International Relations-Part 2
III. God’s World Government Through Biblical Law:
The third aspect of the Biblical covenant is law, specifically Biblical law.
Obeying the laws of God is to become a way of life for all men. The covenant-keeper is supposed to talk about the law from morning to night as he works beside his children. [Deut.6:8] The law governs every aspect of our lives, and so we are to talk about it throughout the day. Our very conversations are to remind us of the comprehensive nature of God’s law. Because God’s law is comprehensive, our discussion of the law is to be comprehensive. Every covenant-keeper is to become an expert in the law of God. He is to think about it, discuss it, and explore its implications every day. Men are to discuss God’s law daily because they are to honour it daily through obedience. 
The principle of leaven which Jesus spoke of (see Mat.13:33), is this: God’s kingdom progressively replaces Satan’s as the dominant power in world history. Leaven is silent, and it seems unimpressive; but it gets the job done.
After the resurrection, the disciples came to a mountain. Like the mountain Garden of Eden, where God gave the law to Adam, and like Mt. Sinai, where God gave the law to Moses, so was this mountain in Galilee: Christ gave them the law. He gave them His Great Commission. Christians are to make disciples of the nations. They are to bring the nations under the discipline of Christ, through the law of God –“teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Mat.28:18).
Christians must discipline the nations. This discipline begins with self-discipline under God’s law. What we must understand, however, is that it does not end with self-discipline. This is what Protestants and traditional conservatives have long ignored (HON, p.82). The universalism of the Great Commission must be recognised by Christians. God requires that nations submit to Him covenantally: legally, formally and publicly, and that they obey His law.
For two thousand years, Christians have resisted this. They have cried, “We’re not under law; we’re under grace,” implying that God’s law is irrelevant in the New Testament context. Then they have wondered why the world around them has been dominated by oppression, tyranny and bloodshed. Is there a correlation? Of course. As a consequence, the church has generally been willing to substitute natural law for God’s law, being unable (or unwilling) to recognise that natural law is a humanistic, pagan substitute that leads directly to oppression, injustice and tyranny.
Man’s problem has never been a lack intellectual ability. Man’s problem has always been sin: a lack of ethics; his unwillingness to submit to God. Biblical ethics, not intellect (beginning with a recognition that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world), is the key to righteousness, whether it be for the individual, the family, the church, the community or the nation.
Christians have understood the universal claims of Jesus on the hearts of men, but they have continued to ignore the universal claims of Christ on the mind, lives, and public allegiances of men. They have not restructured their worldview in terms of the idea that God is King of kings and Lord of lords. God has laid down the law to mankind, yet His disciples have paid very little attention to God’s law, generation after generation, century after century. They think that they can escape the requirement of the Great Commission to discipline the nations (HON, p.96). Where the Bible speaks of “nations,” we have substituted “individuals.”
It is time for Christians to abandon the myth of natural law. It is time for them to declare instead the covenants of God. It is time for them to proclaim the ethical terms of the covenant, God’s revealed law, for God is the Sovereign Creator who governs all of history. It is time to abandon the myth of neutrality. If “natural law” really is a Greek, pagan construction with no absolutes, and no relationship to Biblical law, there is no alternative to a Biblical, bottom-up theocracy.
IV. Nations with Rival Covenants are Always at War-Alliances are not Covenants:
The fourth point of the covenant structure is judgment. God imposes dual sanctions in history: blessings and cursings.
Peace is therefore seen in the Bible as the ability militarily to wage war successfully, if necessary. But what about turning swords into ploughshares? If peace really means preparation for war, how can swords be converted into ploughshares? They cannot be, until the enemies of God have died on the field of battle, or else have retreated or surrendered. Christian international relations can seek military disarmament only if Christians affirm the legitimacy of, and work toward, national and international covenantal commitment to God. Only if nations as nations affirm the covenant of Christ can international relations progressively attain peace.
The goal of godly foreign policy is to conduct the earthly war of God against enemy nations, but to do so if possible without resorting to armed conflict. The goal is long-term peace through the public covenantal surrender to God of all the nations that are presently enemies of God. Foreign policy is to seek out avenues of long-term peace, but on Christ’s terms: surrender. Only then can swords safely be beaten into ploughshares (HON, p.102-103).
