“Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
Last month, we looked at a number of historical efforts to “Christianize” different cultures at different times—each one by political leaders who believed they were exercising “God-given authority” to rule over the earth. Usually, those involved in orchestrating such efforts misquote the book of Genesis and point to Adam and Eve’s failure to “take dominion” as the basis for needed “restoration” of this mandate. And of course, such a goal always comes by human effort—which is nothing but another attempt to reach “heaven” by climbing up another way (Jn:10:1).
Dave Hunt and TBC have long addressed Kingdom-Dominionism in many forms—from the heresies and evil deeds of Roman Catholicism to the aberrations of Reformed theology and modern Reconstructionism to the extrabiblical and occultic practices of the Charismatic Latter Rain movement (see Whatever Happened to Heaven? and Temporal Delusion). Each of these historic cults and schisms has shared the same goal: to establish a “Christian” religious and political authority—first nationally and then globally. Historically, however, such attempts have always led to the removal of “Christian liberty” through tyrannical oppression and eventual persecution of true saints in Christ. The same holds true for the ongoing advancement of ecumenical unity in the New Religious Right of today—a converging church that is being built on the foundation of “common ground” with Masons, Mormons, and even Muslims.
It should be clear from Scripture and history that our God-given assignment is not to take dominion over unregenerate individuals, nor to become lords over human government, but rather to preach the gospel and make disciples. Yet, the temptation for some to “Christianize” the nation—and ultimately, the world—through human government is too great.
In divining “God’s Plan for America,” (see Part One) Pat Robertson and other Christian patriots have evidently not consulted with the Scriptures—or else they must not be familiar with the depictions of world kingdoms as they pertain to past, present, and future prophecy. Did not the statue dreamt of by Nebuchadnezzar and interpreted by Daniel depict Babylon as the head of gold, Medo-Persia as the chest and arms of silver, Greece as the thighs of bronze, and Rome as the legs of iron—all fulfilled in history? And despite all the emotional idealism about America’s unsurpassed wealth and unrivaled power, where does America fit into this vision of earth’s sequential kingdoms?
Is America “The Stone Kingdom”?
Most conservative evangelical scholars would agree that the US will be squeezed into the “western” foot and/or toes mingled of iron and clay. Yet, Robertson insists that “the magnificence” of the US dwarfs that of every single kingdom identified in the vision of Nebuchadnezzar? This is, at best, pure delusion! That is, unless Robertson somehow believes that America is itself the “stone cut out of the mountain without hands” (Dn 2:45) that crushes them all. But how could such a twisting of Scripture occur? And where is the discernment of viewers and the rebuke of leaders who seek to protect their flocks from such deception?
Probing further, it appears that Robertson’s hopes are indeed pinned on a little-known aberrant doctrine that refers to America as “The Stone Kingdom.” In a book by that title, author E. Raymond Capt claims to present “compelling evidence that the United States of America is that final kingdom!” In fact, the author declares that America will “become a great mountain and eventually fill the whole earth.” At first glance, one may dismiss this notion as ridiculous but harmless. However, as TBC has long documented, Christian Dominionism is a “doctrine of devils,” which continues to deceive millions while laying the foundation for the coming kingdom of Antichrist.
Strange Doctrine Makes Stranger Bedfellows
One basis for this heresy is the doctrine of British Israelism, an idea originating in the mid-1600s, which attempted to prove that Western Europeans were principally descended from the “lost” tribes of Israel. Some even attempted to connect the Royal Family to the lineage of King David. A number of “Bible teachers” pursued this idea, and by the mid-1800s it became a significant “Christian” movement, impacting the direction and development of various cults—including those established by Joseph Smith, Mary Baker Eddy, and Herbert W. Armstrong. Joseph Smith declared that “the whole of America is Zion itself from north to south” (http://globalmormonism.byu.edu/?page_id=9). Even today, Christian Science adherents proclaim that “America is The Cradle for the Second Coming of the Christ” (http://mbeinstitute.org/America/AmerIntro.html). Pat Robertson’s declaration that all the kingdoms of history “are dwarfed by the magnificence of the United States” seems to echo these unbiblical sentiments.
When viewed in this light, one can begin to see the method behind Pat’s mantra when he repeatedly insists: “God has a plan! And he’s not finished with this nation yet! We are a covenant people! Don’t let any politician tell you we’re not! This nation was ordained by God in the midst of the nations of the earth.... We are here! God Almighty has a plan, and that plan is not finished yet.”
