Where did it come from?
A study by Gavin Finley MD
Art used by permission of
Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992
Visit her 'Revelation Illustrated' website.
1. Puritan History, Past, Present and Future. An Introduction to this study. 2. John Winthrop and the Puritan dream of a shining 'city upon a hill'. 3. 'Manifest Destiny' is rooted in the Puritan dream of a 'nation under God'. 4. The Puritan belief in a 'Nation Under God' goes back to ancient Israel. 5. Gutenberg, Bibles and the Reformation bring in the Pilgrims and Puritans. 6. The Puritans rise up in the 1600's to dominate English Parliament. 7. The Puritan Army goes to battle against the king in the English Civil War. 8. The Puritan Army wears yellow ribbons and sashes in the English Civil War. 9. The Puritan Religion supports Parliament in the English Civil War. 10. Puritans vs. Pilgrims. Similarities and differences. 11. The Puritans in the New World and the signing of the Mayflower Compact. 12. Puritan belief and the American Revolution vs. the French Revolution. 13. America's Puritans today and the 'Religious Right' 14. The abortion issue and America's Puritans today 15. Today's Puritans and the expansion of America's global peacemaking role. 16. Today's American Puritans and the rise of Dominion Theology 17. Puritan belief and the future history of America.
WE TRACE THE ROOTS OF PURITAN ZEAL FOR 'ONE NATION UNDER GOD'. EXPLORING BACK IN TIME, EVEN BACK TO THE EXODUS AND THE FOUNDING OF THE NATION OF ISRAEL AT MOUNT SINAI. WE LOOK AT THE 'CALLING OUT' OF AN EKKLESIA AND COVENANT NATION AT THAT PLACE AND TIME BY MOSES AND THE SUBSEQUENT ENCAMPMENT OF ALL THE 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL AS 'ONE NATION UNDER GOD' AROUND THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS. THIS POWERFUL SPIRITUAL VISION AND THE COLLECTIVE SENSE OF IDENTITY IT BRINGS WITH IT CONTINUES TO CALL US TO RESPONSIBILITY BEFORE GOD. THIS VISION BROUGHT ISRAEL BACK AS A NATION AFTER 2,000 YEARS. THIS SAME CALLING TO BE A "NATION UNDER GOD" HAS ALSO INFUSED ALL THE CHRISTIAN SUPERPOWERS. IT IS ESPECIALLY NOTICED WHEN THEY RISE UP IN WORLD HISTORY AND COME TO THE PEAK OF THEIR POWER.
If todays Christian activists are indeed the continuation of the Puritans then where did their zeal for 'one nation under God' come from? This is a very interesting question.
Hebrew pilgrims back in days of old were a nation, an 'ekklesia' or congregation/church of "called out" people. Christian pilgrims of the Church era have opened up their Bibles and have caught a glimpse of the same vision and the same drawing to the Promised Land. Today' Puritans are the people who have a deep yearning to see a place here on earth where good and Godly people can rest and be in one accord and at peace. Christian pilgrims believe that this is not possible in our present history and do not entertain any such hope of finding this spiritual paradise established by God's covenant people here on earth before Messiah returns. But both today's Pilgrims and today's Puritans see the vision shining clearly in the Holy Scriptures. They all see the glorious vision of the Holy City. John saw the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven to earth. (Rev.21)
This is a powerful vision. Pilgrims and the Puritans still dream of this wonderful future reality. They all long for a Kingdom of God to be established here on earth. This is what most pre-millennialist Christians along with Messianic and Hasidic Jews see outlined in the Holy Scriptures. They long for the restoration of Israel and the restoration of a unified congregation of God. And they know that this will come to pass at the end of this age. But the Pilgrim view of how this will come to pass is different from the Puritan view in some critical areas.
