The question of Christianity and nationalism comes up often. As capital rules the globe without mercy and it seeks the destruction of all that increases its transaction costs, the nation is considered harmful. Official Orthodox writers fall easily in line, defining “nationalism” in the worst way possible and then patting themselves on the back for condemning it.
Orthodox intellectuals can rarely define the term properly. They seem to think it has to do with the modern state and imperialism. They also think that to be a nationalist is to “hate” others. Now, hatred is a perfectly legitimate emotion for enemies that seek to destroy you, but its hardly required for a nation to exist. Orthodoxy in general, and True Orthodoxy in particular have very, very few people capable of analyzing this properly.
During the time of the Israelite kings, there were two kinds of prophets. The actual, real prophets and the “temple prophets.” The latter were employees of the system and told the monarchs what they wanted to hear. God made sure the real prophets were poverty-stricken nobodies (except Isaiah) with no social status at all. These men were condemned for this as much as their message.
The real prophets called for the destruction of Israel for its sins and spoke of the “adultery” and “whoring” of the ruling class to the demands of capital, called quite often “Baal,” or the concept of landlord, or the landed oligarchy in general. While fetishized into a “god,” it is far more important to see him as the representation of the moneyed interest. To follow him, by definition, was to remove himself from Yahweh totally. It didn’t take long for the average Israelite to begin seeing no difference between the two gods.
This paper, as with pretty much everything this author writes, defends the nationalist idea not just in Orthodoxy or Christianity, but as a facet of natural law. If human beings are naturally social, then the only for this to happen is within the national context. Nations are defined largely by language, which refers to all manner of social communication. This means it has to do with everything, as most communication is non-verbal. It’s necessary for any social action to take place whatsoever.
After World War II, nationalism fell out of favor as the world was divided between communists and left liberals. The defeat of Hitler meant the rise and totalitarian control of capital, whether it be under a state-based oligarchy or a corporate one. There’s little difference in being a bureaucrat for the state planning board as being a bureaucrat for Northrop-Grumman.
I. Hitler and Christianity
Adolf Hitler was a Christian. He was also a politician. True, he had no doctrinal foundation, but Christianity, generally speaking, was the religion of the Reich. Dissenters emerged in Hitler’s own “deep state” from Martin Borman and Heinrich Himmler, but they were not politicians. They could afford to be ideological. Hitler states,
No, it is not we that have deserted Christianity, it is those who came before us who deserted Christianity. . . . National Socialism neither opposes the Church nor is it anti-religious, but on the contrary it stands on the ground of a real Christianity. . . . For their interests cannot fail to coincide with ours alike in our fight against the symptoms of degeneracy in the world of today, in our fight against a Bolshevist culture, against atheistic movements, against criminality, and in our struggle for a consciousness of a community in our national life. . . These are not anti-Christian, these are Christian principles! And I believe that if we should fail to follow these principles then we should to be able to point to our successes, for the result of our political battle is surely not rejected by God (Adolf Hitler, in his speech at Koblenz, to the Germans of the Saar, 26 Aug. 1934).
“Pagans,” whatever that might refer to, often hold that Hitler was a materialist member of their sect rather than being any Christian. He said nothing of the kind. He had no time for this make believe. He said in Mein Kampf:
It is entirely out of harmony with the spirit of the nation to keep harping on that far-off and forgotten nomenclature which belongs to the ancient Germanic times and does not awaken any distinct association in our age. This habit of borrowing words from the dead past tends to mislead the people into thinking that the external trappings of its vocabulary are the important feature of a movement. It is really a mischievous habit; but it is quite prevalent nowadays (204-205).
Ancient Germany was not a literate society. Therefore, the content of its “paganism” is totally unknown except by second hand sources from Rome. This author has written on this subject at length. “Paganism,” which has no doctrinal content and hence is not even a usable label, is invented “tradition” taken from a precious few scraps of information old Roman writers left behind. What little has been written exists because Rome introduced literacy.
Christianity, and Christ personally, made much more sense. We have no idea what the ancient Germanics thought of Jews. This is not the case with Christ:
And the founder of Christianity made no secret indeed of his estimation of the Jewish people. When He found it necessary, He drove those enemies of the human race out of the Temple of God; because then, as always, they used religion as a means of advancing their commercial interests. But at that time Christ was nailed to the Cross for his attitude towards the Jews; whereas our modern Christians enter into party politics and when elections are being held they debase themselves to beg for Jewish votes. They even enter into political intrigues with the atheistic Jewish parties against the interests of their own Christian nation (Mein Kampf, 11).
