Democracy vs Religion

Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem (Photo: Itzik Ederi/Wikimedia Commons)

As I have been already writing about this, especially since the formation of the new government coalition in Israel, I thought that I might give some wider reflections on the situation facing us.  I could be writing to some of you with more understanding of what I am talking about, so if there is anything that is clearly questionable, please let me know.

The more Jewish that the State of Israel becomes, the less democratic it will necessarily become.  Religion and democracy may mix, but will not bind.  Religion is normally a way of life based on a belief system from a higher authority to appease; democracy is a system of governance based on the will of the people, who must be appeased.  In a democracy — at least in the U.S. model of a representative democracy in the form of a constitutional republic over a direct democracy, which many see as the best form of government ever – there is no King.  (If you have ever read books about utopia, you may notice that there is never a king.)  It is rule of the people, by the people, for the people.  (This is essentially the same meaning as Laodicea.   While both the US and the church in Laodicea assume that the true God is in whom they trust, the reality is that He has been put out of the vineyard, outside the camp, outside the door.

While the USA claims to be the best governmental system ever, the Word of God does not agree.  I have to admit that as a normal person, and one born and raised in America, I also thought that that country was the best in the world – at least in my experience – and had the world’s best interests ‘at heart’.  I used to think that they had Israel’s interests at heart, but even before I was saved, my best Jewish friend at the time told me that the US has the US interests in mind foremost.  This is normal, actually, in this world.

In the Book of Daniel the Prophet, King Nebuchadnezzer had a dream that only God could interpret, which interpretation He gave to Daniel to reveal to the King.  It was a Holy Spirit insight into the affairs of the Gentile world powers – the kingdoms of this world – leading up to the Kingdom of God to overthrow and replace them, which will come for us in the not-too-distant future.  The point that I want to make here from the dream and its definitive interpretation is that each succeeding kingdom/empire was weaker and less qualitative than the former ones.  If you look at the letters of Yeshua/Jesus to the seven churches in Asia Minor that we have in the Book of Revelation, again we see that the spiritual quality trend is downward.  Yes, praise God for the remnants in each one, and for the temporary and partial revivals that occurred.  But generally, the Body of Messiah’s history is similar to the world’s, and to Israel’s:  from the revelation of the Creator and Redeemer God to apostacy/departure from the truth of Him and of His ways.  The Apostle Paul has forewarned us that in the last days persecution of godly believers will be a fact of life, and that evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2Tim 3:1-14)

Democracy has put God the Father and His Son Jesus aside, professing with the mouth, perhaps, but the hearts far from Him.  (I am particularly thinking of American democracy, and of Israel’s and the Jewish people’s desire to be like the Gentiles, especially the US.  And, again, I am speaking of the general condition, not of every individual or of a faithful remnant within the collective whole.)   The US has essentially made “democracy, American style”, a religion, which it wants other nations to emulate, even though some of those other systems are completely antithetical to that frame of reference.

The U.S. of A. was founded on Jewish-Christian and Greek-Roman values – a syncretism of the holiness and righteousness of YHVH and of His Messiah, and of the highest pagan philosophies and ways of this world.  This experiment could succeed until the consensus broke down as to the basis of “the best this world has to offer”, and that break-down has accelerated in the last century as “the flesh” has broken out of its constraints.  Who determines which system or ideology is best?  If Jews and Christians forget or retreat from who put His Name upon them, and who we are called to be, then we will not defend His Name, nor His “values”, nor the territory that He has given us to defend.  When immigrants come into a country, and are not willing to adopt the essentials of that new society, then that nation will cease to be what it had been known for, for better or for worse.

When Israel was reestablished in 1948 in its homeland, it was seen as a refuge for Jews who were persecuted in their Gentile nations where God had exiled and scattered His wayward chosen people.  The Jewish people did not build an altar to the God of Israel, but established a nation that was essentially modeled after socialist ideologies from which most of those pioneers at that time had grown up with.  When the Six-Day War was miraculously won, and the Temple Mount was “in our hands”, we did not build an altar to the God of Israel, but enabled the Muslims to de facto continue their antichrist and anti-God of Israel worship at the expense of giving glory to the true God of Heaven and Earth.

We know that there has been a growing movement over the last four decades to not only allow Jewish presence and prayer on the Temple Mount, but to build a temple there and to sacrifice animals.  For the Orthodox Jews, this is a necessary development in the redemption back to the land.  I used to work with an “ordinary” religious Jewish man many years ago, and he told me that they needed a temple with sacrifices, because we, the Jewish people, are defiled.  Blood sacrifices are needed to cleanse us, he said.  The Jewish nation does not believe in Yeshua/Jesus, nor that the Body of Messiah/Christ is the spiritual temple of God.  For them, a physical temple and place of sacrifice is essential.  We know that that temple will be the place of the abomination of desolation by the Antichrist.  But for those of us who believe that the Messiah Yeshua will return to rule and reign for 1000 years from Jerusalem in Israel, we also believe that there will be a physical temple, including sacrifices, for reasons that YHVH knows best. (Ezek 40 – 48)

Democracy has put YHVH God aside, professing with the mouth (but not by His Name), perhaps, but the hearts far from Him.  (I am particularly thinking of American democracy, and of the Jewish people’s heart to be like the nations, especially the US.  And, again, I am speaking of the general condition, not of every individual or of a faithful remnant within the collective whole.)   The US has essentially made “democracy, American style” a religion, which it wants other nations to emulate, even though some of those other systems are completely antithetical to that frame of reference.  The U.S. of A. was founded on Jewish-Christian and Greek-Roman values – a syncretism of the holiness and righteousness of YHVH and of His Messiah, and of the highest pagan philosophies and ways of this world.  This experiment could succeed until the consensus broke down, which has accelerated in the last century as “the flesh” is breaking out of its constraints.  The flesh is having an uprising, an intifada, against Spirit-of-God restraints to keep it subject to necessary laws – based upon a moral foundation — for the public welfare.

