Scripture (Lev. 26: 14 - 33) teach that there are five stages of divine discipline that God imposes on a national level. The fifth, final, and most severe form of divine discipline on the national level, calls for the removal of the nation involved from among the community of nations.
Let’s begin with a review of the stages of national discipline.
*Stage #1: Lev. 26: 16-17 NASB
“I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall eat it up (vs. 16). And I will set my face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when no one is pursing you (vs. 17).”
In Stage #1, the nation is not totally defeated.
Never-the-less, the following conditions will be experienced on the national level. These conditions include acts of domestic and foreign terrorism; physical illness; depression; labor without profit; military failure to achieve desired objectives; being pressured to bend to the economic advantage of one’s enemies; and perceiving threats when no real danger is in view.
*Stage #2: Lev. 26: 18-20 NASB
“If after these things (events of stage one) you do not (change your mind and) obey Me, then I will punish your seven times more (severely than experienced in stage #1) for your (continuing) sins (vs. 18 italics mine).”
“And I will also break down your pride of power; I will also make your sky like iron (drought) and your earth like bronze (hard, dried up) (vs. 19 italics mine).”
“And your strength (energy) shall be spent uselessly, for you land will not yield its produce and the trees of the land shall not yield its fruit (vs. 20 italics mine).”
The characteristics of the discipline being experienced in Stage #1 will greatly intensify and multiply in Stage #2.
*Stage #3: Lev. 26- 21-22 NASB
“If then (following Stage #1 & #2), you act with hostility (Romans 8: 7) towards Me and are unwilling to (change your mind/and) obey Me, I will increase the (already existing) plague (illnesses) on you seven times (more severely) according your sins (vs. 21 italics mine).”
“And I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which shall bereave you of your children and destroy your cattle and reduce your number (population) so that your roads lie deserted (vs. 22 italics mine).”
*Stage #4: Lev. 26: 23-26 NASB
“And if by these things (events of Stage #1, #2, #3) you are not turned to Me, but act with hostility (Romans 8: 7) against Me (vs 23 italics mine), then I will act with hostility; and I, even I, will strike you seven times (greater) for your sins (vs. 24 italics mine).”
“I will also bring upon you a sword (military force) upon you which will execute (My) vengeance for the covenant (with me that you violated); and when you gather together (*take refuge) in your cities, I will send pestilence among you, so that you shall be (partially) delivered into enemy hands (VS. 25 italics mine). When I break your staff of bread (reduce food supply), ten women will bake your bread in one oven, and they will bring back your bread in rationed amounts, so that you will eat and not be satisfied (vs. 26 italics mine).”
* In the ancient world, when a military invasion was immanent, people living in villages and open areas would seek cover behind the walled cities or fortresses.
While providing an immediate means of protection, it also could set the stage for a prolonged siege, subjecting the occupants to famine and extremely unhealthy living conditions. In cases where the water supplies within the cities or fortresses were limited, the siege could be relatively short before the inhabitants were forced to surrender. The invading army would take possession and/or destroy the produce and the cattle left behind in the abandoned fields.
*Stage #5: Lev. 26: 27 – 33 NASB
“Yet if in spite of this (the events of the first 4 stages of divine, national discipline), you do not (change your mind and) obey Me, (vs. 27 italics mine), then I will act with wrathful hostility against you; and I, even I, will punish you seven times (more severely) for you sins (vs. 28 italics mine).
“Further, you shall eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you shall eat (the food supply now being totally depleted) (Vs. 29 italics mine.”
“Then I will destroy your high places (where false religions were practiced), and cut down your incense altars (where offerings were made to false deities), and heap your (bodily) remains on the remains of your idols, for My soul (Spirit) shall abhor you (vs. 30 italics mine).”
“I will lay waste your cities as well, and will make your sanctuaries desolate; and I will not smell your soothing aromas. And I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it will be appalled over it (vs. 31-32).”
“You (those who are not killed during the overtaking of the nation), however, I will scatter among the (foreign) nations and will draw out a sword (a violent force of organized persecution) after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste (vs. 33 italics mine).”
Keep in mind that God disciplined by using issues that critically impacted the quality of life. Some of these issues (health, domestic and foreign threats to security, food supplies, water supplies) remain to be fundamental issues that impact the quality of life in the nations of the world today.
Never-the-less, God is NOT restricted to these specific forms of divine discipline, as He continues to impose national divine discipline throughout the course of human history.