Christ was not a “Jew” in the same sense Rabbi Weiss down the street is. The Talmud did not exist in Christ’s time, but was, in fact, begun as a result of the Judaic attack on Christ and his followers. St. Justin Martyr stated in his First Apology that Jews from Jerusalem, after the crucifixion, sent emissaries in all directions to counter the work of the Apostles. They were responsible for stirring up the population against then and finally, their deaths.
Modern “neo-pagansm” and witchcraft are modern inventions and have no roots beyond the imaginations of writers of the 20th century. There is no “history of Wicca” prior to the 1950s. It was, under Robert Gardner, tightly bound to the Kabbalah-based Rosicrucian Order. Being generous, one can go as far back as the late Victorian era.
There’s more to Hitler on this issue than is normally understood. Starting in 1933, “Odinists” were thrown out of the party and removed from positions of influence. The infamous books of Lanz von Liebenfels, Ernst Haldane and Reinhold Ebertin were removed from the shelves. Again from Mein Kampf
The characteristic thing about these people is that they rave about old Germanic heroism, about dim prehistory, stone axes, spear and shield, but in reality are the greatest cowards that can be imagined. For the same people who brandish scholarly imitations of old German tin swords, and wear a dressed bearskin with bull’s horns over their heads, preach for the present nothing but struggle with spiritual weapons, and run away as fast as they can from every Communist blackjack.
Then as now, paganism was LARP-ing. It was the continual invention of a “spiritual doctrine” that has no written foundation. Their understanding of Christianity is as “dim” as ancient Germany. They believe Christ preached a Leo Tolstoy-esqe pacifism that can be gathered from Christ if the Old Testament is ignored – and almost all Christian history.
They both accuse “Christians,” a label about as useful as “pagan,” of forcing the faith on innocent, defenseless pagans while at the same time, attacking them for excessive passivity. Such arguments are false at least because it implies a modern view of “religious faith.” It was not a private affair in the ancient world. People followed the gods of their leaders. It was never a matter of “private conviction.” Thus, using force is a strange anachronism.
My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. . . Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross (Hitler’s Speech from April 12, 1922).
Why would this not appeal to Hitler? His cause was the same as Christ’s. It is said that Hitler was a “Darwinian.” It is doubtful he ever had the time to read the many volumes of Darwin’s tremendous literary output, but what that often means in general conversation is the believe that all is struggle. It is an assumption that all that matters in society is the ability to successfully use coercion in one form or another, from media control to financial. Everything else is ephemeral. Certainly, this was the case in 1933 Germany. Millions of her best men had just been killed. Her industry was dismantled and sent to the allies leaving no functional economy and a worthless currency. Germany had no military.
The police were overwhelmed by rioters. A massive, hostile Soviet empire lies to your east. Parts of Germany had already fallen to revolutionaries and other parts had been given to its enemies. There were good reasons to reduce the world to struggle and constant warfare. Now, this certainly doesn’t show Darwin to be correct, but it does explain a similar mindset developing. It also explains Hitler’s interest in ancient Greece and Rome. These are pan-European models.
We are determined, as leaders of the nation, to fulfill as a national government the task which has been given to us, swearing fidelity only to God, our conscience, and our Volk. . . This the national government will regard its first and foremost duty to restore the unity of spirit and purpose of our Volk. It will preserve and defend the foundations upon which the power of our nation rests. It will take Christianity, as the basis of our collective morality, and the family as the nucleus of our Volk and state, under its firm protection. . . May God Almighty take our work into his grace, give true form to our will, bless our insight, and endow us with the trust of our Volk (Quoted from Richard Steigmann: Gall’s The Holy Reich).
Afghanistan was ripped by war since the 1970s. It has been in the worst, dire poverty imaginable. Because of warfare, life is cheap and the only real scriptures are that of Machiavelli. Are the Taliban a surprise? How can they be criticized given the context of what they inherited? Does anyone deny that a country in such a state need a strong, unified state? Hitler, Putin and the Taliban are often not mentioned in the same sentence (they are by this author all the time), but they have that one thing in common: they inherited a state that many had written off. They inherited a society so bad off that few had any real ideas and thus, elites sought the shortest term gains possible. Hitler, like all historical figures, makes no sense without understanding his context. Germany’s is more dire than most.
