The Sabbath-keeping Church of God (that remains faithful to the plain truth of the Bible that Herbert W. Armstrong taught) has heard a lot about government, but many seem to have forgotten that God's ONE government has TWO branches: Church (Priest) and State (King). That's why many have difficulty reconciling apparent differences or contradictions between "the Law of Moses," with its statutes and judgments that we're commanded to REMEMBER (Malachi 4), and Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount."
The Law of Moses (actually, the revealed Law of God) consists of community or NATIONAL laws. That's why the State can execute hardened criminals or wage war and be guiltless in God's sight (Romans 13). The State is actually sanctioned by Scripture to take vengeance for God! They have authority to deputize, whether to uphold the law or protect the country. They're to protect, serve, and defend the community and country, and to encourage obedience to God's laws. The State isn't only to make an example of those who fail to love God, king and country, but commend those who do!
However, Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount" applies to INDIVIDUALS. It reveals an attitude of going the extra mile, of not being trigger-happy or always demanding our rights (there's a time and a place and a way). But some have taken Jesus' hyperbole to a pacifist and self-righteous extreme that Jesus never intended! Jesus didn't say, "If someone rapes your wife, give them your daughter as well," or "if someone steals your car, offer them your house too." Christ commands that we love our neighbor as ourselves, not more than ourselves! And when He was speaking of enemies, He was referring to those with whom we PERSONALLY disagree; He was talking about INDIVIDUALS that we have conflict with. Christ was preaching about interpersonal relationships, NOT international affairs!
If someone carefully and prayerfully studies the Scriptures, they will see that these things are so. They will see that it is not wrong to call upon Joseph and Judah to OBEY GOD and not fear men; to cherish and not despise our birthright and inheritance; to never surrender our God-given Temple Mount, prophesied land possessions and strategic sea-gates and prominent place in the world (that enables us to do much good), ordained by God. And as a God-fearing nation, we'll understand that sacrifice means sacrifice, that battles are battles, and that we must offer, if and when necessary to OBEY GOD, our blood, toil, sweat and tears!
It's indicative of the curse we're under when we're afraid to battle national enemies and risk losing some lives in the process. The ghost of Vietnam haunts us. The pride of our power has been broken. Thank God for those who sacrificed their lives and their fortunes to found this great country of Manasseh! And we should be thankful for those who truly sacrificed that we might remain free from tyranny and practice our biblical religion as a free people in a free land.
Judah was also founded by such men and women who sacrificed all for future generations, and has been preserved by others of the same selfless attitude and actions.
May God bless Joseph and Judah, and the Church of God, to recognize and respect the one government of God with its two branches!
David Ben-Ariel, a Christian-Zionist writer and author of Beyond Babylon: Europe's Rise and Fall, shares a special focus on the Middle East, reflected in hard-hitting articles that help others improve their understanding of that troubled region. Check out Beyond Babylon.