Under the concept of divine discipline, each stage will be more severe than the former, with the most severe being the temporary or permanent removal of the nation from among the community of nations.
The “temporary” removal of the nation of Israel took place in 70 AD, and was not restored, as an independent nation, until 1947, opening the door for the fulfillment of many end time prophecies.
In spite of the fact that each one considered itself invincible at the at the peak of its glory, many former nations and empires have come and gone throughout the course of world history. Others have been greatly reduced in their level of international influence.
It IS the devil’s world (Luke 4: 6) to the extent that the permissive will of God allows, but it is God (Acts 17: 26) who determines the start date, end date, and extent (if any) of global impact that ANY nation had, has, or will have, in the course of human history.
God has used, is using, and will use both godly and ungodly nations and empires (Romans 13: 1) to set the stage for the inevitable manifestation of the end time prophecies of Scripture.
Biblical scholars will debate what stage of divine discipline the United States is presently experiencing, but it doesn’t take the perception of a great theologian or historian to see that we, as a nation, have been removing God and the things of God out of our national fiber, opening the door for more and greater stages of divine national discipline.
True, the USA is “constitutionally” a religious-free nation that leaves the religious choices and matters of spirituality in the hands of each individual or each individual group, but that does eliminate individual or corporate accountability to God (Gal. 6: 7).
Not believing in God does not make Him go away. Not acknowledging His sovereignty does not make it go away. Not believing in a coming judgement (Rev. 20: 13, 15)/evaluation (1Cor. 3: 12-15) day for the believer (1Cor. 3: 12-15) and for the unbeliever alike, will not stop these events from taking place. This applies to individuals and to nations alike.
Although many would have us ignore it, Christian faith of many of its immigrants and earliest leaders played a major role in making the USA the country that it one time was. Sad to say, but our motto could be correctly changed to, “In God We Trust-ed.”
In many ways, the USA has become an ungodly nation, begging for divine discipline.
Overall, our military, police, and border-security organizations have served our nation well, but to rely on such things to continue if God removes his hand of protection (as an act of divine discipline) is a serious mistake.
“The horse (weapons of war) is prepared for the day of battle, But victory (who wins) belongs to the Lord (Prov. 21: 31 italics mine).”
“Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it, Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain (Psalms 127: 1 NASB).”
Note that the watchman was not negligent or sleeping, but “awake” and attending to business, but in vain.
Every great nation or empire, at least at the peak of their power, considered itself invincible. Never the less, they come and they go as God decrees.
In context, the Leviticus 26 passage spoke of the potential blessings that the nation of Israel would/did receive for its obedience, and the discipline that the nation of Israel would (and eventually did) receive for its disobedience.
In principle, however, the concept of divine discipline applies to each and every nation that did, does, or will be established throughout the course of human history (Acts 17: 26).
Some parts of “The Law” (Old Testament Scripture) applied (past tense) ONLY to the nation of Israel, but there are many principles that apply to all nations, including the nations here in the present dispensation of the Church Age.
The United States of America is NO exception.
As revealed in such Old Testament Scripture, such as the Book of Daniel, and confirmed in such New Testament Scripture as the Book of Acts (Acts 17: 26), the rise, duration, and fall of the individual empires and nations of the world, all did, do now, or will play a part in the unfolding plan of God throughout the course of human history.
The principles of Acts 17: 26 and Leviticus 26 apply to what we would consider to be evil, as well as, to what we would consider to be godly nations.
“Godly” refers to the ones whose populace acknowledge and respect the God of the Bible, in both word and action. and “evil” being the ones that follow the “gods of the world’s religions (Psalms 96: 5), or no god (atheism) at all.
Evil nations can also include the ones that do acknowledge the existence of the God of the Bible, but conduct themselves in the ways of the world.
In many ways, the USA has become an ungodly, evil nation.
God has, and continues to make use of both godly and ungodly nations to bring about the plan that He has laid out for the human race.
God has used and continues to use what Biblical scholars refer to as “client” nations. A client nation is one that God uses as His primary means to accomplish His divine objectives in any given period of world history.
Knowing what God’s primary objectives are in any given dispensation (period of time) can go a long way in identifying who the client nations were/are, and what role they played, play, or are playing in the master plan of God.
It is truly an honor and a privilege to reside in and to serve a client nation, but to whoever receives much, the more will be required of him (Matt. 13: 12). This applies to individuals and to nations.
Spiritual combat takes place on the individual, national, and international arenas each and every day.