Hetman Krasnov, one of the National Socialist leaders of the anti-communist Cossack host, stated:
When the bodies of executed Chekists swim along the rivers and the heads of the Communists are slaughtered, only then will the people know that the end of his abomination has come. . . I ask all Cossacks to be told that this war is not against Russia, but against Communists, Jews and their henchmen who sell Russian blood. May the Lord help the German weapons and Hitler! Let them do what the Russians and Emperor Alexander I did for Prussia in 1813. . .We need our Russian Orthodox Hitler. . . Moscow is squeezed in the spasms of Bolshevism and it must be conquered with the iron hand of a German soldier. All Russia ends up suicide in favor of American Jews. There were millions of armed Russians and Ukrainians willing to die for National Socialism and national liberation. Yet, the mentality of Himmler and Bormann won the day. The Soviet victory was the only result. The famed Hetman said, “Our only ally and patron is Germany, for the Germans are the only healthy nation that has developed immunity against the Bolsheviks and Freemasons. . .”
The True Orthodox Church under the Soviets was National-Socialist in terms of its politics. Bolshevism was the work of Antichrist and thus, the war with Germany was seen as God’s deliverance of the long suffering underground. The TOC drafted into the Soviet army deserted to the German side. Entire units went over to the German side even as the war drew to a close. In the field, the TOC was valued as experienced fighters against the Reds whose insight and knowledge was valuable. Today, they are spat upon because they did not want to see Russia liquidated at Stalin’s hands.
II. National Socialism and the Old Law
Ancient Israel is the model of our current life. It is a small and weak state that is supposed to trust only on God. It is wracked with problems as foreign forces continually pressure it. Huge empires seek its resources and territory and still, foreign alliances are forbidden. It is just a matter of time before they give in to temptation.
Germany in 1920, South Korea in 1953, Belarus and Russia in 1990, Afghanistan since the late 1980s and Israel most of the time shows broken peoples seeking healing. As these countries recover, the west attacks them because the state is too large. The investors of Babylon-Tyre seek a small, weak state they can easily influence.
Contrary to myth, the US did not support anti-communist military dictatorships. They condemned them after a brief period of indulgence. As always, military men were from the poorer classes and sought a communitarian order very different from what capital demands. Pinochet was forbidden entrance into the US under President Carter. Batista and Chaing Kai-shek were abandoned in favor of their communist antagonists. The US placed sanctions on Franco just as it pours aid to Stalin’s USSR. The Greek Colonels were condemned but, as a part of NATO, a certain indulgence was involved to avoid war with Turkey.
Israel in the Old Testament was firmly nationalist. It was highly militarized. It was a theocracy where the extended family was the sole and lowest unit of social life. It was highly egalitarian as the Jubilee proves. This is why the Old Testament is ignored. Yet, it lies at the heart of Nationalism.
Very soon, all churches will begin removing the Old Testament from their Bibles. They will maintain Psalms and Proverbs. There are already plenty of “Bibles” printed with precisely that. They will cite the “violence” and “nationalism” of the Old Law as “incompatible” with the “values of the new age.” Very few read anything but the Psalms. The Prophets remain unread despite having a completely political and economic agenda that is binding on Christians today.
To be precise about it, there are 613 positive and negative laws in the Old Testament. Those pertaining to sacrifices, about 50 in all, are ignored due to Christ’s replacement of the animal or vegetable sacrifices with himself. However, the liturgical elements remain. Christ explicitly eliminated those that permitted polygamy, revenge killings and stonings for certain crimes. St. Paul overthrew the dietary restrictions, though the spirit of these restrictions remain. He also made circumcision unnecessary.
Obviously, the Old Testament is much larger, more varied and contains more sheer content than the New. The New is fairly anemic in terms of law, economics or ethnics. This is because the Old Testament already took care of that. Unless Christ explicitly set aside a specific practice – or if his being implies it, such as his eternal sacrifice – then it is binding upon us no differently than anything else. That almost the entire church is ignorant of the Old Testament means they are falling away from Christ. Without the Old Law, Christ is nonsensical. St. Augustine writes in his letter Against Faustus the Mani:
Those first sacraments, which were observed and celebrated in obedience to the law, were by way of prior announcement of Christ who was to come. And when Christ, by his coming, had fulfilled them, they were taken away, and they were taken away because they were fulfilled; for He came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it. And no that justice of faith has been revealed and the yoke of slavery, which had suitably been given to a hard and carnal people, has been taken away from the sons of God called to liberty, other sacraments have been instituted, greater in strength, more beneficial in their use, easier of performance, and fewer in number.
