By Alan Keyes
January 29, 2014
Come out of her, my people,
lest you take part in her sins,
lest you share in her plagues;
for her sins are heaped high as heaven,
and God has remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:4-5)
This past Sunday, I read an article by Rev. Mark Creech that focused on the biblical account of King Josiah of Judah, and its relevance to the situation of the United States today. During King Josiah’s rule, Rev. Creech wrote, “the book of the law of God was rediscovered…. The effect of the reading of the law of God to the king was profound…. He ordered that the book be read to all the people…. A great spiritual awakening and a revival broke out across the land.” (See 2 Kings 22:16-17.)
As it turned out, the revival came too late to avert God’s wrath from the people of Judah. Through Huldah, the prophetess, God proclaimed that, on account of their apostasy, “my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.” But because Josiah had humbled himself before the Lord, he deserved a different fate. “Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place” (2 Kings 22:18-20).
I took the time to read Rev. Creech’s article with care because for the past several years I have had the strong conviction that, like the people of Judah, the United States has been judged by God. Though in faith I accept whatever is God’s will, the same strong trust in God informs my conviction that a different fate may still be possible for Americans because we live in an age informed by the ministry of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God. Christ brought to earth an unfailing hope of salvation not yet fully revealed to the people of Judah. As heirs to his ministry, we are called to remember that he has already paid the price of our redemption from the fate justly merited by our sin.
Anyone who humbly accepts the gift of Christ’s sacrifice will, like King Josiah, never “see the evil” that must befall all who reject Christ. In this respect, God’s promise to King Josiah affirms the prospect of their individual salvation. But until today, I had been thinking that it did not offer Americans much hope for their nation. Like the people of Judah, is our nation today so far gone that it must experience the brunt of God’s wrath, despite the merits of the King of kings?
But there is an important respect in which Americans are unlike the people of Judah. On account of political insights brought to light by Christ’s ministry, we live in a constitutional republic, one that is supposed to implement the sovereignty of the people. This means that, at any given moment, the constitutional majority of the people of the United States has the kingly office King Josiah had in Judah.
As one human being, the body of King Josiah was the little portion of flesh and blood God’s will assigns to every individual. But the body of the American people includes a multitude of such individual bodies. Their kingly power is not assigned to any one of them. It appears to act only when the people assemble for elections; or for legislative action, through their elected representatives, in duly constituted legislative bodies. On such occasions, as individuals vote this way and that, they inform themselves of the constitutional sovereign’s will. But the majority that does so must reach or surpass in number the proportion of the whole people that their more permanent will (declared in the Constitution) sets as the threshold for a sovereign act.
This more permanent constitutional will acts through the representatives, laws, and institutions authorized and established in accordance with the Constitution. Obviously, just as the vote of one individual does not constitute an act of the sovereign people, so the presence or absence of one individual does not preclude the exercise of their sovereignty. Hence, in a government of, by, and for the people, though individuals die, the sovereign lives on.
Rev. Creech accurately observes that, on account of the merits of King Josiah, God withheld execution of His judgment against Judah until after his death. If we see a parallel between the American people and King Josiah, what constitutes the death of King Josiah in the American context? Doesn’t it occur when Americans of good faith can no longer muster a constitutional majority to elect people and support actions that reiterate the nation’s primordial respect for the sovereignty of God? (I say “reiterate” because the people of the United States first came into being acknowledging God as the ultimate sovereign. Indeed, they risked and endured a destructive war to vindicate the self-evident truth that His will endows all right and justice, and so authorizes the just powers of government derived from them.)
Seen from this perspective, every election contest in America, particularly at the national level, may or may not be the battle in which the America’s righteous king is slain. So on every such Election Day, the people of God, so called by the name of Christ, face a question, critical to the welfare of their nation – a question that overshadows other issues their votes may prove numerous enough to decide. That question is, Does King Josiah still live?
This article was posted with permission from Renew America.