Should Christians be peaceful people? Yes, for the Bible commands us to “seek peace and pursue it” (Ps.34:14). But the previous part of the verse instructs us to “depart from evil and do good.” We also know that while Jesus Christ is “the Prince of Peace” (Isa.9:6), He is also “a warrior” (Ex.15:3). He said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace to the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Mat.10:34). Christians are involved in a spiritual conflict.
Our conflict is not primarily with people (Eph.6:10-12), but it does involve people. People who are at war with God (James 4:4), will generally be in conflict with God’s people, and sometimes this involves physical weapons. People outside Christ have a different understanding of “peace,” to what the Bible teaches. Furthermore, Christians must ensure that they do not unwittingly identify with humanistic schemes of pacifism, which will probably be disastrous.
Thus, Christians can and must claim peace as their goal, but only on God’s terms. It must be the product of covenantal faithfulness throughout the world. If armies are not to cross borders, there must be a covenantal peace offensive. This peace offensive is the preaching of the gospel. It must not be the false promised peace of perpetual coexistence with evil. It is the limited but growing peace that God grants to victors in the spiritual wars of life (HON, p.105).
Diplomacy means working out differences. There is no way to work out differences between nations that are ideologically, officially, and continually engaged at war against each other. Only a nation led by fools or knaves maintains diplomatic relations with rival nations that openly intend to destroy them. The standard argument against breaking diplomatic relations goes along these lines: “We cannot ignore the existence of a superpower like the Communist China.” Nonsense; diplomatic relations have nothing to do with the public acknowledgment of a nation’s existence. During a shooting war, nothing is clearer than a rival nation’s existence, but upon either nation’s declaration of war, diplomatic relations are mutually severed between them.
The issue is pure and simple: formal recognition of a nation means that another nation accepts it as being part of the “family of acceptable nations.”… The idea of permanent ideological warfare until one or the other culture is destroyed or conquered is foreign to those who seek the formal, visible, covenantal unity of mankind. Granting or continuing diplomatic recognition, like breaking recognition and recalling one’s ambassador and consulate officials, is a moral and judicial act, an acknowledgement of another nation’s moral and legal legitimacy among the community of free nations. It has meaning far beyond the mere acknowledgment of a nation’s existence or even its right to exist (HON, p.115-116).
There can never be peace in history outside of Christ. There can be temporary cease-fire agreements, but never a lasting peace. What Christians must understand is that peace is attained through the preaching of the gospel and the discipline of the nations. There is no other way. God will not permit peace on any other terms. War and peace are always covenantal concepts. As long as God and Satan are engaged in a spiritual, historical, and cosmic battle, so their covenanted disciples will be engaged in spiritual, historical, and earthly conflict. Foreign policy must be restructured in every Christian nation to reflect this struggle. It, too, must be reconstructed in terms of the Bible. The goal is international peace, but only on Christ’s terms (HON, p.118-119).
The Old Testament prohibition against covenants with foreign nations referred specifically to covenants between the Israelites and the nations of Canaan: “You shall make no covenant with them, nor with their gods” (Ex.23:32). By implication, it now prohibits any formally covenanted Christian nation from establishing a covenant with any non-Christian nation (HON, p.197).
The Bible specifically says that Abram’s relationship with his neighbours, was one as with “allies” (Gen.14:13). Why is this an important difference? Firstly, they were his local acquaintances; they were locals, so they shared the legitimate common interests of neighbours. A peaceful locality was in their interests, and Abram was prepared to go along with them to war, if the occasion required it (Gen.14:13-24).
So at different times, it would be practical for them as locals to work together for a specific goal. When Abram went to rescue Lot, and Aner, Eshcol and Aner accompanied him, Abram saw to it that they were reimbursed for their trouble. So, they had a limited but important level of relationship, which meant they could accomplish certain goals together.
The limitations on Abram’s relationship with these men were almost certainly based on the fact that they were not of the same faith of Abraham; thus they were clearly not linked covenantally. Even with Sodom, Abram was prepared to have a temporary defensive alliance, for a specific goal (the release of Lot).
Abram’s godly and practical relationship with his neighbours, is in stark contrast with Jehoshaphat’s foolish relationship with Ahab. Having already allied himself in an evil and destructive alliance by marriage with Ahab, Ahab seeks to take this one step further. He puts on a feast for Jehoshaphat, and invites him to join him in making aggressive war against Ramoth-gilead (II Chron.18:1-3). Jehoshaphat’s reply is most illuminating: “I am as you are, and my people as your people, and we will be with you in the battle.”