Of course, this assumes that the church today is not made up of “hard and carnal” people. The Law was never meant to be slavishly followed. The Old Testament makes no claim of this kind. Augustine confirms that Christ nullified the entire nature of Old Testament sacrifice with himself. The liturgy remains, though now directed at Christ. Nothing is “removed,” it is only granted greater meaning and elevated to an ethical plane. Before Christ, the Israelites had taken the Law almost as a talisman. The Pharisees were classic examples. It was not the Law as such, but the mechanical and self-righteous application of it that Christ destroyed.
However, the purpose of this paper is to understand Christian nationalism. Therefore, a brief understanding of the theology of the Old Testament is essential, since this is almost the exclusive source of information on the question. Since no one reads the Old Testament, few have any idea of what a “Christian politics” might be. The medieval used the Old Testament almost exclusively in their political works, since the New Testament takes it for granted. It’s universally understood that the content of the Christina life is an Old Testament creation.
Ancient and medieval people’s had no concept of the isolated ego. This was the realm of monsters. All references were, naturally, to communities. These were the nation and the church. Only modernity has divided this into economic, ethic, political and religious. Nations aren’t actually divided that way, but the mind of the positivist can see no unity anywhere. Ethnonationalism has been taken for granted as the sole just source of human organization since time has began. The cosmopolitan empire, such as the modern US, is the unjust model of human organization. The Bible, church tradition, history and common sense rejects this model.
There is nothing more maddening than debating with a globalist who defines nationalism how he pleases, then pats himself on the back for rejecting it. When they begin using such phrases as “worshiping DNA,” you know you will get nowhere. Anti-nationalism is dominant because its promoters are far wealthier than the nationalists. It is very simple.
In the unread Book of Numbers, we hear:
And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.
And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.
Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: And he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel. (Numbers 25:6-13)
Modernist opponents of this believe they are making a serious theological point by reciting the most misused and misinterpreted line in the New Testament: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” This quote has no bearing on nationalism at all. It merely says that one cannot be saved by race. It means that no element of social status determines one’s access to grace. Imposing one’s postmodern alienation onto the New Testament is often not the best method of interpretation, though it is excellent for one’s job prospects.
To be one in Christ does not abolish distinctions. Nations have personalities and histories as individuals do. Is salvation the negation of one’s personhood? None of these comes at the expense of another. Nations in their diversity certainly exist and are very good, they just don’t have any impact on one’s ability to be saved. The church fathers, as is expected, have noting to do with the very modern view that it destroys the existence of race and gender.
St. Clement of Alexandria (155-220) mentions it in Exhortation to the Heathen xi, where he argues that the body of the faithful is not divided once it is brought under the church through baptism. The “new man” is not an abstract, raceless freak, but they are of one mind.
St. Gregory of Nyssa (330-395) in On Virginity says that women have the same calling as men with regards to a spiritual union with Christ. Additionally he uses this verse in On the Making of Man as proof that God, making male and female, ‘is a departure from the prototype, that is, Christ himself, in whom there is “neither male nor female.” In neither case does he apply the passage to gender or race.
Both Sts. Athanasius (295-373) and Hilary of Poitiers (315-367) used this passage in their defense against the Arians. Athanasius’ allusion to it is only minor, making the point that once united with God, and no longer abiding in the world, there will no longer be disunity between men and women. They will not be at war with one another. He is merely speaking of the unity of the faith.
Hilary of Poitiers quotes Galatians 3:27-28 as a refutation of the Arian idea that the Father and Jesus are one only in the sense they are of one mind, but not as of the same nature. His interpretation of this passage is that oneness in Christ speaks of the unity of the faithful brought about by the sacrament of baptism. This means that believers are united in nature in a way that is only possible if Christ is also of the same nature as God. He sees this oneness as ontological and again makes no reference to equality or gender responsibilities.
St. John Chrysostom (344-407), in his Homily on Galatians, interprets this verse as meaning “you all have one form and one mold, even Christ’s. . . He that was a Greek, or Jew, or bond-man yesterday, carries about with him the form of the Lord of all, yea displays in his own person the Christ.” Chrysostom makes no social commentary here.
