek, and we need to be taken out from that understanding and brought into a Hebraic view. I don’t claim to have it. I just simply mean that what I see in the Bible seems to contradict many of our most precious views about eternity and what it means to be the people of God.