The Pilgrims journey on with their main concern being their priestly responsibilities under God. They bring their witness of the indwelling Christ to others. For these Christian sojourners the Great Commission and the Gospel outreach in missions overseas is all important. For Pilgrims this is job#1. As for their societal and political actions well the Pilgrims view the world system, whatever system that may be, as hopelessly flawed. Not surprisingly they view their political responsibilities as secondary. They try to shape their present society as best they can. But when it comes to the systems of this world they know their Bibles, their history, and the general pattern of future Bible prophecy. You might say that they are somewhat jaded. Yes, they 'hope for the best'. But they 'expect the worst'. That is the 'grim' part of being a Pilgrim.
The Puritans, however, are a different kettle of fish. They are more hopeful about their prospects of changing society through governmental and societal pressure. So they are more politically engaged. The more radical among them take that dream of 'one nation under God' as something that can be achieved by them under their ministry and under the power of their nation. They take the promise and nationalize it. They believe that this lofty vision can be carried off by them beneath their country's flag. Like the Spanish, the French, the British, and the Germans who came before them the present day champions of the superpower of western Christendom are similarly very optimistic. The American Puritans of today are not averse to thinking that the present American way station in history' could be the climactic and victorious conclusion to Christian history. They and the Dominionists among them believe that their efforts, (provided every Christian "pulled together" with them), could even bring in the 'Kingdom of God' on earth in this present era. They are Christian Utopians. They say,
"We can do it!
We can have that Kingdom Now!"
The zeal for 'one nation under God' goes back deep into the mists of time. Do its roots go back to the nation of Israel?
This is where matters have become problematical. The established Church and the nation of Israel are poles apart. And yet their religious institutions each still claim to be the chosen people of God. As far as they are concerned God can wrap them up right now in their church or synagogue and lift them straight into heaven just as they are. Their present day membership in the rolls will fit the bill just fine, (or so they think). This, of course, cannot be. The Holy Scriptures connect to both Israel and also to the Church. Yet God is apparently drawing out a single company of covenant people from out of both sides of the family. The adjectives 'royal' and 'holy' are involved too as we shall see.
"Replacement Theology" is a church crafted adaptation designed to deal with the politico-religious problem. These allegorizations and vaporizations of Augustine and Origen are manipulations of scripture. But as well as doing violence to the clear teaching of scripture the error they spread abroad engenders a usurping antisemitism. This unscrupulous doctrine is still present in the older denominations. The Reformation scarcely touched it. The doctrine writes the Jewish nation out of the picture. The Church is now the new Israel of God, (they say).
Today's evangelicals, to their credit, denounce this spurious doctrine. But in trying to solve the problem they have crafted a dispensationalist doctrine with two covenants. This is almost as bad as Replacement Theology. They teach that there is one covenant for the Church and another one, (which they do not spell out), for Israel.
Where did they get this from?
Certainly not the Bible.
The conclusion from a plain reading of the scriptures is clear. There is only one Eternal Covenant spoken of in holy writ. And the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has only provided one plan of salvation. That salvation comes by the shed blood of the Sacrifice Lamb. It comes out of a life of commitment to the God of Israel who promised to provide that Lamb, indeed to be that Lamb.. His blood, and His blood alone will atone for sin. And so there is only one covering. There is only one Elect and one Chosen People.
Of course the Word of God in Holy Scripture gives us the answer to all this is. Jesus Christ/Yeshaua Hamashiach is Himself Israel's promised Sacrifice Lamb. He Himself is the main connecting gateway between Israel and the Church.
He is our Saviour, and our coming Jewish Messiah.
He is the bridge over these troubled politico-religious waters.
He is the "Seed of Abraham". (Gal.3:29)
He is Israel's promised Sacrifice Lamb.
And He is the Saviour to the Church.
Only He can bring peace to Jerusalem.
Inded He is the 'Prince of Peace'.
He is the Prince of shalom or Jeru's Salem.
So our Christian and Puritan dreams for 'one nation under God" are probably quite ancient. There may even be some connection between European Christendom and the lost ten tribes of Israel. Hebrew/Australian scholar Yair Davidy, who now resides in Jerusalem, has carefully researched and written extensively on this subject.
So where in ancient Israel do we see this zeal for 'one nation under God'? Moses, back at Sinai, had set before Israel a great quest. He charged them to walk on with their God to become a 'kingdom of priests, and a holy nation'. (Exodus 19:6).