Apparently this distinction had less significance then than it does in the modern debate. The fathers weren’t quite under the strictures the modern pseudo-intellectual is.
St. Augustine (354-430) clearly did not believe Galatians 3:28 to be a statement removing functional differences when he penned the following comments on this passage:
Difference of race or condition or sex is indeed taken away by the unity of faith, but it remains embedded in our mortal interactions, and in the journey of this life the apostles themselves teach that it is to be respected […] For we observe in the unity of faith that there are no such distinctions. Yet within the orders of this life they persist.
The book of Acts sheds some light on the truth here:
And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they’ (Acts 15:7-11).
This is what Paul meant and this passage in Acts exists partly to clarify it. Galatians are not abolished by the Epistle of the Galatians. Davis Carleton, a first class writer on this subject,
In Deuteronomy 23, Israel is given laws regarding who can assimilate into the congregation of the Lord. The congregation of the Lord probably denotes Israel’s national church. It is important to notice that assimilation took into account both heredity and history when determining assimilation. The Moabites and Ammonites are more thoroughly excluded due to a bad past history with the children of Israel, and Egypt is more readily assimilated due to Israel being a stranger in their land. Edom and Israel were nations that had a troubled history to say the least. But the Edomites are easily assimilated into the Israelite congregation due to their consanguinity, since both are descended from the patriarch Isaac.
This is why Edom is referred to as Israel’s brother. The significance of consanguinity taught in this passage was not lost on noted commentator Matthew Henry, who writes concerning this that, “The unkindness of near relations, though by many worst taken, yet should with us, for that reason, because of the relation, be first forgiven.”
Ethnic identities are the outgrowth of families. The Bible does not endorse the notion of a propositional nation that is simply identified by ideas rather than lineage. Israel serves as an example of nationhood that the rest of the nations are supposed to emulate. It stands to reason that if Israel was reckoned hereditary by lineage, then all nations should be identified the same way.
The easiest way to conceive of a nation is to think of a nation in the proper sense as an extended family. Ancient Israel was organized into twelve tribes descended from their patriarch Jacob, and these tribes are listed according to the families comprising them. The first eight chapters of Chronicles are dedicated to listing the families of the tribes because all Israel was reckoned by genealogies (A Biblical Defense of Ethnonationalism, Faith and Heritage, 2011).
Nations are undeniably part of the Biblical heritage. In centuries past, it was uninteresting because no one had the temerity to deny its existence. It was the natural form of social organization since language must be presupposed for any organization at all. That this needs to be explained is truly frightening. Capitalism requires the nation to be destroyed because it increases its transaction costs. Nations force multinationals (MNCs) to adjust to different laws and currencies. Of course, the entire point of the apocalyptic New World Order is to force peoples to adjust to capital.
III. Nations in the Old Testament
The Law of God clearly supports economic nationalism because premiums are charged on foreigners doing business in Israel. The Jubilee laws – conveniently forgotten by moderns – say that all property returns to the original clan after 50 years (cf Leviticus 25).
Naboth’s vineyard is a famous example of this. Keep in mind that this is obligatory on all Christians. Merely being “in the Old Testament” is not an excuse to ignore that which is inconvenient. The Israelite King Ahab wanted the a profitable vineyard and offered an inflated price for it. Naboth refused, telling the corrupt king that “The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.” Israelite law, in fact, brought all property back to the family every 50 years regardless.
The issue here is that the lure of a short-term windfall is not rational economics. It is the polar opposite of the American way – at least that of the 20th century. Naboth says that his loyalty is to his ancestors, not the fantasy of quick wealth. There is no connection between modern capitalism and God’s law.
Genesis 10:32 states “These are the families of the sons of Noah, according to their genealogies, by their nations; and out of these the nations were separated on the earth after the flood.” Nations are positive things. This shows they are a part of natural law and hence, God’s plan for humanity. They, in some distant way, can be traced to the very first humans.
Genesis 19 as well, “Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father. The firstborn bore a son, and called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. As for the younger, she also bore a son, and called his name Ben-ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.” In other words, nations have a genealogical marker. They are biological units as well as spiritual ones. It would make sense, since people normally only marry those they can actually communicate with.
God says about the Israelites, “So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite” (Exodus, 3:8). Thus, nations are a part of God’s plan and law, and even more, have distinct territories God will both choose and protect. The only way – with very few exceptions – God deals with humanity is through national markers.