This is the language of covenant and of marriage, reflected in Adam’s initial description of his relationship with Eve (Gen.2:23-24) and in Ruth’s commitment to Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17). Jehoshaphat is only saved from battlefield death by a miracle (II Chron.18:30-31), and earns himself a rebuke from the prophet (II Chron.19:1-4). Strangely, Jehoshaphat does not learn from this mistake, but repeats it, and earns another prophet’s rebuke (II Chron.20:35-37). Paul warns us, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (II Cor.6:14)
Every aspect of life must come under the public rule of Christ (I Cor.15:24-25). This is why the basis of progressive public peace (though never perfect peace on sinful earth) is the successful waging of spiritual warfare by Christians. Public peace can only be established in history through public covenantal (representative) conquest by Christ the King. All other forms of peace are either temporary cease-fire agreements or deceptions by the enemies of Christ. International relations must be governed by this fundamental Biblical principle of history (HON, p.202).
It is our job as Christians to work constantly to plunder Satan’s house, in every area of life. This is what dominion means. This is what serving as the leaven of God’s kingdom means (Mat. 13:33). It is what it means to be an ambassador for Christ, a disciple of Christ, disciplining the nations. This involves pitting Satan’s less consistent followers against his more consistent followers. In foreign relations, this is the equivalent of exorcising demons. But it necessarily involves exercising good judgment. We must distinguish between friend and foe. This is what the foreign policy of the West, and especially the United States, has failed to do for over two generations (HON, p.210).
Alliances to Spoil Satan’s House:
A Christian nation should distinguish between six types of nations: 1) Christian nations that are covenanted with each other; 2) Christian nations that for some reason are outside the covenanted group or groups; 3) pagan allies that are nonetheless on the side of God’s representative nation or nations if war with pagan empires breaks out; 4) pagan neutral nations that are sitting on the fence, weighing costs and benefits of choosing one side or the other; 5) pagan nations that are aligned with the empire; and 6) pagan empires that are determined to serve as international satanic leaven (HON, p.207).
The Christian nations must be prepared to strengthen their allies in order to weaken our enemies. The principle of “divide and conquer” is Biblical (see Mat.12:24-26, 29). It has been said that “nothing succeeds like success,” but it can also be said that nations like people, are more easily persuaded by success than by shouting. Evangelism by visible success has a clear Biblical precedent (Joshua 2:8-12; 9:22-24; I Kings 10:1-9; Acts 3:9-10) which Christians should be awake to.
V. God’s Legacy of Progressive Peace:
The fifth part of a Biblical covenant is a program of inheritance– a lawful transition that mortal men need in order to extend their dominion over creation.
The goal of foreign policy is peace. This means peace on God’s covenantal terms. There is no other basis of lasting peace: personally, locally, nationally, or internationally. God does not offer rebellious mankind peace on any other basis. To be at war with God covenantally is to abandon the only basis of peace on earth.
Almost everybody proclaims that they want peace. The Biblical ideal of swords being hammered into ploughshares (Isa.2:4; Mic.4:3), appeals to most, until they consider their requirement to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. So far as true peace is concerned, it is at root an ethical issue for “the righteous nation” (Isa.26:2). International peace has mostly been an illusion, because those who proclaimed that they were seeking it have mostly been at war with God (and thus with others), in their hearts. The individual or nation at war covenantally with God, will never find peace in this life or the next.
Jesus did not come to bring us peace in this world. He brings us peace with God which assures us of conflict with God’s enemies. The search for peace goes on, but Christ alone brings perfect peace through perfect victory. He gives it definitively to His people when they are converted. He brings it progressively in history. He fulfils it finally at the last judgment. (HON, p.122).
Ambassadors or Diplomats?
The problem with Western foreign policy [today] is that it is conducted by diplomats for the sake of those elitists who benefit from continued trade with the enemy. The economic deal-doers have taken control of the policy-making organizations… Diplomats are specialists in softening rival positions, trading with the other side. The result has been a steady retreat by the West in the face of danger for over three generations… An ambassador is to represent the national interests of his country. He is not a professional negotiator. Negotiators are useful professionals, but only when a nation is negotiating with its allies. They should not be let anywhere near a self-identified enemy. We should not trade with the enemy, so we need to keep specialists in trading (that is, economics or politics) completely out of the picture (HON, p.132).