The more any individual or nation promotes the God of the Bible or the things of the God of the Bible, the more of a target he/she/or it becomes in the realm of spiritual combat.
Therefore, a believing populace are commanded to pray for, “kings and all those in positions of (secular) authority (1Tim. 2:2 NASB italics mine).”
Note the plurality (kings, all) of the commandment.
I believe that there were two spirit objectives behind the rise and the continuation of the United States of America, as an independent nation with great international influence.
The first objective had nothing to do with what would become its military capabilities, but with the potential of its spiritual populace to be the last (Matt. 24: 14) global serge of influence regarding the proclamation of the Gospel Message.
This is evident by the fact that during the last century of world history, as 90% of the world-wide evangelistic organizations were located in, or financially supported by, the Christian Community residing within the United States.
The second objective has much more to do with its military and political influence. God has used the USA and other world powers to play its role setting the stage on the international level for the manifestation of end time events.
I believe that God is using the political influence of the United States in the Middle East to keep the lid on things there until the time comes for the fulfillment of end time prophecies concerning the nation of Israel.
This by no means that the USA did not have, does not have, or will not have both domestic and foreign issues to be addressed, if it desires to be the recipients of God’s continued grace. There is no nation on earth that is not subject to the various stages of divine discipline, regardless of what form of government it promotes.
Client nations are often the greatest blessed (for their obedience) and the hardest disciplined (for their disobedience).
Israel, for example, was established and preserved as the means through which the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, in God’s timing, would come.
At the same time, Israel was overtaken and ruled by ungodly empires, finally being removed in (70 AD) from among the community of nations, and was not restored until 1947, when the times of the Gentiles (occupation/domination) were fulfilled (Luke 21: 24).
* * *
The spiritual decline in America leaves me with great concern as far as it continuing to be a client nation of God if things continue to go the way they have.
God does not need the USA, but the USA does need God (Psalms 127:1/Prov. 21: 31).
To the extent that God allows, the devil has used the nations that he deceives to promote his agenda, as well. There are many who consider themselves to be “Christians” who promote the devil’s agenda every day.
Satan’s hatred for Jewish race goes w-a-y beyond the land disputes concerning Israel and her neighbors. Satan is fully aware of the part the Jerusalem, the Jews, and the nation of Israel play in the end time prophesies. It is the fulfillment of the end time prophecies that set the stage for the devil’s final and complete defeat (Rev. 20: 7-10).
In the meantime, and contrary to what many have been deceived into thinking, the devil is not in Hell waiting for all the “bad” people to join.
Like a submarine, the devil is in a position to inflict his greatest harm when his actual presence and influence is not overtly voice recognized.
The edified believer knows that even the devil and/or his spokesmen will “go to church” to have his voice of influence heard (2Cor. 11: 14, 15). In this way, the devil has had a voice WITHIN the Christian Community from the very beginning of the Church Age (Galatians 3:1/ 1John 2: 18).
Have you reached the stage of spiritual maturity that you can discern when the voice of God, verse the voice of the devil is coming from any given pulpit?
The warning of (Mark 4: 24) applies to the pulpits, as well as the innumerable means of communication at the devil’s disposal in the day and age in which we are living.
One would expect evil from the devil’s world, but not from a pulpit. This is what is meant by the spiritually blind pulpits leading the spiritually blind followers. They are both headed for the “pit”, no matter how “sincere” either one may be (Matt. 15: 14),
The devil does not have the omnipresence (being everywhere at the same time) of God, but the devil (1Pet. 5: 8), and his evil forces (Eph. 6: 12) engage in spiritual combat each and every day all around us. This combat takes place on the individual, national, and global levels.
Religiously deceived persons unwittingly practice and promote the devil’s agenda (John 8: 44).
The history of the nation of Israel provides us with many, many, examples of how God can bless, and how God can discipline, a nation.
The primary purpose of divine discipline, be it on the individual, national, or global level, is to motivate the one disciplined to repent and change its behaviors or practices for the better. When repentance (change of mind/behavior) fails to materialize, the next stage is imposed.
In the meantime, God can use the actions of evil men (Gen. 50: 20) and nations (Matt. 26: 4) to ultimately accomplish His plans.
On the individual level, the maximum form of divine discipline is physical death (Acts 5, 1Cor. 11: 30, etc.). On the national level, it is the temporary or permanent removal as an independent nation or empire from among the community of nations around the world (Luke 21: 24).