The Israelite nation had enemies,
All the people who were left of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of the people of Israel— their descendants who were left after them in the land, whom the people of Israel were unable to devote to destruction—these Solomon drafted to be slaves, and so they are to this day. But of the people of Israel Solomon made no slaves. They were the soldiers, they were his officials, his commanders, his captains, his chariot commanders and his horsemen (1 Kings).
Solomon used his own people as slaves, thereby violating the laws of God and nature. It is from this lust for power that he soon became an apostate. He sought to be like the other nations, obsessed with power and money.
In 1 Chronicles 17:21 the concept of the holy nation is established again: “And what one nation in the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make You a name by great and terrible things, in driving out nations from before Your people, whom You redeemed out of Egypt?” To claim that this was a religious, not an ethnic marker is anachronistic. Ancients had no such divisions. There were no such separate elements in bodies that are visibly unified. God is not ambiguous:
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3)
This is part of the reason why the Old Testament will soon be thrown out of the Bible. It lays out the political agenda of the church. That’s one of the more important reasons it’s there in the first place. Why include it – making up the overwhelming majority of the Bible – unless it wasn’t essential? Christ is nonsensical without the Law and prophets. Christ referenced them constantly either in positive or negative terms.
Exodus 19:5-6 says further, “Now, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” Thus, there is both a biological foundation as well as a spiritual, voluntary one.
For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deuteronomy 7:6-8).
The wording here is exclusively of collective entities. These are real creations and not abbreviations for random collections of people. In Romans 9:4-5, “who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” Christ is both divine and human. The human includes, obviously, our physical bodies. These are subject to genetic classifications. Christ is depicted as having a humanity connected to a specific set of genetics.
Isaiah is a deeply political book, especially chapter 10. Isaiah was a foreign policy advisor and this becomes his focus. It establishes that politics is a central concern of the church, and that evil rulers will be tormented forever in Hell. What is an unjust ruler, one who will “deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of My people of their rights, So that widows may be their spoil And that they may plunder the orphans.”
Therefore, the state must have the economic interests of the population as an essential interest. The poor are to be specifically cared for so long as they are Israelites. The state has no obligation to others. If this is true, then the poor and needy have objective rights that a ruler will ignore at his peril. What does “plunder” mean? Suburban “Ameridox” would interpret this to refer only to physical violence. “Well, I’m not a viking raider, so I’m covered.” Of course that’s not what it is. It refers to the charging of rents, of which usury is one element.
To be clear: the Old Testament is not a “preparation” for the new. It is not a “childhood” for the later adult. It is equal to the New Testament. Its Laws were well known to Christ’s hearers, and thus, didn’t require much elucidation. The New Testament is paltry by comparison to the Old. Unless Christ or the Apostles have explicitly rejected a practice, the Law is binding on Christians. This is especially true with the old sacrifices at the Temple. Christ is the eternal sacrifice, so all of this is set aside. However, the fathers left Leviticus in the Bible. Was this a 3000 year error? No, because the sacrifices are not eliminated, only fulfilled. The priesthood remains, one coming from Christ rather than the Old Law. The Old law has an allegorical meaning. This doesn’t mean it only has an allegorical meaning. It has many meanings – different levels – all true at the same time.
This is typical of the pseudo-intellectual approach to the Old Testament:
When we read and are repulsed by the slaughter and carnage in the Bible, we may take some solace in the very real possibility that these texts do not record history exactly as it happened, but rather they represent the ideology and theology of the Israelites and Jews as they struggled to take possession of the Land of Israel. Seeing it this way brings us closer to the manner in which the Fathers interpreted these things, in a spiritual fashion, not literalistic [sic] (From Eric Jobe, Understanding Violence in the Old Testament: Critical and Patristic Perspectives).
This pompous passage assumes that God is subject to man’s law. What is wrong with violence? To the soft, kept, flabby and overweight American – everything. Death is far preferable to a lifetime of slavery, prison or apostasy. Pain is an important way that God speaks to us. God has created life, he can eliminate it. We’re not “repulsed” by the violence of the Old Testament. It was a necessary cleansing of a region that had long forgotten God’s law. They were carnal, irrational and immoral. God’s love demanded that they be slaughtered and their civilization torn asunder. God destroyed almost the whole planet in the flood. Do we deny this too? Maybe we should just remove any part of the Scriptures that offend our modern, climate-controlled sensibilities.