Tragically, not only is Robertson filled with the pride of Christian nationalism—which is rooted in the unbiblical doctrines of British Israelism, Freemasonry, and Mormonism—but he is sadly mistaken that such defiant declaration is warranted on the basis of Scripture. Though he evidently intends to encourage anxious believers and crestfallen patriots lamenting the course of their nation, his position is in direct conflict with the Scriptures.
Viewed in this light, calling America “the stone kingdom” is exceedingly dangerous. Under no circumstances should the professing church exalt America to the position reserved for Christ! This nationalistic idolatry is particularly offensive when one understands the extent to which the United States was conceived and built not by God, nor by his Spirit, but by Masonic hands that literally cut out and established America’s capitol—as well as its first great cities. Were true Christians among these occultists? Absolutely. Did they invoke the name of God? Most certainly. But America’s founding was an unholy mixture of the sacred and profane—with evil men and seducers, being deceived and deceiving others, mingled with many good men (some godly) who “knew not what they did.”
The pattern of deception continues now as it did then: True believers and professing Christians alike engage in ecumenical efforts for the building or restoring of “God’s kingdom on earth.” In the process, they “wittingly or unwittingly” practice occult methods for the purpose of “entering” the heavens, after the manner of ancient pagan kingdoms. Tragically, while believing themselves to be more educated and advanced, many “modern” Christians are no better off than the ancient Hebrews who “ignorantly” worshiped Baal.
The Cornerstone of American History—or Heresy?
Perhaps one of the most obvious examples of America’s occult foundation can be seen in the Babylonish ceremony for the laying of the US Capitol cornerstone. Dressed in full Masonic regalia, our nation’s first president, George Washington, presided over the elaborate parade and ceremony—entirely conceived and conducted by Freemasons—which concluded with a ritual “dressing” of the cornerstone with an engraved silver plaque, on top of which was poured corn, wine, and oil, and “sealed” with a Masonic chant.
Is such ritual Christian—or pagan? Could America’s “destiny” have been “sealed” from its very foundation and dedication to the god of Freemasonry? Lodge records faithfully document every detail of the cornerstone ritual’s procession—which concluded with “The President of the United States, the Grand Master... and the Worshipful Master of No. 22, taking their stand to the East of a huge stone; and all the Craft, forming a circle westward, stood a short time in silent awful order” (http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/gw_laying_the_cornerstone_mural_medallion.htm).
If the modern reader did not know the event being described, the parallels to the practice of witchcraft (also called “the craft”) are striking—particularly with regard to the reverence paid in “silent awe” to the East. In a counterfeit reference to Christ’s Second Coming (Mt 24:27), Freemasonry regards divine light, or knowledge, as coming “from the East.” This is why the former women’s auxiliary of Masonry (now open to all male and female relatives) is called the Order of the Eastern Star. Though cloaked in a “Christian” veil, the Gnostic light of this star is Lucifer, “light bearer,” which Scripture also depicts allegorically as “a bird of prey” (Jer:49:16).
What about 2 Chronicles:7:14?
In clip four of the preview for God’s Plan for America, Robertson simultaneously issues a caveat and a call to action with the question:
And so God says to us, “Will you be faithful to the covenant? Will you renew the covenant that I made with your forefathers on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean when they knelt in prayer and claimed this land for me? Will you renew that covenant?” And if we do, we will enter a period of unprecedented prosperity and blessing, and the blessing of heaven will be showered down upon us. And that’s the challenge that I give you and He gives us. To renew once again that covenant, and to grasp hold of the plan that God had before the creation of the earth, that this land would be here, as first among nations.
Once again, Robertson exposes his own heresy with the declaration that God intends for America to be “first among nations.” This is defacto anti-Semitism. And yet, even those evangelicals who reject this unbiblical doctrine fall into the same trap of exalting America to an idolatrous height. As we’ve seen, American believers in particular love to view Scripture through the myth of an imagined covenant with God—which they believe makes the United States a “Christian nation.” Though it was once a nation of predominantly Christian-minded people who long enjoyed peace and prosperity—as a partial result of governing and living by biblical values—America was never ordained to be “The Stone Kingdom.”