The timing of the rise of every nation, the extent of its international influence and interaction, and the diminishing or the fall of every nation is in the hands of God (Acts 17: 26/Romans 13: 1).
All such things, including the wars and the rumors of wars that “must (Matt. 24: 6 NASB)” take place, are a part of the plan of God that He authored before the creation of the world, let alone before any of nations involved that would later come along.
The blessed peacemakers of (Matt. 5: 9) refers to those who proclaim the Gospel Message affording the recipients the opportunity to make peace with God.
The type of peace announced by the angel at the First Advent (Luke 2: 14) also referred to this form of peace.
To the extent that circumstances allow, a born-again believer is to live in peace with others (Romans 12: 18), but the very nature of the post salvation spiritual life calls for a life of conflict!
The Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 10: 34) made it perfectly clear that interpersonal (Luke 12: 52/Matt. 10: 36) and international (Matt. 24: 6) peace was NOT a part of the His mission at that time (Joh 18: 36).
On the contrary, while the Gospel Message restores peace with God, it is also a source of division, separating believers from unbelievers, in the closest of personal relationships (Matt. 10: 36).
Like it or not, war and rumors of war to come, has been, is now, and (until the Prince of Peace returns) will be a part of the human experience. God uses human warfare to carry out divine discipline on the national level.
There has not been, is not now, or ever will be a nation or empire that at the peak of its reign did not consider itself invincible and accountable to no one.
In God’s timing, they have all been proven wrong.
When God lifts His hand of protection and uses military defeat as the means to discipline a nation, the nation is in serious trouble.
If God wills otherwise, the size or military capability of a nation’s armed forces will have little to do with the outcome of a battle (Prov. 21: 31).
If God is not with them, the efficiency those who guard or monitor a nation’s ports of entry or border will fail to keep covert enemies from entering the nation to carry out their plans.
Especially in a free society, there is not a law enforcement agency in place that can always keep the lid on crime, domestic terrorism, or that can control a violently orientated and restless society.
In order for a free society to remain secure and functional, it takes the v-o-l-u-n-t-a-r-y submission (Romans 13) of its populace to respect and comply with its laws and policies.
This is not an attack on those who serve in either the military, border security, or in a law enforcement capacity. I had a thirty-year law enforcement career, that began in a local community. The last five years at a state airport. I was in the control center in a Rhode Island airport when the 911 event took place in New York.
The point being made is that when God lifts His hand of protection and imposes divine discipline on a national level, military campaigns, border security, and law-enforcement on all levels will no longer produce the desired results.
There has always been and always be issues that need to be addressed to establish a secure society, affording genuine equality, justice, and opportunity for all citizens. When God, and/or the things of God, are left out of the “solutions,” it is a recipe for disaster.
The American society has been turning its back on the God of the Bible for decades, adopting practices and concepts that “sounded like a good idea at the time,” but turned what was a generally a “godly” society over on its head (Proverbs 14: 12).
“There is a way that seems right to a man, Buts its end is the way of destruction (Prov. 14: 12 NASB).”
Disrespect for authority, in the name of independence and liberation in the home, is like a cancer that soon spreads throughout all areas of society (Romans 13).
What the wise man will ask is, “From Whom or what is it that I wanted to be liberated?”. If the answer to the Whom part is God, or if the answer to the what part is the things of God, he/she or the nation is on a collision course with disaster.
“Do not be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man (or a nation) sows, this he (it) will also reap (Gal. 6: 7 NASB italics mine).”
Many political, religious, and spiritual personalities have been quoted as having pointed out that however goes the family, so goes the nation and/or the world at large.
The family structure that God designed is the foundation on which a godly society/nation rests. It is the godly nation that God can/will bless. It is an ungodly society that God will discipline.
One might ask, “What can one person or one family do to turn the tide?” The answer, in part, is that a chain (society) is only as strong as its weakest link. If one is not a part of the solution, then one is a part of the problem.
The majority American society has redefined and adopted family structures that run contrary to the type that He designed for the human race. What was abnormal, has become the norm.
In the center of the family structure that God designed is God. With God “out of the way,” replacing God and the things of God with things that are, “taught by demons (1Tim. 4: 1),” becomes a much easier task for the devil to complete.
Human solutions are very accommodating. Human solutions make sense to human beings, but, “there is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death (Prov. 14: 12 NASB).”
Man, families, societies, nations, and empires, when left to their own devices will self-destruct (Matt. 24: 22). It is divine intervention that can either slow down or speed up the process.