This very same charge and destiny, to become 'a royal priesthood and a holy nation', was laid out for the Church by our Apostle Peter. (1Pet.2:9).
Obviously the two messages, one from the Old Testament and the other from the New Testament, are identical. They refer to the very same spiritual calling, quest and destiny. They are, in fact, one and the same, even as the God of Israel and the God of the Church is also one and the same.
We have abundant evidence of this in the scriptures. The bringing of the Law at Mount Sinai and the overflowing of the Holy Spirit from Israel into the gentile nations at Pentecost 1500 years later both occurred on the on the Hebrew calendar. Both came 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits. Both came on the Day of Pentecost.
Brothers and sisters, the nation of Israel and the Church are not eternally separate entities as our churchmen have told us. Our Greek thinking and Greek compartmentalization boxes us up. But Christians and Jews need to think outside the theological boxes here. Those boxes are man-made and racial. Messiah transcends all those false divides. God calls for His Elect people the same way He has always done. He calls for His called out "ekklesia"/congregation/church/synagogue and draws them out as a single remnant Elect. There is no "apartheid" of God's Elect and Chosen people. The nation of Israel and the Church have the SAME BIRTHDAY!
Yes, the Nation of Israel and the Church/Ekklesia/Congregation of God are "called out" as one Elect company of saints. Both are called to be a "kingdom of priests" and a "holy nation". They are both in effect called to be "one nation under God". So this same drawing by the God of Israel is in fact the main Puritan dream. And it also provides the basis for their political motivation. We saw it in the Puritan history of the 1600's. We see today among today's Puritans on the 'Religious right'. And we shall see the vision of 'one nation under God" come into holy history in climactic fashion as this age comes to its grand and glorious conclusion.
Our God is a God of total integrity and Unity. And the unity of all His people from both kingdoms is destined to be in Christ our coming Messiah! He has never instituted any 'apartheid policy' with separate destinies for the Church and for Israel. Men did that. He has never spoken of a split or divided Elect in times past. Nor will He do so in the future. As our coming Messiah He will never enact any such dualism or any scrappy unresolved split destiny for His people as our dispensationalism has tried to do. He will unite all His covenant people as a remnant Elect at the end of the age. At the last day He will gather all His saints, His "called out ones" from both sides of Calvary. He will draw a single people out of the Jewish nations, out of the lost ten tribes, and out of the gentile nations.
This dispensationalism that lays out separate destinies for the Church and for Israel is a dangerous doctrine. In alienating and cutting off the Jewish nation from the Church Age or from the Church there is a departure from the Holy Scriptures which allows for no division or sectioning of God's end-time Elect who must include the redeemed Jewish House of Judah as well as the lost ten tribes and those who were once heathen Gentiles from nations and tribes all around the globe. This ultimate sidelining and alienation of the Jewish Nation from Christendom is not what Zechariah saw and prophesied in Holy Scripture. He saw all Israel saved. (See Zech.12:7-13:1). Our Apostle Paul concurred. (See Rom.11) This ecclesiastical misbehavior may be politically expedient. And a happy Church-only ending to the story may keep the nationalist and socialist crowds happy and sell well in the religious bazaars. But an 'Apartheid of the Elect' is a very problematical piece of theology. Such an eschatology, departing as it does from Holy Scripture, has the very real potential of throwing up another shameful round of western antiSemitic history. Remember, it is carnal Christians who do not know their Bibles and are not committed to Christ who favor Hamas against Israel and who speak ill of our yet to be saved Jewish brethren. The more radical elements of them have a long sad history of commiting shameful acts of antiSemitism. Church history presents many sordid examples of this. We saw this happen in the Crusades, the Inquisitions, the Pogroms, and the Holocaust. All these things have been happening inside the Church sice the Church elders decided to go up to meet the Roman Caesar at Nicea. That was a sad and tragic event for true devoted Biblical Christianity. The common people in the West lost access to the Holy Scriptures soon after that epic meeting and collusion of God's holy people with Rome. That compromise and power grab by a Church acting like Gomer put Christendom into the Dark Ages. And that is where they stayed for a thousand years.