This aberrant view of history, in turn, results in a skewed perspective when it comes to interpreting and applying Scripture. As Dave Hunt responded on Search the Scriptures Daily radio: “If you don’t recognize that there is a difference between Israel and the church, you will be very confused both as to salvation and the Rapture [and] the Second Coming. God...has promised full restoration of Israel to her land. There’s no restoration to a land for the church. There’s no way that you can make the prophecies to Israel fit the church, but people try.... For example, you have 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.
Dave continues, “Now, there are people who...say, ‘Now, look, if the church in America would just confess her sins, and get right with God, and really—let’s have a campaign of prayer, and pray and pray for our country—God would turn America into a Christian nation.’ But of course, God...never gave the Americans America, and he certainly never gave the Christian Americans America. So they are badly mistaken when they try to apply [2 Chronicles:7:14].”
Tragically, innumerable campaigns, programs, and crusades have been based on this single verse alone—leaving untold millions of believers under the delusion that this is a promise of God for America. Stop right there. Consider the context! The entire chapter is about Solomon’s dedication of the temple and consecration of the nation of Israel to God—an account that starts all the way back in the second chapter. Throughout Scripture, the only nation and the only culture that God addresses as “my people” is Israel and the Jews.
Although it is true that the account of Israel throughout Scripture has various application for believers both personally and corporately, it is a patent falsehood to misapply this promise to the United States—or to any other country. For example, can you picture an evangelistic crusade in China based on 2 Chronicles:7:14? In India? In Syria? Why not? After all, if the promise of this passage is directed to God’s people everywhere (the Bride of Christ), then why not encourage the persecuted church to rise up and proclaim this promise for a communist nation? a Hindu nation? a Muslim nation?
The absurdity of this suggestion should illustrate the seriousness of wresting Bible passages from their context. And yet, even “solid” evangelicals have put their trust in a promise never intended for American believers. But despite decades of political activism and countless perennial prayer events, faith in America’s flag—along with its moral fabric—has continued to unravel. Even culture warrior and psychologist James Dobson acknowledged bleakly in his farewell address at Focus on the Family:
We are awash in evil and the battle is still to be waged. We are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict. Humanly speaking, we can say we have lost all those battles....
The secular media was quick to rejoice at this admission, as Washington Monthly columnist Steve Benen gloated in his “Political Animal” column of April 12, 2009:
Whether Dobson and his cohorts give up now or not, his assessment about their lack of success is nevertheless accurate. The culture war is all but over, and far-right evangelicals have precious little to show for their efforts. After about three decades of fighting, the culture warriors are hard pressed to point to any progress at all.
Considering this dismal reality (from an earthly perspective), is our goal for evangelism really to help make America “be a great nation again?” If that’s the hope we’re promoting through grand crusades with popular bands and patriotic bunting, then I fear it is false advertising for God. It’s like the well-intended, but misguided gospel presentation of the classic Campus Crusade tract, Four Spiritual Laws, in which the first law states: “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” Really? What if that plan includes pain, suffering, trial, tribulation—and by worldly measure, abject failure?
The truth is, God’s word declares: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tm 3:12). And unlike the imagined “God’s Plan for America,” this is one principle repeated throughout the New Testament that does apply to the church in America. Therefore, if crusade converts pray to receive Christ, and then have their earthly dreams fall apart—or after years of ceaseless labor in some ministry of conservative political activism, they see the degradation and depravity in our nation continue to spiral out of control, what will be the end of their faith? As the Apostle Paul mused, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1 Cor:15:19).
With great respect for all those who have labored for the vision of a “Christian America,” I submit that our God-given purpose in evangelism is not to “dominate” government, nor to restore an Edenic utopia. Our Creator has promised to do this in His time: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD” (Zec:4:6). Until that day, we are strangers in a strange land—pilgrims on this planet, whose assignment is not “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (the endless material accumulation for ourselves and our posterity) but rather to participate in God’s great rescue mission—which was that of Christ, who came “to seek and to save that which [is] lost” (Lk 19:10).
Unlike America’s broken (and impossible) promise of “liberty and justice for all,” only one King and His Kingdom offers true “liberty and salvation for all” who believe: Jesus Christ. This alone is the greatest (and only) hope for America—and for the world.
With whom will you share God’s truly wonderful plan today?