The prophesied apostasy (1Tim. 4: 1) WITHIN the Christian Community” has only added more fuel to the fire of destruction taking place in the spiritual realm.
If one’s chosen means of spiritual edification fails to provide the means (Bible Doctrine) for one to spiritually mature, the born-again believer is NOT going to advance in the post salvation spiritual life.
If one’s choice of means of edification IS providing the means, but one is not applying (James 1: 22) it to his daily thoughts and actions, he will not advance in the post salvation spiritual life.
Identifying and executing the post salvation spiritual life does not improve, nor does it diminish the integrity of the salvation that a born again receives upon being born again. Even the most severe form (physical death) of divine discipline does not take away the eternal benefits of salvation.
What can be diminished or completed lost, is the “rewards” that an advancing disciple could have received at the evaluation event documented in 1Cor. 3: 12-15.
There are no rest areas along the road to spiritual maturity. If one is not advancing, then he is regressing in the post salvation spiritual life.
If an individual or a nation plays with fire long enough, he/it is going to get burned.
Divine discipline for an individual can range in anything from having to live with a guilty conscience, up to, and including physical death (Acts 5/1Cor. 11: 30).
Divine discipline for a nation can involve anything from domestic unrest, up to and including its removal, as an independent nation, from among the community of nations.
No amount of “other” good deeds or *religious rituals can turn the tide of divine discipline being imposed for un-repented, un-confessed, and/or un-forsaken sin.
A *religious ritual is something that Man, in the name (authority) of Man-made religion, has installed in place of what God has established to secure a desired objective in the spiritual realm.
Relief from the escalating stages of divine discipline on the individual is secured by the individual born again believer confessing the known sin(s) to God (1John 1: 9), based on the atoning blood that was shed by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. This process does NOT involve a human priest or clergyman. 1John 1: 9 confession results in the forgiveness of sin, and the restoration of fellowship (2Cor. 13: 14) with God the Holy Spirit. In order to maintain fellowship (not salvation) one must then forsake the type of sin (John 8: 11) that took the born-again believer out of fellowship in the first place.
Otherwise, the born-again believer will spend much of his post salvation spiritual life going around and around in the proverbial revolving doorway, going in and out of fellowship with God, but never going any further in the plan of God.
Likewise, the tide of escalating stages of divine discipline being imposed on a nation on the national level, can ONLY be turned by the nation (as a whole) acknowledging the error of its way, and returning to (or adopting) the ways of God.
No amount of “good” domestic or foreign deed/policies will replace the need for the nation to acknowledge its corporate sin and make the necessary adjustments.
If either the individual or the nation refuses to repent (change its mind and practices), then he/she/it is playing with the fire, and inevitably leaving him/her/itself open to be the recipient of the ever-increasing stages of divine discipline.
For the nation, this means ineffective military campaigns or total defeat in war.
There is no domestic agency that can maintain law and order when a significant portion of the population chooses to rebel.
There is no border protection agency that can guarantee 100% secure borders (Psalms 127: 1b NASB).
“unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain (Psalms 127:1b NABS).”
There is NO military force that cannot be neutralized or destroyed, directly or indirectly, by God (Psalms 33: 16).
Secular and Biblical history is filled with accounts where superior human military forces were defeated or neutralized by inferior human military forces.
“The king (nation) is not saved by a mighty army… (Psalms 33: 16 NASB.)”
What a nation can do is to be the type of nation (Lev. 26: 3) that God can bless (Psalms 33: 12) with domestic peace (Lev. 26: 6) and prosperity (Lev. 16: 4, 5), secure borders (Lev. 26: 6), and successful military campaigns (Lev. 26: 7) when there is the time for war (Eccl. 3: 8).
Advancing disciples in ANY nation do not have the need for there being a law on the books before they acknowledge and apply the commands of God to all that they do and say.
Because the laws of any given nation allow, endorse, and promote something, does not mean that it is not accountable to God.
One’s positive spiritual choices (believing in the Gospel Message/ identifying and executing the post salvation spiritual life are the first steps toward having a testimony that God can use to impact others.
As long as there are born-again believers among the people of any nation, that nation can have hope for a revival of faith and the avoidance of at least the most severe form of divine discipline.
Sodom and Gomorrah could have been spared if only ten good men could have been found among the wicked population (Gen. 18: 32) of that day.
Being a nation that is bent on engaging in multiple military campaigns all over the world, avoiding military ineffectiveness or complete defeat as a form of divine national discipline would seem wiser than ever