The Holy Scriptures are plain and without contradiction here. In times to come the Church and the Nation of Israel will all be unified as one chosen people under Messiah. We know that from a plain reading of the Bible. We also know the character of our God as we see Him expressed in the history of the nation of Israel and in the early church history in the Acts of the Apostles. The sacred pages of both the Old Testament and the New Testament speak with one voice. The Christian God is YHVH, the Holy One of Israel. God became manifest in the flesh as Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach. Our Saviour and Redeemer is also our coming Messiah of the Throne of David, the Lion of the Jewish tribe of Judah, the returning King of Kings.
Our God is not a double dealer having one covenant for "the Church" and another covenant for "the Jews". He is of one Spirit and one divine essence even as He comes down Jacob's ladder from heaven and into this corrupted and sin-sick cosmos. Twelve jewels are in perfect unity and order upon the breastplate of Christ our Messiah and High Priest. YHVH-God Almighty is not a schizophrenic or double-talking god or part of a pantheon of gods like we see in the religions of the east. His Holy Word is clear. And in Him there is no shadow of turning. If He declares that at the end of this age He will gather one Elect and one Chosen people then that is the way it is going to be. Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach has also stated in the Olivet Discourse that when He returns at the end of this age He will by gathering one Elect and Chosen people. Mat 24:29-31) (See Mic.2:12-13, That Chosen People, that 'One Nation under God', is Israel, even a global Commonwealth of Israel. At that time these true and faithful people will have become His Congregation/Church and also His nation Israel. Our coming Messiah is priest and king. He will oversee both the priestly and royal kingdom offices and roles. He is our High Priest and also our coming King of Kings according to the dual offices of the Order of Melchizedek. (Ps.110:4) Both offices and both anointings are given to one single undivided Chosen people, obviously something we have not seen yet. The Church and the Nation of Israel are destined to come into confluence together through the agency of the indwelling Messiah. The Old Covenant forged with the nation at Sinai will be fulfilled through the agency of the New Covenant. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of this glorious end-time restoration of Israel in Jeremiah 31:31-33. In the end-time God will gather them as one people. He will minister to them and through them under the two anointings, those being the royal and the priestly anointings of Messiah.
This should not be strange to us. God told us that this would happen. He told Moses. (Exod.19:6). And He told our Apostle Peter. (1Pet.2:9) Both got the same message. The Holy Spirit was careful to lay the truth out for us in both the scripture texts from Moses and from the Apostle Peter. Notice how the Holy Spirit crosses over the attribute of one office to apply it to the other office. The divine attribute of the priesthood, which is holiness, will be given to the nation.
And the divine attribute of the nation, which is royal and noble will be given to the priesthood/church/congregation.
God's chosen people are not destined to be
a separate "royal nation" (Israel) and
a separate "holy priesthood" (Church).
God has crossed them over into an interlinking unity.
God's chosen people are to become a single re-united company,
a 'royal priesthood and
a holy nation'.
In the end-time, as in times past The God of Israel and the God of the Church draws out one congregation, one nation, one elect. And when all is said and done and history comes to its grand and glorious conclusion God will have before Him a single remnant Elect. These are a single company of the faithful. These 'set-apart' ones or 'saints' are destined to be restored as one single unified Congregation and one Nation under God. This truth from the Holy Scriptures, once realized, will put an end to Antisemitism. Because the Holy One of Israel will bring His peace into our hearts if we invite Him in. And in that Day of His coming, Messiah will save His people in a great deliverance. He will pour His wrath on the wicked and deliver His Elect. He will gather His own, both the quick and the dead, from the four dimensions of the cosmos, across space and time. He will glorify His saints into new spiritual bodies at the Resurrection-Rapture. And He will bring His Peace to Jerusalem at last.
God's chosen people, His 'one nation under God' are one people. These are the people of faith in YHVH who is the God who was, is, and ever shall be. He is our Anointed One, our Christ, our Messiah. These are the people who walk by God's enabling grace through faith in the promised Sacrifice Lamb. The Sacrifice Lamb the old testament saints knew and believed in for salvation is the same Christ who saves us today. He is our Redeemer who gave Himself for us, shedding His life blood for us at Calvary.