A pre-occupation with commerce has muddied the waters, and weakened the foreign policy of western nations. Thus, as one shrewd observer wrote in 1984, “for both constitutional reasons and reasons connected with the peculiarities of totalitarian politics, the State Department [of the U. S.] is not the proper agency to formulate and execute foreign policy toward the Soviet Union or any other totalitarian state. These states play by different rules and must be dealt with accordingly.”
We need ambassadors who understand the theological nature of the confrontation, and who will press the claims of Christ. Diplomats can negotiate the details with covenanted allies, pagan allies, and even neutrals. They should not be allowed to negotiate with hostile nations. They do not possess the required skills (HON, p.137).
Clearly, the inheritance of the earth by the covenant people of God is a long-term process. It is cumulative. It necessarily involves a transfer of assets from the unjust to the just. Those who obey God’s covenant laws steadily inherit the inheritance of those who disobey God’s covenant laws. Thus, the covenantal process of cumulative inheritance necessarily involves the covenantal process of cumulative disinheritance.
- The goal of international relations is peace with God, not peace with Satan.
- International relations must face the fact that nations seek to impose their will on other nations, just as God seeks to impose His will on His enemies.
- Christian nations must trust in God, not weapons.
- We are not to go unarmed into battle, however: David and Goliath.
- Christian foreign policy is to seek the surrender of the nations of the world to God through an international covenant.
- Peace is the fruit of a previous victory, though not usually a military victory.
- Perfect peace comes only at the last judgment.
- Perfect peace is a legitimate goal in history, but impossible to attain.
- Perfect peace, perfect victory, and perfect humanity are found only in the Person of Christ.
- This perfection is imputed to us definitively at the point of conversion.
- Peace with God produces conflict with God’s enemies.
- Humanists seek their peace through conquest or international agreement.
- Swords are turned into plowshares as the enemies of God surrender covenantally and nationally to God.
- If there is no such thing as a Christian nation, there can be no such thing as international peace in this world.
- God lures sinful empires to turn plowshares into swords as preliminary acts of aggression
- against Christian nations.
- This act of rebellion then brings destruction to the rebels.
- Tyrants eventually “overplay their hand.”
- Arms control is an illegitimate international goal.
- What is valid is the conversion of offensive weapons to defensive weapons in Christian nations.
- Unilateral disarmament is illegitimate Biblically.
- The goal of a war should be victory.
- Diplomats are peace-seekers, not people who can deal successfully with war.
- Christian nations should confine the use of diplomats to relations among nations that are not declared enemies.
- Ambassadors should press the claims of Christ on every nation.
- The international goal of history is the unconditional surrender of all nations to God (HON, p.137-138).
One of the greatest challenges in our era, is convincing Christians how important they could be both in their own nation, and amongst the nations of the world. Christians have been reluctant to believe that their mission could be beyond individuals and families. We have believed the gospel, but we have had difficulty believing that the gospel of Jesus Christ had an application beyond these spheres. This has resulted in a comprehensive lack of effectiveness beyond the realm of the individual.
Until Christians start taking the offensive by preaching the whole counsel of God, the absolute sovereignty of God, and the gospel of comprehensive redemption, they will remain covenantal subordinates to the retreating humanists of the West. They will remain on the side of the losers (HON, p.237).
But all this can change. It will change at some point, when believers wake up to the fact that they have been seriously neglecting their responsibilities before God, and that the promised land of the whole world awaits them. What must we realise?
That Christians are ambassadors of reconciliation: primarily, the reconciliation of man to God, and secondarily, the reconciliation of covenant-keeping men to each other. Christians are assigned the task of announcing to the whole world that the gospel of Christ alone offers hope to the world. God is reconciling the world to Himself in history through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is God’s program for healing the nations. No other program, no other faith, no other plan can work. This is the only basis of permanent peace that God offers to men and nations in history (HON, p.233).
 For more on this, see Gary North, “Tools of Dominion: The Case Laws of Exodus,” 1988.
 Gary North, “Inheritance and Dominion,” 1999, Ch.28.
 North, “Healer of the Nations,” p.125.
 R. Pipes, “Survival is not Enough: Soviet Realities and America’s Future,”1984, p.275.