This is a glorious expression of love, you idiot, not something that one should be “repulsed” over. The soft, artificial, manicured lawn Ameridox stands for nothing and lives for nothing. God does not love everyone. We know this because the concept of “everyone” didn’t exist in the ancient world. Its an unbelievable abstraction. God loves his people and his church. The rest are insignificant except as possible converts and negative examples.
He will go so far as to deny the Old Testament in order to salve the conscience of his suburban audience. Christianity is a violent religion. It is militarist and nationalist. Death and pain are not the worst things that can befall a man. Criminal immorality deserves death – this is what God is communicating in these books. St. Augustine says:
Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are committed. If all nations committed them, all alike would be held guilty of the same charge in God’s law, for our Maker did not prescribe that we should use each other in this way. In fact, the relationship that we ought to have with God is itself violated when our nature, of which He is Author, is desecrated by perverted lust…Your punishments are for sins which men commit against themselves, because, although they sin against You, they do wrong in their own souls and their malice is self-betrayed. They corrupt and pervert their own nature, which You made and for which You shaped the rules, either by making wrong use of the things which You allow, or by becoming inflamed with passion to make unnatural use of things which You do not allow” (Confessions, Book III, chap. 8)
These were not innocent victims. If a human being is a free, and thus a rational, being, then those captured by perversion are no longer human. Walking on two legs is the modern definition of “human being” though this same modernity has long undercut any ground for rights or ethics. One hunk of flesh is as good as another. Furthermore, most human beings, especially in the ancient world, did not think as individuals. The abstract ego did not exist.
Thus, the sins of one were the sins of all. It is outrageous that these pompous hand-wringers claim that their pseudo-moral sensibilities are more significant than God’s will. It is a matter of knee-jerk emotion and not thought. If something offends their modern sensibilities, then it must be removed from their sight. What are these people going to do when the dollar collapses?
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Surely in the fire of My jealousy I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and with scorn of soul, to drive it out for a prey.” (Exodus 36)
The prophet Joel says nations will be maintained even at the last judgment. “I will gather all the nations And bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat Then I will enter into judgment with them there On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land.” (Joel 3)
And again in Revelations 5: “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.” Same is said at Revelation 14:6. Tribes and nations are the agents of history and of God’s law. They will be seen in heaven as nations, as collectives.
1 Peter 2:9-10 states famously:
But you are a chosen race, A royal priesthood, A holy nation, A people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God you had not received mercy but now you have received it.
To be “not a people” suggests that without the spirit, tradition is mere dead letters and practices. But even still, Acts 17 says, “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.” Nations are part of God’s creation. The Old Testament is living on borrowed time in church life. A “synod” will soon make this official. On the other hand, the almost total ignorance of it among even educated Christians might be sufficient for them, thus avoiding a nasty fight over it.
Before World War II, no one would have dreamed that a church would claim “nations don’t exist.” Despite the Robber Council of 1872, aimed at Bulgarian independence, nationalism was the default mental setting of all people, including many communists. “Soviet Patriotism” was a way to gain some traction with a “homeland” that officially denied homeland’s don’t exist.
Nationalism is a part of natural law. It is the simple concept that an ethnic group is the extension of the family. Loyalty to her is based on the same tie of blood. Ethnic groups are bound by language, which is just to say all manner of social communication, and religious devotion. The cult is the origin of “culture.” It is only when capital became firmly international and Hitler had been defeated that suddenly, nations didn’t exist. Like in 1872, nations were merely inconvenient. The Synod of Constantinople, signed by no other Orthodox body other than the Ecumenical Patriarchate, saw profits from its Bulgarian investments threatened if Bulgaria were to develop its own hierarchy. They even went so far as to deny the existence of the Bulgarian language. It was transparent. Russia oversaw the development of the Exarchate and stayed in communion with it until the communists overthrew it.
For the USSR, the Ukrainians, another inconvenience, forced the communist Patriarchate to use the 1872 council as a club against her. Both Bulgaria and Ukraine became “inconvenient,” not “imaginary” nations. The Orthodox church, the old law, natural law and common sense is nationalist. The state is not the issue, our extended family is, pigheaded though they might often be. Families fight constantly, but this doesn’t mean they’re no longer a family. The rule of communism in the east and its sister ideology, capitalism, in the west, both denying nations for different reasons, worked together for Hitler’s defeat and with him, the idea of the nation.