Our Saviour is the coming Jewish Messiah. And yes, the Elect of God from out of the Church and from out of Israel even celebrate the same feasts. Jesus/Yeshua was crucified on Passover, buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and rose from the dead on Firstfruits. Fifty days afterwards the Holy Spirit fell on the 120 in the upper room. It was the Feast of Pentecost. Thus began the gentile expansion of the Salvation of Israel out into the world as the entity we call the Church. At a future epic day the Feast of Trumpets will probably be the day to open up the 70th week of Daniel. 7 years later, and precisely on day 1260 + 1290 a future climactic Day of Atonement will close out this present age. The Day of Reckoning will have arrived. And Messiah will come to settle some accounts. All these are past and future waypoints in the history of the Church. They also happen to be the Seven Feasts of Israel.
The chosen of God are a single people. They walk by faith in the footsteps of Abraham. At some point in future holy history the saints will come to a glorious realization. Their ultimate eternal destiny in YHVH God will be right there on their horizon. They will see the Holy City coming into view! At that time their flagging energies will be revived. They will find themselves breaking out into a sprint for the finish line. The End-Time Revival in the New Covenant will be giving them their 'second wind' and a new energy in God. It will be something they have never experienced before. They will discover that they are on the final leg of a relay race. They are the final runners on the epic race of the ages. Now the baton has been passed on to them! And there before them is the finish line! They are it! And that huge and innumerable cloud of witnesses is all around them! (Heb.12:1)
The word 'ekklesia' from which we get our word ecclesiastical or 'church' is a Greek word simply meaning, 'called out' or 'congregation'. And since God has been "calling out" His people, even a congregation, since the Garden of Eden then 'the Church' or the "called out congregation of YHVH/God goes all the way back there as well. The Martyr Stephen, before he was stoned laid out the whole epic story of God's people. He even spoke of the Old Testament nation of Israel camped out at Mount Sinai as the "church in the wilderness". Was this a slip of the tongue? Probably not.
The writer of the book of Hebrews also lays this out nicely in Hebrews 11. So from these scriptures we must conclude that the dispensationalist doctrine that separates Israel from the Church forever is a fallacy. Oh yes, we know that the Church and Israel is not together now. But they will be before this age comes to its appointed climax. (Zech.12:7-13:1) The call by Moses and the call by Peter for God's covenant people to be a "royal priesthood, and a holy nation" is the very same calling. We shall experience this "calling out" in ever increasing waves as the end-time drama unfolds. The breach of Jeroboam will be healed and the two kingdoms of Israel will be re-united as one. The two sticks of authority will have become one as the prophet Ezekiel saw. (Ezek.37:15-28) God will certainly bring that great dream of the Puritans to pass. It will become into reality in world history. All flesh shall see the salvation of God. At last this whole world will see the climactic and glorious appearance of the dream. And the coming Millennium of Messiah will see it established.
At that time they will see the world as one,
even as 'one nation under God'.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
That was a very long trip back in time. For the next part of our journey in search of that zeal for a 'nation under God' we shall content ourselves with a look back into Christian history just 500 years. In our next article we shall be focusing in on some zealous people who responded to God in the 1500's. At that time the scriptures were being translated into the languages of the European people. Thanks to some fine German engineering Johannes Gutenberg's printing press was able to print multiple copies of whole books very quickly. So in the 1500's the Bible soon started to become more available than it had ever been before.
It was the coming of the Holy Scriptures to the common man that made the Reformation possible. The lights were being lit in Europe. Western Christendom was about to come out of the Dark and Medieval Ages. Prominent among them were certain movers and the shakers. They were the ones who were making all this happen. These were the upstart evangelicals, those 'People of the Book'. Oh yes. Those annoying fundamentalists, those Pilgrims and Puritans were beginning to show up on the scene.
Here is the NEXT ARTICLE.
Some more devotional articles on apocalyptic Biblical themes for the enquiring Christian.