Belief in ourselves, belief in “democracy”, keep “religion” limited and “under control” of the majority non-religious.  We make a “high place” for everyone to have freedom of worship together, even though some of the gods to whom they are praying are vying for credibility that they do not deserve to be considered worthy of equality with the one true God.  And some of those gods make outright enemies of the people allowing their presence!  It reminds us of the time of the Judges in Israel, when there was no King in Israel, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes.

As the humanistic efforts at peace-making have necessarily floundered (because YHVH has His one-and-only peace plan), there has been a revival of sorts within Israel of religion and Judaism values, with the Jewish nation’s security and prosperity becoming the two main pillars of “the right of Israel to exist”.  The Judaism of the Jewish people for the last 1900-plus years is Pharasaic/Talmudic/Rabbinic – a “way” that is not the same “Way” as the Messiah Yeshua/Christ Jesus has taught us to follow the true God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob/Israel.  The “security” that Israel hopes in is in its collective brain power, and that the United States will continue to see Israel as its ally, willing to supply the nation with sufficient weaponry.  It is certain that YHVH God is going to break this pride of strength and of self-determination and of dependency on the arm of the flesh of Gentile powers, whom YHVH has decreed for judgment against Him and His people and the Kingdom of His Son!  When they circumcise their hearts, by the sovereign grace of God, then will the Jewish people call on the name of YHVH/Yeshua to save them.

The current government in Israel wants to establish a stronger judaistically Jewish character and identity for the nation.  This runs counter to a pluralistic and liberal democratic secular look and life-style.  This is to be expected in these last days, as we see the time near for renewing the daily sacrifices, as prophesied in Daniel, and referred to by Yeshua, by Paul, by John.  What will enable this for the determined duration, which the Antichrist halts, remains to be seen; but such a current government coalition brings us closer to that.  Then, true believers in the Messiah being Yeshua/Jesus will be persecuted to some extent by Jewish people, as occurred in the first 40 years of the “new thing” which God brought in through faith in His Son.

This new religious Zionist coalition intends on making immigration harder for many with Jewish lineage, who do not meet their scrutiny of the sort of Jew that they want.  We must pray for a breakthrough from the Lord to overcome their hindrances in this very serious matter against God’s redemptive purpose to glorify His name by bringing His people back to the land which He promised as an everlasting inheritance with an oath to Jacob, to Isaac, and to Abraham (even covenanted Jewish people in the flesh who have not yet believed in Yeshua).

Before judging these Jews too severely, let us judge ourselves first:  those of us who are conservative Christian/Messianic believers – and liberal in trying to love our neighbors as ourselves, and other believers as Jesus has loved us — normally want to preserve that in our churches/congregations/fellowships.  We also normally want the leadership of our various assemblies to be those who are “kosher” in doctrine and practice of the faith.  We, too, tend to judge firstly based on our natural inclinations, before we may allow the Holy Spirit to get us to fear the Lord and not show partiality or judge by appearances.  When God saves someone, He works – and calls for cooperation on each of our part – to sanctify us, to conform us to the image of the Son of God.  We need to be “converted”, and not bring in our own personal preferences, or begin to drift away from the teachings of the Messiah and of His Apostles – resulting in a weakened testimony of the unique exclusiveness of being a disciple of Jesus/Yeshua.  We who baptize believers do not want to baptize only as a cultural religious “rite of passage”.  Be as inclusive as possible, as restrictive as necessary.  But if those who are invited do not want to go on, then Jesus will bring in many others from the byways and hedges.  But even then, He expects them to put off their “old man/habits/clothes”, and put on a “wedding garment/the new man in Christ/Messiah”. (Lk 14:16-24Mt 22:1-14)

The effort by this current political-religious coaliton to grant the majority democratically elected law-makers to reform the judicial system will make the Supreme Court subject to the whims of every election, whenever the majority shifts.  Just look at the US as an example of what could be with such a “reform”.  Going back to the need for a consensus of what a nation is founded upon, the highest court in the land is supposed to uphold what the founders established.  Israel has rejected YHVH’s “constitution”, and has “amended” it as it chooses (in fact, Israel does not have a constitution!), while claiming to be doing all for “the good of the people and the nation”.  If we can break God’s covenant, it won’t be so unconscionable to break marriage covenants or international treaties or the trust of the nation.  It is clear that if a religious nationalist party gains the upper-hand over a mostly secularized population, that they would seek to solidify that in the courts, just as the opposite has been.  It is hypocritical to say that that is not so.  All in the name of “democracy” or “the will of the people”, or, even, in the name of the Lord God – carrying (teesaw תשא) His name in vain. (Ex 20:3, 7)

As disciples of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah/the Lord Jesus Christ, we are not to turn to the left or to the right, even though we may lean towards one of those sides.  The gospel – our message — is not partisan, not political.  (Although there is a political element in it, since Yeshua/Jesus is a King:  He is the King of the Jews; He is also King of the Nations; He is the King of kings; He is the King of another kingdom — not a democracy — that is not of this world system.)   But, praise God, He will come to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth!  Then truly God’s New Covenant Law/Torah will go out from Zion, and the Father’s will be done on Earth as in Heaven.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus!  Amen?

This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, January 22, 2023, and reposted with permission.